Nancy Drew Season 1, Episode 5 Recap: We All See Dead People

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nancy drew season 1

The CW

Nancy Drew‘s central mystery keeps heating up, but its scare factor is *still* on the decline following last week’s Halloween episode. Was it something we said? Nancy Drew season 1, episode 5 might not have you jumping out of your skin, but you will be on the edge of your seat. I realize that sounds like an #ad, but we really aren’t being paid to say nice things — The CW doesn’t know we exist! — we just actually like this show and would prefer it not get canceled due to low ratings.


nick nancy and ace

The CW

Always listen to your mother! George clearly wasn’t paying attention when her mom explained how to get Tiffany’s ghost away from Bess, and now George is being possessed by her ex-boyfriend’s dead wife. More relatable content from The CW. Tiffany-as-George stalks her ex, checks herself out in the bathroom, and writes “I Know” on the mirror in her own blood. Seriously, where was this spooky sh*t last week when I actually wanted to be terrified? It’s Christmas SZN now, the time for these shenanigans has passed. It’s business as usual the next day at The Claw, except that a handsome stranger, Owen, walks in asking for catering help. I’ve already been conditioned to believe all handsome strangers on this show are either ghosts or murderers, so take your bets now. George cuts herself while preparing food (which is not really in her job description, but whatever) and goes ghost, rubbing her own face out of photos and rightfully freaking out her coworkers. Nancy doesn’t believe it could be supernatural, but Bess realizes that George forgot to lure Tiffany’s ghost back into its rightful resting place.

Meanwhile, Nancy needs to know the real story behind Detective Karen’s friendship with Dead Lucy. Nancy tries to make an unscheduled visit to the precinct, but because Carson unveiled that fake autopsy, Tiffany’s death has been reopened as a homicide investigation. That’s great for Tiffany, but not great for Nancy’s access to high-ranking detectives.

Nick asks Ace about Lara’s breaking-and-entering act the night before, and while they didn’t come to any conclusions, talk of Tiffany’s sister triggers the possessed George until she snaps out of her fugue state. Momma George is back to save the day, although she has apparently run their family into the ground leaving George as the primary breadwinner for a flock of little sisters. George’s affair has made Tiffany really hate her, enough that her spirit could gain the power necessary to absorb George’s life force and take over her body forever. Look, stakes! Momma George blends tea to help suppress the spirit, but Nancy wants to have a chat with the ghost about the night she died. Instead, Nancy leaves with George to work the fancy catered event being thrown in Tiffany’s honor. Yeah, that’s not going to upset her ghost *at all*. Nancy can’t constantly keep an eye on George while there’s a second murder to solve, and demonic children’s voices cause Nancy to hallucinate a patch of grass with a body buried beneath it. Karen snaps Nancy out of the trance (a common theme tonight), giving Nancy the opportunity to ask about Karen’s massive, Dead Lucy-shaped lie. Karen explains she felt guilty when she let her BFF Lucy pull away from her after a mysterious party during their junior year, a year before she died.

Owen hits on Nancy, and Nick gets jealous. Unfortunately for Nick, this mysterious hottie is a Marvin, so he’s probably here to stay. Nick copes by confronting Lara about the USB drive, which she stakes a claim to because she was the only one who knew Tiffany’s hiding place. She can’t figure out the password, though, and needs Nick’s help.

Seeing her cheating ex-husband being told off for losing hundreds of millions of dollars reawakens Tiffany’s spirit just as Nancy and the gang realize George is AWOL. Tiffany-as-George changes into an event-appropriate ball gown, stalks off with a knife, and kisses her ex in public. Apparently what she “knows” is that Ryan had an affair with George, but Nancy’s attempts at questioning Tiffany make it clear that Tiffany does not understand that she’s dead. Tiffany’s BFF Nick has the unfortunate task of breaking the news, and she agrees to leave George’s body to save her life. Tiffany’s only parting clues are a hint that Lara is in danger and the name “Dante.” This inspired Lara to hand the USB over to Nick, although she’s not thrilled about it. “Dante” is the USB password, and ensuing the onslaught of information includes the revelation that Owen Marvin was no friend of Tiffany’s. I knew we couldn’t trust any new handsome men in Nancy Drew season 1.

George is safe, but Nancy realizes that Dead Lucy has stuck around because she’s emotionally attached to something on this earthly plane. Nancy uses her flirty new suitor to help her unearth the Class of ‘99’s time capsule, revealing a bunch of useless junk that will inevitably become useful junk and a video message that our ghost distorts to focus on Ryan Hudson speaking to Lucy at a bake sale. Yo, how old is this dude?


We’re disappointed.


Ace’s succinct-yet-accurate description of why The Claw’s business isn’t booming: “Ghosts are great for business. Murder kills you.”


nancy drew season 1

The CW

Carrie Diaries cutie Lizbeth is back to romance Bess, but it didn’t matter to this week’s storyline at all. This is either The CW vaguely ignoring its LGBTQ couples again, or Lizbeth is evil and this is all carefully crafted exposition. I wouldn’t say this for most CW teen soaps, but it seems the latter is more likely. Another strong emotional performance from Nick also went against the usual CW grain — Am I… feeling emotions? Am I legitimately sad for this fictional ghost? — but adding a bunch of random Eastern terms to magic the ghost out of George was right up the CW’s alley. I’m not sure how I felt about George’s mother tossing around terms like “Qi” and using ancient anti-possession rituals she learned from her ancestors. Is this trivializing other cultures or embracing them? Is it diversity or tokenizing? These aren’t rhetorical questions — I’m white, so I honestly can’t tell. To me, it feels a little like when caucasian yoga instructors end their classes with “namaste”: it is the right time and place and their intentions are pure, but it still reminds me that we’ve taken another culture’s traditions and commodified them for American mass consumption.

I’m still here for both major mysteries in Nancy Drew season 1, and the writers’ ability to juggle two massive conspiracies without one overwhelming the other is wicked impressive. Also, because I am a space cadet writing this in the middle of the night, I just realized that these two mysteries are absolutely interconnected. Like, this was obvious, and I was too busy ogling Ace to notice. What I *did* notice is that George’s mom called an Uber home during episode 5, while Bess has proven herself to be a Lyft girl in episode 4. We love a #NonSpon moment, but may we suggest monetizing your rideshare references so y’all stay on the air long enough to unmask a killer or two? As Liz Lemon once said, “Can we have our money now?”


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