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Don Quixote: Try to Remember: 02/07/09
Chapters 35 through 46 continue the adventure of Don Quixote after he travels into the cave and comes back up with tales of fantastic things. At first his new found respect and patronage from the Duchess seems like a dream come true. Now as the initial euphoria wears off, Sancho and Don Quixote begin to realize that things aren't as they seem.
While Don Quixote has to deal with the fact that the Duchess has plans for him and possibly unethical ones, Sancho Panza begins to live his dream of fame and fortune. The combination of events of Quixote's rise from the cave and him falling prey to an elaborate plot and Sancho Panza becoming lord and master of a small island brought to mind an episode of Magnum PI's second season called "Try to Remember."
"Try to Remember" opens with paramedics and fire fighters pulling an unconscious Magnum from the wrecked Ferrari which is lying smashed at the bottom of a cliff. Like Don Quixote dreaming of a fantastic adventure during his time in the cave (where he was lowered and later raised up by Sancho Panza and a crew of locals), Magnum is dreaming of a battle in Vietnam. Mixed together with that are images of a well to do man and woman and a fancy dinner. The woman, Wendy Gilbert is the Duchess and her wealth and her case for Magnum are just as phony as the Duchess in Don Quixote is.
Now every Don Quixote needs a Sancho Panza. You can't have one without the other. If Thomas Magnum is Quixote for this episode, then Jonathan Quayle Higgins III is Sancho Panza. Physically the two fit the bill (more or less). Magnum is tall and mustachioed. Higgins is short and round and in the position of being a servant (though not to Magnum). As of Season two, Higgins was still official the majordomo to the never seen but often heard Robin Masters. Later in the series with the death of Masters's voice (Orson Welles) the premise changed to Higgins really being Robin Masters.
Higgins's odd status as both a servant and master of the estate blends well with Sancho Panza's rising status as the novel progresses. Also, like Higgins and his on again - off again memoir and the possibility that he's also writing adventure romances on the side blends well with the continuing dropped hints that Sancho Panza might be the one supplying the oft mentioned but never seen Cid Hamete. Just as much as I believe the change in premise of Higgins being Robin Masters, I believe that Sancho Panza is Cid Hamete.
"Try to Remember" being an hour long mystery (or about forty-five minutes when the commercials are taken out), Magnum gets to bottom of the Gilberts' rouse and comes away with his mind and memory intact. For Don Quixote, he still has yet to escape from the Duchess's grasp.
I have 166 pages left to go in Don Quixote, meaning three more posts for me to write. Starting in March I will put aside Don Quixote and start on Ulysses.