Plot: The de la Vega hacienda has another visitor, one Diego recognizes from his time in Spain. It's Count Kolinko, ambassador from Russia, come looking for Varga. Diego plays along as being a member of the Eagle's band, and has almost learned of Russia's offer for California, when Alejandro comes in, introduces himself, and immediately starts expounding on his citizen militia and his mistrust of Varga. So Kolinko leaves, and Diego is out in the cold. In town, Kolinko visits the Eagle in his new home, and Varga is his usual overbearing, bossy self. He also dismisses Kolinko's concerns about Diego, who soon arrives in town with Bernardo and observes many pieces of art being brought into Varga's home. Objects he received from Kolinko, who presented himself to Sergeant Garcia as an art dealer. Bernardo is able to steal one of the mysteriously heavy vases, and inside is a cannonball. That's not good.
That night, Zorro sneaks into the Eagle's home, and is unwittingly aided in his snooping by Garcia, who forgot a document Varga needs to sign, so they leave to visit the cuartel. In one room, Zorro finds muskets, cannonballs, powder, and the mount for a cannon, but no cannon. It's at that point Greco and Kolinko spot him and try to kill him quietly, so as not to attract the notice of the soldiers posted outside (what with the hidden armory exposed). That doesn't work, but Kolinko is able to use the Zorro and all the swordplay as sufficient distraction to close the door before Garcia sees anything. Having escaped, Zorro recalls the Eagle's conversation when he first snuck in, about a wagon with a busted wheel, and surmises it must have the cannon, and that it would have to already be at the blacksmith's to avoid notice. The blacksmith runs the moment he sees Zorro, which isn't so great for our hero because the wagon still isn't fixed, which means they won't be moving the cannon. Fine, they'll blow it up. But as they spread gunpowder around, the wagon slips off its stand and traps Bernardo against a pillar. Zorro tries to help free him, but didn't set his light down carefully enough, and the fuse is lit. Bernardo narrowly makes it out the window, but it appears Zorro has been blown to bits, much to the arriving Eagle's glee.
Oh, never mind, Zorro did survive.
Quote of the Episode: Kolinko - 'Yes, Spain is very weak.' Alejandro - 'But her people are not.'
Times Zorro marks a "Z": 1 (15 overall). On the door of the blacksmith's, with a hot poker, as a symbol to the Eagle not to get too happy.
Other: I swear I didn't know Kolinko was going to show up when I made that prediction about Russia being the other buyer last week.
Maybe there was a rule against it back then, but I'd have been really impressed if they ended the episode with Zorro still seeming to be dead. Next week is the end of the first season and the end of the Eagle storyline, it would make perfect sense for Zorro's death to be the reason (combined with having marshaled most of his forces) for the Eagle to finally make his play. Of course, is there any guarantee the Eagle will learn Zorro isn't dead before then? The cannon was destroyed, the Eagle has no reason to return to the blacksmith's shop, or care about anything that guy might have to tell him. Even if he does learn of it, he might assume Zorro left it before the explosion, since he obviously hadn't planned to be blown up with the cannon. It would be easy to tell oneself they missed it in the rush to get to the shop and preserve the cannon.
I'm kind of impressed at the Eagle's gall in shit-talking these ambassadors, first Brighton and now Kolinko. Clearly, Varga understands Michael Westin's rule about appearing to be willing to walk away. So did Brighton, but Varga let him walk away, which is a flaw in that strategy, when the other guy is too stupid to realize he shouldn't let you walk. And Varga does strike me as kind of dumb, if only because I keep expecting his tendency to try and boss around everyone to backfire eventually. He hasn't really accomplished shit. All the pieces are in place to take California, or so he says, but he hasn't done it. And if he does it, but first pisses off all his potential customers, then where is he? He seems sure he can take California, but can he hold it? Not just against Spain, which might or might not try to reclaim it, but against these former potential buyers. Maybe they decide he's done the hard work in dismantling the framework of an organized resistance, and it'll be easier for them to conquer a country full of people who have just been conquered by some loudmouth they don't care for.