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