Plot: We open with a large, bearded fellow pulling a donkey along behind him, singing about mountain men as he descends from the hills. We'll learn soon enough he's Joe Crane, an American, but for now, he's just some guy who happens along Bernardo, stranded in the mud, his buggy having lost a wheel. Crane can't understand Bernardo's sign language, but he still puts the wheel back on the buggy, and the two go their separate ways. For Joe, that's into Los Angeles to the tavern for some food and drink. He introduces himself to Sergeant Garcia, and then sufficiently butters up Garcia so as to avoid being arrested for not having permission to enter Spanish California. He also receives the thanks of Diego for helping Bernardo.
Unfortunately, Joe also decides he'd like to kiss a pretty girl, insisting that all women want to be kissed, over Garcia's response that Spanish women don't. Joe insists that if you trick the lady, then it's OK because no one will think badly of her, and she gets to have the fun of being kissed. So he sets to tricking Carlotta, the waitress, into leaning close enough he can kiss her on the cheek. Which draws the ire of Don Carlos, who slaps Joe with a glove, and gets backhanded over a table in response. Things nearly get bad, but Don Carlos can't back up his confidence, and Garcia arrests Joe for his own safety. But Carlos is not willing to let things slide, and is determined to sneak into the cuartel to finish Crane off while he's trapped in a cell. Good thing Diego overheard, and so Zorro slips into the cuartel and liberates the cell keys from under Garcia's pillow. The sergeant awakens and makes an attempt to stop Zorro, only to get his suspenders cut. By that time, Zorro has already freed Joe, but forced him to leave without his harvest of furs. Zorro easily eludes the lancers, and even rides past Don Carlos as he approaches the cuartel to mock him on having missed his chance. Don Carlos isn't about to give up, though.
Quote of the Episode: Diego - 'I understand how the Americanos won their country from the English. They talked them out of it.'
Times Zorro Marks a "Z": 0 (9 overall).
Other: Joe's donkey's name is Esmeraldie, if you care. And Joe wound up in California because he pissed off a group of Paiutes, and that was the available safe direction.
Have to love Carlos insisting that murdering Joe is patriotic, because California must be free of foreigners. I'm sure the people who were there before the Spanish would agree with you, Don Carlos. So why don't you hit the bricks?
I'd like to be happy that Joe's insistence that girls want to be kissed blows up in his face, except Carlotta seems quite taken with him. You could figure her not letting Carlos run Joe through was just figuring that was an extreme reaction to Joe's offense, or not wanting to have to clean blood off the floors. But she brought him cupcakes in jail. And made sure Sergeant Garcia couldn't have any. At least Crane recognizes women get unfairly judged for kissing a guy, even if the rest of his logic is a little cockeyed.
It's worth mentioning that when Don Carlos prepares to kill Joe in the tavern, Diego tries to intervene and is stopped by Carlos' servant jamming a pistol in his side. But when Carlos starts losing, and the servant goes to help, Diego judo flips the guy. I feel as though Diego's been letting his disguise, the scholar who has no interest in anything but books and music slip more and more. He was already getting involved in political matters in Season 1, albeit always advocating writing letters, or trying to speak to someone. But he seems bolder this season. Is he just getting tired of the facade, or does he not even realize it's happening?