SynopsisWhile visiting Darius, Duncan is reunited with a former love, Grace Chandel. Duncan and Grace shared a "moment" in the 17th century, but it didn't last. Grace went to the Amazon with a possessively jealous Immortal named Carlo Sendaro, but after she left him, he continued to pursue her for centuries, hoping to reclaim her. Now he has tracked her to Paris, where he proceeds to kill her mortal husband and pins the murder on Grace in order to force her to flee with him. Duncan tries to assist Grace in escaping from Sendaro, but is forced at last to face him in the tunnels of the Paris Metro.
ReviewSaving Grace is often under-appreciated as an episode. Grace herself has sometimes been criticized by fans as a weak, passive victim who was foolish to fall for a man like Sendaro and doom herself to a life of running away from him, while relying on others to defend her. Certainly she shows no inclination to fight. A butt-kicking chick she is not, a fact that bothers some fans, but is seen as a virtue by others.
But I believe there is more to this episode than the story of an obsessive lover and his object of desire. For one thing, the episode touches on some things which pose emotional problems for Immortals--the inability to have children of their own, and the aging of their mortal loved ones. As a midwife in the 17th century, Grace had brought many children into the world, and she obviously regrets that she will never have a baby of her own. And her husband had been on the verge of leaving her, fearing she would eventually leave him because he would age while she remained young.
Another issue is Tessa's attitude towards this woman out of Duncan's past. She is not pleased to discover Grace hiding out on the barge at Duncan's invitation, and she senses immediately that Grace still has feelings for him. Yet Tessa rises above petty jealousy, and a friendship develops between the two women as Tessa becomes involved in shielding Grace from Sendaro.
The episode also raises some interesting questions regarding the relationship between Grace and Darius. Was she at some point his student? Was some of her pacifism the result of his teaching? And how does Darius feel about Grace? His affection for her is obvious; was it ever more than friendship between them? At great risk to herself, Grace returns to St. Julien to bid Darius farewell before leaving Paris, and just before going, she takes his face into her hands and kisses him on the cheek. Very moved, Darius touches the spot where she kissed him. Perhaps their feelings went beyond friendship, but his vows stood between them. We will never know. But this little moment is seems full of unspoken thoughts. And once again, Werner excels in the subtlety of his performance.
Julia Stemberger is radiant as Grace, and her performance gives us a sense of the character's strength as well as her fragility. When she first sees Duncan, he bursts in upon her as she is delivering a child. She orders him outside with authority, and later, after the birth, goes quietly out expecting to die at his hands. Of course Duncan spares her, but this incident demonstrates that Grace posesses courage to equal that of a butt-kicking chick swinging a sword. Hers is simply courage of a different kind, of sacrifice and endurance, which gives her much in common with mortal women throughout history.
Georges Corraface as Sedaro makes an adequate but boring adversary. Perhaps the writing is at fault here--he is given only one note to sing, and if his smoldering is monotonous, it may not be entirely his fault. The same might be said of Hugues Leforestier who is no more interesting as the one-dimensional, ever-annoying Inspector LeBrun, who always seems to be one step behind Duncan. I always think of him as the male version of the annoying reporter Randi McFarland, and I don't miss either of them. The Quickening in the subway tunnel was unusual, but I didn't find the fight that went before it particularly good. It is the quiet scenes in the episode that carry the most impact, and for the sake of them, I give Saving Grace 3 stars.
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(This page last updated 02/28/2002)