Plot: We open in Senor Mordante's tannery, as Murietta rides up. The shipment of boots with the stolen jewels will be arriving soon, and he wishes to be sure the tannery is secure. Which means running off the elderly peon, Pasqual, who worked for the previous owner, and was guaranteed a place to live in exchange for working there. Mordante is initially uneasy, but eventually backhands the old man, and when that doesn't drive him off, Murietta brings out the whip again. So, yeah, he didn't learn anything about bullying from last week's humiliation by Zorro.
In town, a woman and a young boy arrive on a wagon, with the load of boots in the back. This is Senorita Dolores and her brother Pogo, as they explain to Sergeant, sorry Commandante Garcia. The Senorita has considerable land and cattle holdings, which gives Garcia ideas. As Pogo delivers the boots, Garcia begins trying to woo Dolores with tales of his bravery, and speaking of his desire to settle down with a family. I wouldn't say it's going well but she hasn't openly laughed at him when Corporal Reyes appears, demanding the sergeant repay the 5 pesos he borrowed. At which point Dolores does laugh, and retires to her room. This leads to Garcia finding Reyes guilty of disrespecting a commanding officer, and fining him 5 pesos, which he uses to pay off his debt to the corporal. Then he reveals he plans to hold a small party in Dolores' honor, and it is the corporal's job to praise Garcia to the heavens while dancing with her. Except Reyes doesn't know how to dance, so Garcia has to show him, and one of the lancers barges in without knocking, and barely resists laughing at them.
While all that's happening, Pasqual has related his tale of woe to Don Diego, who promises him a room he can stay in there, and that they'll find him some work. Then Diego pays Mordante a visit, and notices the tanner and Murietta peering into the recently delivered box of boots. Diego only mentions that he disapproves of how Pasqual was treated, so Murietta cuts Diego's cigar in half with the whip. I'm starting to think Murietta might be a dick. That night, Zorro sneaks into Murietta's room again to snoop, and seeing he and Mordante are down below having dinner signals to Bernardo to go snoop in the tannery. Zorro continues nosing around and finds the Cross of the Andes, one of the few pieces of stolen goods Murietta brought on his person. About this time the two villains call it a night, and while Murietta winds up bound with Zorro's whip (Zorro taking Murietta's in what he call a fair trade), Bernardo gets knocked on the head by Mordante. Not before realizing the box of boots has a false bottom concealing the jewels, but while he's unconscious, Mordante decides to take them for himself, and hides them in a bag in his well (which he keeps in the tannery, and dumps leather scraps into, which doesn't seem hygienic). Zorro arrives in time to prevent Bernardo from winding up down the well, and in the uneven struggle, Mordante impales himself on some spike he had set on a post (I presume for punching holes in the leather). But now Diego and Bernardo have no idea where the stolen jewels are.
Quote of the Episode: Diego - 'Why, Senor, injustice is everyone's business.'
Times Zorro marks a "Z": 0 (13 overall). When he signals with the candle, he does so by moving it in the shape of a Z, but I figure that's the same as the movement Bernardo makes with his finger, so it doesn't count.
Other: This is one of those episodes where I feel like Garcia and Reyes are being used to pad things out. I know it's a subplot, Garcia's attempt to use the Senorita Dolores as a social stepping stone and path to a life of leisure, but parts of it still feel like fluff. Reyes' repeated insistence on the return of his money, even in the face of an unfair punishment, and I always feel like the singing and dancing parts are padding. I know it's a Disney show, singing and dancing is what they do, but it still feels entirely incidental and like it's killing time.
I am curious to see how Dolores and her family are connected to Murietta. It looks as though his brother Pietro is coming in next week (with the other half of the stolen jewels), so is she part of the family too? Or just another agent of the Eagle? A woman with 5000 acres and 2000 head of cattle would seem to be a bit above delivering one box of Argentine boots, unless there was something extra in it for her.
I have to wonder how many lackeys the Eagle has left. Watching Mordante die put me in mind of that line from the 4th Die Hard film. 'You have got to be runnin' out of bad guys here.' Between Mordante, Quintana, the Senora Toledano, the Magistrado, Magdalena, Ortega, the fake tax collector, the crooked nephew of the actual tax collector, Fuentes, the fake blind man, the at least 3 crooked lancers, the other three guys who got busted with Quintana, that one crooked ranchero (plus his two goons) that went down with the Magistrado. That's just the ones I can remember. It isn't like communication or travel times are quick. It takes a while to find out he needs to send more guys, then to contact those guys, then for those guys to get where they need to be. At some point attrition has to win out, right?