Thursday, May 27, 2021

REVIEW: 'Nancy Drew' - Nancy's Identity Crisis Reaches Its Treacherous Peak in 'The Judgement of the Perilous Captive'

The CW's Nancy Drew - Episode 2.17 "The Judgement of the Perilous Captive"

Nancy finally has Everett exactly where she wants him. Nick receives upsetting news from one of his tenants, Jake Cazine, about the youth center he wants to open. Carson shares something disturbing with 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 Judgement of the Perilous Captive" was written by Erika Harrison and directed by Jeff W. Byrd

Nancy has been questioning her sense of self all season long. That has been the primary emotional arc of the season. It was all centered around the discovery of her true lineage. Lately, she has come to accept that she must play the role of Nancy Hudson in order to survive. It wasn't an action done to betray herself as Nancy Drew. It was simply conditional to her survival. She needed to appease Everett. He was perceived as a monstrous threat. One who would eliminate anyone who dared to compromise his quest for more power and influential. Celia's murder was positioned as the peak of Everett's monstrosity. He would kill his own wife for the secrets she kept from him. That's the narrative that made sense based on everything that has been explained throughout the season. And yet, it's not the truth. Instead, the Road Back had Celia killed in order to send a message to Nancy. She learned of the existence of this mysterious organization. She needed her grandmother's help in order to save Ace's life. She made that deal despite how much it compromised her friendships. It was the right thing to do. But now, it has also taken another close life to her. She is determined to seek justice. But she also has to accept delaying that satisfaction in order to focus on Everett's many other crimes. The show states that there are a plethora of options. One also happens to be wrapped up neatly for everyone to see clearly. Murder charges against him were previously dropped because the case was based almost entirely around Nancy's testimony. And now, a videotape emerges to provide that clarity. The show suggested that it too was touched by some supernatural means. It may be Ryan's uncle preserving this evidence so that the truth never gets lost. He wants his brother to be held accountable for what he did in the woods all those years ago. But it's also a clear and concise ending. Everett has been presented as a major antagonist. Someone Nancy and the Drew Crew have needed to expose in order to advance on their various emotional journeys in Horseshoe Bay. And yet, that's not the most satisfying development for them either. They are invested in other ways as well. Nick spends the bulk of this episode dealing with a racist café owner who doesn't want him to open his youth center. Nick is inspired about how this community can be transformed and improved. He has the support of the police department as well. He has the resources to overcome these bad faith arguments against his efforts. He doesn't have to deal with them. He has that ability. Not everyone is that lucky. It's still rewarding to see Nick flex his power in this way. He has complete control over this aspect of his life. His friends don't have that same kind of agency. George is realizing that her life may be short-lived because of her connection to Odette. She too may be awaiting a tragic fate that ends her life within the next few years. Meanwhile, a supernatural parasite has latched onto Nancy. The concluding moments reveal that it's been there for the entire season. The wraith was the very first supernatural entity the Drew Crew faced this season. As such, the drama can now retroactively use its influence as an excuse for Nancy's behavior. She was meant to feel even more empty and lost because this being was siphoning off her energy. She was questioning her sense of identity before this parasite took hold. And now, she sees that as an amplification of her inability to fight back against the various forces of this world. It intensifies the personal threat against Nancy. It puts things in dire terms once more. That's how the threat was always positioned with Everett. It's the same exact tone. Things are different because the wraith is supernatural while Everett is simply human. The show highlights how sometimes the greatest threats come from the failings or ambitions of humans. The supernatural can be just as terrifying and deadly too though. Nancy may just have days to live. Her friends are energized and motivated to save her. They have achieved what so many in the past have failed to do. That may not bring any more clarity to Nancy's life. She has made peace and acceptance in having Carson and Ryan as her fathers. She loves her friends. She isn't satisfied by taking down Everett though. The audience may feel similarly because that threat was always teased and not personified like it is here. Nancy refuses to give into temptation to become just another murderous member of the Hudson family. That's significant. But she still may be losing herself to something outside of her control. That's the reality that everyone must now contend with in order to preserve their bonds for as long as possible.