Thursday, October 31, 2019

REVIEW: 'Nancy Drew' - Tiffany's Spirit Haunts Horseshoe Bay During Her Funeral in 'The Haunted Ring'

The CW's Nancy Drew - Episode 1.04 "The Haunted Ring"

As the funeral for Tiffany Hudson nears, her confused spirit seemingly haunts Horseshoe Bay. Nancy invites Bess to stay with her, allowing Nancy to figure out what Bess is hiding. Nick struggles with what he learned about Tiffany. George reluctantly seeks help from an unusual source. Ace runs into a significant person from his past. Carson continues to advise Ryan, much to Nancy's chagrin.

In 2018, there were 495 scripted shows airing amongst the linear channels and streaming services. The way people are consuming content now is so different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, there is less necessity to provide ample coverage of each specific episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site is making the move to shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the next episode of The CW's Riverdale.

"The Haunted Ring" was written by Céline Geiger and directed by Larry Teng

Nancy is starting to believe in the existence of ghosts. It would be difficult for her not to given how much they are the ones actually advancing the core mystery. It's getting a little ridiculous to be honest. There is so much terrific raw emotion in the proceedings. Some of it is aided by the suspicion that ghosts are present amongst the living. When Nancy finally visits her mother's grave, she breaks down over the fact that ghosts may exist and her mother still hasn't returned to her. She feels robbed of a chance to have a final conversation with her. She wasn't allowed to say goodbye. Her parents took that away from her because they thought they knew best. Katherine didn't want Nancy to remember her as frail and suffering. She wanted her daughter to enjoy her senior year of high school. Instead, a memory of a school dance quickly faded away to it being the night her mother died. She is still processing that. She finally has a conversation with her father where she talks about all of this. It's a significant moment. One that is no longer defined by confrontation between them. They have presented as two people living in the same house who don't believe in the same things. Carson is always there to protect his daughter who he views as being too reckless and destructive at the moment. And yet, Nancy remains suspicious about her father considering the dress stained with blood in the attic and him now working for Ryan Hudson. Tiffany was murdered. That's a fact. It's clear that the Hudson family paid off a medical examiner in order to conclude that she died from natural causes. No one really seems to buy into that narrative. It means that the co-workers at The Claw no longer have to be worried about being suspects in a murder investigation. They can return to their normal lives. And yet, Nancy can't let things go knowing that a woman isn't getting the proper justice she deserves. Someone needs to solve this on behalf of Tiffany to ensure that she can rest in piece. Right now, the supernatural elements of the show are saying that Tiffany's spirit is continually reaching out because she rejects the notion that this was all peaceful. Sure, it creates moments where it seems like Bess is being haunted. That's what fuels her to reveal some of her secrets to Nancy and George. In fact, it seems like Nancy has become the keeper of secrets. She knows the personal details of her friends' lives better than anyone else. Sure, she still doesn't know about the arrangement Ace has with the police chief. The audience understands that Ace's surveillance efforts are part of a non-prosecution agreement that the chief is quick to lord over his head at all times. Again, the police chief doesn't seem all that effective at his job. Of course, the show wants the audience to view Nancy as the only credible and capable investigator in Horseshoe Bay. Karen can't entirely be trusted because she lied to Nancy about knowing Lucy Sable in high school. The show makes that into a big deal even though that hasn't been a very engaging mystery so far. This episode introduces some important new characters like Tiffany's sister, Ryan's father and George's mother. These personalities help fill out this universe. But again, it mostly feels like the supernatural elements are proceeding through this investigation. They are leaving behind the clues that Nancy must decipher. As such, it doesn't come across as her great genius solving the case when no one else can. Instead, it's a bunch of electronics becoming possessed and cracking in the same pattern. That has to be costly for the Drew family. And yet, that isn't mentioned at all. There has to be a cost to the supernatural happenings of this town. There is potential with George becoming possessed by Tiffany's spirit at the close of the hour. However, everything needs to start being a little more cohesive and straightforward. Bess does provide answers to Nancy's questions here. But that's mostly just to make her a more fully realized character in this story.