Nancy Drew is back for the new year and jumping right into a crime-solving mode. As compared to some of the 2019 plots, “The Mark of the Poisoner’s Pearl” ramped up the pace for both its episodic mystery and the development of the characters. Many looming cliffhangers were solved to push the series in the right direction. Since our time away, a DNA test proved Bess was a Marvin, both Ace and Laura survived the car accident, and Ryan took time away to work on himself. With those pieces solved, the majority of the plot focused on moving forward, which was a breath of fresh air.
This week’s mystery – a 15-year old case of a serial killer who avoided capture – seamlessly connected (and then removed) its connection to the Tiffany Hudson case. What was great about the poisoner was that it offered a key piece in Tiffany’s murder case that felt organic and unobtrusive. Nancy and the team captured a killer without realizing that neither cases had the same killer, except that the same murder weapon was used. It’s moments like this that make it perfectly clear that everyone needs to leave Horseshoe Bay. Seriously, how many murders and killers does this town hold?!
Claire (the killer) got uncovered because of her ego. If she had stayed retired like she originally planned, Nancy and the police wouldn’t have arrested her in the school. Her wanting to kill again felt very much like Dexter; the killer inside of her couldn’t be repressed any longer and she needed to release that emotion. Her motive was lackluster in the grand scheme of past cases that have happened on Nancy Drew. I mean, she killed her former co-workers because they didn’t include her in their friend group. Grow up! She worked in a high school, but she wasn’t IN high school. It all felt rather childish. Claire may be one of the most successful killers so far, but she won’t be missed.
Nancy has to learn to let people in! “The Mark of the Poisoner’s Past” was another instance where she could’ve been killed if her friends hadn’t shown up to help her. She might not be that lucky one day. There was some worry that Nancy had regressed in her character development during Ace’s surprise party because she wouldn’t let anyone in and kept doing things alone. Maybe it was due to her father’s arrest or Ace nearly dying, but the old Nancy came out yet again to be a lone wolf. Her eventual turning point was long overdue and a welcome sight for those who are rooting for Nancy. She won’t easily open up all at once, but she has to try.
We learned a bit about Ace’s backstory through the poisoner case and why he acts the way he does around authority. You could see his change in demeanor around his dad. He was much more timid, stiff, obedient, and kept looking down at times. While his dad was open and loving now, he probably wasn’t that way when he worked as the police captain and Ace was younger. It’s great that they’ve worked on their relationship and that Ace got long-overdue respect.
Bess did the right thing by getting Nick and Owen to work together. Regardless of whatever animosity might be brewing between them (*cough* over Nancy *cough*), they both had the same goals. And with all these different plots hanging around, it’s time that some of them were looped together. As the poisoner case proved, there is power in numbers! The biggest surprise was them getting Ryan involved in the plan to take down his father. Ryan hates his dad, but does he hate him that much to turn around and help the heroes instead? He’s still a villain, so his motivations and final actions won’t be revealed until he’s presented with the option. His past actions haven’t shown him to be completely trustworthy; the group should be wary of him for now.
The same goes for George. Now that Ryan will be hanging around the diner more for this plan, she’ll have to be face-to-face with her ex. He might say that he’s changed, but he’s still the guy who treated her awfully and didn’t help her when she got possessed by Tiffany Hudson. George has to watch her back around him. We don’t want her to get hurt again!
Lucy Sable is back to haunt another day. Did anyone believe her spirit would be gone? It was only a matter of time before she would find a way to return to haunt Nancy and the rest of Horseshoe Bay. The best guess right now is that she won’t find peace until her murder is solved. So, we’ve got the rest of the season to be BFFs with Lucy.
“The Mark of the Poisoner’s Pearl” kicked off 2020 on a good note. The momentum picked up to offer a fun and fast-paced mystery, albeit with a killer reveal that didn’t completely land. The characters and plot pushed forward to set up the new chapters on a fresh start. And Nancy seems to be changing her tune around her friends. Maybe this is the start of something new?