Recap / The Wild Wild West S 3 E 1 "The Night of the Bubbling Death"

West and Silas Grigsby (William Schallert), a U.S. Archive curator, arrive in the Panhandle Strip, where Gordon awaits them in disguise. A freelance revolutionary named Victor Freemantle (Harold Gould) has possession of the U. S. Constitution and demands sovereignty of the area and $1 million in exchange for its safe return. Facing interference from Freemantle's associates, as well as extremely elaborate measures put in place to protect the stolen document, West and Gordon set out to foil the villains' schemes.

Tropes present in this episode:

  • Alliterative Name: Clint Cartwheel.
  • The Caper: Jim and Artie must break into the vault of a conquistador-era treasure depository to steal back the original Constitution.
  • Co-Dragons: Carlotta Waters (Madlyn Rhue) and Clint Cartwheel (Timmy Brown), Freemantle's lieutenants.
  • Dating Catwoman: West makes out with Carlotta and later resolves to write her in prison.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: Cartwheel threatens to whip Jim "free, for nothing, without cost."
  • Dragon Their Feet: Carlotta Waters isn't around for the agents' final showdown with her boss, but she turns up soon afterwards, having gone into business on her own account. (Although, in her defense, Jim and Artie dispatch the Big Bad with almost unseemly ease with more than 10 minutes left to go in the show.)
  • Equal-Opportunity Evil: Victor Freemantle is a South American whose gang consists mostly of white men, but includes a black man and a white woman as Co-Dragons. West rather chauvinistically assumes that Carlotta is Victor's girlfriend and has to be corrected.
  • Femme Fatale: Carlotta Waters. As Artie puts it, "Lovely but lethal."
  • Hollywood Acid: The titular "bubbling death" is a large pool of acid which is part of Freemantle's Death Course that protects the stolen Constitution. Depicted as cherry red instead of the usual green or yellow, it dissolves anything it touches without a trace—which Freemantle proves when he falls into the acid as the climax of the fight he and his Mooks have with Jim and Artie.
  • In Medias Res: The episode begins with West and Grigsby arriving in the Panhandle Strip to negotiate the return of the stolen Constitution. No details of the theft are ever divulged, although, given the episode's final plot twist, the "how" can be easily guessed at.
  • The Mole: Silas Grigsby. Which explains how the Constitution ended up in Freemantle's hands in the first place.
  • Scary Black Man: NFL running back Timmy Brown as bullwhip-wielding goon Clint Cartwheel.
  • Traveling Salesman: Artie poses as the proprietor of a "traveling groggery".
  • Walking Shirtless Scene: Cartwheel never wears a shirt, just a pair of bandoliers over his chest.