In Anschluss ’77, the 2nd episode of the 2nd season, the all-new all-70s adventures of Wonder Woman backslide into old habits: Wonder Woman and Steve Trevor Junior must stop a nefarious group of Nazis. Before they can clone Hitler in South America.
It’s a ridiculously silly episode, of course, but it seemed wrong to laugh about so soon after the White Supremacist violence in Charlottesville, Virginia. Then, I was sidelined with some health issues and it’s taken me a few weeks to get caught up on everything, so the episode post had to wait just a little longer.
My introduction to the Anschluss ’77 post was a little bit of the cultural and historical context of American Neo-Nazism in 1970s, so I’ve decided to break that out into this post. Otherwise, it’s a chilling lead-in to a recap full of fluff and nonsense and jokes about Steve Trevor Junior’s wardrobe.
As we’re reminded over and over, White Supremacy doesn’t ever die out in the United States. It regroups. It adapts. It gathers resources. It finds new and innovative ways to appeal to new constituencies by mobilizing outrage and imbricating itself everyday life. Did you ever hear anyone sputter “all lives matter!” until Black Lives Matter became a movement?
Wonder Woman clearly drew on contemporary issues in its own wacky awkward way. This is an enormous topic, so here are just a few examples from the news of the day that put Anschluss ’77 into context.
Here’s an excerpt from the SPLC’s history of one highly influential group, the National Alliance (NA), which was consolidating money and power in the 1970s after branching out of the American Nazi Party and George Wallace’s failed Presidential campaign. The Southern Poverty Law Center writes:
U.S. Government Security Agent Steve Trevor (Lyle Waggoner) and some nuclear scientists are aboard a top secret government plane en route to a top secret conference.
Steve says their objective at the conference is to announce that they’ll be building a secret nuclear power plant in the fictional Latin American nation of Samarra.
The nuclear scientists find this idea dubious. Building an American nuclear plant on foreign soil where the U.S. may not be able to fully protect it will thwart terrorists who’ve been blowing up U.S. nuclear facilities…how, exactly?
Steve Trevor has apparently neither aged nor learned anything in the 35 years since we saw him last, because this sounds like a terrible plan.
Within Dr. Solano’s Headquarters – Secluded in Washington, D.C.
Doctor Solano (Fritz Weaver) watches surveillance footage of the secret plane because the cabin steward is one of his henchmen. He hears Steve explaining the secret plan.
Guess the high security plane isn’t so secure, after all.
The plane enters the mysterious Devil’s Triangle! AKA the Bermuda Triangle! I hope nothing bad happens!
Solano’s inflight henchman gases everyone on the plane.
He also gases the pilot and co-pilot, which may or may not have been part of the plan.
Before the henchman can get his gas-mask on, Steve knocks him out.
The henchmen released some kind of knockout gas from a canister, he doesn’t have critical flatulence. Just so we’re clear.
If you’re keeping score at home, Steve Trevor has already been rendered unconscious and we’re only at the 00:05:50 mark.
Everyone is unconscious!
The plane is going to crash!
Or is it?
Lucky for Steve and his band of nuclear scientists, the plane breaches the magnetic field which protects Paradise Island from the prying eyes of the outside world.
Paradise Island – An Uncharted Body of Land in the Bermuda Triangle
The Paradise Island Science Council takes control of the plane and lands it safely. They’ve had invisible jet technology for at least 35 years so I’m willing to buy this.
Diana (Lynda Carter) and her cousin are cavorting on the beach in chiffon mini dresses, like one does.
Diana runs to the plane to offer assistance.
Run, Diana, Run!
Diana enters the plane and finds her old pal Steve Trevor lying unconscious. How can this be? He hasn’t aged a bit! Does he age slowly, like an Amazon? It must be Steve Trevor, because he looks just like Steve Trevor.
And look: he’s unconscious! That confirms it, don’t you think?
Queen Hippolyta (now played by Beatrice Straight) explains to Diana that ordinary humans breed and this big handsome sack of meat is Steve Trevor Junior, son of Steve Trevor Senior.
Steve Junior is just like Steve Senior! He’s patriotic! He’s the greatest living spy! He’s an idiot! He is, indeed, essentially a clone!
The Amazons question all of the outsiders under hypnosis, although thankfully that all happens off camera or this episode would be 6 hours long.
The terrorist henchman confesses that he’s working for terrorists.
Terrorists sound as terrible as Nazis, so the Amazons vote to send Wonder Woman back out into the world of men.
Wonder Woman is always yakking about how Paradise Island is full of peace and love and equality, but the Amazons seem awfully passive-aggressive. Before Diana gets the Queen’s final approval to go do her thing, Evadne (Dorrie Thomson) says: “In the spirit of sisterly competition and in keeping with the traditions of Paradise Island I challenge my cousin the Princess Diana to the supreme test: Bullets and Bracelets.”
She doesn’t so much say it as woodenly recite it like she’s reading off a cue-card, but who am I to judge? Besides, the Amazons were renowned for their bravery and fighting skills, we don’t know about their reputation as actors.
Turns out, you can’t be hurt at all while wearing Feminum bracelets so Bullets and Bracelets isn’t nearly as scary as we used to think it was. Whew.
By the by, rules of Bullets and Bracelets have retroactively changed. The goal is now to protect a target by deflecting bullets, which is way less dangerous than before when they shot at each other’s faces.
Diana wins, of course.
The Paradise Island Doctor hypnotizes Steve. She brainwashes him into accepting Diana as his new assistant “on an unconscious level” and a thousand jokes write themselves.
Hippolyta retrieves Diana’s accessories from a storage area that seems to be a premonition of what would happen if Martha Stewart and Marie Kondo did a team-up. Oh gods and goddesses, the 70s were a time when brass ruled the roost, weren’t they?
To be fair, I did recently snag my mom’s retro-art deco 70s brass lamps for my living room, so maybe I shouldn’t make fun of Paradise Island’s interior decorators anymore.
Where were we? Right. Diana is powerful, brilliant, and gorgeous and if she can’t protect the world of men from terrorists than no one can.
Hippolyta reminds Diana what each of her accessories do in case we, er, she forgot, summarizing: “The magic bracelets, your tiara, the costume with the secret belt of strength, the golden lasso of truth and then forgetfulness: the Garb of Justice.”
Then the Queen reminds Diana that she’s nothing without this star-spangled spandex get-up.
Like I said, Amazons can be pretty passive-aggressive.
Diana apparently doesn’t want to pack all that stuff in her carry-on, so she spins into Wonder Woman. In a bit of retroactive continuity, Hippolyta reminds Wonder Woman that the ruby in her tiara enables her to call home whenever she wants.
The Queen also gives Diana some valuable ancient coins to sell for living expenses so she doesn’t have to hustle as a carnie this time around.
The Amazons hypnotize the outsiders to awaken only in response to a tune on a pan flute and then dump them onto the plane exactly how they found them.
With her invisible jet following on auto-pilot, Wonder Woman flies the government plane out of the magnetic field. She plays the flute to start the countdown to consciousness and then leaps into her invisible plane before anyone sees her.
Steve and the gang wake up none the wiser to the fact that they’ve been missing for several days.
In Washington, D.C.: Solano is amazed to see the plane reappear on his surveillance feed as though no time at all has passed.
At the Airport in Samarra, Latin America
A Samarran army guy tells Steve they’ve been searching for the plane for 2 days and that his assistant has the full report.
Steve’s brainwashing kicks in and he recognizes Diana.
Dr. Solano is the Chair of the secret nuclear conference! He and his co-delegate from Guanaray, Gloria (the glorious Jessica Walter), are up to no good.
In the meeting hall: Steve promises all of the delegates that the U.S. will share all the power they’ll generate from the new power plant. Latin America is saved by the benevolence of the Americans!
Diana tells Steve that Solano is an unlucky name, because it means “nightshade.” Diana is full of dubious-sounding folklore.
During the meeting scene, it drives Husband crazy that none of the microphones are actually plugged in. I manage to ignore that because I’m busy admiring Diana’s wrap dress.
When I was a kid, Diana’s wardrobe blew my mind.
In a hotel suite: Solano and Gloria mwahaha over Solano’s terror goal, which is to bring down all of the governments of the world and build a new world of paradise. Hey, it’s a nice change of pace from Nazis.
Solano is obviously a bad guy because he wears a big velour bathrobe over his dress shirt.
Washington, D.C. – Several Days Later
For reasons that are, thankfully, not explained to us, IADC management accepts that Diana is Steve’s new assistant. On her IADC orientation tour, Diana meets IRAC (aka IRA) – the Informational Retrieval Associative Computer.
Later, Diana sneaks back in and gains access to IRAC (aka IRA) and creates a personnel record for herself.
Then, she goes to a coin dealer and sells her coins for $25,000 apiece (in 2017 dollars that’s approximately $103,708 each).
Next, she gets herself a groovy apartment to sleep in and store her wardrobe of swank wrap dresses.
Seriously, those dresses.
Where were we? Oh, right. Diana snags a huge furnished apartment in Washington, D.C. for $500 a month. Actually, that’s about $2,000 adjusted for inflation, which in 2017 gets you a small unfurnished efficiency, so even in 1977 TV apartments were setting unrealistic expectations about adult life.
Thanks a lot, television.
While Diana is out, Gloria breaks in and bugs the apartment. When Diana returns, she’s shocked to discover a masked lady-burglar wrecking her place.
Diana gasps: “You’re a woman! We shouldn’t be enemies!”
Gloria responds: “I don’t know where your head is at, baby. Women are naturally enemies. Just keep the exit clear.”
Diana does not keep the exit clear.
Instead, she fights Gloria. In the melee, the sleeve of Diana’s awesome new yellow wrap dress gets torn off, which is super-sad. Gloria uses knockout gas on Diana.
Gloria is long gone by the time Diana spins into Wonder Woman.
Diana/Wonder Woman calls Steve. He proves he’s not any smarter than his dad when he advises her not to call the police.
Thanks to the bug Gloria planted, Solano is eavesdropping on the whole conversation, because that seems to be his thing.
On her first day of work at the IADC, Diana meets Steve’s boss, Joe Atkinson (Normann Burton).
Joes’s secretary shows Diana to her new office. She apologizes for how drab and empty it is as the two women awkwardly try to ignore the fact that the office is fully furnished and decorated with plants and pottery. Somebody really needed to share script revisions with the art department on this show.
Steve and Diana leave quickly to go somewhere or another, leaving Joe’s secretary to fret over the fact that she’s already ordered breakfast for everyone, including Diana! Already, we have the dynamic of nurturing non-threatening food-bestowing secretary and never-eating Diana in play.
Remember girls, you have to skip a lot of meals to fit into star-spangled satin undies.
Solano’s thugs follow Steve and Diana, ambushing them somewhere, maybe a park. Diana manages to slip away and spin into Wonder Woman. She saves the day with some truck lifting, gun bending, and tiara-boomerang action.
While Steve lies there unconscious because Steve, she uses her golden lasso to learn that the henchmen were trying to plant a bug on Steve.
Steve regains consciousness and sees…Wonder Woman!
Wonder Woman and Steve talk about how awesome Steve Senior was, moving swiftly past her extremely intimate knowledge of dear old dad’s scars. Steve Junior thinks Wonder Woman is hot, even if she is 2,526 years old.
In Solano’s D.C. lair: Solano and Gloria watch improbably edited multi-camera footage of Wonder Woman defeating his henchmen in the park 10 minutes ago.
Solano thinks Wonder Woman is an “experimentally enhanced agent.” To be fair, that’s not any wackier than the explanation that she’s a 2526 year old Amazon with magical undergarments.
Gloria has an extensive clippings file of Wonder Woman’s World War II exploits. Could it be the same woman? Is she a robot?
Solano shows Gloria his experimental fencing robot, which is powered by a miniature nuclear reactor source that gives it unlimited strength and creepiness.
Later, at the IADC: Gloria visits Steve to coax him into attending a reception at the Guanarayan embassy. It seems to be a reception to celebrate the new nuclear reactor, which is confusing because I thought the reactor was a secret. I guess not. Fictional Samarra’s fictional neighbor Guanaraya can’t wait to have access to all that cheap nuclear power.
Gloria smooches with Steve and then slinks away. Seriously, Jessica Walters is super-slinky. Also, this episode could pretty much be her audition reel for Archer.
At Solano’s lair : one of the henchmen is now a Steve Trevor impersonator. I think Solano has a face/off machine.
That Night at Embassy Row in Washington, D.C.
There’s a big party at the embassy.
Gloria lures Steve away from Diana, chloroforming him into unconsciousness. Fake Steve then leaves the party, pretending to be Real Steve.
At Blanding Air Force Base: Fake Steve briefs the pilots who are delivering the pre-fab sections of the nuclear reactor to Samarra. Apparently, the U.S. government is using pre-fab housing technology to build this nuclear reactor.
Fake Steve claims there’s been a change in plans and they’re going to deliver the nuclear reactor to Guanaray instead of Samarra.
At Diana’s Apartment: Diana rebuffs Fake Steve’s handsy advances after he drives her home from the party. She tricks him into revealing he’s a fake. The trick involves intimate knowledge of Steve Senior’s anatomy, which is a bit of innuendo I definitely didn’t understand when I was 7.
Diana eludes Fake Steve and spins into Wonder Woman. She captures Fake Steve and uses the golden lasso to question him.
At Solano’s secret lair: Wonder Woman breaks down the door and saves Real Steve.
At the Air Force Base: Real Steve radios the pilot, but he won’t turn around because Fake Steve told them not to stop for anyone, including himself. There’s this whole complicated thing about failsafe words that I’m not going to bother to explain because I’m sure you’re just as devoted as I am and are watching right along with me.
Wonder Woman and Steve hop in her invisible jet and hightail it to Guanaray.
Solano’s Secret Air Field on Guanaray
Solano challenges Wonder Woman to a fencing match – saber dueling being the preferred fighting style of refined evil international terrorists.
Robot wackiness ensues as Wonder Woman discovers she’s dueling with the nuclear fencing robot in an easily removed rubber Solano mask. What. Ever.
Blah blah blah, Wonder Woman saves the day.
I wonder what happened to the Fake Steve?
Before you go on about your life, here’s a highlights clip of Jessica Walter as Malory Archer:
Stay tuned for the next episode, “Anschluss ’77,” in which Steve and Diana must defeat…Nazis. Goddamnit. Why won’t these guys just go away?
(Sadly, a question we’re still actually asking in 2017).
This episode contains
Bullets and Bracelets
Deadly Doubles (see also: impersonators)
Welcome back to our Wonder Woman rewatch. Husband and I re-watched every episode of one of our favorite childhood shows and now we’re blogging about it, episode by episode. Well, I’m blogging about it, he’s more bartender, innocent bystander, and copy-editor.
Before we launch into the Season 2 episode posts, I thought I’d share the updated title sequence and theme song, which should have taken all of 17 words and an embed code, but you know how it goes…
In the seven months between the Season 1 finale on ABC and the season 2 debut on CBS, Wonder Womanunderwent some changes, notably the updated current-day (1977) setting. We know it’s the ’70s because there’s a lot of jazz flute now and Steve Trevor’s lapels are frequently wider than his head.
The Saturday night debut and subsequent move to a regular Friday night time slot were undoubtedly cause for many a slumber-party celebration.
Maybe the television critics back then should have tried having slumber parties, because a tip-toe through some old TV review columns in major newspapers reveals a lot of cranky dudes gnashing their teeth & rending their garments in soul-crushing agony over the Fall 1977 season. The sub-title of John O’Conner’s column got straight to the point: “A Season of Trash.” (“TV Weekend: A Season of Trash,” October 2, 1977, New York Times).
In another column, O’Connor points out the absurdity of a CBS executive openly mocking ABC’s silly super-hero shows, since CBS had not only just acquired Wonder Woman but was also about to debut the live-action The Incredible Hulk in primetime. (“TV Weekend.” November 4, 1977, New York Times).
James Brown (not that one) called Wonder Woman’s Season 2 premier ponderous, because he was clearly not a 7 year old girl and also clearly didn’t know awesome when he saw it. (James Brown, “The New Adventures of Wonder Woman.” September 16, 1977, Los Angeles Times).
Yes, the 2nd season can be a bit ponderous if don’t fully embrace the wacky camp. But if you do, it’s pretty good. Not great, but good. Goodly. Good-esque. Medium-good. Definitely good-adjacent at all times. (Hang in there with Season 2, because it all builds up to the madcap 3rd season, when the writers ran out of fucks to give about logic and coherence).
Along with the new setting and cast, Season 2 gets an updated theme song with some updated lyrics and of course updates to the looks the characters sport in their live-action jump-outs.
[update: I had to remove the youtube clip I originally embedded because it had been edited and didn’t accurately reflect the 2nd season title sequence. Here’s an accurate version]
I got a little distracted while writing this because I kept running across interviews where Carter talks about how she believes in pyramid power and uses “pyramid-treated, or energized, water” to keep her cut flowers fresh longer. (Lydia Lane. “Beauty.” December 19, 1976, Los Angeles Times).
At last, we say goodbye to Nazis, but we must also say farewell to Etta, the General, and Steve. But first, we welcome back Diana’s kid sister, Drusilla (Debra Winger); we discover that Paradise Island is a constitutional monarchy; and, at long last, we learn why the hell Steve Trevor is considered America’s Greatest War Hero.
Before we plunge into the episode, you should take a few minutes to watch Debra Winger’s 1993 appearance on The Late Show with David Letterman. Even though she’s there to promote a movie, she gamely talks about Wonder Woman, the costumes, and how hard it has been to live down a role like Wonder Girl. Then Dave plays a clip that helpfully gives you a sneak peak at “Wonder Woman in Hollywood.” Be sure to watch to the end, because Winger is a really good sport about the whole thing.
Bremer pitches them a new project to raise money for War Bonds, which the General summarizes for us so we only have to suffer through a bare minimum of expository dialogue: “Four top American heroes recreating their acts of bravery on the screen.”
Which definitely sounds like a great thing to do to traumatized veterans, doesn’t it?
Diana convinces Steve to be in the movie, since he is a huge Hero for safely landing his flaming plane and saving his crew.
The writers have had 14 episodes to concoct a heroic backstory for Steve that would plausibly make him a war hero so famous he’s a household name around the world, and that’s the best they could come up with? Don’t get me wrong, it sounds heroic. But the most heroic? The thing that leaves Nazis quaking in their boots and gets 10 year old orphans out of bed every morning? In that context, it seems a little thin.
The General tells Steve to leave for Hollywood immediately, because it’s not like there’s a war on and Steve is the head of the Intelligence Division of the War Department or anything.
There aren’t any dates mentioned in this episode, but I think we can safely assume it’s September 1942.
Steve orders Diana to accompany him to Hollywood.
Diana doesn’t understand what’s so special about this small suburb of Los Angeles. Silly Diana! Hollywood is the center of the Universe! Hollywood is every beautiful girl’s dream! Hollywood is the greatest!
As the gang waxes rhapsodic about Hollywood, Etta calls it “Paradise U.S.A.”
Paradise! Diana loves Paradise! She is S.O.L.D!
Paradise Island – An Uncharted Body of Land Within the Bermuda Triangle
Kooky Queen Hippolyta (played by the divine Carolyn Jones) hangs out with Drusilla in someone’s grandmother’s living room.
The Queen is in the midst of giving Drusilla the details about a 3 day festival of some sort. The festival needs a queen, as described in the Paradise Island Constitution, but the reigning Queen of the Amazons can’t serve as festival queen, a detail that’s also stipulated in the Constitution.
Wait. What? Paradise Island is a constitutional monarchy? How long and specific is their constitution? Does it spell out the details of other festivals, or just this one? Why does the reigning Queen get to name the festival queen? How much power does a festival queen have, exactly, that it is legally verboten for the reigning queen to also be the festival queen? This all begs the question: why is it then okay for Hippolyta to appoint her Princess daughter – the heir to the throne – to be festival queen?
Apparently, I have a lot of questions about Amazonian festival governance.
To be fair, this Bi-Millenial Festival, which celebrates 2000 years on Paradise Island, seems like a pretty big deal. I can see why the Queen wants her daughter Diana there, but I’m still calling bullshit on Diana being named the festival queen.
Drusilla volunteers to hop into her invisible jet to go remind her older sister Diana about the festival.
Hippolyta reminds Drusilla that Diana is in a place called Hollywood.
Why the hell does Drusilla need to burn all of that invisible jet fuel delivering a message in person, when the Queen has clearly been in very recent communication with Diana?
Before we can think to much about that, Hippolyta reminds Dru that things didn’t go so great last time she went to America. Oh, you mean that time 9 episodes ago back in September 1942 when Dru accidentally told the Nazis how to find Paradise Island and they invaded, enslaved the Amazons to mine Feminum, and planned to pack them all off to Berlin for breeding and experimentation? You forgot about that?
Ah, well. No harm done, so…Drusilla skips out the door and now it’s Title Card Time:
By the way: my screenshots are from remastered HD streaming episodes, hence the strange aspect ration compared to the original broadcast format.
I’m not going to make fun of these title cards, because I’m pretty sure kid-me thought transitions like this were ah-mazing. To be honest, adult-me still likes them.
A jaunty instrumental arrangement of “Hooray for Hollywood” accompanies a stock footage montage of 1940s Hollywood. It’s a little jarring since it’s a mixture of black and white and color footage, but it sets the scene well enough, quickly focusing in on the Warner Brother’s studio lots and, finally, to the Four War Heroes ReEnact Their Heroism, Heroically soundstage.
Fine. I don’t really know what the movie is called, but let’s go with that.
On the soundstage: it’s the first day of shooting!
(Again I ask: how does the Queen already know Diana is in Hollywood?)
It’s time for Hero Steve’s dramatic re-enactment of the time he landed his airplane without killing his crew, making him America’s Greatest War Hero.
As the camera rolls Diana spots a dangerous situation! She ducks away, spins into Wonder Woman, fixes a light rig that’s about to collapse, and changes back in to Diana before anyone is the wiser. Unfortunately, the light wobbled a little, but no one on the set saw Wonder Woman save everyone’s lives and the director blames Diana for ruining his shot.
Diana endures the humiliating verbal wrath of the director, smiling valiantly as the crew stares scornfully at her.
I feel like this scene is a metaphor for the invisibility and devaluation of women’s labor.
Outside the Warner Brothers Studio : Drusilla arrives in her Paradise Island slip dress, having forgetten that 1942 has a dress code. Luckily, it’s Hollywood. The guard assumes she’s in a Greek costume drama and shoos her onto the lot.
Back on the set: Diana meets War Hero Corporal Jim. Hero Jim is played by Robert Hays who is basically warming up for his role as Ted Striker in Airplane (1980).
(Top: Robert Hayes in Wonder Woman. Bottom: Robert Hayes in Airplane).
Hero Steve sends Diana to fetch him coffee.
Dru finds Diana – just in time for the two of them to see Hero Jim get chloroformed by some guys. Diana spins into Wonder Woman, jumps over a car it would have been easier to run around, and saves Hero Jim. While she saves Drusilla from getting run over, the bad guys get away.
Wonder Woman spins back into Diana before she helps Hero Jim off the pavement. Dru thinks hero Jim is cute.
Diana assures Dru that she knows the once in a lifetime big deal Amazonian Bi-Millenial Festival is coming up, but she can’t leave because she’s worried someone is trying to sabotage the film set.
Diana has no sense of proportionality. That’s okay, neither does Hollywood.
This scene contains the requisite “we’re on a hollywood movie set” sight-gag wherein the scenery behind two characters begins to move, revealing an illusion within the illusion, as crew-members carry or wheel away the backdrop.
The whole episode is, of course, firmly in the genre TV Tropes calls “Who Would Want to Watch Us?”
That TV Tropes page has an extensive list of shows, movies and other media that employ this trope, but if you go down that rabbit hole right now you’ll never come back. So, don’t.
That night, Diana takes Dru to a fancy Hollywood party at Bremer’s house and/or office. I’m not clear on whether his office is at his estate or if he has two houses or what.
At the party: glam movie star Gloria (Christopher Norris) lures Hero Rand (Ross Bickell) to a private room. It’s a trap! Those men show up again and abduct Hero Rand.
After the party: Kurt (Charles Cypher), a Nazi, drops by to speak to Bremer. Whoa. It turns out Bremer is a Nazi! Nazis! Who saw that coming? Bremer and Kurt scheme. They plan to take the Four War Heroes of the Apocalypse back to Berlin to be tried for their war crimes.
Bremer is an even bigger fiend than you can imagine! His endgame is to control the entire American film industry!
The Following Morning at WB Studios
Bremer tells Hero Steve and Diana that Hero Rand is missing so they’ll be striking the Navy Heroism set and preparing the Escape from the Nazi Town Heroism set.
Meanwhile, Dru and Hero Jim are at a coffee shop so Dru can indulge her love of ice cream.
Some creeps harass Hero Jim while Dru is in the powder room, but she’s watching out for him. Dru spins into Wonder Girl and kicks some butt, but later Hero Jim tells Drusilla he kicked those butts himself. Drusilla is disillusioned. Hero Jim is a liar!
On the movie set: Hero Willard (David Himes) prepares to re-enact his heroic run through a Nazi town.
Diana and Hero Steve think the flurry of faux Nazi talk is hilarious. We think Lyle and Lynda are actually laughing so they don’t cry about what they’ve endured throughout this entire season.
Hero Willard re-enacts his heroic run, emerging from the back of the set into the waiting arms of…Nazi spies disguised as actors in Nazi costumes.
So, we have actors playing Nazis playing actors playing Nazis. Got it.
On a Submarine: Nazis hold Hero Willard and Hero Rand captive. It’s a short scene and I kinda spaced out, but I don’t think much happened.
At Bremer’s office: Bremer instructs Kurt to speed things along by abducting Steve and Hero Jim at the same time.
At a diner, Dru tells Hero Jim that she thinks hot dogs are even better than ice cream.
Hero Jim has to decide whether to tell her that’s some bullshit about hot dogs or confess his dark secret. Hero Jim chooses to confess:
That’s not really what he confesses, that’s a gag from Airplane. What he actually confesses is that he’s not really a hero. He didn’t capture any Nazis in Europe: he tried to surrender to them but they surrendered to him first. He also fesses up about Wonder Girl beating up the bullies.
Then he takes a phone call, freaks out, and leaves.
The Next Day at the Studio
Hero Jim and Hero Steve are late! More Hollywood magic sight gags ensue as the crew nonchalantly constructs mountain scenery in the background using rubber boulders.
On the road: Hero Jim and Hero Steve are captured. Hero Jim cooperates with the Nazis because they’re holding his parents hostage.
On the Nazi submarine: the Nazis tell Hero Steve and Hero Jim they’re leaving for Berlin.
When the Nazis close the door, we see that it’s not a real submarine at all! It’s a film set! Nazi trickery disguised as Hollywood trickery! Or is it the other way around?
If only the Nazis knew that Steve is an idiot and they don’t really need a ruse this elaborate to keep Steve from finding out Bremer is involved.
Later that Afternoon Diana Plays Detective
Apparently they thought viewers needed a title card to make sure we understand what we see in the next few scenes, which is Diana playing detective later that afternoon to find Gloria.
Diana spins into Wonder Woman and uses her Golden Lasso to question Gloria about where Bremer goes when he’s not in his office: his estate and Studio 12!
At Bremer’s office: Bremer and Kurt hold Hero Jim’s parents hostage. Or maybe the office is at his estate? Maybe the party was at his estate? I don’t really know or care.
Wonder Woman and Wonder Girl break into Studio 12 and find a fake submarine, but no prisoners.
Wonder Woman and Wonder Girl run down the road towards Bremer’s estate. They have an invisible jet and Diana knows how to drive, but they just start running. They run down the road and out into the country. And then they run some more.
At the estate: Hero Jim sees his parents.
Out on the road: Wonder Woman and Wonder Girl are still running.
I don’t know what Debra Winger and Lynda Carter got paid, but I’m pretty confident it wasn’t enough.
When they reach Bremer’s estate: Wonder Woman and Wonder Girl tackle the Nazis. (You can see some of this great running and tackling and golden lassoing in that Letterman clip at the top of the post).
Wonder Woman busts in to the house! Wonder Woman gets shot!
Hero Jim charges at Bremer, who shoots at Hero Jim. Wonder Girl deflects the bullets and saves Hero Jim. Hero Jim captures Bremer.
Wonder Woman isn’t hurt at all! She tricked everyone into thinking she was hurt so that Jim could have chance to prove himself. (I guess J. Walter Weatherman wasn’t available).
We’re all so proud of Hero Jim! He sure learned his lesson about being a Nazi collaborator! And got his self-esteem back in the bargain!
Hero Steve compliments Hero Jim for his heroism. Hero Jim appreciates the fatherly validation Hero Steve bestows upon him. Hero Jim wishes he could spend more time with Wonder Girl, which makes Hero Steve laugh and say “…and Wonder Woman” in an innuendo-drenched way.
Seriously, we’re expected to believe that Hero Jim and Hero Steve are 2/4 of America’s Four Greatest War Heroes? These guys, who don’t think it’s weird at all that Wonder Woman has a kid sister and that Wonder Woman and her kid sister just happen to be on the set of Great Heroes of Heroism, which is also the movie set Diana and her kid sister are hanging around?
Fine. Let’s just move along and not think about that, because it’s almost time to kick all this Nazi stuff to the curb.
Sometime Later in Washington, D.C.
Etta, the General, Steve, Diana, and Dru are back in the theater watching Four Great Heroes of American Heroism Re-enact Their Heroic Heroism.
It’s the greatest movie of all time!
The episode ends with Steve, Drusilla, and Diana leaving to eat some hot dogs and ice cream. Dru wants to eat all of the hot dogs she can before she returns to the women-only land of Paradise Island. If I can let ignore that, so can you, so let’s just keep going. After dinner, Diana and Dru plan to head back to Paradise Island for “a family celebration.”
Good-bye, Nazis! Good-bye, boring military wardrobes! When Wonder Woman returned to the airwaves for the second season, the show jumped networks (from ABC to CBS) and jumped ahead to the 1970s. Alas, that means we also bid farewell to Etta Candy, General Blankenship, and Steve Trevor.
Steve Trevor Senior, that is. It turns out that Steve Trevor is so obtuse because he’s not entirely human. He’s a humanoid-starfish-type organism that can generate an exact replica of itself at any age of its choosing at any time in its lifespan so 35 years later he generates a young version of himself, Steve Trevor, Junior, who is also an idiot who constantly ends up in need of rescue. OK, fine, I made the part about starfish-parentage up, but as the writers blend increasing amounts of science fiction to the fantasy elements, you’ll start to believe it’s possible. And certainly not that much more ridiculous than the actual premise, which is that Steve’s son is essentially his identical twin.
This episode contains:
Bullets and Bracelets
Mansel in Distress
Nazis disguised as Nazis
From plucky war orphans to plucky mute war orphans, “The Bushwackers” has everything.
I know, right? I couldn’t believe it either. I thought for sure my notes were wrong, but on re-review it turns out this episode is 100% Nazi-free.
Enjoy, because the place is just lousy with Nazis again in the next episode, but it’s the season 1 finale so it will all be worth it. But for now, let’s get back to The Bushwhackers:
Let’s not dwell on the fact that it’s September 1942.
The map of Texas dissolves into cattle-drive stock footage, which dissolves to a teenager on a galloping horse.
That’s Jeff, tween-age son of Diamond H ranch owner J.P. Jeff busts in on some J.P. – orphan bonding time to tell his dad that 100 head of his cattle have been rustled.
In a bit of cheesy 1970s stunt-casting, J.P. is played by the legendary Roy Rogers.
J.P. isn’t going to stand for his cattle being rustled! Those cows are earmarked for the military! J.P. calls the Sheriff (David Clarke).
At the sheriff’s office: The Sheriff finishes chatting with J.P. and then tells Deputy Walt (Henry Darrow) that J.P. plans to call his old pal General Blankenship (Richard Eastman). Deputy Walt freaks out and talks the Sheriff into going out to the Diamond H to talk some sense into J.P.
Meanwhile, at the Diamond H, J.P. is already on the phone with General Blankenship at the War Department.
The General promises to send the War Department’s Intelligence Team leader, Major Steve Trevor (Lyle Waggoner), because obviously Steve doesn’t have anything more important to do in the middle of a World War than deal with cattle rustlers and blackmarket beef.
After J.P. hangs up the phone, he tells Jeff that the War Department is sending Steve Trevor to investigate. Even Jeff knows who Steve Trevor is: he’s a famous War Hero!
Jeff seems to think it’s weird to send a War Hero to investigate a cattle rustling ring. Jeff doesn’t understand that the regular cast was getting pretty bored with the endless Nazi plots and were allegedly threatening to mutiny.
Back at the War Department, the General tells Yeoman Diana Prince (Lynda Carter) and Private Etta Candy (Beatrice Colen) that Steve is going on a mission to investigate cattle rustlers.
Etta chirps that steak is better for morale than two Betty Grable movies. When Etta isn’t eating onscreen, she’s talking about food. Because she’s the unsexy non-threatening plump gal pal in the office, don’t ya know.
Diana says something vague about the importance of food to the war effort.
Because Steve thinks Diana doesn’t have enough fun in her life, he gives her a 3 day furlough.
We don’t see it onscreen, but we can assume that 3 seconds after Steve is wheels-up, Diana spins into Wonder Woman and heads to Texas in her Invisible Jet.
That Afternoon at the Diamond H Ranch House
J.P. tells the Sheriff and Deputy Walt that Steve Trevor, War Hero, is on his way to deal with the rustlers.
Late That Evening Steve Flies Toward Texas
…In her Invisible Plane Wonder Woman Follows Steve
At the ranch, J.P. teaches his plucky war orphans campfire safety.
Charlie (David Yanez), the Navajo orphan, hasn’t said a word since his father died at Pearl Harbor. His father was J.P.’s ranch foreman.
French orphan Babette (Christelle Gaspart) doesn’t know fire safety. Or acting. She will never work in television again.
British orphan Freddie (Justin Randi) is a fire know-it-all. Or maybe a budding arsonist, it’s hard to say. According to IMDB, Justin won’t last much longer in Hollywood than Christelle.
Carey Wong, who plays Sen the Hong Kong war orphan, doesn’t get much farther.
Kristoff St. John, who plays Linc the Harlem orphan, goes on to a very successful television career, appearing in 1,563 episodes of the soap opera the Young and the Restless among other things.
Meanwhile, at the Ghost Town:
The title writers were really digging the drama of the ellipse in this episode.
Deputy Walt is part of the cattle rustling ring. Consequently, Deputy Walt doesn’t want this War Hero messing around in Mob business.
Later that Same Morning at the Diamond H
The orphans can’t wait to meet a big War Hero like Steve Trevor. Hey, maybe the orphans can find out why the hell Steve is considered such a big War Hero!
Jeff is jealous of J.P.’s new family.
Jeff is played by Lance Kerwin, who goes on to play the role of young Mark Petrie in Tobe Hooper’s made-for-tv adaptation of Salem’s Lot in 1979. We weren’t “allowed” to watch Salem’s Lost when it originally aired but most of my friends had older siblings who used vague allusions to rampant childhood vampirism to inflict terror on us anyway. To this day I retain the compulsion to make small crosses out of popsicle sticks. Kim said we had to make them or we’d be sorry and Kim was much older so she clearly knew what she was talking about.
Here’s a photo of David Soul with a popsicle stick cross, from Salem’s Lot (1979).
Still at the ranch: Spunky Black orphan Linc says grace before breakfast: “Thank you for making Texas a better place than Harlem.”
Are you kidding me? Why are they still flying? Why aren’t they there yet? Did it really take this long to fly from D.C. to Texas in 1942? I’d look it up, but I don’t care enough. Let’s just assume that time moves differently in September 1942 and leave it at that.
At long last, Steve lands at the military base in Texas!
He borrows a jeep and drives straight into a trap.
Who could have seen that coming?
Steve turns into a stunt double who looks nothing like Lyle Waggoner, steps on a trap door, and falls into a pit.
Good job, Steve!
The rustlers cover the pit with a boulder and wipe their hands of this whole war hero situation.
Wonder Woman Arrives That Afternoon at the Diamond H Ranch
Wonder Woman is concerned because Steve Trevor hasn’t arrived yet. Maria the Diamond H’s maid doesn’t know why he hasn’t arrived yet, but Charlie the mute Navajo orphan leads her to the Trevor-Trap.
Wonder Woman lifts the boulder and saves Steve’s bacon. Again.
Steve believes Wonder Woman when she tells him she just happened to be in Texas investigating reports of cattle rustling, even though she uses the same vague explanation about the importance of food to the war effort that Diana used yesterday.
Also, who does Steve think Wonder Woman gets her orders from? If she’s a free agent and not, oh, say, someone who works in his office, who would be calling her to look into something like cattle rustling?
Oh Steve, you are such an idiot.
At the Diamond H Ranch
Wonder Woman is wearing her cape! Wonder Woman and Steve learn that orphan Charlie’s father was J.P.’s former foreman.
J.P. asks Marie the maid to loan Wonder Woman some clothes. Maria isn’t even remotely the same size or height as Wonder Woman.
The Following Morning at the Ghost Town
The cattle rustlers unload the cattle.
In the 1970s, Hollywood loved old west ghost towns. Every Hollywood studio had a Old West set on the back lot, so a Western town location was an economical choice. Know what’s even more cost-effective than shooting on an existing set? Making it a ghost town so you don’t have to hire extras!
In the 1970s, Hollywood really loved old west ghost town jails. Do you think someone is going to find themselves locked up in a ghost town jail before the end of the episode?
Hey, remember that time the Brady Bunch went to an Old West ghost town and got locked up in the jail? Now what was the name of that episode, again? Oh right: it was Ghost Town U.S.A.
At the Diamond H Ranch
Wonder Woman tells the plucky war orphans they can be anything they want if they eat right and exercise. (Seriously. That’s exactly what she says).
Being childlike and trusting, Wonder Woman tells the children about all of her vulnerabilities. The belt. The lasso. The bracelets. Her faith in Steve Trevor’s abilities as a War Hero. All of it.
Then, Wonder Woman demonstrates her Golden Lasso by forcing 10 year old orphans to confess their dark secrets to her.
I wish I was kidding.
At the Sheriff’s Department
Jeff is colluding with the cattle rustlers! He tells Deputy Walt about Wonder Woman! Deputy Walt manipulates Jeff by preying on his insecurity and unstable sense of identity in a ruptured family configuration which has de-centered his relationship with his father.
Deputy Walt sends Jeff home to find out the secret of Wonder Woman’s strength.
Later that Day
Wait…what? We finally cut back to the ranch and they’re just now finishing up breakfast? Well, yes, I suppose that means it’s technically later, just not that much later. It’s also September 1942. Who cares? Let’s just move on.
Steve drives out to the military base to use their scrambler phone to report to the General. Every now and again, Steve does something sensible.
Sort of. Despite being ambushed on that very same road just hours before, he hits the road alone.
Meanwhile, Wonder Woman goes for a horseback ride with J.P. and Jeff. A rattle snake spooks Jeff’s horse and it runs away with him. Wonder Woman rides to the rescue.
J.P. helps the now-injured Jeff back to the ranch.
Deputy Walt and a henchman chase down Wonder Woman, jump out of the car, tackle her horse, and capture her. Okay, fine, they don’t actually tackle her horse, but there’s definitely a gratuitous horse-fall stunt in the scene. Here’s the clip (en español):
Deputy Walt uses the intel about Wonder Woman’s weaknesses to disarm her, but he just chucks all her powerful magical accessories in a pasture.
Luckily, little orphan Charlie was watching the whole time and retrieves the items.
At the base, Steve asks for a background check on Deputy Walt. Even Steve thinks that guy is suspicious.
Next up: a car chase! The rustlers chase Steve, although I’m not sure why and I’m not motivated to find out. I’m guessing it’s because he didn’t stay in the first Trevor-Trap and is still on their trail, but maybe it’s because they know Steve knows that Deputy Walt is an identity-thieving imposter who lied his way into the Deputy job so he could keep the Sheriff from solving the case.
I don’t really care because I’m too busy admiring Steve’s wardrobe. He is dressed to kill in his Western duds.
Back at the Ranch, Charlie breaks his silence, telling the other orphans that Wonder Woman is a prisoner in the ghost town jail.
The orphans sneak into the to the ghost town jail and return her accessories. With her belt back, she now has the strength to bend the bars of the cell and escape.
Oh wait, that’s Mike Brady. He can’t bend the bars of his ghost town jail cell. That’s what happens when you get your accessories from J.C. Penney’s instead of Paradise Island, Bradys!
When Wonder Woman and the orphans return to the Diamond H Ranch, Jeff confesses that he’s been helping the rustlers because “Deputy Walt took an interest” in him, unlike his own father.
Wonder Woman lays a huge guilt-trip on Jeff for being jealous of the war orphans.
Consciousness raised, Jeff vows to learn how to swallow his rage and become a productive member of society.
Back at the ghost town, the rustlers have Steve Trevor locked up.
Wonder Woman goes back to the ghost town, orphans in tow. Wonder Woman lets the orphans help capture the cattle rustlers, because apparently you’re never too young to learn how to take on the Mob.
From shot to shot there’s no wardrobe continuity at all in this episode – even less than usual. I get why Lynda Carter and/or her stunt woman wore boots without high heels sometimes, but it apparently never occurred to the camera operator or director to frame the shots so the boots aren’t visible or obvious. Sorry for the blurry screencaps, but I think you’ll get the idea:
At the end of the episode, Charlie gives Wonder Woman a beaded belt. Charlie isn’t a stereotypical magical native, and his (deceased) father was a character with responsibility and authority if he was J.P.’s foreman, so that’s pretty progressive for the 1970s, although the actor who plays Charlie is Latino, not Navajo. Alas, this bit of pandering at the end edges into White Savior territory: Wonder Woman teaches Charlie how to lasso so he can quit being ashamed of being a Navajo who doesn’t have rope skills.
This episode contains:
Ethnic Parade of Orphans
Feats of Strength
Ghost Town Jail
Mansel in Distress
I’m sorry, what? No, that’s not what I meant to say at all.
Let’s just get right to it, shall we? The sooner we get out of season 1, the sooner we’ll be done with all these Nazis. Also, the wardrobe gets way groovier.
Ft. Frazier Ordnance Testing Facility August, 1942
Over the last few episodes, we’ve spent several months in September and now it’s finally August?
Are you kidding me? How in the name of all that is good and decent in this world are we back to August?
Over a loudspeaker, we hear that the testing operation is about to begin. Major Steve Trevor (Lyle Waggoner), Yeoman Diana Prince (Lynda Carter), General Blankenship (Richard Eastman), Private Etta Candy (Beatrice Colen), and a bunch of Army Officer Dudes watch a bunch of Enlisted Army Dudes try to blow up an Army truck. It looks just like a regular army truck…because it is.
Things get pretty explodey, but that’s one plucky little truck! Its tires have been reinforced with Formula 407, a secret experimental formula which makes rubber as strong as steel.
Well that’s great. It explains why the landmines and bazooka shells don’t damage the tires, but it doesn’t explain why the rest of the truck, which is made out of regulation canvas and steel, is unscathed.
Oh, who cares why the rest of the truck is indestructible! What matters is that the test is a success! That puts our plot in motion!
The General tells Steve to go to Argentina to get the formula for Formula 407 from Professor Moreno, inventor of Formula 407.
Argentina is a neutral country but it’s chock full of German sympathizers. The General asks Diana to go with Steve, because she speaks Spanish, which will come in handy in Argentina which is a neutral country where they speak Spanish.
Argentina is a neutral country, don’t forget that. It’s on the quiz.
In case the awkward expository dialogue about Argentine neutrality didn’t penetrate the brains of viewers either too young or too stoned to retain information of geopolitical significance, a title appears on the screen, accompanied by some smooth latin 70s jazz: Buenos Aires, Argentina – A picturesque country that has remained neutral in this time of war.
The Home of Professor Moreno
Professor Moreno (ubiquitous character actor Nehemiah Persoff) works in his home lab with his beautiful assistant Maria (Marissa Pavan). They work on Formula 407. Who would ever think to look for world-famous Professor Moreno’s secret lab in his huge mansion he never leaves? It is, after all, a neutral country, so there probably aren’t any spies. Not any who know about Formula 407, anyway.
The Professor knows the Americans are the good guys. Formula 407. Maria gratuitously mentions Argentine neutrality. Formula 407.
SS Headquarters – Berlin, Germany
The Nazis scheme to steal Formula 407.
Etta wink-wink-nudge-nudges about all the sexy times Diana and Steve can have in Argentina, in addition to some awkward dialogue about “hot blooded gauchos” that we’re going to move right on past.
Steve Trevor and Diana land at Buenos Aries Airport
Why doesn’t Diana have a last name on this title card? Is it 1970s sexism? Are the writers acknowledging she’s the real hero? Are the title setters lazy? Does the writer actually get it that the core audience is 5 year old girls who know the score? I have questions. None are about Argentine neutrality or Formula 407. Only some of them are about the passage of time in the summer of 1942.
The U.S. Ambassador meets Steve and Diana at the airport and tells them Argentina is allegedly a neutral country, but it’s full of people with all kinds of accents. (Really, that’s what they say).
Steve awkwardly mentions how they all have Swiss passports and work for sketchy Swiss Import Export companies. Steve and the Ambassador laugh knowingly. Nazis do the darndest things! #notallswisscounts
Incidentally, I skimmed some State Department documents and other historical resources to get an idea of what real-world August 1977 events this was about, because of course its not about fictional August 1942 at all, of course.
Much of U.S. policy toward Argentina from 1977 – 1980 grew out of President Carter’s new global emphasis on human rights. In addition, it was driven by a Congressionally-mandated halt on U.S. arms sales to Argentina, which was enacted in August 1977 and went into effect on October 1, 1978. U.S. officials grappled with internal disagreements over what tactics should be used to implement the human rights policy. The disagreements inside the Carter administration were not over whether or how to support the Argentine Government, but rather over how to influence its behavior.
Let’s not dive into Argentine-U.S. relations right now because we’ll forget that Major Steve Trevor and Yeoman Diana Prince are on the ground and ready for action in neutral Argentina. They all hop in a car and drive away.
A Few Miles Away Nazi Agents Wait…
Hans and his Nazi cohort hang out, bemoaning the American lack of punctuality.
The Nazis ambush the car, abducting Steve and the Ambassador while leaving Diana in the car. Good thing, too, because this allows Diana to run behind a tree, spin into Wonder Woman, attack the Nazis, and save the day.
Steve Trevor, in case you’ve forgotten, is a moron. He totally buys that Wonder Woman just happened to be in the neighborhood and dropped by to save his manly hide. Diana disappears, Wonder Woman shows up, there are unconscious Nazis scattered around, and all Steve can talk about is how he wants to take Wonder Woman to the movies.
The Ambassador invites Wonder Woman to dinner, but she tells him its her first visit to Buenos Aires so she’d like to see the sights. This is the exact same thing Diana said 10 minutes ago, but Steve is either too drunk to notice or maybe he has a head injury. I don’t know what the Ambassador’s excuse is.
Sunset – A Few Hours Later Diana, Steve, and the Ambassador arrive For Dinner at Professor Moreno’s House of Secret Science.
Time for a dinner party!
Professor Moreno and the Ambassador are patronizing dicks when Diana greets them in Spanish.
Professor Moreno introduces his daughter Lydia, who licks her lips at Man-candy Steve Trevor.
They also meet Maria and her fiancee, Senor Keller (John Devlin), a Swiss import-export broker. Remember 3 hours ago in storytime back in that scene at the airport when Steve made that pointed comment about Swiss Exporters in which they insinuated that they’re all Nazi spies? Good, I’m glad someone does, because Steve certainly doesn’t.
Steve doesn’t bat an eye at Senor Keller, Swiss Count and import-export agent.
Antonio, another dinner guest, tells Diana she’d be a most attractive lady if she’d just take “those terrible glasses off.”
Now Lydia is actually hanging on Steve, talking about Fate.
How much wine did these people drink during dinner?
Maria and Senor Keller giggle about sexually precocious Lydia’s experimentation.
If anyone starts yelling about a white worm I’m out of here.
Senor Keller tells Maria that Steve Trevor is one of America’s great War Heroes.
“Him?” She asks, incredulous. Wait, no, she didn’t ask that, I did.
Outside, Senor Keller, who is actually Major Keller, Nazi Swiss Count Spy, takes a walk and chats with his henchmen. He decides to take more than Formula 407 back to Berlin. He’s going to nap famous American War Hero Steve Trevor, too!
The henchmen are worried about Wonder Woman.
A Wonder Woman? How crazy! It’s not like the Nazis have spent 11 episodes assembling a clip file on her and viewing endless footage of her exploits against bullets and cars that need lifting, so you can understand why Major Keller, Nazi Swiss Count Spy, is unconcerned.
Meanwhile, Antonio continues to pursue Diana and everyone says “Formula 407” a lot.
Lydia and Steve go for a walk so they can make out in the neutral Argentine moonlight, because she’s in no way too young for him or the daughter of Professor Moreno, who is their host.
Steve makes his move, but before the smooching kicks into high gear Nazis abduct them!
Diana must save them! She eludes Antonio, runs outside, and spins out of a horrible floor length baby blue gown and into Wonder Woman.
She’s immediately chloroformed. By Nazis.
The Following Morning Deep in the Cellars below Professor Moreno’s Home
Steve and Wonder Woman are tied up.
Up in the lab: Maria lies to the Professor, telling him that everyone left the party safely. Oh, and his underage daughter spent the night in the garden with Steve. The Professor is troubled that his underage daughter spent the night with Steve.
No time for that now, impressionable young viewers!
Down in the Cellar: Steve splains to Diana that the Nazis are after Formula 407. Then, they escape!
Up in the lab: Moreno learns that Senor Kellor is really Major Kellor, Nazi Swiss Count Spy. The Professor refuses to give Major Keller, Nazi Swiss Count Spy, Formula 407.
Major Keller, Nazi Swiss Count Spy, tells the Professor he’ll behave, because the Nazis have Lydia!
Maria is aghast at the depths of Major Keller’s fiendish plan.
Keller wants the Professor to give the Americans Fake Formula 407.
A Deserted Shack by the Beach
Lydia is tied to a chair!
Back at the lab: Maria’s consciousness has been raised! She tells the Professor that she thought Karl was a good Nazi, but she’s been having doubts ever since she learned he kidnapped Lydia 30 seconds ago.
Meanwhile, Steve and Diana skulk around the Secret House of Science, escaping the basement and finding the Professor in his lab.
In the lab: Steve Trevor, America’s Most Questionable War Hero, is surprised to learn that Swiss Count Keller is actually Swiss Count/Nazi Spy Major Keller, even though he’s been joking about Swiss Counts being Nazis since he touched down on Argentine soil.
Wonder Woman sneaks away and finds Maria in the parlor.
Maria is suspicious of this weird woman who just showed up out of the blue who looks so familiar and seems to have intimate knowledge of the private dinner the previous night at which Maria met similarly-shaped American brunette Diana Prince.
Wonder Woman appeals to Maria’s womanhood. Who among us hasn’t committed youthful indiscretions for love, such as becoming a Nazi?
In the lab: Steve convinces Moreno to give Keller the Fake Formula 407.
Steve leaps out of hiding and attacks Keller, but Keller’s henchmen capture Steve’s dumb ass and take possession of the real Formula 407. Keller is a chemist, he’s not falling for the Fake Formula 407! What a twist! He knows a fake formula when he sees it! What?!?
Just don’t think about it.
Wonder Woman sees Major Keller shove Steve into a car.
Wonder Woman saves Maria from a henchmen with her bullet-deflecting bracelets. Then, she uses her Golden Lasso to capture and question the henchman.
Wonder Woman leaves, casually handing off the Lasso to Maria, who was a Nazi 5 minutes ago but is now reformed enough to be trusted with the magical Golden Lasso, guard a henchman, and look after the most valuable Scientist in the world!
The Nazis Arrive at the Beach for their Rendezvous
A U-boat emerges from the depths.
Wonder Woman races to their rescue. Slowly. Through sand, in high heeled boots, through an awkwardly framed shot.
She swings by the shack to rescue Lydia before she goes out to save Mansel in Distress Steve Trevor.
For good measure, Steve wrestles Keller. Or maybe a henchman. I can’t remember.
Nazi frogmen emerge from the surf for whatever reason. They begin hurling explosives at Wonder Woman, because who doesn’t carry large fling-able bombs in their wetsuit?
Luckily, the frogmen throw the bombs one at a time so Wonder Woman can safely catch each one and throw it away.
The frogmen retreat into the surf.
Steve is wearing his Big Boy Trousers today – he actually manages to catch Heller himself! Wonder Woman is so darn proud it looks like her dimples ache from smiling.
It’s pretty awkward.
Washington D.C. Several Days Later
Steve gets pissy when Diana tells Etta about Lydia. Steve takes Etta’s coffee away from her in retaliation. Steve is a monster!
Wait. Did Diana send Etta a postcard with classified information on the back?
Steve wonders how Wonder Woman always knows when he’s in trouble. Diana suggests “it could be women’s intuition” because, like quicksand, polyester, and the Bermuda Triangle, that’s a very 70s pop culture explanation.
Diana grins at Steve like a gooney bird; the frame freezes; we cut to the end credits.
Husband: If they have the Formula 407 truck tires, don’t they already have access to the formula? Why does the General need Moreno at all?
Apropos of nothing, here’s a Formula 409 commercial from 1977:
This episode contains:
Bullets and Bracelets
Mansel in Distress
We cannot get to the 2nd season and that sweet, sweet time-jump to the 1970s soon enough.
After the title sequence, Lynda Carter introduces us to the “previously on” montage, which goes on for an awfully long time and bolsters our opinion that this didn’t need to be a 2-parter. I’m not going to summarize it, mostly because you can just read the previous post and also because we were pretty busy mocking the Council’s space-attire and I didn’t take any notes.
We open with Wonder Woman in the space-ship, which she mimic-whistled her way into at the end of the last episode.
There are invisible force-field barriers in this episode. Invisible force-field barriers attract mime action like nobody’s business.
In the spaceship, Wonder Woman pretends to use her strength against an invisible barrier but fails to break through. I’m not sure whose failure we’re watching. The actor? Or the director? I think it’s a group effort. Either way it’s pretty bad. You feel embarrassed for the actor – that sort of empathy-embarrassment like when you laugh at a weird thing your pet who hasn’t been the same since he was hit by lightning does.
In Outer Space, taupe has conquered the Universe.
The War Department Washington D.C. Two Weeks After the Abduction of Andros.
General Blankenship is on the phone with President Roosevelt. After he hangs up, he informs Steve Trevor, America’s worst spy, that the British think Andros might be a prisoner at Schloss-Markham, the Secret Nazi Interrogation Center in Germany.
Schloss Markheim Interrogation Center in Germany.
Andros is indeed there.
Is is still September 1942? Is it always September 1942?
If David Lynch made a show where many months of story-time elapses but it’s always September 1942, he’d be hailed as a genius. On a related note: is there anything more boring than Showtime’s return to Twin Peaks?
No. No there is not.
It’s good to see we’re all in agreement.
Let’s move on.
London – British Intelligence.
Steve meets Evan Mallory, the Welsh secret agent who will smuggle Steve into Schloss Markheim.
Steve and the head of British intelligence engage in some pointedly anti-Welsh dialogue in front of Mallory, while Mallory stands there looking aggrieved. The British guy calls the Welsh “madmen” and suggests that’s why Mallory passes so well for a Nazi when he’s undercover. Really. And now they’re going to expect this man to keep Steve alive in Nazi territory?
On a related note: How is Steve Trevor still alive? Seriously. How did he survive long enough to even become Wonder Woman’s mansel in the first place?
Meanwhile, Back in Washington D.C..
Etta invites Diana on a beach weekend, but Diana tells her she’s going hunting. Hunting? Etta is properly perplexed. Diana assures her she’s not going hunting to hunt anything, but rather to find something. I guess technically that’s hunting, but maybe she should say she’s going “looking.”
Wonder Woman flies to Germany in her Invisible Jet. We love the inflight Brazilian jazz Wonder Woman relaxes to as she jets around the world.
Steve and Mallory parachute into Germany.
In the Schloss Markheim Laboratory, Bjornson sends Lisa the pretty fräulein to seduce him and learn all of his alien science secrets.
After Andros conducts an emergency therapy session/intervention Lisa runs away to question all of her life choices.
The leader of the Council contacts Andros, but Andros refuses to leave.
Wonder Woman breaks down the door to rescue Andros, but he refuses to leave with her.
The Nazis capture Wonder Woman. Again.
Bjornson the Nazi thinks the whole spaceman gimmick is a cover and Andros is just an American atomic scientist. He confiscates Wonder Woman’s power belt, which he believes Andros created using “scientific processing” to give her superpowers.
Andros is feisty, but his critique lack proportionality. Wonder Woman is skeptical when he equates American internment camps with Nazi concentration camps.
Steve and Mallory Arrive at Schloss Markheim
Steve’s cover is blown immediately because he’s Steve.
Bjornson the Nazi marches Steve, Wonder Woman and Andros 100 meters below the mountain for a little light torture.
Well, they don’t actually torture Wonder Woman or Andros, but there’s a lot of monologuing that’s a bit tortuous for the viewer.
Oh my gods and goddesses, this episode is a cavalcade of bad accents. Hollywood German. Hollywood Swedish. Hollywood Welsh. Hollywood British.
It would be more hilarious if it wasn’t dragging out across 2 episodes.
At least Andros finally realizes that Nazis are really bad guys.
The Council randomly calls in for a few minutes. It doesn’t make sense because Andros may or may not be the only one who sees them or maybe they freeze everyone but Andros or I don’t really know, but it distracts the Nazis long enough for Wonder Woman to grab her gear.
Wonder Woman and Andros make a run for it.
By “run for it” I mean “hide in a storage room and make googly eyes at one another.” Wonder Woman places her hand on his chest and he clasps her hand. It’s a surprisingly risque close-up for this show.
Steve and Mallory lead the Nazis on a wacky chase scene, eventually re-uniting with Wonder Woman and Andros after they finish doing whatever they were doing in the broom closet.
Wonder Woman knocks the Nazis down.
Lisa, newly liberated maybe-ex-Nazi fräulein, tells Andros she’s going to help him escape. She actually says “I don’t care what happens to the rest of you,” which I found to be a refreshing bit of honesty.
Andros, Steve, Wonder Woman and Mallory are cornered, so Andros calls the Council and pleads his case. Wonder Woman is the hope of the human race! And maybe the world!
The Council gives Andros his power back and everyone escapes.
I have no idea what happens to Lisa.
Several Days Later
Andros makes a weird and confusing speech about how humankind is flawed, destructive and plagued with “the disease of racial childhood.”
What does that mean?
Andros assured the Council that Wonder Woman will be a positive influence so they gave Earth a 50 year reprieve.
But then Andros invites her to leave Earth and travel with him in a series of adventures through time and space in a pitch that in no way resembles Doctor Who.
Not to put too fine a point on this, but: wouldn’t that violate the deal he just made with the Council which hinges on her hanging around Earth and being all peace-making?
Andros threatens her with some light stalking and informs Wonder Woman he’ll be back in 1992 to renew his Doctor Who offer. The character of Andros does in fact show back up in the 1970s and he’s played by another actor, so we’ll save the rest of the Doctor Who jokes for later.
Andros flies away.
Hey! It’s stock footage cherry blossom season in D.C.
Cherry blossom season is actually in March/April.
Apparently, during World War II it was always both September and cherry blossom season in Washington, D.C.
Back at the War Department.
Steve is jealous because he saw the way Andros looked at Wonder Woman, but Diana assures him that Wonder Woman would much rather be in D.C. with Steve, because Wonder Woman prefers her men young and stupid.
For the record: the 1st Atomic weapons test, Trinity, was on July 16, 1945. The first nuclear power plant became operational in June 1954. We still haven’t colonized space. The judgey space council people are jumping the gun a little bit here.
Washington D.C. September 1942
A space craft lands in Northern Virginia.
HOW IS IT STILL SEPTEMBER 1942?
War Department – 0730 HRS The Following Morning
Yeoman Diana Prince (Lynda Carter) handles phone calls about the Unidentified Flying Object landing in Northern Virginia.
Sweet Cheezits. The term Unidentified Flying Object (UFO) was coined by the US Air Force in 1953. Just a tiny bit of historical accuracy – is that too much to ask for?
Diana tells Major Steve Trevor (Lyle Waggoner) that it’s officially classified as a “meteor.”
A Wooded Area in the Hills of Virginia
The Army searches for the UFO while Diana and Steve hang out.
Andros emerges from the woods. He says he’s a visitor from outer space who observes Earth on behalf of the Council of Planets. Earth has been his beat since the Neolithic. He doesn’t actually call anyone a war monkey, I made that up.
Husband believes that they’re intimidated by his Run DMC-level of accessorizing.
Diana saunters into the woods and spins into Wonder Woman. It’s a national security situation yet no one seems to notice that Diana disappears and Wonder Woman appears. She just happens to be in the neighborhood. Again.
Andros freezes the soldiers with his mind. When he unfreezes them, a soldier throws a grenade, but Andros contains the blast in his hands.
It’s not as dramatic as when Sebastian Shaw absorbs the grenade blast in X-Men: First Class, so if you prefer that kind of thing here’s that clip instead. The grenade starts at 1:04. I’ll wait.
Andros wants to meet with world leaders. Everyone is skeptical of this weird alien scientist guy. Then weird alien scientist guy neutralizes a grenade right in front of them. Their reaction?
Sold! You can definitely hang out with us at the War Department, Mr. Potentially Dangerous Space Scientist Alien Guy!
Fort Russell Army Base
A soldier tells Paul Bjornson, Swedish Newspaperman (Scott Hylands) about the alien scientist.
Paul Bjornson, Swedish Newspaperman, immediately calls…Nazi Headquarters in Germany. Because he’s actually: Paul Bjornson, Swedish Newspaperman/Nazi Spy
That sure escalated fast.
The Nazis want a Potentially Dangerous Alien Space Scientist of their own. I mean, who doesn’t?
Washington, D.C. The Following day
General Blankenship (Richard Eastham) and Steve explain to Andros that he needs to demonstrate his powers before he’ll be allowed to meet the President.
The thing with the grenade wasn’t good enough?
Andros quotes his old pal Socrates in classical Greek. Diana also speaks Greek.
Andros is going to stay in a secret safe house, because that’s worked out so well for everyone else who’s stayed there. (Watch out for giant gorillas, Andros!)
Outside the guesthouse, Steve and Andros are ambushed…by Nazis.
Diana ducks away, spins into Wonder Woman, and saves Steve’s sorry hide with her bullet-deflecting bracelets. She claims she “heard sounds” and investigated. Good thing, since Diana seems to have wandered off again. Now where could Diana be?
Paul Bjornson, Swedish Newspaperman/Nazi Spy is also there, although I spaced out for a minute and don’t know why.
Andros is a major-league name dropper. Abe Lincoln. Socrates. Diana digs it, but honestly, it’s a bit much, pal.
Andros uses his mind-control clock-radio-necklace to freeze Steve Trevor, Alleged War Hero, and Paul Bjornson, Swedish Newspaperman/Nazi Spy. Andros ditches them; Diana nods her approval.
Andros knows Diana is Wonder Woman, because he’s not an idiot.
At the War Department : Paul Bjornson, Swedish Newspaperman/Nazi Spy knows flattery gets you everywhere with General Blankenship, so they go spend a little quality time in the General’s office.
Diana suggests that Steve alert the Civil Defense since he’s so upset Andros gave them the slip. It’s still 1942 and I’m fairly certain the term in common use was “civilian defense” until after 1943. I don’t know why I care – it’s a show about an Amazon in satin undies protecting a space ambassador and fighting Nazis while working for an idiot who is allegedly a war hero. And yet. I only ask for scraps.
Steve empowers Diana to do whatever she wants so she goes to the Lincoln Memorial (as Wonder Woman) to find Andros. It’s a special occasion, so she wears her cape.
Andros can control the weather, which he demonstrates for Wonder Woman. He causes a solar eclipse, which is weird because an eclipse is not weather and also it’s nighttime so that doesn’t make any sense at all, but Wonder Woman eats it up.
At the War Department: Paul Bjornson, Swedish Newspaperman/Nazi Spy tries to bribe the General’s secretary Etta Candy (Beatrice Colen), but she has morals. She does give him her phone number, though, because she also has needs.
At the Aberdeen Proving Grounds: Andros blows up a shed…with lightning. Steve, the General, and Wonder Woman are duly impressed.
Andros says the Council of Planets is concerned earthlings will swarm into space and wreck the place like they’ve wrecked earth.
That’s fair. I’m gonna to give him that one.
In Washington Andros Meets the President as Wonder Woman and Many Others Wait. The Planet of Councils spy on Wonder Woman as she hangs out in the Rose Garden in her sparkly cape and optional skirt.
At the War Department: Steve and the General fret. The President orders the General to assemble a Strike Force.
Outside, Wonder Woman and Andros stroll and chat.
She tells him that the Amazons live outside of time, close to the ancient natural order of things on Paradise Island, which has perfect harmony. She pleads with Andros to give humans a chance.
Andros allows Wonder Woman to use her golden lasso on him. To make sure he’s telling the truth. This time. (Spoiler alert: things seem to go a bit farther in the next episode).
Oh, and he also tells her he has to check in to his spaceship every 3 days or he’ll get in big trouble and the Council will reduce the earth to a smoking cinder, so maybe don’t let anyone lock him up anywhere or kill him because he’s the only one who can open the space ship door, with his special whistle, which he demonstrates for her.
At the War Department: Diana tells Steve off when she finds out he and the General are making plans to assassinate Andros.
Steve sends Diana to the Library of Congress to keep an eye on Andros. Husband DJed at the Library of Congress recently (really!) – this shooting location isn’t it.
Bjornson and the Nazis attack!
Diana spins into Wonder Woman.
Wonder Woman leaps over the bookcases instead of walking 5 feet down the center aisle. Those sound effects aren’t going to use themselves, people!
Wonder Woman knocks down the stacks like dominos, crushing books and then walking on them. Librarians around the world cry out and then go silent. The Nazis are undeterred.
The Nazis gas Wonder Woman!
In Outer Space, the space council is getting fussy. They want to rid the earth of the human disease. For a bunch of aliens who claim to want to keep the peace, the Council sure is filled with trigger-happy assholes. The council deactivates the power-thing Andros wears around his neck, which seems like a questionable move.
At the Library of Congress: Paul Bjornson, Swedish Newspaperman/Nazi Spy grabs Andros and runs.
At the War Department: Steve learns that Paul Bjornson is a Nazi.
Wonder Woman cures herself from the effects of the poison gas. Weakened but determined, Wonder Woman goes to the spacecraft in Northern Virginia.
The Army has been looking for this spacecraft for the entire episode. It’s the big silver pulsating space disc sitting in the same Northern Virginia park Andros landed in 2 days ago. Where they first met him. At the landing site. In the park. In Northern Virginia. 2 days ago. Right there. Where he left it. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say it was sometime in September of 1942.
Even if Andros erased their memories, they actually have the location marked on a map on Steve’s office wall:
Instead of using voice mimicry, Wonder Woman uses whistle mimicry to open the spaceship door.
I still think this is a weird ability.
It lets her in, but..
Has Wonder Woman activated the satellite destruction device? Is Wonder Woman going to cheat on Gargantua with Andros? What the fuck is the story with the voice mimicry? Why is it still September 1942? Stay tuned for the answers to a couple of these questions in part 2 of “Judgement from Outer Space.”
This episode contains:
Bullets and Bracelet
Eclipse (Not Technically Weather)
The North Atlantic September 1942 – 0800 Hours
A U.S. Battleship detects a submarine. Stock footage ensues.
Confusingly, this is supposed to be the Chesapeake Bay, which is not remotely in the North Atlantic. In fact, it’s in a region that’s called the “Mid-Atlantic” to differentiate it from other parts of the Atlantic.
At the War Department – 0805 Hours
General Blankenship (Richard Eastham) tells Major Steve Trevor (Lyle Waggoner) and Yeoman Diana Prince (Lynda Carter) about last night’s intel. It seems that the Nazi super-agent known as Wotan is planning to visit D.C.
Diana remarks that “Wotan” is the name of the Germanic God of War. Diana is correct.
No one knows what Wotan looks like! Or how he will travel to D.C.!
Oh, and also, Steve reads an emergency cable that says some nonsense to the effect of: “We just sank a submarine in the shallow waters of the Chesapeake Bay and there were no survivors.” As we’ve already covered in previous posts, this whole submarines in the Bay thing is very silly.
Do Steve and Diana think the Uboat is related to Wotan’s arrival? Nah. Do Steve and Diana go check it out anyway because they are the War Department? Yes. Will they find Nazis? Duh. Is the Bay still too shallow for Uboat incursions? Definitely!
Off the Coast of Virginia – One Hour Later
Diana and Steve skulk around Smith Point, watching for the 3 men who were spotted escaping from the submarine in a rubber raft.
Wait. The intel said there were no survivors – but it also said there were 3 men in a raft? Were there survivors or weren’t there?
And if there were, why did it take them an hour to row ashore? And why did it take an hour to figure out that the submariners faked the explosion as a cover to deposit 3 men in a rubber raft off the coast? Let’s review: there are 3 guys in a raft where there weren’t any before and there’s no wrecked submarine. Even Steve seems to be able to put the pieces together on that one.
More importantly, how did Steve and Diana get to Smith Point in an hour in that jeep? Ok, yes, maybe they took a helicopter and then borrowed the jeep. Smith Point is in Virginia Beach, which is 4 hours away on a good day via I-95 (which wasn’t built until 1957). In 1942 it looks like they would have taken U.S. Route 1 and I can’t imagine they could get there in 4 hours, even with a military escort.
Husband suggests that maybe they’re supposed to be at Smith Point, the popular Georgetown destination once ranked number 3 on a Douchiest Bars in D.C. list, which is a travesty because it should have been number one.
As the men land on the beach, Diana trots back to the jeep, reports in to the General, then spins into Wonder Woman. Good thing, since Steve gets ambushed.
A Nazi waiting on the shore yells a warning to Wotan (James Olson), whose identity is protected by a truly stupid-looking mask.
In the scuffle, Wotan gets away – but not before he and Wonder Woman lock eyes for a long time. Thanks to Wonder Woman’s bullet-deflecting bracelets, she and Steve capture the other three Nazis. Also, Wonder Woman jumps over a fence, which makes sense from an efficiency standpoint but doesn’t entirely make sense in light of the fact that the fence didn’t seem to be there a few minutes ago when Diana ran up from the beach to use the jeep-phone.
Washington, D.C. – Several Hours Later
Etta Candy (Beatrice Colen) and Diana go to “a joint” because Etta is starving. A joint? Slang confuses Diana, who is so wide-eyed and innocent. In case you forgot: Etta is the jolly plump one who eats a lot, while Diana is the thin one who doesn’t ever seem to eat.
Wait. Hang on. The actor who played Wotan is named Jimmy Olson? I admit I find that much funnier than it probably objectively is, because I took such terrible notes on this episode I had to rewatch it a few times. To be fair, it was entertaining every time, but still, it takes a toll on a person.
On their way to the Capitol Cafe, a street photographer takes Diana and Etta’s photo. Etta gives the photographer money for 3 prints. She gives him her addresses because it’s 1942 and he has to develop the pictures and mail them. Diana looks into the photographer’s eyes for a long time. Do you think it’s because he’s a Nazi spy? I do. I bet it’s Wotan.
One Week Later at the Secret Headquarters in Nazi Germany Wotan is having a gallery opening of his street photography. No, not really, but that might make for a better storyline. Instead, he select one man and one woman from among the top students at Nazi Hogwarts. He informs them they will have plastic surgery which transforms them into a couple he photographed in D.C. last week.
So Wotan was only here for a week? Faking a submarine explosion was a ridiculously high-profile, complicated plan to get 3 covert agents into Washington, D.C. for such a short amount of time.
Washington, D.C. A Few Weeks Later
Is it October yet? An awful lot of these episodes take place in September. Was there only one title card and no one wanted to update the typesetting?
At her desk at the War Department, Diana studies a book of “American Slang.”
Etta is upset because the photographer never mailed her their photos so she and Diana go to the photo shop. The shop owner doesn’t know what happened to the photographer. Diana is suspicious, because Diana has caught on that pretty much anyone in Washington, D.C. who isn’t Etta, Steve or the General is probably a Nazi spy. Etta goes back to the War Department.
Diana dawdles until Etta is gone, then she spins into Wonder Woman and breaks into the photo shop owner’s apartment upstairs by jumping up into the window. She finds a hidden Nazi radio. The shop owning Nazi catches her in the act, but she bends his gun and he flees. She jumps out the window, stops his truck, and then catches him with her lasso.
Etta and Steve meet Wonder Woman at the shop owner’s apartment. Wonder Woman tells them he’s a Nazi in league with Wotan.
Etta is suspicious! The photographer took their picture in front of the Bureau of Engraving and Printing (BEP), which is a place Diana/Wonder Woman has apparently never wondered about even though it’s a big building she walks by all the time. It’s a very big building. I walk by it all the time, too. It’s hard to miss. When I took a picture for this post I couldn’t even get the whole building in the frame without putting in more effort than I was capable because it was almost 100 degrees out and I was cranky and tired. Just trust me, it’s an enormous building.
Wonder Woman is amazed that there’s a place “where they just make money!” Well, I think she’s amazed; Husband suspects she’s not so much amazed as bitter, because she had to work as a carnie so she wouldn’t be homeless when she first arrived in America. (See Pilot episode for details)
Steve is going to the BEP to conduct a security review tomorrow anyway, so he invites Wonder Woman to join him. They actually say “Bureau of Engraving” a lot in this episode, but D.C. runs on acronyms and I don’t feel like typing that over and over, so from here on out: BEP.
Nazi Intelligence Headquarters Later That Night: Wotan approves of the results of the plastic surgery. Fake Maggie Robbins (Barbara Anderson) and Fake Hank Miller (David Cryer) reporting for duty!
Fake Hank has a toothache. Wotan tells him to get it taken care of. Do you think that’s going to be important later? I do.
Wotan’s nefarious plan: steal the engraving plates for the two dollar bill and flood the U.S. market with counterfeit currency. He instructs Fake Hank and Fake Maggie to parachute in to Canada and make their way to D.C., then they pretend to leave.
It’s a trick! Wotan returns in time to catch one of his henchmen transmitting a secret message to the Allies.
At the War Department the General gives Steve the incomplete message: “Wotan 2 dollar bill.”
What could it possibly mean?
Later that Night Somewhere Over the East Coast, U.S.A
The imposters parachute in. Wotan told them to parachute into Canada, but clearly the people who produce the title cards don’t get any script revisions, or they just don’t care. See also: why is it always September 1942 on the title cards?
Washington D.C. War Department – the Following Morning
Diana arrives to find Steve asleep at his desk. Actually asleep, I’m not making a joke about his competency. This time.
Diana creeps around his office, takes off her glasses, and watches him sleep. I like to believe her revere stems from the mystery of his status as a great war hero, but we’ll never know because he wakes with a start and dashes off to meet Wonder Woman.
Diana sits down at Steve’s desk, kisses the two dollar bill he left on his blotter, and then also dashes out.
Wonder Woman arrives at the BEP . In her cape! And her skirt! I thought she kicked that skirt to the curb back on Paradise Island, but it turns out she packed it after all! That’s nice.
At the Capitol Cafe, Real Maggie hires a new counterman. He might be a real counterman but he’s also a real Nazi, because we know it’s Wotan in another disguise!
Real Maggie gets a call from Real Hank, who invites her over to meet Wonder Woman.
At the BEP, Real Hank Miller gives Wonder Woman and Steve a tour.
Fort Knox. Valuable green paper. Gold.
That’s all I wrote down. In lieu of a better recap, here’s some fun information. The Bureau of Printing and Engraving’s URL is moneyfactory.gov, which I think is awesome. Hilariously, the home page right now features a story about $2 bills.
At the BEP, Real Hank walks Steve and Wonder Woman out at the end of the tour. On the steps, Real Hank’s Real Fiancee Real Maggie gets Wonder Woman’s autographs on one of her Capitol Cafe menus so she can send it to her G.I. brother overseas. Morale and all that.
Real Maggie returns to the cafe. Fake Maggie and Fake Hank are there waiting for her! Wotan locks Real Maggie and Real Hank in the basement.
Wonder Woman realizes that counterfeiting would be a potent economic weapon, which might explain that whole $2 bill message.
Steve returns to the War Department and sends Diana to fetch lunch. I think this is where Steve asks Secret Service Agent Dan Fletcher (Dean Harens) to keep an eye on Hank until they catch Wotan. Makes sense, the Secret Service were originally formed to handle counterfeiting.
At the Capitol Cafe, Diana looks into the counterman’s eyes and grows suspicious. Diana knows something’s afoot when she spots the autographed menu carelessly tossed aside.
Diana leaves, spins into Wonder Woman, and calls Steve. She asks him to meet her at the Capitol Cafe, but she does the creepy voice mimicry thing, pretending to be Agent Fletcher.
Wonder Woman returns to the cafe and tricks Fake Maggie into revealing she’s an imposter.
Wotan captures Wonder Woman and puts her in the cage in the basement with the Real Maggie and Real Hank after he confiscates her bracelets.
Steve Trevor goes to the Capitol Cafe to meet Agent Fletcher, but he’s not there! I don’t know why Wonder Woman pretended to be Fletcher instead of just outright telling Steve about the imposters, because it causes Steve to blithely walk into the middle of a dangerous hostage situation. This time it isn’t even his fault he’s bumbling around into a dangerous situation.
While I’m asking questions: how did Wotan get back here? Did he also parachute in? We didn’t see him parachute in with Fake Hank and Fake Maggie. Again I ask: why go through that whole Uboat explosion fake-out if Wotan can waltz in and out of the country whenever he likes?
At the BEP, Fake Hank steals the $2 bill engraving plates, trusses Agent Fletcher up like a Christmas goose, and plants a bomb. In the building, not in Agent Fletcher. That would be too weird, even for the 70s.
As he exits the BEP, Fake Hank runs into Steve, who is still wandering around looking for Agent Fletcher.
Fake Hank has a toothache so Steve insists on taking him to the dentist. Fake Hank confers with Wotan, who tells him to go get his filling replaced and then kill Steve.
Wotan takes the plates and leaves.
Wonder Woman breaks the chain on the cage, gets her bracelets back, frees Real Hank and Real Maggie, and renders the henchman powerless by bending his gun, which is probably a metaphor for something, don’t you think?
Wonder Woman sends Real Hank and Real Maggie to the War Department to tell General Blankenship what’s going on.
At the dentist’s office, the dentist tells Steve that Hank has a Nazi steel filling. Nazis!
Meanwhile, back at the Capitol Cafe, Wonder Woman captures Fake Maggie and uses her lasso to discover the UBoat rendezvous point.
Rosie the Riveter gets annoyed about the lousy service and storms out of the cafe just as Steve and Fake Hank return.
Fake Hank shoves Steve down the stairs and locks him the cage with the working padlock that we just saw get bent, broken, and shot 2 scenes ago.
It might be Wonder Woman’s fault Steve walked into the situation unprepared in the first place, but now he knows Fake Hank has Nazi fillings so I’m just going to go ahead and blame the victim: Steve should not have walked down the stairs in front of Fake Hank.
Meanwhile, at the War Department: Real Maggie and Real Hank convince Etta to let them talk to the General.
Meanwhile, at the cafe: Steve breaks out of the cage and runs to the BEP.
Meanwhile, at Smith Point: Wonder Woman intercepts the Nazi spies on their way to the Uboat rendezvous. How did they all get to Virginia Beach so fast? It’s like the writers didn’t care about authenticity.
Wonder Woman distracts Wotan and Company with the old “throwing a rock to create a distracting noise” trick.
At the BEP: Steve tries to defuse the bomb.
At Smith Point: from either up on a cliff or possibly from 3 feet away, Wonder Woman lassos Fake Hank and Fake Maggie. Wotan is getting away, but Wonder Woman uses her tiara to puncture his inflatable raft.
This has been a pretty big day for Wonder Woman’s accessories.
At the BEP: Steve Trevor diffuses the bomb in the BoE with 5 seconds to spare.
What appears to be moments later, Wonder Woman runs up to Steve outside the BEP, which is ridiculous.
The next day at the War Department, Steve tells Diana and Etta that the government is taking the 2 dollar bill out of circulation.
In reality, that didn’t happen, but I did learn this quirky bit of history about the $2 bill in 1942:
Title In: A Secret Testing Site Maryland, September 1942
General Blankenship (Richard Eastham) and Major Steve Trevor (Lyle Waggoner) watch a demonstration of Professor Warren’s earthquake machine. The Professor is played by Hayden Rorke, who played Dr. Bellows on I Dream of Jeannie, so already I have questions about his TV-scientific credibility.
Basically, Steve and the General are standing in a field watching shit blow up while Professor Warren’s assistant, Charles Benson (Albert Stratton), tells them that the explosions are causing small movements in the Earth’s crust.
The Professor explains that his ultimate goal is to prevent or control earthquakes using this technology he created to cause earthquakes.
I don’t know who let Steve and the General attend this demo without adult supervision, because they’re just standing around looking perplexed. But, to be fair, who wouldn’t? They want to weaponize earthquakes? That sounds like a terrible idea.
At The War Department Washington, D.C. One Hour Later Steve enthuses about the Professor’s work while Diana ruminates on how wonderful it would be if the earthquake machine could be used for peace.
General Blankenship tells Steve that a man fitting the description of The Falcon, an international mercenary, arrived at La Guardia, but slipped through Customs before they could put a tail on him.
Hey, do you think Mr. Fallon is…The Falcon?
Diana checks The Falcon’s file. He was last seen in India 2 weeks ago.
The Falcon infiltrates Professor Warren’s Secret Lab in Building 6 at the Scientific Institute. Gaining access to the Professor’s lab, The Falcon demands the Pluto File, which must be important because it’s the name of this episode.
The Falcon offers the Professor one million dollars for the file. The Professor refuses. The Falcon knocks out both the guard and the Professor. He escapes with the file.
At The Scientific Institute 20 Minutes Later, Steve, Diana, and the General inspect the crime scene. The Pluto File is missing! Who has stolen it? They should probably go to Walter Reed Hospital and ask the Professor some questions.
Meanwhile, out in a mountainous area that doesn’t resemble suburban Maryland in any way, shape or form, The Falcon and his henchman Frank do a little sniper practice on some innocent cantaloups.
Back at the War Department in Washington, D.C. Etta Candy (Beatrice Colen) reports that The Falcon’s Lady Friend is in the isolation ward in a New York hospital…with bubonic plague!
Diana reports that Sgt. Evans, a guard who was knocked out during the break-in, also has bubonic plague.
At Walter Reed Hospital. Diana and Steve talk to Dr. Barnes (Kenneth Tigar). The doctor tells them that bubonic plague is rare, but not unheard of. There’s the Falcon’s Lady Friend in New York. And just two weeks ago, there was an outbreak in India.
Let’s review, Steve: The Falcon is a mercenary who just arrived in the United States. Stealing the Pluto File totally sounds like it would be The Falcon’s jam. There was an outbreak of plague in India 2 weeks ago. The Falcon was in India 2 weeks ago. The Falcon’s Lady Friend has the plague. The guard who tried to stop the burglar who stole the Pluto File caught the plague. What could it possibly mean? Surely even Steve Trevor will connect these dots…
Fortunately, Diana is able to connect dots. She thinks The Falcon is carrying the plague and he took the Pluto File.
The professor is sleeping so Diana sits by his bed and delivers a weird monologue:
“You have discovered the hope of the ancients. Since time began, man has sought that knowledge, the knowledge to still the Earth’s tremors. Or to cause them to quake with the energy of the Sun.”
Luckily, we don’t get much time to think about it, because somehow Diana realizes the Professor is in danger. She spins into Wonder Wonder in front of the open window. Since the Falcon is preparing to shoot the Professor through that window, this seems like a bad idea for a couple of reasons. But using heavy explosives to start and/or stop earthquakes also seems like a bad idea, so let’s just move on.
With her bullet-deflecting bracelets, Wonder Woman saves Professor Warren from the Falcon’s sniper attack. She jumps out the window and gives chase, but The Falcon has already made tracks. There’s some Wonder Woman jumping action, but as a chase scene, it’s over before it starts. Frank is a competent henchman and he kept the car engine running while The Falcon did his sniper thing.
The Following Day – A Mid-Town Hotel
The Professor’s assistant, Charles Benson, is colluding with the Falcon! The Falcon, Benson, and Frank plan to cause a massive earthquake in Washington, D.C. Frank and Benson work for The Falcon.
I wonder who The Falcon could possibly be working for?
At the War Department, Diana reports that Sgt. Evans definitely has the plague. Oh, sure, now Steve is sure The Falcon stole the file. And yet, he’s only “pretty sure” The Falcon tried to assassinate the Professor. Oh, Steve. Diana tells him she’s certain there’s a leak in the Professor’s lab. She’s suspicious of Charles Benson.
Steve and Diana return to in Building 6. The Professor is back at work. While the Professor describes the burglar to Steve and Diana, Benson works in the lab.
Benson is a sweaty, coughing mess, which really ought to be more of a cause for concern considering one of their lab’s guards is in the hospital with bubonic plague.
Diana leaves the lab to bring the car around. Steve suggests that Benson go to the hospital. Benson locks Steve and the Professor in the lab and makes a run for it.
Diana spots Benson running through what is obviously California, spins into Wonder Woman, catches him with her golden lasso, and makes him confess that he’s working for the Falcon.
Can you guess who the Falcon is working for?
(Nazis. He’s working for the Nazis).
Wonder Woman and Steve ship Benson off to the hospital in an ambulance. Steve has a lot of questions, but none of them are: Where is Diana? or Why is Wonder Woman here? or Why don’t we have more guards around this place? I have a question: Why is Steve Trevor considered a brilliant spy?
Meanwhile, on A Road Leading to Bladensburg, Frank drives The Falcon to Bladensburg, Maryland by way of a California evergreen forest.
Any time any character says “Bladensburg” they pronounce it “Blaahdensburg” which causes Husband to snicker and yell “Blaaaaaaahdensburg.”
Unfortunately, Frank realizes they’re running out of gas! Stupid war rationing! They coast in to a rural gas station where rural rube Bobby attends to the gas tank while Frank checks under the hood.
Frank is feverish, so he drinks out of the water hose after he fills the radiator reservoir. He coughs on Bobby. Bobby also drinks out of the hose. Bobby is a hick, so there’s a comic banjo plucking interlude on the soundtrack while he drinks out of the hose and contracts the deadly plague. Hilarity!
Outside the secret experimental atomic research laboratory in Bladensburg, Maryland, Frank and The Falcon continue to mispronounce Bladensburg.
Meanwhile In Unsuspecting Washington, D.C., Diana informs Steve that a patient with bubonic plague is being transported from “Blahdensburg” to Walter Reed.
“Blahdensburg!” Steve exclaims. “You’re pronouncing it all wrong!”
Steve observes that it’s strange there’s a plague case in Blahdensburg, the same small town the General asked them to meet about a top secret project!
At Walter Reed Hospital, Diana and Steve question Bobby. Bobby describes the two men. Like the Professor, he describes The Falcon as “athletic” even though he tells them that The Falcon didn’t even get out of the car, so how does he know that? Plus, The Falcon is not athletic. The writers can keep putting those words in characters’ mouths, but we’re still not buying what they’re selling.
Bobby also says Blahdensburg.
I’m very disappointed in you, Bobby.
After they leave the hospital, Steve and Diana drive out to Bladensburg to meet General Blankenship at Project 741, “the cyclotron reactor part of the Manhattan Project.”
As they arrive, the lab begins the unstoppable countdown to a reactor core test. Oh, TV scientists and your unstoppable test countdowns! You do like to live large don’t you?
By the way, the code name for the Manhattan Project was assigned August 13, 1942. This episode takes place in September, which seems like an awfully short amount of time for a project this highly compartmentalized and secret to be so widely and casually known in the War Department – a strange historical inaccuracy in a genre otherwise so deeply devoted to authenticity and historical and scientific realism.
(I just wanted to see if I could type that without laughing out loud).
Anyway, let’s avoid falling down a nuclear history rabbit hole and just admire this swanky set design:
Diana excuses herself from the core-testing excitement, goes out into the Maryland/California forest, and spins into Wonder Woman just in time for a series of explosions around the secret Project 741 atomic lab.
The Falcon has used the earthquake machine to trigger an earthquake!
Steve tells the scientists they have to shut down the reactor tests, because The Falcon is loose in the area with the plans for an earthquake machine, which is maybe something he should have mentioned in the last scene right before the scientists started the unstoppable core reactor test.
The scientists aren’t worried, even though Steve just told them a madman is in the area with an earthquake machine and they just had an earthquake.
The scientists say they chose the location of the lab because it isn’t near any fault lines. While this is technically accurate, that doesn’t mean there aren’t faults in Maryland. Or earthquakes.
Also, not to put too fine point on it, but there’s a mercenary loose in the neighborhood with an earthquake machine.
Here’s what the U.S. Geologic Service says about the difference between faults and fault-lines:
The U.S.G.S. doesn’t appear to have any comment available about the feasibility of earthquake machines.
The point is: earthquakes happen in Maryland and even if they didn’t, this is a stupidly designed research facility with a stupid countdown protocol and stupid scientists who don’t know how to cool down their own reactor core if the test they’re doing to see how hot they can heat the reactor malfunctions.
Fine. Look.I’m willing to give back a few points for authenticity, because those are some authentic-looking government science lab puke-green cinderblock walls. Steve and the General could be standing in my old grad school office in the Physics Department.
Husband is still snickering everytime someone says Blaaaaahdensburg.
And now I’m distracted by this index to historical documents about nuclear history in Maryland. I’ll give you a moment to see what caught my eye:
Right. So where were we?
As they make their getaway, The Falcon tells Frank that he’s concerned that the Professor might be the one person on Earth who can stop the tremors they’ve started, since he’s the one person on Earth who has figured out how to start them in the first place.
At the Science Institute, Wonder Woman assists the Professor with math.
He wants to use Hooke’s Law to do some calculations involving potential energy and harmonic oscillation and that seems like something a seismologist ought to be able to do himself. Nevertheless, they math.
The Professor marvels at a woman writing an equation on a chalkboard, staring at her like he’s watching a poodle dance on its back legs while it plays the kazoo.
Meanwhile, snare drums on the soundtrack tell us that The Falcon and Frank are staking out the Professor’s secret lab. It’s a secret military base, in case you forgot.
There are only 2 guards posted around the perimeter of this massive, critically important facility which contains plans for dangerous shit like earthquake machines. Luckily, Wonder Woman is inside, mathing with the Professor.
Back in Blahdensburg, the scientists try to figure out how to cool down the reactor core while Steve and the General wring their hands. At least Steve dispatches more guards to the Professor’s lab.
Outside Building 6, a truck with more guards screeches up and the guards disperse around the building. Unfortunately, in the back – which Husband and I call “the California side of the lab” – there are still only 2 guards.
Frank and The Falcon hop a fence. Frank creates a diversion, while The Falcon prepares to make his move.
Frank has the plague, so his diversion is basically running over to a chainlink fence and crumpling onto the ground. Wonder Woman instructs the guards to call an ambulance and watch out for plague cooties.
She runs back inside and resumes mathing, sagely telling the professor: “integral calculus is always problematical.”
Is it, Wonder Woman? Is it?
Wonder Woman and the Professor math some more.
Wonder Woman steps out for more chalk and The Falcon makes his move, but he’s all sweaty and coughing and plague-infested so he’s a little off his game.
Even though he’s sweaty and coughing and clearly plague-infested, but he doesn’t believe Wonder Woman when she tells him he has the bubonic plague.
Suddenly, an earthquake creates a distraction! Wonder Woman uses her golden lasso to capture The Falcon.
The Professor has an epiphany! They can stop the reactor from overheating by flooding it with water! He calls the nuclear plant, yelling “I’m a seismologist, not a nuclear scientist!”
The day, it is saved!
Husband: “I’m not sure what happened there, but it didn’t seem very expensive.”
With a wry grin, the Professor tells Wonder Woman, “Someday, I’d like to discover how to stop an earthquake.” Then they laugh and laugh and laugh as though his earthquake-causing technology didn’t almost just destroy Washington, D.C. so yeah, if you’re going to cause earthquakes with your earthquake machine you probably ought to also invent and earthquake-stopping machine.
Back at the War Department, Diana reports to Steve and Etta that all the bubonic plague patients are going to make a full recovery.
Diana hopes that The Falcon spends his time in prison thinking about all the bad things he did and resolves change his evil ways and do good in the world.
Steve approves of the power of Diana’s positive thinking. It’s just like Wonder Woman’s positive thinking!
This episode contains:
Bullets and Bracelets