Online Edition



Season 1, episode 03
Series 103
1st release: 10/16/00
2nd release: 12/04/00
Production number: 1005
Approximate shooting dates:
Last update: 05-14-01

SYNOPSIS by James Ott
COMMENTARY by Carmen Carter

Tessie Santiago (Tessa Alvardo)
Valentine Pelka (Col. Luis Montoya)
Anthony Lemke (Capt. Marcus Grisham)
Paulina Galvez (Marta)
Peter Wingfield (Dr. Robert Helm)
Tacho Gonzalez (Don Hidalgo)
Elsa Pataky (Senora Vera Hidalgo)

Jesus Temino (Enrique)
Irene Gonzalez (Pira)
Jesus Herrera Jaimez (Guard)
Jose Fernandez (Farmer)
Enrique Santiago Fernandez (Shopkeeper)

Written by Scott Kraft
Directed by Paolo Barzman

Filmed in Almeria, Spain, by Fireworks/Morena Films/Amy Intl. Prods. in association with Telefonica, and M6, distributed by Paramount Domestic TV in association with Mercury Entertainment. Executive producers, Jay Firestone, Adam Haight, David Abramowitz; producer, Ken Gord; director, Jon Cassar; writer, James Thorpe; director of photography, Alwyn Kumst C.S.C; production designer, Fernando Gonzalez; music, Philip Stanger; wardrobe designer, Evelyne Correard Trompier; supervising editor, T.C. Martin; ``Behind the Mask'' theme song performed by Jose Feliciano; special effects, Carlos Fernandez, Tomas Urban; art director, Carlos Suarez Bodelon; set decorator, Marta Agullo Laguna. Season one filmed between May 3 - December 2000.

Tessa must stop a deadly fever that is consuming the inhabitants of the town and Captain Grisham manages to steals the antidote.

When a deadly fever grips the town, Capt. Grisham steals the antidote to frame Tessa. ClickTV


When a deadly fever grips the town, Doctor Helm's medicine is the only cure. In an ambitious bid to assume power, Captain Grisham steals the antidote, which Montoya desperately needs, and frames the Queen of Swords for the crime. The dark beauty is forced to unmask the real culprit - or watch Marta, Montoya and many of the townspeople die.


1st RELEASE: 10/16/00
An AA average of less than 1.6
Competition from Action Hours:

Andromeda  3.5  
The X-Files  3.5  
Stargate SG-1  3.2  
Xena  3.2  
Earth: Final Conflict  2.2  
Profiler  1.9  
Sheena  1.9  
Invisible Man  1.6  
Pretender  1.6  
Relic Hunter  1.6  


This synopsis is by James Ott.


A galloping patrol of soldiers fades to a scene where inside an adobe brick ranch farm house, the wife is feverish and bedridden as her husband and daughter comfort her. Enrique (the Husband) tells her that he's going for the Doctor. As he steps out the door, the soldiers grab him as Captain Grisham swears him into military service. They lasso the reluctant enlistee Enrique and bring him back to town.


Tessa asks the Governor what crime Enrique has committed. Col. Montoya explains that because of the fever and the Queen of Swords, he must replenish his forces. "In the past," he relates, "I would send one soldier to collect taxes, now I must send three." Marta and Tessa, now alone, argue over the fact that the Queen is the problem. Tessa argues that she can't be responsible and then do nothing. Marta tells her that this is a problem you can't settle with a sword.

While the Captain is in the Courtyard boxing with the new recruit, Tessa bargains for Enrique's freedom with her bountiful charms.

Later we learn that the disease has now infected the feverish Col. Montoya. He declares that Dr. Helm is now exclusively his personal physician and is under house arrest. Meanwhile, Marta indicates illness also as she tends to the ailing farmer's wife.

Captain Grisham, while sitting with Montoya, views Enrique running away with the last of the medicine. He shoots out the window and shouts that the Queen of Swords is getting away with the medicine.


The first "Wanted Sign" for the capture of the Queen of Swords appears with a reward of 500 Pecos for stealing the medicine. The Peasants believe she has turned against them. Enrique returns to administer the cure to his stricken wife. Grisham runs him down outside with his horse and clubs him down with his sword. The farmer reluctantly leads him to the medicine bag's hiding place. A surprise attack with a sickle fails and he is shot dead.

The Queen of Swords pays a visit to the deathly feverish Montoya. When she leaves, the Colonel fires a pistol he had under his pillow at her. He misses and she gives him a salutation with her sword as she escapes out a window. With the Guards alerted, the Queen sword fights the entire Garrison's contingent as she runs from balconies and rooftops. Her descent, by landing on two guards to break her fall, aids her daring escape on horseback.


Feverish Marta is passed out head down on the table with her tarot cards strewn about. She forecasts that, "He who has the medicine is already dead."

Enrique's death is blamed on the rampant fever as his funeral procession leaves the Church. Tessie is suspicious as he appeared fine only the day before. She visits Dr. Helm and learns that the fever takes five days to kill someone if they were healthy before. Then Tess searches Grisham's quarters for the cure. Grisham is surprised to see her and reminds Tess about their previous bargain. A timely explosion interrupts the two as the Doctor's room has burst into flames. The new batch of medicine for the current plague has been destroyed. Grisham controls the only batch of medicine in the Territory.


Marta's given a cold bath and Tessa prepares a "lemon grass espardin" which would make her perspire profusely. An idea germinates as a result. The Captain is entertained by Tess who kisses him while spiking his drink with the powdered extract. Soon he has the symptoms of the fever, dizzy and sweating profusely. The Doctor has found the detonator plug which caused the explosion. When Montoya sees it and confirms that it appears to be the work of one who is familiar with military explosives. Helm goes after Grisham with the Queen of Swords shadowing him. Helm catches him with the medicine bag at his hideout. The Captain has the upper hand since he is armed with a pistol. The Queen's timely jump from the roof knocks the Captain's weapon from his hands. In a deft display of swordsmanship, the Queen outduels him but he trips her with a rope, tosses dirt in her face, and hits her with a bucket to gain advantage. Ready to run her through with his saber, the Doctor shoots the blade off of Grisham's sword with unbelievable aim. The Captain is subdued and the Queen takes some of the medicine with her for Marta's sake. She thanks the doctor for his marvelous shot. The Doctor replies, "I'll send you my bill in the morning."


The Colonel throws a Fiesta in the Doctor's honor. The Doctor explains that the cure is Salycitic acid derived from wood bark. A toast is made, "To Doctor Helm, his bark is much better than his bite!"

Finally, the Captain is alone with the Colonel who knows what he had done. "You're an animal, Captain. But you are my animal and I hold the leash. This was your first and only mistake. If it happens again, I will take that leash and strangle you with it."


This commentary is by Carmen Carter.

A bout of fever kicks The Queen of Swords into high gear with a fast-paced plot full of twists and turns, flashy swordplay sequences, and revealing character interactions that add spice to the action. This third episode builds on the strengths of the earlier two installments and shores up some of the weaker aspects. Most notably, Tessie Santiago seems to be relaxing into her dual role of Tessa and her alter ego, the Queen of Swords. All of these developments bode well for the future of the series, but "Fever" is entertaining enough that one can finally ignore the promise that may lie ahead in favor of just enjoying the present.

Early in the episode, Tessa Alvarado's black-and-white world picks up a subtle shade of gray when Marta points out that actions, no matter how well-intentioned, have consequences and "not all problems can be solved with a sword." This admonishment sets the stage for a hero that is fallible, as well as highlighting the give-and-take dynamic between Tessa and Marta. The Gypsy's wary pragmatism takes the edge off of the younger woman's exuberant idealism and pulls the Queen of Swords back from the brink of comic book heroism. Marta's wisdom is a novel twist on the stereotypic sidekick, who is usually brash and heedless in comparison to the competent, wordly superhero. Placing these two women on equal footing makes for a more complex -- and therefore more interesting -- character dynamic, creating a true partnership in which Tessa and Marta can draw on different perspectives and skills to solve dilemmas.

This contrast in personalities is emphasized even more when Marta succumbs to the fever and displays a testy impatience for being tended to by her charge. Tessa's easy dismissal of Marta's protests is just as telling; these two are friends of long-standing who have given each other license to drop all pretenses. For Tessa -- a woman who play-acts both as Senorita Alvarado and as the Queen of Swords -- these intimate moments with Marta are her only opportunity to be herself and to allow the audience a peek beneath her many masks.

The outbreak of fever brings new insights into other residents of the pueblo as well. It's no surprise to see the coarse-natured Grisham brutalize peasants, but Montoya's illness and resulting vulnerability sparks an unexpected deviousness in the captain. By allowing the doctor's fever antidote to be stolen, and then bombing his lab, Grisham strikes a roundabout blow to his superior. Who knew he could be clever?

Clearly, Montoya did not. But the colonel's reaction to this treachery is just as deliciously unexpected. Like a snarling cur, Grisham is brought to heel by a sharp snap of his master's leash. No shouting, no threats, just a steely-eyed warning that such misbehavior will not be tolerated again. Once again Valentine Pelka performs a feat of theatrical alchemy by transforming Montoya's civility and restraint into chilling rage.

Despite Marta's caution, the time finally comes when Tessa must brandish her sword against Captain Grisham. Fortunately, the entertaining choreography of the fighting sequences still manages to serve the deeper purposes of the series. Dr. Helm's resistance to committing violence, followed by a spectacular bit of marksmanship that saves the Queen's life, hints at the contradictions in his persona. But that, dear viewers, is a story to be explored more fully a week later in "Vengeance."


Episode synopsis from the Manzana Core

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