The Adventures of the Black Stallion
Season 1.2: Vigil
I'm convinced this episode should have been called "Hostage" or "That One Time Alec Went Completely Insane." Vigil is a little too peaceful a word for what these people went through in this episode, although they really created their own problems.
Basically, it all starts with Napoleon. That feisty scamp! He's busying himself by working on the latch to his paddock gate, opening it and wandering out into the open field where Catherine is (recklessly) jumping her horse. Meanwhile, Alec is talking to his mom about his aunt and uncle, who are coming to see him race the Black at the local fair. I guess this is where I have to interject that they can't race the Black on normal circuits because he has no papers. Because the series was so fundamentally unrealistic, I give the show some points for reminding everyone that it's basically impossible for the Black to actually be raced, given that no one exactly knows what he is. I have vague memories of the book indicating that he was something more than Arabian, but I can't recall if it ever got into the stickiness of racing the Black against thoroughbreds like Sun Raider and Cyclone. I'm betting it didn't. Anyway, the Black has no papers = the Black is limited to worthless country races that people attend while eating cotton candy. It's the lowest of the low, and I have a feeling they only do it because the Black has to race or he'll go bonkers and kill something.
SO. Back to the plot, Alec's aunt and uncle are going to the fair and that's where Belle is going so she can meet up with them before Alec and Henry arrive with the Black. So she leaves and then Napoleon gets kicked in the side by Catherine's horse.
Totally unexpected, right? And look. There's that damn shirt again. I can't decide whether to hate it completely or be grudgingly appreciative of the fact that shows back then actually thought it was okay for their characters to wear the same thing more than once. Anyway, they get all up tight about Napoleon possibly colicking because of this. I have no idea if this is possible, so I'll just roll along with it. Although Henry keeps saying, "we might have a horse with a colic" like it's A broken leg or A ruptured intestine or something. I find that annoying. So Pierre tells them that the vet is coming and they can leave Napoleon with him and Catherine so they can get the Black to the fair.
Meanwhile Belle is enjoying herself at the fair in her shoulder pads that are attached to that peach jacket. She finds the relatives, who have no real role in this episode other than to hover around Belle and look confused. So they're waiting at the fair, and since these are pre-cell phone days they are unaware of the goings on with Napoleon, which are beginning to disintegrate, and not because the horse is actually getting sick. It's mainly because everyone's social skills completely break down.
While they walk Napoleon around, Henry lets the Black out of his stall. This is a HUGE mistake, because this allows the Black to go into hysterics when they try to lead Napoleon back into the barn. The Black jumps a fence, rushes into the barn to be with his sick friend, and is prepared to beat the living crap out of anyone that dares enter.
Just for the record, I really don't buy this situation. Alec is supposed to be the Black's be all and end all, not Napoleon. This scene culminates in Alec trying to talk the Black down like he's a jumper clinging to the side of a building, and the Black somehow bloodies Alec's nose while Napoleon is lying down in his stall (although not thrashing, which from all I can tell is a good thing). After the Black basically punches Alec in the nose, things calm down a little and Alec can get in to see Napoleon.
So Alec begins to miracle work Napoleon back to health with a sponge while the vet yells instructions into the barn. The Black still won't let anyone in, and everyone outside the barn starts to become increasingly agitated. What if Napoleon dies! The Black might go mad! Mad! The vet seems to be the most vocal about wanting to get in there so she can just put the horse down and get the hell out of there. I mean, I don't blame her. The situation is increasingly crazy, but she's also clearly a bitch. So while Henry talks to Alec, who has apparently been talking to the Black in their secret language between boy and horse or whatever and is all "the Black knows, Henry," the vet and Pierre sneak into the back door and try to get at the stall. But the Black rushes them and this really breaks all of Alec's trust. He starts yelling.
Yes, it's frightening. I know, but there's a lot of this going on around the end of this little drama. The Black knows! You all don't understand my emotional history with this animal! Napoleon is going to be JUST FINE! JUST FREAKING FINE!! Because THE BLACK KNOWS, HENRY!!! Also, Richard Ian Cox has some really crooked teeth. I don't know if I wish he'd had braces or to be grudgingly appreciative of a simpler time when actors didn't have to have perfect teeth.
Well, as it happens, Catherine finds Belle, who abandons Alec's aunt and uncle at the fair (seriously, she just rushes off and they're left with further confusion). She appears at the barn and miraculously understands that yelling at her son will further cause him to slip into insanity, and if that happens she'll probably never get him out of the barn. So she lets him do whatever the hell he wants to do in there and tells everyone else to back off. That means you, bitchy vet. So the vet goes home and Pierre proceeds to not care, I guess, and that leaves Henry to sleep outside in his lawn chair while Alec nurses Napoleon. And in the morning, Napoleon is just fine! What a miracle! Never saw that one coming or anything.
Therefore we learn that the Black is right, and Alec is right, and everyone else with their human logic just suck. Then Alec and Henry fix the gate and Napoleon can frolic in peace and limited freedom. Hurrah!