This story ends with a pretty run-of-the-mill episode, with a big climax built around getting out of the big enemy base before it blows up. It’s the sort of story the Bionic shows had done several times before. On the other hand, this does have some pretty interesting visuals. I love this shot of three Fembots confronting Jaime outside Carl Franklin’s secret base, and there’s a too-short nightmare sequence where Jaime is dreaming about unmasked Fembot showgirls.
Well, I say that it’s too short, but given the reality of this basic adventure plot, I don’t know that they could have really done much with a plot that ran in that direction instead. Nevertheless, while the images in the show are blurry and fleeting, NBC used several black and white photos of the Fembot showgirls in promoting their new acquisition. I was kind of disappointed that there was so little to the actual presentation in the episode!
Anyway, everything’s neatly tidied up at the end, with the Fembots all destroyed and no chance that their new controller will bother the heroes again. Even the Howard Hughes type we met in part one has a new miracle cure and a reunion with his girlfriend. On the other hand, our son enjoyed it quite a lot and told us that he liked all the big explosions. It’s a shame they didn’t bring back these villains for one last go-around before the end, though. I would’ve liked to have seen one more story with them.
The NBC year of The Bionic Woman started with a two-part story that introduced Jaime’s bionic dog, Max, but we skipped that for the exciting return of the Fembots in an adventure written by Arthur Rowe. It’s silly and full of coincidence – I loved Jaime learning that they’d rebuilt the Callahan Fembot about four minutes before her new controller reactivates her – but it’s got some great fight scenes and footage of Las Vegas’s neon at night, although not as much as the Bond movie Diamonds are Forever did.
Like Diamonds, the story even includes a Howard Hughes analogue, living in isolation in a Vegas penthouse while directing research into big important-to-the-plot stuff. This guy’s a lot younger than Hughes was in his Vegas days, and is played by James Olson, who we saw in the Wonder Woman story “Last of the $2 Bills.” Melinda Fee, who had co-starred in NBC’s Six Million Dollar clone The Invisible Man, is one of the Fembots.
With this season, there was a new change initiated by NBC: one of those “here are some scenes from the episode you’re about to watch” montages before the credits. Since this spoiled both the return of the Fembots and that they’re being controlled by the mad Dr. Franklin’s previously unmentioned son, I skipped over those, but forgot that the Callahan ‘bot is reintroduced in literally the very first scene. I see why they wanted to make it this way, but it honestly would have been much more effective had we not known the robots were back until a little later. I was pleased that our son was happy to see these baddies return, but his favorite part was when Jaime and the Hughes character escaped from a trio of Fembots in a helicopter. There’s really good stunt work throughout this hour (although, sadly, Lindsay Wagner’s stunt double’s face is right in the center of the screen for a bit during her fight with the Melinda Fee Fembot) but I was probably also most pleased with the helicopter escape myself!
Steve Trevor finally asked Wonder Woman out on a date – of sorts – this week! He met her for a private tour of the Bureau of Printing and Engraving, which is actually a pretty original idea for a first date. Naturally, this happens because the bureau has been targeted by Nazi counterfeiters. There’s a deeply bizarre coda to this episode, where it’s explained that to combat any future German attempts to flood our market with phony $2 bills, they’re taking them out of circulation. In our world, they still print $2s, though they’re quite uncommon, and when they do make some, the print runs are much, much lower than $1s, by a factor of about 45 million to 8.4 billion a year.
There are some very familiar faces in this episode. There’s Barbara Anderson, who had played Eve on Ironside and Mimi, the little-seen agent in a couple of months of Mission: Impossible. Her boss, top Nazi agent Wotan, is played by James Olson, a familiar face on seventies with dozens of credits. He’s probably best remembered today as one of that gang of expendables in the Battlestar Galactica story “Gun on Ice Planet Zero.” But the most familiar thing this week is the Bureau of Printing and Engraving. The episode is filmed on the Culver City backlot that Batman had used a decade earlier. The bureau is the same facade as Gotham police headquarters!
I wasn’t sure that our son would enjoy this one, but he really did. I had to pause to explain a clue – the villains don’t recognize a menu that Wonder Woman had autographed as anything important and just left it on the counter of the cafe across from the bureau for anybody to use – but he loved a scene where Steve Trevor defuses a bomb (or “took out the clock and made the dynamite not explode”) and also when Wonder Woman hurled her tiara at the villain’s raft, puncturing it and preventing his escape by sea.