This piece was written during the 2023 WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes. Without the labor of the writers and actors currently on strike, the TV show being covered here wouldn’t exist.
Board games can be a dangerous time, and we’re not just talking about someone flipping the table over during a game of Monopoly. The stakes are high and the rules can be vicious. The CW’s Nancy Drew took this to a whole new level during “The Reaping of Hollow Oak.” I love a good supernatural horror board game. The one the Drew Crew played would’ve been one stashed away in my collection. Come on, ‘80s action, ghostly grims, and a supernatural twist? This has B-movie slasher all over it. Bring it on!
“The Reaping of Hollow Oak” had case-of-the-week vibes. Sure, it connected in some way to the main mystery at hand, but the action and plot were standalone. Everything the Drew Crew did at The Claw while playing the board game was mostly contained in a few areas. This style was exciting because it reined everything in to focus on the ‘80s B-horror movie shenanigans. Between the campy one-liners and the fight scenes, those moments were big and bold. Anything else would’ve distracted and taken away from the humor. We got the full fun of this storyline, and whenever the story did step away, it was for short beats that added to the main energy.
For instance, Bess attending her meeting at the sheriff’s station. The scene was still part of the overall mystery, but the meeting was full of comedy and quick hits. She had lots of camp as she fought with the vines. The sheriff probably thought Bess was over-exaggerating and trying a tactic to clear their name; it’s the only way to explain the weird facial expressions.
Nick emerging as the “Ash” type character (like Ash from The Evil Dead) of this B-horror plot provided so many laughs. He’s such a serious and grounded character; he’s the one usually pulling the others back to think more logically. Here, embraced his grim-fighting skills and delivered cheeky line after cheeky line with every attack. It’s a nice change of pace for him to explore some new energy and have fun again. Nick has dealt with a lot on Nancy Drew, especially with his relationship with George ending, so for him to go all Ash, it melted our horror-loving hearts.
Is anyone else happy that he and Jade worked things out? He liked Jade a lot and it would’ve been a shame if they ended because she couldn’t handle the paranormal world. Learning about ghosts, ghouls, and supernatural creatures is tough for any person, and we’ve seen our fair share of these struggles during Nancy Drew’s run. It’s promising that Jade stuck around for the grim fight and then chose to learn more. Will Jade get more involved in cases? I wouldn’t think so; she’s more on the outside, like a friend of the Drew Crew. Though, she could pop up in a case or two now that she knows more about what’s going on.
Speaking of romances, it was about time Nancy and Ace drew the line in the sand. Don’t me wrong, I want Ace and Nancy to be together. Who wouldn’t want their relationship to work out?! However, with this death curse on them, now is not the time to linger on their lack of physical intimacy. And let’s not forget that Ace was the one who chose to break up with Nancy because of the curse. He can’t be upset because he saw her dancing with Tristan. They need time apart to figure things out. It’s best for both of them to respect their boundaries until they can find an answer.
Carson and George’s side story provided great character growth and moments for them. We’ve known Carson for three and a half seasons now on Nancy Drew, but we didn’t know he suffered from dyslexia. Or that George believed she may have ADHD. It’s these little bits of extra layers that flush out the characters that make them feel deeper and more nuanced. Even with the history, we’re still continuing to get to know them, as well as with each other.
Now for the Horseshoe Bay secret society—they were totally forcing the sheriff to punish Bess, right? The threat to charge her crime as breaking and entering was so retaliatory; Carson was right on the money with his analysis. The sheriff wanted to sweep everything under the rug and get rid of any supernatural presence in town. Even if the sheriff acts like a friend to the Drew Crew, we can’t forget this moment. If it wasn’t for Ryan and his schemes, Bess would be heading to a courtroom right now. The Drew Crew saved themselves, and they’ll need to work together to stop the secret society before they’re the next victims in whatever plan comes up next.
“The Reaping of Hollow Oak” was an upbeat action-filled joyride. A supernatural board game pushed the Drew Crew to embrace their ‘80s flair and pack a bunch against some sinister grims. Plus, some lessons and wins were learned along the way. The CW’s Nancy Drew had a fun time this chapter—and we were right there with them enjoying every minute.
Nancy Drew airs Wednesdays at 8/7c on The CW.
'Nancy Drew' 4x07 - 9/10