Sunday, November 08, 2015

Zorro 1.39 - The Eagle's Flight

Plot: Bernardo's hanging out in the square, watching the Eagle's house. The Eagle, however, is watching Sergeant Garcia lead most of his men out of town on some mission. That's all the encouragement de Varga needs to place an eagle statuette on his window ledge, and men start pouring in. Bernardo sneaks closer and sees muskets being handed out, so he rushes home to warn Diego. For his part, Diego recognizes this is too big for just Zorro, and tries to tell Alejandro to alert his militia, but it's too late. The Eagle's men burst in, take the three prisoner, and bring them to Varga, who orders them locked in the cellar, while he orders Corporal Reyes to open the gates, then has his forces storm in and overwhelm the surprised and depleted forces.

Soon the Eagle is sporting an all-white general's outfit, and he and his men await the return of Sergeant Garcia's patrol, whom they'll all kill. But only Garcia returns, and he's taken prisoner (although it takes 3 men with loaded pistols to do it, after he throws aside the two who tried strongarming him). The Eagle has Spain's flag lowered in the cuartel, replaced with his, and demands his payment from Count Kolinko. Kolinko refuses, pointing out Alejandro's militia is still out there as a potential threat. So the Eagle tries threatening Alejandro is exchange for the list, but the old man won't budge. Diego, on the other hand, is willing to barter his life for the list, and Greco and one goon escort Diego back to the hacienda. There, Diego's able to catch them off-guard and escape with the list, and soon enough, Zorro in sneaking through the streets of Los Angeles, trying to free his father and the sergeant. Unfortunately, he's spotted, and Alejandro, Garcia, and Bernardo have to barricade themselves inside the Eagle's house to fend off his army (with the few remaining muskets from his secret armory).

Zorro's running loose outside, doing all he can to help, but things are looking bad when the militia arrives, with none other than Don Alfredo at the front. The Eagle runs for the cuartel, and locks Greco out to take a bullet in the back. But as Sergeant Garcia could have told him, locked gates have never kept Zorro out of the cuartel before, and they won't now. He defeats the Eagle in a swordfight, but doesn't finish him off, instead granting Reyes' plea that he and the other soldiers be freed so they can help in the battle. The Eagle tries to escape across the stable roof and over the wall, but as the gates were opened by the soldiers going out, it gives the dying Greco the chance to take one last shot at the leader who abandoned him, and the Eagle's dead. The battle won, Zorro departs, and Diego arrives moments later, as Alejandro is learning it was Diego who warned Alfredo and the rest of the threat. Even so, Alejandro only back-handedly compliments his son, still describing what Diego did as running for help. Either way, the Spanish flag is raised once more.

Quote of the Episode: Kolinko - 'It's just as I thought, Senor Varga. You control nothing, except a few empty buildings, a few empty streets. And for this, you expect me to pay you 13 million pesos.'

Times Zorro marks a "Z": 0 (15 overall).

Other: Even Sergeant Garcia couldn't hide his disappointment with Diego when he bartered with the Eagle, which is saying a lot. The Sergeant has always been a pretty staunch ally of Diego's - ignoring the time he went along with Raquel Toledano's plan to accuse Diego of being Zorro and imprison him to catch the real Zorro - and has never criticized him for not being the aggressive man Alejandro wants Diego to be. Some of that is undoubtedly because Diego doesn't give the sergeant a lot of grief about his weight or intelligence. But I like to think that in the same way that Diego recognizes Garcia is an honest, essentially good person doing the best he can, the sergeant knows Diego's a decent person and wants to do the right thing, just not with a sword.

So is 13 million pesos in 1810 a lot of money for California? The Louisiana Purchase cost $15 dollars less than a decade earlier, but that's a lot more land than California. I wonder if Alexander the First approved of Kolinko's decision not to pay up when the ambassador returned home. I suppose the Russians didn't have any troops nearby they could bring in quickly if he had paid up, but to back out of a deal that large because of a single 50-man militia seems nuts.

Nice touch having Don Alfredo at the front of the militia's arrival, after all his uncertainty. I suppose there's a lesson in there about not trying to ignore evil by running from it, but I can't help thinking he stayed because he was pissed the Eagle tried to have him killed.

So that's season 1. Pretty good, overall. I preferred Monastario as a villain, but maybe that's just because the Eagle storyline ran so long. The length did serve to highlight the size of his organization, just by the sheer number of different foes Zorro had to contend with. Also that, for a long time, it didn't seem to be bringing him any closer to the boss. He kept defeating them (or they wound up dead through some circumstance or another), but they were just replaced by another mid-level boss. The Eagle only stepped into the light when he felt like it, albeit because he probably didn't think he could trust anyone else to handle Los Angeles by then. But he'd also been at the scheme long enough to become an Administrano, which gave him all sorts of power and control, so he was willing to wait until that time. Still, he gets so impatient if anyone even remotely suggests he's not in total control, it's hard for me to believe he held things together as long as he did. I guess he's one of those bosses that's fine when things go well, but lousy in a crisis.

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