Sunday, March 16, 2008

Wonder Woman Reviews Episodes 4 & 5: The Feminum Mistique

Introducing Debra Winger!

The first part of the Feminum (no this is not a spelling error) Mystique two parter opens with none other than John Saxon! Saxon who plays a Nazi Captain named Radl is standing on a Virgina beach watching a submarine surface. Saxon's "German" accent is so bad, possibly the worst of the series so far, that if I didn't know this show had Nazis in it I wouldn't have the slightest idea what he was trying to do. He meets up with a fellow soldier and they head to a nearby base to spy on the test flight of a secret American airplane the XPJ-1.

Enter Steve and Diana who have been sent down to witness the test flight. They pull the plane out of the hanger to a mock version of the Richard Strauss composition Also Sprach Zarathustra...a really bad mock version of Also Sprach Zarathustra...The it hits me...OH FUCK are they going to let the IMBECILIC Steve Trevor test pilot the really expensive, really important XPJ-1? What they hell are they thinking? It's no wonder we came so close to losing the war. Apparently they've not seen his record. Of course what's worse than his record is his too tight flight suit and cravat. Who except maybe Fred from Scooby Doo wears a cravat with a flight suit?

Of course Captain Radl and his Nazi friend Wertz played by Paul Shenar are watching and waiting for their chance to distract the Americans and steal the XPJ-1. They do this by blowing up some canisters helpfully marked "aviation fuel" then Wertz hops on the plane. Wonder Woman shows up to save the day but arrives too late and the plane launches into the air before she can stop it.

Steve rushes into action and at a gingerly pace eventually calls the General to activate "Code Z". (Oh no does that mean the U.S. forces are out of codes?) Luckily code Z represents the only foresight the Americans have had so far in this series, and have equipped the plane with a self destruct device. They blow up the plane but not before it's Nazi hijacker can escape via parachute. Captain Radl escapes too and finds refugee in a Hibbsville Virginia Forest preserve run by another Nazi spy. America is just teeming with Nazis!

The Nazis are sorry to lose the XPJ-1 but witnessing Wonder Woman's bullet deflecting metal bracelets in action find something new to get excited about and determine to discover the mysterious metal's source...

Cut to Pardise Island home of Wonder Woman and dozens of Amazons doing calisthenics in see through costumes and nylons. They have nylon on Paradise Island? They should have packaged it and sold it in the states they could have made a fortune during the war shortage years. We've journeyed to the Island in time to hear a conversation between the Queen this time being played by the beautiful Carolyn Jones and her youngest daughter and Diana's sister Drusilla Debra Winger in one of her first acting roles. The Queen thinks it's time her eldest daughter and heir returns to the island and sends Drusilla to bring her home. Of course it's fascinating to learn that Diana has a sister since in the premiere episode the Queen stated Diana was her "only begotten child".

Back in the good ole US of A the Americans are building another XPJ-1 on the sly, kind of like the second space travel device in Contact, but they only have five days to finish. Steve has to discuss plans with the XPJ-1's designer and Diana recommends using her apartment, she'll make dinner and everything, but when Diana gets home she discovers her sister Drusilla raiding her fridge. Dru wants to drag her home to Paradise Island right away but Diana tells dru she can't, that she must help to defeat the Nazi enemy before the enslave the whole world. She invites Dru to stay for a few days to learn a bit more about her cause and she agrees. Before dinner she finds Dru something appropriate to wear and tells her sister about her life in the modern world. Dru finds it simply laughable that Diana could possibly work for a man!

Dinner is hilarious the creator of the XPJ-1 Peter Knight spends most of his time hitting on Dru who's been outfitted in her "modern clothes", ribbons and pigtails looking no more than about 16 years old. Oh my god Wonder Woman has the same salad bowl as my grandmother...freaky.

Of course I should have realized right away when Knight hit on young Dru that he was a Nazi spy! We discover this little factoid when he meets with John Saxon's Captain Radl and spills the beans about the American's XPJ-1 rebuild project. How did so many Nazi spies infiltrate the US in such a small area? It's almost as bad as the percentage of murders that take place whenever Jessica Fletcher is nearby. Seriously I think Murder She Wrote was about the biggest undiscovered serial killer of our time.

After a morning of clothes shopping to find Dru some more contemporary clothes the sisters head off to the war department. Apparently they will let anyone into this building. After a bit the general offers to take Dru on a tour of George Washington's home. They head off but are intercepted by Captain Radl and his men who kidnap the general. Dru tries to contact her sister or Steve at the war department but they will not connect her so she takes matters into her own hands and decides to rescue the General herself. Dru attempts a spin change but can't remember quite how to make it work. Thank heavens for the magic of flash back where she remembers her mother showing Diana how to change her clothes via spin change. The flash back works and Dru is magically able to spin change into a much more revealing red, white and blue costume than her sister's. Dru tries to free the general but there are just too many Nazis and she is captured. Thinking they have Wonder Woman the Nazis leave the general behind and take Dru to a secret location so they can discover the source of the mysterious bracelet metal. They take a little girl but not one of the most powerful American generals in the war effort? No wonder the Nazis lost the war.

End part 1.

Part two begins with a recap that's like five minutes long, no episode of Wonder Woman is ever so complicated the plot can't be explained in under a minute. Seriously. Cough....says the writer of this very long post...cough....

Diana can't find Dru and she is panicked, she can't even imagine that her sister is being held by the Nazis, after all what would they want with a teenage girl? But what they want from this teenage girl is the location of where they can get more of that metal her bracelets are made of and manage to not only trick her into revealing it's name "Feminum" ouch! and it's one and only location, Paradise Island! The Nazis leave in search of it right away.

Meanwhile Diana overhears the general saying the war department had intercepted a message from the Nazis. They have ordered up a land attack to the exact latitude and longitude of Paradise Island. Diana assumes they are after the Feminum and heads for home straight away hoping to defend her home against the apparent Nazi threat. She beats them to the island and convinces her mother of the danger they face. Diana's mother allows her to take a few women to the Feminum mine and guard them against attack. Unfortunately the Amazons can't stop chatting and giggling about seeing boys for the first time, get taken off guard and knocked out by gas. They get Diana with the gas as well, enslave the Amazons forcing them to mine the Feminum. Apparently they mine Feminum from a lake floor, the Amazon costumes are entirely see-through when they are wet. Hubba hubba.

Luckily it's around this point that Dru escapes her Nazi bondage and flies back to Paradise Island in her own invisible plane...just how many invisible planes do the Amazons have? She makes it to the island and together with her sister defeat the Nazis! Much squealing is had by all! Those Amazons are such girls!

But danger is not completely over, back home they are about to attempt the second XPJ-1 test flight and a cravated Steve stands ready to do the honors. Of course there is a Nazi plant among the mechanics staff who knocks Steve out, steals his swanky costume and attempts to take the plane for Der Fuhrer. Luckily Wonder Woman arrives just in time to chase the plane down the runway...HEY something happened to her boots!! the high heels are now flats! Well I guess it makes it easier to run. In any case she grabs the planes tail and prevents it from taking off. They capture the Nazi spy and Steve finally gets his chance to test the XPJ-1, even if he's not wearing his swanky test pilot suit. The test is a success!!! Oh crap there is that mock Strauss music again... boooo!

This was a pretty good episode, the best since the premiere movie. Drusilla was a creation for the show and they picked a great actress to fill her shoes. Debra Winger is peppy, cute and looks enough like Lynda Carter to pull off the sister thing. It is my understanding that Dru appears one more episode and I have to admit I'm looking forward to it! Another great addition to the show was Carolyn Jones whom we all know so well from The Addams family. She plays the queen as two-thirds stately and one-third impish. I had a great time watching these episodes and highly recommend them!

Very enjoyable!
4 out of 5 stars

TV Totals:
9 Nazis
3 spin changes
2 instances of bullets and bracelets
2 cravats
2 instances of Dru getting Chloroformed
2 instances of man throwing
1 cat fight in wet see-though costumes
1 secret pass phrase
1 "We are not amused"
1 instance of forestry service small talk
1 reverse spin change


Richard said...

I haven't seen this particular episode since the original airdate, but your recap makes me want to see it again right now.

The idea of Nazis invading Paradise Island and putting the Amazons to work in the Feminum mine is so very Golden Age WW that I can totally see it drawn by Harry G. Peter. Though if it were written by Charles Moulton, it would end with the Nazis being led away in leg irons by Amazons while Hippolyta assures Diana, "Don't worry, daughter! We'll soon teach these foolish soldiers to love discipline and obedience to a strong woman!" And Diana would say "I hope so -- if more men learned to obey a wise and compassionate woman, the world would be at peace!"

Wait, am I making that up or quoting it?

Ben Varkentine said...

Ever see the Letterman episode from around '93, when he led Winger into a discussion of having played "Wonder Girl"?

She eventually whipped off the (breakaway) clothes she was wearing to reveal the costume beneath.


Steve said...

I thought me were not allowed on Paradise Island?

Great recap thoughau

Dean Wormer said...

Thanks for these reviews! Love that show.

Becca said...

It really is golden age isn't it? So many of these early episodes feel like they were heavily inspired by the golden age. So much cheesy goodness!

You have channeled Marston! LOL!!! I wonder if there is an episode about a married man with a bondage fetish, their girlfriend and the crime fighting machine he invented.

I hadn't but after seeing that picture I'd sure love to!!!

They are not but boy oh boy some of those giggly Amazons really wanted to experience all the glory that is man. It hurts my head that I just wrote the words giggly and amazon in the same sentence.

So glad to please!!

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