Welcome To Your Life
Out in the vast ocean, episode 1 of The Hardy Boys begins with a group of fishermen catching the remains of a boat in their fishing net. Despite being told to cut the line, one of the men (Ern) finds a strange box. He’s told to bring it on-board at command of Captain Ben.
Later that evening he radios through to someone and confirms that he’s “found it”. Told to await further instructions, another boat rocks up holding a group of armed guards inside. They seize the package for themselves, burning the boat to the ground and spraying bullets to make sure there’s no survivors. Only, Ern happened to have dived overboard just as all hell broke loose.
We then cut across to Joe and Frank Hardy playing video games together until their Mother Laura interjects. This is tight-knit family for sure, as we soon see from Frank practicing his baseball skills outside.
Their Father, Fenton, happens to be an acclaimed police detective but working undercover at a building site. With a camera in hand, he takes incriminating pictures through the window before catching his man red-handed with a different coloured thermos full of money.
While Frank prepares for his big day playing baseball, Laura races up to catch the big game after traveling out of town. Only, a car speeds up behind her and seemingly runs her off the road. When Fenton finds out, he leaves the building site and heads up to see the boys after their baseball game.
Fenton isn’t able to go either given he’s caught up at the construction site. Joe does show though as the night draws in and Frank manages to win the game for his team. Unfortunately this win is mired in tragedy when Fenton shows up and reveals that their Mother has been involved in a car accident.
As we cut forward in time, that car accident turns to tragedy as the family show up at the funeral to pay their respects to Laura. Among those in attendance is Gloria, the kids’ grandmother – who hands over a music box for Frank. He senses there’s a hidden compartment inside and she comments on his keen eye for observation when he finds it. “There’s more than one secret in that box,” He’s told, as she leaves.
Inside, Joe and Frank fall out over what happened to their Mother. Joe blames Frank given Laura was always so into his baseball but a box of evidence relating to the accident soon causes them to become suspicious of their Father. Something is clearly going on and Frank senses it.
Unfortunately they’ve got bigger problems when they find out they’re moving to Bridgeport. Frank’s relationship with Emma becomes strained when she finds out too, but he agrees to phone her every day.
With the car all packed up, the family drive up to Bridgeport ready to make the most of their Summer. They’re greeted by Aunt Trudy, who shows the kids to their new rooms before giving them an errand to run in town. On their bikes, the pair head off to the local coffee shop called Wilt’s
While Frank orders some ice-cream, a girl called Biff shows up and speaks to Joe, calling him weird. While they walk outside together, Frank is introduced to Callie, who happens to be working there and knows his Grandmother. After these brief introductions, Frank is even offered a part-time job if he needs it from Wilt.
Back home, Fenton struggles to come to terms with what’s happened but puts on a brave face for dinner. Only, the door goes and brings their Grandmother in with cherry cake. Afterward, they head over to hers where she’s hosting a swanky party complete with brass band music. She introduces the kids to her “friends” and they awkward accept the round of applause they receive.
When Gloria’s dog goes missing, the kids chase after it through the woods. Desperate to find him, Joe runs straight into the path of Ern who holds him up at knifepoint and demands to speak to Gloria.
Frank grabs Gloria and brings her to him, where Ern reveals that the boat blew up and armed men came onboard but she doesn’t look too phased by the story. Joe is clearly shook up when he’s let go, but when they head back to their new house, the pair share ice-cream.
Later that day, Joe and Frank watch some home videos together of their time as kids. Only, they hear a strange noise coming from downstairs. Their Father is talking to a British businesswoman called Kanika Khan who confirms that her brother Rupert, in charge of their operation, went missing 3 weeks ago after he contacted Laura.
It turns out Laura was investigating something and Rupert was her source. Whatever he told her could well have got him killed. If Fenton wants to track down the killer, then she has the clues to do so. She tells him to make a decision quickly and leaves her card behind, as the kids listen from the attic.
The Episode Review
As far as mysteries go, this family drama works well to combine elements of Riverdale, Stranger Things and Outer Banks. In a way, this series feels like a hybrid child of all three. This makes sense of course, given the influences from the original series of books.
Having not read those myself, I can’t say how closely aligned to that they are but in terms of a compelling mystery, this one definitely has a good hook. Given it’s geared for families and young adults, The Hardy Boys has all the ingredients to be a winner but whether it can sustain that sort of momentum across 13 episodes however, remains to be seen.
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