When we first meet Helena Shaw, she presents herself as a giddy archeology student, following in the footsteps of her late father, Basil (Toby Jones), and her adventuring godfather, Dr. Henry Jones Jr. Okay, that tracks. It might be a bit simple, but Waller-Bridge sells it with a wide-eyed wonder that is very disarming.
But then there’s a twist.
Turns out that’s all an act. Helena is really in it for the money, selling all the artifacts she can get her hands on to her black market connections and all her enthusiastic talk was really just her conning her godfather into handing over the piece of the Dial of Destiny in his possession. The more we hear about Helena, the more conniving she seems to be. While we don’t get a full-on backstory for her, we do find out she has a mobster ex-fiancee, a ton of underworld besties, and, apparently, a pile of gambling debt she is desperate to pay off.
Helena knows her history inside and out, maybe even better than Indiana Jones, but she just uses that knowledge for fortune and glory, not for the advancement of knowledge.