Triumphant music and the titles appear over
stately Creighton-Ward Manor, Lady Penelope's ancestral home. Less
auspicious music introduces Parker, putting his feet up as he reads
his paper in the mansion's kitchens. A convertible pulls up just
outside the mansion gates, which Parker seems to hear. As he gets
up, I think that the newspaper headline just could possibly be a
rescue, reporting on London Airport maintaining its less than
stellar safety record with "Fire! 98 saved from London plane."
However, Parker is more interested in reading more about the "Killer
of Clapham"! It's interesting that he keeps up his posh accent when
he's on his own, although he reverted to his typical 'Cockney' tones
when he was chatting to Lil the cook in Vault of Death.
Perhaps he was getting into character? The main entrance bell rings
and he scurries up to answer it, grumbling. It's a very old
fashioned bell for such a futuristic show, but the contract was
always the point, I think. And if it ain't broke…
Parker opens the door to an American man, who's
wearing an unflattering business suit. The man introduces himself as
Grafton and insists he has a meeting booked with Lady Penelope.
Parker suddenly seems to remember and asks Grafton indoors, but
warns him that "'er Ladyship will be a trifle delayed," and suggests
that the American waits in the "lib'ry." Grafton's curious if
anything's wrong, but Parker quickly assures him that it's "nothing
UNTOWARD." Can I just take a moment to point out what a wonderful
coverall phrase that is, what sort of 'untowardness' could she
possibly be up to? Grafton can clearly think of a few as he leers
that from what he's heard "she's certainly worth waiting for!"
Parker appears a little flustered at this!
With Grafton safely packed into the library,
Parker calls Penny from the less than subtle 'naked statue phone' on
the hall banister. Penny's in FAB 1 all on her own (do does the
insurance company know?!) and appears to have just left something
'untoward' as she's picked up a "tail" she needs to lose. And
judging by her outfit, it was somewhere where she needed a stern
hairdo and a black and white pvc dress! Anyway, she tells Parker to
let Grafton know she'll be a little while yet, and to make her
excuses. Parker wishes her luck losing the tail – and by luck I
think he means having a good aim!
Penelope's 'tail' is another open top
convertible, this one containing two sinister looking men dressed in
fedoras and trench coats. With their moustaches and, er, accents,
they're OBVIOUSLY evil – and a blast of music underscores this! This
isn't quite enough for Penelope to justify letting rip her defences,
though, and she elects to do a quick check so see if they are who
she believes. Apparently she's averse to causing a scene
"unnecessarily." Well, quite. Her 'check' consists of letting the
convertible catch up with her, and then zooming off when one of them
lifts up a small gun and starts shooting her! There's really "no
doubt they meant business" and she tries to lose them using some
tricks that James Bond would thoroughly approve of.
First, Penelope lets loose with a big gust of
black smoke from FAB1's rear. The baddies go through it and are out
the other side without a hitch, which Penelope attributes to their
car being "fitted with radar assisted steering" and nothing at all
to do with it being a perfectly straight road. Next she tries
something just as classic, the old 'oil on the road' which is likely
to cause plenty of 'unnecessary' scenes later on if she doesn't get
it cleaned up. The bad guys' car squeals for purchase on the road,
making the passenger who's holding the gun snarl for the driver to
get it under control. Then he reaches for a sub-machine gun! As the
oil fails, Penelope concludes that "like FAB One" the car "must have
retractable studs fitted to the tyres." Of course! The spy gadget
lark is a LITERAL slippery slope of one-upmanship. As the machine
gun fires at Lady P, she coolly decides that she has no choice now.
What SHE has, that the criminals' gadget guy
clearly left out due to budgetary constraints, is a CANNON in FAB
One's boot (or trunk, for you Americans who are scratching your
heads and wondering how she's firing with her feet while driving).
In seconds the CANNON has blasted her pursuers to bits and they
smash off of the wide country road in a spattering ball of metal and
flame. Penelope has clearly mastered her road skills since the last
time we saw her behind the wheel (in "Vault of Death"). She rings up
Parker to let him know that she's on her way home.
Businessman Grafton is still waiting for her in
the mansion's library, checking his watch when Parker opens the door
and tells him that Her Ladyship is on the way. Grafton says "tell
her not to rush, I've PLENTY of time" in a way that may as well have
'mwhahahaha' after it. Parker's oblivious response is "Oh, good."
and he gently closes the double doors again.
Grafton begins to prove his evilness, firstly by
chuckling "Yeah, all the time in the world!" although he still fails
to go 'mwhahaha'. Then he takes out a zippo lighter and turns it
into a useful gadget for finding hidden safes! For his sake, I hope
he didn't go to the same gadget house as the last two guys. Grafton
finds the safe hidden under a rug on the floor and then checks the
windows for the alarm circuit. He affixes a smallish capsule full of
wires beside the alarm wires. That can't be good.
Penelope breezes in, and hopes that Grafton
wasn't "too bored." He assures her that he found the room "most
interesting." Mwhahaha! Penelope asks Parker to bring some tea – it
doesn't seem like he brought evil Grafton any at all! When she and
Grafton are comfortably seated, she enquires what sort of charity
he's collecting for. He quickly puts her straight, saying he's part
of a big business syndicate concerned with running the
Pacific-Atlantic Monorail! He says it's got "Five hundred miles of
track and the finest monotrain ever designed"! Penelope digs for a
little more information, and Grafton blusters that the train is
"completely automatic." Penelope thinks this sounds very exciting,
and asks how much money he actually needs. Grafton says it totals
around $40 million! He hastily assures her that he wouldn't expect
all that to come from one person! He also tells her that profits for
the investor will be very, very high!
Penelope is extremely reluctant to join, saying
she doesn't have a "lot" of money. Grafton points out, rather
rudely, that the pictures (not paintings!) in the room alone would
"amount to a few million bucks!" He also suggests her jewel
collection, which is apparently "internationally famous." Grafton,
you're REALLY not going to get Penny's good side by suggesting she
flogs her ancestral belongings. At this slightly awkward moment,
Parker appears with the tea and hands Lady Penelope a telegram. As
she starts to read it, Grafton blatantly leans forward to take a
peek until Penny shoots him a sharp look and he sits back in a
hurry! The telegram reveals that the mansion is in 'Foxleyheath' and
it reads "His chauffeur is a crook" from Parker, who innocently
checks that it isn't "bad news." No, she assures him, "just a little
disturbing," and thanks him quite warmly, sending him out for now.
Grafton continues his sales pitch, insisting "the
scheme can't miss." Here, Penelope rather pathetically claims that
as a "mere woman" she never finances business ventures. Well, she's
using the prejudices of the time to her advantage here! Ironic, yes,
but a disturbing relic of past attitudes? Yes. It's clever, as he
will totally underestimate her! However, she tells Grafton that she
has a "friend" who might get involved as he's interested in
"scientific development" and is also "very wealthy." The "wealthy"
part gets Grafton REALLY excited. He wants to get hold of her
"friend" asap but she firmly says that she'll try to put them in
touch with Grafton and INNOCENTLY asks if his 'chauffeur' might like
a cup of tea.
Outside the mansion, the aforementioned
'chauffeur' is taking pictures of the building from inside the
convertible. He certainly has the show's 'criminal' face and
expression, anyway. A short moment later, Penelope is showing
Grafton out of the door and he says he "sure enjoyed visiting you."
Mwhahaha! When he drives off, Penelope is rather shocked that
"extraordinary" man "didn't even touch his tea." Parker's in the
kitchen again and keeps an eye on the two men as they leave.
In the convertible, Grafton discusses the meeting
with his 'chauffeur'. The 'chauffeur' is upset that Grafton failed
to get any "dough outta her" but Grafton assures him he's already
"cased the joint" and knows exactly where the safe is, and he's also
"fixed" the alarms! As long as they don't clean the windows or open
the curtains or anything, yes, it's a foolproof gadget. Grafton is
sure that Lady Penelope will pay up "whether she likes it or not"!
Parker meets Penelope in the drawing room and
tells her more about Grafton's 'chauffeur'. The guy's name is
Malloy, and he was driver for an American mob that tried to "queer
our pitch" (it was the 1960s…) when Parker was part of a criminal
gang a few years back. Redemption isn't for everyone, eh Parker?
Penelope claims to be "fascinated" by Parker's "adventurous" life,
and Parker wonders whether this really means that Grafton is
"shady." Penelope's view is that the project sounds too good to be
true, and then sensibly elects to run it by a certain Jeff Tracy as
"he'll know what to do."
Now we're on Tracy Island! The camera pans across
the lounge, and it appears that they're all working hard on a big
project. Alan and Tin-Tin are examining blueprints spread over the
coffee table, while Brains, Jeff and Scott are gathered in the
centre of the lounge discussing a cool looking vehicle design
displayed on an upright board. At this point, Lady Penelope's
portrait starts blinking and beeping. Jeff answers it with a "What's
Penelope confirms her disdain for American
'slang' by tersely replying "nothing's 'up', Jeff" and goes on to
say she is onto something that requires some investigation. Jeff is
eager to take action that may save them a rescue (and a few million
dollars) and says they're "all ears." She fills them in on the
Grafton project – Alan quickly recognises the name and figures he's
head honcho at Pacific-Atlantic monorail. Scott also exposits that
the company have had trouble with the US Government regarding their
safety precautions. Time to worry! Jeff surmises that Grafton needs
money, and Penelope says she'd told him a "friend" might be
interested. Jeff appears amused that she of course meant him. But
he's always looking out for "interesting engineering projects,
anyway." He wants to contact Grafton, and Penelope says he'll be
back in his New York office tomorrow. The scene ends on a 'look out
a storm's coming' fanfare over a shot of once-peaceful Tracy Island!
It's night time in New York. Grafton is talking
to gathered members of his 'Syndicate' about the progress on fund
raising for the monorail. There's lots of gangster voices here and
extremely dodgy deals! Apparently, Monte Carlo will "clear up $4
million" and an oil deal in South America will make $7 million and
the "authorities won't even get near us." There's also a race track
that's sewn up $10 million. Grafton is very pleased indeed, and adds
this up to $21 million so far with just $19 million more left to go!
He boasts that he's set up the "greatest combined operation in the
history of big business." He reveals that tomorrow night Malloy and
another chap called Selesdon will break into Lady Penelope's mansion
and steal her famous jewellery! At exactly the same time (why,
though?) he will be showing Jeff Tracy the monotrain, taking him on
Sure enough, the next thing we see is a
Pacific-Atlantic monotrain racing at speed along the hanging track.
Grafton's showing off one of the carriages to Jeff, who's there with
Tin-Tin and Brains. They're his engineers, after all, clearly along
to provide technical advice. Tin-Tin has to have an engineering
degree to have created that hairstyle, which seems about the same
size as her entire head!
Jeff grills Grafton on why the US Government
won't back him. Grafton claims it's because he "never asked 'em."
The dodgy businessman is playing up the big cheese image, wielding a
cigar and a martini (or a margarita). He adds that he wants guys
like Jeff "to benefit" and champions private enterprise which keeps
"this country great"! Brains cautiously praises the monotrain
designers' skill and hopes that it's all been tested. Grafton
blusters that it has and that the "biggest men in the country" are
behind this project. Jeff's more concerned by what sort of men they
are, which Grafton wriggles out of really answering by saying
they're "modest…like you," and want to stay out of the limelight and
get it done "without a lot of ballyhoo." You mean, say, safety
checks, Graffy ol' boy? Jeff insists he needs to learn much more
about the system and Brains checks if the train really is all
"automatically controlled." Yes it is!
This makes Jeff concerned about the potential
risk involved when there are no staff on board at all. Grafton
stupidly snorts that "crossing the road is a risk!" which is exactly
the WRONG thing to say! Jeff retorts that that's not the attitude to
take when "people's lives are involved." Grafton hastily assures
Jeff that a fleet of helijets watch the track at all times. "Unless
anything went wrong with the helijet," Jeff ominously predicts!
There's a smooth transition here to one of the
helijets that Grafton mentioned, number 304. Come to think of it,
surely a bunch of helijets are way more expensive to run than a few
guys taking shifts on board the train itself? Anyway, a storm
appears out of nowhere and the helijet pilot, named Joe, reports to
his control tower that he's in for some "rough weather!" The control
tower fella sounds very pleased that HE has a "good strong roof"
over his head. Thunder nearly busts their eardrums and Joe the pilot
elects to "get out of this piece of sky before I get my feet wet."
So, this isn't a particularly useful system, Grafton? There are some
nice rain effects as the helijet moves off, but then lightning
strikes the craft! Joe ejects as the helijet begins to crash, and
despite miles of rock face either side, of course the helijet
EXPLODES into the monorail track!
The crash smashes up the automatic systems that
the train relies upon and Joe, swinging down in his parachute, is
desperate to stop the train! He's caught on the tracks that weren't
destroyed by the crash and tries to climb up, but it slips and he's
well and truly stuck. He starts trying to call his base even as the
monorail track crumbles around him, and the doomed monotrain speeds
Back inside the train, I want to mention that
it's nice to see Jeff Tracy as the hard nosed businessman he must
have been, long before International Rescue. He's giving Grafton a
thorough interrogation and has been even LESS impressed by the
standards in 'cattle class' and its capacity to "pack in" passengers
(Jeff Tracy for UK transport minister)! Jeff says directly to
Grafton that he isn't "over-impressed" and Grafton blusters that the
power unit "upfront" will definitely "impress ya." Off they go to
check it out.
The situation worsens at the far end of the
track. Metal is falling off from all angles and helijet pilot Joe is
still trying to get through to his base. It doesn't seem like anyone
can hear him!
Now Grafton's showing off his fancy new monorail
engine, which he proclaims as, "the greatest chunk of engineering
genius in land travel history!" Jeff stubbornly remains underwhelmed,
dryly commenting, "Well, it's BIG enough, anyway." Oh, snap. Brains
has picked up on Jeff's mood, asking a tad sarcastically for a
closer look at this "piece, of, er, GENIUS." Grafton says to help
himself, but to be careful with it! Grafton then warns Jeff that
he'd be a fool to miss this opportunity. Jeff responds with "people
aren't cattle" and Grafton sniggers that he's wrong. "There's a few
of us who lead. The rest follow, like SHEEP." No, Grafton, you're
not winning over your audience with this angle!
Brains and Tin-Tin have examined the engine, and
Brains is particularly worried by just how total the train
automation is. He asks one more time if there are any people on
staff at ALL? Grafton sneers that they "don't need 'em! Think of the
money we're going to save!" (with your fleet of helijets…) but
Brains starts to ask, "What if there's an emergency?" which Grafton
poo-poos with, "You worry too much."
Irony BOOMS as the track continues to collapse,
but luckily for Joe the pilot, a relief helijet has come to find
him. Also, the weather's brightened up remarkably! Joe waves to his
rescuer. Hurry! It does look like he's going to be squelched any
minute beneath the crumbling track, but before long 'Stan' from
helijet 538 is standing above Joe ready to haul him up. To his great
credit, Joe insists on Stan radioing the train before he does
anything else, to tell them that the 'autosignals' are down and the
train won't be able to stop! Stan hopes that the train will be able
to stop manually. Clearly he didn't read his own operating manual
The train rockets onward – there's a really
impressive sensation of its sheer SPEED here. Grafton continues to
try to persuade Jeff Tracy that nothing can possibly go wrong with
the signals, insisting that they've spent lots of money on "safety
devices" (but apparently not an 'off' button) and fudges it by
saying "there's a certain element of risk in ALL operations of this
type…!" Dude, that's NOT WORKING on JEFF TRACY. Jeez. Grafton really
needs a decent PR assistant; this guy couldn't sell ice water in the
Sahara. Anyway, the phone goes to deliver the irony and Grafton
scurries out of the room to reply to it. Jeff barely hides how
pleased he is to have the guy gone, "Don't hurry," then asks Brains
what he thinks. Brains is none too happy about the setup, observing
that there are "too many loopholes." This is clearly what Jeff
wanted to hear, saying that Grafton is "clearly more interested in
money than in people's lives," and predicts, "those people usually
end up in one place. Jail."
The smooth segue introduces us to Grafton's other
little plot. The two crooks, Malloy and Selsden, are speeding to
Lady Penelope's mansion. Malloy is still wearing his chauffeur's
uniform, and Selsden is the twitchy, James Cagney-sounding gangster
pal from the meeting scene. Selsden is nervous about ending up in
jail, and 'uh oh' music plays as Malloy reminds him how Grafton
"fixed" her alarms. Some distinctive music which will get used
extensively in the later episode "The Man from MI5" plays as the
crooks arrive at the mansion gates, and then the 'sneaking around'
music from "Vault of Death" follows as they reach it.
We see Lady Penelope is fast asleep in her
luxurious, girly bedroom complete with four-poster bed and silks
everywhere. She snoozes away gently. In a more 'blokeish' room full
of right angles and brown linen, Parker also snores happily,
apparently sleeping off the effects of a lidded and handled pint mug
next to his bed. They both remain oblivious as the two crooks fiddle
with the locks on Penelope's front door. Selsden is doing most of
the fiddling, and is having a little trouble with it, but thinks
it'll be OK. Malloy grunts that he hopes Grafton's "having it as
easy as we are."
Back on the monotrain, Grafton comes back and
shakily tells Jeff that they're all headed for major trouble! We
then see that the track is continuing to fall apart! Smoke and iron
is everywhere, and Joe the helijet pilot is hauled clear at the last
minute! The other pilot, Stan, greets him once he's safely inside
and Joe thanks him, but wonders if there's any hope for the train.
Stan doesn't seem to think so, pointing out that without signals it
won't be able to stop, and there isn't any manual control! Come on,
Grafton, ONE stop button and some one to push it. ONE guy!
Inside the train, Jeff is keeping a cool head and
taking charge, so we can all see where Scott gets it from! He asks
Brains if he thinks he can stop the train. The scientist isn't
hopeful, as they have no circuit diagram, and Tin-Tin adds that she
isn't convinced they could even they DID have one! Jeff interrogates
Grafton, no longer hiding any impatience, asking how long it will be
until they reach the damaged section. Grafton has no idea, and
panics that the train is speeding up. They have maybe fifteen, maybe
twenty minutes, who knows? Jeff curtly replies "You're a GREAT help"
and tells Brains and Tin-Tin it's all up to them. No pressure!
Back at Penelope's mansion, the crooks have found
their way inside and confirm that the alarms were "knocked out
good." They enter the library, and Selsden is nervous about the TV
cameras "in every room." Malloy growls that these were knocked out
by Grafton's gadget, too, "So relax." Selsden does a great nervous
giggle, "Ha ha, gee, that's good!" earning a sharp "Quiet!" from
Malloy. I love it when the bad guys bicker in this show! And it's
fun when the good guys do it, too! We see from the crook's point of
view that they've found the carpet where the safe is hidden. As
Penelope and Parker sleep on, the intruders uncover the safe! It's a
huge metal thing, which intimidates Selsden. Mallow snarls for him
to get on with it and to "keep it quiet!"
His request for quiet neatly segues very nicely
into the HUGE EXPLOSION on the railroad. The helijet crew watches in
despair as yet more of it collapses into the valley, leaving a sheer
drop for the approaching train to fall into. Joe despairs that
"Nothing can save them now!" The music ends the sequence
dramatically, right on the halfway point!
On the train, Grafton is shrieking at Brains and
Tin-Tin to do something, standing behind the huge engine whilst they
work on the other side of it. Jeff tells Grafton to calm down,
getting an 'I told you so' in there at the same time. Then Jeff
kneels beside Brains and quietly says he's going to "call the boys."
Brains replies that it's already too late, which Jeff knows, but he
wants their help after the crash if Brains can't get the train to
stop. Yikes. Tin-Tin is listening to this, there's some lovely
eye-acting going on here, her worry is clear as the stakes get
higher. Brains wonders how to call their base without giving away
that they're members of IR. Jeff has a plan.
Jeff draws Grafton aside and asks if he's ever
heard of IR. Grafton, apparently not getting the point of this,
mutters that he has, but that nobody knows who runs them. That's a
line in there purely for ironic effect – grin or grimace? Jeff
replies that he "can't say," (with a suspicious sideways glance) but
he "thinks" you just send out a distress call to get them. Which you
MIGHT have thought that the helijet crew would have tried by now?
Anyway, Grafton practically drags Jeff to the radio, and Jeff
reminds Brains that he's "our only hope." To be fair, Tin-Tin is
doing her share, too! Brains is ready to try stopping the train
anyway, and says to her "Here goes. Let's hope we've got it right."
There's a click. Suddenly they're INCREASING speed! Brains is
aghast: "What did we do wrong?" Tin-Tin stresses, "I don't know I
A carriage up, Jeff is in the novel position of
ringing his own organisation for aid, and gets through to John in
Thunderbird Five. Jeff cagily fills him in, adding "Make it
snappy. Time is running out." Which can only be taken as an order!
Seconds later, John is calling Scott who's hanging out by his dad's
desk. Can I just take a minute from the adventure to point out the
decent outfit Scott's wearing for once? A dark brown shirt, which
matches his hair, and light cream slacks Awww. Anyway, Scott takes
the call and John tells him the bad news. Their dad's monotrain is
headed for a crash! Scott stammers, "How…when?" and Virgil (who had
been sitting just out of shot until now) doubts that they can make
it in time. Scott knows this, but "We can't just sit here!" and he
dives off for Thunderbird One with Virgil right behind him.
The train speeds on. Brains is trying to stop the
it again, but with no success. Grafton panics, "It didn't work!
We're gonna crash!" and the scene transitions into an ALMIGHTY roar
and explosion, but don't worry – it's just Scott taking off in
Thunderbird One. Things are so urgent, and the episode so well
paced, that there's no need for any extra padding and Thunderbirds
One and Two launch in record time. Help is on the
After all that speed, events are slower inside
Lady Penelope's mansion. The two crooks are still on the floor,
working on the safe. Selsden finally thinks he has the hang of the
combination. Does this mean he's at least as talented as Parker?
Both International Rescue agents are snoozing still, and I notice
that Penelope has left her teal eye makeup on while she sleeps,
perhaps after one too many sherries. Parker snorts and snuffles in
his more restless sleep. The two crooks are almost there; after two
anxious close-ups they have the safe completely open!
This immediately triggers a shrill alarm in
Penelope's bedside lamp, and she starts to wake up. Parker's rather
more gravelly-voiced alarm shoves him into wakefulness, too.
Unaware that they're busted, Malloy congratulates
Selsden on a good job, but it's Malloy who actually gets to open the
lid! Penny's jewels are all on display, and Penelope is watching
them from a screen (hidden behind a painting) in her room. She talks
to Parker on a radio, "It appears we have visitors." Parker sleepily
notes that it's "our old friend Malloy" and Penelope is upset that
they're going to nick her collection. Parker thinks it might be too
late to stop them as they probably have a car waiting. Penelope
instead decides that they have "no choice," which seems to involve
Parker popping upstairs with some hardware. Gulp. Get out of the
country when you hear her say that.
The crooks have cleaned out the safe and are
making their escape. Parker's struggling to yank a large brown bag
out from underneath his bed. There's excellent puppet work here, as
he grunts and mutters "Come on!." He needs to hurry! The crooks are
about to drive off when gunfire begins to rake their car! Penelope
and Parker are taking home defence to all-new levels, firing machine
guns at the thieves. The crooks take cover on the other side of the
vehicle. Selsden wibbles, "Who's the Calamity Jane?" and Malloy says
"That's the Duchess, you dumb CLUCK!" which, let's face it, is
hilarious. Penelope thinks nothing of shooting at them even more
whilst dressed in floaty fluffy nightgown and probably matching
kitten heels. The two crooks make a run for it, hiding in a bush
next as Penny praises Parker's shooting. They seem a bit
traumatised, to be honest! Next, they scamper towards FAB One's
garage, and Penelope icily remarks, "Well I'm afraid that won't do
them much good."
Parker is more disturbed by how they got in, in
the first place. Penelope agrees that they probably put the alarms
"out of action" somehow and is just glad that the safe camera is on
a different circuit! Yes, maybe time to redesign! Then they hear
glass breaking, and Parker surmises that the thieves have reached
FAB One! Penelope is now unconcerned, merely hoping that
"they don't scratch the paintwork" as she's off to Ascot in the
morning! Despite FAB One being something of a super car, it
still seems to be easy to hotwire it and the crooks burst out of the
garage without even opening the doors! Parker checks that she
doesn't want him to shoot at the Rolls-Royce, and she assures him
she doesn't, because "he wouldn't succeed" and "there's no need."
She twists a column next to the bed, which is the default control
for FAB One to go in circles for the rest of time. Or at
least until it runs out of gas…but it could be atomic like half the
other vehicles on this show!
Penelope coolly suggests that now they can both
go back to bed, and forget all about the crooks until the morning as
"they'll still be around." We see the car continuing to turn around
and round a statue of a Roman soldier, whilst 'comedy comeuppance'
music plays over it. Waah waah.
Oh yes, and there's still the story of the doomed
monotrain! The entire track is collapsing and the helijet crew have
just seen the train approaching! It occurs to them that perhaps NOW
they should ring emergency services. Seriously, what the heck were
you waiting for?
Grafton panics now that they're "almost at the
bend!" and Tin-Tin snuggles into Jeff's chest as Brains takes one
FINAL attempt at getting it right! This time, the brakes start to
kick in! At the speed they are doing they also appear to be catching
fire, but, the train IS grinding to a halt! Jeff praises the
scientist, but Brains just hopes there's enough track left! There's
more screeching and grinding, everyone looks sweaty and terrified.
Grafton whines, "We're STILL going too fast!" and Jeff snaps
gruffly, "Oh, SHUT UP!" Heh. Brains is bracing as the train ride
grows slower and bumpier, and Grafton tumbles to the floor whilst
Jeff hugs Tin-Tin close with a very worried frown! They're almost at
the bridge and the helijet crew exclaims that they're still going
The train reaches the smashed section and comes
to a tenuous stop just above the edge of the valley. Phew. The
helijet pilot named Stan reports that the train is OK and tells them
he's called emergency services and is returning to base, as he has
just five minutes of "endurance" left. Yeah, or IR will have TWO
(WO?) rescues to deal with!
Inside the train, Grafton picks himself up and
Tin-Tin cries with relief, "We made it, Mr Tracy. We're safe!"
There's lots of sniffling and consoling. Exactly then, we hear some
familiar engines overhead. It's Thunderbird One! Scott –
this must be WEIRD for him – demands Virgil's ETA at the "danger
zone." Virgil reports that he'll be there in "six minutes" and Scott
praises his speed, telling him "it looks as if they made it."
Grafton, Jeff and Tin-Tin are watching from a shattered window in
the one posh part of the train. Scott informs them from his
loud-hailer that they're all still in danger and the track is still
about to collapse! It proves this by exploding some more. He says
he'll try to push the train back "off the trestle" but as he moves
in it looks very wobbly and EXPLODES, too. Scott cries out, "Oh no!
The trestle!" He tells them that it's crumbling under the train's
weight and that he can't save the train, "but your lives are more
important." That's comforting, Scotty. He instructs them to head for
the rear end of the train and to try and walk back along the track.
He urges them to hurry! They try to do this, but when Jeff, Tin-Tin,
Brains and Grafton try to leave, the tracks shudders and also gives
way! Grafton panics and Jeff harrumphs, "For a start, we'll keep
calm!" which I figure is mainly because he doesn't want to look like
a wimp in front of Tin-Tin.
Scott instructs them all to head back to the
middle of the train and I suppose he at least kept them moving and
distracted until Thunderbird Two showed up. Virgil is there
a minute later, and Thunderbird Two glides above the doomed
train. Virgil lowers the temperamental 'grabs' from her
undercarriage, the grabs slowly descend and Virgil concentrates.
Scott chimes in with "careful, Virgil" but he's got rather a lot
invested in this rescue, too! Virgil tries to manoeuvre the grabs
with the carriage attached, shaking it violently. Grafton squeals
"they tryin' to moider (murder) us or somethin'?." Now either that,
or Scott's "be careful" comment has given Virgil a big old frown in
the next closeup! Vigil lowers Thunderbird Two further,
making the surrounding trestle EXPLODE yet more. Scott micromanages
again, telling him to "close grabs" (no, really?) and Virgil does,
then starts lifting up the carriage and some more hopeful sounding
Virgil lifts the carriage away just as the whole
monorail trestle collapses into the valley, creating YET MORE
EXPLOSIONS! Let's just hope it was the right carriage, eh? Only
kidding. Virgil gently sets the carriage down on a ledge, and I'm
not 100% sure how the rescuees get up from there, but perhaps those
mythical 'Emergency Services' will come along in a minute with a
rope? Anyway, International Rescue have triumphed again!
Scott is instantly happy and cheers Virgil,
telling him, "Nice work!" Virgil assures Scott that he can leave
"everything to me now! And Scott heads off without a fight, signing
off with a REALLY gleeful, "FAB! Returning to base!" As he goes,
Virgil releases the grabs.
Jeff's still comforting Tin-Tin in the remains of
the carriage as Grafton crows, "We made it!" and Jeff responds with
a far icier, "WE made it?" Grafton concedes, "You know what I mean…"
Jeff comments that Grafton won't need his investment money now as
after the inevitable government investigation into this, "You'll be
spending a nice long holiday. Behind BARS!"
Grafton blusters that Jeff is all wrong about
that. "I'm too smart, I'll get away with the inquiry, and I'll end
up by being President of the greatest monorail network in the
world!" At this, Jeff exchanges a long look with Tin-Tin. Honestly,
this lightweight has NO IDEA who he's dealing with!
But for a second or two, it appears that Grafton
might just have gotten away with it. He finishes a speech by
declaring, "yet another network of the Pacific-Atlantic Monorail is
open!" And the next angle shows that he's actually locked up in
jail, with the rest of his gang! Perhaps he was pretending to be the
celebrity he'd have persuaded to open it for him. Anyway, his gang
respond with a sharp, "Drop dead" and a "Cut it out…we're in no mood
for games!" Poor James Cagneyesque crook Selsden complains that he's
"still giddy" from Penelope's car. Malloy is bitter that she kept
them "spinning all night" to the extent that he was even "glad to
see the cops the next morning!" Grafton still isn't living in the
present, protesting that all they need is "a little more dough!" and
the others sneer at him, "You're wasting your time!" Grafton muses
that time is "one thing we've got PLENTY of!" and the 'waah waah'
music plays over a final shot of Grafton and his gang's jail bars
over a blue sky. I think someone's going to get 'shanked', tonight!
So the bad guys truly get their comeuppance in a
far stronger episode this time. This is a brisk, no-nonsense
adventure, where they really appear to have figured out how to use
the pacing and constructed a very interesting, multi-levelled story.
It has a basic moral tone, maintaining that humanity must not be
lost against the surge of super-technology. It perfectly contrasts
Grafton's relentless money-grubbing against Jeff's sterner set of
ethics, and although the irony of the disaster during Grafton's
sales pitch is heavy handed and unavoidable, it really works and
gives us more stake in the rescue. Even the Lady Penelope and Parker
section is good fun, but they really need to have a better place for
their automatic weapons! It's hard to fault this episode, and it
really stands out as a tense yet fun example of what the show can do
at its very best.