Right, here we come to
it – the ultimate episode for all the Scott fangirls, the episode
that is 150% Scott-tastic, and the eldest Tracy’s very finest hour.
Or, once we’ve reviewed it again, is it really? Or is it actually an
extended riff on a hurt/comfort theme? Discuss. Later. After this.
Anyway, we open on the
soothing whine of Thunderbird One’s rockets. Scott Tracy is
flying home and reporting to Jeff, in his most laid back manner,
that the fire IR had been called to wasn’t as bad as it first
appeared. There weren’t too many casualties either and he hums a
cheerful tune that I always like to think Virgil was playing on the
piano before Scott flew out on the call. This just makes what
happens next all the more jarring.
A violent blast shakes
the Thunderbird’s cockpit. Scott instantly switches his flight
pattern and attitude, curtly informing base that he’s under attack
from three unidentified aircraft! He tries to take evasive action,
but the three red fighters are incredibly vicious. Jeff encourages
Scott to get the nose up, but they get the drop on our boy and score
a direct hit. Although he does manage to lift the nose a little,
Scott’s got no way to avoid a crash, sliding Thunderbird One
bang into the Saharan sands and cracking his head on the steering
lever. Ouchie. Where was your damn seatbelt?? (Not to mention, your
15,000 miles per hour top speed…?)
The episode title comes
up over the shocking image of the Thunderbird One crash site.
Inside his ship, Scott is still unconscious, his bloodied head
resting on the steering lever. Their mission apparently over, the
mysterious three fighters peel off and report to someone in a
rapid-fire language – we can only catch the word ‘Thunderbird’
mentioned. Who are they? Where did they come from? And how is our
poor shot-down Scott?
We return to Tracy
Island, where they appear to have been listening to the whole attack
from the lounge. Tin-Tin exclaims, “Mr Tracy how terrible what can
have happened?” in a single breath. Jeff doesn’t answer – he’s still
trying to get through to Scott on the radio. But nobody is
Back in the crashed
Thunderbird, Scott slowly comes round, wincing from the sizeable
gash in his forehead. His hair is appropriately gigantic after the
action. Looking strange and confused, he tries to radio home, then
realises the radio has been smashed by the landing. Is that likely?
The rest of his ship is fine, and it’s just the frickin’ radio that
gets bashed up? This will become a theme of the episode. Anyway,
Scott takes a look out of his viewing hatch. Spooky Egyptian music
overlays the desolate scenery of sand, sand and more sand. I like
how bright it is. Is also like Scott’s deadpan line, which goes
“What a predicament. Five thousand miles from base…and the radio’s
dead.” Then he realises he’s about to pass out, the desert blurs
from his point of view, and our intrepid pilot zonks out over his
window, leaving him exposed to the harsh desert sun. The zoom-out
leaves us in no doubt that help is highly unlikely in this isolated
His family are rushing
into action. Virgil hurries into the lounge, saying he’s spoken to
Brains and wants to know what happened. Jeff fills him in and Gordon
chirps that he’s plotted Scott’s position, and reckons that he can’t
be far from his last contact point. Virgil demands to know about the
radio, and Tin-Tin tearfully informs him that it’s gone dead. Jeff
gruffly sends Virgil on his way and Brains announces he’s organising
the appropriate equipment. We get a shot of Thunderbird Two
loading pods before we see a more composed Tin-Tin smoking a
cigarette, trying to persuade Jeff to let her go along. Jeff is
concerned about what they’ll find out there and that it may be
dangerous. She says they may find Scott wounded, maybe critically
(the fangirl wibble starts here, I’m afraid), adding, “He’s going to
need all the care and attention International Rescue can give him.”
Yes! Screams the
Confronted with this, er,
rather obvious argument, Jeff accedes and gives the poor girl mere
nanoseconds to get packed and onboard. Thunderbird Two
promptly blasts off, with Virgil, Tin-Tin and Brains aboard. As they
leave, Jeff, Alan and Gordon ponder the reasons for the savage
attack. Alan starts musing that maybe ‘they’ thought Scott was some
sort of spy, only to trail off when Jeff turns suddenly to Scott’s
portrait on the wall. The zoom in nicely emphasizes Jeff’s obvious
fear for his eldest son’s life. Jeff excuses himself with, “I…just
thought I heard a signal.” Sniffle. Alan has nothing to say to this.
Gordon, clearly a man
who doesn’t like a lengthy silence, comments that it must be kinda
hot out there in that sun. (Incidentally, this is an episode where
poor Gordo states the obvious – a lot). Jeff agrees with him, saying
“Not a single, solitary soul within miles.” Points for alliteration,
Luckily, Jeff’s about to
be proved totally wrong, because two explorers in a futuristic jeep
are trundling through the (we assume) same endless desert, and boy
are they sick of it – and each other! Lindsey has the same voice as
Alan, only, can you believe it, he’s whinier. His buddy, Wilson, is
doing the driving and sports a beard that Brian Blessed would give
his eye teeth for. Lindsey’s main gripe is that Wilson is driving
much too fast, but Wilson is just eager to be through the desert
quicker. For the record, Wilson sounds like John Tracy on a really
bad day. Anyway, Lindsey stares out of the window and catches a
glimpse of Thunderbird One’s silvery shape off in the
distance. It disappears behind a large dune, and Wilson dismisses it
as a mirage. Gradually they move around the dune and, omg, there it
is! Lindsey gloats “Now who’s seeing things?” Wilson’s annoyance
flips into concern as he sees the ship has crashed. They drive
closer, quickly realising that it’s International Rescue. Aww, I
always like it when they show how widespread knowledge about IR has
become. There’s a small fanfare as they pull up alongside the
sand-blasted Thunderbird, and it gives a real sense of the ship’s
Lindsey sees Scott. The
two explorers approach the ship and Scott (perhaps awakened by their
arguing) starts to come round again. There’s a nice angle from
within Thunderbird One’s cockpit, with Scott holding his head
and them noticing he’s hurt. His reply is a very manly, “I’ll
survive.” Aww again. Wilson sends Lindsey off for the first aid kit,
and asks Scott what happened. There’s a deft little conversation
here, with Scott explaining he was on his way home and then forced
down by some fighters, before quickly grilling Wilson what they’re
doing out here. We all learn that Wilson and Lindsey are
archaeologists, seeking the Lost Pyramid of Khamandides and have
been all over the desert in their search. So far they’ve found
nothing. Scott comments that “the locals aren’t all that friendly.”
Scott winces and Wilson
promises that they’ll take care of him. Scott cuts in again – he
requests that they radio his base first and tell them he’s okay.
They ask him for the frequency. I think you realise here that
Scott’s either never had to call as a rescue before, or he doesn’t
want to give away IR’s direct line! He simply says, “er, I guess any
frequency will do, they’ll receive you.” Very cool.
The radio signal gets
through, and an ecstatic John calls Jeff with the news. Scott’s “Had
a bit of a knock, but, apart from that seems ok.” Jeff is palpably
relieved and wants to know what happened, but details are still
sketchy. They contact Virgil with the grid reference, 67/93.
Virgil repeats this with
Tin-Tin standing cosily beside him. Apparently they’re very near
that area now. Thunderbird Two soon lands, which gives
viewers another great sense of size and scale as they pan across
from the crash site and the tiny jeep.
In what seems like a
little later, John asks Jeff about Scott’s condition. Jeff assures
him that Tin-Tin has fixed Scott up; however, the identity of the
attackers remains a mystery and he’s going to report it. I’m not
sure who to. John then comes out with a sentence that has perplexed
Thunderbird fans for some time, asking if Scott won’t have to do his
share of satellite relief until he’s fit. Jeff answers with what’s
basically a “we’ll see” and says that they’re all settling down for
A small campfire lights
the crash site, tucked snugly under Thunderbird Two’s
gargantuan nose. The IR team and the two explorers are seated around
it. Scott gets the prime location on a chair, and despite the
massive bandage on his head he sounds much recovered as he requests
more apple pie (the girl packs well!). Tin-Tin affectionately
admonishes him, saying he’s already ‘scoffed the lot,’ hehe. She
reckons three helpings is enough and reminds him that he’s meant to
be an invalid! Scott has the good humour to look sheepish – but
obviously quite happy about getting a big portion of pie!
Brains reckons that
Scott got off quite lightly, considering the savage attack and
informs the pilot that he’s fixed Thunderbird One’s radio
(and, hopefully, the rest of the craft!). Scott is determined that
if the fighters come back tomorrow they’ll find them more prepared,
which always bothered me. I was fully expecting another attack
around now! Tin-Tin asks if he really thinks they will, but Scott
admits he’s just baffled by the whole thing. Wilson proclaims that
he’d had a strange feeling about the desert ever since they came out
here looking for the pyramid. Virgil hasn’t heard about this yet and
inquires how there can be a pyramid in this part of the desert?
Lindsey answers him. I’d like to add a note that Virgil is sitting
on the ground here, whilst Lindsey is in the other chair, which may
tell us something about his and our Virgie’s personalities. Or they
just ran out of chairs. Anyway, Lindsey tells them that there had
always been rumours of a pyramid that people had glimpsed out here.
Wilson adds that the sun can play funny tricks with your vision. And
Tin-Tin announces that it’s time they all went to bed!
What follows is a
sequence where, on my first viewing, I was sure that something was
going to happen. The camera prowls around the camp where everyone is
asleep in their tents, moving from Tin-Tin in one, to Virgil then
Scott in theirs. Despite the set up, and the cute close-up on
Scott’s bandaged head, the scene remains action-free as the fire
burns down and Thunderbird Two appears to watch over them. Leaving
us with the next question – just who is keeping watch in case the
bad guys return!?
It’s a bright day next,
and we’ve returned to Tracy Island. Scott’s seated in the lounge,
clad in the most hideous pale yellow suit and orange turtleneck
combo you’ll ever see. Grandma’s trying to give him another bowl of
coconut crumble, but even Scott’s had enough of it by now! Virgil
looks on from his much-read issue of ‘Kine’ magazine as Alan and
Tin-Tin ask Scott about the fighters and how he feels now. Jeff
gently tells them to back off a bit. Tin-Tin is still amazed that
the archaeologists found Scott in all the expanse of desert, leading
Scott to hope that they have as much luck in finding their pyramid.
Wilson and Lindsey might
not survive that long, though. Back in the desert, they’re arguing
again about Wilson’s reckless driving, and before you know it,
Wilson’s managed to lose the trailer down a steep sand dune. They
just have time to stop and say how very vital it is to retrieve it,
as it contains all their fuel, food and water, before – for no
really clear reason – IT EXPLODES! TWICE!
This is very, very bad
news for Scott’s rescuers. Their radio was also on the trailer and
although they’ve salvaged it, it barely works. They are three
hundred miles from base with enough gas for fifty miles. Lindsey
frets that they’re going to need water, or they’ll die.
In a nice segue, we cut
back to Tracy Island and Tin-Tin’s trying to persuade Virgil to get
into his trunks and join her and Gordon in the pool. Okay, those
weren’t her exact words. Virgil is chilled out by the water,
ignoring the beach ball lobbed his way. He’s looking sharp in a
white outfit, saying he’s going to play tennis with Dad once Alan
and Scott have taken off.
It’s time to renew the
staff on Thunderbird Five. Jeff checks if Scott is really
well enough to fly into space, and Scott assures him with a steady,
“A-1, Father.” Awww. He only has a tiny plaster on his forehead now.
Tropical islands can be infectious places! So he and Alan start the
Thunderbird Three launch sequence. The continuity isn’t bad
until Alan is in the lift to TB3’s control room. For some reason
he’s then wearing the blue shirt he wore in Sun Probe! Ignoring this
weirdness, they’re off into space with a blast of rockets.
Back at the burning
trailer wreckage, the radio situation is not looking hopeful. Base
Camp Sallah (Indy’s mate?) can’t be reached and Lindsey is now
properly freaked out about the lack of water. Wilson, the most
practical of the pair, shouts at him to quit moaning and tells him
he has a plan. With the gas they have, they can just about reach a
water hole forty miles north of where they’re stuck. He instructs
Lindsey to keep trying the radio.
Lindsey’s frantic radio
calls to their base camp are picked up as Thunderbird Three
‘docks’ with Thunderbird Five. Those of you with filthy,
filthy minds, look away now (particularly when Scott informs John
that he’s ‘ready for boarding tube’). John sort of acknowledges
Lindsey’s radio call. I think he’s learned from before and is now
ignoring non-vital distress calls until he he’s assured of a ride
home! He’s packed and ready with his red bag when Alan enters
Thunderbird Five. Alan sounds totally disinterested when John
declares how good it’ll be to get home! Before he leaves, John
points Alan’s attention to Lindsey’s radio signal. Although he
doesn’t seem to recognise who it is, he thinks it could be the men
who found Scott. You don’t fool me for a second, John! Alan says
goodbye with a rather spiky, “See ya!” and then he hears the radio
message, too. He wonders, what could be going on down there?
Well, for a start,
Lindsey’s whining again, saying that he’ll go crazy in this heat.
Nice foreshadowing. They reach the water hole, but their hopes are
soon dashed – it’s completely dry! Lindsey repeats that he’ll go
crazy and figures they’ll die soon from the heat and exposure.
Wilson finally thinks of calling IR, saying that ‘Tracy’ (yes, Scott
gave them his surname. He had heatstroke, right?) said if they ever
needed help he’d be more than pleased to help them out. After all,
it’s not like IR helps just anybody who’s in trouble now, is it? Ah,
yes. Yes it is. Lindsey is doubtful that this plan will work, but
figures they have nothing to lose by now!
When they call for help,
Alan picks it up but they don’t seem to hear him, despite his
attempts. Back on Earth, Thunderbird Three returns to base and
dramatic music ends this part of the episode.
Ad break over, Virgil is
reading ‘Kine’, still, in the Tracy Villa and it looks like Jeff is
getting Tin-Tin to type for him when Alan calls up. He updates them
on the fate of the rubbish archaeologists, but still doesn’t know
for sure that it’s them. Virgil asks to hear the voice and
recognises them instantly! As he does, Scott returns in a new (well,
his favourite blue and grey jacket) outfit, and minus John. Where
the hell is John? (Did you leave the poor boy in the boarding
tube?!) Jeff sends Scott back out immediately, saying “one good turn
deserves another.” So, what, they are only rescuing on a ‘favours’
basis at this point? Scott launches in Thunderbird One without
grabbing so much as a snack to keep him going. As he goes, Jeff says
ominously that “when a man’s without water in the desert he can be
This very accurately
describes the hapless archaeologists’ state of mind. They’re
stranded by the dry water hole, the radio gives out and Lindsey
repeats his assertion that they’re going to die of thirst. Then he
repeats his knack for finding weirdness amongst the dunes – he spots
a shimmering pyramid on the shiny horizon. Wilson doesn’t believe
him until Lindsey yells, “Look, man, over there!” and the hazy image
abruptly turns solid. They’ve found a – or the – lost pyramid!
Wilson is optimistic that there could be nomads with water camped
beside it. Whatever, let’s go and look! So they do!
More desert music plays
as they pull up alongside on the last dregs of their fuel. Lindsey
can translate the hieroglyphics carved into the stone (so that’s why
Wilson brought him along!) and he reads that they’ve discovered the
Great Tomb of King Khamandides, God of the Eternal Fountain! The
thirsty Wilson reckons the eternal fountain part is a joke. Lindsey
muses that the building must be made of solid rock, which is of
course when a door opens up…and of course they go inside, hearing
water trickling within. They’re joined by music usually reserved for
International Rescue’s arch nemesis, the Hood. Spooky. We get to
take a moment to enjoy the great set design, full of statues and
sarcophagi, just as the door slams shut behind them!
Bear in mind this is way
before the creation of a certain Indiana Jones – Wilson uses his
lighter to discover the skeleton lying beside the door. Clearly,
they realise, no one else got out either! Logically, though, they
decide to live a few hours longer and go to find the water they
Scott has reached the
desert, too, and tracked the archaeologists to the dry water hole.
He swoops in between the palm trees (he gets to practice at home? Or
maybe he’s not allowed to!) and spots Wilson and Lindsey’s jeep
tracks. Well, I guess no one was worried about him getting attacked
again, anyway. Scott follows the tracks, leading to only we know
As Scott gets closer,
Wilson and Lindsey shout for help, but are equally pleased to have
found the fountain at last! Just then, Scott reaches the pyramid,
and recognises their jeep parked outside it. There’s a nice shot of
him peering seriously out of the cockpit window. He can’t quite
believe what he sees, and when he reports it neither can Jeff: “Are
you sure you have the right location?” Scott insists that he does,
and heads down to get a closer look.
The archaeologists have
had their fill of sweet, cool (and worryingly bright blue) water
from the fountain. Now they’re sated, they want to explore, and head
deeper in the hope of treasure.
Outside, the door opens
again for Scott. Scott tells base that he’s going inside, prompting
a sweet “be careful” from Jeff. It takes five seconds for Scott to
be caught inside the pyramid, too, but at least his radio still
works. He hears Wilson and Lindsey exclaiming about mountains of
treasure from somewhere inside, and tells Jeff he’s going deeper.
His father says that if he’s not back in touch in ten minutes he’s
sending Thunderbird Two out there, and reiterates for him to
watch his step. Scott responds with an “OK, Dad.” Bless.
Deeper it is, and
Lindsey is gloating over the (frankly tacky) pile of riches they’ve
discovered. Wilson points out that they’re still trapped, which
makes Lindsey whinge that they’re too rich to be trapped! It seems
that they both suddenly notice Scott, who’s perched halfway up the
stairs – hat at a jaunty angle – saying, “International Rescue at
your service.” Well, it feels so good to ‘pass it on.’
As Lindsey, and I think
most of us, half-expected, he picks this point to go utterly,
totally and irrationally nuts. He has a good aim for a crazy SOB,
managing to shoot Scott’s radio mike and, fortunately, nothing else!
Wilson asks what the hell Lindsey’s doing, and then dives for cover,
possibly shot! A vicious shootout commences. Scott gets pinned down
behind two statues, trying to both reason with and shoot the crap
out of Lindsey. But the dead-shot archaeologist strikes again, soon
shooting Scott’s gun out of his hand! Now in possession of the
pilot’s weapon, too, Lindsey proceeds to blast away Scott’s cover,
leaving a seriously worried Tracy exposed to the next bullet! Gulp.
Certain death beckons, and then…a hidden door opens and Lindsey’s
guns are shot from his hands.
The whacked-out explorer
collapses, apparently in a dead faint, as two men in strange caps
and dodgy moustaches threaten them with yet more guns. Stingray-esque
music trumpets. We zoom in on Scott, who immediately checks out that
the logo on their outfits matches those on the jets that shot him
down. These are the bad guys! What Scott actually says is, “Well I
don’t know who you are, buddy, but…” and then Wilson chimes in with,
“Looks like they want us to go with them, Scott.”
The look Scott gives
Wilson is priceless, the ultimate in ‘you were frickin’ alive??!’
But, in typical Scott style, he just replies, apparently with some
humour, “You could have fooled me.” Their captors make another
threatening gesture with their guns, and Scott and Wilson are taken
even further into the pyramid.
And it looks like it was
a very, very long way down, because the ten minutes are up and Jeff
has sent Virgil and Gordon in Thunderbird Two. What the hell has
happened to Scott?
Meanwhile, the eldest
Tracy is being given an unguided tour of bad-guy headquarters from a
cute monorail car. Lindsey is still passed out on the seat, meaning
that Scott and Wilson are stuck standing up beside their silent
guard. Now, they are never named as such in this episode, but the
consensus from comics and scripts is that this pyramid-loving race
are called the Zombites, so that’s what they’ll be from now on.
Scott spots them tanking up the fighters that shot him down. The
Zombites seem to be using a strange gas that’s coming out of the
pumps, produced by a mineral found deep underground, and Scott and
Wilson speculate that this is where these guys get their fuel and
power. Scott wonders what the Zombites are going to do with them.
Two flies over the Sahara. With still no word from Scott,
tensions are high.
Back in the pyramid, the
monorail car reaches a control room. A man in a red cap, clearly the
boss of the Zombite operation, is barking orders at some screens.
Scott and Wilson sees Thunderbird Two on one of them, and then watch
in horror as Mr Red Hat orders some missiles to be aimed directly
towards the big green ship! Scott plots with Wilson about what
they’re going to do. I just figure it’s lucky that their guard
doesn’t speak any English. Red hat Zombite is directing the angle of
the missiles by yelling, “Ommpah!” a so-far unheard of way of
expressing height, angle and speed whilst compensating for
wind-resistance… The bad guys are about to fire on Thunderbird Two
when Wilson and Scott go into action.
Wilson overpowers the
guard whilst Scott nabs the gun and fires repeatedly into the
control room. This sets off the missile intended for TB2, missing
her by mere metres. Phew! This totally confuses Virgil and Gordon,
who interpret it as a warning. And do nothing at all.
The control room
shootout continues and alarms start blaring. Luckily, the Zombites’
aims suck. Scott and Wilson make their ve-ry slo-ow escape in the
elevator car, and Scott covers their escape by firing into the pit
where they’re repairing the fighters. This sets off a gas leak and
several small explosions. Scott’s glad that he and the explorers
have gasmasks to protect them from the fumes! The Zombites are less
lucky, as his actions begin to kill them off, especially when it’s
clear that the pyramid will soon explode! Scott’s now anxious to
tell Virgil to keep clear.
Virgil and Gordon are
still cruising above in Thunderbird Two, paralysed by
indecision until Gordon brightly decides that they should, y’know,
investigate or something. Virgil agrees and starts to bring TB2 down
to land beside the soon-to-be-atomised pyramid.
Mr Red Hat is choking to
death on the gas that escaped into the Zombite’s control room. He
curses the Thunderbirds, as you would, frankly, in his situation…the
gas pressure climbs and climbs, but by now Scott and Wilson are at
the end of the monorail line. Lindsey picks this moment to wake up,
apparently quite recovered from his burst of desert-madness. Scott
appears to harbour no grudge about the whole ‘shooting him to death’
attempt and informs him that it’s almost time to run like crazy!
Scott, Wilson and Lindsey all make like trees. But what about the
door?! Oh, it’s ok, another dying Zombite in the control room just
died enough that he flipped the switch and opened the door!
is just landing as Scott emerges. He radios, leading Gordon to say,
so helpfully, “Hold it Virgil, it’s Scott!” Well, duh. Scott ignores
all of Virgil’s frantic questions and orders him to “Beat it!” And
at this, Virgil finally does whilst Scott and the others escape to
Within the pyramid,
things are looking bleak for the hidden-race-that-could. All the
Zombites are dead or dying, the explosions continue, and you have to
feel a tiny bit sorry for these weirdos. They had no idea they were
up against Scott, and have a shocking WMD safety history. The gas
pressure reaches its peak. There’s silence for a moment just outside
the pyramid, as Thunderbird One lifts away, and the explorers’ jeep
suddenly gets toasted by a seriously huge explosion. BOOOOOOOOOOOM.
Virgil’s cheery about
the whole thing, “There she goes!” and Scott’s response is a tad
more subdued, but no less relieved, “The Lost Pyramid of Khamandides
is lost forever now.” Yes, it’s nothing but rubble now. Wilson and
Lindsey are similarly impressed, but Wilson has an odd tone in his
voice when he says, “We’ve certainly got a lot to thank
International Rescue for.”
Now, obviously I’m glad
that Scott got away! I was always intrigued but also slightly
frustrated by this episode. As an adult, there’s the whole genocide
thing to question, even if the Zombites were clearly up to no good.
A little more information would have been nice – some actual reason
behind deciding to shoot Scott down and everything that followed.
Instead, Scott manages to wipe out a race of people, or that’s how
it appears. But, if they were real bad guys, then it’s sort of OK.
Kind of. Also, I strongly feel that this really should have been
made into the movie, as I think an extra half hour would have
fleshed out the bad guys and given Scott slightly more constructive
things to do. Some decent conversation between at least one of the
Zombites and Scott would be a start.
But, despite all this,
I’ve seen the episode more times than I can remember, so it felt
very good to re-watch it in one go and reabsorb all the little
details that made it a classic