That Owen’s murderer turns out to be a regular human person – Lucy Sable’s brother Joshua, already named as the killer of Tiffany Hudson – feels a bit convenient, though the bittersweet revelation that he died trying to protect Nancy is a nice touch. (Even if it’s just yet another thing to add to her inevitable therapy bills.)
Kennedy McMann gives an especially nuanced performance here, balancing Nancy’s grief over Owen’s death, her guilt over the fact that her presence in his life helped bring it about, and her ongoing emotional confusion regarding what has basically been the entire upending of her life over the past 48 hours. Even if the whole “my mother gave birth to me and then immediately jumped/fell off a cliff” thing doesn’t get any less bizarre every time she tells it.
That said, Nancy’s confession to Patrice Dodd that she’s her granddaughter was surprisingly affecting, and one hopes we might see the two of them attempt to forge some sort of relationship next season. Besides the fact that she’ll likely want to learn more about the woman who gave birth to her than what’s revealed in the lyrics of a creepy children’s rhyme, Patrice is maybe the only character on the show who’s had it as rough as Nancy has this year. (See also: Being shut up in a sanitarium that was possessed by an evil spirit, learning her son was a killer, developing dementia.) The two women could certainly bond, and her presence could provide a kinder alternative to the Hudson relatives who will inevitably have some fairly harsh opinions about Nancy’s arrival in the family.
McMann’s scenes with Alex Saxon are also especially strong, and the kind, unassuming friendship that sprang up between Nancy and Ace has rapidly become one of the best things about the series’ first season. (I honestly feel bad for writing the character of Ace off as a pointless slacker in earlier episodes. Mistakes were made.)
No episode of Nancy Drew is complete without a terrifying supernatural element, however, and that comes in the continued presence of the Aglaeca, the vengeful sea spirit with an apparently more complicated history than we previously understood. (And an extremely disgusting Swamp Thing-esque appearance. Yuck)