Queen of Swords

Season 1 Episode 15

Runaways

0
Aired Saturday 10:30 PM Feb 24, 2001 on
9.0
out of 10
User Rating
8 votes
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Episode Summary

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Runaways
AIRED:
Tessa fears for Dr. Helm's safety when his former fiancée arrives in Saint Helena claiming to be on the run from an abusive husband.

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • Hooray! Another Queen/Doctor Helm episode!

    8.5
    Please Note: This review contains spoilers.



    ***



    Notice my enthusiasm when I read the synopsis for this episode. It's the latest chapter in the tumultuous relationship between the Queen of Swords and Doctor Helm, and after classics like Death to the Queen, Vengeance and The Serpent, I was confident that Runaways wouldn't disappoint either. And for the majority, it doesn't.



    Staying true to the series' trend, Runaways features rich storytelling. We get more development of Doctor Helm's character, which is another plus, but what's so refreshing here is that the events here go one step further than him just being an ex-soldier/killer with blood on his hands. We learn that even Helm's choice to be a doctor cost him his innocence and happiness, which not only further explains his bitterness, it makes his reasons for being so all the more sympathetic and valid.



    To get the cons out of the way, the faults I found with the episode were numerous. The slave characters Agatha and Jefferey served only for plot-sake, Montoya (though his usual, brilliant scheming self) and his plot to exploit the situation felt more of a distraction from the REAL delight of the episode. Plus, the Colonel's idea to use a double for Camilla to fool Agatha & Jeffery upon their escape came across as being really redundant. I don't know whether a key scene had been deleted or what, but the whole idea seemed abandoned as soon as the slaves made it to shore. Which makes me scratch my head trying to wonder what the point was!



    Then, there's the guest stars and the roles they play. Captain Charles Wentworth (Simon MacCorkindale) & his abused wife Camilla (Amber Batty). Again, they're just one-dimensional plot-devices, used for the sake of story and developing other characters. Wentworth is a vicious, assertive, bullying brute with an English accent...and that's it. Camilla is an unappealing, distressed damsel/wet blanket...with an English accent (what on EARTH did Helm see in her?!). And I can't say Amber Batty impressed me, because she didn't. She was lacklustre in a lacklustre role; totally unlike Simon MacCorkindale, who I truly felt made the most out of what he was given.



    The real stars of the episode were yet again Tessie Santiago and Peter Wingfield. Whether it be solo or together, they carried the episode on their shoulders. For Tessa, it starts out as a 'usual' day, helping those in dire need. Then she discovers the past relationship between Helm and Camilla...and her whole world comes crashing down. Despite outer appearances, Tessa genuinely loves Robert, and can't bring herself to admit it to Marta or even herself. With genuine jealously towards Camilla, the Queen has an even harder time trying to focus on her job.



    It unearths a new layer to the Queen's character, one which Tessie not only delivers to perfection, but also blends in with her ability to expertly deliver the Queen's wit (through hilarious exchanges with Camilla) and convey genuine loneliness. The scene where Tessa looks through the window to see Helm and Camilla kissing upon their reunion is genuinely heartbreaking, and Tessie's expression is as human as it comes.



    As for Peter, his handling of his character is another inspired performance. Whether it be coming to blows with Wentworth & Montoya, Helm is really getting stuck in now to do the right thing. One of the things that was really pleasing about Runaways was that both Helm and the Queen had (off-screen) reconciled over the events of The Serpent, with the Doctor thanking the vigilante for saving his life again and them both working together with a new-found maturity.



    And of course with Helm, you now feel that after this he's faced all his past demons. When discussing with Camilla over how to deal with her monstrous husband and the past, you get a great exchange between them, with Robert refusing to bloody his hands further and Camilla chastising that "Well, it wouldn't be the FIRST time." Doctor Helm ultimately coming out with, "Maybe your father's right! Maybe I am just a coward!" makes you feel even more understanding and sympathy towards him. And at the episode's end, you feel pleased and convinced that he's now ready to move on completely.



    As for the conclusion, it was very satisfactory. I was pleased with how Wentworth got his comeuppance, with Camilla, Agatha & Jeffery sailing off in his ship, leaving him with absolutely nothing. Most guest villains seemed to have a habit of being shot dead or run through with a blade on this show, so it was original for justice to have been served through alternative means.



    The closing sequence of the Queen and Doctor Helm on the cliff overlooking the runaways' ship set sail was pleasing as well. No more animosity now between the two, just a great friendship. I was SO glad that Helm decided to stay for the Queen, as it reflects the peace he's made with his past and his desire for a future with Tessa. But again, this moment was almost squandered completely by the Queen's hesitance in admitting her true feelings for him. Understandable perhaps, but still frustrating that they never truly cemented anything!



    Despite some nagging blemishes, Runaways is another terrific offering from the series. Death to the Queen, Vengeance and The Serpent are a step above this, but Runaways still continues the strong Tessa/Doctor Helm storyline with panache. If only it'd been given the proper resolution it deserved.



    Final Rating: 8.5/10moreless
Peter Wingfield

Peter Wingfield

Dr. Robert Helm

Anthony Lemke

Anthony Lemke

Captain Marcus Grisham

Tessie Santiago

Tessie Santiago

María Teresa 'Tessa' Alvarado/the Queen of Swords

Elsa Pataky

Elsa Pataky

Senora Vera Hidalgo

Paulina Gálvez

Paulina Gálvez

Marta

Valentine Pelka

Valentine Pelka

Colonel Luís Montoya

Simon MacCorkindale

Simon MacCorkindale

Charles Wentworth

Guest Star

Amber Batty

Amber Batty

Camilla Wentworth

Guest Star

Tunde Oba

Tunde Oba

Jeffrey

Guest Star

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