Plot: Sergeant Garcia returns to Los Angeles with Padre Simeon after a two week absence to discover almost the entire town shut up in their homes with measles. Corporal Reyes is the only soldier not afflicted, and reduced to sleeping outside the cuartel gates. As Garcia puts Reyes through his paces, the padre returns to the church, and Diego rides up, having been busy making delivers to the sick in the ranches. The padre wants to go along, and bring a gold chalice he brought back from Spain for the christening of a church. He shows it to both Diego, and the padre's cook/servant, a man named Carlos.
That evening, Diego and Bernardo drop the padre off at the church, promising to return to pick him up in the morning, then stopping to laugh at Garcia and Reyes sleeping under and on a collapsed tent in the square. Inside the church, the padre gets a rude surprise as Carlos decides to steal the chalice and melt it down. The padre implores him not to return to crime, but is locked in his bureau. Carlos then leaves a "Measles, Keep out" sign on the door, so no one will find the padre for two weeks. In the morning, Diego finds Garcia putting his lancers through their drills by yelling through a hole in the gate. He's preparing them for the Military Forces Day parade, but mentions the padre must have come down with the measles. Diego is suspicious of how the padre could have contracted them so quickly, and barges in (over Bernardo's concerns), and finds the padre. Simeon is still hoping Carlos will reconsider and return, and Diego is certain the man's conscience will speak to him.
Sure enough, Carlos' conscience finds him, assuming Zorro qualifies. After a fairly intense struggle on Carlos' part, he yields, and agrees to return the chalice. Zorro, in turn, allows this, but vows to be watching Carlos from now on. And every time Carlos considers changing his mind, he looks up and sees Zorro watching him. So the chalice is returned, and Diego, Bernardo, and the padre enjoy the Military Forces Day parade, consisting of Sergeant Garcia and Corporal Reyes.
Quote of the Episode: Padre Simeon - 'A man's conscience will often assume many shapes and forms.'
Times Zorro Marks a "Z": 0 (13 overall).
Other: I would imagine in the 1820s that the measles are nothing to scoff at.
Even though Garcia is, as usual, not being as nice to Corporal Reyes as I'd like, I appreciate that once he understood the situation, his first concern was whether the sick soldiers had all the supplies they would need to see them through their quarantine. Garcia is pretty consistently portrayed as caring about the well-being of his men (it was a snag in the Eagle's plans, to the point the Magistrado ordered their mole among the lancers to do something to spoil the food so the soldiers would become discontented).
I'm surprised the Church would send such a nice chalice to a church in Los Angeles. It's a decent-sized town, but doesn't really seem like a major metropolis yet.
I have to give credit to the padre. Nearly died of heat stroke or something in that cabinet he was locked in, but still blaming himself for Carlos' return to crime.
Nothing good ever seems to happen in a blacksmiths' shop in Zorro's world. Always crimes going on, or about to be going on. On the plus side, there are plenty of implements to throw, or try to bash someone's head in with. Not that it helped Carlos, and Zorro didn't even need to draw his sword. Maybe not a surprise; it's a safe bet only one of the two of them has any significant training in fighting, but it does speak to Zorro's restraint, his attempt to carry out the padre's wishes that Carlos return the chalice himself. Zorro could easily batter or kill this man and return it, but the padre would still feel he had failed. Better for Carlos to return it, although if he explains what happened, will that nullify the effect?
I did find it interesting Zorro drew his sword after Carlos surrendered. I know he's making a point - no pun intended - about the consequences if Carlos doesn't follow through. It still felt a little like unnecessary, like if Batman goes ahead and drops the thug he's dangling from a rooftop while interrogating him (while having a line of rope around the guy's ankles). An added bit of terror to an already beaten opponent. Maybe it was necessary, and I definitely understand why Zorro might not have been too worried about it, given Carlos was fully willing to lock the padre in a dresser for two weeks, which would, you know, kill him, I don't know.
I guess it bothers me because it implies Carlos is only repenting out of fear, rather than an actual recognition he did wrong. Which, OK, seems pretty bog-standard for Catholicism to me, but not really what I'd like to see. It seemed as though initially, when Carlos surrendered, that he'd been jolted enough to think about what he'd done, and perhaps felt guilty. And that was why he was going to return the chalice himself. But then Zorro threatens to watch him constantly, and basically threatens to run him through if he steps out of line, and so now Carlos is acting because he fears what will happen if he doesn't toe the line. Which is something different altogether.