Plot: With that crazy Americano back in the mountains, the citizens of Los Angeles are celebrating Sergeant Garcia's birthday. They even got him a pinata. Unfortunately, the festivities are ruined by the arrival of Senor Basilio, the king's emissary from Spain, and his chief goon, Captain Mendoza. He chides Garcia for having a party while Spain is at war, and orders the pinata thrown in the trash. When Diego introduces himself, Basilio mentions he wants to speak to Alejandro, and expects him to come to Basilio. Then he tries to appear tough by ripping up a notice of a 2000 peso reward for Zorro, stating that's how he deals with outlaws. Outlaws are rarely made of paper, senor.
Alejandro arrives, and Basilio goes into his sales pitch. He is selling royal bonds, which the king promises to repay for double their cost within 5 years. And for just five dollars I'll sprout wings and fly to Mars. Alejandro says he'll tell the other dons, and Basilio tells Alejandro he'll put him down for 2500 pesos worth. Diego barely keeps Alejandro from pitching a fit, unfortunately. It doesn't end there, as Basilio sends Mendoza to lean on the innkeeper, and insist he buy 250 pesos of bonds. The innkeeper reasonably points out he can't do that, and Mendoza whispers something in his ear. Later, Diego brings Moneta Esperon, who planned Garcia's party, to see Basilio. She first extends her father's invitation to a luncheon the next day, then asks if the sergeant could have his pinata. Basilio accepts the first, and declines the second, citing a need to maintain discipline.
That night, Sergeant Garcia sneaks out of the cuartel to retrieve his pinata, which is down in the wine cellar of the inn. Unfortunately, Mendoza is down there turning the casks taps on so the wine runs out. He's able to hide before Garcia sees him, the dump an entire wine rack on him. The innkeeper feels compelled to mention it, but is aghast when Basilio orders Garcia placed in the stocks for 24 hours. Unfortunately, the innkeeper isn't willing to risk saying that he suspects Mendoza as the true culprit, so into the stocks Garcia goes, with the pinata hung just above his head, because Basilio's a dick. When Basilio and his thug come out to tease Garcia, Zorro steps out, to advise the emissary to reconsider his approach. The two crooks try to attack Zorro and fail miserably. What's more, Basilio himself winds up in the stocks, and is forced to sing a birthday song for the sergeant in front of the whole town before Zorro escapes.
Quote of the Episode: Basilio - 'Tell me, is Los Angeles infested with outlaws and bandits?'
Times Zorro Marks a "Z": 0 (10 overall).
Other: When Basilio asked that quote (upon seeing the reward poster for Zorro), all I could think was, "in general, the criminals in Los Angeles wear nice clothes and claim to serve the king."
I was surprised and disappointed with Diego. When Bernardo relates hearing Mendoza put the squeeze on the innkeeper, Diego dismisses it, feeling that since the man can't pay, they can't do anything to him. Bernardo wasn't so sure, indicating they could always kill him, and really, Diego should know better. The whole reason he became Zorro is because people in power were abusing said power. At this point, whenever someone from the king or the military shows up and starts throwing his weight around, Diego should automatically assume the guy will have no respect for any laws or regulations that stand in the way of what he wants. Because they never do. They've had one Captain who wasn't a crook or thug, Toledano, and basically every administrator we've seen actually doing his job is kind of a jerk.
I really liked how much Zorro enjoyed making Basilio sing for Garcia. The poor sergeant seemed so surprised and pleased at the start of the episode to get such a nice party, and so downtrodden the rest of the episode. Stuck sweeping and painting walls. And what the hell was that line from Alejandro? 'A new broom sweeps clean? Perhaps this is the start of a new era.' Maybe I was wrong about Alejandro having Garcia's back. Which just means Alejandro is dumber than I thought.
At any rate, I'm sure Basilio will take his public humiliation with good grace and adopt a more collaborative approach with the people of Los Angeles. Or not.