Plot: Sergeant Garcia and Corporal Reyes are on patrol in the city, and no one seems to like them, since they are soldiers. Except Diego, and through their conversation we learn Senor Rico has responded to the discontent of the populace to all of his stupid rules with more stupid rules. Since we last saw him, Joaquin has become the leader of a rebel group that is flouting the authority of Rico and Briones at will, to the extent our soldier duo find Briones and one of his especiales tied and gagged to a post along the street, a note pinned to them. Which leads to the reward for Joaquin's capture being raised to 1000 pesos, half of the reward for Zorro.
Alejandro is heading out to Santa Barbara to find the governor and bring him back. In the meantime, he asks Diego to find Joaquin and convince him to calm down before he gets in trouble they can't extricate him from. With that, Alejandro is off, in the guise of an innocent horse ride, with Diego sending Bernardo along to make sure it starts smoothly. That done, Diego sits down to lunch, only to be disturbed by Theresa, fleeing Briones, who figures she can lead them to Joaquin. Diego hides her under the table he's sitting at, and plays innocent when Briones barges in, inviting him and Garcia to join Diego for lunch. Briones has no time for such things and barges out, but after, Garcia reveals he saw Theresa and said nothing, leading Diego to genuinely invite him to dinner. After the soldiers depart, Theresa once again jumps on Diego and showers him with kisses, but won't lead him to Joaquin.
Speaking of the rebel leader, he and his band are busy that night painting graffiti on the well in the plaza. They take off when the soldiers approach, but one, a Pablo Dominguez, goes back for his hat and the bucket of paint and is shot. In response, Joaquin pins a note to the cuartel gate proclaiming two soldiers will die that night. For a moment, Rico seems to waver in his convictions, and again questions the level of force Briones used, but it passes quickly, and he decides they'll let Joaquin kill two soldiers, so they can justify his execution. And Briones knows just the two to serve up. Amidst all this, Diego has come to visit Theresa to try again to convince her to lead him to Joaquin. No need, as she's riding off with saddlebags full of food, so they just follow her. She tries to hide and wait for them to pass, but Diego outwits her, then threatens to take her horse if she doesn't take them to Joaquin. Which really amuses Joaquin (if not Theresa), but doesn't make him any more inclined to listen to Diego's pleas.
That night, as Diego stews over his failed diplomacy, Garcia comes to visit, explaining he can't come to dinner, because he and Corporal Reyes are on night patrol. What's more, they're reduced to carrying sticks, because they've been told it might improve the peons' opinions of the soldiers if they were less well armed. Diego's no fool, and so Zorro is soon following the two through town, sabotaging the attempt of one of Joaquin's men to kill them. Soon enough he finds Joaquin and disarms him, then demonstrates (by discharging the loaded pistol) that Briones was ready to rush out and kill Joaquin. Joaquin is staggeringly ungrateful for being spared a dupe's death, and Zorro departs.
Quote of the Episode: Rico - 'What he has done will not excuse out killing him. But what he is going to do will.'
Times Zorro marks a "Z": 0 (2 overall).
Other: Where is Diego hiding Phantom? This isn't his home territory, it wouldn't be that easy to find a temporary place to stash this massive white horse where no one will find it. Though I'm not sure how many people have seen him on it. Still, he'd have to keep it some place he could reach it readily.
As for Diego himself, threatening to steal a young woman's horse and leave her stranded in the wilderness. That's hardly the behavior of a proper gentleman. He and Theresa do seem to have fun teasing each other, though. It's also interesting, in contrast to Anna-Maria, who was portrayed as this sort of refined lady of high standing, and was very attracted to the rougish outlaw, that Theresa seems to like Diego. She hasn't met Zorro yet, but there's no indication she gives him a single thought. But she already has Joaquin, so she probably doesn't need another guy risking her neck to fight. Diego, who is kind and measured in his actions, and uses words, might seem more appealing.
Or she's just messing with him, because she knows being so forward with her displays of affection isn't something he's accustomed to.
I asked Garcia to do something last week, and he took some steps. I understand why he can't outright fight Briones (even if Garcia were the type to do that), so the fact he helped shield Theresa from Briones was encouraging. Especially since he did rather cleverly, by maintaining an attitude Briones wouldn't find suspicious from him. He moves around to partially obscure the captain's view of what's beneath the table, while pretending he's just happy to eat some of Diego's lunch. Which suggests Garcia is well aware of what people think of him (not a surprise given how many of his bosses have been so eager to tell him about it), and that he's capable of using their low opinion of him to his advantage. And the fact he continues to try to be friendly to the public, in spite of their rude treatment, and understands why they're angry. Not that Garcia or Reyes are the sorts to start hassling people (or than each other), but I think it's key they're remaining sympathetic, and not letting the reaction they're getting to things they didn't do sour them on the public, and cause them to close ranks with the espeicales.
He also seemed to really enjoy finding Briones tied up. I have to think he was intentionally being the buffoon when he asks Briones who did this to him while Briones is still gagged, then makes out that he can't understand what the captain's saying. Good work, sergeant, keep it up.
Little surprised Alejandro actually cares about Joaquin. Not that Alejandro is a bad guy, necessarily, but he is very much of the social elite, and past history suggests he sides with authority against the working class. It's OK for him and his ranchero buddies to take arms against the government, but not the peons. Granted, he's still just appealing to a higher authority, the actual governor, but there isn't any indication that guy was a scumbag, so I'll count it as progress. Maybe Diego's having an effect on his dad.
The end was kind of strange, though. Zorro fires the pistols, Briones and his men rush into the plaza. Then Joaquin is ungrateful and tries to rush past Zorro, but away from the soldiers, only to get tripped up by Zorro. Then Zorro dashes past him, over a wall, and away he rides, leaving a pissed off Joaquin still in the city. Kind of inconclusive.