Sunday, June 3, 2007

Zorro developments through May 25, Capítulos 60-73

There's a new witch in town - Selenia may be even cooler than Yumalai

Since my
last weekly summary of the Zorro telenovela, I've been on vacation. I've been keeping up and catching up through the Telemundo Web site, with tapes of the episodes and especially through the Caray Caray blog, which provides details summaries of each episode in English. I've been watching the episodes from May 29 in real time, there being no May 28 episode due to the Miss Universo contest. I'm not at all sure about my episode count. But I'm sticking with my own, for now. Only the DVD release will reveal the truth on the episode count.

A large part of the plot those three weeks has turned around the dual deaths and resurrections of Esmeralda and Sara Kalí. In Sara Kalí's case, she wound up captured by Pizarro and kept in an isolated house with Agapito, the town surgeon/dentist/undertaker. Agapito concocted a Romeo-and-Juliet potion that made her appear dead, and Pizarro was convinced. Agapito buried her and then dug her up and revived her, though he barely got her out in time.

Esmeralda's "death" was accomplished by a funeral which el Comandante Montero set up with the body he bought from an impoverished fisherman. They had a funeral, whose high point was Almudena's denouncing Montero in front of the wedding party.

I'm not quite sure where they're going with the resurrection theme, but they're beating us over the head with it, so I'm assuming it's going somewhere. Sara Kalí was "dead" and "buried" in the El Callao prison for 20 years or so. Now she's had another "death" and "resurrection", and is hiding out in a leper colony. This all will presumably make her an empathetic queen if she ever claims the throne. Or maybe it will make her vindictive and savage,who knows? I'm pretty skeptical of the whole benign monarchy business, at least the 19th version. But let's assume the best for now.

Esmeralda is doing her "death" and "burial" in the dungeon and her "death" and "burial" in the graveyard all at once. Hopefully not requiring 20 years to resolve. One of the more intriguing scenes from this period is a dream of Diego's which picks up the Dracula motif. Diego walks into a room where Esmeralda's body is lying dead on a table. Her skin is still flawless. Not surprising given her genetic heritage from Sara Kalí, whose skin was still in remarkably good shape despite being deprived of sunlight for 20 years, what with the dungeon and the iron mask and all. Actually, the hair genes must be pretty strong, too. Because after weeks in the dungeon and even a couple of torture sessions, Esmeralda's skin and hair both are remarkably beautiful.

But I digress. Diego walks over to Esmeralda's body and kisses her. When he straigtens up and looks at her, she opens her eyes. Even though I knew it was just a dream, I couldn't help but thinking they were about to go all Dark Shadows on us and that Esmeralda was going to plunge her fangs into Diego's neck. But Diego woke up before that happened.

Esmeralda returns from the dead

So we have seen a kind of resurrection of Esmeralda already: a dreamy, sexy, Dracula-esque version. Maybe after this one is over, they could do a follow-up novela where Diego/Zorro becomes a vampire. But we'll have to wait to see on that one.

The most intriguing new character is a witch named Selenia, apparently modeled on Marie Laveau, who appears in Isabel Allende's Zorro novel. Selenia is more of a witch for the aristocracy, though, not the steamy-dancing-in-the-swamps type. She came over from Spain. Olmos thinks she cursed his mother and made him be born with his hunchback. But it hasn't stopped him from going to her for a love potion to snag Mariángel - who the folks at Caray Caray have nicknamed "Mangle".

Selenia agrees to do it, for a hefty fee. But he has to get some of her tears for the potion, which promises to be tricky. She also warns him that Mangle will be a nightmare for him, that Mangle will make him cry "tears of blood". Yow!

Selenia shows up at the local tavern one night and belts back some stiff liquor. Witches, it seems, have a high tolerance for alcohol because it doesn't phase her. She's come there to entice el Gobernador Fernando into asking for her help.

Of course, he wants her help with María Pia, with whom he has recurring scenes that generally cover the same ground: I love you I can't live without you, save me, yadda, yadda. María Pia begs him to leave her alone, which he never does. So at she's plotting to get away from him some way.

And you thought the witches on Charmed were something!

Zorro/Diego has fully regained his memory and is carrying on a constant series of attacks and provocations against el Comandante Montero. In a swordfight, he carved a "Z" onto Montero's chest. None of this Walt Disney, carve-the-Z only in their clothes business for the Telemundo Zorro.

Alejandro's bigamous arrangement has had its crisis moments. Yumalai went back to the tribe to consult with Búfala Blanca for a while. But she came back, much the relief of Almudena and the joy of Alejandro. Almudena has become emotionally dependent on Yumalai and Yumalai has come to love her. But during the week of May 25, Almudena had a pretty but ominous dream, in which Toypurnia/Regina appeared to her in Regina clothing and told her that death was nothing to be afraid of, and that Regina herself would come to lead Almudena over the river when the time came. Almudena has been alternatively fainting and bed-ridden ever since the supposed death of Esmeralda.

One of the quirkier moments was a scene in which Alejandro is sitting at a chess board, apparently playing chess with himself. This was just before he confessed to Dolores that he had slept with Yumalai the night of his wedding to Almudena.

Renzo, handsome but generally useless, got caught with Sor Suplicios and Camba the escaped African slave by a group of slave traders who planeed to sell them all. Suplicios got raped by the slave-traders, but the three of them managed to escape. Suplicios now has a civilian name, Ana Camila, which she revealed to Renzo. There's major chemistry between her and Renzo now. Camba is still tagging along, still not speaking a word of Spanish, and his demon takes over ever now and then.

The demonology in this series is a bit mysterious. But I guess that part of the idea of using invisible demons as plot devices. This one apparently bounces from one person to the other. So when Aaron the Exorcist drove it out of Suplicios/Camila, poor Camba caught it. As if he didn't have problems enough already. But when he's in full possession mode, his eyes get all white and his face thoroughly insane-looking, which is a cool touch. The demon took over in time to stop a slave-hunter from raping Camila after they had escaped, but not soon enough to stop the hapless Renzo from getting shot. Exactly why a demon would want to interfere with a slave trader is unclear; wouldn't they be on the same side?

The Marquesa's not a witch, but she's a pretty tough cookie

The political plot is also moving forward, though fairly slowly. Unseating the Spanish Queen can take some time. And the Marquesa Carmen Santillana de Roquette is back on the scene, not only helping her friends the De la Vegas but also helping Sara Kalí to take her rightful throne as Queen of Spain. We also see the current Queen talking to the evil Duke Jacobo, who so far is the biggest villain of them all. But we see that the current Queen has her suspiciosn about Jacobo, too. She insists on making that New World trip and Jacobo has been stalling. El Comandante Montero is one of Jacobo's allies. It figures.

(All the photos this week are my screenshots)


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