Monday, March 5, 2007

Zorro: Capítulos 11-15 (Feb 26-Mar 2)

Adriana Campos as Yumalay/Guadalupe (Photo: Telemundo)

last we left our heroes and villains, Esmeralda's wicked father had announced she was to be married to el Comandante. But she and Diego are in love, and I predicted that altercations would follow. Indeed they did.

The following five episodes developed a series of conflicts. Diego is in conflict with his Zorro persona; Yumalay in conflict with el Gobernador Fernando Moncada and with Alejandro de la Vega, who remains stunned by her resemblance to his beloved, deceased wife Regina; Diego in conflict with el Comandante Ricardo Montera over Esmeralda; Mariángel in conflict with Esmeralda over marrying Diego; el Gobernador in conflict with María Pía; Esmeralda in conflict with el Comandante over the fates of Renzo the gitano and her own mother, Sara Kalí, queen of the gitanos.

Zorro gets back in the saddle during this week, in more ways than one. His trouble is, here he's established himself as a crusading Robin Hood type and had his system down and everything. Now he's let this dame Esmeralda get under his skin and he's gotten all confused.

Fortunately, he and Esmeralda are rebellious-minded enough to work their way through the patriarchial practices of the honor code under which the folks in la ciudad de los Ángeles operated at that time. How successful they will be, of course, remains to be seen.

Diego winds up committing to a duel against el Comandante. The novela presents this as a very much a guy thing, with Alejandro's father being proud of him even though he thinks he has to give Diego a crash course in swordsmanship so that he can survive the duel. All the women seem to be more-or-less oblivious to the male honor aspect of it (or at least dismissive), though naturally Esmeralda is flattered that her lover wants to fight for her.

Zorro's first appearance in real-time comes when he makes another Dracula-style visit to Esmeralda's bedroom. This time, he takes off his mask in front of her so she will know for sure he's Zorro. He explains that he intends that to be the last time he appears as Zorro, because now that he has to come out and fight for Esmeralda in public, it will become harder to conceal his secret.

But after pleas from Esmeralda, Padre Tomás, Bernardo and oppressed peasants who have just been run out of their houses by el Comandante's men, he thinks better of it. By the end of the week, Zorro is prepared to swoop in to save Renzo from execution. But el Comandante intends the execution to be a trap for el Zorro. So we'll see how Zorro deals with that this week. I'm guessing he's going to slip out with his secret identity intact.

Diego isn't the only one whose single life is being made much more complicated bywomen. His father Alejandro had a heavy-breathing smooching scene with Almundena in capítulo 11 and proposed marriage. She agreed and her brother el Gobernador has blessed the union. Alejandro has only begun to see the dark side of his old friend el Gobernador. And el Gobernador is also starting to suspect that Alejandro has suspicious weaknesses, like a disturbing amount of sympathy for the Indians.

But Yumalay is also complicating matters. This week we got to see various characters' astonishment at her likeness to Diego's mother Regina. In one scene, Alejandro walks in on Yumalay when she's nekkid. Sadly, the viewers only see her in the frontal scenes from the neck up. But she stands there unembarassed and unclothed while they talk. Then Yumalay tries again to asassinate el Gobernador while he's a guest at Alejandro's haciendo. Fortunately, no one sees her face clearly. So Alejandro arranges to have her baptized by Padre Tomás, whereby she receives the Christian name Guadalupe, and has her dressed in Spanish style so that she won't be perceived as an india. Padre Tomás also mentioned Regina's Indian name, Toypurnia, daughter of the woves, when he first saw Yumalay. Toypurnia is the name Isabel Allende gives her in her Zorro novel, with Regina her Christian name.

Yumalay/Guadalupe is the most intriguing character in the novela, so far. Her connection to Regina and therefore to Diego is still a mystery, though there are many indications she was close to Regina in some way. She may even have learned Spanish from her. Yumalay/Guadalupe is also something of a horse-whisperer. She can persuade the horses to rear up unexpectedly. And she saved Alejandro's favorite horse who wasn't eating, because he was depressed or something, by talking him into eating again.

The jealousy between her and Almundena hasn't broken out yet. But it shouldn't be long. We've already seen a flash of it from Yumalay/Guadalupe.

Telenovelas typically have various subplots, often to provide some kind of comic relief. One of those with a light edge to it had Diego preventing a duel between two other men over a married woman who had been accused (rightfully) of having had an affair with him. Diego, being an old-fashioned caballero (gentleman), doesn't kiss and tell, so he saved the lady's honor and prevented the duel by denying the affair publicly. Everyone involved was relieved, except for the silly dandy of a husband. This scene may foreshadow the resolution of the Diego-Ricardo duel.

One subplot that I don't quite see where it may be going yet is the one about the nun Sor Suplicios who periodically has fits and was convinced for a while that she was possessed by the Devil. The only way I see this fits in right now is that this subplot somehow reflects María Pía's situation with el Gobernador, who she still loves but rejects.

Esmeralda had a brief contact with her mother, Sara Kalí, when she connived to get into the prison and snuck around the cells, Nancy Drew-like.

El Gobernador and the nun

One scene in capítulo 12 provided important character development for el Gobernador Fernando. He goes once again to the house where the nuns are staying (officially they aren't nuns yet, because they haven't gotten the official Church franchise but they are organized as a convent) to see María Pía. He blames her for wrecking his life because he still loves her so intensely. With soft, sad music playing in the background, they have this dialogue:

María Pía [crying]: En una cosa tienes razón. Has convertido en un monstruo. Pero no es por mi culpa, no es mi culpa. Hiciste rico e importante demasiado joven. Y tú no estabas preperado por esto. Entonces, creíste que eras Dios.

Fernando: Dios no existe.

M: No blasfemes así.

F: Si Dios existiere, tú y yo tuvieramos hijos. Nos fundieríamos todas las mañanas.

[M: You're right about one thing. You have turned into a monster. But it is not my fault, it's not my fault. You became rich and important at too young an age. And you weren't prepared for that. So, you believed you were God.

F: God doesn't exist.

M: Don't blaspheme like that.

F: If God existed, you and I would have children. We would make love every morning.]

(Fundir actual means to merge together; in the context it's pretty clear it means "to make love", or you could also translate it "to be together", I guess.)

We already know Fernando's a bad dude. We've seen him murder an official of the crown and beat Esmeralda, and we know he keeps his (former?) wife imprisoned in an iron mask. But his denial of God's existence here not only emphasizes his lack of acceptance of the moral standards of his community. He's also showing callous disrespect of the woman he supposedly loves so intensely. We also see María Pía here saying that he had thought he was God, thus telling us she saw in him before a hubristic kind of pride and arrogance.

After a bit more arguing and sad music, they continue with this:

F: María Pía, dime, por favor. No importa el dolor que me cause, no importa la tristeza. Eso me haría sentire que estoy vivo. Sería suficiente para mí. María Pía, dímelo.

M: ¿Tu sabías del amor y la admiración que sentía por los indios de esta region? ¿Tu los sabías? [Fernando nods yes]

M: Y de pronto un día me dscubrí que tu, mi amor, hiciste tu fortuna asasinándolos a ellos. Eso no te lo pudo perdonar. No te lo pude perdonar.

F: María Pía, ¿Por eso destruiste mi vida? No, no, no, no, no, no, María Pía, no, no, no, tiene qu hacer algo más. ... [She runs away]

F: Tiene qu hacer algo más, María Pía. Tiene qu hacer algo más.

[F: María Pía, tell me, please. The pain it may cause me is not important, the sadness isn't important. That would make me feel like I'm alive. That would be enough for me. María Pía, tell me what it was.

M: Did you know about the love and admiration I felt for the Indians of this region? Did you know about it? [Fernando nods yes]

M: And suddenly one day I discovered that you, my love, made your fortune by killing them. For that I couldn't forgive you. I couldn't forgive you that.

F: María Pía, for that you destroyed my life? No, no, no, no, no, no, María Pía, no, no, no, there has to be something else. ... [She runs away]

F: There has to be something else, María Pía. There has to be something else.]

Fernando can't believe that killing Indians for money would make María Pía reject him. This shows how much of a monster he really is. It's just inconceivable to him that killing people so insignificant in his eyes as Indians would cause her to reject a godlike speciman of manhood like him.

We know already that there is something more. María Pía knows that Fernando murdered her sister-in-law, Toypurnia/Regina, Diego's mother, among the Indians he killed. And there may be something else as well. A child of Fernando and María Pía is always a possibility.

In the next scene in which María Pía appears, she is talking to Padre Tomás about how Sor Suplicios was worse off than ever, which could also apply to the state of el Governador's soul.

So, in capítulo 16, we should see how well el Comandante Ricardo's trap works on el Zorro.

Series Web site:
Zorro: La espada y la rosa (Telemundo)

See also my previous Zorro post and next Zorro post.



rchlewng said...

Thanks for the updates. Hope to read about 3/5/07 and beyond. Did miss a few shows after 3/5/07. Really like that they translate via CC. I know very little spanish and can follow it better this way. Like the show alot.

bmiller224 said...

I've been posting weekly, so far.  I'll try to add links to the ones that are up. - Bruce