Saying Goodbye to the Queer Characters of “Nancy Drew”

This piece was written through the 2023 WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes. With out the labor of the writers and actors who’re at present on strike, sequence like Nancy Drew wouldn’t be attainable, and Autostraddle is grateful for the artists who do that work. The next recap/assessment of the Nancy Drew sequence finale accommodates spoilers.

It’s not straightforward to efficiently reboot and reimagine a beloved property, modernizing it whereas preserving the center of it, however over the previous 4 years, the creators, writers, and actors of Nancy Drew managed to just do that. Plus, they made it homosexual. One thing all reboots ought to be doing, in my humble opinion.

Nancy Drew, as a personality, has been essential to me for so long as I can bear in mind. First, within the type of a spunky spy within the books I learn as a baby, and now, as a extra mature model of the identical decided, spirited woman on the CW sequence. I used to be cautiously optimistic when the present was first introduced, however by the top of the primary episode, with Kennedy McMann’s humor and wit and flawless line reads and her group of misfits being completely reimagined, I knew it was going to be a enjoyable journey. And what a hell of a journey it was.

There’s no solution to sum up all my favourite elements of this present in any affordable quantity of phrases, so as an alternative I simply wish to discuss what introduced me to write down about this present on this very web site within the first place: the queerness of all of it.

Bess was revealed as queer in actually the second episode of the sequence. They didn’t wait round, they pulled no punches. Additionally they weren’t coy about it. Bess and Lisbeth flirt with one another, Ace asks what’s up, and Bess admits he didn’t think about it, she is into ladies regardless that she hasn’t been relationship a lot of anybody these days.

Lisbeth will get snarled within the Drew Crew’s mess, and interacts with all of them in her personal proper, however Bess’s queerness isn’t one thing that simply fades into the ether when Lisbeth disappeared into the car parking zone of no return. In actual fact, your complete second season virtually revolved round Bess and Odette, the French lesbian ghost who was first a demon they needed to vanquish after which was a sapphic specter residing in George’s physique. Not solely was Bess’s queerness essential to this plot, however so was Odette’s, and Odette’s ill-fated love with a girl named Mary. It was all lovely and heartbreaking and, as soon as once more, important to the plot of the present. Not a Very Particular Episode, not only a skippable aspect plot.

Nancy Drew: Bess kisses Odette in George's body

I do know this seems to be like Bess and George but it surely’s actually Bess and Odette TRUST ME.

That is no small factor. Bess’s queerness just isn’t an afterthought, it’s one in every of her many character traits. Bess doesn’t simply “occur to be” queer. Bess is queer and. She’s queer and one of many core 4. She’s queer and the center of the group, the optimist within the bleakest of instances, the comedic aid when issues get too tense, the one with the magical know-how. She’s queer and inextricably essential to this present and to Nancy’s life.

After Bess has healed from her Shakespearean love affair, in Season 3, Bess meets Addy, and their relationship builds and strengthens over the course of the final two seasons. Whereas Addy isn’t fairly as within the forefront as Odette was, and he or she comes and goes extra episode to episode, she’s nonetheless an essential character who has her personal relationship with Nick, and her personal interactions with Nancy outdoors of being Bess’s girlfriend. In season 4, an episode revolves totally round her and her household, and it actually solidifies her as an essential a part of Horseshoe Bay.

Nancy Drew: Addy and Bess, still dressed up from the party, kiss in the dim light of the Historical Society

I’ll have by no means stopped quietly transport Bess and Nancy, however Bess and Addy have been a stunning endgame and I do help it very a lot.

To not point out, Bess and her girlfriends aren’t the one queers on the town! In Season 4 they actually went onerous for us, with George’s little sister having a little bit child homosexual girlfriend, and likewise Nick beginning to date Jade, who’s non-binary, and who’s down with the supernatural.

All this queerness is simply sewn into the material of Horseshoe Bay, and whereas I’m certain homophobia exists on this extremely problematic city, however we didn’t must witness a lot of it. Bess bought extra hate for being the keeper of the magical gadgets within the Historic Society than anything, which in fact is a well-played metaphor, but it surely’s nonetheless appreciated.

For many of this season, the Nancy Drew writers didn’t know that this could be their final. In actual fact, they have been in manufacturing on episode 410 when they learned they needed to flip their season finale right into a sequence finale.

And but, it as a result of that they had already established Bess and Addy, and Nick and Jade, and even little Birdie and Jesse, in such a manner that it was very straightforward to provide all of them a contented ending. Not quite a lot of exhibits might have accomplished that. Quite a lot of exhibits love to make use of their queer characters as punching baggage, or assume breaking apart (or worse, dying) is the one solution to give queer characters drama. However Nancy Drew handled all their queer characters with such respect and creativity that it wasn’t a stretch for them to have the ability to wrap issues up fantastically and realistically in only a few episodes.

To not point out, Bess performs a pivotal function within the sequence finale. She’s as essential as Nick or George or Ace. Bess is the explanation they know the magic they should treatment the city of their sin fever, Bess is the explanation Ace and Nancy’s loss of life curse is damaged. Bess is a Keeper for the magical gadgets within the Historic Society, and regardless that an indignant mob burned all of it down, she’s decided to go on a worldwide expedition to rebuild her assortment, all whereas Addy retains the (metaphorical) house fires burning on the Horseshoe Bay council. As she hears the Drew Crew’s future plans, she doesn’t shed a tear, as a result of regardless that she has struggled with abandonment points up to now, she is aware of no distance can break up this household they’ve constructed.

On the finish of the sequence finale, the core 4 put recollections of their previous 12 months collectively within the counter on the Claw. Items of the city’s historical past that can stay on, protected beneath glass. As Nancy retires her beanie and closes this chapter of her story, she says she understands the idea of soulmates now, not as a result of her and Ace broke the loss of life curse and may lastly, lastly be collectively, however as a result of she has 4 soulmates. Nancy Drew has Bess, George, Nick, and Ace, because it’s all the time been, as it’s going to all the time be.

Press shot of the Drew Crew smiling at camera: Bess, Ace, Nancy, George and Nick


I wept for your complete last quarter-hour of this finale. I hate goodbyes, and once they’re fantastically accomplished, they wreck me totally. Between the sentimental attachment I needed to Nancy Drew as a personality, the attractive manner they made the present about adults and located household, and the queerness of all of it, I genuinely liked each minute of this present, and I’m so unhappy to see it go. With this and Riverdale ending final night time, it’s actually the top of a really explicit period on The CW, which brings by itself degree of disappointment. However I’m additionally grateful that, regardless that it was brief discover, they did get sufficient discover to provide the present a correct ending. With so many exhibits getting the rug ripped out from beneath them, there isn’t any scarcity of exhibits (particularly exhibits with queer principal characters) that can stay endlessly open-ended, teetering on a cliff for all eternity. However we bought to say a correct goodbye to all of the queers of Horseshoe Bay, and the discovered household they made alongside the best way. And for that, I’m grateful.

Wherever the clues and mysteries of our lives lead us subsequent, we’ll all the time have Horseshoe Bay.

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