For the first episode of 2020, Nancy Drew starts out with a recap to explain how they were swept up into the Hudson murder mystery. Why is Nancy investing her time in this case? She was the one who served the latest murder victim her last meal at The Claw, and her father, Carson Drew, is the Hudson family lawyer.

The last episode we watched in December ended with Nancy’s father being arrested for the murder of Lucy Sable. How and why? Nancy kept a pretty detailed journal of evidence linked to her father. Her father’s girlfriend is a cop and “found the journal in plain sight” in Nancy’s bedroom. Hmmm. Ok, spoiler alert moving forward, I’ve got the play-by-play here.

Scandalous headlines

Newspaper headlines read, “Hero of Horseshoe Bay: Teen Sleuth Catches Killer Father.” That’s just a horrible headline and the reporter or editor should be ashamed. First of all, “teen sleuth” makes it sound like Nancy is a little girl, not a high school graduate. Secondly, Carson Drew is a murder suspect, has not been tried, has certainly not been found guilty. Newspapers who glamorize scandal really irritate me.

Needless to say, Nancy is feeling incredible guilt and hasn’t spoken to her Dad in two weeks. Despite him reaching out, she is not answering her father’s calls. She thinks her father should hate her and cut off ties. However, we know that if anyone can clear his name, it will be his daughter. Yes, her personal journal of clues is what lead to his arrest, but she is an astute investigator and she’ll figure it out.

Hey, glad you’re alive

 Maddison Jaizani as Bess, Leah Lewis as George and Tunji Kasim as Nick
Pictured (L-R): Maddison Jaizani as Bess, Leah Lewis as George and Tunji Kasim as Nick — Photo: Bettina Strauss/The CW — © 2020 The CW Network, LLC.

In other news, this episode also marks Ace’s first day back to work after his near-fatal car accident. George, Bess and Nick are coddling Nancy, worried she’ll go off the deep end since her father’s arrest. I mean, his prints were on the knife they recovered which apparently killed Lucy Sable. How does that happen? How does a supposed weapon from years ago just turn up with prints, especially when Lucy was killed at the bay? I mean, wouldn’t the metal be corroded by now? Anyway, I digress- I’m not the writer of the show.

Ace walks into The Claw as they celebrate. He asks George if she missed him and she claims that she did not. Liar. There is a weird awkward interaction moment between Nancy and Ace. Is it that she feels guilty for his ending up in a car accident? We don’t know, because the phone rang and Nancy walked away.

Welcome to the family

As suspected, Bess is indeed a Marvin. Owen comes to The Claw to let her know he has the DNA results, and that they are first cousins. She squeals in delight, although I don’t really know what she expects to happen. A powerful and rich family is not likely going to want to broadcast this genetic revelation. Especially when he finds out that the burial coins he bought and thinks Bess will give him have been destroyed. It wasn’t her doing, I mean they melted during the whole ghost séance thing, and Nick takes full responsibility which is sweet of him to do.

White Baneberry Poison

Nancy’s medical examiner friend calls and lets her know the cause of Tiffany Hudson’s death from earlier this season. If you remember, Nancy stole a blood sample while Tiffany’s body was still in the morgue. Apparently, it was some kind of poison derived from white baneberry, which is difficult to create and even more difficult to detect. What will Nancy do with this news? I have no idea. She feels like every time she works on a case someone she cares about gets hurt. Such is the life of being a sleuth in a tiny town I suppose. A quick internet search shows Nancy that there has been another white baneberry poison death in Horseshoe Bay. The death was ruled a suicide and the officer who worked the case was Ace’s dad. Again, it’s a small town.

Ace brings Nancy to meet his Dad. We learn that Ace’s Dad reads lips and uses American Sign Language to communicate. He lost his hearing during an accident while on the force. They learn that Liza Ainslie is the name of the woman who died fifteen years ago. Ace’s father lets them know he never believed it was a suicide. Her body was found alongside her car with a vial of poison. Ace’s dad then shares that he has received several cipher emails since the day before he found Liza dead.

With Nancy on the case, she realizes that the cipher isn’t the clue at all. She places the photos on top of each other and finds a message that says, “I will kill Liza in 12 hours.”

In comes Ryan Hudson

Claiming to have just returned from a “wellness retreat,” Ryan Hudson comes to The Claw to visit George. He says he’s sorry to hear that her sister had been kidnapped, and that he’s sorry for how he treated her at the garden party. Mind you both of those things happened “ages” ago in TV-land. In the end, George stands firm in not believing a word he says, and he leaves her office claiming he will be there for her if she needs him.

Bess comes up with a plan to get Ryan Hudson to help her and her new family member get an artifact from the Bonny Scot, since the coins are gone. He wants to redeem himself for being a Hudson. He realizes that helping Owen, Bess, and Nick means he could potentially end up putting his own father in prison.

Nancy uses herself as a bargaining chip

Kennedy McMann as Nancy Drew
Pictured: Kennedy McMann as Nancy Drew — Photo: Bettina Strauss/The CW — © 2020 The CW Network, LLC.

In typical Nancy fashion, she plunges in headfirst after having figured out the old cipher image. She posts a video of herself to the internet and lets the possible serial poisoner know that she is on to them. She then says if they are as good as they think they are, they should come after her next.

After posting this ridiculous video, she uses the same method on the other old emails that were sent to Ace’s father. She finds the names of other victims who have been killed, all of which were ruled a suicide. While she is researching, Owen shows up with egg rolls and makes *me* hungry instead of Nancy. She gets an email from the killer and decodes the message.

The next victim will be a woman named Claire. The killer has given Nancy three hours to find this mystery woman.

Some fine deductive reasoning

With the help of her friends at The Claw, Nancy is able to connect the dots between the past deaths. It turns out that they all worked at Hawthorne High at the same time. It didn’t take long for Nancy to find a Claire who still lived in Horseshoe Bay and had worked at Hawthorne High when the other women did. She tells the police, however, which makes the killer mad and s/he gives Nancy a penalty. Now Nancy has under an hour to save Claire.

Hawthorne High is no longer a functioning school. In fact, it’s boarded up and looking in bad shape when Nancy sneaks inside. Fortunately, her friends followed her and so she’s not alone. Nancy, Ace, George, and Nick make their way through the high school following clues and hunches. As soon as Nancy finds Claire, things take a turn for the worse as all the doors close and a poisonous gas begins to enter the room through a vent. 

You’re not the victim, I am

While Nancy and Claire are sitting in what has essentially become a gas chamber, Nancy realizes that Claire is the killer. Claire claims she is not a psychopath, she only killed a short list of people after all. Um, sweetheart, you are indeed a psychopath- you perfected a poison, created an antidote, and lured a teenager to her death in the basement of your old high school.

Fortunately, just before passing out, Nancy realized the antidote had to be in the ring Claire was wearing because a pearl was missing. Yeah, because that was obvious… not at all. George also realized the pearl was the antidote, but before Nancy wakes up, dead Lucy makes an appearance and jump-starts her back to life. 

The episode ends with dead Lucy looking a bit irritated as Nancy accepts a collect call from her Dad in prison.

And we wait.

If you’re brave enough to catch the next episode, tune in on the CW next Wednesday at 9 p.m. or check back here for the recap.