Plot: The Eagle dictates to a letter to Greco on his plans to claim the de la Vega hacienda for his own. When Greco questions him, the Eagle reminds him who is boss by jabbing with his sword, and mentions he is expecting a message which Greco should bring whenever it arrives. Diego has been listening through the secret passage, and receives more bad news when Bernardo comes home with a letter from Alejandro. His civilian militia has been approved, and he's on his way home, and will undoubtedly be unhappy to see someone living in his house. As Diego mulls over what to do, providence arrives in the form of a change in the guards. The Eagle steps out of his room to enjoy a smoke, and can't see anyone around. he immediately freaks out, yelling for the guards.
From this Diego surmises the Eagle fears being alone, and sets to a plan. First he talks to Garcia, who admits he misses the revelry of the tavern being stuck out in the boonies. Diego mentions he could buy the tavern if he caught Zorro, and chides the sergeant for giving up too easily, imploring him to keep pursuing the next time he sees him. While this is going on, the Eagle is humiliating poor Corporal Reyes, using him as an orderly, but mostly making him stand at attention in the library all the time. Diego saunters in and mentions he and Bernardo are going to leave for town for a few days, because Diego has felt so isolated out there. Bernardo doesn't seem totally on board with the plan, but that night, he sneaks into the sala and uses some odd gourd thing to make a screeching noise, then escapes through the passage by the time Garcia and Reyes come in.
At this point, Diego announces he and Bernardo are going to leave now, and depart. Soon enough Zorro makes like he's Corvo from Dishonored and takes out the guards. Later, Garcia and Reyes sit outside as Garcia speaks of his dream of running the tavern. At which point Zorro pops over the wall, and taunts the sergeant. Garcia takes one lancer and sets in pursuit, leaving Reyes and one other guy. Zorro slips back in and plays awful notes on the piano to draw the Eagle and those two soldiers to the sala. Soon all the guards are down, the lights are out, the noises are ramping up, and the Eagle is about out of his head when first Greco arrives with his message, and Garcia returns in defeat. The piano starts up again,and though it's only a cat, the Eagle has had enough and is moving to L.A., because it's time to take California.
Quote of the Episode: Corporal Reyes - 'What does a noise look like?'
Times Zorro marks a "Z": 0 (14 overall).
Other: The Eagle's a little too fond of jabbing people with swords to assert his authority. Plays up the fear Diego speaks of, that the Eagle knows he's actually weak.
I'm always torn when Diego plays games with Garcia like that. Yes, Garcia would probably be a horrible tavern owner because he'd drink all his stock, but it's a harmless dream for him to have. And Diego knows it will never happen, certainly not by capturing Zorro. But he jerks the poor sergeant around. I understand that it's a serious circumstance, this evil man is going to use some claim to an authority he doesn't really have to steal Diego's home and land, but the part of me that values friendship can't help but look askance at that stuff.
That said, it's nice to think Garcia and Reyes ran a tavern together someday, somehow.
So, the reveal that the Eagle is deathly afraid of being alone for even an instant was a little contrived. But setting that aside, I like this episode. It's a different version of "The Ghost of the Mission", since Zorro is really just focused on unnerving one person, rather than an entire company of soldiers. I like how completely Diego pulls things together, from planting the seeds with Garcia, to his asides to the Eagle about the hacienda's location, to Bernardo's stunts with the gourd. And especially Zorro sneaking around taking down all the soldiers one by one. I mentioned Dishonored, but it really reminded me of Thief: Deadly Shadows since he didn't kill any of them. I even like the way there's a moment you think the Eagle might snap entirely, lose his nerve and flee into the night, only for Greco to arrive and save his nerve. As it is, Diego's averted a scene that likely would have gotten his father killed, but the Eagle's plans are still moving forward, and he might be ready for his ultimate move.