Network Television

‘Nancy Drew’: S01.E10. “The Mark of the Poisoner’s Pearl” Review

Nancy and her friends risk their lives to bring a serial killer to justice.

Shain E. Thomas
Jan 17, 2020 · 5 min read
Screen Capture: A scene from “Nancy Drew”

Nancy Drew returned Wednesday, 15 January 2020 with an all-new episode which saw the Drew crew risk their lives to bring a serial killer to justice. The previous episode closed with Chief E.O. McGinnis (Adam Beach) and Detective Karen Hart (Alvina August) shows up at the Drew residence and arresting Carson Drew (Scott Wolf) for Lucy Sable’s (Stephanie Van Dyck) murder.

The latest episode, one of the strongest in the current season, categorically proves there are good reasons for why The CW renewed the series for a second season. Please tell me I am not the only one that missed the goings-on of Horseshoe Bay during the past few weeks.

The Mark of the Poisoner’s Pearl, with a teleplay co-written by Katherine DiSavino and Lisa Bao, sees significant Drew Crew interactions which forward many of their intertwining relationships. There is no reason fans of the Carolyn Keene (Mildred Wirt Benson) written books, considering how much effort goes into realising the show’s main characters, shouldn’t gravitate toward this exceptionally made series.

With so much going for the episode, even though it is one of the strongest instalments, the only obvious negative found in The Mark of the Poisoner’s Pearl is Carson’s absence. Whilst there are numerous references made to Wolf’s character throughout the episode, we don’t get to see him. Carson is in prison and his daughter hasn’t been taking his calls.

Even though Carson’s absence is arguably a negative, on a plus side, the episode focuses on the series title character. Nancy blames herself for Carson’s arrest. She’s not entirely wrong. It’s not as if she accidentally left her journal open on her bed. She did but there is obviously an expectation of privacy in one’s own bedroom.

Instead of the aspiring investigator trying to prove her father’s innocence, we see Nancy moping. Even though Nancy typically exudes such confidence in her abilities to get a case solved, the absence of this self-determination is telling. Like other characters within the series, Nancy is not without flaws. No one is perfect, not even Nancy. Seeing Nancy rattled shows us that she can become unnerved.

We are ten episodes into the first season. Each member of the cast has proven they have what it takes to bring to our television screens a fully rounded characterisation. With how each person within the Drew Crew engages with one another, as the series progresses from episode to episode, it’s easy to see bonds growing intensely stronger.

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Is it my imagination or is there something developing between Ned ‘Nick’ Nickerson (Tunji Kasim) and Georgia ‘George’ Fan (Leah Lewis)? They seem to have developed a somewhat flirtatious relationship. It might lead somewhere. It might not. Who knows?

Speaking of Nick, after the adorably cute Owen Marvin (Miles Gaston Villanueva) shows up at The Claw looking to retrieve his coins, we see him get on board with Bess Marvin’s (Maddison Jaizani) plan to take down the Hudson family. What caused this sudden decision?

Bess is naturally delighted to find the stories her mother told her about her being a Marvin are true. Owen delivered the news to Bess personally. They are first cousins. Could Bess wanting to take down the Hudson family have anything to do with her wanting to prove herself a true Marvin? Nick, Bess, and Owen working together seem like an odd trio.

Did you see Ace (Alex Saxon)? It was nice to see him back. Whilst he wasn’t a character I personally gravitated toward when the series first started, he seems to have grown on me somewhat. The car accident we saw in a previous episode was seriously jarring. It wasn’t as much an attempt to kill him as it was to kill his girlfriend Laura Tandy (Stevie Lynn Jones). Being in a coma has apparently given the character the time he needed to reflect on his life choices.

This latest episode saw the introduction of Ace’s father. The Captain, a complex ex-police detective, went deaf in the line of duty. Ace introduces his father to horseshow Bay hero Nancy Drew. Without revealing to The Captain how she knows, Nancy tells the ex-detective Tiffany Hudson’s death is the result of a poisoning that matches a case that he worked on. Even though the case was officially deemed a suicide, The Captain never believed that that was the case. Whilst Nancy would have liked there to have been a connection between The Captain’s old case and Tiffany’s murder, it would have wrapped it up with a nice little bow.

The Captain references emails he had received. Whilst The Captain had been focusing on the text, Nancy realises that he was looking in the wrong place. He should have been looking at the images that we used in the emails. By overlaying images, Nancy solves the image cypher. It doesn’t take the Drew Crew long to realise the victims all have one thing in common: Hawthorne High. They all attended the same high school. Is this a coincidence? The high school closed in 2004.

Even though The Captain doesn’t approve of Nancy’s methods, with her utilising her newfound fame, she gets Ace to record a short film of her challenging the killer to make her his next victim. The video is uploaded to Nancy Drew News. Not wanting to get her friends involved, Nancy wanted to go it alone because she has finally recognised how she frequently gets people hurt.

With less than twenty minutes to save the killers latest victim, the Drew Crew initially finds the challenge too easy. There is something seriously off about the entire situation. It’s a trap. On seeing Claire, Nancy rushes into the room to save her. Poison gas is being pumped into the room through the vents. Ace contacts his father via FaceTime.

Claire isn’t the victim. She’s the killer. Nick realises that there must be an antidote to the poison gas because the killer wouldn’t expose herself to it if there wasn’t one.

As Nick carries Nancy out of the room, she has a near-death experience. George locates the antidote. Claire is arrested. Dead Lucy could be returning. The episode closes with Nancy taking a call from her father.

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Shain E. Thomas

Written by

With an M.Sc. from the University of North Texas, I’m a freelance journalist and a social historian. #APStylebook #BBCStyleGuide

Harsh Light News

Harsh Light News revolves around entertainment news, social and political commentary. Harsh Light News is now available on the News360 website and app.

Shain E. Thomas

Written by

With an M.Sc. from the University of North Texas, I’m a freelance journalist and a social historian. #APStylebook #BBCStyleGuide

Harsh Light News

Harsh Light News revolves around entertainment news, social and political commentary. Harsh Light News is now available on the News360 website and app.

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