Official synopsis of The Judgement of the Perilous Captive from The CW:
BEN HOLLINGSWORTH ("CODE BLACK") GUEST STARS - Nancy finally has Everett exactly where she wants him. Meanwhile, Nick receives upsetting news from one of his tenants, Jake Cazine (guest star Ben Hollingsworth), about the youth center he wants to open. Lastly, Carson shares something disturbing with Bess. Leah Lewis and Alex Saxon also star.
COLD OPEN: Nancy pulls the bag off Everett’s face and the duct tape. He questions if she knows what she’s doing, but she just wants to know how he killed Celia and why. He doesn’t know what she’s talking about, and Gil presses they should be physical. Everett snaps that Gil will be joining his father in prison. Gil pulls Nancy aside out of worry for what Everett will do to his father if he learns about the tape. Everett still doesn’t believe Nancy so she shows him a photo she took from the crime scene and presses that she will bring him to justice. He asks where they took him for this interrogation and Nancy says they are at Lucy Sable’s house, which is fitting since he’s going to confess.
ACT ONE: Bess yells for Carson and Nancy and races downstairs to find Carson who just heard. He is trying to call Nancy but isn’t getting an answer. He worries that Everett found out about her and now Nancy is hiding. He shows Bess the photograph of Nancy covered in marks and asks her to talk with her friends about it. Meanwhile, Nick and George wake up together and begin to make out. She’s still worried that Everett knows that he found the Black Crown Tape’s hiding spot. Nick opens a letter from Jake Cazine who is a tenant complaining about the youth center messing with his business. George answers a call from Bess who tells her that Nancy is in trouble and to come to the Historical Society with Nick. George decides to go while Nick focuses on himself and Jake. Elsewhere, Nancy talks about Everett’s crimes; slaughtering 12 men on the Bonny Scot, murdering his accountant and making it look like a suicide, and creating a slush fund in his son’s name. Everett knows the recording won’t hold up in court but Nancy plans to send it to multiple law enforcement agencies to give them a running start against him. She wants to know who he paid to kill Celia and why. He had no idea that Nancy was his Granddaughter until she told him in the limo and he didn’t kill Celia. She notices that he’s more upset over an accusation than Celia’s death itself. He points out that she’s upset enough for both of them and wonders if she truly knew Celia. He thinks Nancy played on Celia’s weakness for Ryan or she manipulated Celia by using the mother-shaped hole in her heart, and that she used Lucy’s one-night stand and Kate’s cancer death to make herself an heiress. Nancy warns him not to say their names again. Across town, Ryan stands in the morgue and kisses his mother’s body on the forehead while Tamura watches from the other room. He gives Celia’s effects to Ryan and he asks where his father is. Tamura hoped he knew as he’s missing. Ryan thinks Everett did this and talks about the videotape, but he doesn’t know the victim of the recording yet. He tells Tamura to trust him about the existence of the tape and leaves. Gil returns and Everett warns them that someone will notice that he’s missing and see the limo on the wrong side of town. He warns that Gil will betray her and he advances on Everett, but Nancy pulls him away. She won’t let Everett walk out unless it’s in handcuffs and leaves to find proof.
ACT TWO: Nancy digs into Hudson Enterprises. Ace tries to track Nancy while Bess, Carson, George, and Hannah investigate Nancy’s markings. Hannah identifies them as a living hex or curse and sees the same markings on Bess’s photos of Nancy. Hannah thinks if they go back far enough they can figure out when the hex was placed. Ace traces Nancy and sends the coordinates to Carson, who runs off to find Nancy. Meanwhile, Nick confronts Jake about the complaint. His complaint isn’t about the wall or construction, it’s about the troubled kids who would be coming in and out of the building. Just because Nick is one of the good ones doesn’t mean they all are, but Nick presses that he can give the students life skills they take for granted. He doesn’t want to wait for them to screw up. Jake offers to donate to the youth center on the clause it isn’t in Horseshoe Bay. Elsewhere, Carson tracks Nancy’s phone to a UPS box where she ditched it. Nancy, meanwhile, searches for the money trail that Everett left but finds that it’s in Celia’s name. Gil gives Everett water and Everett apologizes for his outburst. He coyly offers to get Bertram released but Gil believes Everett will kill him. The best thing for Bertram is for Everett to disappear. Everett offers to give them money to leave as he doesn’t want Bertram dead just quiet. Gil sits down and asks how much money he’ll get. Across town, Abe talks to the coroner and learns that Celia’s body was discovered 22 hours postmortem. He finds red glass on the ground. Nancy comes inside to find Gil untying Everett which infuriates her. Ryan arrives, storms into the house, and punches Everett repeatedly for killing Celia.
ACT THREE: They tie Everett back up while Nancy apologizes to Ryan for Celia, but he doesn’t want to think about her. She asks how he found them, to which he explains that Tamura told him as the limo was spotted on the West Side and Everett’s only connection there is Lucy. Ryan assures Nancy that he figured it out before Tamura. He asks about the plan and she tells him that she wants to gain proof. She tells him there are no recent payments from Ryan’s account, but the money has to be there somewhere. There was nothing on the computer that would take Everett down. Gil asks what she’s not telling them. She admits to reading their prenup and he forfeits any right to Celia’s estate if she’s murdered. Ryan knows that Everett would make it look like an accident if he was responsible and wouldn’t pass on a fortune. Nancy needs more time to prove it, but Gil doesn’t think she can and presses that he should have let Everett go. Nancy snaps if he thought Everett would pay him, but Gil thinks her plan was stupid. Ryan tells him to back off while Nancy counters that Gil agreed to the plan, but he states he only did as she promised to protect his father. Everett interjects that she won’t find evidence because it doesn’t exist. At the Historical Society, George asks Hannah about the lifeline shortening and if it’s true. When two souls have entwined the average is weighted towards the spirit, so George’s “friend” tied to “Nodette” only has about a decade left. Meanwhile, Nick visits Tamura who asks for help on a taillight identification. Nick recognizes it but stops himself to say that it’s a common one that is confused with cars and boats. Tamura writes down that it’s Nancy’s taillight while Nick texts Nancy to warn her. Nick asks Tamura for help with his tenant. Meanwhile, Gil thinks they should look into other enemies of Celia. Nancy points out the ritualistic and cold, but the way it was posed was similar to Icarus. Ryan knows it’s Greek mythology and might have paid the price for something. Nancy remembers that Celia was freaking out over some list but it might have been a list of names from Celia for her. Celia stole the list of names for her from The Road Back, which Everett recognizes. They’re a powerful group with infinite means and unflagging resolve. The general public doesn’t know of their existence but the scarce few know they exist. They wouldn’t hesitate to make a move against anyone who angered them. They would have left a calling card, like a symbol, and Ryan gives Nancy a coin with a symbol on it from Celia’s belongings. She recognizes it as The Road Back’s symbol. Everett points out that Nancy is responsible for Celia’s death as she’s the one who asked her to get the list. The message was meant for Nancy.
ACT FOUR: Nancy runs out of the house and breaks down crying. Ryan joins her and comforts her as she believes Everett’s claims. She admits that Celia was doing her a favor but Ryan knows Nancy was doing it to save Ace’s life, while Celia only did it to keep Everett out of jail. He knows she couldn’t have known what The Road Back was capable of, but Celia did and accepted the risk. Nancy wants to get justice for Celia but Ryan admits that she might not. She should add it to the list and focus on what she came to get justice for. He tells her not to forget who Everett is. She tied up the right guy for the wrong murder. Meanwhile, Nick visits Jake to thank him for helping him to understand why he complained. Nick’s mistake was trying to change Jake’s small mind. He now has the means and privilege to do things that those before him couldn’t. He assures Jake that he is the bad guy and points out the building across the street, which is now his new youth center. He’s very rich and according to the zoning center since the center is more than 50 feet from Jake’s café he has no say in the café. Jake wanted to keep the neighborhood safe, to which Nick assures him that he’s partnered with the Horseshoe Bay PD. Jake presses that setting up the youth center a town over wasn’t a big deal. Nick points out that letting kids thrive in their community and letting them know they are wanted is a big deal. He plans to open a rival café in his building, wishes Jake luck, and leaves. Back at Lucy's house, Gil questions Everett about The Road Back and what he plans to do about Celia’s murder. Everett doesn’t plan to do anything as he doesn’t have leverage. Nancy emotionally comes in and hugs Gil to say sorry for dragging him into this. Tamura calls so Ryan answers while Gil duct tapes Everett’s mouth. Tamura found a broken taillight that he thinks belongs to Nancy. He asks if he’s seen Nancy but Ryan lies that he hasn’t. Tamura knows he's lying and asks to talk with Nancy and asks how she’s gotten so close to Ryan. She lies that they’re breaking up but Tamura then asks to talk with Everett so she hangs up. Nancy reverts to Plan C - killing Everett for his crimes. She tells Ryan to imagine his life without Everett and how no one else has to get hurt or killed. Ryan asks to talk with her in private. Gil asks Everett if their deal still stands as he has leverage now. Ryan and Nancy argue in the next room while Gil frees Everett.
ACT FIVE: Hannah identifies what’s happening to Nancy as Parasitic Entities, an entity that feeds off her life force. Nancy only has a few days left to live. Carson refuses to accept that and wants to know how to remove the parasite. Hannah points out from the archive's evidence that all of the parasite's past hosts have died and knows of no way to extract it, but George also refuses to believe that it's hopeless. They need to identify the parasite using a camera that captures the exact visual wavelength needed to reveal its true being, though none exists yet. George calls Nick to tell him what’s going on and to use the ghost goggles to make a special camera to identify the parasite. Elsewhere, Everett goes home to get The Black Crown Tape when Nancy, Tamura, and Ryan enter to cut him off. Flashback to Ryan remembering telling Nancy that they tied him up for the wrong murder, so she plans to tie him up for the right murder. When she hugged Gil she told him to let Everett go knowing he would lead them directly to the tape. In the present, Everett asks Tamura if he knows what Nancy and Ryan did to him. Ryan and Nancy feign as though they’ve been alone all day. Tamura wants to see the tape. They put it in the VCR to see October 8, 1981, where old wildlife footage used to record activity plays. Josiah Hudson is on the tape and the Black Crown is a type of bird. Everett enters the frame while Bertram’s remembrance of the tape constantly resurfacing rings true. Everett warns Ryan that if he goes down, Ryan will too. Ryan knows that October of 1981 is when Josiah went missing in the woods. On the tape, the two brothers brutally fight and Everett chokes Josiah to death. Ryan is horrified by the revelation and confronts Everett for telling him that Josiah died drunk in the woods of exposure. Nancy restrains Ryan to calm him. Everett requests his attorney.
ACT SIX: At the PD station, Ryan can’t believe that people thought Josiah died of alcoholism for 40 years. He thinks Everett killed his brother out of greed. Everett is taken into the station in handcuffs. Everett turns to the press as Tamura tells them they have no comment. Nancy asks Ryan what Everett whispered before he was taken away. Ryan relays a “welcome to the family” message from Everett. She’s done hiding from him. She asks if Ryan is okay as this is a lot to process. His trick is not processing, but he has to give his statement though he plans to keep it short. He tells her to go home and get some sleep. She asks if he wants to get lunch tomorrow and "not process" together. He happily agrees and goes inside. Nancy returns to her car where Carson is waiting and hugs her. She thought proving Everett is a murderer would feel different but she doesn’t feel anything about it. She doesn’t know who she is anymore and after what she did today all she keeps thinking is what her mom would think. She wonders what is wrong with her, and Carson said he plans to fix it after showing her something. He takes her to The Claw where shutters and flashes go off as the Drew Crew captures numerous photographs and angles of the parasite. They had to catch Nancy by surprise or it wouldn’t have allowed them to take her photo. She recognizes that it’s the wraith she went after in Gorham woods. George thinks it hitched a ride out of the burning bus with her. Carson points out that she hasn’t felt like herself because the wraith has been attacking her sense of self. Flashback to earlier moments of the season but now the wraith is shown in these scenes too: Nancy throwing away the Columbia catalog, when actually the wraith knocked it off the desk into the trash. Her being tied up with George and the wraith gripping her arm tightly. It covers her eyes when she sees Gil being mean, covering her mouth when Val tells her not to give colleges a reason to judge her. The wraith wraps its claws around her throat to keep her from answering when Ace asks if she believed Celia in the deal to save his life. The wraith constantly touched her outside the police station. It wrapped itself around her completely as she broke down in tears in her bedroom the night of her birthday. In the present, Nancy realizes it has been with her since the Gorham woods, feeding off the moments she’s most vulnerable, hurting her, and changing her. She realizes parasites kill their hosts and asks how long she has left.
Cast and characters
- Jenaya Ross as the Gorham Wraith
- Ryan: "Who are they?"
- Everett: "A powerful group with infinite means and unflagging resolve. The general public have no idea they even exist. A scarce few know that they're out there. But The Road Back wouldn't hesitate to make an example of anyone who angered them. And they'd be very clear that they were the ones who were angry."
- Nancy: "I got Celia killed."
- Ryan: "No. No, you didn't."
- Nancy: "She was doing a favor for me."
- Ryan: "A favor? You were doing this to save Ace's life. She was doing this to keep her son of a bitch husband out of jail. That's how she did business."
- Nancy: "If I had known then, Ryan, I would have-"
- Ryan: "How could you have known what The Road Back was capable of? You couldn't. She did. And those were the choices that she made."
- Jake: "Was setting up your center in the next town over really that big of a deal?"
- Nick: "Allowing kids to thrive in their own community is a big deal. Letting them know that they belong here is a big deal. And setting up a rival cafe in my new building...that's going to be a huge deal. So, good luck, Jake."
- Carson: "You kids...you see things like this quite often, don't you?"
- Bess: "Yeah. I wish we didn't, but...we do."
- Nancy is revealed to be the host of a parasitic entity that feeds off her life force. In this case, the Gorham Wraith attached itself to her when she fell out of the bus in the woods. It has been feeding off her vulnerable moments ever since, by changing her and hurting her.
- The Black Crown Tape is found and a young Everett is seen murdering Josiah in the woods. He is arrested for this murder.
- This episode was live-tweeted by Erika Harrison via the Nancy Drew Writers Twitter account.
- Favorite line from today’s episode: "I'm rich, Jake. Very rich."
- “Jeff Byrd directed this episode and did an amazing job of telling grounded stories in a heightened universe.”
- “My favorite scene is when Nick breaks it down to Jake. LOVE. IT.”
- Watching back the episode, is there anything you wish you would’ve changed? “Nope.”
- Favorite twist this episode: “Nancy figuring out how to take Everett Hudson down. I LOVE a good POP BACK moment.”
- Writing process: "I spend a lot of time writing on paper before I start typing. A blinking cursor on a blank page can be crippling for me. Pen and paper give me a running start without the added pressure.”
- The wraith was not CGI, but rather special effects makeup with a performance by Jenaya Ross who previously played the Aglaeca.
- Kennedy McMann spoke on the Wraith reveal saying, "and, we filmed all of those moments along the way. planned all along. all those moments notated as a *wraith moment* in the scripts."
- She also tweeted about the reveal saying, "it’s thrilling, vicious & heartbreaking. Nancy’s highest high & lowest low. you’ll see exactly why the @DrewCrewWriters will always be 10 steps ahead of you #NancyDrew".
Behind the Scenes
- on The Internet Movie Database