Friday, February 11, 2011

Queen of Swords #1: Destiny

The episode opens with Tessa Alvarado practicing fencing with her sword master, Señor Torres, in Madrid.  The scene cuts away to California, where Tessa's father, Don Rafael Alvarado, is pursued by soldiers.  He is shot and killed by Captain Marcus Grisham.  When Tessa learns of her father's death, she decides to return to California.

Marta prepares to tell Tessa about her father's death.

When Tessa and Marta return, they find that Don Rafael's hacienda is in ruin and his estate bankrupt.  A large amount is owed in back taxes.

Tessa is dismayed at the appearance of her father's home.
Captain Grisham speaks to Tessa.
Tessa's carriage rides into the pueblo.

Don Rafael's manservant, Carlos, has been arrested by Captain Grisham.  Tessa pleads with Colonel Montoya for Carlos to be released, but instead, Carlos is executed.

Tessa becomes acquainted with Don Gaspar Hildalgo and his wife, Vera.  Señora Hidalgo is having an affair with Captain Grisham.

Gaspar Hidalgo enjoys the music while his wife watches another man.

Colonel Montoya suggests that Captain Grisham attempt to win Tessa's heart.  Montoya worries that Tessa might have the money to pay the taxes on her father's property.

Captain Grisham has dinner with Tessa on the shore of the ocean.
Tessa begins to wonder whether her father was murdered.  All she knows is that her father, who was an expert horseman, fell off his horse.  No one will tell Tessa anything.  She is warned that she should not be so curious.

Marta reads tarot cards while Tessa dreams of her father.  Marta sees Tessa's destiny in the card the Queen of Swords.

Tessa's destiny is revealed.
 In Tessa's dream, she sees her father's spirit, who speaks of a certain wine in his cellar.

Don Rafael calls Tessa his "avenging angel."
 Don Rafael's spirit tells Tessa that he was murdered, that "one man held the gun, but there were many fingers on the trigger."  Tessa wonders what she should do.  Her father tells her that Tessa will do nothing, but that his "avenging angel" will seek justice for his death.

When Tessa wakes, she and Marta check out the wine cellar.  When Tessa tries to pick up the certain wine mentioned by her father, she pulls open a secret door which leads to a hidden room.

In that room, Tessa and Marta find her father's hidden fortune, as well as a sword and a black lace shawl that belonged to Tessa's mother.  Tessa realizes her true destiny as her father's avenging angel.

Tessa makes her first appearance as the Queen of Swords, freeing Carlos' son from jail.

The Queen of Swords rides out of the pueblo.

"Who or what is that?"

Tessa questions Montoya about the Queen of Swords.
Tessa is surprised that the stories about the Queen of Swords are true.  She remarks to Montoya, "How could one woman possibly outwit our esteemed military commander?"

Tessa pays the taxes owed on her father's land, much to Montoya's displeasure. 

Montoya prepares to execute the young man who was rescued from the jail the previous night.  Tessa's feigns that she is dizzy, and Montoya allows for Marta to take care of Tessa in his office while he sees to the execution.

Tessa pretends to be dizzy.
The Queen of Swords makes a second appearance, rescuing the young man.

The people wait as the execution nears.
The Queen of Swords appears on top of the church.
The Queen climbs down the side of the church.
The Queen of Swords is pursued across the rooftops.
The soldiers chase after the Queen.
Marta ministers to Tessa.
Colonel Montoya returns to his office, where Marta is ministering to Tessa.  Montoya remarks that Tessa's face seems to be flushed.  Tessa explains that she has a slight fever from the excitement.  Montoya tells Tessa that the execution has been postponed and wants his office back.

Tessa and Marta react after Montoya leaves.

The episode closes with Tessa standing at her father's grave.  She worries that her disguise won't fool Montoya for long, because he is not a stupid man.


Jennifer said...

I am going to give my thoughts on what I think so far about the series. I have actually watched four episodes, but I will only mention characters that appear in the first episode.

Additionally, I do plan to review all of the episodes here in time. If you choose to comment on the shows, please give no information past the episode I have reached. Therefore, comments should be limited to the first episode as well as general impressions.

I really like the show. One of the big criticisms I have read online is of the protagonist's acting ability. It doesn't bother me at all, and she seems fine to me.

Tessa reminds me a lot of Esmeralda of the Zorro telenovela, La espada y la rosa, and the actress who played Esmeralda was also criticized for her acting ability. I find myself thinking of Tessa as Esmeralda, so I am having to be careful about what I type.

I keep wanting to type Montero instead of Montoya. Sometimes I wish they would just use the same name instead of a similar name, or instead use a completely different name.

Captain Grisham is very reminiscent of Captain Love from The Mask of Zorro. I am not having trouble with Grisham's name, since it is sufficiently different from Love, and I have not watched The Mask of Zorro in a long time.

I am not having trouble with Montoya's name because of Montero from The Mask of Zorro but rather because of Montero from La espada y la rosa.

The basic premises strongly mimics Zorro. Tessa studies fencing in Madrid, just like Diego. She returns to California to face injustice, just like Diego. She takes on an alter ego dressed in black, just like Diego. It is easy to see this production as a version of Zorro.

It is painfully obvious who the Queen of Swords is, since the mask conceals so very little, and Tessa's hair is flowing everywhere. Tessa's hair should have been pulled back in one of the two personalities to make the distinction clearer.

I am able to ignore that problem, however. I have seen so many versions of Zorro that I can set aside my skepticism and pretend that no one can tell what is painfully obvious to the viewers.

Tessa's first act as the Queen of Swords is to rescue a man from jail. That was Zorro's first act in the New World Zorro series. I also liked the quote, "Who or what was that?" It reminded me of some quotes from Zorro.

REVUpminster said...

Tessie Santiago does grow into the part through the series improving her riding and fencing when it does become harder to spot her doubles. This episode has an editing error at the very beginning when the film is reversed for a few seconds showing the rapier and dagger in the wrong hands. There is also no explanation of where here costume and horse came from at the end fight.