Box #12 came to torment the streets of Horseshoe Bay on this week’s Nancy Drew. As discussed during last week’s review, it was only a matter of time before the spirits freed from Hannah’s house would cause tension in the town. The first creature, the Lamia, was a good introductory monster that helped the Drew Crew dip their toes back into the supernatural world. “The Riddle of the Broken Doll” felt like a fresh start to a new series of mysteries after their encounter with the Aglaeca, right down to the inclusion of a break for the characters between stories.
Having the chapter feel like a new story structured the episode greatly and built anticipation for the next series of events. The threat of the Aglaeca had hung over the characters for so long that it was too much of the attention on Nancy Drew. Picking up some time after that encounter helped recuperate the Drew Crew and establish the story on a new note. I liked that the framework was paired with Nancy giving a narration about what happened and how the Drew Crew were coping after surviving the Aglaeca deal. Based on the results, only Nancy and Ace seemed to be reeling from the time with the creature—Nancy with her community service and Ace with his somber disposition.
Nancy now working at both the morgue and as an investigator for Carson will open a lot of doors for her in her mysteries. If a case comes in that’s questionable or a suspicious body turns up at the morgue, Nancy will be right there to jump in to solve it. And with Carson and the morgue director knowing about her activities with the supernatural world/mystery cases, there won’t be any resistance to keep her from getting involved. “The Riddle of the Broken Doll” established a believable way for how Nancy will keep up with her investigative activities. Even when Nancy is rightfully paying for her criminal activity, she still comes out on top.
Speaking of the Lamia case, the red-herring twist threw everything for a loop. Did anyone expect Leo’s “imaginary friend” Charles to be a helpful spirit? From the way the parent treated Leo, it had seemed like Charles was just another fake friend that the kid made up and that this wasn’t a new experience for him. Plus, how it tied into yet ANOTHER tragedy that plagued Horseshoe Bay truly hammered in that this town is cursed. Come on, a group of kids all die around the same time and no one in town remembers that off the top of their heads? This would be something they’d recognize every year.
The Lamia looked very creepy; it had a strong wendigo vibe to its appearance and movements. Nancy Drew has a talent for making their supernatural villains truly terrifying—when they get it just right, the scary vibe alone hits every mark. And whenever the creature interacted with the children, like Leo in the van or with George’s sisters, the terror came out in full force. (The jumpscare of the Lamia screaming and appearing to Leo has to be in a Top 10 scary Nancy Drew moment.)
Though, there was one looming question still left: why did the Lamia teleport to Nancy’s house to be discovered? The Lamia wanted children, but Nancy had no siblings and the group was going to dissect the body to learn more. His arrival in her cupboard didn’t make much sense. The move came across more for the benefit of a jumpscare than for the believability of the monster’s actions.
Another inspiration for the Lamia felt akin to Freddy Krueger from A Nightmare on Elm Street. For example, the Lamia preyed on children and it was tied to a heinous act involving the death of children. Though, the strongest scene came from when the Drew Crew used the spirits of the dead children to defeat the monster once-and-for-all. The hands rising from the ground and dragging the creature to Hell felt like the iconic scene of the spirits killing Freddy from within during A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master (or even the finale of Drag Me To Hell).
George’s chances of withstanding Odette’s control are getting slimmer by the hour. She’s barely remembering or staying awake when the spirit takes control, and the reference to singing in French isn’t unnoticed. We might be experiencing a case where the possession becomes too advanced to stop or Odette could turn into the villain keeping the boxes open. How things are handled now that Odette made her presence known will change everything for the Drew Crew. Though, I think the revelation will be kept a secret from the Drew Crew for a while.
“The Riddle of the Broken Doll” featured another case for the Drew Crew to come together and showcase their strengths. The group knows how to work together at this point and solve the mystery utilizing their strengths. Box #12 was a fun start for the series of creatures appearing in Horseshoe Bay, and it pleasantly teased what’s to come.
Nancy Drew airs new episodes Wednesdays at 9 p.m. EST on The CW and streams Thursdays on cwtv.com.