Review: Wonder Woman 1×02-“Wonder Woman Meets Baroness Von Gunther“
[Editor’s note: This review may contain spoilers]
Director: Barry Crane
Writer: Margaret Armen
Starring: Lynda Carter, Lyle Waggoner, Richard Eastham & Beatrice Colen
Reviewed by: Sean Blumenshine
Steve is framed for charges of treason by Nazi spies and Wonder Woman finds herself in trouble when she loses her magic lasso while trying to rescue him.
This sabotage plot is fun. It walks a fine line between being too silly and just silly enough. I like that there’s no real formula yet. It’s a very different plot than the one in the pilot movie. I wish it wasn’t centered on Steve as much but it works.
Despite not having a ton of comic book elements, this show gets Wonder Woman. At the end of the episode, she still believes that the villains can be reformed and be better. She’s talking about Nazis, the lowest of the low. And she still has faith in their humanity; that kind of optimism is one of the character’s main appeals and I’m glad it’s such a major part of the show.
I like that the show subverts expectations with the chains. In the Golden Age, Wonder Woman’s powers could be taken away if she was locked in chains. It was part of the BDSM influence William Moulton Marston brought to the character. So when she was tied in chains, I figured that’s what was going on. But she’s able to break out of them pretty easily; I liked that. It would get boring quickly if Diana got tied up every single episode so I’m glad it’s not a weakness for her in the show.
There are several shots throughout the episode that are meant to be night but clearly shot in broad daylight or vice versa. It kept happening and was kind of distracting. I am curious if it’s a result of the HD remaster; Buffy the Vampire Slayer had a similar problem when it was remastered. I’m not sure if it was this obvious before but it is in this episode. Which is a shame because the pilot movie looks great; this feels a lot cheaper.
A lot of the episode is just awkward. Music cues are in weird places or they’re not present at all during scenes where they should be present. There’s a scene in which Wonder Woman rescues Steve from a burning building. And there’s no music at first; it’s a fun action scene but the only sounds are the natural sounds. It’s bizarre. The final fight between Wonder Woman and Baroness Von Gunther is just them slowly rolling down a hill.
The acting from the guest stars improved quite a bit in this one. The cast are mostly on the same page as Lynda Carter and Lyle Waggoner. But a lot of the episode is focused on a kid who wants to be Sherlock Holmes. He was just a kid but the performance isn’t great and the character is kind of obnoxious.
I don’t love this episode. There are some highlights and the charm of the two leads still carries it. But it’s awkward. The pacing is off and a lot of the technical problems make it feel kind of cheap. I understand that it’s 1970s television so it gets some benefit of the doubt. It’s in no way terrible but Wonder Woman 1×02 isn’t as strong as the debut.