Beth: i finally started to get curious about the prices mentioned in the course of these shows -especially since several feature in this episode. so i looked up the exchange rate. as of the day i originally did this summary (20 May 2002), the rate was approximately 2,357 Colombian pesos to one US dollar; so from there on, whenever prices are mentioned, i have included the approximate amount in US dollars in parentheses as of that date. other exchange rates that might be of interest to some of you getting these summaries include: 486 pesos to one Israeli new shekel; just under 48 pesos to one Philippine peso, and about 14 Romanian leu to one Colombian peso (the exchange site i used can be found at http://www.xe.com/ucc/full.shtml if you’re interested).
Freddy pays the 25,000 peso-per-person ($10.60) cover for himself and the Cartel and they enter El Mesón. Things continue to go badly for him when he and the Cartel are led [Beth: right past the startled eyes of Kenneth and Aura Maria, who have a nice table near the stage] to a too-small-for-the-group table toward the back of the room. Freddy protests that he reserved a table next to the “gringo’s” table but the maître d’ tells him that that reservation was for 8pm and since it’s now past 9pm the table Freddy had originally reserved had been given to other customers who were actually there - as Freddy could see, the place is completely full [Beth: and it is packed. altho Freddy actually tries to insist that, now that he and his party are there, the restaurant should immediately move the people at the table he wanted so he can have it!]. There are only five chairs at this new table, and Freddy demands that the busboy bring two more [Beth: both times he’d made the reservation -in his daydream and in reality- he’d made a reservation for SEVEN people… optimistic. but very rude]. Counting the six people in Freddy’s party, the waiter asks why Freddy is insisting on two more chairs since they’re only short one -Freddy’s- and Freddy rants on about how maybe a friend will join them [Beth: you know he’s thinking Aura María, but not Kenneth!]. As the Cartel seats themselves in the chairs already there, the busboy comes back with a stool (!!) for Freddy, unsympathetically telling him that there are no more chairs to be had and anyway, even if there were, there’s no room at the table for even one more chair. Freddy doesn’t even bother sitting down. Aura María comes over to the table to greet her friends and Freddy [very unconvincingly] acts like he’s surprised she’s also there and My, what a coincidence they all chose to enjoy themselves at the same place! Freddy grandly invites Aura María and Kenneth to join them, but [looking dubiously at the overcrowded table with a crowd of people standing five deep behind it], Aura María says no. After she goes back to her seat, Freddy heads for the bar, rashly leaving the Cartel alone with their menus and the approaching waiter. They order a bottle of wine “to start with” as they discuss the menu… [Beth: remember, in his daydream, Freddy had told the waiter not to let them order anything very expensive…!]
Meanwhile, at the bar, Freddy is surprised to discover that the (very busy) bartender has a full head of hair rather than being bald like the bartender in his daydream. He asks the harried man which drink is the strongest they have - he needs one that will knock out ten gringos. The bartender points to a fruity-looking concoction in what seems to be a large margarita glass and tells Freddy it would put an elephant to sleep - in fact, it’s called Elephant Knock-out. Freddy asks the bartender how much it costs and is horrified to be told 40,000 pesos ($17). Fixated on his plan, Freddy ignores what little common sense he has and explains to the bartender that he wants one of those, and a second drink that looks exactly the same but is only juice - how much would the second drink be? Without missing a beat, the bartender tells him the second drink would also be 40,000 pesos. Freddy complains, but pays up, and tells the bartender to deliver the drinks to him at the “gringo’s” table, adding that he should give Freddy a wink to indicate which is his drink when he brings them over [Beth - what?? nothing for Aura María?? way to be rude to your intended, dude!!]. Now extremely tense, Freddy hurries over to Kenneth and Aura María’s table and sits down on the other side of Aura María [Beth: i will temporarily hold off commenting further on Freddy’s utter lack of manners for busting in on what he knows is a date and sitting down uninvited in order to note a rather glaring continuity flaw: how is it that they don’t have any extra chairs so Freddy can sit at “his” table with the Cartel, but Aura María and Kenneth conveniently have an extra one they neither need nor are using??]. The drinks arrive and Freddy tells them he wants to invite Kenneth to drink a toast with him. Kenneth tells him he’s sick [Beth: he does sound kindof hoarse] and taking antibiotics, so he can’t drink alcohol - in fact, he and Aura María have been drinking water all night [Beth: as they smile at each other, they raise their obviously water-filled wineglasses in further proof of this statement]. Ignoring this, Freddy takes the drink the bartender indicates and is so insistent that Kenneth join him in a toast that Kenneth finally gives in and picks up the other glass. They toast each other and Kenneth drinks his entire glass right down, telling Freddy in a rather surprised tone of voice that it was very good, and genuinely thanking him. Of course, Freddy got the drink with all the alcohol and now he doesn’t want to finish it [Beth: he finally does when Aura María points out that he practically forced the toast on Kenneth - what, isn’t he man enough to drink it all when Kenneth finished all of his?]. As he reluctantly finishes his drink, the waiter comes over and tells Freddy the mariachi has arrived and if he wants them to come in it’ll be the same 25,000 pesos per person cover - there are eleven of them. But they can’t come in until after José Simón’s magic show, which is about to start [Beth: not that i want to show any sympathy for Freddy, but i do feel compelled to point out that it’s hardly fair to charge a cover for people who aren’t going to get to see the show…]. Freddy starts to tell the waiter to only let in some of the mariachis, but the alcohol is already starting to affect him. He soon gives up trying to decide which two or three musicians he absolutely must have for his plan and tells the waiter to let them all in, adding that the waiter should tell them to come over and serenade this table (the one he’s sitting at with Kenneth and Aura María).
The magic show starts and after introducing his two assistants, the magician asks for a volunteer from the audience to participate in a disappearing trick. Freddy thinks this is his chance to get rid of Kenneth, but the magician and his assistants misunderstand Freddy and instead of selecting Kenneth they take him. The magician gives an exciting introduction to the “Box of Death,” showing the rack of swords suspended above it and describing in thrilling and grandiose terms how if he is not successful in making his brave volunteer disappear in time, the volunteer will be killed by the swords as they plunge mercilessly into the box [Beth: by this time, his fear of the trick and frustration with the way everything is going wrong have been aggravated by the drink he had, and have combined to make Freddy start to babble and cry almost incoherently, but the magician ignores him and ruthlessly proceeds with the trick]. The magician and his assistants bundle Freddy remorselessly into the “Box of Death,” and send the rack of swords plunging into the box as the Cartel and Aura María gasp in horror and the rest of the crowd watches appreciatively. Then the magician whisks away the cloth and opens the box to show it is only full of swords - Freddy has completely disappeared. The audience -except the EcoModa ladies- applauds. The magician takes his bows, announces grandly, if vaguely, that Freddy will reappear “someplace” at any moment, and ends his show while the Cartel worries about who is going to pay for all the food they’ve eaten [Beth: wow, short show! was it really worth 25,000 pesos each to get in on top of the prices El Mesón charges…??]. Kenneth, seeing that Aura María is still distressed about Freddy’s dramatic disappearance, reassures her that it’s only a magic trick -Freddy is fine and will reappear, just like the magician said. In the meantime, the magician has done him a favor by making Freddy disappear for a little while - it gives him a chance to ask Aura María to be his girlfriend. Aura María is flattered but doesn’t accept him or turn him down… She says he caught her off guard, but he’s a real sweetheart.
While this is going on, the mariachi is entering the club. Jorge from the mariachi asks the waiter where Freddy is, and the waiter relays Freddy’s instructions about serenading Aura María’s table. Jorge decides Freddy must have intended it as a present for Aura María and Kenneth and heads over to the table with the rest of the group just as Kenneth is saying to Aura María that he guesses her hesitation over giving him an answer has to do with Freddy. Jorge announces that this serenade is for the couple, compliments of Freddy, and Kenneth tells Aura María that it must mean they have Freddy’s blessing. The mariachi sings the same song as the week before and Aura María doesn’t look happy about what’s going on.
Outside we see Freddy rolling over and over on the grass outside the restaurant as he “reappears” from the magic trick. He hears the mariachi playing but when he frantically tries to re-enter the restaurant to see Aura María, the doormen tell him he has to pay another 25,000 pesos cover charge to do it [Beth: that seems a bit over the top!! especially since it was hardly all Freddy’s fault he got stuck outside the restaurant to start with!]. Inside, Kenneth thanks the mariachi for the serenade, but tells them they needn’t play another song. Somewhat agitated, Aura María asks Kenneth if they can go, and he asks for his bill.
Freddy, now back at the bar, has to pay the mariachi for the serenade even though it wasn’t what he wanted. He sullenly accepts Kenneth’s sincerely grateful thanks for the serenade. Aura María, quite annoyed, also “thanks” him as she leaves with Kenneth. Then he’s handed the (staggering) bill for everything the Cartel ordered as the women start to file past him on their way out. Sandra returns the engagement ring she’d been holding in her purse for him; Bertha complains happily that she’s so full she can barely move; Freddy is now so drunk he confuses Inesita with Sofía… At the restaurant’s door, Freddy complains bitterly to the doormen that they’ll probably charge him a cover for leaving the place, too… Inesita thinks that the Cartel ought to pitch in and help Freddy pay the bill, but the rest of them flatly disagree, saying he invited them [Merci: such good friends, they…]. But they do decide to pay for a taxi for Freddy since he now hasn’t got a peso to his name. He refuses to leave - he’s sad, drunk, crying, and -according to him- considering suicide - a whole big histrionic drama over the loss of his “reinita” (little queen). Just then Kenneth’s chauffeured Mercedes Benz, with Kenneth and Aura María in the back, slowly drives past, takes in the sorry scene, and comes to a stop. The members of the Cartel ask Aura María to talk to Freddy and convince him to leave with them (the Cartel). Aura María tries to convince Freddy, but he doesn’t have the heart. Freddy tells her he’s lost her, that he wanted to prevent what Mariana saw in the cards from becoming a reality with Kenneth… Aura María gripes that it’s his fault for sending over the serenade, which makes Freddy exclaim tragically that the serenade was supposed to be for him and her. In chorus, the Cartel asks Aura María to stay and talk to Freddy. She goes over to Kenneth and asks if he will take care of the Cartel (i.e., take them home in his car). Looking at her as if hoping this is just a really bad joke, Kenneth reluctantly agrees and the rest of the Cartel piles into his car with him. They drive off, leaving Aura María alone on the steps with Freddy. Freddy tells her how everything turned out wrong, from the cover charge, to being picked by the magician, to getting drunk, to not being able to give her the ring… and how he would ask her to marry him, but no… At last he does it and she tells him yes [Beth: damn!]. He’s so caught up in his own misery and story that he doesn’t hear what she’s said until she practically kills him with a blow that knocks him to the ground. She’s crying too, and tells him not to be a fool, she accepts. Freddy says they’ll get married right away tomorrow… They kiss and Aura María says she wants to get a head start on the honeymoon… Freddy tells her he has a “lamentable” economic problem, but Aura María is ready and says it’s her treat! They stop a taxi and head for their destiny…
The next morning at Ecomoda, Inesita and the rest of the Cartel are worried because they don’t know where Freddy and Aura María are. They remark that Freddy was drunk and Aura María tipsy [Merci & Beth the Continuity Police: Aura María was “tipsy” on water?!? Beth: and why didn’t Sandra and Mariana, Aura María’s roommates, notice she never came home? what did they tell her son??]. The elevator doors open and Armando and Betty get off, saying ‘good morning’ to everyone [Beth the Continuity Police: wasn’t Betty supposed to be taking Camila to the doctor this morning and that was why Freddy was late to El Mesón - because he had to take Betty’s car back to the apartment because she needed it this morning? honestly, i know this is a semi-sitcom, but the writers are starting to get REALLY sloppy!! it’s not as if that was 10 episodes ago - that was a significant plot point in LAST WEEK’s episode that directly affected things in THIS show!! AAAARGH!!]. Betty asks where Aura María is and they tell her she hasn’t gotten in yet. Armando, who is in a terrible mood with everyone except Betty, asks for Freddy and they tell him that he’s not in either. The rest of the Cartel say the couple is only fifteen minutes late, but Armando states there is a lot of work to do. Armando and Betty give each other their usual kiss before heading for their separate offices. Sofía and the rest comment that Aura María and Freddy are dead meat -or worse - they’re going to be fired…
Aura María and Freddy are sound asleep in a hotel bed when Aura María wakes, notices it’s already 8:30am, and frantically starts trying to wake Freddy who, thanks to his drunken state the night before, doesn’t know where he is. Finally awake, he says good morning to Aura María, looking at her with a blank look on his face. She petulantly asks him if he doesn’t remember where he is and what happened. He accusingly asks her what SHE did to HIM when he was drunk, and she gets insulted and tells him he’s a fool (as always)… Then Freddy starts to remember - he remembers about the Elephant Knock-Out drink, about the magician… but not about the ring. She tells him she doesn’t want to see him ever again in her life. Freddy finally remembers that he had put the ring on her finger, asked her to marry him, that she’d accepted, and he’d suggested they get married right away the next day. But now Freddy seems to be wavering again, saying if they get married in a civil ceremony it’s a whole bunch of paperwork. Aura María takes offense and throws the ring at him, saying she’s going to work. Freddy asks her, ‘Who’s waiting for you there - the gringo?’ She defiantly tells him Yes. Freddy finally gets a clue and says that they’ll get married in a church, but there is the problem of the pre-nuptial classes… But if they go to Freddy’s hometown and talk to the priest there, get his baptismal certificate… but what can they do to get Aura María’s? But she’s been preparing for this day [Merci: For the “miracle”!] and already has her baptismal certificate in her purse, ready for the occasion. Freddy tells her she won’t go back to EcoModa until she has her new name: Aura María Fuentes de Contreras. Let’s go to the church! Aura María tells him he’s crazy and he tells her he’s crazy in love. Let’s get married already! Right now!! EcoModa can wait for them…
At EcoModa, Sandra is talking with Freddy’s mother on the phone; she says as soon as they know anything they’ll call her. She hangs up and tells the rest of the Cartel that Freddy didn’t check in at home either. The phone rings and it’s Aura María. Sandra berates her and tells her Betty’s looking for her. Aura María tells her that she and Freddy are together and she can’t say what they’re going to do so she doesn’t ruin the “miracle,” then hangs up to rush out of the room with Freddy without giving Sandra a chance to ask any questions. Sandra tells the rest of the women about her conversation with Aura María and they decide they have to cover for their absent friends. Just then, Gutiérrez comes by shouting for Freddy; Bertha tells him Freddy hasn’t arrived yet. Interestedly noting Aura María’s empty chair and unattended desk, he then asks where Aura María, “the voluptuous secretary,” is. They tells him she hasn’t gotten in either, but she will be there soon. Gutiérrez says he knows where they are. The Cartel begs him not to do or say that, Doctor. He replies that of course he’s a Doctor - in Economy and Finance… Gutiérrez returns to his office and finds Jenny sitting there. Deliberately flashing her thighs at him, she pouts about how she’s bored with her job and needs him to find her something else to do. A light bulb goes off in Gutiérrez’s head and he offers her the job of secretary to the President [Beth the Gaping Plot Hole Police: once again, in any company at which i have ever worked, he would only be able to do that with the President’s permission. why Betty hasn’t fired this man a long time ago i’ll never understand. then again, EcoModa does employ the Cartel and they hardly ever seem to do anything other than gossip…]. Jenny contentedly tells him she’d love it. Gutiérrez suggests they have lunch together to discuss the details. When she leaves, Gutiérrez begs God to keep Aura María away from the office [Merci: This man just doesn’t learn… Where is Maruja when you need her to kill him??].
Freddy and Aura María get off a bus in Freddy’s hometown. He welcomes her to Madrid - not Madrid, Spain but Madrid in [the province of] Cundinamarca. They meet up with the local priest who greets Freddy, who explains that they want to be married right away. The priest asks if Aura María is pregnant and they quickly tell him no. They agree on how they will resolve the problem of the pre-nuptial classes, Freddy and Aura María explain they already have her baptismal certificate, and Freddy says he will take care of getting the “godparents” [Beth: witnesses, only a bit more so - they’re kindof like sponsors for the newly-married couple].
Sandra’s phone rings - it’s Betty asking where Aura María is. Sandra is worried about what is going to happen to Aura María and Freddy, and tells Sofía to call a “911, Mayday Mayday” with the rest of the Cartel… Sofía and Bertha think that maybe they should tell Betty the truth, but Sandra thinks it’s better not to. Sandra tells Betty that Aura María called in sick and Freddy accompanied her to the doctor. Sandra leaves Betty’s office saying that Betty believed the lie, but Betty’s face shows pretty clearly that she didn’t. Gutiérrez comes out of his office and runs into Jenny in the hallway. He suggests they go separately to the restaurant so that no-one realizes they’re going to eat lunch together. The Cartel suspects that there’s something going on between the two. Before leaving, Gutiérrez tells Sofía to have the letters of dismissal for Aura María and Freddy ready for him when he gets back [Merci: This man needs to be taught a lesson for firing and hiring people without first checking with the bosses…].
Back in Madrid, Freddy thanks the priest for the intensive pre-nuptial course… The priest tells them they have to get the rings, the godparents, and something for the parish… Freddy says that his aunt and uncle could be the godparents and he can also get his grandparents’ rings from them. Then we see the bridal couple, the godparents, the priest, and the altar boys in the church. The priest tells Freddy that it’s no thanks to him there are so many flowers on the altar. He asks him to take care of unrolling the red carpet and sharply tells Aura María to put on the jacket she’s carrying [Merci: because she’s in all her glory with the same flesh-colored skin-tight mini halter dress from yesterday], and give Freddy a hand. The episode ends with Freddy and Aura María walking toward the altar…
Advances for next week… Will Freddy change his mind at the last minute? We’ll see next Sunday…