Friday, October 29, 2021

REVIEW: 'Nancy Drew' - Bess Speaks Up for Herself as Her Friends Sleepwalk Into Danger in 'The Demon of Piper Beach'

The CW's Nancy Drew - Episode 3.04 "The Demon of Piper Beach"

When life-threatening sleepwalking suddenly spikes in town, the Drew Crew races to protect everyone from the supernatural threat that's causing these terrifying experiences. Nancy begins to question whether the case of the Frozen Heart murders has been solved. Nancy's unspoken feelings for Ace resurface. George is shaken by an unwelcome friend request from a surprising source.

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 Demon of Piper Beach" was written by Erika Harrison & Katharine DiSavino and directed by Clara Aranovich

Nancy believes she must have missed something with the Frozen Heart murders. She doesn't believe this mystery is over even though she caught the serial killer. She lured him into a trap. He was arrested and she has given her statement to the authorities. And yet, she is haunted by the last thing he told her. This mystery is so much bigger than him. She doesn't understand the full complexity. Nor will she ever have the wisdom and perspective of what's truly going on. Now, Nancy isn't one to leave something unresolved. She needs to find the answers to every mystery. Well, she at least has to find a way to be satisfied with what is ultimately unearthed and done about it. She and her friends have dealt with many supernatural threats across the series. They haven't handled all of those perfectly. Several have created ongoing consequences for them. But each situation is resolved enough to appease the people involved. They are led to believe that the threat is no longer present against them. Here, they have to act quickly because every time they fall asleep they are at risk of killing themselves. That's precarious. The Drew Crew have no control over their bodies as they sleepwalk to their inevitable deaths. They all wake up in time. They are fortunate to have their friends to rescue them no matter what is happening. But the stakes escalate significantly as well. This wasn't how the threat presented itself as the Sandman gained power through haunting the children of Horseshoe Bay. As it's matured and strengthened though, it demands much more from the people it has infected. It's all-consuming to their lives. They each have fears. Those plague them as well. The show positions them as the focal points of these nightmares. They don't really reveal new depths to their personal journeys. The dream world is terrifying. That's about it. Bess eventually finds a way to take control. She's the hero here. She stands proudly in herself and what she wants to do. Her friends may judge her for befriending Temperance and wanting to form the Women in White once more. And yet, Bess has found a place to belong in that idea. She has purpose in her life. Her friends need to respect that. She is open with them now. It's easy for them to accept because she saves their lives. She is the only person who can tend to their wounds as the stakes of the dream world develop consequences in reality. She projects the strength that eliminates this threat. It's not going to have ongoing repercussions either. Instead, that's left for the various fears that the friends had to confront along the way. It's a little artificial for George's father to be introduced now just for her to be on an even playing field with her friends. That's mostly just setup for the future. Meanwhile, Nancy fears that her friends will die because she missed some important clue about the murders. Nick worries that his youth center will be a disaster before it has a chance to become something. Ace is concerned that he will be seen as liable for a murder. They all must confront these fears. It's easier for some than others. Bess finds acceptance with both the imaginative Women in White as well as the friends who support her no matter what. Nick sees the benefit of having Ryan work at the youth center. George confronts her father. Of course, Nancy still avoids Ace and her feelings towards him. That comes at a time when Carson discovers Ace's criminal exposure in his slowly developing case. There is plenty to be worried about in Horseshoe Bay. And then, the killer strikes again. Two of them plagued this community. Nancy caught one. The mystery still persists. That's a little lame given how pivotal the introduction of the Frozen Hearts Killer was from the start of the season and how big a deal it was perceived as when she caught the killer in the previous episode. But again, it lines up with the idea that more was happening in this story. The show was always upfront about that. It's following through on that ambition. It didn't wait forever either. It's just enforcing once more that Nancy's gut is always right and there is more to unravel in each case. It's become more of a pattern at this point. That's just the pure exhaustion of trying to create satisfying mysteries each season. The thrills and scares still work. The show remains evocative. It just sometimes enjoys the teasing of the audience too much. That's true with the overall mystery as well as the potential Nancy and Ace pairing.