This time it’s an endurance test not just for the youngest Tracy brother, astronaut Alan Tracy, but for those who’d really prefer to see less of him. “Move – And You’re Dead” is also, in my mind, the third in an unofficial trilogy of rescues from the sun’s incredible power, starting with “Sun Probe,” then “The Uninvited,” and now this – that has to be often enough to give IR’s intrepid team a serious case of solarphobia! In this episode it’s a very human evil that leads to IR being called, and rescuing one of their own is at the heart of it all.

Slow Spanish guitar music plays as the scene opens on a bridge in the middle of nowhere. We see Alan Tracy and Grandma up on one of the bridge’s girders, exposed beneath a blazing sun that fills up the screen. Alan is standing up, dressed in a stripy yellow shirt, whilst Grandma, sitting down with her back against a support beam, swelters beneath her broad flowery hat and heavy overcoat. There’s a weird, spiked metal device on the girder with them, which I will name ‘Evil Box 1’, and something else is clamped underneath the same bridge which I will call ‘Evil Box 2’ for now. It practically screams ‘bad news’, resembling some sort of kinky Dalek toy, or perhaps a mislaid half of Sputnik.

A red car roars away from the bridge. Grandma says that “they’ve” gone, and Alan quickly shushes her and utters the most important theme of the episode. “Whatever you do, DON’T MOVE.” The camera zooms in on ‘Evil Box 1’ – clearly it is a very important part of the puzzle.

Grandma helps us out by asking Alan how “that little box” can possibly hurt them. Alan reiterates that the slightest movement will “detonate the bomb under the bridge.” A blast of trumpets explodes and there’s another zoom in on ‘Evil Box 2’ (now known as the BOMB). The episode’s title card helpfully appears to make this even clearer.

A little time seems to pass, and Alan reckons the sun is coming up to noon. Then Grandma’s alarmed as he starts to move, lifting his arm to his face. Alan reassures her that it’s OK, and he’s just trying to reach his ‘telecomm’, which is the official name for International Rescue’s familiar radio disguised cunningly as a wrist watch. I think we all wanted one of these as a kid! I believe that one of Captain Scarlet’s little blue tooth mikes would be a little more convenient for Alan right now.

Grandma seems to regain her short term memory, reminding Alan what “they” said. If one move disturbs the “ultrasonic waves” it could blow them both “sky high.” He doesn’t listen, and there’s a close up on his watch, which reads as ten minutes to noon. The bomb doesn’t go off despite his movement, and then Al says the magic words, “Calling International Rescue.”

The slow guitar theme plays over establishing shots of a quiet and utterly peaceful Tracy Island. Not for long, I think. Alan’s portrait’s eyes FLASH and BEEP from the villa’s lounge wall. Jeff gives him the go-ahead. Alan immediately cuts to it, with “We’re in trouble, Father.” He tells Jeff that although it sounds crazy, “we’re on a bridge and we can’t move…”

That’s more than enough for Jeff to immediately go on the alert. He interrupts Scott and Virgil’s game of billiards with the emergency buzzer, prompting a happy sounding Scott (perhaps he was losing) to say, “That’s us. Let’s go!” back in the lounge, Alan has explained what we know so far and finishes by saying, “just hope you can get here before we pass out from the heat.” Jeff reassures him that Scott and Virgil are on their way, which isn’t technically true as they’ve both only just now arrived in the lounge. A shocked Scott (seeing his brother on the portrait screen) exclaims, “Alan!”

Jeff rapidly orders them to launch Thunderbird One and Thunderbird Two (with Pod 1), saying he will tell them more when they’re in the air, so “...if you want to save your brother’s life, MOVE!”

They move.

Jeff then packs off Brains to Thunderbird Two and again holds off on explaining until they’re on their way. We get a full launch for Scott and a partial one for Virgil, and there’s a great sense of urgency as TB1 blasts away. Scott rotates his cockpit – always great to see – as TB2 follows him.

Jeff tells Tin-Tin (and us) that Alan and Grandma are trapped on the Bridge of San Miguel, (isn’t that famous for a beer or something?) and he finds it on a map. Tin-Tin says doubtfully that it’s a lonely spot, Jeff agrees that as the bridge isn’t open for another two months, “they certainly knew what they were doing when they plotted this.” So, who are “they”? And did Jeff use Wikipedia to find this out so fast? Tin-Tin then asks the more PRESSING question of “when is the bomb due to go off?” and we learn it’s due at 1300hrs (1.00pm to civilians), in about one hour’s time! Then he tells her the twist about Alan and Grandma having to stay still until it happens, and asks her to pass this rather vital information on to Scott and Virgil. Seeking some reassurance, Tin-Tin wonders if Alan and Grandma can hold out, and Jeff hopes so, but he acknowledges that “the noonday sun can be pretty savage in those parts.”

The sun fills the screen again, dramatically emphasising the power that poor Alan will have to endure. He sounds encouraged as, back on the bridge, he tells Grandma that the boys are on their way and that they just need to “hold on.” She promptly passes out – luckily her 45 degree SLIDE down the side of the supporting wall doesn’t upset the beam any more than Alan raising his arm did earlier!

Thunderbird Two speeds towards them, distinctive engines whirring smoothly. Virgil speaks to Scott, and Scott updates Virgil that he’s reached 15,000 mph (full speed perhaps?), on course 274. Then Scott contacts base, anxious to know how Alan and Grandma are doing.

A red-faced Alan informs Jeff about Grandma passing out but assures him that she’s safe. Although Jeff encourages him to keep it together and concentrate, Alan is fading fast in the extreme heat. Tin-Tin begs him to listen to Jeff, but Alan starts to pass out! Jeff shouts at him until he wakes up, and orders his youngest son to keep talking until Scott and Virgil reach him. Jeff wants “the WHOLE story.” As we’re barely ten minutes in, let’s hope the tale is exciting enough to warrant this particular ‘framing device’! Then we’re plunged into a wobbly flashback!

Alan’s voice-over tells us that it all started the day they went to “Parola Sands”, and the scene opens on Thunderbird Two flying under happier circumstances. The big green machine swoops lower, and Alan, wearing a natty pink shirt and white collar combo, admires the clouds from the window. In voice over, he notes, “from up there the sky sure looked pretty.” I never liked how he said the word ‘pretty,’ but Alan’s voice was always too soft for my taste. Live action footage shows they’re coming up over some hot, but cloudy country.

Virgil informs Alan that they’re almost there, he checks that Alan’s meeting someone called ‘Kenny Malone’ – apparently Alan knows Kenny and he’s a “great mechanic.” Tin-Tin is also with them, wearing a fetching pair of white flowers above her ears. Alan is sorry that she and Virgil can’t join him. Virgil reminds him that he KNOWS why – it’s in case there’s a distress call! Virgil adds quickly that they’ll be watching on the “telecast” (which, let’s face it sounds much more futuristic than “the telly”). Alan knows how lucky he is to get leave, and Tin-Tin points out that this isn’t just a “pleasure” trip, this is also to help Brains find out how his new engine works “under prolonged stress.” Brains must be pretty miffed he couldn’t tag along, leaving his baby in the hands of this “Kenny” chap!

Virgil lands TB2 in the middle of nowhere, and Alan’s already in the pod. Tin-Tin stands very close to Virgil as she reminds Alan that they’ll all be watching the race, then she wishes him luck and asks him to give her love…to Grandma. Then Alan emerges in the world’s biggest (and loudest) red car, with ‘go faster’ fins sticking out all over. Virgil barely waits for him to leave before giving him a call, asking “kiddo” how it feels. Alan assures them that Brains “has done it again – she’s a beaut!”

Massively laid-back Virgil replies, “Ah, fine,” and warns Al not to run up any speeding tickets. I can’t help thinking that Alan should have a trailer or something for this valuable (and top secret) bit of car-totty. Pixar’s Cars movie was more logical than this!

Anyway, Alan zooooooooomz (sic) off into the distance and by now Tin-Tin has all but draped herself over Virgil’s shoulder. He calmly says it’s time to return to base. She wishes she was going with Alan, hastily adding, “To keep him company, you know…” Is it odd that two puppets have such chemistry? They look on the edge of a full blown snog here! But Virgil just tactfully looks away and says, “Yeah…I know.” As usual, this show leaves FAR too much to the imagination. The flashback Thunderbird Two takes off for Tracy Island.

Alan soon arrives at the small city of Parola Sands (a fantastic name, too). He gets to the uber-futuristic parking garage, where people are far too lazy to parallel park on their own, and are instead lifted up and stacked, not unlike being a cuddly toy in a claw vending machine. Once up in his stacking space, Alan hops over to a corridor where a lady’s voice orders him over to the cocktail bar to meet Kenny Malone. Alan responds rather flirtatiously, “You’re WELCOME.”

In the bar, the camera takes us past a guy in a pale blue set of overalls (coveralls to you in the US), nodding his head to smooth cocktail jazz beside a HUGE jukebox, known to this universe as an ‘Autotune’. Alan’s standing at the cocktail bar, trying to fudge the inevitable ‘where the hell have you been?’ questions from his mechanic friend, Kenny. Alan explains it away as “family business” – so now he thinks you’re a hair’s breadth from being a Corleone, Al, but it seems to stop the questions going any deeper! Nice one!

Then Alan spots Victor Gomez, an old racing rival who’s not remotely pleased to see Alan’s back on the scene. Gomez’s team mate, Johnny Gillespie, is worried that Alan will spoil their chances of getting the prize money considering that he’s brought “quite a car” with him. They’re both determined that NOTHING will spoil their chances. Hear their slightly rough voices, and those ugly shirts! Of COURSE these two are EVIL!

On this, the camera then zooms in over and over again on a static painting of some old fashioned racing cars, whilst ‘fast car’ sounds effects squeal and roar out of sight. This lasts for a good hour – or maybe that’s just how long it feels! Then we’re woken by a LOUD EXPLOSION and something that used to be a car disappears in a shower of sparks and flames. Alan’s big race at Parola Sands has begun, and it’s already clear that their safety measures require serious revision. The ever-useless fire trucks and ambulances zip out to deal with the blazing car.

Alan remains unscratched in his big red car, and the announcer excitedly tells us over the speakers (which are incidentally the SAME ones that London Tower uses in previous episodes) that Alan is way out in the lead. The cars zoom round and the race goes on…and on. And I write as someone who used to quite enjoy Formula One. This is BORING. There’s also just the one journalist reporting on the race, who helpfully adds that the creator of Alan’s fantastic car prefers to remain anonymous, although this may be because no one knows Brains’ real name (or ever will…).

Another car explodes in a way that appears UTTERLY fatal, and the ambulances trundle after it. But Alan’s still out in the lead! The reporter waffles on about Alan quitting just a year ago despite his very promising career. He adds that Alan is now heading for “certain victory”!

The race reaches the last few miles and the whole Tracy family are crowded around Jeff’s teeny TV set, watching. Alan is staying in front of the race, while Gomez starts vying for the lead; the groups of mechanics look nervous. The two lead cars reach a “difficult cliff stretch” where there don’t seem to be any cameras or anyone watching any of what happens – on the most fatal section of the whole race. Not even a helijet?! Somebody fire those lazy news crews! Now Alan’s on the outside by the cliff and Gomez (in cute pink sweatshirt) can’t resist trying to knock him off. Gomez fails but they’re still neck and neck! And…and…it just seems to last forever. Alan smashes through the crappy fence that’s between him and the sheer drop, and I like the tyre marks he leaves on the road. Then Alan zooms ahead and WINS!

The reporter who always sounds excited tells viewers he will be calling Alan up for an interview in a minute. Then there’s a discussion which, given that this whole thing is a flashback, Alan has to be imagining. Gomez and Gillespie, the sore losers, rue not ‘fixing’ Alan’s car earlier and wish that they had the designs for the vehicle. Gomez says that he has a plan to “fix” Alan Tracy “once and for all.” Uh oh, Alan, time to get out of Dodge…

The Tracys watch Alan’s big interview and the screen wibbles, returning us to the present. Alan says bitterly, “Yeah, some victory…now this.” And we’re reminded by a closeup on the bomb, ticking away underneath him and Grandma.

Jeff briskly orders Scott to keep up maximum speed as “Alan’s in a bad way.” Then Jeff switches back to Alan, tells him he’s doing great and urges him to carry on with the story. But now poor Alan is starting to wobble more in the extreme heat. Tin-Tin calls his name but he doesn’t answer. There’s a nice shot from up high (perhaps the sun’s POV!) of Alan stood on the girder with wilted Grandma beside him. The screen fades to black.

Once again the HUGE HOT SUN fills the screen. Jeff is yelling at Alan to WAKE UP! He demands to know what happened after the race. Alan groggily says that he and Kenny returned to the car stacker (or car ‘slacker’!?). Alan reveals hidden depths, possibly, by saying he “felt good after the race,” but “glad it was over.” He asks Kenny to stack the car for him, which seems like laziness regarding what’s already a very lazy machine to begin with! Youngest Tracy makes a ‘telecall’ on one of the videophones at the bottom of the parking garage. Kenny (sounding an awful lot like John Tracy by now) agrees and says he’ll meet Alan in the lounge. As they go their separate ways, evil tense music plays as dastardly driver Victor Gomez appears in the lift behind the car stacker controller.

Having parked Alan’s big red car, Kenny heads out to the cocktail lounge. Meanwhile Gomez and Gillespie have knocked out the poor stacker controller with the subtle use of a metal monkey wrench. OWCH. Gomez is determined to “fix that clever guy, Tracy.”

Alan obliviously makes a telecall to Grandma Tracy. She’s flattered that he rang her so soon after the race – they natter on whilst Gomez tries to drop a car on Alan. Although I think their original plan might have been to steal Al’s car, this quickly backfires because they are, after all, a bit crap. They take ages to figure out the controls for whatever they were actually up to, so by the time a car lands on the telecall booth Alan skedaddled about ten minutes ago. Mobile phones are a great invention! Much safer! Alan tells us that the attendant managed to raise the alarm (despite massive head trauma?) but by then, Gomez and Gillespie were long gone. And no one else, I suppose, was able to park that day? Seriously, WHAT was their plan? They’re rubbish!

Back in the present, the heat is seriously getting to Alan but he manages to continue. He tells them he went to collect Grandma next. He didn’t stick around for the schmoozing and ego-stroking, then? It seems that Grandma lives quite close to Parola Sands, as he’s soon there, and he’s going to bring her back to Tracy Island with him. Grandma Tracy has a beautifully furnished little place, which makes me wonder if she’s even selling it. She tries to push more apple pie on Alan and says how proud she is of them all. Awww. Alan’s wearing the same stripy yellow shirt he has on the bridge, so we must be getting close to the end by now! It’s also odd that Grandma’s dressed like she’s in ‘Little House on the Prairie’, complete with high neck lace collar!

She gives Alan a scare by saying she spoke to some reporters that morning, who asked lots of questions. Alan immediately seems to think she might just have blabbed away the deepest secrets of IR! She just chuckles and says she told them “everything they already know.” He somewhat patronisingly calls her a “good girl.” Then he gets up and informs IR, over his telecomm, that they’re leaving for the rendezvous point. As they drive along in the red super car, Alan’s strangely paranoid again, saying that “it felt like there were a thousand eyes peering at us from behind every rock.” Very creepy, Al. Besides, a flaw has just reared its head that sort of confounds the entire episode. If they’re heading to a secret rendezvous, shouldn’t Virgil be on his way to pick them up already? Wouldn’t that just be happening right now? How far in the middle of nowhere were they going and how long was Virgil going to make them wait in Alan’s new car?

Brains may have created an amazing machine, but he clearly forgot to include a TomTom or some other SatNav gadgetry. Or perhaps Alan just uses the Force for his directions. Either way, Gomez manages to pull a Looney-Toons trick on them with the ACME ‘sign switch’ gag. Alan takes the dead end road to the San Miguel Bridge, and Gomez is standing in the narrow road, waiting for them with a gun!

Two things puzzle here. How on earth did Gomez know exactly which way they were going, as it’s a SECRET rendezvous (unless Grandma gave that away too!). Also, given that the maniac has a GUN, and Alan is in the world’s fastest car, perhaps he could just…run the guy over? I know it’s an open top car, but, probably a good time to step on the gas, isn’t it?

But anyway…

Gomez pulls them over, and Grandma recognises him as one of the ‘so-called’ reporters who questioned her that morning! Alan demands to know what Gomez wants, reminding him that he already gave the prize money to the Parola Sands Charity Fund – which I think must be for sick, homeless racing drivers, given the number of lethal accidents we watched during the race! As he talks, Alan reaches for a gun he has stashed in the glove box – but Gomez’s buddy shows up and shoots next to his hand. Ouch. Gillespie was held up putting the road signs back the way they were before. They’re taking their trap ideas from Wil E Coyote’s big book of corny plans, aren’t they? Alan’s just lucky they didn’t draw a road on a cliff face and let him drive flat into it! But, they’ve come for the car – and they threaten Grandma in order to make Alan drive on to the middle of the San Miguel Bridge! The screen fades to black.

Up on the girder, Alan’s also fading fast, despite Jeff’s noisy encouragement. Alan asks wearily how his brothers are doing and Jeff puts Scott through – yay Scott! Scott’s clipped voice reassures Alan that he’s “crossing the Pacific coast now” and he instructs Alan to listen out for their retros! Jeff then orders Alan to carry on with the story. The screen wibbles to flashback for the last time.

Alan tells Gomez and Gillespie that he doesn’t have the plans for the car, and even if he did he wouldn’t give them to THEM. Apparently expecting Alan’s willingness to get Grandma murdered over a car engine, Gomez has a backup plan, and orders Alan to climb up on the girder with Grandma, taking the evil hedgehog-of-death box with him! Alan exclaims, “Why, you dirty…!” (and I hate how he says ‘dirty’, too), immediately recognising what the spiky thing is. I want to know how common these ‘ultrasonic resonator’ thingies are that he has no trouble identifying one? What the heck are they used for? Is there a brochure? Perhaps it’s like the listening devices you can buy from Amazon websites?!

Gomez and Johnny don’t care how shocked Alan is. They want the secrets of his super car, and they’re still bitter that Alan won the race. I can only assume they have no sponsors any more and peed away all their other prize money from years ago. They think there’s more to this car than “meets the eye” and, let’s face it, if ANYONE on earth could make a car turn into a giant robot, it’s probably Brains.

Anyway, Alan and Grandma are now trapped on the girder (there’s a little ladder! Where’d that come from?) and we’re almost right to the point where we came in. Gomez tells Alan to put the motion sensor down in front of him. Grandma asks what it is and Alan ignores the question and gently tells her to sit against the stanchion. She asks, “Is it a bomb?” and he replies, “Sort of.” Gomez reveals his plan. They both need to keep very still for the next two hours, and then they’ll explode the bridge anyway by remote control! Wow, that’s a great alibi. It’s got to be a pretty big bomb to hide all the evidence! Gomez and his equally evil friend take the ladder then zoom off in Alan’s highly-distinctive car. Now we’re back where it all began. There’s no more back-story for Alan to tell!

Brains is hard at work in Thunderbird Two and Jeff wires him a picture of the bridge that Tin-Tin found. No Google Earth in this universe, either. This shows him how nasty the terrain is. But TB2 still isn’t there yet.

Thunderbird One has made better time and her engines seem to wake Grandma. Alan woozily warns her to keep still, clearly starting to lose it. As Scott lands, Al looks even worse for wear. Scott radios Jeff his view of the site, telling him to tell Virg to land on another slope away from the possible range of the sonic generator. Scott then tries to speak to Alan and find out the range of the generator’s sensors (perhaps worth asking a tad earlier?), but Alan is way too far gone to make any sense. Scott even mutters, “He’s delirious.” And knows he can’t get any sense out of Alan now.

Alan is saying how numb his legs are, and Tin-Tin is crying! Sniffle. Jeff keeps a stiff upper lip, telling Alan to hold on for just two more minutes, as Virgil is nearly there. Jeff also reminds Alan of IR’s most important motto, “Not to give up at any cost!” Words to live by, I think…! In echo of this, determined drums play over Thunderbird Two’s landing and Scott shouts at Virgil to make it faster, as “Alan’s almost had it!”

Virgil is as calm as ever, lifting Thunderbird Two to deposit POD 1. Alan is worse still and Jeff urges him to keep going for just “one minute more.” It turns out that Brains is going to neutralise the generator as there’s no time to look for the bomb. Brains trundles out on a pod vehicle that resembles a mobile satellite dish, takes aim at the bridge, and switches it on! There’s the drone of a ‘neutralising ray’ or something like that, as Brains starts zapping the evil box. We zoom in on Jeff’s anxious face and Tin-Tin’s glistening tears. Then – it’s worked!

Brains tag-teams with Virgil, sending the Tracy brother out with another pod vehicle. No one tells Alan he can sit down! Virgil zooms onto the bridge – faster, Virgil, faster! Alan sways and wobbles and FALLS!

Luckily, Alan has fallen in the right direction, immediately cushioned by an air flow that supports him, rather than bouncing him off and into the chasm below. There’s a shot of THE BOMB! This reminds us that time is still tight. Virgil speaks in a rather posh accent here, shouting, “Grandma, you’re next!” He sounds sort of British, honestly! She holds onto her hat and also leaps for her life. The air catches her too – great device, should be very popular at children’s parties – and Alan is slumped over with his head on a rail beside Virgil, looking understandably knackered after his ordeal.

It’s not over yet – there’s another close up on the BOMB and Virgil zooms off the bridge with milliseconds to spare, with just enough time to turn around and go back to where he’s parked Thunderbird Two. As he reaches it, the bridge EXPLODES! Multiple times…

Unaware that their plan has failed, Gomez and Gillespie are making their getaway in Alan’s highly-visible red car. What were they planning to do? Take it to a chop shop? It’s little surprise that they can’t win anything, as Gomez – a supposedly ‘professional’ driver, can’t get to grips with the “geared steering” (unless that’s some sort of thief-confusing device that Brains included in the design). The two baddies argue, which is just when Scott looms overhead in Thunderbird One. An understandably angry Scott wastes no time using Thunderbird One’s machine guns on the men who almost killed his little brother. He’s pretty savage, too, not even bothering with the loud-hailer and blasting at them with inches to spare, as if Thunderbird One’s cannons stand in for what he’d actually do to them in person.

The baddies somehow get the idea that “Tracy and the old lady must have escaped!” although making that exact connection seems like something of a stretch, seeing that they’re just being shot at by an unknown rocket ship. Anyway, they think they can lose Thunderbird One – sorry guys, not even in THAT car, and certainly not on the open road!

Scott brings Thunderbird One in low, firing alongside them, and they finally decide that he wants them to STOP! Not that Scott’s helping, here, however cathartic it might be for him! Scott looks out the hatch as Gomez and Gillespie struggle for control of the wheel, veering wildly to each side of the road. It dawns on Scott that he MIGHT have panicked them, “They’ve gone crazy, they’re gonna crash!”

He’s right. They hurtle off a cliff, the car explodes without much chance they walked away, and Scott flies off. After all, it TECHNICALLY wasn’t HIS fault. Shame about Alan and Brains’ new car, though!

In Thunderbird Two, Virgil’s reporting that the mission is “successfully completed.” Alan doesn’t even look sunburned – I guess he already had his Factor 500 on that morning. Bad guys are defeated, everything is OK now!

All except for Virgil’s painting outfit. Which he has to be wearing for a bet, as he immortalises Alan, ‘Racing Hero’ back on Tracy Island. He sternly tells Alan, “Don’t move. Whatever you do, DON’T move!” Aww, families can be MEAN. Alan’s wearing his racing overalls (once again, coveralls to our readers in the States), brandishing his huge gold trophy and a huger pout. He whinges, “How much longer?” and Tin-Tin warns him to change his expression as he “can’t go down in the annals of motor racing history with an expression like that.” Heh. Alan just grumbles that the trophy is “darn heavy.”

Scott strolls in now, sounding mischievous as he inquires how the “masterpiece” is coming along. Tin-Tin says Virgil won’t let her see it, but Scott takes a look and praises it with the slightest hint of sarcasm, “You’ve REALLY caught a likeness!”

Virgil acts all involved and serious about his work, muttering how’s it’s “nearly finished” and then he flicks a button and turns the canvas around. Waah-waah comedy music plays as Tin-Tin claps her hand to her face in mock-horror and Alan sulkily turns his head for a look – Virgil innocently asks what he thinks! His cubist-style ‘portrait’ wouldn’t look out of place at a Dali or Picasso retrospective, and he actually looks pretty pleased with himself. At least the SKY is accurate.

Alan harrumphs, “I suppose you guys think this is funny?” – handing Scott his most sarcastic line yet, “Not at ALL…I think it’s VERY good, Virg.” Alan snarks that the technique is about a hundred years out of date. Virgil protests, with a glint, “you must admit that it’s really YOU, Alan.” And Scott agrees, which sets them both laughing.

They’re so busy laughing that they miss Alan walking behind Jeff’s desk and flicking a switch. Scott and Virgil immediately disappear along with the sofa for the start of Thunderbird Three’s launch sequence! I reckon the writers have been DYING to do that since the launches were introduced! Scott’s tiny far off voice can be heard hollering, “Hey! Cut that out!” and a more concerned Virgil yelling, “Quit messing around with those buttons!” Yes, are they not password protected? I fervently hope they’re clinging onto the comfy sofa and not, say, hanging off it from four hundred feet in the air.

Alan ignores them and shakes his head at the painting again, “How do you like THAT, Tin-Tin?” She flirts back a little, reassuring him that they don’t need a painting when “you’ve got the real thing…” Then we zoom in on Alan, who APPEARS, really, to be leaning towards her in the close-up just as – the screen fades to black and the end credits roll. As usual, there’s a lot left to the imagination!

Overall, despite the sheer, unrelenting ‘Alan-ness’ of the episode, “Move – And You’re Dead” still had an intriguing premise and enough interesting moments (mostly near the beginning and the end) to keep me coming back when it was first shown. Of course I much preferred to imagine this happening to one of my FAVOURITE Tracy brothers (that’s just how a fangirl’s mind works!), and I think I really resented Alan hogging the screen time, which started to happen more and more in the series. Even Scott was never really given this much of an onscreen back story, even in episodes like “The Uninvited”. So, this episode tended to annoy rather than enthral me. I’m a lot more forgiving to the character, now. Honest. I’m much more sympathetic, having endured one or two hideously warm sports days in my time. However, I don’t think the ‘filler’ story that Alan tells is remotely interesting enough to warrant taking up most of the episode. The ‘sonic wave generator’ is also a fun plot device, but doesn’t actually seem to work. And let’s face it, International Rescue are rescuing one of their own, and it’s ALAN!


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This episode presents an interesting dilemma for the members of International Rescue. It is the first time we see them dispatched for the specific mission of rescuing their own family. Most of the story is told in flashback and includes the only footage we see of Alan driving in an auto race, his former career. Also, there is some nice footage of the car park, which incidentally does now exist in some places. Clever idea, stacking the cars.

The camera is focused (for too long) on the painting of a race car in the cocktail lounge, leading up to an actual crash outside on the Parola Sands track. This "race" is turning into more of a demolition derby. We get it. It's a very dangerous profession.

Alan is here testing out Brains' latest project, the ultimate racing machine. Alan's number in the race is two and his helmet is colored in a similar way to his older brother's flying machine. Erm, was that Tin-Tin we saw in that flying machine getting very touchy feely with Virgil earlier? Naturally, Alan wins the race and at the same time brings out the very worst in sportsmanship from some of his competitors. He narrowly avoids getting crushed by a car in a telebooth after his rival (Gomez) tries to drop it on him.

On to the next point of the episode. We are introduced to Grandma Tracy, as the secondary purpose of Alan's trip is to pick her up and bring her to Tracy Island to live. The one thing that always confused me about this is that Parola Sands in Baja California is a long way from Kansas, where Grandma was thought to be living. That must be one fast car! I think it even switches numbers. Seems to go back and forth between two and four. Alan and Grandma are detained along the highway by Gomez and his partner and made to wait on top of a very high bridge with a bomb under it and a motion sensor next to them.

The sun is now high, Grandma has passed out and Alan is suffering from delirium. Thunderbirds One and Two have been dispatched and the situation becomes desperate. Jeff, in Tracy Villa, and Scott, in Thunderbird One, try to keep Alan focused and alert while they wait for Virgil and Brains to arrive in Thunderbird Two with an ultrasonic wave generator neutralizer for the motion sensor. There is no time to disarm the bomb and so the best bet is to grab Alan and Grandma and get out fast! After Brains takes care of the generator so they can move, Virgil arrives on the scene with one of International Rescue's most original and unusual machines so far. It creates a cushion of air to catch falling victims. Grandma even makes a fair jump into it when many people would not be able to handle the height.

In the end all is well, with both Alan and Grandma rescued and Virgil getting them out, just seconds before the bridge explodes and is completely destroyed. There remains, though, one final task.

In a scene that caused some of us to give Scott the name of "Warning Shot Tracy," he takes Thunderbird One and chases down the bad guys, who have also stolen Alan's car. We learn here that the Thunderbirds are apparently armed with fire power for use in extreme situations. Scott strafes the highway on either side of the car with a trail of bullets, causing the crooks to argue over whether or not to stop. Gomez's partner tries to grab the wheel and the situation is resolved in a terrible crash. So much for Brains' latest creation.

Then it's back to Base, where we see Alan posing with his racing trophy so Virgil can paint his likeness. Scott likes the finished product all right but Alan feels it's a bit too abstract. When Virgil and Scott laugh about it, he realizes he's been had and sends both his older brothers down the lift that usually takes the couch to Thunderbird Three. An amusing way to end yet another episode where the love of a close family is showcased above all.

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