Oh, my! The first regular episode of Wonder Woman is a … bit of a letdown. With the new Not-General Blankenship, the completely unheralded introduction of Etta Candy and the strangest fight scene ever filmed while rolling down a hill, it would have been better if Diana had NEVER met Baroness von Gunther.
We start at the War Department and Not-General Blankenship is worried. He’s so worried about Steve Trevor falling into a trap. Diana actually Cutches. Her. Pearls. (I’m assuming she has invisible pearls). NGB wishes there was some way – any way – too contact Wonder Woman.
Too bad they don’t have a Wonder Signal. As soon as NGB leaves, Diana hits the Transformation Twirl® and becomes Wonder Woman … with a cheaper and bigger golden belt. How did they not have the wardrobe or the patterns from the pilot?
She heads out to save Steve. Before we can follow, we make a stop at the Federal Penitentiary where Baroness von Gunther, former head of a spy ring, is walking around completely normally, alone with a guard. As you do when you are imprisoned for being a Nazi Baroness.
They are plotting (against some extremely strong background music) to discredit Steve Trevor, War Hero, and make him look like (gasp) a traitor!
Steve and his men are doing some training exercises with a truck and the truck suddenly loses control. Steve tries to get IN the driver’s seat and save it, but he is about to go over a cliff. Luckily, Wonder Woman has been watching!
She lassoes him out of the truck as it goes over the edge. How is this part of the scheme? At the War Department, Not-General Blankenship tells us. That truck was full of top-secret weapons and Steve destroyed it. The FBI thinks HE’S A TRAITOR!
Only Arthur Deal III, the big steel magnate and PATRIOT (according to NGB), who is heading a secret hearing into Steve’s alleged spy activities, could clear Steve’s name. Arthur needs all the Top Secret orders for Steve’s last three missions (which all now look like Steve sabotaged each mission).
Now. I don’t know a ton about politics or the law … but asking the people you are investigating in a secret hearing to pull the top secret files you need as evidence (much less telling those people they are under investigation AND there will be a secret hearing) seems, I dunno … counter-intuitive?
Diana and Steve try to pull the files … but they are GONE! Steve gets a mysterious phone call to come to the Old Virginia Stables if he wants those files! This doesn’t smell like a trap at ALL. Diana follows Steve … on foot?
Yes, when Steve arrives at the trap, I mean the Old Virginia Stables, he finds a knocked-out soldier, a secret government stockpile of ammunition and a lot of hay bales. He promptly gets knocked out and the building is set on fire.
Luckily, Wonder Woman is coming via … running down the highway? I know she’s supposed to have the speed of Mercury, but, the Invisible Plane wasn’t available? As she’s running, the REAL spy leaves incriminating evidence — a box of matches — under the unconscious Steve’s leg in the jeep he’s been put into. He then calls the cops and tells them Steve set fire to the stables.
Yes. That will DEFINITELY make him look like he is a saboteur. He knocked out a guard, set a fire and then passed out in his jeep. Right.
Hours later and definitely obeying all traffic laws and signs, Wonder Woman shows up at the Stables. Because she also possesses the wisdom of Athena, she realizes the box of matches has been planted.
She gets Steve and the other knocked-out guy and crashes the jeep through the barn door. One caption later, Steve (but not the other guy … what happens to him?) wakes up in Diana’s apartment – because no hospital needed for a concussion and smoke inhalation, I guess.
They decide to visit the Baroness in prison. The warden finds it hard to believe the Baroness is a criminal – she’s so well-behaved and a model prisoner. Well, sure … she’s only in there for leading a Nazi sabotage ring. How could she be a bad person?
We then meet Tommy, the warden’s son. He has a Sherlock Holmes obsession and carries a magnifying glass. My eyeballs have rolled completely out of my head and taken the Invisible Plane back to Paradise Island. I can’t with this kid.
The warden tells Steve and Diana it’s hard to raise a kid as a single parent running the women’s penitentiary. It kind of sounds like they were pitching a bad sitcom with this premise. As they go to chat with the Baroness, Tommy finds a bizarre key that lets him into a secret tunnel that goes in and out of the prison.
In her cell, the Baroness has a dizzy spell and charms Steve. She is reading a book called The Principles of Democracy and for a minute Steve is believing her cockamamie story that she’s reformed.
Diana sees Tommy climbing up the wall and he’s about to fall, so she runs to get her stenographer pad out of the car — and change to Wonder Woman.
Now. Steve does think it’s odd she forgot her pad, but the bigger question is … how is there a ladder in the prison that a ten-year-old kid can climb and no one else has tried it AND no guards see Tommy? If I ever have to go to jail, I want to go here, because clearly even I could escape.
Wonder Woman does a flying leap and saves Tommy by … landing with him on the roof? She then ties the magic lasso to an electrical box and shimmies down it with Tommy on her back. Super-hero physics are weird, but she couldn’t have just jumped up, grabbed him and come back down? Oh right … plot reasons.
As Tommy discusses his sleuthing (a word I loved ever since I first read the Hardy Boys books) Steve leaves the Baroness’s cell and starts looking for Diana. Wonder Woman has to go change into her secret identity so. She asks Tommy to RETREIVE HER MAGIC LASSO AND KEEP IT.
That night, the Baroness and her henchman Hansen, leave the prison through the secret tunnel Tommy found. He is watching, writing notes that make no sense (“Magic stone”? What magic stone? Did we miss a scene?) and sees someone signaling with flashlights.
The Baroness is off to someone named Thor (!)’s house. She’s changed into a sexy evening dress and she smokes because she is evil. She and Thor work on their plan to discredit him. And that plan involves (wait for it …) TOMMY! OMG.
Next day, Tommy is sitting in the prison yard reading The Hound of the Baskervilles, which feels like a totally safe space for a member of the warden’s family. The Baroness starts jabbering to Tommy how Holmes was real and she has a message from Wonder Woman – to make sure her lasso is safe. She suggests Tommy go make SURE it’s safe in its hiding place.
Of course, Tommy runs to check on it and Hansen follows him. It is in a TREE. Again, I can’t with this kid. How did the Baroness know Tommy had the lasso? Why a tree? WHY DID WONDER WOMAN LEAVE IT WITH THIS MORON?
Meanwhile, Steve goes to meet with Arthur Deal III to prove his innocence, because this is how the legal system works. Guess who Arthur Deal III is? If you guessed Thor, you are right, though not the Chris Hemsworth Thor.
The Baroness walks in and Steve is captured and tied up with the magic lasso. He is forced to sign a confession stating he is a spy. Of course, Diana and Not-General Blankenship don’t believe it.
SUDDENLY, Etta Candy is there, unintroduced and eating cake, as you do in front of your boss. Diana excuses herself so she can change into Wonder Woman. She goes to find Tommy next to his lasso-less tree. Somehow, she is FINE that the Baroness stole her lasso from a TEN-YEAR OLD. Ugh.
Diana uses her power of Wonder-ventriloquism to imitate NGB and trace the license plate of the car the Baroness took. Guess what? It’s Arthur Deal III! She runs (surely obeying all traffic laws and signage) to his estate.
As Wonder Woman busts in, the Baroness sprays her with perfume gas that knocks her out.
Back at the prison, Tommy tries to tell his dad what’s up but who has time for a kid’s silly story? The Baroness has escaped! Only Hansen is still there and he kidnaps Tommy. Back at the Deal III estate, Wonder Woman, Steve and now Tommy are all tied up.
The warden finds Tommy’s “casebook” and reads the nonsense notes and determines there IS a secret tunnel in his prison. This is a plot thread that goes nowhere.
Not to worry. Wonder Woman easily busts out of her chains. She saves Steve with some Bullets and Bracelets action, and as the Baroness flees, we are treated to one of the most bizarre fight scenes ever captured on film.
Wonder Woman leaps from the patio onto the Baroness as she races down a steeply sloped lawn. They roll over and over, not even attempting to look like they are fighting.
They roll. And roll. We get wide shots of rolling. Close-up shots of rolling. When they finally stop, the Baroness gets away and runs for the pool. Wonder Woman lassoes her and the Baroness ends up in the pool.
Back at the War Department, everything is all groovy again. No one makes ANY mention that we have a new cast member. NGB says it’s hard to believe Arthur was a Nazi. Diana wraps it all up with a smile and a ”everyone can change” speech.
Blech. Hard to believe I kept watching after this episode, but in the 70s, we super hero geeks didn’t have much choice. One out of five Magic Lassos for this one. Next week … a comic book villain (but not much of one), Fausta, the Nazi Wonder Woman! Make sure to shine up your tiaras and we’ll see you next time!