The one-off Nancy Drew cases have a special place in our hearts. While they might seem like arbitrary mysteries, their impact on the characters’ developments is some of the strongest that the series experiences. “The Beacon of Moonstone Island” was no exception for the momentum of the Drew Crew. All five key members of the group banded together to solve the spiritual case, but when all was said and done, the character progression stood out as the most satisfying Drew Crew victory. (Sorry, Birdie.)
Firstly, let’s jump into the core mystery: the discovery of Birdie living on the island and the seemingly menacing fire spirits haunting her at every turn. The case didn’t shake things up compared to the previous mysteries in Horseshoe Bay. At its core, Birdie’s reappearance and haunting could be summed up as another spectral encounter that affected the lives of its citizens. It’s hard to swallow this story because of her living on a very close island to Horseshoe Bay for over five years and no one discovering her there. Did no one ever travel to the island in five years? Sure, they might’ve not done a rescue of the ocean, but it’s strange no one would venture to a close island and not find her there.
Where this story differed was due to the emotional connection of the spirits to Birdie and the ultimate twist of the killer. If the reveal of Birdie’s uncle being the killer hadn’t been in “The Beacon of Moonstone Island,” the case overall would’ve fallen flat as a simple tale. I loved the emotional beats between Birdie and the spirits, but there wasn’t more to it beyond that. Plus, the build-up to the killer twist came across as easy and wrapped up in a pretty bow. Having the Drew Crew find all the necessary documents and clues in one place made the capture an underwhelming resolution.
Now, over to the Drew Crew developments. Nancy dealing with the aftermath of recanting her testimony was an interesting plot because the series didn’t sweep the decision under the rug. Nancy’s decision created waves within the town and she would have to live with those consequences because they negatively affected her reputation. Though, I find it hard to believe that after all the great work Nancy had done for Horseshoe Bay that they would turn against her so quickly. It would make more sense for people to be angry at her for not doing the right thing than for them to question her reputation and her work with solving cases. Nancy’s past goodness shouldn’t be ignored due to one thing.
“The Beacon of Moonstone Island” teased the brewing romance between Ace and Nancy. Did anyone else notice the sparks between them? The pair might be dating the Bobbsey twins currently, but the Ace/Nancy connection got more of an emotional development. Nancy/Gil seemed to be a physical pairing since they hadn’t had an official date yet, and the Amanda/Ace pair won’t late since Amanda spotted the beginnings of the new couple. Amanda and Ace are romantic together, but she has her sights set on travel and leaving Horseshoe Bay for solo adventures. Her future with Ace won’t last long once she decides being away is her calling. And, Ace seemed more invested in protecting Nancy; they have feelings for each other but just need to admit it.
The same goes for Odette and Bess. They have major feelings for each other, but they shouldn’t get together as George would not be on board with that idea. Odette and George’s connection, on the other hand, was a positive progression for “The Beacon of Moonstone Island.” The pair needed to find peace with each other since they were sharing the same body; much of their tension stemmed from them not agreeing on almost anything. The small changes that Odette made on George’s life, while hard, were things she needed to be faced with for the better (like her hoodie style and office space). Now that they’ve found peace, it could either spell great future adventures together or the eventual end of them sharing the same body.
Nick was the punchline of many jokes, but he made some good decisions and had sound advice. The move to turn the empty lofts into a drop-in zone for at-risk youth will help Horseshoe Bay for years. The small-town probably didn’t have much of those services, so his providing an option will help those in need. And, his advice to Nancy about Celia was spot-on the money. Celia had already shown her true colors to Nancy when she made the deal to help Ace/Grant in exchange for Nancy recanting her story; Celia will always choose the Hudson name and position over family members, including her illegitimate granddaughter Nancy. If Ryan can’t talk some sense into her, Nancy will be going down the wrong path that will blow up in her face once Celia eventually tells Everett.
“The Beacon of Moonstone Island” was a simple mystery overshadowed by the side stories of the Drew Crew. The meatier and interesting plots came from how the Drew Crew developed and grew throughout the mystery; taking away the fire spirit plot wouldn’t have affected anything. The progression of the characters and their connection to the main storylines continued to be the most satisfying parts about Nancy Drew. Even in one-off cases, some things don’t change.
Nancy Drew airs new episodes Wednesdays at 9 p.m. EST on The CW and streams Thursdays on cwtv.com.