Fugitiva, a series from Spain, is about a woman trying to save herself and her three children from their violent, criminal father.
Magda (Paz Vega) is the driving force in Fugitiva, and clearly the star of the series. In the opening scenes, we see her and her three children kidnapped from their opulent home in Mexico City. Later, when they arrive in Benidorm, Spain, we realize Magda planned the whole thing herself as a way to escape from her abusive husband Alejandro (Julio Bracho).
Alejandro is in Madrid at the time. He is in the middle of a business deal to buy more hotels. When he learns about his children being kidnapped, he suffers 3 heart attacks.
In the first of many unbelievable turns in the plot, within hours Alejandro is out of his hospital bed, closing business deals and chasing down his children.
The entire season takes place in about 4 days, from the fake kidnapping to the resolution.
Claudia (Luisa Rubino), Ruben (Iván Pellicer), and Paulina (Arantza Ruiz) are Magda’s children. They don’t particularly want to be saved from their father and are annoyingly loyal to him. As the series unfolds and the children and the audience together learn what kind of a man their father really is, they stop obstructing their mother’s efforts to get them to safety.
Ruben is deaf and the family uses sign language with him. Paulina is headstrong, spoiled, and causes constant problems because she won’t do anything anyone tells her to do.
Fugitiva is about a woman finding her strength and coming into her own power. It’s an ode to feminism. With flashbacks, it revisits 20 years of Magda’s past since she married Alejandro. It looks at her poor choices along the way. It shows how she trusts the wrong men and the damage those men do to her.
She has a lot to overcome in finding her way to trusting herself, including her never supportive mother, Nora (Mercedes Sampietro).
A couple of men involved in the escape and chase are Tobías (José Manuel Poga) and K (Roberto Álamo). It isn’t always clear if they are there to help her or double cross her and steal money. The man who helped plot the escape did. He left her stranded in Benidorm with no cash.
Alejandro’s mother Esmeralda (Charo López) blames the kidnap on the family’s enemy Velasco (Odiseo Bichir). She thinks this because she knows who killed Velasco’s children mere months before.
Is it a trope in Spain that there must always be a powerful older woman who instigates murder and mayhem in everyone under her? They’re like the wicked stepmother in “Cinderella.” I really dislike these evil female characters that I find too often in Spanish television. Therefore, I really disliked Esmeralda – when I wasn’t busy hating Alejandro for being abusive to his wife.
I was not fond of Magda’s mother either. She seemed unable to say one approving word to her daughter.
Fugitiva proceeded at an uneven pace. Things would look better and then there would be a plot twist throwing things out of control again. Sometimes it was exciting and edge-of-your-seat action, sometimes it was overdrawn and unnecessarily slow. Magda made so many mistakes in her bid for freedom it was almost funny, except you couldn’t help rooting for her.
On the other hand, expecting Magda to bloom suddenly as a woman in control of her own life in a mere 4 days from start to finish might be too much to ask. She’d lived in mortal fear for most of the last 20 years of her life with Alejandro.
I watched all 9 episodes of Fugitiva with interest, but there were some glaring problems with plotting that annoyed along the way.
Several episodes were directed by Belén Macías, a woman director. The series was created by Joaquín Oristrell. Fugitiva is mostly in Spanish with a few touches of English.
I couldn’t find a trailer in Spanish with English subtitles, so I offer one horribly dubbed in English. On Netflix, you can watch the series in Spanish with English subtitles for a better experience.