The clue's there in the title; this is a Penny-heavy episode with plenty of spy shenanigans and gun fights to keep everyone interested. It also links in as an exciting prequel to the infamous "Sun Probe" episode, although they're rarely shown together (thanks go to the official Fanderson episode web page for this tidbit). But even the most casual viewer will recognise the significance of the Sun Probe, which we witness being launched from Cape Kennedy on its fateful voyage through the cosmos. As ever, the launches on this show feel long and drawn out, but there's a reporter handing us some useful exposition which sets up the story. He tells us that the Sun Probe launch technique is only made possible because of a revolutionary new fuel, which is top secret! He's clearly filling for time as it's another eight minutes until launch.

Space-tension music plays as the "twenty-million-pound-thrust" gathers momentum and the Sun Probe's gantry retracts. Run, ill-fated astronauts, get out while you can!

Two men are watching this launch through a small portal. Both are wearing suits and into major mutual appreciation. One, a tall, warm-voiced Englishman, compliments the stockier and hairier Professor Borender (clearly Einstein-influenced), revealing that THEY are the ones who worked together on the mysterious new fuel process that powers the Sun Probe.

The tedious countdown finally ends and the Sun Probe lifts off impressively, with the control room saying, "She looks good!" The reporter agrees, telling viewers that they knew the risk of failure of this project would be at lift off (and not, some time later, anything to do with its design flaw that stops it flying AWAY from the sun…). Blissfully ignorant of the rocket's place in International Rescue's future adventures, the reporter expositions (sic) a little more, adding for no good reason that the launch comes two days before an very important international conference in Paris.

Now we're following FAB One along a dark road, which Parker reveals is 20km from Paris. Penelope requests he drops her at the Café Atalante (although I think it sounds like 'Lyon' when she says it), where she will be meeting Sir Jeremy Hodge at midnight. This is all very shamelessly film noir! Apparently, Sir Jeremy – the chap we saw with Professor Borender at the Sun Probe launch – is "in some kind of trouble." Parker's next question also tells viewers that Sir Jeremy was "the same scientific gentleman" who helped International Rescue obtain components for the Thunderbirds machines, making him "one of us," as Parker and Penelope put it.

Along from a dark street in central Paris, Penelope sits at the Café Atalante with Sir Jeremy and comments on how romantic Paris is in the spring. Sir Jeremy seems too ill-at-ease to appreciate it, and comments in his clipped British accent that it was "dashed decent" for her to come all this way to see him. Not that long through the Channel Tunnel, I'm sure! They're briefly interrupted by a polite waiter (in Paris?) who takes their drinks order. Penelope orders a Pernod, her Parisian tipple of choice, and Sir Jeremy asks for a whiskey, assassinated with soda. As their waiter moves away the music takes a sinister turn, and we see a grey-haired man is watching them from behind a large newspaper and, more suspiciously still, wearing a pair of blue-tinted sunglasses at night. Penelope now drops the small talk and directly asks Sir Jeremy why he asked her there "under such mysterious circumstances."

Sir Jeremy is obviously feeling paranoid, asking if she's sure she wasn't followed or if anyone else knows where she is. Maybe he hasn't noticed her bright pink six-wheeled car. She totally blends in! Then, he starts to give her the reason. It appears that the Einstein-lookalike, Professor Borender from the Sun Probe launch, has gone missing and he was last seen leaving on the train to Anderbad.

Their conversation halts as the waiter reappears with the drinks, at what must surely be the quietest midnight bar in all Paris. There's a suspicious zoom-in on the eavesdropping guy still sitting behind them, as Penelope declares, "Down the hatch!" and attempts to take a sip, or swig, from her elegant Pernod. Suddenly a gun barrel pops out from one of FAB One's headlights and blasts her glass apart with a hail of bullets! Poor Penelope, I'm sure Pernod's a pain to get out of couture clothing.

Parker apologises immediately and explains, "The drink was drugged." Even as he says this, the suspicious, grey-haired eavesdropper hotfoots it away from the café. Sir Jeremy notices but no one chases the guy. The waiter profusely apologises and thinks that the man drugged her drink while asking the waiter for a light. Penelope is her usual unflappable self, calling it "tiresome" that her "pretty Pernod" was, er, nuked.

Although the bad guy got away, he seems to have forgotten his matchbook, which happens to have a distinctive Heraldic crest on it, and Penelope and Sir Jeremy decide to investigate the Heraldic Archives first thing in the morning. Clearly, there's no urgency here. She asks Sir Jeremy to escort her back to the hotel, to tell her more about this mystery.

While FAB One drives through the Parisian night, Penelope opens a panel in the back seat and starts to seriously question Sir Jeremy. She checks if he's completely sure that Professor Borender boarded the Anderbad train, and Sir Jeremy says yes, he even questioned the staff but everyone swore that they hadn't seen the Professor. Penelope asks if there's a good reason for the Professor to have vanished, and now we learn the big secret.

The two scientists had been working on experiments to turn seawater into fuel! As this is, naturally, a very delicate business, possible only through devices he and the Professor had devised, Sir Jeremy is deeply concerned that in the wrong hands the technique could "contaminate the oceans of the world." Penelope agrees that the consequences of this for mankind could be "pretty terrifying" but Sir Jeremy is even more worried about upsetting the balance of power and setting off a world war! Lady Penelope assures him that International Rescue is at his service, but Sir Jeremy warns her they are up against "men who will stop at nothing!"

Tracy Island is also full of men who will stop at nothing! In the lounge of their villa, Jeff, Gordon, Alan and Tin-Tin chat to Penelope on the video phone, where she requests information on Professor Borender and the conference (oh, so that's where Brains is…?) She lets Jeff know that she and Sir Jeremy will be taking the night train to Anderbad tomorrow. Jeff asks if they need any help, but she doesn't think they will until they reach Anderbad. On their way, they'll make enquiries on the train and will be "playing it pretty cool," which prompts Alan to smirk, "I bet you will." Jeff tells her that he'll send over Virgil and any equipment she might need. I'm not sure how they worked out what they'll need already, or why Virgil's even going now before anyone has any idea what's happened? And, incidentally, where is Scott?

In her hotel room, Penny's wearing a floaty nightgown and talking to Parker, who asks from the doorway if there's anything else she needs. She just checks if he's made the reservations for tomorrow night's train journey. Yes he did, and she and Sir Jeremy have adjoining 'Pullman' compartments. A pleased Penelope wishes Parker goodnight, and compliments him on his "good shooting" at the café. Parker bashfully retreats.

On Tracy Island there's a silent launch for Virgil as the painting flips him over. Jeff tells Tin-Tin that another rescue is underway (define 'rescue,' please) but Tin-Tin is more amused that the boys "must be sorry they aren't joining Penelope in Paris." Jeff is content that "there'll be time for sightseeing later" and that they're needed to start investigations at Anderbad. Meanwhile, Virgil finishes his launch and Alan and Gordon turn up in the passenger lift (we will never know how they get onto this magic lift). Alan's statement of "here we go again" earns only a trademark, terse "Ye-up" from Virgil.

Jeff wishes them all luck and tells them to keep in touch at all times. Aww. Then the REST of Thunderbird Two's launch takes place as she rolls out onto the tarmac and the sliding palm trees do their thing. As Virgil drives, there's a shot from inside the cockpit showing Alan and Gordon already poring over a map. Seatbelts now, guys. I'm left wondering how long it could possibly take for Thunderbird Two to reach Europe, anyway, as Virgil leaves while Penelope is perhaps still fast asleep at 3am in Paris, and she won't even be catching the overnight train to for Anderbad until that evening?

We know this is the timeline, because in the following scene, Penny and Sir Jeremy are investigating the tenuous matchbook clue at the Parisian Heraldic Record building. It's now the morning after the café scene Parker's parked outside in a spot guaranteed to cause gridlock, and Penelope and Sir Jeremy meet the archive's curator, who is CLEARLY the Pernod-poisoner! He really likes wearing those blue-tinted sunglasses. He points our heroic pair towards the scary door and down to the dusty, neglected shelves in the basement. Penelope's point of view gives us an impression of just how spooky the book-cluttered room is; the music grows more threatening. Once Penelope and Sir Jeremy are safely all the way downstairs, the bad guy removes his beard to confirm to us it was him all along!

Penelope searches the shelves, becoming suspicious when she finds a book that appears to have recently had the cobwebs wiped off. That, and I think it's the only book in the Heraldic Records Office that actually has anything to do with Heraldry. Sir Jeremy wonders if they're on to something, just as a dark shadow falls on them from the top of the staircase. Penelope and Sir Jeremy thumb through the book, oblivious to the bad guy, and they find the crest on the matchbook within the dusty book! However, someone has cunningly ripped out the page explaining what it means. It seems the smart thing to do would be to remove the book altogether, given the state of the filing system. But the bad guy has another, more dastardly plan.

The basement door slams shut, and Sir Jeremy comments, "Not very friendly, what?" Penelope hushes him as she can hear gas entering the room. She considers this "a very clever way of disposing of us," although not foolproof, clearly, as Parker's still outside in her bright pink car. We see Parker watching the Archive's door while Sir Jeremy bangs on the locked basement entrance, claiming he "thought that librarian was a phoney!" Sure you did. Penelope finally concludes that it was probably the stranger who tried to poison her at the café, and he must have remembered leaving the matchbook at the café. So, what, he works there? We will never fully discover what the real story is behind the bad guy and the crest. More importantly, how will they escape the basement room filling with gas?

Penelope coughs that "Parker will have us out of here in no time" and calls him on her compact while Sir Jeremy utters the deathless phrase, "Let us out of here at once! We're British!" Parker answers Penelope's call and before she tells him about her life and death situation, she asks him to look out for a stranger wearing a green jacket leaving the building. Parker sees him leave, but she vetoes his pursuit, saying he has better come and rescue them first. A choking Sir Jeremy agrees, as they're "well and truly trapped." Parker saves the day again, yanking the basement door open with a grappling hook fired from FAB One.

Sir Jeremy asks Lady Penelope if she's ok, and she says, "I knew Parker wouldn't let us down." I'm sure he's due for a raise by now. He then apologises for keeping her waiting! Lady Penelope decides that the next step is to reach Anderbad, and they now have a train to catch.

The scene immediately cuts to a monorail train (similar to the one in 'Brink of Disaster') pulling out of what I presume to be the Paris station. Inside it, Lady Penelope and Sir Jeremy interrogate a white-coated steward named Albert, who resembles Virgil hit with the ugly stick then trying to hide it beneath a bad moustache. Albert hotly denies ever hearing of or seeing Professor Borender, and leaves in a huff. Sir Jeremy starts to doubt his own certainty, but Penelope is sure Albert is hiding something – then she decides that cocktail hour is much more important and they head for the bar.

As the train rockets on, and the passengers presumably get sloshed to pass the time, Albert the steward is talking to the would-be murderer from the Heraldry office. Albert refers to this man as Doctor Godber, and the bad guy has finally ditched his entire disguise, except for the green coat. This time, Godber thinks he has a trap that not even "the lovely Lady Penelope" will escape from! The train carries on as some doom-laden music plays.

Back with Thunderbird Two! Virgil talks to Jeff while Alan looks puzzled by a map, and Gordon essentially breaks out the martinis behind him, looking relaxed in the back seat. Jeff tells Virgil which hill he should land on for when Penelope's train reaches Anderbad, after going through the apparently very famous Anderbad tunnel. Jeff marvels at the tunnel's length, while Virgil reckons it "must be pretty lonely inside that mountain." Aww. Jeff asks if he's heard any more from Penelope. Nope, Virgil reckons she and Sir Jeremy are just "sitting back, enjoying the trip."

So, Thunderbird Two is taking the length of a night to fly to Europe? Something about the timeline is definitely considering how fast the Thunderbird machines usually are. Maybe the Tracys are doing some spring cleaning or dropping in on neglected relatives before they reach the rendezvous.

As the train carries on, Sir Jeremy and Penelope have dinner. He wants another word with the hapless Albert, while Penelope just wants to "forget the whole thing" right now and enjoy her coffee. However, the plot thickens when she finds a note beneath her coffee cup, warning her in capital letters to, "BEWARE YOU ARE DEALING WITH DESPERATE MEN." Gulp.

Doctor Godber proves this true is when he attacks Albert. The attendant was rather naively sitting in the office playing solitaire when Godber thwacks him over the head with what looks like a heavy torch, and the cards and then Albert fall to the floor! As the train passes a bridge, Godber kicks poor Albert off the train and the steward rolls down the cliff. He lands alive but badly bruised, muddy and bloody.

FAB One is driving along on a parallel course to the train, beside the mountain. Parker talks to Penelope on the compact, telling her he is on schedule. Penelope tells him they had no luck with questioning Borender's steward and that now the man has gone missing! She seems weirdly unsuspicious about that. Parker checks if she has everything she needs, and she admits to missing her cocoa. Parker reassures her that he put a flask of her favourite brand in her hatbox. Awww. Penelope thanks him warmly and they wish each other goodnight.

The half-murdered attendant comes round in the dirt, gasping that he must warn "them," Penny and Sir Jeremy, and that he "must stop ze train!" He stumbles over to the road, on a direct course to meet Parker coming the other way. A pair of life size human feet perform some of Albert's desperate shuffling, while Parker stares at the headlights on the road ahead, completely oblivious to the man. There's tension as Albert pulls closer, but then as he reaches the gate between him and the road, he collapses again. I guess the internal bleeding kicked in. Parker zooms by in FAB One, forever unaware of poor Alfred's efforts to stop an exciting episode finale. We will never know what happened to the poor chap. There's an appropriately tragic zoom in to Albert's scratched-up face.

Then Tracy Island is brightly introduced to the sound of loud drumbeats! The Tracy's pool of many secrets is opening as well, and Thunderbird One is returning. Yay! Scott is piloting, and not wearing in his uniform but some unfortunate orangey-ochre and dark brown outfit. He calls base to announce he's making a vertical landing, and Thunderbird One goes down rear-first into the launch bay. Jeff replies from his desk, with Tin-Tin beside him, and apologises for the lack of a big welcome-home reception after Scott's leave. Where did he go? And why did he take Thunderbird One? Hey, this is just an excuse to shoehorn Thunderbird One into the episode! Scott takes his lonely return in his stride, with a chilled out, "I understand" and says he hopes to help out with the mission, too.

Scott's return allows Jeff to quickly recap for anyone who zoned-out during the Lady Penelope scenes. Apparently, the "forces of IR" are converging on Anderbad from three directions. Virgil will wait on a hill or "elevation," although I'm still not sure what Virgil's expected to do there. Parker will be arriving via the mountain road, although what use he'll be after driving ALL night is anyone's guess. Penny and Sir Jeremy will be arriving on the train, of course. When Scott asks what time Virgil is due to arrive at Anderbad, Jeff says he's expecting a call at any minute to confirm just that. I mean, given how long Penny's been on that train, Virgil really SHOULD be there by now!

Scott notes that it all seems very well organised, but his overly-laid-back manner HAS to be hiding real annoyance at missing out on the action! He does lament that this happened while he was on vacation – I need more information about that, Scotty. Jeff misses the point and simply mentions that Gordon needed a break from underwater rescues, anyway. I guess all of those must be happening off-camera, right?

Right then, Virgil calls Jeff to say he'll be at Anderbad one hour after dawn, and he will take up position. Parker had told him that Penelope is settled down for the night and Parker will collect her and Sir Jeremy from the station. Jeff is pleased by all of this and then makes the fatal mistake of commenting, "I don't think much else can happen before that train gets into Anderbad." Amazingly, neither Scott nor Tin-Tin slap him.

Penelope is snoozing, her hair tucked behind a blue headband, when the shadow of a lurking villain moves past her door. She must be a light sleeper, waking up as the lurking continues. She pulls out a gun from her sleek black handbag, cautiously goes up to the door and opens it. She sees the back of Doctor Godber, disguised now as a steward, leaving the train corridor and wakes up Sir Jeremy after much knocking. She tells him that someone was listening outside her door and asks him to join her – but quietly, so they don't wake other passengers. Immediately afterwards there's a shot of the train with its horn blaring, so does anyone really get any sleep?

'Intrigue' music plays as Penelope and Sir Jeremy follow the snooper to the luggage carriage door. They spot the stranger's feet between the stacks of suitcases, where we see that Godber is examining Lady Penelope's bags. Penelope and Sir Jeremy surprise him with a gun and he plays the innocent, claiming that he is Albert's replacement and will be "taking care" of them. With a nervous laugh, he also claims he was checking which passengers were leaving at Anderbad. Then he wishes them both goodnight and scarpers, leaving Sir Jeremy to wonder where he's heard the man's voice before. It's Parker to the rescue yet AGAIN as Penelope thinks he may be able to tell them if it is (even though Parker only really glimpsed the guy leaving the archives building). Sir Jeremy orders breakfast from their new 'steward' while Penelope lets Parker watch and listen in on her radio-compact. Parker confirms their suspicions, "That's 'im, Milady." Uh oh!

Finally, Thunderbird Two lands at Anderbad! They've picked a made-to-fit spot which Alan praises for its excellent views of the Anderbad Tunnel entrance. There's a CRASH ZOOM in on the tracks! Then Gordon points out Parker's arrival. FAB One pulls up underneath Thunderbird Two's nose. I'm really not sure how this is keeping their association secret, you know. Or what exactly the Tracys were meant to do to help this investigation, should there be no actual rescue required.

Back on the train, Sir Jeremy and Penelope appear to have done nothing at all about the steward. Instead they chill out on the last stretch of the journey. Penelope looks decidedly pensive as she reads a magazine. Sir Jeremy thinks they'll enter the tunnel soon, and so does their fake steward. Doctor Godber checks his watch and slowly stands up. He's cunningly stashed a gun inside the butter dish, which has a clear glass lid. Things look bad for Penny and Sir Jeremy as the train enters the much-hyped Anderbad Tunnel. Penelope still looks worried, but that mainly seems to be because she and Sir Jeremy have run out of small talk. And gin.

Virgil tells Parker that the train won't be long now and sends the (possibly) sleep-deprived chauffeur off to collect Penelope and Sir Jeremy. So why did Parker drive all the way up to Thunderbird Two? It was certainly worth it for the imagery, though.

Inside the tunnel, Penelope grows alarmed as the lights flicker and the rapid-moving music, and the train, slow to a grinding halt. Suddenly it goes pitch black and she wonders if it's a power failure. Then an evil voice (Godber's, of course) tells her she is correct and shines a torch into her eyes. He orders her to join him, quickly!

Back outside in Thunderbird Two, Alan is very eager to "get started" (on what?) and Gordon tells him to relax as they can't do anything (whatever it is) until Lady Penelope gets there (why?)! Then Parker tells them that the train will be late because of power failure in the tunnel. There's a lovely concerned note in Virgil's voice as he asks "what happened?" and Gordon frowns behind him. Virgil tells Parker to learn where the train is and to report back, then he calls base.

Jeff's ashtray lifts up beside Scott, who's perched on the desk. Virgil tells them about the power failure and Jeff orders him to stand by with something called a "Monobrake." As usual, Tin-Tin says something that needs to be corrected; this time she thinks that surely Lady Penelope would call them if there was trouble, leading Scott to point out that the Anderbad Tunnel runs straight "under the Alpine Belt" and "no radiowaves can penetrate that far!" so forget using your Blackberry, too.

Finally the train emerges at Anderbad, but the picture immediately fades to Jeff scowling at his desk. Virgil tells him, and Parker confirms, that Lady Penelope and Sir Jeremy are NOT on it! "You'd better go find them!" Jeff orders. There's 'decisive march' music as International Rescue launch the Monobrake vehicle! It's a very flat truck, presumably so it won't get squashed when the swinging monotrains zoom overhead.

Sir Jeremy and Penny are being held captive in a dirty room by Doctor Godber, who's enjoying this bad-guy-gig a bit too much, welcoming them to his "underground headquarters" like Doctor Evil or Lex Luthor. He explains that from this room inside the mountain he can control all train traffic to Anderbad by switching off the power, although he acknowledges that it could be risky if this "trick" was used too often. Maybe he's planning on kidnapping a lot more scientists and secret agents with this method? Sir Jeremy figures that this was how he caught Professor Borender. Godber admits that this is true, and that he WAS going to throw Penelope and Sir Jeremy off the train like the poor hapless "fool, Albert" but now he believes the intrepid pair will be much more useful down here. The villain opens a door to reveal a battered-looking Profesor Borender!

Doctor Godber demands to know the secret of making fuel from sea water, but apparently not for the first time Borender refuses to reveal it. However, now that he has Lady Penelope in his clutches, Godber seems pretty sure this will change.

At this crucial point Virgil and Gordon enter the infamous tunnel. Virgil is patiently driving while Gordon stands up looking around. They have to go seventeen miles to reach where the train broke down and Virgil seems nervous when about the next Express is due in the tunnel. Gordon says yet again to "relax," adding, "we've got the place to ourselves." Virgil just wishes he could work out what had happened to Penelope and Sir Jeremy but Gordon thinks they "can't have gone far."

They certainly haven't. Sir Jeremy and Professor Borender are tied to some chairs, still refusing to cooperate. Godber is determined to be the "richest man in the world" from their formula, and orders his assistant, Roach, to lower the ladder which Penelope is currently tied to! This puts her directly in the path of the same train that Virgil was worrying about, in nine minutes' time! Godber seems to be relying on it coming at the EXACT time, so it's a good thing he isn't doing this in the UK. Naturally Sir Jeremy and the Professor are rather upset by this threat, but neither seems likely to break, either.

Virgil and Gordon trundle towards this unhappy setup. Gordon seems so bored he's been keeping track of the large, round ventilation shafts along the tunnel and wonders out loud if they should check these, too. Virgil just wants to keep going, so they keep going!

Sir Jeremy tries to reason with Godber, pointing out that the formula is useless without his and Borender's lab equipment. Godber says he'll worry about that later. The Professor stresses that experiments are still in the early stages, and a single mistake could pollute the waters of the sea! Sir Jeremy agrees that they can't tell him for exactly these reasons, the risk is too great. Doctor Godber ups the tension by asking how long until the train arrives, but his henchman, Roach, still seems upset by the "pollute the waters of the sea" comment, only responding with "six minutes" after Godber shouts at him. We see Lady Penelope looking VERY worried on the ladder!

Back by Thunderbird Two, Alan is still hanging out with Parker and calls base on his wrist-watch radio. There's no sign of Virgil, Gordon, "or anyone." Jeff tells him to be patient, which Alan ignores and chirpily suggests that he "mosey" up the tunnel on his hoverbike. Jeff is very frowny at this suggestion and insists that Alan stays put. In the Tracy lounge Tin-Tin is sniffling on a chair near the desk, and Scott is pushing to fly out to the tunnel in Thunderbird One. "I could be out there in a couple of hours," he says. Jeff responds with a dour, "But the Express will be there in a couple of minutes." Does this mean he somehow knows Doctor Godber's plan? They're pinning a lot of hopes on Penelope still being in the tunnel, and I'm confused by why immediately they link the next Express to Lady Penelope's safety. Maybe it happens a lot?

In answer to Jeff's confusing premonition, the Express rockets along the tracks, and Roach announces that it's entered the tunnel. It can now be seen on Roach's nifty display screen, (which is nothing at all like the one used to display Stingray's launch tube in the earlier Anderson series). Doctor Godber is unmoved by Sir Jeremy's plea that if Godber stops the train they'll talk it all over. Godber just wants the formula! The situation looks bleak for Lady Penelope.

Gordon looks out of the Monobrake and asks Virgil to cut the engine. He asks if his brother can hear anything – Virgil can, it's the echoing howl of the oncoming Express! Virgil notes it's "funny how the echo brings it nearer" but he's sure that as they're sixteen miles deep into the tunnel, Penny and Sir Jeremy "must be around here somewhere!" Gordon just listens to the echoes and wonders how far away it is.

Godber is pondering exactly the same thing, only he says it in an extra-EVIL voice!

I think Gordon then spots the light from the hideout around the corner from where he and Virgil have stopped, as he urges Virgil to see what's around the bend.

Henchman Roach announces that the train is now just FOUR minutes away! Poor Penelope is now staring into space, looking resigned to her fate until she spots Gordon sneaking towards her with Virgil right behind him. Meanwhile, Godber chortles about he must switch off the lights in case they're seen from the train, although he accepts that they may get a "glimpse" of Lady Penelope (yuck) but by then it will be too late to stop. I assume Godber has some sort of getaway plan, though. People ARE going to notice once the train stops. Again, yuck.

Sir Jeremy pleads one final time for Godber to listen to reason and cut Penny down, and then they'll explain everything to him at the lab in Paris. Roach adds tension by saying, "Two minutes!" Penelope is finally looking very worried, even as she sees Gordon make the "sssh" gesture and he stealths up on the bad guy's lair with his gun drawn. Where's Virgil?

Professor Borender is frantically imploring Godber to "spare this young girl" (how old IS Penny, then?) but the villain cannot be moved, even though he realises that they've called his bluff, the plan has failed, and now he will "have to leave Lady Penelope to her fate." Lady Penelope struggles to get free while Gordon springs out into the room and shoots at Godber, who promptly shoots back! A frantic gun battle ensues, with Sir Jeremy and the tubby Professor trying to wriggle out of the way whilst tied up. The train gets nearer still, and where the hell is Virgil? Gordon shoots up some crockery while Sir Jeremy begs Roach to stop the train, which the tree-hugging henchman moves ve-ery-slow-ly to do. Godber shoots Roach and the control panel before the train can be halted. The horrified Professor gasps that now "we can't stop ze train!"

Penelope, to her credit, doesn't even scream as the train approaches. Godber orders the Professor to come over to him at gunpoint with his back to him. Godber threatens the Professor and tells Gordon to give himself up on the count of ten. Gordon has a little think about this. Then there's just five seconds, and Godber threatens to throw the Professor in front of the train!

Sir Jeremy just wriggles around on the floor attempting to get free of the ropes, while Gordon listens to the countdown – four seconds! Penelope knows the train is almost on her, then, Virgil shows up. Was he taking a leak? Getting a sandwich? What? He fires at the ladder support holding Penny in line with the train, and she already seems relieved to see him.

Sir Jeremy is almost free when Gordon suddenly shoots the gun out of Godber's hand and it conveniently lands at Gordon's feet! This is the second time Gordon's proved his marksmanship in the series so far. Good one Gordon, Scott could really have used your help in 'The Uninvited.' But now, the train is here!

Virgil seems to brace his shooting arm and fires again, bringing the ladder falling onto the floor milliseconds before the Express arrives. Yaay! He then throws himself protectively over Penelope as the monotrain thunders above them, setting off major wibbly fangirly moments for impressionable viewers. He does have his hand cradling her face, and they exchange a little look that has no doubt fuelled plenty of speculative fan fiction. It's a very intense, weirdly intimate moment. The train, finally, passes and everyone important has survived!

Alan and Parker wait impatiently up on the hill by Thunderbird Two. Alan tells Jeff that nothing has come out of the tunnel since the Express, twenty minutes ago. He's worried that "something went wrong." Tin-Tin is still snuffling in the Tracy lounge and wonders "what CAN have gone wrong?" while Scott just stands close to Alan's video screen. Jeff begins to order Alan to give them "five more minutes…then you'd better…" Alan interrupts with a "hold it!" and he checks through his binoculars. The Monobrake is leaving the tunnel and "They're all OK!" I think it was a squeeze getting everyone on that machine, and I bet Godber's stashed in the trunk (or boot)! Alan says smugly that "Another rescue operation is successfully completed!" We see Jeff and Tin-Tin smiling broadly.

We're back in Paris at night time, at a live action scene of French traffic and loads of neon. We've returned to Penelope's favourite café, the Atalante, where Alan is sulking and pouting beside Sir Jeremy and Penny. Alan is appalled at having to listen to "jeepsy" violin music on his "first night in Paris ever," but Penelope tells him off and orders him to drink up his coke. Alan's major gripe is that the "other fellas" ditched him for the Follies, which is sort of a risqué reference for this show! Penelope gently reminds him that he's "too young" (not in Paris, surely…) and that soon Parker will be there to take them to the best nightclub in town. I guess Parker didn't get to join the "other fellas" at the Follies, either? Alan is still less than ecstatic, launching into an epic hissy rant, grumbling that, "I just love dancing with Parker. He does a very interesting Rhumba, they tell me…" Yikes.

Penelope serenely ignores his complaints and announces that Parker is here, and then exclaims, "Darling, you look wonderful!" which makes Alan swing his head over with an exaggerated "hmmm?" Unexpectedly, Tin-Tin arrives at the café! However, I'm afraid that Penelope was lying, as not even Tin-Tin can carry off a horrid lime green feather boa over a coral-coloured coat. Ick. But Alan has cheered up, and asks how on earth she got there. Penelope says his father thought she "deserved a vacation." After all that crying, yes! Maybe Scott flew her there and he's now at the Follies, too? Or it was HER turn to take TB1 on holiday?

Sir Jeremy is now eager to get to the nightclub to catch the "floor show" and then notices that Penelope hasn't touched her Pernod. She says nervously that the last time she had one at this bar, she was just raising it to her lips when "bang, I was off on another adventure." An impatient Sir Jeremy suggests she sees what happens this time. Yep, it's the end of the episode, Penelope, so you're probably safe. She holds up the glass and BOOM!

This time, though, it's only some fireworks going off overhead. There are hours of live firework footage, and the International Rescue team all watch and gasp over-excitedly. An exuberant blast of 'Can-Can' music rounds off the episode and the screen triumphantly fades into the Parisian night.

While the spies and sea water plot makes very little sense, it's a great piece of nonsensical espionage drama that only incidentally has International Rescue involved. Lady Penelope is right at the centre of things, whilst not actually doing very much, which makes this a very old-fashioned damsel in distress story which I feel is handled better in later episodes like 'The Man from MI5.' All the same, 'Perils' maintains a decent pace that excuses some of its sillier elements, and the Tracys get to be all heroic and even express some personality! I especially enjoyed the way 'Perils' ties in with the Sun Probe's story, as connections between other episodes are rare enough on 'Thunderbirds.' I can't dislike 'Perils' and it's still a very solid episode, but there are far better ones either side of it which utilise International Rescue's abilities a lot more effectively.


<< back to Episode Index


In this good old fashioned spy yarn with a sci-fi twist, we are reacquainted with that ill fated space vehicle, the Sunprobe. The premise introduced here is that it's capable of running on a brand new fuel derived from sea water. Launch control seems to consist of one individual who pushes a button at the appropriate time. The two scientists responsible for the fuel innovation watch excitedly behind the scenes as the rocket ship lifts off flawlessly. One of them, Sir Jeremy Hodge, is actually the man responsible for getting the components of the Thunderbird machines manufactured in secret and is therefore an honorary member of International Rescue.

Cut to Paris and Lady Penelope en route, along with Parker, to meet Sir Jeremy in a Paris cafe. Sir Jeremy tells Penny that his partner in the sea water fuel experiment, disappeared off the train he was traveling on to Anderbad. During the discussion, Penelope picks up the Pernod cocktail she had ordered. As she raises it to her lips, a shot rings out. Parker had determined, with FAB 1's onboard technology, that the cocktail was drugged and shot the glass out of her hand, saving her life. What a guy!

On the way back from the cafe that night, Jeremy explains to Penelope about the fuel innovation the two scientists had been working on and tells her that it has been successful. The two travel to an archive to research the crest symbol found on a matchbook left behind by the would be cocktail assassin. As they do so, the doors to the building are locked, trapping them inside, and gas is released into the room. Parker again saves the day and gets them out. He also catches a glimpse of the perpetrator. The next morning Penny and Sir Jeremy take the train to Anderbad to determine the whereabouts of the other scientist, Professor Borender.

Penelope informs Jeff Tracy of her plans to travel to Anderbad and he sends Thunderbird Two, along with Virgil, Alan and Gordon, to help in locating the missing scientist, and also to help protect her and Sir Jeremy. The next day on the train, Sir Jeremy confronts the cabin attendant and inquires about Professor Borender. The steward claims to have no knowledge of this former passenger but seems a bit nervous. As they are sipping coffee after dinner, Penny receives a note from under her cup, warning her of the dangerous men they are dealing with. In the next scene, the cabin attendant is clobbered on the head and thrown off the train. He is desperate to stop the train because of the danger to Penelope and Jeremy. Parker is in FAB 1 just rounding the corner, following the path of the train. But, it is dark and the lights from the car fail to fall on the attendant after he trips on a rock and passes out again. Parker continues on his way, unaware of his presence.

Scott arrives back at Base from an apparent vacation to find this rescue operation already in progress. He seems a bit disappointed that his services are not required at the moment. Back on the train, Penny is suspicious when someone is lurking near her cabin. She grabs a pistol and wakes Sir Jeremy. They find the object of their search in the baggage compartment. He claims he is the replacement attendant. Penny leaves the telecom link open to Parker so he can identify the man as the same person who tried to gas them in the archive. Thunderbird Two arrives on the scene and as Parker joins them in the Rolls, we get to see the enormous scale of Two in comparison. Penny's train is entering the tunnel where the other scientist disappeared and so everyone goes on alert. There is a power failure in the tunnel and the train comes to a stop. It eventually continues on its way but without Penelope and Jeremy. They have been kidnapped and are now being kept in a secret room inside the tunnel, along with Sir Jeremy's missing colleague, Professor Borender. The villain, Dr. Godber, had apparently attended the conference held regarding the seawater-to-fuel experiments and he wants the formula. In order to get it from the two scientists, he resorts to a variation of the old 'tying the hostage to the train tracks' scenario. He ties Penny to a ladder instead, which is then lowered down in front of the oncoming monotrain.

Virgil and Gordon have gone into the tunnel in a contraption known as the Monobrake. Gordon, it seems, is the most laid back of all his brothers in this episode, telling the others to "relax." Virgil becomes more anxious than we have previously seen him in the series. They travel through sixteen of the seventeen miles of the tunnel before finding the three hostages. Gordon shines here as his prowess with a firearm is displayed. We get the feeling this is not the first time he's used one. He manages to keep Dr. Godber at bay in an ensuing gun battle while Virgil goes to rescue Penelope. Just as all seems lost and it appears there will be two hostages killed, Virgil shoots and causes enough of a distraction for Gordon to save one hostage. Virgil shoots again and gets Penny down from the ladder, quickly placing his body over hers in order to protect her from the oncoming train. The look they give each other is very telling and has inspired a number of fan fics.

The rescue is completed without the help of either Alan or Scott, much to their dismay. The scene is reset with Penny, Jeremy and Alan now back at the cafe where we started. Alan is pouting at the prospect of spending the evening with the two elders because he is too young to go off to the Follies with his brothers. This scene has also caused some controversy as to exactly how old Alan is at the start of IR. In the end, he is surprised when Tin Tin shows up to spend the evening with him and receive a much needed vacation. She spends much of this episode blubbering by Jeff's desk, poor girl. Penny is sceptical about raising her glass of Pernod once more as she has not forgotten the result from earlier. This time however, fireworks of the skyward type ensue and the evening becomes a celebration all the way around with all the oooooos and ahhhhhhhhhhs you'd expect. Another job well done and another very watchable episode that was fairly sophisticated for its time! 

<< Episode Index
<< Characters
<< Thunderbirds Machines
<< Thunderbird Three's Silo