With how not everyone was on board with last week’s offering, returning to what is expected of Nancy Drew, this latest episode is worth watching. It has been suggested The Phantom of the Bonny Scot was boring. I guess I must be in the minority for liking The Phantom of the Bonny Scot. Hopefully, with The Lady of Larkspur Lane being anything but boring, the same can not be said for this latest episode.
There is a pace to The Lady of Larkspur Lane which gives viewers what we need from an episode. The series title character (Kennedy McMann) has returned to looking for Lucy Sable’s (Stephanie Van Dyck) real killer. Whilst it was interesting seeing Nancy at her most vulnerable, something which we don’t often get to see, it detracts us from discovering the truth. We need to know who killed Lucy. More importantly, even though the who of the matter is critical to getting Carson Drew (Scott Wolf) out of prison, we might find the why more entertaining.
With Nancy “willing to chase any lead” that will help prove her father innocent, we embark on a metaphorical voyage of discovery that takes us further down the rabbit hole. It is here that the teenage amateur sleuth comes into her own and proves her ability to get answers. Nancy, contrary to what I may have previously thought, is every bit the Miss Jane Marple of Horseshoe Bay.
The mental institution where Lucy’s mother is being treated is apparently the only one in the county. That’s convenient. Why is there only one mental institution in the county? Does the county have an issue with providing healthcare for mentally unstable individuals?
Nancy, Georgia ‘George’ Fan (Leah Lewis), and Ned ‘Nick’ Nickerson (Tunji Kasim) visit the local insane asylum. With much of the building seemingly under renovation, possibly subterfuge for the facility being haunted by the angriest of mentally ill ghosts, this access point is the most viable. Security in the other half of the building is as tight as a duck’s you-know-what. Because of the incredibly tight security, the trio gains access to the facility by going in through the sewer. With Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables being one of my favourite novels, one that was required reading when I was at boarding school, I greatly appreciated George’s nod to the classic tale.
With streaks of black mould everywhere, an infestation of cockroaches, and no sign of anyone having been in that half of the building for decades, it’s obvious that there is something inky about the entire facility. Despite Nancy having previously indicated Larkspur Lane Sanitarium (Is that a spelling error or do Americans spell sanatorium that way?) has tight security, with how easily the trio managed to get into the occupied portion of the property, lax is the understatement of the year. Noting how the equipment hasn’t been maintained, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out why security is so lax.
Nancy, playing the role of an investigative journalist, gets one of the staff to speak to her about the recent haunting. He obviously bought Nancy’s story on face value because he doesn’t question it or call the newspaper to verify her identity. More than willing to tell her the nuts and bolts of what has been happening at the sanitarium, we learn the East Wing was closed and the doors were sealed.
It doesn’t take long for Nancy to locate Mrs Dodd. Sitting with her back to the door, Dodd doesn’t appear mentally unhinged. Dodd speaks of her daughter, Lucy, as if she were still alive. She thinks the previous Friday was 17 September 1999. It’s like the past twenty years never happened. On examining Nancy’s necklace, Dodd mistakes her for Katherine “Kate” Drew (Sara Canning). Kate, Nancy’s mother, was Lucy’s guidance counsellor.
The scenes are positively disturbing. Dodd, in referencing a thin man’s book, said: “He stilled the storm to a whisper, and the waves of the sea were hushed.”
Anyone that has bothered to read the Book of Psalms, not that everyone reads religious texts, will recognise “He stilled the storm to a whisper, and the waves of the sea were hushed,” as a quote taken from Psalm 107. Leave it to Nick to recognise the quote.
The thin man Dodd’s spoke of is someone named Mr Roeper. In the 1870s, the East Wing of the sanitarium was the Roeper mansion. It’s the Whisper Box where the Roeper family were discovered dead. It’s also the room where the black mould and insects emanated from. Could the Whisper Box be the source of the haunting? Shortly after entering the Whisper Box, Nancy locates the thin man’s Bible and the key that will lead her to Lucy’s secrets. Cockroaches pour into the room and Nancy drops to the floor unconscious. There is something seriously off about the way the episode ends. Nancy wakes up in her own bed. Carson is at the door telling his daughter that “mom made pancakes.” The cockroach infestation clearly indicates she’s still in the Whisper Box.
Meanwhile, at the Horseshoe Bay Yacht Club, we see Bess Marvin (Maddison Jaizani) meeting with Amaya for brunch. Bess doesn’t look comfortable. Amaya is obviously all business because she double booked that slot on her calendar. I can’t say I like this Amaya character. Whilst she seems a tad heartless, it could be a front she is using to prevent people from seeing her real self.
Carson thinks Everett Hudson (Martin Donovan) placed a target on his back. If you saw the previous episode, the one I happened to like, you will recall that it was Celia Hudson (Teryl Rothery) that placed a call to have the prisoned lawyer dealt with. Does Celia seriously think that she’ll get away with trying to have Carson killed? Tossing the cell phone away, as we saw her do, isn’t going to erase all trace of her phone call.
Carson insists Ace (Alex Saxon) get Nancy because he’s not going to get phone call privileges extended. With no cell phone reception, Nancy doesn’t get the call. Having not received a call back from Nancy, Ace confronts Ryan Hudson (Riley Smith) about his father. Ryan, enjoying brunch at the same yacht club Bess is at, doesn’t believe his father would put out a hit on anyone. Ace takes Ryan’s suggestion about getting Carson out of prison a tad too far.
Even though various people have referenced how Ryan is a generation older than the series’ main characters, whilst it’s true, part of me wants to know why that’s important. It sounds more than a tad ageist. Ryan is older than the main cast. He was in high school at the same time as Lucy Sable. We’re talking 20 years ago.
As Carson sees it, not that it isn’t obvious, Ace must have hacked into the Department of Corrections database, ordered his official transfer to the state prison, impersonated an officer of the law, stole a van, and broke him out of prison. Ace accomplished a lot in less than a few hours. Could Ace not think of somewhere safer than the Drew residence? Isn’t that the first-place law enforcement officers will look?
It doesn’t take long for police to figure out where Ace took Carson. The stolen van gave it away. It’s still parked in the driveway to the Drew residence when the police surround the property. Ace gets Bess to assist him with the Carson issue. Ryan finds the proof Ace needed to show that Carson was in danger. It suggests it was Everett that ordered the hit.
George and Nick might find getting out of the sanitarium much trickier than they did getting in there.