Welcome back to the second part of “Judgment from Outer Space,” in which Wonder Woman must rescue an alien ambassador…from the Nazis.

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.

Wonder Woman Attempts to Break Through a Force Field

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.

This episode contains:
Aliens
Belt (Amazon)
Bongo Drumming
Consciousness Raising
Fräulein Liberation
Invisible Jet
Mad Science
Mansels
Mime
Nazis
Underground Lairs
Whistle Mimicry

An Uncharted Solar System in the Vast Regions of Outer Space
You know it’s outer space because there’s a synthesizer soundtrack and a council of judgmental-looking space people wearing polyester.

The Council of Planets convene to address the Earth problem.

“They always call themselves human, but they are not.” Small step from nuclear power to space travel. Primitive war monkeys. Etc.

This episode is a nice little artifact of the paranoia about the United Nations that began to manifest itself in popular culture in the late 1970s.

The Council of Planets sends Andros to judge the Earthlings and decide their fate.

Andros is played by Tim O’Connor, who will go on to play Dr. Elias Huer on Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, so that’s a little disconcerting.

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?

Apparently.

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:

Accessories, Alien
Accessories, Amazonian
Bullets and Bracelet
Eclipse (Not Technically Weather)
Flirting
Golden Lasso
Knockout Gas
Library
Nazi Spies
UFOs
Voice mimicry
Weather
Whistling
White House

In a refreshing change of pace, Wonder Woman and Steve Trevor bust up a counterfeiting ring in in this episode.

A counterfeiting ring…of Nazis.

“The Last of the Two Dollar Bills” originally aired January 8, 1977 and was directed by Stuart Margolin, who is still a busy character actor and director in Hollywood.

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.

Moving on.

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.

Diana Prince kisses a 2 dollar bill.

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!

Wotan is the Gene Parmesan of Nazi Germany.

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:

The fortunes of the $2 note were reversed with the entry of the US into World War II. In early 1942, the Treasury forbade the carrying of US currency across the Mexican-US border. The Treasury did this “to prevent use being made of Mexico as a place in which Axis agents may dispose of dollar currency looted abroad.” The only exceptions to this blockade were
$2 notes and silver dollars as it was believed that there were not many of these items outside the United States. As a result, demand for $2 notes skyrocketed along the border.

Meanwhile, back on the show:

Steve and Etta and Diana natter on a bit.

Steve says “Wonder Woman truly is a wonder. Strong and fearless and compassionate.”

Then he cheerfully adds: “All of the virtues of femininity with none of the vices!”

Diana replies: “Shut the fuck up, Steve.”

Wait. Diana didn’t say that, I did.

Etta says she wishes she was like Wonder Woman.

Diana responds: “The most we can do is be the best women we can possibly be!”

This episode contains:
Bomb defusing
Bullets and Bracelets
Counterfeiting
Disguises
Golden Lasso
Gun Bending
Jumping
Lunch
Nazi Spies
Plastic Surgery
Spinning
Stock Footage
Submarines
Tiara
Timebomb
Voice Mimicry

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 LaGuardia Airport – New York Mr. Fallon (Robert Reed aka Mike Brady) and his Lady Friend (Mikki Jamison) arrive.

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.

Building 6: Professor Warrens Secret lab

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.

Robert Reed as The Falcon

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…

But no.

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.”

Um. What?

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!”

Just kidding.

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).

(I couldn’t).

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:

Faults are different from fault lines. A fault is a three-dimensional surface within the planet Earth. At the fault, rocks have broken. The rocks on one side of the fault have moved past the rocks on the other side. In contrast, a fault line is a line that stretches along the ground. The fault line is where the fault cuts the Earth’s surface. Faults come in all sizes, from small ones whose short fault lines you can see in a single road cut, to huge faults whose long fault lines can be seen best in pictures taken from orbiting satellites. On continents, faults are everywhere, of all sizes, and they formed at many different times during the Earth’s long history.

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.

Wonder Woman & Professor Warren do some math

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:
Atomic Anachronisms
Bubonic Plague
Bullets and Bracelets
California
Earthquake Machine
Earthquakes
Golden Lasso
Henchmen
Jumping
Mad Science
Math
Nazi Spies
Nukes
Scientist
Sexism
Spies
Spinning
Stolen Plans
Stupid Codenames

Lynda Carter often says in interviews that a level of Nazi fatigue started to set in midway through Wonder Woman’s first season. The description of the episode that aired December 18, 1976 at least sounds like everyone is going to get a little bit of a break from Nazi-palooza. The episode promises an exciting battle of brains and brawn – the title even has an exclamation point in it, so obviously it’s going to be awesome. (I’m pretty sure that’s what we all thought when we saw the listing in the newspaper. At age 5, you believe everything you read). “Wonder Woman Vs. Gargantua!” (1.7). Gargantua isn’t just a normal gorilla, he’s a hyper-intelligent Great Ape who scientists think might be the missing link between man and ape! And he turns out to be a Nazi.

The title card reads A Nazi-Held Section of Africa, May 1942, which seems unnecessarily vague since the image behind it is a map that clearly reads “The Republic of Congo.” The camera zooms in on the word “Congo” to drive the point home.

We hear exotic woodwinds and jungle-esque drums and animal noises, because Africa, I guess.

Wonder Woman makes her way through the jungle, pursued by a gorilla whose costume includes a mask that was clearly repurposed from the Planet of the Apes, which gives it a form of double-uncanniness.

The gorilla attacks Wonder Woman, lifting her above his head in a really awkward way. She blows the whistle that has been dangling on a cord around her neck, and the signal immediately subdues the ape.

Removing a Mission Impossible-style mask, she reveals that she’s not really Wonder Woman at all! It’s Erica (Gretchen Corbett), Nazi animal behavioral expert and daughter of one of the world’s greatest animal behaviorists. This isn’t a random gorilla attack on Wonder Woman, it’s Gargantua training!

Title In: September, 1942 – 5 Months Later At the Turner Circus, Outside Washington D.C.

Crowds thrill to the acts under the big top.

Out on the midway, which looks just like a soundstage hallway, Gargantua is on display in a cage. A guard talks up Gargantua, telling the crowd that scientists think Gargantua is one of the missing links between man and ape. At first I thought the writers were winking at the sideshow tradition wherein Talkers make exaggerated and/or false scientific claims about exhibits to draw in spectators. But no.

Spoiler alert: we stick with this whole “missing link” mumbo jumbo all the way through the episode.

Don’t call them “Barkers,” you rube, they’re called Talkers.

The circus is infested with Nazis! Erica and Carl the circus guard scheme. Erica is obsessed with capturing Wonder Woman.

That Same Day at the Washington Interrogation Headquarters, Steve Trevor interrogates Conrad Steigler (John Hillerman), Nazi Defector. Diana Prince and General Blankenship observe the interrogation and talk about how they need to take Steigler to a safe location so the Nazis don’t try to abduct him.

The building exterior they show in the establishing shot is actually the U.S. Department of Justice, so I’ll allow it.

Later That Night at a deserted oil refinery in Washington, D.C. Nazi Hans (Robert Loggia) and the rest of Team Nazi Circus plot to rescue Steigler from the Safe House.

There aren’t any oil refineries in Washington, D.C.

At the Safe House Erica directs Gargantua to scale the four-story building and rescue Steigler. Gargantua attacks the MPs and then gets down to the business of abducting Steigler.

After the abduction, Steve and Diana arrive at the Safe House. They question the MPs. The MPs say they were attacked by a gorilla.

Half an Hour Later at the Oil Refinery
Team Nazi bickers about whether they should go back to Germany right away, or use Steigler as bait in a trap for Wonder Woman.

Erica gives Team Nazi a demonstration of Gargantua’s high level of training. She blows a whistle, which compels Gargantua to reach out of his cage, grab a black and white cardboard cutout of Wonder Woman, and smash it to pieces.

The next day at the War Department Etta Candy (Beatrice Colen) and Diana read about Gargantua in the morning paper. Etta tells Diana that Gargantua reminds her of the mid-shipman she’s been dating. Diana wisely chooses to ignore this information.

Diana tells Etta and Steve that she feels bad for Gargantua and hopes no one hurts him. He’s the smartest ape of all-time, you know!

At the Safe House, Dr. Osmond (Herb Voland), the world’s greatest animal behaviorist, examines the evidence.

Later, Dr. Osmond calls Steve and Diana and they meet him at Beta Research Laboratory.

Steve, who is a moron, has trouble connecting the dots. He thinks the MPs are lying, but Diana suggests they’re just traumatized. The evidence mounts. There’s a missing gorilla. Who is a super-smart gorilla. Who is an extreme large gorilla, an almost 7 foot tall gorilla. The MPs report that they saw a very tall gorilla. The MPs claim they were attacked by a gorilla. Someone abducted the Nazi defector by scaling a 4 story building, like a gorilla. They find gorilla hair at the scene of the abduction of the Nazi defector. Oh, and there’s also a huge gorilla footprint in the mud outside the Safe House and gorilla gorilla gorilla goddamn it Steve Trevor why are you so obtuse?

Mickey Morton, who plays Gargantua, has a resume that is both fantastic and terrible. It includes playing Malla in The Star Wars Holiday Special!

Dr. Osmond finds crude oil on the gorilla fur specimen. Steve Trevor goes out to investigate the abandoned oil refinery on Old Georgetown Road.

Diana calls Etta, who is concerned for Steve’s safety because that refinery hasn’t been used “in a long time,” which is ridiculous since the dialogue in the previous scene established that the refinery was closed so recently that even the War Department didn’t know it was no longer operational.

Diana spins into Wonder Woman and goes to the refinery. She gets there before Steve does.

It’s a trap!

Gargantua attacks!

Wonder Woman reasons with Gargantua. Wonder Woman wants all animals to live in peace and freedom.

Outside, Steve and a few jeeploads of MPs arrive.

Wonder Woman convinces Gargantua to reconsider his life choices.

The MPs see Wonder Woman and Gargantua grappling. One of the MP shoots at Gargantua, but Wonder Woman deflects the bullet. When Gargantua steps aside, the MP shoots him. Dr. Osmond saves him and promises to reprogram him. Wonder Woman is glad, because on Paradise Island the Amazons live peacefully with all animals, including animals that most people consider ferocious.

Wonder Woman sure seems to break the first rule of Paradise Island (Never talk about Paradise Island) a lot.

Gargantua and Wonder Woman are now friends.

Back at the Waterfront: Team Nazi argues over whether they should rescue Gargantua.

Back at Beta Lab: Steve and Diana visit Dr. Osmond and Gargantua. Diana meets Gargantua and within moments they’re holding hands, becoming fast friends. Gargantua knows that Diana is Wonder Woman, because unlike everyone else, Gargantua is not stupid.

After Diana and Steve leave the lab, Erica and Carl show up. They abduct Gargantua and take him back to the the waterfront so that Erica can re-re-program him while they wait for their UBoat, which has been delayed by the Coast Guard. Or maybe it’s been delayed because you probably can’t get a UBoat up the Potomac River to the Washington, D.C. waterfront.

While they wait, Erica tries to reprogram Gargantua using a publicity still from the episode where Wonder Woman won the beauty pageant.

Steve goes to investigate something somewhere, leaving Diana at the War Department. Or so he thinks.

Diana spins into Wonder Woman and goes to The Warehouse on Pier 19, where she uses her golden lasso to scale the side of a building and pay Team Nazi a visit.

The waterfront in Wonder Woman’s D.C. is very different from the actual Washington D.C. waterfront. In this episode, it’s a deep ocean port with dozens of piers and warehouses. It’s not any of those things.

Gargantua sees Wonder Woman and attacks! Wonder Woman judo flips Gargantua and then apologizes to him. She tells him he should be free. They bond.

Then, Steve and the MPs show up. You expect them to shoot at Gargantua again, so Wonder Woman can use her bracelets to deflect the bullets, but apparently the special effects budget was all used up by this point.

Wonder Woman talks about “kindness and tenderness and love” while both Gargantua and Steve Trevor look at her with puppy dog eyes. It’s seriously strange.

Two nights later, Wonder Woman visits Gargantua, who is back in his cage at the Circus, which is presumably less Nazi-infested now. Wonder Woman sneaks Gargantua out and flies him to Stock Footage Africa, where they hold hands and make weird googly eyes at each other while sexy saxophone music plays.

Then, Wonder Woman flies back to America in the Invisible Jet while stock footage animals stampede and Gargantua waves forlornly.

Back at the War Department the next morning, Diana tells them she’s late for work because she had to “drop off a friend.”

Holy cats, Steve Trevor didn’t get hit on the head or gassed or otherwise rendered unconscious one single time this entire episode!

    This episode contains:

  • An Ape
  • Bullets and Bracelets
  • Circus
  • Consciousness Raising
  • Disguises
  • Golden Lasso
  • Invisible Jet
  • Mad Science
  • Nazi Spies
  • Spinning
  • Stock Footage Africa

Image shared on photobucket by user JADflores

I’m aware that Wonder Woman aired in the dark time before VCRs, DVRs, or any of the other technologies that make life worth living. I’m still not sure we needed such a lengthy “previously on Wonder Woman” sequence to launch us into “The Feminum Mystique, Part 2 (1.6),” but here we are.

Let me save you some time:

In Part 1, the Amazon Queen sent her daughter Drusilla/Wonder Girl to America to talk her older sister Diana/Wonder Woman into returning to Paradise Island. Dru got hooked on ice cream and men. Steve Trevor managed to stay conscious for the entire episode. Everyone said XPJ1 a lot.

Nazi spies tried to steal the XPJ1, which doesn’t make any sense since XPJ1 designer Peter Knight is also a Nazi spy. Why do they need to steal this plane so badly since they have the designer and the plans? And if they’re just sabotaging the project so the Americans won’t put the plane into production, it seems like there are better ways to do that.

Oh, whatever.

XPJ1.

Let’s just get to the episode.

We join Wonder Girl’s captivity, already in progress in an abandoned warehouse in D.C.’s Nazi District. The Nazis believe she’s Wonder Woman. Wonder Girl doesn’t look a day over 1870, so it’s a leeeettle far-fetched to think these guys can mistake her for a woman in her 2500s.

As long as the Nazis don’t know there are two Wonder Beings, they don’t know they have two adversaries standing between them and the super-secret XPJ1 airplane. Let’s give Wonder Girl a few points for not tipping her hand in that regard.

Wonder Girl thinks she’s protecting Peter Knight, of XPJ1 fame. She thinks he’s also a prisoner. We know he’s a Nazi.

Wonder Girl protects Peter Knight

XPJ1 creator Peter Knight can’t get over how much Wonder Woman reminds him of a teenager he met just last night. How nutty is that!

XPJ1 designer Peter Knight uses his “masculine charms” to find out where the bracelets come from, because the Nazis want that metal!

Wonder Girl tells him the 1st rule of Paradise Island Club: “Never tell anyone about Paradise Island Club.” Then, unable to withstand his masculine charms and dreamy smalltalk about stargazing, she reveals enough information to enable your average 8 year old with a rudimentary navigational star chart to pinpoint the location of Paradise Island.

Meanwhile, at the War Department, Etta Candy tells Diana there’s intel that the Nazis are up to something on the coast of Florida. For some wacky reason, they seem to be suiting up to invade the Bermuda Triangle.

Paradise Island is in the Bermuda Triangle!

Diana tells Steve she’s going home to see if her missing sister is there. Steve blithely accepts that “wherever” Diana is from, it’s far away and they don’t have telephones.

Let’s assume this is what happens next: Diana walks away shaking her head because her boss is an idiot, turns into Wonder Woman, and hops in her Invisible Jet.

When she arrives on Paradise Island, Wonder Woman discovers that her sister isn’t there.

The Amazons could save a fortune in Invisible Fuel if they’d just get a telephone or some other form of communications technology. How hard could it be? They have Invisible Jet technology. It seems like anything else would be a snap.

Wonder Woman gathers some Amazons to guard the Feminum Mines. I’m not entirely sure how she knows the Nazis are after the Feminum, but it does seem like a pretty good idea to keep an eye on the magical invaluable ore. The Queen doesn’t want to cause a panic, so she tells the rest of the Amazons that Diana and friends are going on a “hunting party.”

In high heels and sheer chiffon mini dresses, the Amazons hop on their trusty horses and ride off to the other side of the island.

Elsewhere in the Caribbean, we see the Nazis preparing to invade.

Elsewhere in the Caribbean? They’re at Paradise Island.

Unfortunately, Diana’s sisters aren’t taking the Nazi threat very seriously. They play jacks when they should be keeping a lookout. They think the Nazis sound dreamy, what with their blond hair and blue eyes.

Jacks? That’s the best thing the director could come up with when he blocked the scene and asked “What would Amazons do if they weren’t doing a good job of guarding something and weren’t worried about being invaded by Nazis and were instead enamored by the Hollywood ideal of men with blue eyes and blond hair?”

I want to blame the writers, but the writers of this episode are woman and I feel I’d be letting Wonder Woman down if I heaped scorn on them without first considering if this was a dumb decision made by a male director. The usual cliches, particularly “soldiers play cards and let their guard down,” aren’t necessarily any more sophisticated, but visually they don’t have the same infantilizing and gendered connotations as woman sitting on the ground playing a game associated almost entirely with young children.

The Nazis invade! They get their asses handed to them by giggling girly Amazons…until the Nazis break out the knockout gas, as Nazis are wont to do.

Here’s a clip of the scene. It’s in Spanish but you can trust me when I tell you, even if you don’t understand Spanish you won’t have a problem following the action.

Meanwhile, at the airfield, Steve and Peter Knight stand by the XPJ1. Peter casually introduces Harvey Manning. Harvey is the new Chief Mechanic on the super-secret XPJ1 project. Harvey isn’t a new character, he’s Wertz, a pre-existing Nazi from the first episode.

You might think there would be bureaucracy or paperwork involved in bringing in a new Chief Mechanic on a project as super-secret as the XPJ1, but you’d be mistaken. How the hell else are they going to end up with more Nazi spies on this project?

You need to work hard to create security gaps wide enough to drive a Nazi through. Steve Trevor is well-suited for the task.

Meanwhile, in Washington D.C.’s Nazi District, Wonder Girl busts out of her cell, reclaims her bracelets, and escapes.

At Diana’s Apartment, Wonder Girl calls General Blankenship and learns Steve is at the airfield with the XPJ1.

Drusilla goes to the airfield looking for Steve and Diana. She tells Steve that the Nazis killed Peter Knight! Steve doesn’t believe her, of course, because he was just out at the XPJ1 chatting with Peter Knight. Steve doesn’t seem all that interested in Dru’s traumatic experience. He lays a guilt-trip on Dru about how Diana went home to look for her and then he goes back out to the XPJ1.

Can we just circle back around to the fact that Steve is such a terrible Intelligence agent he doesn’t even know his own secretary’s home town?

Back out at the XPJ1, Steve tells Peter that a teenage girl accused him of being a Nazi spy. Peter Knight does the logical thing: he freaks out and runs. Steve throws Peter Knight in the brig.

Steve does nothing about Harvey/Wertz, the mechanic who is 3 feet away on a ladder working on the XPJ1 while they arrest his Nazi spy boss who vouched for him and put him to work on the super-secret project 10 minutes ago.

Drusilla/Wonder Girl hops in her Invisible Jet and flies home.

On Paradise Island, Nazis force the Amazons to work in the Feminum Mines. Can I just point out that, technically, they’re mining the Feminum from a lagoon. Can you call a lagoon a mine? You know what? I don’t care.

The Amazons stand in water in their sheer white mini-dresses, mining Feminum. The Nazis took their bracelets. The Nazis have machine guns. For now, the Amazons do what they’re told.

Once all of the ore is extracted, the Nazis plan to take the Amazons back to Berlin for experimentation and breeding.

Wonder Woman won't let her sisters be used for Nazi experiments!

Wonder Woman is so happy to see her sister! She does the old “I’ve got a plan pssst pssst pssst” silent whisper to Wonder Girl.

Wonder Woman and Wonder Girl have a plan!

The Amazons stage a catfight in the lagoon. It’s a distraction! Wonder Woman stealthily steals back the bracelets. Wonder Woman and Wonder Girl knock out a few Nazis and drag them into the bushes.

So far so good.

But then things get stupid.

I imagine the script read: “Dumb plan, dumber Nazis.”

The rest of the storytime-consuming plan involves returning the bracelets to the Amazons in the lagoon one pair at a time as each Amazon makes the lengthy boring journey up from the lagoon to the ore collection basket and back to the lagoon. They have these huge baskets! One Amazon could carry all of the bracelets back in one trip! But no.

They carry on like this until it’s time for the next commercial break, at which point the plan develops a certain urgency. Wonder Woman dumps the remaining bracelets in a basket and returns them all at once.

Nazi Commander Radl calls the Queen an old woman. Ageist jerk. She’ll show him. She holds her bracelet in his face and the hostage situation ends and are you kidding me?

The Queen orders her scientists to erase the Nazi’s memories, put them back in their boats, and set them adrift for the American Navy to capture.

I have questions about all this memory erasing and mental manipulation. The Queen seems to be working from the Charles Xavier Code of Ethics, a subject we’ll return to at a later time.

Wonder Woman and Wonder Girl wing there way back to D.C. from off the coast of Florida by way of New York City so we can enjoy a gratuitous shot of the Statue of Liberty.

Meanwhile, at the airfield, Steve prepares to test the XPJ1. Wertz/Harvey disguises himself as Steve, hits Steve over the head, and takes his place as the XPJ1 test pilot. Again. I bet someone in the writers room thought that this provided the story with great symmetry.

It doesn’t.

Wonder Woman arrives in the nick of time, using her strength to keep the XPJ1 from taking off. Wertz hops out of the plane and runs down the runway, but Wonder Girl catches him.

Diana and Drusilla are conspicuously absent.

Wonder Woman shows up with a teenage sidekick.

Whoa!

Steve doesn’t notice this wacky coincidence. To be fair, he did just get knocked unconscious and probably has a Traumatic Brain Injury.

And yet, he’s allowed to test pilot the XPJ1 based on the sound medical judgment that he says he’s fine to fly.

I give up.

Later, Steve takes Diana and Drusilla out for ice cream.

It’s possible Diana bends the Nazi gun barrels when the Amazons overpower the Nazis on Paradise Island. This is a thing that I need to review in previous episodes, because I see notes in the margins for a “Gun Bending” category. I’ll note it if I update the categories retroactively.

    This episode contains:

  • Amazons
  • Bullets and Bracelets
  • Disguises
  • Giggling
  • Golden Lasson
  • Horses
  • Ice Cream
  • Invisible Jet(s)
  • Knockout gas
  • Kooky Queen
  • Mining
  • Nazi spies
  • Sisterhood
  • Spinning
  • Unconscious Steve Trevor
  • Wonder Girl
  • XPJ1

Welcome back to “Oh shit I had no idea you actually meant it when you said you rewatched every episode of the Wonder Woman TV series with Lynda Carter & Lyle Waggoner that aired from 1975-1979 and now you’re going to blog about it.”

Hippolyta, Wonder Woman and Wonder Girl

Next up: “The Feminum Mystique (1.5 & 1.6), which was advertised as a “special” because it was two parts. I guess that was why. Honestly, they said it was special so I took it on faith because I was a small child.

I remember watching this episode with my friends. It was advertised as a two-part special. I remember this blowing our little minds. Two parts! Are they even allowed to do that?

Rewatching these two episodes, my mind still reels, but for entirely different reasons.

Holy cats. I don’t even know where to begin, so let’s just begin at the beginning, with Part 1 (1.5).

Title In: Off the Coast of Virginia – 1942 – Dawn. A man (John Saxon) watches from the shore. A submarine surfaces and a man rows to shore. Radl, the man on the beach, greets his Nazi pal Wertz (Paul Shenar).

Terrible German accents ensue.

These guys are spies. Couldn’t the writers just tell us they’re German but they’re really good spies so they don’t have discernible accents? Wouldn’t that have been easier for everyone?

The average depth of the Chesapeake Bay is 21 feet, right? A submarine couldn’t cruise in and drop someone off, right? That said, submarines did deliver Nazi spies to the coasts of Jacksonville, Florida and New York in 1942, so I’m going to allow this bit of creative license to go relatively un-mocked.

Major Steve Trevor and Yeoman Prince arrive at Aldrich Field, Virginia – One Hour Later . In case you don’t understand that this is a military installation, the soundtrack is snappy snare drumming and lots of it.

Brilliant engineer Peter Knight (Charles Frank) unveils his revolutionary new plane: the XPJ1. The XPJ1 is powered by jet propulsion. The XPJ1 doesn’t have propellers. The XPJ1 is going to change the course of the war.

Diana acts amazed at the wondrous XPJ1, but we know she’s got a supersonic jazzy-jazz playing invisible plane that can fly circles around this contraption so let’s choose to read her performance as barely-concealed contempt and condescension.

XPJ1. XPJ1. They say it so often you might at first think “hey that’s a promising-sounding drinking game.” It’s not, unless you want to be as unconscious as Steve Trevor.

That wasn’t fair. Steve isn’t gassed or drugged or knocked unconscious one single time in this episode, but you get my drift.

The soundtrack swells with an anemic rendition of the fanfare from Richard Strauss’s Also Sprach Zarathustra. (Most know that as “the 2001 music”). The little plane they wheel out of the hanger does not live up to that hype.

Steve has been taking secret flying lessons so he can be the XPJ1 test pilot…but Nazi spies Radl and Wertz have been studying an ill-gotten set of XPJ1 plans so Wertz also knows how to fly the XPJ1!

While the XPJ1 is being wheeled onto the runway, Wertz and Radl blow up a nearby fuel depot to create a distraction. Other spies, disguised as MPs, provide cover so Wertz can steal the XPJ1.

Diana runs away and spins. Her newly acquired flash of light, which starts blue, glows white-hot, and then shrinks and turns red to reveal Wonder Woman, is on-point.

Wonder Woman deflects some bullets with her bracelets and catches the phony MPs, but Wertz gets away with the XPJ1…or does he?

While Wonder Woman is being a badass, Steve saunters to his jeep phone and puts in a call to General Blankenship (Richard Eastham) at the War Department asking him to put Code Z into effect.

The General blows up the XPJ1 with the most hilarious remote detonator ever – it’s a pair of doorbell buttons housed in a locked case hardwired into the wall at the War Department which detonate a bomb in the XPJ1. This seems a little pessimistic if you ask me.

Wertz parachutes to safety.

At the War Department in Washington D.C. Steve tells Diana a secret: Code Z is a trick to fool the Nazis into thinking that the XPJ1 isn’t ready for prime time.

Now safely back at Nazi Intelligence Headquarters in Germany Wertz isn’t buying the “XPJ1 is a failure” ruse.

The Nazis still want the XPJ1 plans, but they also want to get their hands on this Wonder Woman and her bullet deflecting bracelets. Bullet deflecting metal sounds even more useful to the war effort than the XPJ1. What is that metal? (Spoiler alert: it’s called “feminum”).

The Nazis have heard rumors about a Wonder Woman, presumably from two episodes ago (1.3) WHEN THEY HELD WONDER WOMAN PRISONER IN THIS VERY BUILDING. Sure, yes, at the end of that episode it’s implied that Wonder Woman probably erased a few Nazi memories, but Operation Fraulein – the plan to capture Wonder Woman and study her – came from Hitler himself, so surely there are at least a few Nazis who remember this thing that just happened a month or so ago.

Wait.

In the pilot (1.1), Wonder Woman was billed as the star attraction in a daredevil show where she deflected bullets with her bracelets.

Two episodes later she appeared at public War Bond rallies to raise money because she’s a well-known superhero.

In the last episode (1.4), Wonder Woman won a super-big-time beauty pageant and was crowned Miss G.I. Dreamgirl 1942.

In this episode, Hippolyta is surprised that Wonder Woman became super famous all over the world.

How are the Nazis the only ones who don’t know about Wonder Woman?

Isn’t she their arch-nemesis?

Meanwhile, Radl takes refuge in Hibbsville, Virginia with a Nazi collaborator in the U.S. Forestry Service.

Geography note: There is no Hibbsville, Virginia. On the show, it seems to be somewhere between downtown D.C. and Fort Belvoir. Trust me when I tell you that submarines have never surfaced in that area. It’s not even on the Bay, that’s the Potomac River.

Moving on.

I haven’t posted any screenshots of the titles yet, so here’s one. The comic book style is as awesome now as it was then. It’s the only visual effect that has aged well, although the flashing Wonder Woman morph is still a delight, but it’s not a delight because it’s retro-cool.

Title In: Paradise Island – An Uncharted Body of Land with in the Bermuda Triangle.

Amazons in flouncy sheer white outfits do jumping jacks as the Queen (Carolyn Jones) swans about. She announces that the games may begin and we’re treated to a bizarre montage of footraces, archery, staff fighting, and balletic lifts.

Paradise Island Games

The Queen’s daughter Drusilla (Debra Winger) is the best at everything: athletics, agility, scholarship, and cruelty! Seriously, she put a snake down a classmate’s back even though Drusilla knew she was terrified of snakes.

The Queen misses her eldest daughter and wants Diana to eschew her fame in the world and return to Paradise Island. She sends Drusilla to fetch her.

Carolyn Jones (Hippolyta) and Debra Winger (Drusilla)

At the War Department: Steve tells Diana that they’ll be having dinner with Peter Knight because they have sensitive intelligence to discuss. Discussing sensitive information in a restaurant is a stupid thing to do, so Diana suggests they have dinner at her place.

Etta Candy (Beatrice Colen) is sad that no one takes her out to dinner. Diana promises to take her out to dinner, but that’s not what Etta wants. Etta wants a man. Sexy saxophone music plays as Diana assures her that she has never wanted to be a man.

Diana arrives at her apartment to cook dinner and immediately senses the presence of an intruder.

Spinning into Wonder Woman, she creeps into the kitchen to find…her kid sister Drusilla eating ice cream!

How large is the Paradise Island Invisible Jet Fleet?

Diana shows Dru her “dowdy” alter-ego, Diana Prince.

Oh, Diana, STFU.

Diana explains to Dru why she can’t return to Paradise Island right now: she has to stay and fight the Nazis so they don’t enslave the world. Sounds legit, but Dru isn’t ready to leave just yet. She wants to know more about men.

Diana explains that men are children, gods, geniuses and fools. That’s really what she says. Diana tells Dru she can stay for dinner so she can see some men.

Drusilla eats all the Ice Cream

Dru can’t show up at the dinner table in that yellow chiffon mini-dress, so Diana gussies her up and puts ribbons in her pigtails. This makes me question how old Dru is supposed to be and who thought it appropriate to dress her so young but then spin her into a weirdly revealing Wonder Girl get-up later.

At dinner Dru is awkward and strange, saying things like, “I like men!”

Peter Knight, designer of the XPJ1, thinks she’s adorbs. Peter Knight, designer of the XPJ1, is obviously a Nazi spy.

Nevertheless, Steve and Peter discuss Top Secret sensitive information relating to the XPJ1 at the dinner table in front of this strange teenager, a total stranger attending their secret XPJ1 dinner.

This post was begging for a TEDXpj1 joke but I never came up with a good one.

Later, Drusilla puts on her yellow dress again for some reason and takes an unsupervised wander around Diana’s ‘hood, paying a visit to the maltshop where she meets normal teenagers who do not wander around in chiffon mini-dresses and bullet-deflecting bracelets.

Diana gets Dru new clothes and takes her to the War Department the following day. Take your sister to work day takes a peculiar twist when Dru goes on an supervised fieldtrip with General Blankenship to Fort Belvoir so he can explain Nazis to her and point out Mount Vernon. Mount Vernon is, in fact, on the way to Fort Belvoir if you take the GW Parkway. I was going to call bullshit on this but the segment of the Parkway between Mount Vernon and Memorial Bridge was completed in 1932 and the show takes place in 1942. It’s the Northern segments of the Parkway that weren’t completed until the 1950s, so this is entirely plausible. Well, the part about driving from D.C. to Fort Belvoir by way of the George Washington Parkway is plausible. The General who runs the War Department taking a teenager he’s known for all of 30 seconds on an extensive tour of sensitive military locations? Not so much.

Unless this is further proof that he knows that Diana is Wonder Woman and that this girl must also be an Amazon.

Nope. Not buying that either.

The GW Parkway is scenic, but it’s also a great place to be ambushed by Nazis! The General is taken prisoner. The trap for Wonder Woman has been set!

The kidnappers leave Drusilla in the abandoned car since they think she’s just a random annoying teenager who happens to be riding around with the head of the War Department. Dru runs to a gas-station where the mechanic doesn’t believe her that the General was kidnapped so she asks for directions to the nearest Ranger Station and then runs away.

Dru doesn’t know anything about America or pretty much anything unrelated to Paradise Island, so why would her panicky reaction be to ask directions to something as specific as a Ranger Station?

The Ranger Station is, of course, a Nazi hideout.

After a few false-spin-starts, Dru has a flashback to the day the Queen taught Diana how to spin into Wonder Woman, and then Dru successfully spins herself into Wonder Girl. Here, now you don’t have to imagine what this looks like:


Then, of course, she walks right into the trap and is chloroformed by Nazis.

Meanwhile, at the gas station, Steve and Diana question the mechanic. He sends them to the Ranger Station, where they find the General trussed up. Since he was locked up in a closet, the General doesn’t know who showed up or why the Nazis left.

Steve is probably delighted not to be the mansel in distress for a change.

No one has said XPJ1 in at least one minute.

Diana goes back to her apartment. Dru isn’t there! Diana calls Steve, who brushes aside her concerns and assures her that Dru is probably just out having fun.

This sneak preview of Steve’s parenting skills explains a lot about the events in seasons 2 and 3.

A Deserted Industrial Area – a Refuge for Nazi Spies . Seriously, that’s the title card.

The real question is: what isn’t a refuge for Nazi spies on this show?

Wonder Girl is in a holding cell. The Nazis believe they’ve captured Wonder Woman, although they’re confused because she seems smaller than they expected.

Her costume is totally different and so is her hair and also her age but sure whatever, why not: that’s definitely Wonder Woman you’ve got in that cage.

From Nazi Intelligence Headquarters orders are sent to the Deserted Industrial Area to test Wonder Woman’s bracelets.

TO BE CONTINUED….

    This episode contains:

  • Amazons
  • Bullet and Bracelets
  • Calisthenics
  • Chloroform
  • Cliffhangers!
  • Dinner Party
  • Ice Cream
  • Invisible Jet
  • Mansel
  • Nazi Park Rangers
  • Nazi Spies
  • Sightseeing
  • Sisterhood!
  • Submarines
  • XPJ1
  • Wonder Girl

This week: Diana Prince infiltrates a beauty pageant run by…Nazi spies!

Title In: Security Entrance – Fort Russell, Maryland, May 1942 – Dawn. A saboteur blows up a truck at the most secure base in America.

At the War Department in Washington D.C., General Blankenship (Richard Eastham) puzzles over how saboteurs keep blowing up key places in the radar assembly supply chain.

There must be…a spy.

Yeoman Diana Prince (Lynda Carter) and Major Steve Trevor (Lyle Waggoner) go to Fort Russell to investigate.

To the best of my knowledge, there wasn’t a Fort Russell in Maryland during World War II, so that saves us a lot of thinking about whether they could drive back and forth from the War Department so quickly.

The Miss G.I. Dreamgirl Beauty Contest finalists arrive. The pageant is the next night in the officers club and its being hosted by America’s favorite radio comic, Jack Wood (Dick Van Patton).

Suspiciously, every incident of sabotage has occurred on a base the day it hosted a pageant. What could it mean? It’s so suspicious that even Steve Trevor has noticed the connection, calling it “the sabotage circuit.”

Base commander Colonel Flint assures Steve and Diana that everything is cool with the pageant, because Jack Wood is an National institution, like Bob Hope.

Diana wants to infiltrate the pageant but she’s an ugly glasses-wearing girl so Steve sends her home. Diana tells him she’s going to do some shopping and take the bus back to D.C. Luckily, Diana apparently finds a terrible strawberry blond wig at the Fort Russell PX.

Disguised as “Diana Paradise” she tells pageant managers Lola (Anne Francis) and Monty (Bobby Van) she works on the base.

Diana shows off her dance moves.

Jack Wood takes one pervy look at “Diana Paradise” and lets her into the pageant. The girls are there for the G.I.’s to ogle, after all!

After he leaves Fort Russell, Steve is attacked by the saboteurs. Wonder Woman just happens to be in the neighborhood to save his bacon.

She captures and questions the bad guys in a lasso two-fer.

When Wonder Woman uses her super-strength to lift Steve’s ditched car back onto the road, he exclaims “I wonder if you can cook!” while she beams at him and/or swallows her rage.

Meanwhile, Lola and Monty discover there’s no Diana Paradise working at Fort Russell, but since Lola is old and washed up, she understands why a hot babe like Diana would lie her way into a beauty pageant.

Monty isn’t so sure.

Back at the War Department in Washington, D.C. Diana models her new look for Etta Candy (Beatrice Colon) as she practices walking with a book on her head, which is something we did a lot in the 1970s.

Steve and Etta marvel at how beautiful she is with that wig on, because of course her real mane is hideous and unattractive.

In the pageant barracks at Fort Russell, Creeper Jack Wood barges in to “tuck the girls in” and decides Diana should replace Rita as his assistant in his magic act.

Rita is furious. I can’t remember what she said because I was too busy being furious remembering Donald Trump’s whole thing about being a beauty pageant owner and barging into the dressing rooms while contestants were naked.

Luckily, Diana has more important things to do after lights-out than sleep. At Steve’s behest, she sneaks out to help Steve guard the electrical substation, which they believe is the next target. Wisely, she does so as Wonder Woman, leaving her wig tucked into her bed so her absence won’t be noticed.

FINALLY, THE WONDER WOMAN SPIN WE’VE BEEN WAITING FOR!

Diana spins around and transforms into Wonder Woman in a flash of red, white and blue light, accompanied by a dramatic explosion sound.

Wonder Woman gets to the electrical substation in time to shield it from a bomb. She uses the tailgate of a truck to contain the explosion, which probably doesn’t make sense if you’re reading this and trying to picture it. Trust me, it doesn’t make any more sense if you watch it.

The important part is: the explosion knocks Steve Trevor out.

The explosion wakes the girls! Rita (Christa Helm) finds Diana’s wig in her empty bed and raises a fuss about Diana sneaking out.

Luckily, Wonder Woman scaled the side of the building and snuck in the bathroom window, so Diana can emerge from the shower and alleviates suspicion about where she was. But without her wig, everyone sees her terrible hideous hair! Lola cuts her some slack and doesn’t disqualify her from competing because ugh, who can blame her!

Last year I ran into Lynda Carter at a coffee shop. She walked up to me and told me I have great hair. That has nothing to do with this post, but I just like to mention it every now and again.

Monty tells Lola that Wonder Woman stopped the sabotage. Darn her! But then Monty tells Lola the sabotage is a cover for their real mission: to assassinate General Eisenhower!

The stakes have been raised! Why doesn’t Monty like Ike? Could it be…that Monty is a Nazi spy?

Randolph Field, Texas – 1400 hours – the following day: Eisenhower is preparing to make a surprise visit to Fort Russell to unveil the new radar installation.

At the War Department, Steve is suspicious. Once he hears Ike is headed to Fort Russell, Steve worries about Ike’s safety.

The road past Point Lobo is the only way into Fort Russell right now due to a series of unfortunate events that have closed all the other roads. This sabotage thing might be even more wide-spread than they thought? And crazier still: it looks like Steve is the one who’s gonna bust this thing wide open!

Then, Steve utters Point Lobo’s least successful tourism slogan: “Point Lobo: a perfect place for an ambush!”

While Etta tries to call Fort Russell to warn Diana, Steve dashes off to save Ike.

Monty intercepts her call. Etta is not easily deterred. She dashes to Fort Russell in person.

Monty is even more suspicious of Diana, and decides to sabotage the dangerously heavy PA hanging over the stage so it will fall on Diana during the magic act.

Monty tells Lola that she’s got a fat wrinkly neck. Lola does not have a fat wrinkly neck. Now I want that PA to fall on Monty’s head.

Meanwhile, at Point Lobo, the saboteurs lie in wait for Ike.

Meanwhile, at Fort Russell, the Miss G.I. Dreamgirl show begins with the bathing suit competition, followed by the talent competition.

Interestingly, the G.I.’s in the center of the stock footage audience are rather conspicuously women. This is either an unintentionally strange choice of stock footage, or a brilliantly subversive one.

Etta’s efforts to get backstage fail.

Diana discovers that her costume for the magic act is missing! Rita, who was Jack’s assistant before Diana horned in, has reclaimed her role.

Diana ducks behind the curtains, spins into Wonder Woman, and saves Rita from Monty’s deviously dropping PA trap. Which isn’t so much a trap as it is Monty cutting the ropes that hold up the PA, but let’s not get bogged down in details.

Etta tells Wonder Woman about the plot against Ike!

Wonder Woman races to Point Lobo to assist Steve and the General, who are racing to intercept Ike.

Steve is smart enough to beep out his name in Morse code to signal to Ike’s driver that he’s a friendly! Alas, while they all stand in the middle of the road and chat the saboteurs attack. Pinned down by gunfire, the four men are trapped! Only a stroke of luck will save the day!

“There’s our luck, General!” Steve proclaims as Wonder Woman saves the four mansels in distress. “And it never came in a more beautiful package.”

Oh, but Steve isn’t done being weird. Next he tells Wonder Woman: “If they gave merit badges for being fantastic, you’d be an Eagle Scout.”

Before things can get too hilarious, Monty launches another attack, firing a rocket from a handheld rocket launcher. Luckily, Wonder Woman catches the rocket and throws it into a canyon.

Returning to the base, Wonder Woman wins the pageant and gracefully shares her bouquet of roses with all the other girls.

Steve tells Etta that Diana probably dropped out because who’d want to share a stage with Wonder Woman? Then Etta punches him in the balls and tells him Diana is beautiful.

No she doesn’t. But I’d like to think she wanted to.

Back at the War Department, Steve tells Diana that the General nominated Wonder Woman for a special commendation, so that’s nice.

Lola will probably be treated with leniency because Jack Wood is lobbying for a light sentence and everyone knows that radio comics are the best people to make decisions involving national security.

You know, that kind of decision-making could explain why Washington, D.C. is filthy with Nazi spies. Jack Wood vouching for Monty and Lola and the girls is what got Fort Russell into this mess in the first place.

The pageant girls don’t get many lines, but some of them stand out for historical reasons:

The unsolved murder of Christa Helm, who played bitchy Rita, continues to be a sources of salacious gossip and intrigue.

In addition to being an actual Playboy Playmate, Linda Carpenter was one of the iconic Playmates from the film Apocalypse Now.

Ann-Marie Martin co-wrote Twister. Her former husband, Michael Crichton, usually gets all the credit for that one, so I just wanted to mention that here because I can.

    This episode contains:

  • Ageism
  • Bickering Beauty Pageant Contestant
  • Devious Traps
  • Dancing
  • Disguises
  • Eisenhower
  • Explosions
  • Golden Lasso
  • Impersonation
  • Mansel(s) in Distress
  • Nazi Spies
  • Rockets
  • Sabotage
  • Spinning
  • Unconscious Steve Trevor
Fausta Grables

Fausta Grables

“Fausta, The Nazi Wonder Woman” aired on April 28, 1976. Fausta is the second (and last) villain pulled straight out of the pages of Wonder Woman comic books, although things seem to turn out a bit differently for TV Fausta than they did for TV Baroness. This is Fausta’s only appearance on the show, which is too bad because Lynda Day George was an accomplished actress who could really dig her teeth into this kind of wacky material. Her husband, Christopher George is also in this episode, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves…

We open on a mysterious German castle. Title in: Top Secret Nazi Intelligence Headquarters, Somewhere in Germany – 1942.

Wait…Somewhere in Germany?

It’s Berlin. The top-secret headquarters are in Berlin. Even Steve Trevor knows that, so this seems a little insulting to the viewer.

OK, fine, most of the original broadcast viewers for this show were probably either 5 (like me) or stoned (like my babysitter), so I’m willing to let it slide.

Inside the Top Secret Nazi Headquarters: Nazis!

Apparently, Nazis spend a lot of time discussing their career hopes and dreams with one another. Colonel Kesselman (Bo Brundlin) is paranoid that Fausta Grables is after his promotion. Brundlin is Swedish, and his German accent is the least offensive in the episode, so he does have that going for him.

Fausta is icy blond and beautiful, with neatly braided Disney Princess hair. Despite her keen intelligence, strength, and impressive record as an Olympic champion, the Colonel doesn’t respect Fausta, reinforcing Wonder Woman’s dialogue in previous episodes about the sexist nature of Nazi culture.

Fausta shows the Colonel footage from the pilot episode (an admirable bit of meta fictional footage recycling) but the Colonel dismisses this Wonder Woman as Hollywood propaganda. Nevertheless, on Hitler’s orders, they launch Operation Fraulein. The objective: capture Wonder Woman and take her to Berlin so the Nazis can study her.

Fausta’s plan: bait her trap with Major Steve Trevor. Which isn’t a figure of speech. She actually has a trap.

Fausta and her henchmen head to Washington, D.C. and easily infiltrate the War Department disguised as a cleaning crew. She gases Steve Trevor (Lyle Waggoner) and takes him to a warehouse.

faustagas

The next day, Yeoman Diana Prince (Lynda Carter) is concerned because Steve isn’t at work. Corporal Etta Candy (Beatrice Colen) smirks and reminds Diana that Steve is a manslut. Ok, that’s not exactly what she says, but there’s a lot of smirking and innuendo about why Steve is AWOL.

Etta, in her role as plump, non-threatening gal-pal, is frequently shown shoving food in her mouth or offering Diana food, which Diana always refuses.

Etta offers Diana a donut, which Diana refuses.

Fausta places an anonymous call to the War Department, telling Diana she found a letter on the sidewalk from a Major Steve Trevor directing whoever finds the letter to call the War Department and summon Wonder Woman to a warehouse to rescue him.

The trap is set!

Wonder Woman does her slow-motion spin transformation and hides her clothes.

At the Warehouse Wonder Woman barges in and kicks henchman ass. Fausta is unimpressed. She, too, can kick ass. But then…she sees Wonder Woman use her golden lasso of truth on a henchmen, easily locating where they’ve stashed mansel in distress Steve.

Fausta totally wants that lasso.

Wonder Woman is polite and thanks people after they tell her the truth. I think that’s nice.

Fausta lures Wonder Woman into a new trap by “appealing to her sense of competition.” She impersonates Wonder Woman at a federal war bonds rally outside the War Department. It works! While Steve and Etta watch, Wonder Woman and her impersonator do Feats of Strength to inspire people to buy war bonds.

Steve and Etta exchange a bit of awkward dialogue about what a shame it is that Diana is off giving blood and hence missing yet another chance to see Wonder Woman.

I’m pretty sure that was hilarious to me when I was a kid.

Onstage, Wonder Woman falls through a trap door in the stage. A henchman chloroforms her, uses her own lasso on her, and learns her belt is the key to her strength.

Fausta and the henchmen take her belt and shove Wonder Woman in a cab. Fausta, as Wonder Woman, fails to flirt with Steve before they make their getaway.

Steve smells a rat!

Steve and Etta commandeer a cab and take off in pursuit of the phony Wonder Woman. Steve nearly crashes into a fallen tree he should have been able to see from half a mile away and which he could easily have driven around, so don’t get your hopes up that he’s suddenly gotten smarter.

Then Steve runs out of gas, foiling any further attempts to rescue Wonder Woman as the Nazis disappear into the distance.

The Nazis load Wonder Woman into a plane. Before the plane takes off, they peel away a decal, revealing the swastika on the plane, which seems like something you shouldn’t do until you’re well clear of U.S. airspace…

naziplane

Back at the War Department, General Blankenship (Richard Eastham) won’t let Steve go to Germany to rescue Wonder Woman, instead sending him on a furlough to rest for a few days.

Steve sneaks away and uses his furlough to hitch a ride to England.

In Berlin the Colonel continues his paranoid monologue about his impending promotion and Fausta’s career ambitions.

Oh, and they also unload Wonder Woman, who is still powerless without her belt or lasso.

In England, Steve tracks down his old buddy Charlie (Jeff Cooper). They exchange some lines about their days as football heroes and about how Steve threw Charlie the winning touchdown pass in the Rose Bowl. Charlie just happens to be flying a mission over Berlin that night! And Steve needs to get to Berlin that night!

Steve parachutes into Berlin and meets his contact, Resistance fighter Rojak, who is played by Fausta’s real-life husband, Christopher George.

It may surprise you to learn that Rojak is a Nazi spy!

It takes a while for Steve to catch on that Rojak is a Nazi spy, despite the fact that Rojak leads him around in circles instead of taking him to Nazi HQ. Apparently, the first 3 times they pass that same piece of scenery, Steve just thinks they’re in a Scooby Doo episode.

Luckily, a fraulein with the Resistance knocks Rojak out with a shovel and rescues our mansel in distress. For now, Steve stays conscious.

Meanwhile, the Colonel and Fausta use the lasso to question Wonder Woman, even though he doesn’t believe it actually works.

Wonder Woman explains that the women on Paradise Island are super strong and super smart because they aren’t hindered by an environment of toxic masculinity. Fausta seems to dig that idea. The Colonel thinks it’s poppycock.

While the Colonel is mwahahaha-ing, Wonder Woman gets her accessories back, frees herself, fights Fausta, deflects some bullets with the Bracelets of Submission, and saves herself.

Wonder Woman appeals to Fausta’s womanly intelligence and womanhood. It doesn’t work…or does it?

Wonder Woman steals a plane and flies back to Washington, D.C.

As Diana Prince, she arrives at the War Department the next morning to learn that Steve is being held prisoner at Gestapo Headquarters.

I remember watching Wonder Woman with my friends. I think we all assumed it was canon that the General knew Diana was also Wonder Woman. Maybe she didn’t know he knew, but he knew. Much like in this scene, he often steps into the foreground, stares into the distance, and intones something along the lines of: “I sure hope that Wonder Woman knows this thing only you and I and Etta know, Diana! And I hope she can get there and back in the next 2 days of storytime because that’s all the furlough time I can give you.”

Fine. Ok. We were 5 so we didn’t know words like “canon.” We just believed. In retrospect, I now believe those scenes were just campy writing, directing, and acting. General Blankenship seems to be as clueless as Steve, reinforcing the message that the women are the brains behind any operation, be they American or Nazi.

In her office, Diana spins into Wonder Woman and uses her creepy voice mimicry skills to make a few calls as General Blankenship. Then it’s back to Berlin and into another devious trap.

This time, Steve is chained up in a dungeon. When Wonder Woman breaks into his cell, the walls begin to close in! These sorts of death traps were a common and little-appreciated danger to television heroes for decades. Even if you don’t remember them, you surely know George Lucas’s homage to the trope in Star Wars.

They escape before the walls crush them, racing into the hallway and…falling through a trap door, because Gestapo HQ is apparently basically a human-sized version of the game mousetrap (Mausefalle?).

The Colonel has them now! Steve and Wonder Woman land in a water trap reinforced with an electrical contraption which the Colonel will use to electrocute them if Wonder Woman doesn’t spill her secrets.

Of course, Wonder Woman already spilled her secrets, but the Colonel didn’t believe her.

Wonder Woman refuses to speak to anyone other than Fausta.

Wonder Woman raises Fausta’s consciousness about male oppression, and Fausta in turn enables Steve and Wonder Woman to escape.

Fausta decides that she will become a leader in the Resistance. Wonder Woman proclaims her “An example to women all over the world who want to be free!”

When Steve and Diana return to work at the War Department in Washington, D.C., Steve won’t divulge any details about his time with Wonder Woman, telling Etta and Diana that he doesn’t kiss and tell.

Diana punches Steve in his pretty face.

No, not really. Diana smiles brightly in the face of Steve’s innuendo, accepts his compliment on her typing skills, and swallows her feminist rage.

Etta admires Steve’s bravery and courage, which will no doubt bring the war to a close 6 months sooner!

Pretending to hear about Fausta’s change of allegiance for the first time, Diana remarks: “Maybe all women can do wonders if put to the test!” This leads Steve to marvel: “That’s exactly what Wonder Woman said!”

Oh, Steve!

This episode contains:

  • Bullet-deflection
  • Bracelets of Submission
  • Chloroform
  • Consciousness Raising
  • Devious Traps
  • Feats of Strength
  • Golden Lasso (Lasso of Truth)
  • Henchmen
  • Impersonation
  • Knockout Gas
  • Nazi Spies
  • Mansel in Distress
  • Spinning
  • Unconscious Steve Trevor
  • Voice Mimicry
  • Womanly Badassery
  • Wonder Woman in Bondage