Friday, January 28, 2022

REVIEW: 'Nancy Drew' - Temperance Plays With Nancy's Emotions to Enact Her Grand Plan in 'The Ransom of the Forsaken Soul'

The CW's Nancy Drew - Episode 3.13 "The Ransom of the Forsaken Soul"

In the season finale, the fate of Horseshoe Bay rests in the hands of the Drew Crew, who must find a way to defeat their most powerful nemesis yet. Lives and hearts are in supernatural jeopardy - and a star-crossed choice will change everything, forever.

"The Ransom of the Forsaken Soul" was written by Noga Landau & Alex Taub and directed by Larry Teng

It's infuriating that Nancy and Ace aren't together. The show has really pivoted to their true love story. As such, they are tortured every step of the way in order to get to that end goal. The fans picked up on the chemistry between the characters. And now, it has become so central to the series. That may make this a disappointing conclusion to the season. But everything about their relationship is on profound display here. Plus, it's not as if the show denies a few moments of happiness between them. They don't last. That's cruel. In fact, this finale loves playing with the viewer's emotions. Everything happens so quickly. The confrontation with Temperance is seemingly over after the first ten minutes. That's a lot of action packed in right away. Of course, the story is much more complicated than that. Everyone including Nancy should trust Temperance's predictive abilities as well. It was a key plot point that she was always one step ahead of the Drew Crew. No matter what they did they couldn't find a way to gain some leverage over her. It wasn't for a lack of trying. This finale starts with them trying to deceive her once more. She is still too powerful. In fact, it takes Ryan making a bargain with some complete strangers in order for any weapon to be introduced that can handle this threat. Even then, Nancy is tentative about using it. The emotions that exist in the fantasy that Temperance created are real. Yes, they do tease something more going on. The show is still subtle in that regard. It's because of that experience that Nancy gets to save Ryan's life in the end. For a month, Nancy and the Drew Crew believe Ryan has died. His death kickstarts the next investigation she must handle. No one can provide satisfying answers to her. Even in the pursuit of them, she ends up getting another loved one killed. That's the fate Temperance wants to put on display for Nancy. It's in keeping with the apparent curse that every member of the Hudson family dies young. Temperance avoided that fate for a long time. People had to plan for her eventual return to Horseshoe Bay. Even then, she almost achieved her goal of creating the new genesis. She believed she could use those demons as a tool to build a better world. She believes in her own power because she is in control so much of the time. It's miraculous whenever Nancy does have an opportunity to eliminate her. Nancy reckons with the weight of actually killing someone. That is a significant burden. She has a month to process it even when that time is actually condensed to a moment. And so, she doesn't have to ultimately feel bad about what happened to Temperance. She is able to see Ace's perspective of appreciating the town she saved. It just comes at the expense of what she loves. Nancy and Ace can't be together. Doing so would only enact a curse that will lead to his death. Of course, the final moments tease how no one in the Drew Crew is entirely happy with the choices they've made. Their lives were better in the fantasy that Temperance teased. In stopping her, they had to fulfill the prophecy she laid out at the beginning of the season. That fortune was still overly broad. But it's also fascinating to see how happiness and purpose comes in many different forms for these characters. Nancy believes she knows how her friends will act once this is over. And yet, her hesitation is enough to create doubt and new opportunities. That's how fickle the future can be. Fate isn't set in stone. She is still terrified for Ace. She doesn't tell him the truth. She confides in Carson. That's enough. He offers enough rationalization for her to pick up her life and be happy even if it's not with Ace. Of course, it seems unlikely that that particular story is done for now. They can't be out of each other's lives. But they do have opportunities for prosperity outside of the dynamics that have long been known to them. It takes conviction to step outside of those boxes. It's still all too easy for them to be paralyzed by fear. That is warranted in some situations. That's terrifying too. The audience may even feel that it is unfair at this point. It's manipulating the characters just for the sake of offering twists. That can be valid to a certain extent as well. But this episode works as a whole. It's aware of how manipulative it is choosing to be. The emotions still come across as correct from beat to beat. That's necessary to power the big moments in the end. It adds up to a stunning resolution even if it doesn't provide the audience with the satisfaction of seeing Nancy and Ace together like they have now long deserved. Plus, Nancy's passion of having a new mystery to solve is already given to her. If nothing else, that remains a constant for her.