Thursday, November 7, 2019

REVIEW: 'Nancy Drew' - A Possession Leaves Nancy Wanting Immediate Answers in 'The Case of the Wayward Spirit'

The CW's Nancy Drew - Episode 1.05 "The Case of the Wayward Spirit"

When Nancy realizes that George is possessed by Tiffany's spirit, she must act quickly to rid her friend of the ghostly passenger before it's too late. Meanwhile, a mysterious stranger, Owen, wanders in to The Claw and asks the gang to cater a charity gala happening at the country club that same day.

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 Nancy Drew.

"The Case of the Wayward Spirit" was written by Melinda Hsu Taylor & Katherine DiSavino and directed by Claudia Yarmy

George has gotten possessed by the spirit of Tiffany Hudson. That means that the murder victim becomes an active component in the actual investigation. That's strange and unusual. It's what drives Nancy forward if she is to believe that her friend has been possessed by an otherworldly spirit. She has certainly bought into the various supernatural presences that loom over Horseshoe Bay lately. Sure, the season has been rather hit or miss in deploying those elements. At times, they are nothing more than an empty tease that something mystical is afoot in this world. Other times though, they are crucial to advancing the core investigations. Nancy is working two of them at the moment. She is always looking for clues as to what happened to Tiffany Hudson and Lucy Sable. Here, she is presented with the opportunity to actually talk with Tiffany and get clarity about who killed her. In the moment though, Tiffany's spirit is too overwhelmed by the suggestion that she has been killed. It's understandable that these kinds of wandering spirits would refuse to let go of the lives they used to live. It's just convenient for the overall storytelling because it delays any significant progress in the investigation. The narrative ultimately has to reassure the audience that the main characters would have gotten to the same conclusions regardless of this central possession. Instead, it may just be a supernatural occurrence that keeps them busy instead of working on the case. The first thing that Tiffany does in George's body is leave behind a message for Ryan. It's a rather cryptic "I know." That could be referring to his affair with George. Tiffany certainly seems to have a lot of animosity and hatred towards the woman her husband was cheating on her with. That too makes sense. It offers further incentive for George's friends and family to act quickly in the hopes of ridding her of this spirit for good. Tiffany can't exist within this body forever because that would essentially vanquish George. She doesn't deserve that fate even though the narrative has already stated that she is going to die at some point this season. She has accepted that as well. She isn't choosing to live her life out of fear. She wants answers and to have a sense of strength and urgency to her life. Right now, she is stressed out because of the financial pressure within her family. She is the breadwinner. Here though, George's mother comes to her rescue and gives her the support she has long needed. Again, it may not be a lasting quality to their relationship. But it proves that there are profound benefits to this dynamic. Nancy prioritizes these friendships above asking a spirit for all the answers she seeks. She knows that she will uncover them at some point. The audience should operate with that certainty as well. It's just going to be a matter of whether or not she solves the case through her own intuition or if she is pointed to the conclusion by these spirits. The latter runs the risk of the show becoming incredibly too convoluted. Nancy now connects Lucy to Ryan simply because her spirit seemingly points her to an old time capsule with a video that stops and keeps repeating his name over and over again. Meanwhile, Nick and Ace get access to the files that Tiffany had secretly been gathering on her husband should something ever happen to her. Nick proudly states that the password is the first thought that he would have had to input into that section. It's clear that Tiffany wanted him to take on this crusade for justice and not her sister. That may prove just how dangerous all of this is. But again, the tone and balance of these stories seem slightly off. The character relationships are being fleshed out in engaging ways. The overall mystery though feels like it's going through the motions without embracing any true sense of detective work. That can take some viewers out of the experience. But it may also add some new ones who are engaged by the mystical things that guide this world along to these inevitable conclusions.