Sunday, January 17, 2016

Zorro 2.10 - The Practical Joker

Plot: We start with a guy trying to rob Diego at knifepoint. What, again? This time, however, Diego’s not getting beaten with his own sack of traveling money, and judo flips the mugger. It turns out to be an old friend of his, Ricardo del Amo, who Diego thought was in San Francisco, but has come to Monterey, for some reason. Whatever the reason, it’s worked out well for Ricardo, because on the ride down, he met a beautiful woman and fell in love. And now, here is his friend Diego, to help him serenade the young woman and, if necessary, run blocker on her uncle.

But perhaps Ricardo isn’t so fortunate, because the woman in question is Anna-Maria Verdugo, having opted not to accompany her father to Spain after all. She and Diego are more than a little surprised to see each other, but also pleased, to Ricardo’s discomfort. He and Diego start puffing up their chests and verbally jousting, as Anna-Maria watches, amused, before suggesting an early morning horseback ride. Back at his hotel room, Diego is keeping poor Bernardo awake by going on about how lovely Anna-Maria is, when here comes Sergeant Garcia, to arrest Diego. He’s been accused of horse thieving, by a Senor Caesar, though the accuser is nowhere to be found when they return to the garrison. Which doesn’t let Diego off the hook, and he spends an unhappy night in jail. Bernardo’s attempt to sneak him a file inside a sausage at breakfast is ruined because Diego won’t stop pouting long enough to notice Bernardo signaling to him, and then it gets worse. Garcia mentions the full name of the accuser was Julius Caesar, and while Diego tries to convince Garcia this is all a prank, here comes Ricardo, Anna-Maria on his arm, just shocked to see Diego in jail.

The plan may not have worked as well as Ricardo hoped, since Anna-Maria seems at least somewhat disappointed in him for doing such a thing, and Garcia is none too happy at being used for a joke, either. He has payroll to deliver today! As punishment, Ricardo’s sent to retrieve Diego’s horse so they can go on that ride. While cutting a needle from a cactus to put on Diego’s saddle, he overhears two men (who were lurking outside Diego’s hotel when he was arrested) discussing a plan to relieve Garcia and Reyes of the payroll. Ricardo tries to warn the sergeant, but Garcia dismisses it as another joke. Unaware of this, Ricardo, Diego, and Anna-Maria prepare to set off, but Bernardo convinces Diego that Zorro should keep an eye on the sergeant, so he ditches his friends. As it turns out, Ricardo and Anna-Maria find Garcia and Reyes first, tied to a tree, Garcia still sure this is all a joke. Ricardo chases the bandits, and here’s Zorro, and between the two of them, they handle the thieves easily. Anna-Maria was right behind them, and she’s quite happy to see Zorro, something he’s only too happy to use to his advantage. So Ricardo is left to watch the bandits, and Zorro rides off with the beautiful lady.

Quote of the Episode: Anna-Maria – ‘He’s behaved himself. In fact, he’s been quite sweet.’ Diego – ‘Well that’s when he’s most dangerous.’
Times Zorro Marks a “Z”: 0 (3 overall).

Other: There was one “baboso” this week, when Reyes believes Ricardo and starts to run and tell the Commandante. I feel bad for Corporal Reyes. He just wants to go back to Los Angeles. This is the second time he’s been tied up, he was shot once, and if he hadn’t been, he’d have been digging his own grave. Their commanding officer for a time tried to use them as bait to be murdered. Monterey has not been kind to him.

Poor Diego, getting mugged again. Former Adjutant Rico was right, those stands in the plaza are a breeding ground for crime. If only people had listened to him, but he was a man ahead of his time. Relax, I’m joking. Rico was a power-hungry, patronizing, totalitarian conniver, as well as a buffoon. When we first see the two bandits, I thought they were men Ricardo had hired to bear false testimony against Diego, or were going to attempt a jailbreak to make him look more guilty. They don’t specify which “him” they were referring to, so it could have been Diego or Garcia. I suppose that’s a bit far to go for a humiliating joke, but Ricardo also thought putting a knife to his friend’s throat was funny, so clearly the guy is a bit twisted.

After Bernardo’s “file in the sausage” gambit failed, he went so far as dressing up as Zorro to try mounting a rescue. Fortunately, the whole mess had been cleared up by then and Diego was free and happened to see Bernardo as he left the garrison, or that could have gotten ugly.

Ricardo’s been in Monterey for about five minutes, and already gotten plenty of people in trouble. At least next week it looks as though he’ll be the one in hot water.

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