Thursday, March 18, 2021

REVIEW: 'Nancy Drew' - Bess' Criminal Past Threatens Her Future Within the Marvin Family in 'The Quest for the Spider Sapphire'

The CW's Nancy Drew - Episode 2.08 "The Quest for the Spider Sapphire"

Nancy and George work together to vanish the ghost who's been timesharing George's body since they defeated the Aglaeca. Meanwhile, no one is more surprised than Bess when a blast from her past comes knocking.

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 Quest for the Spider Sapphire" was written by Lisa Bao and directed by Roxanne Benjamin

All Bess ever wanted was to be a Marvin. It was aspirational for her to join this wealthy and influential family. She saw it as the family she deserved that was always denied to her. She achieved this goal as well. Her lineage was confirmed. She was welcomed by Aunt Diana. In fact, the head of the family supported her more than her other relatives because Bess possessed a clear head on her shoulders and was capable of appreciating all that this world entails. She was grateful to play along with the ceremonial aspects of being part of one of the founding families of Horseshoe Bay. Sure, the series has highlighted the many heinous actions these ancestors have done. Accountability has come a little bit. That still defines so many of the stories. Moreover, Bess has a past as well. That has now caught up to her. It means she loses everything because she struggles to balance all the aspects of her life. Steven views himself as Bess' savior. He protected her after her mother kicked her out of the house. He gave her an outlet to survive. It happened to be a criminal life. It was a life that provided her with stability and safety. It fueled her stealing addiction. Steven encourages those impulses as well. He tempts her. She thought she had left this life behind. She turned against him. She ran. She was coerced into this sham marriage. He was her abuser. He feels entitled to her entire identity. He boasts that she could never become anything more than what he has reduced her down to. In fact, the episode mostly affirms that fact as well. Everything happens exactly as Steven plans. He expects Bess to steal a valuable watch just so he can plant it on her and cast her out of the family she has wanted more than anything else. It's incredibly devious. On that level, he does understand Bess. He knows what she wants. He sees that she has achieved it. And now, he arrives in order to exact his revenge on her. It doesn't come across as a story that will linger outside of this one episode. It will always be important to note that Bess was technically married before coming to Horseshoe Bay. The more significant action though is Aunt Diana saying that she can never trust Bess again. That personal connection fuels the story and its core emotional beat in the end. Sure, one can question why Bess felt the need to deceive Aunt Diana. Her family already knew about her criminal past. That no longer reflected the woman they welcomed into their lives and gifted with this responsibility. It almost felt like Bess confessing to that was more important than dealing with the immediate threat from Steven. And yes, it was a life-or-death situation as well. Nancy and George were taken and their lives were in danger. Ace and Nick had to move quickly to get to them in time. The circumstances of their potential deaths were very elaborate. It was built around the slow agony and uncertainty. Of course, the true fear comes from Nancy reflecting on the terrible decisions she has made repeatedly across the series to date. Odette doesn't know all of those details. However, she certainly holds animosity towards members of the Hudson family. That is enough to fear Nancy and what she is capable of doing. Everyone is trying to carefully handle the various dramas of their lives. They almost all backfire on them. Bess tries to mend the situation. It pushes her out of the Marvin family. George wanted to keep Odette a secret from Nick. She has to confess because the risk to his life and their relationship is simply too severe. Even Ryan wants to believe he can convincingly craft a narrative to a reporter selling his grand return to the family company. She is already able to deduce that he is keeping a secret pertaining to a potential daughter. These stories are connected through this common theme. Some of the beats are more introductory than others. And yet, the emotional devastation Bess feels by the episode's conclusion hits remarkably well despite the upheaval it now extends to her life. She at least has support from her friends who have already formed a new makeshift family for her. That is meaningful as well even though she also is justified in mourning this massive loss.