Sunday, October 11, 2015

Zorro 1.35 - The Tightening Noose

Plot: Diego and Alejandro are leaning on Don Alfredo to sign into a little group they're forming. Alejandro plans to travel to see the Governor and petition this group be recognized as an official militia to protect the area, since the soldiers are apparently insufficient. Alfredo buckles eventually, when he was previously about to sell his land and leave, and Alejandro sets off, a spare copy of the list of names hidden away in the library. Some time after Alejandro's departure, Bernardo notices Sergeant Garcia has arrived, and uses a secret passage through a cabinet in the sala to reach Diego's room without being noticed and alert him. Diego receives bad news from the sergeant: The new Administrano, Jose Sebastian de Varga, is on his way to Los Angeles to assume his duties, and until his home is completed, he's seizing control of the de la Vega hacienda.

Diego is outraged, and vows to fight, only to be talked out of it by Bernardo, who convinces him it would be better to listen and learn. And thus, the Eagle came to stay in Zorro's house. Yep, the Big Bad has apparently finally run out of henchman (save his secretary Juan Greco), and has come to this trouble spot to handle things personally. He knows of Alejandro's plans, having met him on his way here, and he wants that list of names. He and Greco search the house, the Eagle well aware homes like these are full of hiding places. Bernardo is able to warn Diego, and so Zorro arrives to steal away the list of names before they can read any. Things get a little dicey as he tries to exit the room through the sala and encounters Garcia, who has been stymied in his attempt to swipe a leftover leg of mutton, but Zorro's able to reach Diego's room, switch out of most of the costume, and tell the lancers some story of Zorro going out the window, with Bernardo riding swiftly away to sell the story.

It seems disaster is averted, but it may be better than that, as they not only found a host of eagle feathers among de Varga's things, but also a letter he hadn't mailed yet which clearly incriminates him as the Eagle. So now Zorro knows the face of his enemy, but he's surprisingly pessimistic. We'll see if that's warranted.

Quote of the Episode: Diego - 'My father, and my father's father have defended this house, and I shall do the same!'

Times Zorro marks a "Z": 1 (14 overall).

Other: I'm pretty sure watching this show is how I learned the word "popinjay", which the Eagle uses in reference to Diego. Sadly, it isn't a word I get to use very often.

You would think, after the last couple of times Alejandro tried to create one of these well-meaning groups, he'd have learned his lesson. First he tried to rally the dons to rebel against Monastario. Then there was the time he let the Magistrado sucker him in to arresting some poor kid to use as bait for Zorro. He says this one will be officially recognized, but so was that last one, and it was still a disaster. And for Diego to support it. I guess if you wanted a sign the situation is dire, that would be one.

Diego seemingly being resigned to fighting a losing battle, even now that he has his foe in his home, would be another. Admittedly, given the resources the Eagle's demonstrated he has at his command so far, there's reason to wonder if two men can stop him alone. On the other hand, they've done well at thwarting most every move he's made in the area so far, and now he's right there. He even has a big old Kirk Douglas-style crater in his chin that would fit the point of a sword just perfectly. Stab him in the face and call it good. I know, he's not going to do that, certainly not while de Varga appears to all the world a legitimate servant of Spain's government. And exposing him as the leader behind a vast, treasonous campaign certainly wouldn't be easy. Almost everyone who's worked for him is dead, and even if they weren't, or if Zorro could get to those who aren't, I'm not sure what procedure there is for testifying.

It does seem the stress is starting to wear on him. He's letting his timid scholar act slip more and more, from encouraging other dons to join this militia - because he figures they need all the organized resistance they can get - and actually planning to resist the Eagle's intrusion into his home directly. He's expressed frustration with the act more than once, how it causes others to regard him as unreliable, how his own father is openly disappointed in him (and so vocal about it even the Eagle knows). I start to wonder how long he can keep this up, even if it does give him an advantage now, since the Eagle dismisses him as any threat.

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