Team-Up Review: Wonder Woman, “Mind Stealers from Outer Space” Parts 1 and 2

Wonder Woman performs space telepathy

By Kerensa Cadenas and Noel Kirkpatrick

Wonder Woman
Season 2, episodes 10 and 11: “Mind Stealers from Outer Space” Parts 1 and 2
Original airdates: Dec. 2 and Dec. 9, 1977

Noel: Well. I picked a dud. Hopefully you have better luck!

I was excited about Andros coming back, but now it’s his son? Though he called Steve major at the end of the episode, so is he confused about who Steve is, too? And why do the Skrill use cups to steal people’s brains? And why would other galactic species want primitive Earthling brains anyway? At least the smartass computer is back, and is all sneaky about revealing that it knows that Diana is Wonder Woman.

I think the most important question, however, is this: WHY IS THE OPENING DIFFERENT? IT’S HORRIBLE AND I HATE IT.

Kerensa: Noel! That was so so dull.

I HATE THE NEW OPENING TOO! It’s so bad. Also, totally came out of nowhere. Who changes the credits like that out of nowhere.

I agree with all your questions because I feel like nothing got answered. Does it seem like to you that they are weirdly inching Steve out? In the last couple episodes, he’s barely had any presence at all.

Was it Andros’ son? I didn’t get it. Although, whether it was Andros or son of Andros, he was totally hot.

And I think that computer is sexist. Was there anything you liked about this episode?

Andros's son comforts Diana

Noel: Errr. No? But we should make an attempt at discussing it anyway!

I think the biggest issue with the episode was how disconnected it felt from the time period, which has been — for better or for worse — the strength of the series since the first season. Even as this season has veered into occasionally less interesting stories than Season 1, it’s at least had a sense of time and place to help anchor things, whether it be global political unrest in South America and the Caribbean to exploring the psychic traumas of World War II to deranged would-be rock stars, the episodes at least had a peg to hang themselves on that felt timely.

This pair of episodes, sort of like the first pair of Andros episodes, aimed for a timeless quality of an alien incursion and sci-fi route, but the Season 1 episodes were decidedly more ideologically driven than this pair due to its Day the Earth Stood Still vibe, complete with the Nazis’ desire to control Andros. Here, it’s just a generic-feeling alien invasion. I had hopes, given the UN appeal, that things would take a turn for the global, but instead it was just a quick chase with the hall ways, no political ramifications.

And what was with the Wookiee Darth Vader that actually got to slap Wonder Woman? And she’s still just tossing him into things. Stupid TV violence and role model standards and practices.

WonderWoman021011_DarthWookiee

Kerensa: Agreed. I had never given it too much thought but you are so right in that the show always does have a very strong sense of time. And these episodes didn’t have that and like you said were just generic, uninteresting sci-fi.

I do think that we’ve completely tapped out on political anything on the show officially.

I know that one of the reasons you picked these two episodes was because of the previous Andros episodes from last season–both of which we had some issues with the first time around. Was there something that you were hoping these two would have learned from last season’s Andros story?

That Wookiee Darth Vader thing was ridiculous. All of the special effects/alien costumes were really really terrible.

The Skrill

Noel: It’s possible we have, but I’m still holding out hope that at least a sense of the political, whether it be through the time frame or the culture, still comes through. I just picked a bad set of episodes.

The Skrill costumes were terrible, but oddly I did not mind them! I just wished the rest the story had been as whole-heartedly silly as those costumes. When you work in the eradication of the human race and stealing brains, it hits a mish-mash of silly and serious, and the show’s never been able to handle serious very well. At least the Skrills were able to figure out that Diana was Wonder Woman using SLIDES.

To be honest, I was hoping for a bit of romance! I haven’t mind the lack of romance, over all, but the complete lack of a personal life for Diana has been a bit odd for me (guys get episodic love interests all of the time). So I was hoping in between the Skrill brain stealing, we’d get some more romantic tensions. Gestures made at the very end, and I’m guessing Andros Jr and Wonder Woman had a thing…? WHO KNOWS.

Your thoughts? Tell me why you think IRA’s a sexist set of circuits and binary.

IRAC tells Diana a joke

Kerensa: Yeah, that’s one of the problems with the show in general I think. And something that’s come up in our discussions is that balance of silliness/seriousness which is one I don’t think the show has ever quite figured out.

I agree, I was thinking this during the episode as well. It is weird how little of a personal life Diana has and just how sanitized everything feels like it has to be for her. It’s pretty irritating. Obviously it’s not because she’s not a total babe–it’s because she’s committed her life to this, which is great. But like you mentioned–dudes get love interests all the time. WHY CAN’T DIANA HAVE IT ALL, NOEL!? Maybe we should co-write an The Atlantic think piece about it?

I do think that there was major romantic tensions in the episode–but it was just mostly the most longing looks possible. I thought they were both going to combust out of sheer tension. And that last part, when he asks her to go to the planet with him and she refuses but is just looking sadly at it. Dang. Sad stuff. Like I mentioned previously, Andros Jr. was a total babe. Diana should have hit it. You didn’t find the longing looks romantic?

That computer is simply just so annoying to me. I don’t understand its purpose. It also told that joke about the female computer “miscalculating.” Ugh. That computer is sexist and annoying and serves no purpose.

Also, you didn’t answer my previous question regarding Steve. Do you think they seem like they are weirdly inching him out? Or have we just stumbled about the episodes that’s he not really in.

WonderWoman021011_Steve

Noel: I think I wanted more than longing looks. Even Rockford got a smooch every now and then while helping these ladies find their deadbeat or scoundrel husbands. I think Diana deserves a hunky alien lifeform smack on the lips! I mean when she told Andros, “We can do no more tonight.” I thought to myself, “No, guys, there plenty more you two can do tonight.”

If I didn’t answer it, it’s because I’ve forgotten who Steve is. We’ve lost Joe in our episode skip, so I guess they’ve decided to scale Steve back to Diana’s supervisor while Diana works in the field? I’m not exactly opposed to this since it gives Diana an insane amount of agency and autonomy to act, as we see pretty clearly in this episode: For the most part, Steve defers to her instead of ordering her about. I think that may be more freedom than the Angels even got. I do miss the dynamics, though, that we saw established earlier in the season. Waggoner seemed way more comfortable in the 70s setting than he did in the 40s setting, and so I was liking him more here than I did earlier.

Kerensa: Noel! That sounds like something I would say.

I do really like the amount of time we get to see Diana figuring shit out. But I agree with you–I really liked the dynamic we had with Diana and Steve in the 70s setting. They respected each others opinions and bantered a bit. I liked him much more here than in the previous season for sure. Also, it does feel super solitary with just the Diana focus.

Diana in the field

***

Next week we’ll backtrack a bit (we’re horrible planners) and look at episode 8, “I Do, I Do.” After that, we’ll skip to episode 15 “Diana’s Disappearing Act.” See. We’re sort of learning to plan.

2 Responses to “Team-Up Review: Wonder Woman, “Mind Stealers from Outer Space” Parts 1 and 2”

  1. Marty McKee

    The three episodes you skipped are much better than this two-parter. The problem with this one is that it’s horribly padded for a two-hour timeslot. I don’t think the plot makes much sense, and the new network’s and producer’s dictates towards action and youth prevented (I’m guessing) that old dude Tim O’Connor from playing Andros again. I expected better from writer Stephen Kandel, though I guess he can’t be blamed if he was ordered to expand a one-hour show into two. It’s funny when the first two agents to see the Skrills exclaim, “They must be aliens,” instead of the more likely explanation that they’re humans wearing weird costumes (the fact that they are aliens doesn’t take away from my point). It’s also interesting that nobody seems awed or freaked out by the existence of extraterrestrial life. Casting Vincent Van Patten as a scary villain: stupid idea. The monster Darth Vader: stupid idea.

    Bruce Lansbury, formerly of MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE, took over the producing reins, created a new opening title, dumped Norman Burtonn (wise), and relegated Waggoner to desk duty. I don’t think this is a bad idea, because Wonder Woman doesn’t need a human partner, and if there isn’t going to be a romantic relationship between Trevor and Diana, then there’s little sense having him around. It does seem a little weird that Diana is now a full-fledged secret agent; why wouldn’t she just perform all her missions as WW–it would be safer that way.

    BTW, I loved David Hedison’s charming turn as a jewel thief in “The Queen and the Thief” and Roddy McDowall as “The Man Who Made Volcanoes.” “I Do, I Do” has a neat fakeout of a first act and the return of the wonderful Henry Darrow as “David Allen,” surprisingly progressive casting for the 1970s.

    Reply

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