Wednesday, February 24, 2021

REVIEW: 'Nancy Drew' - Nancy is Haunted by a Corpse With a Dangerous True Identity in 'The Riddle of the Broken Doll'

The CW's Nancy Drew - Episode 2.06 "The Riddle of the Broken Doll"

Nancy and the Drew Crew learn that they have a new battle on their hands. Meanwhile, George's strange behavior leaves Nick feeling unsettled. Lastly, Carson makes Nancy an offer she can't refuse.

In 2020, the television industry aired 493 scripted shows across numerous outlets. The way people consume content now is different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, it's less necessary to provide ample coverage of each episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site provides 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 Riddle of the Broken Doll" was written by Erika Harrison & Andrea Thornton Bolden and directed by Larry Teng

This season has so far been devoted to the mystery of the Aglaeca. That reached its climax in the previous episode. It's still not entirely over considering George is now secretly possessed by Odette. However, that is no longer the priority in the narrative. This episode even starts with Nancy talking about the Drew Crew being able to take a two week break to relax and embrace their individual lives. Of course, it's not long until they are thrown right back into the supernatural. That remains the vessel through which this show tells all of its stories. It makes the argument that the Drew Crew feels purpose when they are getting to the bottom of these mysteries. It's not healthy in the slightest. The show still makes that argument though. It can potentially carry dangerous consequences for all of them. George almost died. She was brought back to life. That was a moment of pure salvation. It highlighted the bonds these friends have with each other. That's empowering. It's crucial as the show continually throws them into more drama. However, the show does undermine Hannah's scorn for Nancy after she released all of the supernatural spirits that were kept away in locked boxes by making her come through as a valuable resource once more. She doesn't have any agency outside of helping Nancy whenever a problem falls into her lap. That's literally what happens here. Nancy is doing community service in the morgue. It's her punishment for the time she broke in. That was once a crucial plot point that the show eventually forgot about. It makes it convenient when she sees this new body that has been disfigured in a specific way. Of course, it also highlights how she still makes naive mistakes. She takes a piece of the body home with her. That seemingly connects her to this creature. It follows her. Being completely willing to perform a makeshift autopsy is now seemingly a requirement for being friends with Nancy. The Drew Crew could raise objections because of everything that has happened. And yet, they all agree to continue to help. It's an easy decision for them to make because Nancy is so good at solving mysteries. Everyone validates her in that way. They notice that skillset and appreciate it. Moreover, they all feel an urgency to figure things out before even more tragedy occurs in Horseshoe Bay. It's hard for any of them to stand firm in any kind of opposition because they fundamentally understand the stakes involved. This threat has to be dealt with quickly. It can't be allowed to go on a rampage of evil throughout the town. The lives of George's sisters are in danger. That requires swift action. Everyone has to rally behind Nancy because she is the only person who can save them all in time. They are still in this predicament because of her rash and reckless decision to unlock one supernatural item. That unleashed much more on this town. Hannah recognizes the danger. She still helps. Again, that's the role she plays in this narrative. That's the only role she is allowed to have. That's disappointing. It's still in service of Nancy being victorious in this latest battle. It's still all connected back to the Aglaeca and the various horrors that have occurred in Horseshoe Bay. The narrative is seemingly always teasing that every supernatural thing in this town is connected in some way. That doesn't necessarily have to be true. It places more of the emphasis on unraveling the secrets of the past instead of living in the present with the characters. That has become much more glaring in the second season. The story should be focused on what lives the members of the Drew Crew want moving forward. That has largely been missing because they couldn't plan for that. They still feel a little aimless. But now, Nancy will be working with Carson as his investigator. That too suggests improvement of personal relationships that will help this town in the future somehow. Sure, several of these characters can still be stubborn in believing they have to handle their burdens by themselves. That applies to George as she is terrified over what's happening to her after her near-death experience. Moreover, Nancy doesn't know all the answers but has still been right more often than not even though her actions frequently create more consequences. That is the formula of the show. It's not reinventing the wheel or this particular genre. There are several effective scary moments in this episode too. But it also comes across as the show spinning its wheels a little bit instead of establishing agency to propel into the next story arc with conviction.