Sunday, March 28, 2021

REVIEW: 'Nancy Drew' - Nancy Must Solve a Murder in a Day to Protect George From Death in 'The Bargain of the Blood Shroud'

The CW's Nancy Drew - Episode 2.09 "The Bargain of the Blood Shroud"

Nancy and the Drew Crew strike a deal with Gil Bobbsey. Meanwhile, Carson runs into a distraught Bess.

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 Bargain of the Blood Shroud" was written by Alex Taub and directed by Amanda Row

The shroud has been taken from The Claw. That immediately placed George's life in danger. When this object is used again, she will then die. As such, Nancy needs to solve this mystery of who broke into The Claw as soon as possible. The shroud is the only thing that was taken. A pie was as well. However, the shroud is clearly the intended target. The power of this artifact has been kept within the Drew Crew though. They understand what it is capable of doing and the risk it puts George's life in. They have to be careful and protective of that secret. However, this episode also has to come up with a reasonable explanation for why others in this world have suddenly become aware of its existence. The Bobbsey twins have become recurring figures this season. The show has vaguely given them some purpose as it pertains to the supernatural mysteries in Horseshoe Bay. They don't quite have the depth in order to suddenly become relevant in the mystery that defines this episode. Ace's flirtation with Amanda had only just begun. Moreover, it's undercut by the overwhelming clarity that Nancy and Ace have electric chemistry that will propel them together at some point. Near the end, they are the ones who confide in each other about the actions they are going to take with the Bobbsey twins despite the concerns that are also apparent. They understand each other. That happens with such ease. It's not a tortured dynamic. That is appreciated. However, the show gives that to Ace elsewhere in order to create some complexity and uncertainty in his life. And yet, that was already present with his mysterious sibling who happens to be in witness protection. The show continues to just slowly tease that thread. The brothers are in contact now. That is a huge development. But again, it's the twist that concludes the episode. The bulk of the hour comes from Nancy needing to solve the murder of the Bobbsey twins' mother. This presentation has the potential to become a major mystery. One that fuels the storytelling moving forward in a way to imbed the mystery elements with more season-long storytelling. That's not the case though. In fact, this season has mostly suggested that the personal developments of the characters provide the spine of the season while the mysteries are largely contained to individual episodes. That means Gil is convinced of one man's guilt only for Nancy to completely unravel the truth about what happened to his mother. She can be an objectify observer to these circumstances. She has no personal connection to the outcome. She just needs to solve the mystery by a certain time. Even that is questionable because death moves up the time frame. She still prevails. That's what she does. It's a simple reveal that the Bobbsey mother abandoned the family. She wan't murdered. She simply could no longer be in Horseshoe Bay because she was being haunted. That provides clarity to the twins. Meanwhile, it's an open question as to whether the Drew Crew is also obligated to provide answers as to where she ended up. Ace believes that to be appropriate. He does provide that direction to Amanda. That was never part of Nancy's arrangement with Gil though. As such, all of this can come across as a clear-cut ending. One that doesn't exactly have to provide anything more. Of course, it will. It's already suggested that Nancy has chemistry with Gil and will be seduced by his bad boy charm. That just feels inevitable and lazy though. And again, it's a distraction from what should happen between Nancy and Ace. The show could make the argument that they still need to grow as individuals before coming together as a couple. However, the story would be more exciting and freeing once that development occurs. For instance, it's more powerful now that Nick can profess his love to George while trying to talk Odette off the edge of a cliff. Their relationship is complicated because it has been compromised by this supernatural spirit that also feels adrift. The show has fascinating things to say about the nature of life and having faith that greatness can still be on the horizon despite the bleak times. Bess is seemingly pulled out of her depression by spending a few hours with Carson. It's appreciated that someone with maturity and wisdom can help guide these kids along. The show is all too often quick to make big and dramatic things happen to them. They have to react in the moment with no real consideration for the consequences. Letting some of these moments breathe more is also necessary in order for the emotional beats to land as successfully as they can. When the show feels the pressure to rush through these moments, a lot can get lost in the execution. It also makes each plot be hit-or-miss immediately without any acknowledgement that it is all collectively building to something bigger for the conclusion of the season.