Season 2, Episode 21: “The Girl From Ilandia”
Original airdate: April 7, 1978
Sidant: Well, Kerensa, it seems I’ve chosen an episode that practically screamed “POTENTIAL SPIN-OFF” in big yellow letters at the bottom of the screen to conclude our Season 2 discussion.
What are your thoughts on our new friend from Ilandia (I’ll correct the spelling later) and her efforts to evade capture by a man “so intelligent that he only talks to himself”?
Muskan: That episode was incredibly melancholic. Wow. And Simon comes off as somewhat unsettling, doesn’t he?
Overall, I did enjoy it, and it was a welcome change to see Wonder Woman in action more frequently.
What were your impressions?
Sidant: I… didn’t find it particularly enjoyable. The extended sequences showcasing their powers seemed to detract from the overall sense of sadness I expected for Tina being trapped in this Earth dimension with the rather unsettling Simon.
Additionally, I couldn’t help but be distracted by Diana constantly referring to Ilandia and Bleaker (Alan Arbus deserved more screen time; I adore him) as if we were already familiar with these places.
I’d love to hear more about your take on the episode! Please share your thoughts on why it stirred up such strong emotions.
Muskan: Well, aside from feeling like an excessively emotional 15-year-old lately, my overwhelming sentiment was sadness for Tina.
She simply wanted to return home, and it seemed like nobody truly cared about her predicament.
That scene with her and the dog on the beach just tugged at my heartstrings. It was an emotional rollercoaster.
I’m totally on board with a Tiger spinoff!
I completely agree about the “athletic powers” montage. It felt like it belonged in a completely different context, which detracted from the episode’s emotional impact.
The familiarity assumed about Simon, Ilandia, and Bleaker was indeed distracting.
And yes, Simon was incredibly creepy! That conversation about her staying with him and him renaming her Tina just gave me the creeps.
Sidant: I believe Diana did care, but she seemed overly pragmatic about Tina’s chances of returning to her home dimension, which appeared to be slim without Bleaker’s assistance.
Diana’s compassion seemed to be lacking, and she resorted to the athletics montage as a distraction for Tina.
Now, let’s delve into Simon a bit. I understand your perspective regarding the sadness in Tina’s situation, and I think Simon’s backstory, with his deceased wife and renaming a young girl he happened to save after her, was meant to convey pathos and heartbreak.
However, it ended up coming across as super creepy.
I don’t have an issue with Simon wanting to take Tina on as a daughter or ward, akin to Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson, and traveling around the country as a roving reporter while helping people along the way.
But the dead wife aspect made it uncomfortably weird, to the point where it seemed like Diana should contact child services.
Muskan: I agree with you on Diana’s compassion; it did feel oddly forced, especially considering her own journey from Paradise Island to adjusting to life in the States.
Diana is a grown woman, while Tina is just a little girl who was forcibly removed from her home.
One would think there should be someone she could contact, like Andros, to help her return to her home dimension. It’s frustrating.
As for Simon, I don’t necessarily think we’re supposed to view him as a creeper, but the whole situation did come across as strange.
His pushiness and tendency to mansplain didn’t help matters.
Regarding the episode, I also didn’t quite understand the bad guys.
Their motivations and purpose seemed unclear. What were they even after, and why did they target Tina specifically? It left me with more questions than answers.
Sidant: They absolutely should’ve contacted Andros! I’m confident that his pendant from the Deus Ex Machina jewelry line would have swiftly solved this problem.
If only the Interplanetary Council of Hardasses had jurisdiction over other dimensions, we might have seen Stickler For the Rules Council Woman spring into action.
I shared your disappointment with the bad guys; I had hoped for so much more.
Allan Arbus, who portrayed Bleaker, will forever be Sydney from M*A*S*H in my mind.
I was excited by the idea of him as a villain, but it all fell flat. The notion of him being the smartest man who only talks to himself and having a submarine base was fantastic!
He could have teamed up with Manta from “The Bermuda Triangle Crisis” and launched a world-domination plan!
As it stands in this episode, Bleaker’s character is underdeveloped and underused, robbing us of the opportunity to see one of TV’s great character actors hamming it up for 44 minutes.
Consequently, the ending felt a bit rushed, even though it was satisfying to watch Tina use her powers and engage in battle with the would-be teenage thieves and Bleaker’s hapless goons.
Muskan: I felt the same way! The bad guys seemed strangely disconnected from the storyline, which is perplexing because they’re the reason she’s stuck there in the first place.
Throughout the episode, I was utterly bewildered by the bad guys’ actions. They were present but not actively contributing to the plot, making it all very confusing.
Seeing Tina use her powers, particularly when dealing with the YOUTHS, was a highlight for me. I burst out laughing when that teenage thief made an appearance.
However, the most critical question is, what were your thoughts on the clear star of the episode—TIGER?!
Sidant: Oh, Tiger. Nonchalantly revealing Diana’s secret identity without a second thought (I.D.A.C. can’t afford better accommodations for its agents?)!
I didn’t mind Tiger, even though he also had that unmistakable spin-off vibe.
However, I’m pleased that the animal telepathy power wasn’t just some random, one-time ability. Well, maybe it’s a one-off, but it’s still a bit absurd.
As for this being our last episode of Season 2 (although not the season finale), I think we’ve covered a lot of ground, particularly in the early episodes, in comparison to Season 1.
We’ve delved into various aspects of the show, its characters, and the overall experience. It’s been quite an insightful journey through Wonder Woman’s world.
Muskan: Tiger was undeniably adorable! And that whole animal telepathy thing is undeniably absurd.
In all honesty, even based on what we’ve watched, Season 2 felt like a significant drop in quality compared to Season 1.
It’s not that Season 1 was flawless, but the two seasons felt drastically different.
Season 1 had a more coherent feel and delivered what I expected from the show – some vague political undertones, goofiness, and plenty of Wonder Woman.
But as Season 2 has progressed, it feels like almost all of that has been stripped away from the show. It’s been quite the experience, to say the least.
Sidant: I believe “cohesive” might be the appropriate word here, even when not comparing it to Season 1. Season 2 struggled to maintain a consistent tone or perspective.
We began with government agents, spies, and terrorists but then shifted to episodes focusing on Diana going undercover or being in the field.
This shift was likely influenced by the producer change that Marty mentioned earlier.
While I’m relieved the fencing robot didn’t become a recurring theme, the show failed to strike a consistent balance on its campiness scale.
It veered between rock star flutists, over-the-top magicians, and then criminal masterminds or half-baked geniuses, as we saw in this episode.
I don’t think it’s just a matter of a generation gap since we both enjoyed Season 1, even without making comparisons.
However, the shift to the 70s seemed to introduce too much inconsistency in the show’s style.
It felt like an adventure series that was trying to do everything but lacked a central focus.
Muskan: Nailed it.
We’ll be covering six episodes (technically seven, but we’ll treat the two-parter as one) from Season 3 to conclude our discussion of the series. Here’s the lineup:
1. “The Deadly Sting” – Diana investigates corruption in college football games. Even Wonder Woman can’t stand the Bowl System.
2. “The Fine Art of Crime” – Roddy McDowall is turning people into statues, but the return of Ed Begley, Jr. steals the spotlight.
3. “Spaced Out” – A laser is hidden at a sci-fi convention, and Wonder Woman must find it, despite facing a bunch of nerds!
4. “The Richest Man in the World” – A reclusive millionaire with Howard Hughes-like tendencies holds secrets about missiles.
5. “The Man Who Could Not Die” – Diana encounters an indestructible man and an indestructible chimpanzee in what seems like another spin-off attempt.
Also, Steve Trevor is written out of the show as Diana relocates to Los Angeles.
6. “The Phantom of the Roller Coaster” Parts 1 & 2 – This two-part episode seems like a tribute to Scooby-Doo.
These are the last two episodes of the series, even though “The Man Who Could Not Die” was the last episode produced.
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