Nancy Drew Season 4 Episode 13 was a bittersweet installment because, on one hand, it was a celebration of four incredible years with an amazing cast and group of sleuths that has taken us to places we never thought possible, but on the other hand, it was an official goodbye…. and those are always so hard and painful. The series went out on a high note, finding the light, laughter, and heart amidst the darkness and doing right by all these beloved characters.
But before we got to all the mushy gushy stuff that yes, made me sob like an infant, the episode kicked off with plenty of action as the town was experiencing what Bess referred to as a “sinapalooza” after Callie doused residents with Sin Fog, possessing the town’s people into some pretty unhinged behavior. Some seemed to be possessed by former sins while others just had their anxieties manifest in concerning ways—either way, it was quite enjoyable to see Carson erratically steal baby furniture as Red swiped nine neck pillows. And naturally, Callie fled in a fog mask like the coward we knew she always was.
It was a very fast-paced first half of the episode as the Drew Crew was running out of time to curb the damage and destruction. Where’s a Sin Eater when you need one? Thankfully, Tristan was still essentially a Sin Eater—you just couldn’t call out to him—so they attempted to harness his soul supernova and use it as a beacon to blanket the town and cure them all. As with any Nancy Drew solution, it’s easier said than done, and by now, Bess should probably know to read the footnotes because not only did the attempt fail, but it also sent Nancy into an unconscious seizure of sorts. Upon waking up, she explained that she’d seen visions of her “former” self, and while there was a brief concern that maybe she’d taken on the Sin Eater curse in the process, the explanation was actually a lot more complex—her soul was intertwined with Tristan from decades ago…. and essentially, they were reincarnated soulmates.
Way to keep sticking it to Ace, right? The look on his face had to mimic the one on my face—and likely yours—because when we’re down to the final hour of a series, the last thing you want to hear is that Nancy is cosmically tied to another man. Ace was like, really, after everything we’ve been through, this is what I have to deal with? And man, I feel you. The exasperation is real.
Not only did Ace have to stand by and listen to all this soulmate chatter about the girl he’s crazy for, but he also had to be the one actively assisting them in trying to break the soul entanglement. He was like the chaperone—and the death curse, which has been a tragic thing up until now, proved to be helpful because it allowed him to always find Nancy through their cursed connection.
The weave was slightly dangerous in that it had to happen when Nancy and Tristan were on the brink of death—truly living life on the edge here at every single moment—because that’s when the subconscious and the conscious can mix. And you never want to go that deep into something without a tether, hence, Ace’s involvement while everyone else was running amok trying to keep the town from imploding: Nick was digging up graves for the ritual, George had her law school interview because why not, and Jade and Ryan were trying to wrangle Carson and Red.
In an unexpected twist, it was revealed that Tristan and Nancy’s connection came from a much darker place—her soul wasn’t shared with Lucia Knipp, Nashua’s beloved, as previously believed but with August, the creator of the Sin Eater. When Nashua killed August, it tethered them, thus now connecting Tristan and Nancy. Nancy spiraled when she found out about her dark past, and all the injustices her former soul committed, but thankfully, Ace was there to help her out of it, reminding her that while much of her existence has been consumed by darkness, she’s always fighting for the good and light. Of course, it then gave fans the first major #Nace moment that we’ve been craving—Ace forgave her for the “unforgivable” act of calling on the Sin Eater to erase his memory of Alice’s death as he now understood that it came from a place of love. It’s what brought Nancy back from the edge of the cliff because really, he’s the one that knows her and her heart best.
The process of detangling Nancy and Tristan was very intense, placing Nancy at the top of this love triangle that really never needed to exist and truly only happened to complicate things between her and Ace until the final episode. But eventually, the link was broken and Nancy soul’s was there, taking a beating. Tristan was gone, but Ace stayed through it all, never wavering in his support, even when she urged him to save himself; he threw caution to the wind and held her, his soul also getting pummeled in the process. The visuals here were top-notch, really honing in on the connection between the duo in a “where you go, I go” moment, in addition to what I correctly assumed to be the destruction of the death curse—not yet, we’ll get there.
While all of this was happening inside the weave, Horseshoe Bay was literally going up in flames. The angry mob on a witchhunt made its way to the Historical Society (they were possessed by the sins of the people who burned a witch alive), and despite Nick’s protests, set it on fire. Bess was trapped inside with Nancy and Ace both unconscious, though they managed to wake up just in time to escape the smoke and flames.
Unfortunately, that’s when the real pain of what was happening set it—all that they worked for was being turned to ash and there was nothing that they could do to stop it. It was heartbreaking seeing Nick try to run back in to save some of the artifacts and historical resources, but as Bess informed him, he’s done too much for the town already and he needed to let this go. This was the moment of pure realization for Nick that he needed to put some distance between himself and Horseshoe Bay as it was no longer serving him as it did when he needed it.
The one good thing was that they were successful in disconnecting Nancy and Tristan and thus providing much-needed relief to the whole town.
It was one bad day, but it was the push everyone needed to leave Horseshoe Bay behind and start fresh… for now.
There were definitely moments in those final episodes where I swear, they were leaving the door wide open for a reboot—and hopefully, on a network that actually gives the show the love that it deserves—like when Nancy said that another mystery would lead her back here while Bess suggested she could always conjure up a ritual to bring them back together in the future.
Once the storm passed, the healing began as they all paid a proper burial and goodbye to the Sin Eaters that came before, the ones who made the ultimate sacrifice for the town. It was the first step in Nancy’s promise to undo the sins of her former souls.
Tristan very much started the season in love with Nancy and thinking that they were destined to be together, but the more that he found out, the more he realized that couldn’t be further from the truth. He saw how much Ace loved Nancy, and he understood that he was standing in the way, as he even said that there would always be someone she loved more than him. Plus, Nancy gave him something far more precious than her love—she gave him freedom and a second chance at a real life. There was eternal gratitude there and a friendship that would clearly withstand the test of time, but he wasn’t her person and they were both okay with it.
I will say that the explanation of the entangled souls allowed the series to dig itself out of the Tristan and Nancy hole without making anyone look bad considering she was just harboring feelings for the guy merely a day ago, allowing the series to move into #Nace territory freely.
We then got the lowdown on everyone’s future plans…. and I don’t blame them for wanting to catch a break. Their love and appreciation for the supernatural changed them all for the better, fueling their futures no matter where they take them, and they’ll always carry this piece with them wherever they go, but these near-death situations were getting to be a lot.
George got into college, leveraging her management of The Claw and solving the town’s problems, in her interview. It occurred during such a high-stress situation and yet, she remained cool, calm, and collected, so there was really no way they couldn’t accept her! Nick was off to an engineering gig at Tom Swift’s incubator in Atlanta (which just felt right) with Jade, who was hired on in the PR department. I’m definitely bummed by the fact that Nick and George never found their way back to each other, but if they had, they likely wouldn’t have embraced these parts of themselves and pushed themselves out of their comfort zones, so in a way, it was for the best. Plus, a brief yet crucial moment in the episode where Jade was down to help out in any way they could was proof that this relationship was meant to go the distance.
Bess had a huge task to live up to as the keeper of the Historical Society she was heading out on an exhibition to replace everything that was lost in the fire, with a brief update on Addy running for town council. Bess came as a bit of an outsider, but she quickly found her footing and place. Meanwhile, Ace revealed that he was going to go back to college to become a medical examiner, which couldn’t be a more perfect career path.
As for Nancy, she was leaving behind her hometown, but Nancy Drew Investigates would continue on with her next case taking her across the coast into towns that August infected with its own version of the Sin Eater. It’s the least she can do since she unintentionally played a role in its creation and the people who have been hurt and harmed in the process deserve justice that only she can provide.
We also got closure for Carson and Ryan as well, both of whom are embarking on new adventures and are excited about their futures, just like the Drew Crew. Carson chaotically told Ryan (at truly the worst possible time) that he and Jean agreed to have a baby together, and we saw him preparing for that next step in his life as Nancy cleared out her bedroom so that they could turn it into a nursery. We also got one last moment between Nancy and Carson that was simply terrific and you could tell it involved real emotions as she thanked him for being her “one constant” in life.
As for Ryan, the one who had the biggest character development throughout the series, well, he’s finally putting himself first. It was huge of Ryan to want to put down roots in Horseshoe Bay, but there’s also nothing wrong with stoking the adventure and seeing what else is out there. After all, he has nothing tying him down as his daughter is grown and venturing off into her own. Ryan finally found his soulmate, the woman who shared his outlook on life and similar interests, and this was their moment to live it up.
AND FINALLY… because they saved the best for last, which means so did I. Nancy and Ace deserved this moment after everything they’ve been through—and all the puppy dog sad faces Ace was forced to deliver—but I wish that we got more of it, more of their happiness together versus the constant whiplash of give-and-take. Even with all the proper storylines concluded and the perfect moment presenting itself, it was a rushed endgame when it didn’t need to be considering we’ve been building to this moment since season one. At the very least, we could’ve gotten a full season of their happy moments, but I’m putting this out into the ether that I would be fully invested in a Nace spinoff, tracking their adventures across the world because we know that cases simply fall into Nancy’s lap and there’s no one better to assist in them than Ace. Again, I had doubts about how they would bring Nancy and Ace back into the fold after she was just kissing Tristan, but it didn’t feel as choppy or forced as I thought it would, which proves this was always the right move. I would’ve done without all the animosity between them this season, but I guess if you can forgive what you once saw as an unforgivable betrayal, it’s a huge sign of love, and in a way, after being driven apart, they were brought closer together because they realized just how valuable their connection is.
Anyway, let me get back on track because Ace informed Nancy that by sticking by her side in the weave (he said “I’m not leaving you!”), his soul was also damaged—meaning that not only was this their last life and they needed to make the most of it, but in the process, the death curse was also likely broken. That man knew exactly what he was doing!!!
And now, they both owed it to themselves to see what would happen and finally solve this major mystery, one of the most important and life-changing ones to date. At first, I was a little bummed that there wasn’t a bigger focus on the death curse breaking or the duo finding a way to do it—it was just placed on the back burner for the rest of the season as the Sin Eater took priority—but I love the fact that Ace risked everything, including his life and all the reincarnated lives after—to guarantee he had this one chance with Nancy. They will be together here and in the afterlife, and there’s nothing more beautiful or soul-comforting than that. True love always prevails.
The nervous, shaky hand hold—like, is this finally finally happening—was peak cuteness and also one of the most intimate moments proving that their love extends far beyond the physical attraction and desire. Also, I hope that Ace’s little prank moment where he pretended to lose his breath only to say “I’m just fine” was improvised because it was so fricking cute, and only made cuter by Nancy’s genuine laugh. These two deserve the world… and my only qualm is that we got jipped of seeing them function as a fully-fleshed couple for more than a few minutes. Were we unclear this whole time when we said we wanted #Nace?!
The final scene took us back right where it began, to The Claw, where this Drew Crew formed and took on its structure and life. As the series progressed, it wasn’t as much of a focus, but it was always the place that they came back to; their safe space. They made their mark on it in more ways than one—and somehow, everything remains in-tact despite the many supernatural forces attempting to destroy it—and now, they are passing it on to a new generation, leaving behind all their mementos and wisdom to help guide them in whatever adventures may come.
Also, did the initials just confirm that Ace is Hardy Boy?!
Kennedy McMann took an established character and made her better, brighter, funnier, and filled with so much warmth and love, despite all the obstacles thrown her way. She is THE Nancy Drew. But it was the group of soulmates that lifted her up when she was down and helped dig her out from way too many messy situations. And it was the writers that were responsible for giving us one of the best crews on television.
I’m truly saddened to see this show take its final bow because it feels like there was so much story left to tell (even one of the show’s writers agrees with this), but I’m eternally grateful that we got four seasons along with a proper conclusion and closure to these characters amid such an uncertain TV landscape.
Finally, one of the things that stuck out this season was that not only was this a show about friendship, but it was an ode to a small town and the idea of togetherness and responsibility. Since the show’s inception, I’ve wondered about Horseshoe Bay’s origins and why it was plagued by the supernatural, and this season, while staying true to itself and its characters, managed to delve deeper into that, giving fans a full picture along with a storyline of redemption and hope, holding everyone accountable for the damage and their actions moving forward. We can all strive to do and be better, and we are not defined by our past—and that was a nice and necessary reminder at the end.
As Ryan once said, spending time with Nancy (and the Drew Crew) rubs off on you, and it makes you want to be a better person.
Also, how can you not shed a tear when you realize that while Nancy, Bess, and George weren’t wearing their uniforms, they were wearing their signature uniform colors? These small little touches are so meaningful and it just goes to show you how much thought was put into this series that often goes unnoticed … so, with that, hats off to everyone who made Nancy Drew such a special, witty, spooky, and memorable piece of television.
Thank you all for sticking with me since 2019—you can catch all of our Nancy Drew reviews here. It’s been a pleasure solving mysteries with you.