Team-Up Review: Wonder Woman, “The Bermuda Triangle Crisis”

By Kerensa Cadenas and Noel Kirkpatrick

Wonder Woman
Season 2, episode 4: “The Bermuda Triangle Crisis”
Original airdates: Oct. 7, 1977

Noel: Kerensa, this episode had everything: A crazy but believable villain for the times, a solid adventure pace, some great jetsetter/swinger fashions, Steve cooking a lobster over a teeny tiny fire, and Wonder Woman in a super-wet suit! I have one big quibble with the episode, but that aside, I really had a lot of fun with it. It’s probably the best of the new season so far.

How’d it play for you?

Kerensa: I liked it a lot too–for all the elements you mentioned for sure and I thought there were some pretty good quotes out of it as well.

Really enjoyed Steve and Diana’s brief plane crash/island survival–especially their outfits if you could call them that.

What’s the problem you had with the episode as a whole?

Noel: I was really excited and intrigued by the tension between Diana’s duty to I.D.A.C. and her desire to not see Paradise Island destroyed by nuclear testing at the hands of the Americans. Sure, her mother sort of waved it off with warrior woman stoicism and cookie fortune wisdom, but I was really intrigued to see how the show would have addressed these two parts of Diana’s world. …And then it was made all better due to Manta’s island explosion. It was sort of clever to address it that way, but at a time when fears over nuclear power were at their height, it just struck me as a massively wasted opportunity, both for a good story but also a timely one.

Then again, I really need to stop wanting the show to push itself to be just a little more ambitious.

Diana's mother appears in the mirror

Kerensa: Yeah, I thought that tension was pretty great too. And I do agree it was certainly another missed opportunity. Does this continue to play into your fears about the show being another psuedo-feminist action thing like we talked about last week?

Noel: The show certainly didn’t do itself any favors in that regard with this episode. It’s a frustrating balancing act of expectations from me. On the one hand, I want a stronger feminist/political message from the show that I’ve resigned myself to not getting, especially in this new incarnation. If I can’t get that, then I want just a solid, well-paced action show. On the upside, since the action stuff — from Calvin Clements, Jr. who would go on to DallasMacGyver, and TWTV favorite Airwolf — was better than it has been, I’m sort of willing to forgive the lack of feminist/political stuff.

I feel bad about that, though. Should I feel bad about it? Ease my conscience, Kerensa, or take this opportunity to make it worse.

Kerensa: I agree with wanting more of a political/feminist stance, but I do think it’s to the point where we are going to be looking for it within the subtext, you know? And that kinda sucks for me because I don’t really have strong opinions about any sort of action show. Admittedly, it would be different if it was more lady centric but that aspect of the first season–which I loved so much–seems to be waning to say the least.

I don’t  know if you should feel that bad about it? I mean you can. But I think the feminist stuff is gone…

Noel: It is gone, and I am sad about it, but, again, when you get someone so deliciously over-the-top as Manta in his Bond-villain banter and attitude, — though I was hoping for a more overt nod to the comics villain Black Manta — I’m not as sad about it. My sadness is lessened by explosions and strong pacing. It’s only when the adventure aspect of the show falls flat that I really mourn its disappearance.

I mean, had this been a Season 1 episode, there would’ve been a message of love and compassion from Diana directed at Manta or his female sidekick, and not her swimming in a wetsuit (that wetsuit, I need to know your feels about it) and planting a mine on a vaguely phallic nuclear submarine/rocket thing.

WonderWoman0204_WWUnderWater_Featured

Kerensa: Manta was so great. He had SO many great quotes. Like when he said something about Steve’s “naive American arrogance” and the thing about mad men are all great men. He was the most charismatic villain we’ve had in a long time.

And you are so right re: the season 1 interpretation of this. That wetsuit was insane especially with the weird headcap thing. So crazy. But I guess then you weren’t paying attention to her receding neckline 🙂

The Diana ensemble I was very into was the turban/glasses combination while they were flying to the Bermuda Triangle. Basically want that to be my new summer look.

One scene I want to talk about was when they crashed and the interaction between Diana and Steve. He mentions that his Dad crashed there. The first thing I thought was, do we know if Steve Sr. is alive?

Manta sits down while he monologues

Noel: And he didn’t even sound vaguely European or anything as he sniped about that naive American arrogance. There’s no attempt by Charles Cioffi to be anything other than American. And how awful is the evil organization’s acronym and name? The International Consortium of the Power Elite, or I.C.O.P.E. I mean, just horrible. Absolutely horrible. I don’t know how anyone takes them seriously.

And I liked Steve’s shirt! Finally, an episode where we were both happy with fashion choices! And while I don’t think I could pull of that shirt, I do think you could easily work Diana’s island attire.

We do not know if Steve Sr. is still alive. An interesting question! And now I’m imagining a phone chat where Steve calls his dad, excitedly talks about Wonder Woman antics, and then talks about how DIANA PRINCE helped to save the day. “…Your partner is named Diana Prince?” “Yeah, Dad, why?” “It’s just that my secretary in the war was named Diana Prince, and we lost touch shortly after Wonder Woman disappeared…”

Diana and Steve on their way to the Bermuda Triangle

Kerensa: It totally was the most terrible name! These evil organizations really need to work on their names/acronyms. It’s embarrassing.

You don’t think you could pull off that shirt? Noel! That’s what fashion is about taking risks–obviously Steve understands that. I think you should go for it. And I totally could pull off that turban/glasses sitch.

Right?! That’s exactly what I am hoping is going to happen. Or for some reason he comes to visit Steve at the office? It would be so good.

Anything else stand out for you in the episode?

Noel: Is that was fashion is about? Then I am the least fashionable person ever. As I suspected!

Nothing else really stood out for me. I sort of liked how they made gestures to Joe’s past as an agent, one with a potential history with Manta, but like the Paradise Island stuff, I was a bit sadden by how the show decided to wave that away. It gave Joe a bit of color, but not enough to overshadow Diana and Steve. Speaking of “Diana and Steve” did you notice how most people referred to them as Diana and Steve or Prince and Trevor, and not the other ways around? I thought that was nice.

Kerensa: Noel, it is what fashion is about.

Do you think we are going to get much else in relation to Paradise Island since in an episode when they are basically right next door to it, they don’t show it at all?

I didn’t notice that! But that is really nice. I’m going to pay attention to that going forward. I mean we all know Diana’s running the show. Although I do really like this Steve so much

Noel: No, I think we’ve likely seen the last of Paradise Island given its treatment here. Maybe it just doesn’t fit in with the 1970s vibe the show wants to hit now. (Not that a mythical island full of women makes sense in the 1940s either, but you get the drift, I think.)

Kerensa: Yeah. That’s really depressing though. RIP PARADISE ISLAND.

Steve "cooks" a lobster over the world's tiniest fire

4 Responses to “Team-Up Review: Wonder Woman, “The Bermuda Triangle Crisis””

  1. Marty McKee

    Ray Manta! “And he’s as dangerous as a manta ray!” says Steve. Oh, brother.

    Ah, yeah, I liked this one too, but it sure is sloppy. I blame Seymour Robbie. WW dives off a dock into the ocean, which turns into somebody’s swimming pool in the underwater shots. You can clearly see the walls and slanted floor, even in the still posted in this article. Embarrassing. Later, while Carter’s stunt double is standing in a tree waiting to leap on Manta’s Jeep, you can clearly see a crew member crouching in the lower-right corner of the frame. Good grief, Seymour, you’d only been directing for 25 years, how the hell do you explain this?

    Well, anyway, loved the swimming togs (but not as much as I…er…admire Lynda’s swimwear on her BATTLE OF THE NETWORK STARS. Whew…), loved the crazy plot, loved Charles Cioffi (the heavy in KLUTE).

    BTW, Steve Sr. is definitely dead. In the season premiere, WW’s mom makes a reference to “the late Steve Trevor.” I noted it then because I thought WW should have had a reaction to the news, but she basically shrugs it off.

    I think the feminist stuff is there and always will be. Just be virtue of the fact that the show is about the woman being the “hero” and the man being the “sidekick” who always needs to rescued. Outside of HONEY WEST, that was a very ambitious concept in 1977 (and remains one in 2013) for television audiences. I don’t think the feminism/political stuff needs to be overt to have an impact, especially in what was intended really as a show for children.

    Reply

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