Wonder Woman — Season 1, Episode 9: “The Last Of The Two Dollar Bills”

Plastic surgery, a school for learning American customs and counterfeiting money is this week’s Nazi plan to win the war. But my biggest problem with this episode is the poor characterization of Diana and Wonder Woman. And Steve. Heck, not even the extras or the villains are written or directed well. Still, this episode debuts the Tiara Throw® and has some … funky choices in storytelling. Let’s get to it, shall we?

“Go-go Tiara Throw®!”

A sub off the coast of the North Atlantic can’t be a good sign. So when General Blankenship strides in to tell Steve it’s possible that the Nazi’s top agent, Wotan is possibly in America and then Diana brings in news that an enemy sub was sunk in the Chesapeake Bay … well that’s no coincidence, is it?

Is that really the Chesapeake Bay?

Steve and Diana head out to investigate. Hidden behind some rocks, she and Steve spy a rubber boat coming ashore. Good thing Steve came to the ONLY practical place in the area to land a rubber boat. I’m unsure of the total square mileage of the Virginia coastline, but, okay, Steve.

“You’re so handsome and smart, Steve!” Blerg.

Diana sucks up and says she thinks that’s a brilliant piece of deductive reasoning. I think they are trying to make her be the Robin to Steve’s Batman and it’s dumb. This line really bothers me. Why does she need to be a kiss-ass? However, as I am not a TV producer, nor do I play one on TV (wait … is that meta?) we’ll move on.

“Belt, lasso, tiara … check!”

He snidely brags it’s just a matter of putting yourself in the enemy’s place. Steve sends Diana to report back to the office. Of course, she uses the opportunity to change into Wonder Woman.

He’s like a tiger! Grrr!

As the Nazis land, Steve pounces on them from the rocks. One is wearing a mask, and so he must be Wotan, since no one has ever seen him before and the War Department has no description of him.

Wonder Woman grabs Wotan and they have this … bizarre staring contest. You hear special effects music and I’m like … does he have Creepy Staring® Power or something? Why are we hearing this as Wonder Woman and he stand there pushing against each other?

“Got to use … my Wonder Staring Power!”

Steve is fighting the Nazi henchmen and one of them looks like the WestWorld Hemsworth, but as he was born in the 80s, it can’t be him. Uncanny resemblance though.

Totally looks like a Hemsworth.

The Nazis are about to shoot Steve, so Wonder Woman has to let Wotan go and save Steve. Then Steve picks up Wotan’s discarded mask (why did he take the mask off? Now people will be able to describe him!) and whines “He got away.” WOW, Steve? Whose fault is that, because you can’t handle two little Nazis!

Yeah, he DID get away, Steve!

A creepy photographer is taking “candid shots” on the street the next day for 50 cents. Was this a thing? Has it EVER been a thing? It is nice that his hat says “Candid Shots” on it, so you don’t automatically think he’s some kind of perv.

“Do you go to beaches wearing masks a lot?”

Etta and Diana are on their way to lunch. Etta insists they get their candids, so she can send one to her mom. Diana has a moment as she looks into the guy’s eyes. Eerie special effect music plays and we can assume this is Wotan, unless every time Diana looks at someone slightly creepy, we are hearing her Wonder Sense go off.

Creepy Vision.

As they eat, Wotan takes photos of the café owner and her boyfriend, who works at the Bureau of Engraving, which is conveniently across the street. As Diana tries to remember where she’s seen those eyes and heard that eerie special effect music before, the café owner tells Wotan she doesn’t want a photo taken as she kisses her boyfriend. So, of course, he takes one.

Damn paparazzi.

Wotan heads home to Berlin. He inspects the graduates of the Nazi University of American Culture and Spy Studies. His plastic surgeon is going to alter two of them to look like the café owner and her money-printing fiancé.  Greatest. Scheme. Ever.

Majored in Slang at Amazon U.

A few weeks later after the scars have healed, they are on their way to America. Meanwhile. Diana is reading a book entitled “American Slang,” so I have to wonder if she shouldn’t check out this school the Nazis are running.

Etta is pissed — she never got the photos she ordered, so she and Diana head to the address on the card Wotan gave them. It’s a photography shop, but the proprietor knows nothing about this candid photographer. Etta wants to argue and get her $1.50 back (as she says, $1.50 doesn’t grow on trees). Diana hustles her out of there. She knows something is up.

They’re called “warrants,” Wonder Woman.

One Wonder Leap up to the second floor of the photography shop, she investigates a room with a hotplate that also conveniently doubles as a wireless radio with a frequency set to Berlin!  The shop owner comes in and she bends his gun in half. She does that again later, and I wish she would come to life now and do that to ALL the guns. #politicizingsuperherotvshows

She could be a rodeo star.

She lets the shop owner run out and get in his car, I guess so she can Wonder Jump out of the window and then stop his car from going anywhere. It seems like she could have handled that a little more efficiently.

She calls Steve and Etta and they question the spy. Etta explains about the candid photographer and goes on rapturously about the Bureau of Printing where they make all the “lovely money.” Wonder Woman, after months in the United States, seems surprised there’s a place where they just “make” money. Steve makes a date for he and Wonder Woman to visit there at 9 am the next morning.  Not a usual date time, but okay. She is a super heroine.

It’s like looking in an evil mirror!

Back in Germany , Wotan is pleased that his graduates now look like the café owner and her significant other. His plan to kidnap the real café owner and mate, use them to steal the two-dollar bill engraving plates and cripple the US economy by flooding it with counterfeit two-dollar bills will go off without a hitch! Mwah-ha-ha-ha!!!!!

The man, however has a toothache. This seems odd, but will be important later. They are off to parachute into Canada, cross the border and then kidnap their doppelgängers! They all leave to celebrate except for one Nazi officer. That guy is an American spy! He’s radioing a cryptic message to the War Department, before Wotan comes back in and catches him. He says they’ll never hear from him again!

To be fair, that is effing cryptic.

Steve stays up all night, trying to figure out what the message means –  “Wotan Two Dollar Bill” Sounds like a band name to me. Diana comes in that morning and gives him a “Steven Leonard Trevor, you’ve been up all night!”

“I didn’t know this was formal. I would have worn MY cape.”

Steve bolts, as it’s time to meet Wonder Woman at the Bureau of Engraving. She’s in her cape and skirt, so I guess this is a formal date. Miller, the café owner’s potential husband, gives them a tour and we even see footage of someone throwing a sheet of money away. Was it defective?

She stans Wonder Woman.

As they leave, Maggie, the café owner, runs up to get Wonder Woman’s autograph for her brother in the service. She’s stoked to meet Wonder Woman. As Steve and Wonder Woman walk off, the Amazing Amazon plays dumb so Steve can realize what a potent economic weapon counterfeit money could be during wartime.

He’s cute, but dumb as a rock in this episode.

Again. I’m not sure this plan could be implemented in time to really bring America to its knees, but okay.

At the same time, Maggie goes to the café and the CLOSED sign is up. She gets pissed at the creepy-eyed new guy for closing (can we guess who this is?) and then he reveals the duplicates of her and her fiancé. He forces Maggie to call Miller and get him over there. Wotan locks them in a cage underneath the café (what kind of café IS this, Maggie?) and sends the duplicates into the world.

“I told you not to build a cage in my cafe’s basement!”

Fake Miller is approached by a secret service man, who is his new bodyguard. Fake Maggie is doing café things when Diana comes in to place an order for lunch. Diana can tell something’s not right when she sees the tossed-aside Wonder Woman autograph. She changes to Wonder Woman and goes into a phone booth to call Steve. She uses Wonder Ventriloquism to pretend to be the Secret Service agent and get Steve to  the café. So he wouldn’t recognize her voice? WHAT PURPOSE DID THIS SERVE?

“This is secret agent Deep Voice. NOT Wonder Woman.”

Wotan threatens to kill his hostages unless Wonder woman gives him her bracelets and gets in the cage with Maggie and Miller. Wotan compares his capture of Wonder Woman to all the other Nazis before him that tried and failed. They were bungling incompetents and he leaves no loose ends.

As someone who encounters FAR TOO MANY bungling incompetents in life, I am impressed by his dedication to efficiency, even if his plan of wrecking the economy is slow and stupid.

He did get the bracelets. I’ll give him that.

It takes Steve about five hours to get to the café. He asks Fake Maggie if a man identifying himself as a Secret Service agent has come in. Steve. They’re called the SECRET Service. SMH. Steve calls Fake Miller to see where his agent is. Fake Miller is in the middle of stealing the two-dollar bill engraving plates and tying up the agent and putting a bomb in the vault. He’s a good multitasker to do all that AND talk to Steve on the phone.

Personally, I’d have taken the twenties.

Steve runs into him on the street (it is literally across the street, after all) and Fake Miller’s toothache is worse. Steve insists he go to his dentist, who’s a buddy. Wotan and Fake Maggie watch all this nervously and Wotan is pissed that Fake Miller didn’t have that fixed in Berlin. NO LOOSE ENDS!

Wotan heads out through the basement with the stolen plates. The guard gets up to lock the door after Wotan, so Wonder Woman uses that distraction to bust out. She bends his gun in two and frees the hostages. I can’t believe Wotan left Wonder Woman’s bracelets with his guard and didn’t take them to Berlin with the stolen plates. LOOSE ENDS!

Wonder Woman, we need you in 2020.

Steve’s dentist comes out to tell Steve something is unusual. Only Nazis use steel for fillings. So, instead of gassing him into unconsciousness or tying him up, Steve has him … replace the filling. He claims he’ll get the dentist a gold or silver medal for this and the dentist jokes, “Make it gold.” HUMOR!

“It’s pure Nazi steel!”

In the basement, Wonder Woman throws a huge pit at the ceiling to attract Fake Maggie’s attention. Fake Maggie comes down and gets captured in the magic lasso. Upstairs, Steve comes in with Fake Miller and they go downstairs. Wonder woman has left Fake Maggie in the cage and left. Fake Miller pushes Steve down the stairs. Steve fights, but gets put in the cage.

“Now, WHERE is my sandwich? You must tell the truth.”

Somehow, Steve knows how to pick the locks and gets free. He stops by the staircase to grab his hat. Very important to have the hat. He goes to the Bureau vault and saves the Secret Service guy by tentatively defusing the bomb.

Steve Trevor, Military Lockpicker … coming this fall to CBS!

Meanwhile, the Nazis are at the ONLY practical place in the area to land a rubber boat, again. There’s only three minutes before the U-boat surfaces. Wonder Woman lassos the fake couple but Wotan is on his rubber boat in the water.

It’s the wind up …

In the first Tiara Throw® of the show, she punctures his boat, then grabs him in the lasso as well. Wotan boasts she’s won this round but Steve and the Secret Service guy are “in Valhalla.” Wonder Woman races to the Bureau, but of course, he’s fine.

And we’ve lost the background …

Later, Steve turns in his report of the case and gives all the credit to Wonder Woman. I would think so! Diana brings up that he did defuse a bomb. She’s too nice! Steve goes off on how Wonder Woman embodies all the virtues of femininity. Diana says all we can be is the best women we can be … just not in this poorly-done episode.

Oh … and no more two-dollar bills will get made. Just ones. SMH.

Until the 70s, at least.

Ugh. A two magic lassos out of five on this one. Next week, though … its Wonder Woman and outer space aliens judging us! I can’t wait!

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