Plot: Joe Crane has still not returned to the mountains. He's hiding in the hills, wearing willow branches around his boots to hide his scent from Don Carlos' wolf (and Don Carlos isn't pretty pissed at Hernando and Lobo's continued failure), and stopping at Carlotta's for food when she gives the all-clear signal. Then Diego comes to visit Carlotta with a plan he wants to pitch to Joe, so she calls Joe in while Diego waits inside the house. But Joe gets wind of something, and Diego's horse whinnies, so Joe tries hiding in the rain barrel again. Somewhat futile since Carlotta isn't going to cover for him this time. Chastened and wet, Joe listens to Diego's offer to buy Joe's furs and gear from Sergeant Garcia, then give them to Joe so he will leave. Joe recognizes he's getting nowhere fast and agrees.
Unfortunately, when Diego visits the sergeant, he learns Don Carlos had the same idea and got there first. Back at Carlos' hacienda, he's made plants. Esmeraldie is tied up outside the gate, with a man with a musket stationed on the roof of a small shack nearby. That man has a rope connected to the shack's door, and Lobo waits inside. Further into the grounds sits Joe's furs, in the most obvious "TRAP!" placement in history. Hernando lurks on that roof with another musket, and Carlos waits in the shadows nearby (I'm just getting all that out of the way now). At Carlotta and her father's house, Joe is getting sick of waiting, both for his clothes to dry, and Diego to return. He threatens to leave without his clothes if Carlotta doesn't go and fetch them, and not wanting any naked Americanos roaming the countryside (not doubt creating the legend of Bigfoot), she complies, and Joe departs. Sergeant Garcia soon wakes up in bed with a knife to his throat, and it doesn't help when he tells Joe he sold the furs for 14 pesos and 50 centavos. He makes Garcia order the lancers into a cell and locks them all in, before heading for Don Carlos'.
By then, Diego had returned to Carlotta's, learned Joe had left, gone to the cuartel, found Garcia and the lancers locked up, and told Bernardo to play dumb about finding the keys so Zorro could handle this himself. And Zorro makes it to Don Carlos' first, easily dealing with the guard holding the rope to release Lobo, leaving him tied up and dangling, possibly as a warning to Joe (one Joe ignores of course). Joe enters the yard, and it was probably a mistake to let him get all the way to his furs, because with a warning from Zorro, he's able to use them to block Hernando's shot, then use them as a shield to fend off Carlos' sword until he can break it. At which point the don is basically fucked and gets knocked out with Joe's "mountain man clout". All seems well as Joe loads his furs, but then he sees that rope and accidentally frees Lobo. Whoops. But Joe goes into his "wolf" sounds and this convinces Lobo that this guy is probably rabid and shouldn't be eaten, no, Lobo decides Joe is OK and the two of them and Esmeraldie return to the hills.
Quote of the Episode: Carlotta - 'Well, Don Carlos is from an old aristocratic family. He's very proud.' Joe - 'And mean.'
Times Zorro Marks a "Z": 1 (10 overall). On Hernando's jacket.
Other: I feel bad for Hernando. He clearly was not enjoying his work by the start of this episode, getting chewed out by the don, being told he'd be hung up by his thumbs if he failed, having to fight Zorro. That has to be fairly terrifying for your average person, just because he's so clearly a better swordsman you know you haven't got a chance, and you can't be positive he won't kill you.
Diego got a bit frustrated Joe had left Carlotta's by the time he returned. Well perhaps if you hadn't decided to saunter your way back there you might have averted that. Seriously, get the lead out of your saddle, Diego!
That said, the fact Don Carlos was still getting people into position for his trap even as Zorro and Joe close in was surprising. I get that it's unlikely Joe will try to get his furs back in broad daylight, but I also don't see Carlos as a guy who would care about making his vaqueros sit on a roof in the hot sun all day just in case Joe was that crazy.
Complaints aside, I like this arc more than the previous one. Joe as someone from a completely different type of society, and operates on a different set of rules, is a fun contrast. Even though the life of someone like Carlotta or her father is very different from Diego's they still live in the same society, and there are certain rules that are generally unspoken (unless you're dealing with an ass like Don Carlos, who will take pains to remind you of his social status), and they both operate from them. Diego can just ride up to Carlotta's,and basically be certain she will hear him out deferentially. But Joe is operating on a different set of rules, for better or worse, so he's allows for a contrast.
That said, he is a pretty perfect representative of an American. Loud. Enters a foreign country but complete ignores advice from the locals how their customs and practices. Is focused on his economic well-being, and continues to stubbornly risk his neck and cause trouble. Thinks everyone will be really impressed with the stories about life where he comes from. Has a certain rough charm, in the right circumstances, but also pretty sour if things don't go his way. He's a lot of fun, though, and even though I know it isn't going to happen, it would have been neat if Zorro eventually was able to take Joe up on his offer to help if it was ever needed.