Plot: Alejandro's losing to Diego at chess, after having lost 15 pesos to Estevan the night before. Good to know Alejandro's as bad at chess as I am. Sergeant Garcia arrives to collect the de la Vega's contribution to the pot for the annual charity horse race. Which is precisely when Estevan comes in and starts this whole thing about Alejandro bribing the sergeant to ignore some planned misdeed. Which of course leaves poor Garcia hopelessly befuddled trying to defend himself. But eventually Estevan stops fooling, and when he learns of the race, even chips in his 15 pesos. He's somewhat less excited when he learns the money is presented by the winner to the children at the mission, but too late now.
After Garcia leaves, and Estevan departs on some scheme to set Diego up with a senorita named Margarita, Bernardo rushes in to tell Diego that Tornado is not in the cave. Those two and Alejandro scour the countryside, without success. Estevan meanwhile, having parted company with Margarita, comes across a magnificent black horse, which he is able to approach and ride. Recognizing it's remarkable speed, he takes it to town and stashes it in an abandoned winery. Unfortunately, feeding the horse proves difficult for someone with no money, but he's able to convince Garcia to take some of Corporal Reyes' money to buy oats. This entitles the soldiers to see this magnificent horse, and Reyes astutely observes that it's Zorro's horse. Which gives Estevan an idea. He'll win the race, collect on the numerous bets he's already made, then release the horse and follow it straight back to Zorro, and collect that reward.
Unfortunately, Estevan can't resist trying to goad Alejandro into placing some bets with him, and his comments on the can't lose horse he has, but won't show them, raises Diego's suspicion. So he mentions that it's is common for contestants in the race to steal each others' horses, just until the race is finished. Then Zorro follows Estevan to the winery. But once Tornado starts acting up, Estevan gets suspicious, and he, Garcia, and Reyes trying searching outside. Too bad their peripheral vision is terrible, and Zorro easily sneaks past them inside. Before he can ride off, they return, and noticing the horse has been untied from the post, begin searching the interior of the winery. Zorro lurks among the casks up above, and when the Garcia attempts to climb up, the ladder is sent tumbling down. Which leaves Estevan up there alone, armed with only a hammer. Which doesn't remain in his possession long. With no one capable of stopping him, Zorro deftly leaps onto Tornado, and rides out the door and on his way.
Quote of the Episode: Estevan - 'But those are bets between gentlemen. This lout wants cash.'
Times Zorro Marks a "Z": 0 (7 overall).
Other: I wonder what happened to Estevan's bets, since he lost his sure thing horse, and never had the money to pay up if he lost. Most likely Alejandro covered him to avoid a disgrace on his name. Or maybe the gentlemen in question accepted Estevan's excuses and let the bets drop.
I also can't help wondering what his scheme is with pushing Diego and Margarita together. I know he's got some romance-themed hijinks going in next week's episode, but in that case it appears he's planning to get married. I can't figure out what he stands to gain from Diego being married, unless he thinks Diego is going to be easier to mooch off than Alejandro. If so, I'm a little disappointed in Estevan. I would kind of think his own tendency towards trickery and dishonesty would enable him to see through Diego's act. Not that he would necessarily realize Diego was Zorro, but that he would see the violence-abhorring scholar and layabout is an act.
Estevan's plan once he learns who his horse belongs to isn't a bad one, necessarily. There's the question of how he, Garcia, and Reyes were going to manage to catch Zorro once they found his lair, since they have no way of knowing there are passages that lead directly into the de lav Vega home. I feel like there's also the issue of how they're going to keep up with Tornado when it returns home. The horse is blindingly fast even with someone sitting on it. How fast will it be running with no dead weight to lug around? Garcia and Reyes have never had any luck keeping up with it before. But perhaps they could enlist the other lancers, and have them stationed over a wide enough area to compensate. And when Estevan suspects Zorro is outside the winery and rushes outside, Garcia correctly notes there's only one entrance, so they should just guard it and make Zorro come to their combined forces, rather than splitting up.
And it would have worked, if they had any peripheral awareness whatsoever. If I'd been dealing with guards like that in Thief, I wouldn't have spent nearly as much time hitting people over the head.