Recap / The Wild Wild West S 3 E 17 "The Night of the Headless Woman"

West and Gordon intercept a stagecoach whose driver and passenger are involved in the smuggling of boll weevils, hidden inside mannequins. Gordon returns to San Francisco to track down the driver's employer while West takes the driver's place. Their investigations lead to a missing harbor supervisor, a sinister Arab named Abdul Hassan (Theo Marcuse), and a plan to take complete control of the United States' wheat, corn and barley production.

Tropes present in this episode:

  • Bond One-Liner: Artie gets one after his alter ego knocks a thug off the dock with an exploding pipe.
    Artie: Thing never did draw too good.
  • Bond Villain Stupidity: Hassan captures West, then divulges his Evil Plan just because West asks him nicely. At least he has his mooks try to kill the agent immediately afterwards.
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Jeffers has already killed harbor supervisor Tom Cass (who was in on the plot), and he also plans to betray his other partners Hassan and Tucker (John McLiam). Unfortunately for him, he doesn't realize Tucker is listening when he calls him "expendable", leading to a fatal Mistreatment-Induced Betrayal.
  • Continuity Nod: Artie reviews a collection of dossiers on alter egos he had used in previous episodes. Apparently, they all later met bad ends.
  • Damsel in Distress: This turns out to be Betsy Jeffers (Dawn Wells)' role in the plot.
  • Deliberate Injury Gambit: Jeffers has his own men clout him on the head while they kidnap Betsy.
  • Father Neptune: Artie disguises himself as a salty old sea dog to look for information around the docks.
  • Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique: West repeatedly threatens to shoot unarmed prisoners if they don't talk.
  • The Mole: James Jeffers (Richard Anderson), the harbor commissioner whom Artie goes to for assistance, is friendly but can't manage to do much that's useful. Then his daughter Betsy is kidnapped. Poor man - except it turns out that he's in league with the criminals and kidnapped Betsy himself.
  • Moment Killer: The epilogue features a variation. Artie is just starting a date when Jim walks in with his own date—and Hassan's boll weevils, which fascinate both women.
  • Not My Driver: Jim pulls off a heroic variation of this trope when he takes over for the criminals' regular stagecoach driver.
  • One Steve Limit: Defied Trope, thanks to James West and James Jeffers.
  • Religious and Mythological Theme Naming: Hassan's two boll weevils are named Samson and Delilah.