How Nancy Drew Season 2 Improves On The Final Destination Formula

Nancy Drew season 2 has so far centered on trying to break the Aglaeca’s death curse — simultaneously homaging and even improving upon the formula of the Final Destination movies. Directed by James Wong, the first Final Destination installment was released in 2000. Starring Devon Sawa, the film followed a group of teens who miraculously avoided dying in a plane explosion. Unfortunately, Death took issue with their lucky escape and picked them off in ever more brutal ways. Final Destination went on to spawn multiple sequels, with more potentially still forthcoming. Though the inciting incident was drastically different, the central storyline of Nancy Drew season 2 has shared similarities with the cinematic franchise.

Nancy (Kennedy McMann) and her friends have been in debt to a mysterious sea spirit since Nancy Drew season 1, episode 15, “The Terror of Horseshoe Bay”. Seeking to acquire the bones of Lucy Sable (Stephanie Van Dyck), they performed an ancient ritual. Unfortunately, the Drew Crew was unable to pay the necessary toll: a human life. As a result, the Aglaeca vowed to claim each of their souls instead. Ever since then, each has been individually plagued with visions of how the entity will kill them. Though it’s not Death itself, the Aglaeca is nonetheless otherworldly. Plus, it also yields the same kind of powerful control over reality – as well as people’s perceptions thereof. Equally, precursory visions often came before the deaths in Final Destination, just like they have in Nancy Drew.

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For several reasons, however, Nancy Drew‘s interpretation has been infinitely more interesting to behold. For starters, the entity behind everything isn’t something as blandly unknowable as just Death. For all the intricacy and elaborate staging that Death puts into the kills, the entity is still devoid of any kind of personality or flare. Final Destination was at least somewhat aware it needed such a presence. However, it injected it into the film via Tony Todd’s William Bludworth character. Death was left as little more than an empty force. And while that could be viewed as scary for a time, it cannot come close to an actual, physical presence in these kinds of stories. Nancy Drew has offered that in spades — with the Aglaeca manifesting personally in truly effective jump-scare moments or just eerily overseeing the torment from the periphery.

The Aglaeca also has a mythology that goes back centuries. Despite her ghostly nature, the creature has an all-too-human origin story. Sailing from France to America, she was betrayed, forced to marry somebody, had a fortune stolen, and then brutally murdered. As a result, her view of humanity was understandably skewed and only grew worse across the many years. The Aglaeca has been grounded solely in relatable emotions, driven by rage, grief, anguish, and more. As such, her inability to be reasoned or bargained with is equal parts understandable yet all-the-more terrifying. After all, she’s more than capable of making deals and halting her fatal pursuit. She simply chooses not to. That has already elevated her above Death in Final Destination, which was simply a dispassionate force completely separate from its human targets.

The nature of the portents the Aglaeca sends has been equally even more horrifying. Rather than a quick flash moments before the fatal event, the Aglaeca granted visions a whole seven days beforehand. Including drowning inside a truck, being hung on a meat hook, and more, the creature showed Nancy and friends exactly how they would be dispatched. That level of foreknowledge, and the inability to circumvent the scenarios, has only added to the tension for the audiences and paranoia for the characters.

Even the one way they’ve found to avoid their fate improved upon the Final Destination saga.  In the second installment, Clear Rivers (Ali Larter) just locked herself away from the world — which worked, inexplicably. Meanwhile, hiding from the Aglaeca had sounder logic and meant surrounding yourself with even more malicious spirits. As such, season 2 has not only improved on Nancy Drew‘s supernatural elements but also the kinds of movies that they’ve drawn inspiration from.

More: Nancy Drew’s Stephen King Reference Hints At The Show’s Future

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