Wonder Woman: S2E3
Season 2, Episode 3 - "The Man Who Could Move the World" (original air date - September 30, 1977)
This episode touches on the rather sensitive subject of Japanese Internment Camps and features one of the more sympathetic and three dimensional foes in the series. There's mind control, mine fields, and Steve Trevor in some groovy 1970s fashions. Let's watch...
This is the way most of the episodes start this season: Charlie's Angels style, with a faceless voice giving the super-sleuths a rundown of a crime, and their directive. I suppose Joe Atkinson serves as Bosley, Diana Prince is Kelly, and pretty boy Steve is clearly Jill. (And who needs Sabrina anyway)
[Note that by episode 9 this is done away with. Joe is gone, and Steve gets promoted, and thereby almost never leaves headquarters. We start to see a lot less of Steve at this point, and a lot more of Diana and WW.... a major turning point in the series, and a welcome one. But we'll have to get through five more episodes before the change.]
Anyway, their voice tells them that a world famous scientist has gone missing. Dr. Theodore Wilson not only was the brains behind a mission to space, but also a leader in the field of psychokinesis.
Diana and Steve investigate Dr. Wilson's ransacked laboratory. Check out Steve! With his ultra tight slacks, turtleneck and stylin' jacket - Steve is quite the fashion plate,
An alarm sounds. Someone's trapped in the vault!
WW arrives and breaks open the door, and rescues the pathetic lab technician (J. Kenneth Campbell) stuck inside. But how did he get in there in the first place?
Questioned by Steve, the pathetic lab technician recounts his story. It seems a mysterious Japanese man named Ishida, who Dr. Wilson was working with, may be behind this.
Steve reviews the security footage from the laboratory (the tape has surprisingly high quality resolution). It reveals Ishida (Yuki Shimoda) and Dr. Wilson (Lew Ayres) conducting a mind control experiment. Ishida has exceptional psychokinetic powers via a machine invented by Wilson. Dr. Wilson wants to alert the Pentagon of the findings, but Ishida has other plans.
I remember Lew Ayres primarily from Damien: Omen II as the good guy at the company who stands in the way of the satanic designs. Although, Ayres had a long illustrious career before then, namely as film's Dr. Kildare. It's interesting that so many TV shows in the 1970s aimed at younger viewers so often guest starred actors who were famous well before the target audience's time.
WW breaks into Ishido's residence and discovers tons of WW paraphernalia. I feel like I remember that puzzle and coloring book - I think these are actual WW merchandise.
Steve says, "I don't like it. The Japanese often have a custom of setting aside one room for the dead. They usually have a shrine with pictures of the deceased."
BTW - The location for Ishido's house is listed on IMDb as 16188 Meadowcrest Rd. in Sherman Oaks. Any readers live nearby?
We learn a little backstory on Ishida. He remembers WW as an enemy from WWII, and Ishida and his family were imprisoned in a Japanese internment camp in Los Alamos. This guy has a grudge against WW in a big way, and you can hardly blame him.
Studly Steve, with shirt unbuttoned, takes a jeep to Los Alamos, New Mexico. Why? Because a printout on his dot matrix printer said WW wanted to meet him there. Obviously, this is a trap by Ishido, but Steve has never been too perceptive.
Ishido mind controls his jeep to take him to the abandoned internment camp. Steve radios an unresponsive regional headquarters saying he's "about 40 miles south of Route 5". While that's horribly unspecific, if you look on a map, there is a Route 4 which winds south of the Los Alamos laboratory.
Steve wanders around the camp for an insanely long time - the producers obviously wanted to make full use of every nook of this Burbank set. Steve creeps along abandoned buildings looking thoroughly scared and confused as tumbleweeds blow by; then, Ishido appears and puts him under his control and imprisons him with Dr. Wilson.
WW arrives to save Steve but is confronted by Ishida. Ishida not only has a grudge regarding the internment camp, but also blames her for the death of his brother.
Flashback: Ishida and his brother try to escape the camp as artillery rains down upon them. WW arrives to bring them back, but is too late to save Ishida's older brother. Although WW is blameless, and obviously trying to save them, Ishida associates his death with WW's intervention.
Truly, this is one of the more three-dimensional "villains" in the WW series. Far from being the standard cartoonishly evil foe, Ishida is a sympathetic character.
In a very strange scene, Ishida mind controlls WW to walk through a mine field, moving her like a robot. It simply has to be seen.
Before WW can get exploded to bits, this whole business overloads Dr. Wilson's machine that gives Ishida his power.
Ishida is now powerless. As a demonstration of peace, WW removes her bracelets and belt, making her powerless as well, She beseeches Ishida to believe her - she did not kill his brother.
Of course, Ishida comes to believe her. But before they can hug, the overheated mind control machine is creating a smoke hazard for a captive Steve and Dr. Wilson.
WW and Ishida both jump to the rescue - yielding one of my favorite screencaps yet: WW cleavage and a crying Steve, all in one shot.
In the end, all charges are dropped against Ishida. Dashing Steve and Diana drop by his place where he's, of course, grooming bonsai trees. Presumably, Ishida will one day go on to train a young Daniel LaRusso in the art of karate.
We also get to see Ishida reunited with his brother. Yes, we thought he was dead, but he's not. Wonder Woman is all about fun - we can't have someone actually be dead, can we? That would definitely be a downer.
In the final scene, the gang rap it up with their faceless IADC commander. They discuss the touchy subject of the Japanese internment camps. Diana's words of wisdom:
"That's why pencils have erasers. It's a shame. But we learn from our mistakes."