Warning: This article contains spoilers for the season 4 premiere of Nancy Drew, "The Dilemma of the Lovers' Curse."
The secret's finally out on Nancy Drew!
The CW's supernatural sleuth drama ended season 3 with the heartbreaking revelation that when Nancy (Kennedy McMann) finally acted on her feelings for Ace (Alex Saxon), their one month of bliss together was all an illusion. As she watched him die after a brutal car crash, she learned that it was all part of a curse cast on her by Temperance (Olivia Taylor Dudley) to show her what will happen if she and Ace actually get together in real life.
Nancy tried keeping the curse a secret from Ace as she pushed him away for five weeks, but by the end of the season 4 premiere, she finally confessed the truth to him. Now he knows not only that Nancy loves him back, but that she won't act on those feelings in order to keep him alive.
Below, McMann breaks down that season 4 premiere ending, as well as teases what fans can expect from the upcoming series finale.
Colin Bentley/The CW Kennedy McMann on 'Nancy Drew'
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: How did you find out that this season would be the last?
KENNEDY MCMANN: Tunji [Kasim] and I were shooting together, and our showrunners and EPs flew down and nobody told us they were coming. Tunji and I rounded the corner to go to set and I saw them standing there and I thought, "Well, something's happening." They made the announcement to our whole crew in person. They handled it so gracefully, with so much respect, and literally flew down and back to LA that same night just to tell us. I was so grateful to find out in person from their lips to our ears.
That's definitely better than finding out via email or a phone call.
Oh my gosh, yes. Or, God forbid, refreshing Deadline and seeing the news about your show, which has happened to me before. Information in this business is kind of crazy.
How did you feel about the show ending once you had some time to process the news?
It was a lot of things all at once. This has been the primary part of my career and is the show that I started with and really cut my teeth doing. It was a lot of processing that I'm going to have to find my way after this show. And also a level of excitement of what's to come. But so much sentiment of what we've shared. It's really sad to say goodbye and even goodbye to Vancouver, where we filmed.
And everybody had a lot of gratitude that we found out the way that we did as opposed to just getting canceled after we didn't write a proper series finale. I would've hated to not give our fans a proper conclusion. To not give these characters a proper send-off and a proper goodbye would leave me feeling really strange for a long time, so I'm really glad I got to put her to bed appropriately.
What can you tease about how the series ends in the finale?
This is definitely a season of individual growth for everybody, figuring out who they are and how they're going to go about using all of these skills that they've garnered over all of their ghost hunting adventures and what purpose is driving their lives. I don't want that to scare anybody thinking that the whole crew won't be together, because we definitely are, a lot of the season. And then from our primary mystery perspective, it's really entrenched in the history of the town. That is really heavily explored this season in a way that relates intimately to all of the characters. There's quite a feast ahead.
Speaking of that mystery, watching eight dead bodies reanimate and walk around town like zombies was very unsettling. What else can fans expect to see from this season's case?
There's a lot of new this season in terms of lots of different creatures of all different ilks that they've never dealt with before. The spook factor, the jump scare factor, is really an ode to what was happening a lot in season 1 and season 2. There's also a slew of unique creatures that they interact with in these great standalone episodes. It's all pretty fresh and new versions of the undead for the crew this season. I'm kind of glad I don't have to watch it not knowing what happens, because I would be a bit spooked.
Colin Bentley/The CW Alex Saxon and Kennedy McMann on 'Nancy Drew'
Rewinding a little to tonight's season 4 premiere, what was it like for you playing Nancy as she feels very frustrated, defeated, and stuck? That's definitely a new look for her.
I love exploring this very different side of Nancy. I don't think she's ever felt so stuck. She's gone through a lot of trauma, but the pace of those things has been so fast. There's something about this situation she's found herself in with Ace and the death curse and everything that Temperance left her with at the end of season 3, where she's never really found herself so desperately wanting something that feels so within reach and not being able to have it and not knowing how to proceed in solving it.
It's kind of dealing with loss again and almost a grieving of this relationship that never was, or a grieving of the future she saw for herself, because she's so committed in the beginning of the season that she will not budge or attempt anything to break the curse. She's kind of sitting in this sadness and feels stuck, and it was a lot of fun to play that for me. That doesn't sound very fun, but it was fun to change things up and to experience that softer side of her because she's very vulnerable right now.
How is that going to change for her throughout the final season?
She definitely is still the character that we have grown to know and love. She still has that passion and that tenacity to work toward things. But she seems older to me this season. You can really see her step into her own as a confident young woman who has respect for herself. In a very relatable way, she's struggled with a lot of negative self-talk and a lot of negative feelings about herself and the choices that she makes, and that resurfaces in this season, but through a different lens. She's growing up, she's on her own, she's learned so many lessons, and there are a lot of moments that highlight how she's grown more adult, more mature, having a slightly more level head. But of course, she still does high-risk, high-reward things too.
Nancy finally told Ace that they're cursed. How is he going to handle that revelation moving forward?
Nancy has been sitting with this information now for five weeks. She also lived months and months of an alternate reality in her head that nobody else experienced, so she has had time to look at the situation from all angles and come to a conclusion, which is that there's nothing they can do and it's not worth the risk. As for Ace finding out about this, it's like this wave of information and context that finally fills in all of these holes for him as to this massive confusion he's had about why Nancy's treating him in the way that she's been treating him. Why does he seem to be reading their relationship wrong? This really revs him up, and there's definitely a passion kicked into gear for him to go against what Nancy hopes to do, which is ignore it completely and learn to live with it. He is not ready for that. He wants to give it his all and see what he can do to change her mind and to get them on the same page to work together to break the curse.
So how will this change their relationship as he tries to fight for it?
Their dynamic is definitely the most interesting this season than any season we've seen before. We've gotten to see three seasons of them becoming great friends and relying deeply on each other and falling for each other. This season is something entirely different because we get to see them in a lot of different circumstances. Sometimes they're really united, whether that's through a case outside of the curse or in working on the curse. But then there's also plenty of times where they're in total opposition to each other or uncomfortable being around each other, not knowing how to handle the reality that they're dealt and dealing with it and all of their very raw emotions about it in totally different ways. They're definitely very involved in each other's lives throughout the season, just in very different ways.
On the other hand, Nancy and Tristan seemed to be getting closer, but now she knows he's the Glass's son. Where will their flirty relationship go from here?
Obviously, everything that's happening with Ace and her feelings for him are very much at the forefront of her mind. However, she also has the reality of the situation, which is that she can't be with Ace. They can't figure out a way to make it work. She's still a 20-year-old girl, and I think Tristan is a really interesting character throughout the entire season who gives a different spin on things than anyone that she has ever met. Tristan's very different than any love interest she's ever had in the series before in the way that he understands her in a way that very few people do.
Are you rooting for Nancy and Ace, or do you want her to end up with someone different like Tristan?
Of course I'm Team Nancy and Ace. You have to be! But Tristan gives a compelling case. People will be surprised.
Nancy Drew season 4 airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on The CW.
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