The dad from The Brady Bunch as a suave terrorist? Dr. Bellows as a scientist who creates earthquakes? The Bubonic Plague? Oh, my we are in an oddly prescient episode of Wonder Woman today. Shall we dive in?
At a secret testing facility, Dr. Bellows from I Dream of Jeannie is setting off explosions to make fault lines move. Now. I am not a scientist, nor do I understand the intricacies of plate tectonics. HOWEVER. Planting bombs near fault lines SEEMS LIKE A POORLY-THOUGHT-OUT IDEA.
Even as he claims his goal is to find ways to stop earthquakes (and he rattles off a list of quakes he predicts and, thanks to being filmed 70 years after this, we know they all happen … except for one in Hawaii in 1981), there is a literal dun-dun-DUN drum sound at the end of this scene. So, you know … this will all go completely according to plan.
Meanwhile, Mike Brady has ditched Carol and Alice for a cosmopolitan young traveling companion. Don’t get attached to her, though. Mr. Brady gets detained by a customs woman in one of those crazy 40s hairnets and Mr. Brady’s new girlfriend has to call the Irish consulate and make a “veddy large fuss” for the now Irish Mr. Brady.
At the War Department office, Steve is blathering on to Diana about Dr. Bellow’s work. Somehow, she thinks this is going to promote world peace and harmony, which is rather naïve, even for someone who grew up on Paradise Island. Explosions and earthquakes = world harmony is some calculus I calcucan’t with.
General Blankenship lets them know that the “notorious international mercenary we call the Falcon” is traveling on a neutral passport and has made it into America. And, even more shocking, he is traveling with a woman!
His most recent mercenary act was to kidnap a chancellor in India for a king’s ransom in (wait for it) … rubies.
What … the … eff. Later, he’ll also ask for more rubies, so were the writers just going, “Having a notorious international mercenary called the Falcon be motivated by money is boring. Let’s have him like rubies! Yeah! That’s the ticket!” ? I think they were looking to make him a Batman-esque foil for Wonder Woman, but a quick Google search for falcons and rubies makes no thematic sense (unless you’re a pro football player’s wife).
However, I guess having him commit crimes within a 5-kilometer range of his nest hideout to collect more pigeons doesn’t sound as cool as going after rubies all over the world.
The Falcon has already ditched his traveling companion and snuck into Dr. Bellow’s secret lab. He goes into a closet and we see clearly his falcon head-shaped belt buckle.
He comes back out cleverly disguising it with an apron! Genius! No one will ever suspect he’s the Falcon now! I guess he could just not wear a falcon-headed belt buckle, but this is a much better solution.
As a waiter bringing a tray of dinner to the preoccupied Dr. Bellows, the Falcon is quite menacing He takes some of the professor’s notes and compliments him on his theories. When Dr. Bellows turns around to take his notes back, we see some TV magic.
As the Falcon pulls a gun on the good doctor and demands the Pluto File, we see the heavily accented Mike Brady demand a million dollars (or rare rubies) and Dr. Bellows nearly swoons. The pensive stares and the professor’s statement that he’s not for sale is electric with seduction. IS THIS HOW THE FALCON OPERATES? He charms his victims into submission?
A guard rushes in and fights the Falcon, but he easily escapes and knocks out Dr. Bellows. However, the alarms go off and the Falcon flees with the Pluto File.
I should add here I don’t know why the file was named for Pluto (presumably the god and not the cartoon dog). Neptune was the god in charge of earthquakes, even though Pluto lived in the underworld. I assume the writer’s room didn’t have a World Book Encyclopedia handy as I did as a child.
Steve and the General investigate the scene. Dr. Bellows is in the hospital after the attack. We cut to the Falcon doing some target practice and his new lackey is honored to be working with such a legend. Falc shoots some targets and is now ready to go assassinate Dr. Bellows.
At the War Department, the Falcon’s lady friend is now in a hospital in New York … with bubonic plague! Dun dun DUN! Then, the guard who fought with Falcon is in an isolation ward at the hospital. At first, they think it’s pneumonia, but the doctor on the case suspects it’s (you know where this is going, right?) bubonic plague. Diana is shocked that there is plague in 1942 and I hate to see her reaction to 2020.
The doctor says the last known case was in in India two weeks ago … the same time the Falcon was kidnapping chancellors for rare rubies! Diana figures it out first (of course) and so she wants to chat with Dr. Bellows. She has to get inoculated and so we next see her rubbing her shoulder. I find this utterly charming.
Diana sits with the unconscious Dr. Bellows and tells him he’s uncovered the knowledge of the ancients. Really? I feel like there was a lot more to the Knowledge of the Ancients than plate tectonics, but okay. Her Wonder Sense goes off … somehow, she knows the Falcon is on the roof of the building across from theirs.
Either she can Transformation Twirl® lickety-split or the Falcon is the slowest marksman alive. She changes to Wonder Woman fast enough to deflect the bullet. She chases after him, but the Falcon has flown the coop. (Sorry … I couldn’t resist.).
The Falcon heads to his nest and we find the professor’s assistant, Benson, is in league with the Falcon! Falc uses a cigarette holder, so between that and the fake British-not-even-trying-to-be-Irish accent, we know he is a super-evil mastermind.
Dr. Bellows is back at the lab, so Steve and Di go chat with him. Dr. Bellows has CLEARLY fallen for the Falcon, talking about his “intelligent, steel-blue eyes.” There’s some Stockholm Syndrome going on here, Professor!
Diana is already suspicious of Benson, and he begins coughing. He’s got the Plague! He rushes out and Diana twirls into Wonder Woman to capture him. She lassoes him, but before he can tell her anything, he collapses. She makes another incredible leap of logic that the Falcon doesn’t know he’s a carrier. That is a huge assumption. Maybe, as a suave, faux-Irish mercenary, he likes being a potential bio-weapon!
With Benson gone, the Falcon is down to his last henchman. They are driving out to plant bombs around a secret military base and they are almost out of gas. The henchman defends his inability to fill up the tank, because everything is rationed. HISTORICAL ACCURACY! They fill up at a country bumpkin’s gas station, even though they are in MARYLAND!
The country music background confirms that Bumpkin is in fact, some kind of yokel hick. Even as we see the henchman slowly catching the plague, now Bumpkin is getting it too. It doesn’t matter, though, as the Falcon is about to set off the first nuclear explosion that will destroy Washington, D.C.!
The captions are on point this episode, as we switch to an “unsuspecting D.C.” Diana gets the call that another case of the plague has shown up. She and Steve question the Bumpkin, since the hospital is conveniently on the way to the secret nuclear testing facility they were visiting anyway. Bumpkin says he feels like he’s been kicked in the chest by a mule. Steve and Diana wear masks, so this all hits eerily close to home.
Diana and Steve get to the last checkpoint in the high-security nuclear facility. Their non-photo ID’s get them right in. Okay, so much for security. They meet the doctor in charge of Project 741 (my next band name), which is part of the Manhattan Project. The doctor goes off on a (as far as I can tell) scientifically-accurate depiction of nuclear fusion.
Diana “needs some air” and changes to Wonder Woman, her Wonder Sense (or a glance at the script) letting her know she needs to be outside. As the doctor tells Steve and the suddenly-there General Blankenship there is no way to stop the reaction once it starts, Wonder Woman is startled by a series of explosions.
Inside the facility, the camera shakes like it’s on the bridge of the USS Enterprise in the Original Series Star Trek. The bombs have done their work and started a quake. Wonder Woman is at a bit of a loss as to what to do, so she does a Wonder Jump and then runs, which … what was the point? She didn’t have any obstacles blocking her way. She just bounded over open road then started running to the facility.
Blankenship tells the doctor this will obvs make your reactor a huge bomb and shut it down. The doc says he can’t, and even if he could, he’d need the President’s authority to try shutting it down. Blankenship then reveals his sole purpose for showing up … “I’ll call the president!”
They think Dr. Bellows might figure out a way to help. Wonder Woman is already there and they start doing calculations on the blackboard. Dr. Bellows is impressed and Wonder Woman tells him she was very good in school. Now, I need to see a mini-series on Amazon Elementary.
The Falcon is outside Dr. Bellow’s lab, and he’s ready to eliminate Dr. Bellows
At the nuclear plant, a government representative says the president only greenlit this project as a fast way to stop the war, and now it has become a fast way to stop Washington! He doesn’t believe this can be serious … until a another quake hits. Suddenly, he’s a believer.
The Falcon’s driver heads out to cause a diversion and lure Wonder Woman away from Dr. Bellows. She captures him, but again, he passes out. He’s finally got the plague! Wonder Woman has the guard call an ambulance and says she thinks his partner may be near. She heads back in, vowing not leave Dr. Bellow’s side. Five minutes later, she leaves his side to go get chalk. CHALK!
Romance blooms as the Falcon confronts Dr. Bellows. Falc says he hates loose ends and Dr. Bellows again admires his cool professionalism and presumably his intelligent, steel-blue eyes.
Wonder Woman strides back in (with no chalk) and derides Falcon’s cool professionalism. He begins to sweat and she tells him of all the people he has infected. He doesn’t believe it until she lassos him and he needs water. This gives Dr. Bellows the scientific inspiration he needs – flooding the reactor core with water will solve everything (except of course for the fish in the sea when they dump that water later).
Falcon thinks it’s a pity he and the professor and Wonder Woman aren’t on the same side. That is kind of on you, dude.
Everyone recovers from the Bubonic Plague, Falcon goes to jail, and Etta wonders why the such a suave and intelligent man (with steel-blue eyes) had to choose a life of destructive behavior. Diana hopes he will reform … and Steve says that’s what Wonder Woman would say. IRONY!
LOL I loved this. I could have seen more Falcon episodes and explored his rare ruby fetish a bit more. 4 out of five magic lassos for me. Next week, a mystery no one ever cared about in “The Last of the Two-Dollar Bills.” Join us, won’t you?
Bonus pic – Wonder Woman and Dr. Bellows chalking it up to his steel-blue eyes.