Sunday, June 12, 2016

Zorro 2.31 - An Affair of Honor

Plot: Senor Avila is an expert swordsman who comes to town and fights people for money. He and his partner, Senor Pineda, are trying to make it to San Juan, but aren't going to manage winning 5 peso bets. So they set their eyes on bigger game: Diego. They enter the tavern, and Avila tries to join a poker game Alejandro and his haciendaro buddies are having, but they don't play with strangers. Avila takes great offense at this, and ultimately strikes Alejandro. At which point Diego - enjoying a drink with Sergeant Garcia at Corporal Reyes' expense - rushes over, grabs Avila, and backhands him over a table. Well, the duel is on.

At home, Diego and Alejandro try to figure out a plan. Diego raises the idea of fighting clumsily and winning, as he did once against Monastario, but Alejandro contends Avila is too good for that. Along that line of thinking, Sergeant Garcia and Corporal Reyes arrive, to try and give Diego lessons on fencing. Which gives Diego a good laugh, but doesn't really help. Bernardo suggests fighting as Zorro, but Diego argues there is no good reason for Zorro to get involved. That evening, he gets a reason when Pineda shows up with the time and place of the duel, and then offers to call the duel off for a measly few thousand pesos. This gets him bodily hurled out of the hacienda. So now Zorro's going to get involved, but here comes Sergeant Garcia again, his horse having pulled up lame. But it's a ruse to knock Diego out and tie him up, to save him.

So Zorro does not ride, and when Bernardo reports this to Alejandro the next morning, the old man decides they have to go to town. Garcia and Reyes play dumb - poorly - as to Diego's whereabouts, but do so well enough Alejandro decides he may have to fight in Diego's place. Which convinces the sergeant they better go retrieve Diego, a plan Bernardo overhears. It becomes a certainty when Avila accuses their entire bloodline of being cowards. The old man gives it his best shot, but Avila is playing with him, picking him apart slowly to try and scare him into agreeing to pay. Fortunately, Bernardo got to Diego quickly enough that Zorro is able to show up. He and Avila have themselves a duel, and Zorro pays Avila back for the wounds he inflicted on Alejandro, and tells him to get out of town. Garcia and Reyes show up, confused as to what's happened to Diego, and make a half-hearted attempt to capture Zorro. He easily eludes them and rides away.

Quote of the Episode: Diego - 'The trouble is, Father, I don't know when to think like Zorro or when to act like myself or what's expected of me. I just don't know anymore.'

Times Zorro Marks a "Z": 0 (13 overall).

Other: I mentioned back during the Joe Crane arc it seemed as though the lines between Diego and Zorro were blurring more and more, and here Diego admits it. It makes sense, it must get frustrating to have everyone believe one thing about you, and it not be terribly complimentary, when it isn't so. Diego's already considered abandoning being Zorro once this season, only to be talked out of it by his father. Oddly, though, I wonder if Alejandro revealing that he knew, hasn't made it harder. The two of them had a contentious relationship through Season 1, with Alejandro often openly expressing disappointment in Diego's behavior. But now that they're sharing the secret, they get along much better, and it's been fine. Alejandro knowing the truth hasn't made things harder for Diego, but easier. And I wonder if he doesn't think of Anna-Maria, and wonder if there's any reason she couldn't also know. Or some of his other friends, since Zorro is so well liked by almost everyone.

At the point when Alejandro entered the tavern alone, that's when a Western would have the piano player abruptly stop playing. I would have enjoyed that if they'd done it, but no piano in that tavern.

Maybe it was just the angle, but I'd swear Sergeant Garcia looked thinner this week. Maybe he wasn't extending his gut as much as usual?

I have to wonder at that one fellow who admits 5 pesos is all he has, then bets it on himself in a swordfight with Avila. I'm guessing he meant that was all he had on him, but that's not how I'd spend all the money I had with me at the moment. I mean, there's a tavern full of food and drink right there.

I liked Sergeant Garcia's line about there not being a man alive who could beat Zorro, and so perhaps that is why he is still alive. I do wish he'd let Reyes drink with him and Diego, though. The peso could cover three drinks, right?


Anonymous said...

Trivia about the actors: Senior Avila is played by Tony Russo, who previously played Carlos Martinez in episodes 1x11 and 1x12. The two people who challenge Avila are Fred Cavens (fencing master and choreographer of the show) and his son Albert Cavens. Fred played Monsieur Gerard in episode 2x12, and Albert played the ship's captain in the first scene of the first episode.

The back of the tavern is obviously a different set than the usual one, since they needed much more space for all those fights.

Diego's reasoning about why Zorro should not get involved seems shaky to me. I mean, in episode 1x31 the bad guy challenged an inexperinced man to a duel and insulted a person of the community, and Diego decided Zorro was needed.

The injures Alejandro and Avila take from swords are not very realistic, since you can tell they used manikins. It kind of reminded me of episode 1x26 where the Magistrado was "killed" by a sword that actually passed next to his body instead of piercing through his back.

In the second-to-last sequence, we see scaffoldings on the church, which is a continuity mistake, as there hasn't been a scaffolding there since the beginning of season 1; of course, the reason is that they used stock footage from 1x06, except that in this episode they didn't darken it in post-production (all night scenes were filmed during the day). However, the use of stock footage messes the direction in which Zorro is escaping, if a viewer remembers the layout of the plaza.

"Maybe it was just the angle, but I'd swear Sergeant Garcia looked thinner this week. Maybe he wasn't extending his gut as much as usual?": it's hard to tell without making a long comparison, but he does seem a little thinner. I also remember him being thinner in the special episodes after the end of the series. Plus, much later Henry Calvin lost 80 kilograms in three years:

Typo: Avilia for Avila at the beginning of the plot section of your post.

CalvinPitt said...

That's pretty cool about having the choreographer being one of Avila's challengers.

And that's true about the rear of the tavern. It's usually more like a dusty stable area. Certainly not a pleasant, open garden thing. Seemed more like one of the haciendaros homes.