Saturday, March 10, 2007

Zorro: Capítulos 16-20 (Mar 5 - Mar 9) - end of month 1

Renzo the gitano (Erick Elías) (Photo: Telemundo)

This week the conflicts that we set up in capítulos 11-15 went into full swing.

The best moment came in capítulo 19, when the loony nun
Sor Suplicios (Natacha Klauss) stands with a malevolent smile on her face contemplating all the nasty things she's going to do to Hermana María Pía (Andrea Montenegro), who Sor Suplicios has just dedided is "the Devil's concubine". I see a possible witch trial in the future.

Zorro (Christian Meier) showed up in the plaza to save Renzo the gitano (Erick Elías) from being hanged. After freeing Renzo, beating back several soldiers with his sword, and humiliating both el Comandante Montero (Harry Geithner) and Pizarro (Héctor Suárez Gomis) in one-on-one duels, Zorro's situational awareness seemed to give way momentarily while a couple of soldiers trotted up and threw a heavy net over him. But this gave Esmeralda (Marlene Favela) the chance to show her own bravery and devotion to the hero when she created a diversion that allowed Zorro to escape.

We didn't actually get to see the escape, so we're left to assume Zorro used his stage-magic training to pull it off. Okay, so it was a little far-fetched that he was standing  on a platform in the middle of the town square with people all around him and nobody saw the escape. But sometimes you have to go with the flow.

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In capítulo 18 we get some decent heavy breathing scenes when Esmeralda sneaks into Diego's room one night through the window mimicking his Zorro/Dracula routine. At the same time, Yumalay/Guadalupe (Adriana Campos) is throwing herself at Alejandro in his bedroom and naughty Mariángel (Andrea López) has gone over to done the Wild Thang on el Comandante's desk.

El Gobernador Fernando (Arturo Peniche) made a thoroughly ungentlemanly offer to María Pía: if she would sleep with him, he would call off the duel between Diego and el Comandante Ricardo Montero. She finally agreed. El Gobernador did his part, which provoked a swordfight between him and Montero, which Montero lost. But that set up a potentially deadly conflict between the two. As head of the army in the area, Montero is not on cruel by "muy peligroso" (very dangerous), as Alejandro observed. Montero swears to kill Sara Kalí (Fernando's first wife being held prisoner), Fernando, Diego and Esmeralda. He also begins moving on his own to generate some excuse to arrest Fernando and Diego by proclaiming new laws on his own.

María Pía shows up at the agreed spot to meet her fate with Fernando. But Fernando is enough of a tormented soul that he can't go through with it. (The viewer could choose to read into it that her cold attitude left him without a woody.)Both of them were clearly torn up about the whole thing, with Fernando both babbling about his incredibly love for her and also swearing to do her great harm. Fernando pulls a major drinking binge that night and is incapacitated the entire next day, also suffering from hallucinations. The doctor thinks that he was somehow poisoned with Indian herbs but that he'll recover.

Unfortunately, the demented Sor Suplicios follows María Pía and peeks through the cracks in the wall during the early part of her tryst with Fernando. She doesn't stay long enough to see that it was never consummated. But that's what convinces her that María Pía is the Devil's concubine.
Padre Tomás (Jorge Cao) had earlier warned her that Sor Suplicios' adoration for her could turn into intense hatred, and this week we saw the flip happen. Complicating matters even more, the Mother Superior dies, a prissy cardinal arrives from Rome to grant official status to the convent there, and María Pía is in line to become the new Mother Superior.

By the end of the week, the major prominent plot themes were el Comandante's moves to seize greater power, Diego's and Esmeralda's plotting with the gitanos to free Sara Kalí, and the impending weddings of Alejandro with
Almudena (Luly Bosa) and Diego with Esmeralda. Zorro swung got into costume and went into Dracula mode, hiding in the shadows and infiltrating the prison to find out the current location of Sara Kalí, with an assist from Esmeralda's feminine wiles to distract el Comandante.

Various subplots continue to play out in addition to Sor Suplicios going all horror-movie nuts on us. The supposed poisoning of el Gobernador was a surprise because we didn't see anyone doing that or even discussing it.

Yumalay has decided to embrace her Christian identity as Guadalupe in order to win Alejandro's heart by playing on his memories of Toypurnia/Regina to whom she looks identical. The rivalry between Almudena and Guadalupe for Alejandro became explicit. Mariángel has
Olmos (Raúl Gutierrez) go to a bug-eyed Indian witch to get a love potion to make Diego fall in love (or at least lust?) with her.

The gitano couple
Miguel (Orlando Valenzuela) and Laisha (Natalia Bedoya), who Diego/Zorro assisted to escape the schemes of el Comandante during the first week, made a fortuitous re-appearance. El Comandante began torturing Sara Kalí this week. The Comandante says to the unconscious Gobernador that he's learned she has information that is so explosive it would cost the two of them their heads if it became public. Sara Kalí and her secret look to become a major feature of the story later on.

Also, Tobías the dandy gets it in his head to play private detective and smoke out Zorro's true identity. As we learned when he almost fought a duel over the (accurate) rumor that his wife Catalina had been sleeping with Diego, Tobías studied fencing in Spain, as Diego did. Tobías plans to bring a leading fencing instructor, Maestro Samaniego, from Europe to determine from Zorro's style of swordfighting who his teacher had been. (Tobías is certain that Zorro's style, which he observed on the plaza in capítulo 16, is a European one). The thinking is that they can then determine who in the area studied with that teacher.

In pursuit of this goal, Tobías launches what proves to be an entertaining comic-relief plan. He gets his own Zorro costume and mask, with the idea that he will draw Zorro out to fight him and therefore be able to better pinpoint his fighting style. So far, Catalina is the only character privy to that particular scheme.

Tobías is apparently going to be a shadow version of Diego/Zorro. In some of the film versions of the story, Diego is an effeminate dandy like Tobías. This telenovela's Diego is more of a pacifist intellectual type who also is a skilled seducer of women.

Plot speculations

From reading a couple of Zorro novels and a couple of historical essays about the character and his various incarnation on the screen and the written page, I've been thinking about some of the plot devices they might use in future episodes.

A skip into the future of a few years often happens on telenovelas so that's always a possibility. El Gobernador or el Comandante taking over the De la Vega hacienda might happen. A pirate attack couldbe a good way to sweep out some characters if they want to do that and bring in some new ones. An exotic Indian lover for
Bernardo (Ricardo González) could happen. Who knows, he might even wind up with Yumalay/Guadalupe.

We've got Esmeralda's mystery father out there somewhere. One of the pirates, maybe? (Of course, no pirates are on the horizon yet.) About the only candidates so far would be Alejandro (that would be messy!), Padre Tomás (more plausible but a stretch) or Jonas the gitano.

There have been a number of hints that both the gitanos and the Indians will play a much larger role. I could imagine a heroes-in-exile stretch where the De la Vegas and their household have to take refuge with the gitano tribe and the Indians.

The series seems to have been a hit starting out, according to
Estelariza Marlene Favela "El Zorro" Notimex 02/27/07:

"El Zorro, la espada y la rosa" es una historia de época que se desarrolla en 1800, y ha superado las expectativas de audiencia, pues en Caracol, Colombia, obtuvo 33.5 Share y 23.0 de rating, mientras que en Telemundo 55.7 Share y 38 puntos, algo inusitado.

"Es algo que a mí me tiene muy emocionada y nerviosa", dijo. "me hace sentirme responsable porque es la primer producción que compra la BBC. Ahora, está vendida a 96 países, pero antes de que empezara a rodarse el primer capítulo ya la habían comprado 76 países. y además este mismo año va a ser transmitida en México".
My previous summaries:

El Zorro llega
Zorro update through Feb. 19th
Zorro: Capítulos 7-10 (Feb 20-23)
Capítulos 11-15 (Feb 26-Mar 2)

Web site:
Zorro: la Espada y la Rosa (Telemundo)



texasarky said...

Great summary.  Enjoy reading your speculations!

bmiller224 said...

Thanks.  This is a fun one to follow.

I've got to warn you though: my record on guessing the plot turns in telenovelas is considerably less than 100%!