Nancy Drew Season 1, Episode 9 Recap: Simon Says
This is the moment, y’all. Nancy Drew‘s first-ever midseason finale will determine whether this fledgling detective series can connect the frustrating number of dots it has scattered through the last eight episodes into a satisfying cliffhanger twist. Nancy Drew episode 9 parallels the case that turned Nancy into the detective she is today (you know, one that can easily lose a small child at work) with the search for George’s little sister, Ted.
NANCY DREW EPISODE 9 RECAP: WHAT JUST HAPPENED?!
This episode started with a voiceover recap of the case and Nancy’s revelations, and we still have no idea what’s going on. But, apparently, Carson is still dating Cop Katie! George calls Nancy and the Drew Crew (minus Ace, who’s still comatose) to help search for Ted. Nancy’s keen sense of smell leads her to a spiral wax pattern that echoes the details of her first case, a kidnapping that Nancy believes has been repeated.
Nancy drives upstate to speak to the original kidnapper from 2013, who claims he never kidnapped anyone. That’s what they all say. Next, she calls the former kidnapping victim, who says she saw the kidnapper talking to a spirit named Simon. As it turns out, Nancy saw it too. Suppressing 7th-grade memories of murderous ghosts is the most realistic emotional response I’ve seen on a CW show in years.
The town rallies together to find Ted, including the local police. Cop Katie discovers the original kidnapper has a regular visitor named Moira Baker, while the Drew Crew learns he was under the employ of the Marvins before going crazy and snatching a kid. Owen, who’s back, still sexy, and helping with the search efforts tells Nancy he knew the original kidnapper back in the day (in case you forgot, he’s a Marvin). Apparently, the kidnapper was a normal dude until a few months before he snapped, right around the time he started working at the warehouse. Ned realizes the entity from 2013 is probably the same one they spoke to through Ted’s dragon toy.
Bess remembers a Claw customer with a tattoo that matches the original kidnapper’s ink and, sure enough, that woman is Moira Baker. Nancy deduces Moira is the copycat kidnapper and is being bribed by the entity. The police find a cipher in Moira’s apartment, and Nancy heads to the original kidnapper’s warehouse to return to his hidden staircase. Nick enlists Carson to accompany Nancy in case the warehouse dredges up troubling memories. It does! The parental negligence on these CW shows is dizzying, but Carson is here now. He helps his daughter work through her childhood trauma, which leads her to a childhood journal she had dropped at the scene of the crime. Nancy and Carson find a shrine that is equal parts Blair Witch, It 2, and Super F*cking Creepy. I would’ve repressed this sh*t, too. When Nancy begins to destroy the shrine, the kidnappers begin to bleed. Yay! Then, Simon gets mad. Not yay! Destroying this shrine is easier in theory than it is in practice. If only all trees were this fire-resistant. Nancy visits the original kidnapper in jail, who says he knew Simon was back because of the pain in his scars. Okay, Harry Potter. He says Simon isn’t as gone as Nancy thinks he is, but no one seems concerned.
Nick somehow knows how to decode the cipher, like it’s some sort of secret prison thing that totally exists in all prisons. It’s instructions on how to kill a kid after nightfall as payment for services rendered. In an ongoing campaign for episode MVP, Nick gives George a ride to Moira Baker’s antique store in the hopes that Ted is being held there. She totally is, and George locks Moira in a room while Nick finds her sister. Weird that a few teens could find Ted in an afternoon, but the cops were completely stumped.
Ace wakes up from his coma, but before stopping by the hospital, Bess asks Owen if he thinks she could secretly be a Marvin black sheep. He agrees to take a DNA test to confirm her mother’s story, as long as she provides him with DNA for a second opinion. Better safe than sorry when you’re a multi-billionaire.
In the interest of tying up loose ends before dropping a massive cliff-hanger, Carson and Nancy repair their relationship through a lost letter written by her mother. We still have no idea who killed Lucy Sable (or Tiffany Hudson), but while tangential storylines are being tied up left and right, Cop Katie has found Nancy’s diary. Carson is arrested for the murder of Lucy Sable using the list of evidence against him Nancy has left in plain sight. He doesn’t admit to the murder, but he doesn’t deny it, either.
NUMBER OF TERRIFYING JUMP SCARES: 2-ish
— Fancity Central (@FanCityTV) December 12, 2019
The jump scares were minimal, but the creep factor was turned all the way to 11.
THE MOST CW MOMENT
— Jess (Earp soon ❤️) Qualls (@jess_qualls) December 12, 2019
When the world’s greatest teen detective left her diary out in the open for anyone to find…
Nancy Drew Episode 9 Recap: HOW WE FEEL
Tonight’s programming has been sponsored by repressed childhood memories and redheads acting circles around their co-stars. Between Madelaine Petsch’s performance on Riverdale an hour earlier and Kennedy McMann’s father-daughter heart-to-heart with Scott Wolf, I’m renaming the CW’s Wednesday nights The Ginger Power Hour. Another recurring theme? Negligent parenting! People give Midge Maisel sh*t for totally ignoring her kids, but at least she isn’t letting them roam around unattended while a kidnapper is on the loose. Young Nancy should never have been able to sneak into a kidnapper’s den, and Ted’s dragon toy should have been 86’d the minute Nancy used it to communicate with evil spirits. And, no, I won’t be delving into why the Nancy Drew writing team thought it was a good idea to name this demonic entity Simon — it’s too weird, and I don’t want to!
This episode featured some classic Nancy Drew detective work, and as a life-long fan of those Her Interactive games (and the books, too, but those games were straight fire), I appreciated the effort. It even makes sense that Bess would remember a specific woman from weeks ago because The Claw never has any customers! Is it possible this diner is always empty to justify moments like these? And here I thought The CW just couldn’t afford extras. Although I almost didn’t notice Bess’s shining investigative moment because the bump-it they put they put her in during the first scene was so unflattering, it bordered on homophobia. Ditto on those yellow checkered shorts: Cher Horowitz would not approve. Speaking of detective work, Nancy deducing Ted’s kidnapping through her keen sense of smell was a strong choice. This whole time, I thought she was the Daphne of her friend group, but really, she’s Scooby!
Before I get into the good stuff (AKA, whether this midseason finale justified the 10 hours of my life I’ve put into this show), I just wanted to comment on the age gap between Owen and Nancy. Part of this job includes scanning Twitter to find fan reactions, and about 40 percent of them tonight were freaking out over the revelation that Owen was a freshman in college when Nancy was in the seventh grade. That makes Owen six years older than her, and 24 to her assumed 18. Listen… I really want to agree with y’all that this is too creepy for TV because I am 24 and wouldn’t even go *near* an 18-year-old with a seven-foot pole, but I’m just not that skeeved out by it. IRL, when Pete Davidson, 26, is out here canoodling with Kaia Gerber, newly 18, I’m a little grossed out (and also jealous, sorry not sorry). On TV, I’m just relieved that the CW isn’t trying to convince us a teenager could reasonably look like Owen. The biggest lie on television is that teen boys could look even remotely that hot, which when you think about it, is almost as creepy as putting an 18-year-old character in a relationship with a 24-year-old. We shouldn’t be lusting over preternaturally attractive teens played by gorgeous 30-year-olds! It is just as weird as rooting for a fake 26-year-old to date a fake 18-year-old! Which, might I remind you, hasn’t even happened yet. I don’t disagree with these concerned fans’ arguments, but personally, suspension of disbelief is winning out for me. Is that bad…? This is what Miles Gaston, who plays Owen, had to say on the subject:
❤️ you all.
• i‘m an actor
• our writers are 99% women:
incredibly smart, diverse, with colorful backgrounds
• they know their ‘nancy’, & i imagine they know what it’s like to be a woman, at all ages
• i trust their choices
• your feelings are valid #NancyDrew
— miles gaston villanueva ©* (@MilesGastonV) December 12, 2019
So, back to the good stuff. I remain on the fence about Nancy Drew’s pacing and plot. If they chose to go monster-of-the-week from the outset, I think I would be more willing to embrace the slow burn of their overarching mystery, but it feels like the creative team set us up for a focused murder case, then realized they needed filler to stretch it over 22 episodes. A solid amount of loose ends have been revisited and pushed forward in a way that gives me hope for Season 1B (airing January 15, BTW), but we still know as little about both Lucy and Tiffany’s murders as we did during the pilot. And I’m getting pretty tired of Carson refusing to proclaim his innocence. Even if he *did* do it, wouldn’t he have the self-respect to lie about it? Two huge, intriguing murder cases would have been plenty without these sporadic, untethered tangents. I’m hooked enough to want answers and unsatisfied enough to consider giving up and just Googling whodunit once the season ends in June. At this point, only time will tell. For the record, I’m rooting for you! We’re all rooting for you!
— Mario Pacheco 🇺🇸 (@mariusioannesp) December 12, 2019
— Erin Gray (@EKGrayME) December 12, 2019
“People need to have higher standards.” Bess is a mood. #NancyDrew
— Jess (Earp soon ❤️) Qualls (@jess_qualls) December 12, 2019
— EveryoneIsACritic (@everyone_critic) December 12, 2019
— Daisya Spencer (@DaisyaSpencer) December 12, 2019