Nancy Drew star Riley Smith breaks down that emotional reveal: 'I didn't anticipate this'
Nancy Drew (2019 TV series)
Warning: This article contains spoilers for this week's episode of Nancy Drew, "The Girl in the Locket."
The secret is officially out on Nancy Drew.
After the shocking revelation at the end of the previous episode that Nancy (Kennedy McMann) is actually the daughter of dead Lucy (Stephanie Van Dyck) and Ryan (Riley Smith), the question remained as to how long it would be until Ryan discovered the truth, too. And The CW's supernatural mystery didn't waste any time.
This week's episode saw Nancy racing against the clock to stop the Agleaca from hurting any of her friends. She was forced to enlist Ryan's help for the ritual calling off the Agleaca because she needed the blood of her actual blood relative, and he put all the pieces together leading to many emotionally devastating scenes.
Unfortunately, the ritual didn't work because it turns out the Agleaca is a totally different spirit than the Drew crew thought, and their supernatural consequences continue to get more and more dangerous as one of their own paid the ultimate price. On top of all that, everyone also knows the secret of Nancy's parentage.
EW spoke to Smith who broke down the major reveal in the episode, what this means for Ryan and Nancy moving forward, and more.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: This episode was obviously a big one for you — it didn't take long for Ryan to get clued in to his connection to Nancy.
RILEY SMITH: It’s cool how they did that! I thought that we would all find out together, but when the script came out I realized everyone finds out before Ryan. It was fun and extra tricky to play. Everyone else knows but him, so you have to walk a tightrope before the reveal. I didn’t anticipate this and it’s brilliant. The writing was so nice. It plays on the human emotions really well.
How does this affect Ryan moving forward now that he knows everything?
It changes who he is completely. From this moment forward, he might become a totally different person. I don’t know if, what do they say, can a leopard get rid of all his spots? He’s always going to be a Hudson, but now he has a choice to make. Does he want to have a relationship with Nancy? Does she want one with him? He’ll start to think about who he was and some of the choices he’s made in the past. He’s still shaken up by Lucy – she was his one true love. He’s got a lot to work through, but this will change him — ultimately for the better in so many ways.
How are we going to see his attitude towards Nancy change now that he knows she’s his biological daughter?
Right off the bat, he realizes how heavy it is that he had this amazing young woman that he never got to know. He lost 18 years with her. He gets to question, could he have been a good dad? Would he have been? It makes him start to think about who he is and who he wants to be, how he needs to be with Nancy.
It was shocking to hear him confront Carson about how he was robbed of the chance to get to raise Nancy. Knowing who Ryan has been his whole life, he doesn't strike me as the responsible father type.
That was an emotional scene for me, particularly. I actually had a bit of a hand in some ideas for that scene with [showrunners] Melinda [Hsu-Taylor] and Noga [Landau]. Melinda was picking my brain and asking me, "What would you think if you found out that you had a baby you didn’t know about and she’s this beautiful 19-year-old?" I was like, I’d be angry, hurt, betrayed. I told her a lot of my personal feelings and I saw a lot of that come into the scene. At first, that scene was going to be: Ryan attacks Carson and is the aggressor and punches him. I called Melinda and was like, I understand, it’s justified that he’s angry enough to punch Carson. But that’s the knee-jerk old Ryan Hudson. Where’s the anger coming from? His hurt and betrayal. Let’s show that first before we show anger. They met me with this scene that you see now, and it was just beautiful. That scene in particular meant so much to me.
It’s fascinating to see how Ryan has become one of the characters you empathize with the most — considering where he was at the start of the series.
You start off really hating the guy. There aren’t a lot of admirable qualities you can see. But slowly we’ve been peeling back little nibbles and the biggest one for him is the love for Lucy we didn’t realize he had until we get to this point in the season. That’s something that really humanizes him that people can understand. As we’ve seen what happened to Lucy, we start to understand Ryan. We see where he’s coming from. That’s how you make a great bad guy.
How is this going to change Ryan’s relationship with Carson (Scott Wolf) since he’s been keeping this secret from him for 19 years?
They have a long ways to go. The thing that will ultimately bring them together will be the common bond of Nancy. You’ve got the biological father and the father that’s raised her for her whole life. They hopefully will be able to come together for the love of her. It will be interesting to see what that does and how they do work together. I have no clue, we obviously haven’t gotten there yet. That will be season 2, I guess. Right now, they have a long ways to go, which is quite funny because Scott and I, in real life, we’re like best buds. I love him so much. We’re always excited to work together, but we joke that usually when we work together, we’re not supposed to like each other. [Laughs]
Ryan’s own father has a huge impact on his relationship with Lucy ending and then Lucy keeping her pregnancy a secret. Are we going to see Ryan dealing with that?
Ryan’s dad is the bad seed. We’ve seen the things he’s done. I don’t know this for a fact because we haven’t gotten there yet, but I think that Ryan’s probably — he’s already alluded to it in previous episodes — done with his family. He wants to separate himself. In order for him to become the guy that Nancy wants to have in her life, he’s going to have to get rid of that part of his life — his family, the Hudson influence — and to try to make a name for himself.
Next week is the spring finale. What can you tease about what fans will see from that episode?
We’re concluding some things we’ve spent all season searching for, but there are some new things brought into the mix that are going to continue on for the remainder of this season and into the next season. We’re tying up loose ends and starting new adventures.
Nancy Drew airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. on The CW.
Nancy Drew (2019 TV series)
The CW updates the iconic teen sleuth for 2019, making Nancy (Kenney McMann) flawed and real in this supernatural thriller.