Wonder Woman S2E12
The Deadly Toys - Original Air Date: December 30, 1977
It's a Christmas episode (with precious little Christmas) about the world's deadliest weapon, androids, and murderous toys....and it's the last show of 1977. Let's watch...
The episode begins with a lead scientist, Dr. Tobias, talking to a boardroom full of the important US military figures and some of the greatest scientific minds on the planet. They've been tasked with creating the world's most deadly weapon - Project XYZ. As he recounts their plan, the lead scientist's face begins to melt... he's an android!
Queue intro music. We're off to a great start.
One of the members of Project XYZ, Major "Dex" Dexter (John Rubinstein) informs Diana and Steve of what happened. They're concerned that the two remaining scientists on the staff may be replaced by androids as well...... but let's pause for a moment.
I thought this boardroom full of masterminds devising the world's most deadly weapon were BAD GUYS... but, no, they're our military. Project XYZ is something we're supporting, and Wonder Woman will have to fight for!
I'll also mention that Dex hits on Diana and gets rejected. It's truly cringeworthy.
Diana has a look around the lead scientist's laboratory and finds a goon with a knife. She transforms into WW and uses her Lasso of Truth. But when she asks what he was doing in the lab, he melts. Another android!
A great quote from WW: "Whatever you were programmed for - I guess it wasn't for truth."
Here's Dr. Prescott (James A. Watson Jr.), of the two remaining Project XYZ scientists. He's playing with toy soldiers (?) when a toy cannon shoots a dart into his arm. He is now commanded to leave, and replaced by his android clone.
Who could be behind all this?
Ah, yes, it's an evil toymaker, Orlich Hoffman, played by Frank Gorshin. Gorshin is best known for playing The Riddler on the Batman TV series. He has the distinction of being one of the few actors to face-off against the DC Big 3: Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman.
Diana learns that the Dr. Tobias frequented a Georgetown toyshop, and pays a visit to our friend Orlich. The toy shop is primarily filled with old-fashioned generic toys, but if you look hard enough, you can spot some 70s kid favorites. Take note of the Shogun warriors over Orlich's shoulder... that Mazinga was one of my favorite toys as a kid.
Diana is attacked by Orlich's deadly remote control planes while driving back to IDC. But that's the least of her worries. In the basement of his toy store, Orlich has created a Wonder Woman Android!
We learn that Dex is actually a bad guy who's hired Orlich to do his dirty work. Dex is intent on eliminating that meddling Diana, and so tricks her into a midnight meeting in the park.
And who should appear, but the WW android. A meeting between Diana and the android WW is a pretty cool scene - and I dig the cape.
Android WW leads Diana to Orlich's toy shop...
It's a trap! Orlich unleashes a kaleidoscope of butterflies, which inject a Cosby-style tranquilizer.
Dex and Orlich keep her locked up with the missing Dr. Tobias and Dr. Prescott, guarded by the android WW.
Little do they realize - they've locked up the real WW! She makes quick work of the flimsy wooden cell, and is soon free to open up a can of whoopass on the toymaker and Jew-fro Dex.
Orlich commands his android to sick WW. What ensues is a highly disappointing, lame and awkward face-off between the two WWs. It could've been great. Instead, it's just WW using hula-hoops and punching bags to defeat her obvious stunt-double in the most cringeworthy manner imaginable.
WW lets the toymaker think she's the android in order to capture both him and Dex. At one point, she uses her headband as a Batarang which is pretty cool. If they're supposed to be around D.C., the trees sure look green for December!
In the end, Dex and Orlich are apprehended, and the plans for the world's most deadly weapon is back where it belongs, in the caring and loving hands of the US of A. Merry Christmas everyone!
I'd classify this episode as very middle-of the-road, paint-by-numbers - not much to write home about. No gratuitous WW T&A, no stellar cameos, and no over-the-top camp. Granted, we did get a look at the badass cape that would appear on occasion, got to see The Riddler fight WW, and even got a Wonder Woman android... so, it's far from an epic fail.
As far as Christmas episodes go, other than toymaking and a shot of WW frosting a window, it wasn't very Christmassy. With the next episode, we're entering the grand old year of 1978, and things get a bit campier. Stay tuned...