Plot: All the lancers are assembled in the cuartel square and berated by Basilio over their failure to capture Zorro. Well, almost all. Sergeant Garcia is in a cell, and Diego is unable to learn on precisely what charges. As it turns out, Basilio plans to use Garcia as bait to capture Zorro. He can't put the sergeant back in the stocks (he had them burned after he was placed in them), so he has a rope tied around Garcia's middle and dangles him from the crosspost of the cuartel's gate. Sure enough, Zorro rides to save the sergeant, Bernardo with him. There are soldiers lurking, but Bernardo sends Tornado and another horse dashing through the pueblo as a distraction so Zorro can knock out the two guards nearest the gate. Then Bernardo calmly walks past the sergeant into the cuartel, and knocks on Basilio's door. He gestures that he saw Zorro outside, and when Basilio dashes out, he gets caught in a snare trap that lowers the sergeant, while Basilio is left dangling by his ankle.
Well, that's that, right? Wrong. Basilio, even with a head injury from a rough landing, is smart enough to deduce Bernardo is connected to Zorro somehow. He even suspects Bernardo is Zorro, which, well, no, but he does suspect Bernardo isn't really a deaf-mute. So the lancers ride to the de la Vega hacienda, where Don Cornelio and Moneta are celebrating the sergeant being freed from his humiliation (even if he and Reyes both are locked up now). Mendoza barges in, and clubs Alejandro when he protests, as Basilio strides in, demanding to know where Bernardo is. On cue, Bernardo enters the room behind him, and takes a little too long interpreting Moneta's silent warnings to flee. So Basilio notices, and now the lancers know he's here. Still, Bernardo reaches Diego's room and makes it into the secret passage.
But Basilio must have had his brain food today, because he knows haciendas such as these are filled with secret passages. Not that this saves him from Zorro sneaking into the sala through one and putting a sword to his back. Unfortunately, the lancers enter the room, and Zorro has to bail. Basilio chooses to search the upstairs alone, and while in Diego's room, finds the secret entrance. And when Zorro doubles back inside a few minutes later, he gets clubbed over the head an unmasked. And then Basilio makes a critical mistake. He takes the cape, mask, and hat, and rather than carry them outside, puts them on as he shouts for Mendoza. Who he ordered to shoot Zorro on sight. Good-bye, Senor Basilio, and good-bye Captain Mendoza, who will have to return to Spain to explain himself. Later, the de la Vegas, Moneta and her father, and Sergeant Garcia celebrate the sergeant's freedom and Zorro's triumph, and even Bernardo allows himself to join in the toast.
Quote of the Episode: Basilio - 'He must come or lose face with his many admirers.'
Times Zorro Marks A "Z": 0 (13 overall).
Other: Mendoza claims shooting Basilio was an accident. Would it be considered that way? It isn't like he was shooting to wound and had bad aim. He intended to kill the man he shot at, because he thought it was Zorro. He just wasn't shooting at the right man.
I like how, as they crowd around Basilio's body, you can see Alejandro visibly relieved when he sees who is behind the mask. Then almost immediately after, you can see him planning how to use this to get Mendoza off their backs as well. I give him some grief, but he can be a sly fox when he wants. Though I was surprised he didn't protest more vigorously at Basilio and his soldiers barging in. The odds were horribly, but that's hardly stopped him before. Maybe the blow to the head threw him off his game.
A couple of episode ago, we were discussing in the comments Bernardo assisting Zorro, and how sometimes he dresses as Zorro, either with or without the mask, and sometimes he dresses as he normally does. Obviously dressing as Zorro wasn't going to work for the plan to rescue Garcia, but it still seems risky having Bernardo walk right up to Basilio and draw him out. Even if you figure Basilio isn't going to piece it together that Bernardo works with Zorro, because no one else has, you can't rule out him trying to punish Bernardo for making him look foolish, even if it is inadvertent. I'm not sure what would have been a better approach, though. Have Bernardo chuck a rock at the door? Simply free Garcia without humiliating Basilio?
I laughed at Garcia saluting Basilio as the sergeant slowly lowered and Basilio rose upside-down. Just found it funny for some reason.