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Nancy Drew Season 1, Episode 12 Recap: The Case of the Missing Exterminator

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nancy drew episode 12

The CW

Nancy Drew episode 12 goes where many spooky series have gone before: an abandoned mental hospital. Nancy doesn’t look any closer to solving the cornucopia of murders popping up around her, nor has she solved the case of Nick and George’s mounting sexual tension.

NANCY DREW EPISODE 12 RECAP: WHAT JUST HAPPENED?!

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The CW

Nancy is determined to talk to Lucy Sable’s mother, but Lucy’s brother cautions her against it. Mrs. Sable suffered a pretty terrible stroke, and she lives in a sanitarium.

Bess has convinced herself that her new Aunt Diana is setting her up with a business mentorship and not pimping her out to a rich businesswoman. Bess and Amaya meet for lunch at the Yacht Club, and Amaya immediately starts hitting on her. Like, super aggressively. Apparently, this is a double date with Amaya, Bess, and a pair of high profile businessmen Amaya is trying to woo.

Nancy is shocked that George and Nick bought the Claw together because she’s the only one that doesn’t sense their raw sexual chemistry. Nancy invents a new, spooky form of c*ckblocking that involves breaking into mental hospitals and accidentally freeing a bunch of ghosts. Nancy steals Mrs. Sable’s file while George distracts the guards. Meanwhile, Nick is swiping some Visitor badges from the nurse’s station. Wow, she’s even got them on separate patrols. Someone seems threatened. Nancy gets caught by an orderly before Nick can get to her with the badges (he was too distracted by ghost mold) and pretends to be a reporter doing a story on the hospital’s haunting. Of course, it’s haunted. The issues began after Nancy’s seance, meaning this one’s her fault, too. After her “interview,” Nancy finds Mrs. Sable and learns that she thinks it’s the Friday before Lucy’s death. Mrs. Sable seems like a concerned mother who had a bad relationship with her daughter, but she mentions a key to Lucy’s secret hidden in the thin man’s book. That’s before, you know, she remembers that her daughter is dead and descends into pained screams. Nick notices that Mrs. Sable’s rantings were actually a Psalm, so that book is a bible.

Nancy goes into the mysterious East Wing of the hospital where the haunting began and ventures into The Whisper Room, the site of a mysterious quadruple homicide from eras past and the location of the Thin Man’s Bible. She finds a key card that might hold all of the answers she’s been seeking, but the Whisper Room’s door disappears and it begins to fill with cockroaches. Who called David Lynch? Nick and George get ushered out of the building in a fire drill, and the so-called orderly guiding their way has been a mischevious patient all along. Nancy passes out in the hellscape and wakes up in a parallel universe where her parents are normal and everything’s perfectly fine. It’s just all covered in cockroaches.


Carson calls Ace in a panic because Everett Hudson’s hit is going down, and soon. Granted, he was hoping Nancy would pick up, but with the Hudsons imminently prepping his murder, threatening his lawyer, and doing all types of dirty deeds, this is Carson’s only phone call. It’s up to Ace to find Nancy and save her father’s life. Ace’s mission brings him to the yacht club, where he confronts Ryan about his dad’s planned hit. Ryan confirms that the only way to save Carson’s life is to get him out of jail, but Ace asks Bess to give Ryan another push towards the light. This interrupts her “business meeting,” but it also means Amaya sees Bess as more than just a pretty face. This gives Bess an opportunity to bond with Amaya over their shared humanness, and peaceful music swelling in the background lets us know that it’s working.

Carson gets transferred to state just before another inmate shivs him, which would be great if “state” wasn’t code for Ace stealing an official prison van and breaking him out. He hacked into the database to approve his transfer, stole a van, impersonated an officer of the law, and his big plan seems to be driving around until Nancy can save the day. Ace is a brilliant hacker and an A+ hair model, but he’s no genius. He’s literally driving Carson to the Drew House — and he uses a giant ax that Carson just had sitting around to break his cuffs. This plan backfires even faster than we thought it would. A fleet of police cars has surrounded the house, and Detective Karen has taken the lead now that Ace has officially taken Carson hostage. Ace tells Karen about the hit, asks her to check security tapes for proof of imminent danger, and demands an emergency hearing. The footage is inconclusive, so now we’re just in a garden variety hostage situation.

Bess trades a Marvin Family Favor for Ryan’s help, and she gets herself a mentor in Amaya as a bonus. He sends Ace an audio file confirming the hit was ordered and identifying the intimate who nearly attacked him. It was enough to merit a pre-trial release, and Amaya managed to get Ace off the hook for the fifteen or sixteen charges against him using her wealthy and important connections. We love Lisbeth, but we also love this new b*tch. Another classic CW love triangle?

Oh, and in case you were wondering how Nancy got out of that parallel roach reality: she didn’t!

NUMBER OF TERRIFYING JUMP SCARES: 0

Number of Disgusting Roaches: Way. Too. Many.

THE MOST CW MOMENT

George and Nick flirting via Les Miserables references.

Nancy Drew Episode 12 Recap: HOW WE FEEL

nancy drew episode 12

The CW

Can we just take a moment to appreciate how perfect Kennedy McMann is in this role? Nancy Drew has already resorted to the Creepy Mental Hospital trope to get the people going, but with Kennedy at its helm, Nancy manages to pull it off. Although, I do question the use of a sanatorium as a ~spooky setting~. For a show less socially conscious than Nancy Drew, I wouldn’t bat an eye, but after Nancy‘s made it clear that they’re trying to be an inclusive and socially thoughtful teen soap, something feels wrong about exploiting the mentally ill for cheap thrills. The concept of “scary sanitorium” has always rubbed me the wrong way because it plays off of mass hysteria that assumes mental patients are just one wrong step away from becoming violent (or, alternately, trades in historical examples of patient abuse, which are usually then used to frighten outsiders), and seeing a “woke” (such an icky word, but it works!!) show use an ableist trope so early in its tenure was a little jarring. They’re going straight into Parallel Universe Territory next, like there’s some type of TV cliché bingo card they need to fill by the end of the season, but I’m lowkey excited to see where this goes. Hopefully, the middle square on that bingo card is Ace and Owen Actually Appear On The Same Episode because we can’t keep trading one heartthrob for another. There are only 22 episodes per season, after all, and we’re already on Nancy Drew episode 12!

This is another episode where there isn’t much to tease or dissect. We still know nothing about Lucy Sable’s killer, I had totally forgotten about Tiffany Hudson’s death until I started typing this sentence, and no one tried to open a brothel or star in a series of tickling fetish videos. If you’re confused, it means you haven’t been reading my Riverdale recaps, where no parallel universe could be more ridiculous than what’s already happening onscreen.

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