This is certainly one of
the most memorable episodes of the series, containing some very
vivid imagery, and it opens with appropriate drama as tall flames
pour out of an oil well. Sirens howl and International Rescue’s
Firefly is moving into the conflagration! Thunderbird Two
pilot, and all-round action man Virgil Tracy is controlling the
Firefly. The cabin is lit by red light, emphasising the extreme
heat and danger of the situation. He calls Scott to say he’s going
in, and Scott reminds him that this is their only chance. Scott is
watching the operation through binoculars, from a Mobile Control
setup some way off. Virgil lowers the Firefly’s protective
shield and heads towards the flaming oil well, with a nervous "here
we go." He pulls a lever, the cannon fires, and there’s a HUGE BOOM
which turns the Firefly around 180 degrees. It’s messy, but the fire
has been put out, and Scott jubilantly congratulates Virg on his
good shooting! Firefly raises its ‘arms’ over its head in what
always resembles a celebratory gesture and triumphant music cheers
them on. Wow, that was kind of a short episode...
But, the real purpose of
the episode isn’t far behind. An NTBS news truck has been watching
the whole thing and a certain reporter named Ned Cook is also
watching the events beside his faithful cameraman, Joe. Ned is a
little teed off that "this could have been the greatest report of
the year" but the more sanguine Joe points out that they "can’t do a
thing about it." This is true. Ned wants desperately to take some
pictures, believing that HE has a job to do as much as IR. Sorry,
Ned, but there wasn’t really a human interest story here, was there?
Virgil returns the
Firefly to Thunderbird Two’s pod and Scott says that he’s
going to TB1. As the IR men pack up, Ned seizes the
opportunity and orders Joe to begin filming. Uh oh. Ned is
determined to get "that story of the year" – I think if he keeps
smoking next to the oil well like that he’ll soon have one all to
himself. Do you think NTBS gives their reporters decent medical
As TB2 nestles onto
its pod, Virg tells Scott that he’s leaving and Scott clears him to
go, saying he’ll see him back at base. Ned is in the TV truck by now
and Joe is on the roof with the massive camera. Ned orders him to
"start shooting" when TB1 takes off, then zooms after TB1
at top speed (for Joe’s sake, I hope they DO have decent medical
insurance). Ned’s a rough driver and I can only assume that Joe is
being held up there by magnets or something, maybe Velcro! The TV
van slides to a violent halt and Ned orders Joe to "cover the
The filming immediately
sets off the by now legendary Automatic Camera Detector in TB1’s
cockpit. Again, if Ned had just filmed TB2 on her own he’d
probably have been fine. Noticing the ACD alarm, Scott is worried
and lands TB1 right next to the news van, reminding Ned over
the loudhailer that he told them, "no pictures." Ned retorts that IR
have "done a great job here today" and reckons they should now let
him do his. He also calls Scott "buster" for good measure. A
crosser-sounding Scott reiterates, "I SAID, NO pictures!" and asks
that he destroy them. Ned tells Scott he’s crazy to think he’d do
that. Scott seems to pause to think about his next move and looks
away. At this, sneaky Ned zooms off in the news van, making the
error of so MANY would-be IR photographers, by trying to outrun
THUNDERBIRD ONE in a CAR. Rookie.
Scott instantly blasts off
and gives chase, catching up in about 0.2 seconds, clearly annoyed
by all this. He brings TB1 right above the runaway news van,
which panics poor Joe. The cameraman begs Ned to stop the truck, but
the crazy reporter won’t listen and is determined to get away with
"the best news story they’ve ever had!" When Scott’s efforts to get
Ned to stop fail, he calmly flicks a single switch which floods the
news van with a weird bluish light. Scott announces via the
loudhailer that he’s "electromagnetically wiped the videotape,"
explaining that IR must protect themselves. He flies away with a
sombre "so long." Wow, Ned and Joe should probably keep clear of
Blockbuster video for a while! I bet that ruined their credit cards,
The camera film is smoking
convincingly as Joe checks it. Ned splutters that Scott was
bluffing, declaring "it’s not possible!" But Joe shows him that
Scott wasn’t bluffing, and it IS possible, as the entire
recording is now blank. And to make Ned feel even better, he adds,
"there goes your story." Waah-waah music rubs in Ned’s thwarted
Back to Thunderbird Two,
which is way ahead of Thunderbird One by now. Scott lets
Virgil know that his takeoff was delayed, but cheerily adds that
"everything (is) now FAB." Aww. Scott promises to tell Virgil the
details later and Virgil says he will let base know this. I’m not
sure why Scott couldn’t call base himself, but perhaps it was
Back on Tracy Island, Jeff
is dictating a letter to Tin-Tin, in which he’s declining an
invitation just as Virgil calls in with the latest news. Virgil
repeats what we already know and Jeff dismisses him. Continuing with
his letter after a prompt from Tin-Tin (surely a slow day for her as
she has an Engineering degree), Jeff says that the scheme – dramatic
pause – to "move the Empire State Building" strikes him as being
"daring and imaginative" and he believes the conservation of the
great monument is essential even if the new area needs
redevelopment. Wonder what Manhattan’s like these days? Sounds like
it needs more tourist dollars.
Back above the ocean,
Thunderbird Two is still heading home when Virgil tells Scott
he’s picked up the reflection of a "surface vessel." A nonplussed
Scott asks "what’s so special about that?" Apparently, it has
phenomenal speed! Scott immediately figures that it could be the
Sentinel, the World Navy’s "new strike vessel."
Scott’s right! We see the
military ship cut rapidly through the water and a discussion on the
bridge reveals that it’s doing 200 knots. I gather that’s not to be
sniffed at. Or maybe the writers just made it up? The captain
requests a routine report from mission control, where the answering
voice from "Scanners" sounds suspiciously like Scott. Shane Rimmer
has a very distinctive voice, guys. Anyway, it seems that ‘Scanners’
has picked up something moving very fast in the Sentinel’s
area and the ship’s very paranoid captain immediately orders that
they ready interceptor missiles for immediate launch. Uh oh.
Obviously, they’ve picked
up Thunderbird Two and Virgil carries on, oblivious to the
deadly action the World Navy are about to take. Virgil lets Scott
know he’s going to change course so the Navy doesn’t get a steer to
Tracy Island, as he does think the Sentinel might be tracking
them. Scott agrees and says that he will be doing the same.
Unfortunately, this otherwise intelligent idea puts him on direct
course for New York, which puts the Sentinel command on high
alert. Although they think he’s too slow for a missile and too fast
for normal aircraft, they are ordered to "treat unidentified craft
as hostile!" and launch their missiles!
Battlestations are fully
underway on Sentinel as Thunderbird Two obliviously
flies on. There’s a launch countdown and then the missiles are away.
Virgil yelps, "Missiles!" He does what anyone would do in that
situation and calls his dad, and Scott in TB1. Scott reminds
him to switch on the jammer and try to throw the missiles off
course. There’s a rapid cut to Jeff and Tin-Tin listening helplessly
to Scott and Virgil’s frantic exchanges. Virgil cries out that it’s
too late -- Scott’s military background really kicks in here as he
orders Virg to "take evasive action" (surely he’s trying that
already?) but Virgil says "FAB" and pulls TB2 up. They’re still
coming "dead at" him. Scott encourages him to "gain altitude." TB2
lifts clear just as the missiles explode right under her tail. Scott
anxiously calls his brother, who reassures him that he’s "still
here" but that it was "close." And that he can feel damage on
Two’s tail unit.
But the Sentinel
isn’t giving up. A quick announcement tells us that they’re
"changing frequency to combat jammers." Oh no!
Now the second lot of
missiles are on their way and Virgil says "here we go again." Scott
encourages him to get the jammer working, and that he’s "catching
up...fast." What’s Scott going to do? Shoot at the Sentinel?
Virgil has just figured out that the Sentinel has changed
frequencies, and is bricking it slightly. Scott passes on the
benefits of his Air Force training again, instructing Virg to "hold
present altitude and climb one second before impact...we might be
able to throw them." Virgil looks unconvinced.
Here come the missiles!
Scott urges him to gain more height – but Virg gets hit. As he
fights hard for control, throwing levers as the console explodes
(why do consoles always explode?) there’s lots of sweat, smoke and
flames. A close up reveals TB2’s burnt-up engines. TB2
shudders on as Scott calls base. Jeff asks how Virg is and Scott
says despairingly that he doesn’t know, he can’t get through -- but
he can see Virgil on fire in the distance!
Jeff has called Washington
in an effort to "stop this senseless attack." As the next volley of
missiles aims at TB2, Washington finally calls the
Sentinel, ordering immediate halt of the attack. The Commander
hastily orders the last missiles destroyed, just in time. Phew.
However, the damage has
been done and TB2’s engines are clearly wrecked, with Two
hurtling towards the ocean. Scott frantically radios his brother,
who is slumped forwards, unconscious, as Scott shouts at him to wake
up. Finally, Scott’s frantic voice gets through to him and Virgil
wakes groggily just as Scott yells for him to "pull out of that
dive!" Virg sees the ocean below and barely pulls Two up in
time. Phew! TB2 is belching black smoke and there’s a
fantastic shot as she levels out and Thunderbird One swoops
in behind her. Semi-triumphant trumpets begin the next stage of the
rescue. Scott asks Virg how it looks. Virgl isn’t sure as "the
engines are running smoothly" but the tail is "giving trouble".
Scott’s next rapidly delivered question is "Do you think you can
make it back to base?" Virgil dryly replies, "I’ll let you know."
Jeff organises the family
back at base, who are now all gathered in the lounge. He tells Alan
and Gordon to "stand by on firefighting equipment." Then Jeff asks
Brains what "his" (Virgil’s) chances are. Brains seems to mishear,
claiming that if the "reactor plant" isn’t damaged "her chances" are
good, clearly meaning TB2 there. Scott checks with Virg about
this, but Virgil can’t tell the state of his ship’s damage due to
the instrument damage (there’s a Red Dwarf joke in there
somewhere). Thunderbird Two just about flies on, smoke
billowing from her rear and filling the cockpit.You’d think poor
Virg could at least grab a breathing mask or something. He chokes
and coughs as he asks Scott how much futher it is to base. Scott
reassures him that it’s "just another ten minutes" and adds "You’ll
make it, Virgil, I know you will." He gives a worried, very guilty
(as if he doesn’t believe it or blames himself for not being there
earlier) sideways glance as he says that. Sniff. Thunderbird Two
Jeff is hunched over his
desk with worry and Kyrano tries to gently reassure him that the
boys will be safe, offering him coffee. Jeff isn’t listening at all
and grunts "hmm?" Tin-Tin gently repeats her father’s question but
Jeff has no more time for coffee. He heads for landing control,
because if Scott and Virgil "arrive at all" they will be there in a
few minutes. The runway is being prepared and weird alien poles
slide out of the ground on either side. They look a bit like evil
vacuum cleaner hoses. Gordon, Alan and now Jeff are in the
Cliffhouse above TB2’s launch hangar and Jeff is pleased that
they are ready. Alan makes out that Scott and Virgil have two
minutes to go before they get there, and now Gordon can hear them.
Scott reassures Virgil that
they are "nearly home." Not yet dead from the toxic smoke
inhalation, Virgil goes through the landing procedure, but he looks
very much the worse for wear. They arrive at the island and Virgil
mutters "easy does it...easy..." then his ship hits the tarmac and
bounces. Scott does a relieved blink and sighs that "he’s down," but
Jeff - in the first of many dramatic CRASH ZOOMS this episode –
exclaims, "The wheels, they’ve collapsed!"
Tin-Tin gasps in horror and
Jeff orders foam released to cushion the awful landing. After
bouncing along the runway a few more times, TB2 finally
slides to a foam-covered halt. In the cockpit, Virgil drops away
into dark unconciousness just as the flames seem to rise!
The darkness lifts and two
blurry faces appear as Virgil slowly wakes up. He has a bandaged
head and a bruised face. Fangirl squeaks are rampant, here! The
faces sharpen into Scott and Jeff. Scott gladly welcomes his brother
"back to the land of the living." Virg immediately tries to sit up
and instantly asks what happened to Two. Jeff tells him
firmly to quit worrying about that, saying, "She’s gonna be OK."
Scott promptly undoes the reassurance by saying that the damage is
nothing a "few week’s work won’t put right." Virgil is aghast –what
if she’s needed on call? Jeff continues his plan to get his son to
rest, saying "well let’s hope she’s not" and that he now needs to
get a lot of rest. This fatherly attitude seems to put Virgil’s mind
at ease, or the tranqs kick in – bandaged Virgie immediately nods
off again. Aww.
Tinkering, mechancal music
opens over a shot of TB2. She is also undergoing some urgent
repairs but seems to be doing rather less well than Virgil. Tin-Tin
enters TB2’s cockpit to supply Brains with some coffee and
biccies. She asks how it’s going and the scientist confesses it’s
going rather "slowly." Scott and Jeff are overlooking the work from
a gantry above the wrecked Thunderbird, and Scott comments on what a
mess it is. Jeff agrees that they’ll have to work "round the clock"
to fix Thunderbird Two once the components arrive. Scott is a
little concerned about secrecy while getting them delivered, but
Jeff helpfully reminds Scott of what he should already know (for our
benefit, of course) -- that they order everything from different
companies and that it’s "only here" that the "jigsaw" fits together.
Scott concedes sheepishly that he may worry too much!
A little time seems to have
passed since the attack, and we see Kyano take a food tray from
Virgil’s bed and comment how good it is that the pilot is eating
again. Virgil warmly compliments Kyrano’s cooking, getting bashful
thanks in response. Gordon comes in through the sliding doors and
marches past Kyrano, asking his brother if he has his TV switched
on. Virgil claims to have seen enough TV to last the rest of his
life (surely not! I bet he was hooked on Gilmore Girls re-runs), but
Gordon insists that this is different, as the Empire State
Building is being moved today and "furthermore, right now!" Virgil
concedes that that really is a "must see" and uses the remote
control (did that look extremely high-tech in the 60s?) to unveil
his tiny bedroom TV set.
Ned Cook is reporting from
New York as the rest of the Tracys gather around what could be the
only other TV in the house. Scott reminds Jeff that he had to stop
the reporter from filming at the oilwell. Jeff comments that Cook
would "do anything for a story," and we know he’s right! Ned is busy
telling the audience how the mighty Empire State Building will be
moved the 200 yards in one whole piece. Referring to his earlier
RSVP, Jeff comments that he sure would like to have been there, and
Scott adds that he would have liked to have gone as well! To me,
this comment seems to draw a surprised ‘head swing’ reaction from
Jeff, as if he thinks,’I gave you the chance or ‘you should
have said.’ Perhaps Scott would have tried to go if Virgil
hadn’t been shot down?
A basic but effective
animation on their TV illustrates just how the Empire State will be
shifted onto a heavy duty track for the big move. Apparently it took
ten years of planning and two years of construction to get this far.
Everything is ready now and an alarm blasts across the site. Ned
seems tense, then ecstatic. It’s moving!
The ‘heavy duty’ track
doesn’t seem to be all that sturdy as cracks are already appearing
in the dirt. Ned continues his ebullient narration until in a CRASH
ZOOM he calls viewers to "hold everything". Something is going
wrong, and it "feels like an earth tremor" under his feet. Danger
music starts playing. Ned promises to remain in the danger zone to
continue the report - what a guy! I wonder if he asked Joe? Jeff
can’t believe that the "crazy fool" won’t get out of there, and
Scott reminds Jeff that he said Cook would "do anything for a
Ned is soon confident that
things are now safe, although he doubts that the Empire State
Building will move again that day. Then he reports they have just
been asked to move by the cops. Just as he’s announcing that there’s
"a very real danger," the situation catches up with him and both he
and Joe hurtle to their apparent doom as the earth opens up!
The fall looks seriously
lethal. Both are bouncing hard off the rocks while they fall. When
they finally land they’re both very scratched and bloody, and have
ended up some way beneath the crumbling Empire State Building site.
Ned thinks they’d better leave the area and fast, but the tracks are
still crumbling above them. The entire Empire State Building is
starting to come down!
Back on Tracy Island’s
lounge TV, there’s a blank screen where the NTBS news feed used to
be, and a voiceover man apologises for the loss of picture. It’s now
like something out of Cloverfield. The Tracys are still
anxiously watching the action.
Stuck in the hole, Ned
quickly realises the Empire State Building is about to land on him.
As the huge building comes tumbling down there’s a terrific shot
from Ned’s point of view, as the Empire State’s side traps them in
their shelter, and Ned’s arms fly up as if to ward it off!
The dust slowly settles on
the ruined site. Jeff decides that Ned and Joe "couldn’t have stood
a chance." The new voiceover guy agrees with this, recapping that
the Empire State Building "is no more." So much for the preservation
attempt. Then suddenly Ned’s reedy, desperate voice squeaks over the
audio. Scott instantly recognises him. Jeff also looks very
surprised that he’s still alive. The voiceover reporter exclaims
that "it’s a miracle!" Scott really can’t understand how anyone
could "be alive under all that" and Alan seems a little bit too
pleased when he says that "for sure…they’ll never get him out!"
Scott’s long term memory promptly fails him as he excitedly tries to
start the rescue. He says that with Thunderbird Two launched
they could probably...and Jeff quietly reminds him that Two
is still out of commission and that there’s nothing they can do!
Ned describes the hole
where he’s trapped, commenting that water is seeping in below them.
This makes Brians exclaim "of course!" and the scientist reasons
that the ground collapsed due to underground rivers beneath
Manhattan. Scott sounds incredulous: "Underground rivers?" but
Tin-Tin totally buys it. Jeff is immediately concerned that this
water will drown Ned, and Scott wishes they could get along that
river. Brains thinks that may be possible in Thunderbird Four.
Tin-Tin points out that they can’t get Four there without
Two. That’s the great quandary of this episode, a fairly easy
rescue, ruined by the Sentinel’s overreaction.
Gordon pipes up that he can
"make it all the way by sea," having entered the lounge with Virgil.
I picture them both running up from Virgil’s room when the disaster
happened. Both Jeff and Virgil immediately shoot down Gordon’s plan
as illogical and dangerous. Jeff actually seems more annoyed by what
the commander of the Sentinel did than Gordon’s proposal, and
sounds ready to start ranting when Virgil has a brainwave. The
Sentinel itself can solve their problems! Jeff
immediately gets the "picture" and orders Scott to fly to New York,
and for Gordon to launch TB4 using emergency procedure and
head to where the fleet exercises are still going on! This time,
though, Jeff is going to call ahead as I don’t think he wants Gordon
getting hit by any more misguided missiles. With the island at
action stations Virgil asks eagerly, "What can I do, Father?" Jeff
flatly responds with, "Get back to bed." Aww.
launches! Jeff radios Washington and arranges for Four to
meet the Sentinel, who are feeling sheepish about the whole
thing and say it’s "the least they can do." Short of paying for
TB2’s insurance premiums, anyway. They also call him "Mr Tracy."
Jeez, Jeff, just show them your passport while you’re at it.
Gordon is whizzing along
the TB2 runway in TB4, and receives full confirmation
that the Sentinel will pick him up and take him to NYC as fast as
possible. Gordon gets out an "FAB" before TB4 plops into the
is on her way and Scott calls Empire State site control. There are
sirens wailing in the area as two cops pull up in their own Mobile
Control van, which actually seems a lot more mobile than Scott’s
unit. A laconic-voiced cop says how glad he is that IR are around.
Scott asks if there’s any news on the trapped men. The cop says
they’ve drilled a pilot hole to supply Ned and Joe with air,
lighting and food, but that the water level is still rising. So
there’s no way to widen the hole a little more and yank them out?
Scott curtly requests that the cops clear the whole area, but the
cop smugly confirms that this has already been done, "pal," as the
site is very unsafe and "could give way at any time." Scott seems
pleased by the ‘cleared’ part (and his hair is HUGE again) and tells
them that he will be there in under 30 mins. He requests "detailed
plans" of the underground rivers. You’d really think that if
they had those river plans all along, they’d have been a mite more
careful with the big move.
is being winched aboard the Sentinel, and Gordon reports this to
Scott. Scott asks what his ETA to New York is. Gordon says it will
be 24 hours, and Scott just tells him "do the best you can." The
cops are anxiously waiting for TB1 to land, although i’m
still not sure what Scott can accomplish when he does get there. I
guess he’s just going to keep an eye on things! There’s a nice, very
filmic moment as TB1’s landing jets drown out a loudspeaker
that’s ordering everyone to keep clear.
Back in the Tracy lounge,
Brains pores over the New York plans, which Scott must have recently
faxed to him. and surmises that the small rivers under the city were
never considered a threat. Jeff attempts a joke, suggesting that
this might ‘wash out’ Brains’ theory. Brains ignores the pun and
explains that the streams beneath Manhattan turned into larger
rivers over the last hundred years (the city has some BIG problems
headed its way), and apparently no recent surveys have been carried
out. Brains is concerned that it will be hard to pinpoint the
entrance to the river that’s drowning the NTBS news crew. Jeff is
disturbed that the rescue could be delayed even further when it’s
still "touch and go" whether TB4 will even get there in time!
Scott calls to say he’s set
up in New York and the whole situation is recapped yet again.
Apparently they can get food down to Ned and Joe (again, how big is
this hole?) but that the water’s rising fast and they’ll be under it
by the time TB4 arrives. Jeff instructs Scott to send them down some
breathing apparatus (apparently the hole is pretty large?) There’s
got to be an easier way! I don’t think Scott really needed telling,
either. Jeff wants Scott to keep them alive until Gordon gets there.
Again, kind of obvious, I think.
We see water seeping up
into the hole beneath the ruins of the Empire State. The danger is
increasing all the time!
Back in the Mobile Control
area, we see that Scott is there to keep Ned’s morale up. Scott
encourages Ned to "stay with it." Ned snarks that this is "easy" for
Scott to say, but then apologises, saying that it’s been nine hours
since Scott "got on the scene.." Actually, Scott could be there just
to rub in the IRONY with a sledgehammer, but I prefer to think our
boy isn’t that vindictive. Not until the reporter’s rescued, anyway!
Ned and Joe are now waist
deep in freezing water. The much-mentioned supply hole is right
above them and there are microphones suspended from it. Also I spot
some little thermos flasks and cups on the rock shelf behind them
which must have been passed down. Scott reassures Ned that IR are
doing all they can and Ned admits that the "hanging around" is
getting to him. The water is very cold and Ned thinks it’s coming up
faster now. He guesstimates that they’ll be underneath by 10 that
morning. Alarmed by this, Scott checks the Sentinel’s ETA – Gordon
thinks they won’t reach New York until 10:05am. Scott mumbles "that,
er…that’s gonna leave things pretty tight…" but the Sentinel
commander doesn’t think they can get any more speed out of the
engines. Gordon repeats apologetically that "ten hours it is."
Scott grudgingly resigns
himself to this bad news. He’s looking sleepless and unshaven and
asks the two cops how the hunt for breathing apparatus is going. I
reckon Scott could have brought a load with him or nipped out for
some decent equipment in TB1 by now. Apparently the cops have
found a few units at the local Navy yard, and a depressed-sounding
Scott mutters "well that’s something."
More time passes and there
are sad violins while Ned checks his indestructible watch. The water
level is even higher now, which is freaking Joe out. He asks Ned if
they’re going to drown, and Ned reassures him that "these rescue
guys…know what they’re doing." Scott breaks in on the conversation
to ask if the water rate has increased. Ned uses his awesome
‘guesstimation’ powers again to confirm that they’ll be underneath
by 9am. Scott sounds even more stressed, realising that Gordon will
get there one hour too late! I feel that Ned and Joe could probably
have swum out by now. Anyway. The cop near Scott tells him that
they’re sending the breathing apparatus down now. Scott works the
rugged look as he estimates the safety time has been "cut to one
hour," and that’s without any setbacks.
Another lovely shot
appears, as the Sentinel passes the rising sun on the
horizon. It’s 5am and time is running out. Gordon badgers the
Sentinel commander for yet more speed, but there’s no way to get
there any faster.
It’s dark at the NYC rescue
site, and Ned and Joe are now drowning by degrees. Now there are
just two hours before they’ll be underneath! Scott tells him that
they will have to wear the breathing apparatus for the final two
hours. Ned points out that this won’t leave a lot of air in the
tanks for the actual rescue, but Scott buoys him up, saying "we can
still do it, and we’re gonna do it, OK?" Aww, I love pep-talk Scott.
He really seems to be bonding with Cook, too.
The Sentinel is slowing
down by the time we see Ned almost underwater. He and Joe have the
breathing masks ready, but Scott urges them to hold off using them
as long as they can because the "last atom" of air in them might
mean "the difference between life and death." OMG! Joe
is now flailing in the freezing water. They both seem immune to
hyperthermia, luckily. Ned gurgles his last word as the water floods
over them – there’s a CRASH ZOOM on Scott as he yells at them to put
the masks on. The two cops exchange worried looks as Scott tries to
get Ned to respond.
Finally, Ned sputters that
he and Joe got the gear on and will now have to sit there and "wait
for our air to run out." Yikes. Again, surely they should be
swimming out of there by now? Or sending other divers in? I know the
show demands that IR do the rescuing, though. Dramatic drums play as
the Sentinel approaches under a dark sky, and it’s 9.30am.
Gordon comments on the slowdown and the commander says that this
because they’re close to the Hudson and East River shipping lanes.
Gordon has a real brainwave and suggests that perhaps going
underneath the shipping would be faster. The Sentinel commander
truly lacks imagination, no wonder he shot Virgil down. Gordon says
he’ll take it from here, and tells Scott his plan, and that he hopes
he’ll be there in 20 minutes. So does Scott, as that’s "when Ned and
Joe run out of air!"
Music with a dash of
Stingray accompanies TB4’s dive under the East River. Scott
checks on Ned and Joe, who are sitting on their ledge underwater.
Ned asks if Scott thinks his "buddy" can make it in time, and Scott
responds with a confident "ye-up," followed by yet another CRASH
ZOOM as Scott whispers, "He’s gotta make it." Aww.
There’s more Stingray
swagger in the music as Gordon searches for the underground river
entrance. They’re taking a LOT on faith here. Something begins to
beep enthusiastically inside TB4 and Gordon makes a beeline
for the way in. Scott is still giving himself worry ulcers, fretting
that Gordon still has to navigate the river. He finally has the
bright idea of getting Ned and Joe to use their damn breathing
apparatus and to swim out of the hole in search of TB4.
Ned is doubtful that he and
especially Joe can make it, but Scott encourages him to snap Joe out
of it and to "find that entrance." TB4 enters the tunnel and
Gordon seems chirpy at having something to do, telling Scott that
they’re in luck that the river is wide enough to navigate. One more
time – surely sending in some divers first would have been the
sensible thing to do here? Ned and Joe have already started swimming
as Scott tells them TB4 is on her way. Just then one of the
cops, referring to Scott as ‘sir,’ tells him that he has a message
from Central Control. This is never good news. Scott promptly
invites more disaster by stupidly saying "things couldn’t be much
worse than they are now." Hasn’t he learned ANYTHING since starting
Scott is told that the land
subsidence has spread to the ‘Fulmar Finance’ building. Scott asks
which one it is – the cop points to the one doing a fair
impersonation of a famous tower in Pisa. Danger music threatens as
cracks appear around it. The cop comments how lucky it is that
everyone has been evacuated from there. To Scott "that’s not the
point" because the Fulmar Finance building is about to land on the
rescue hole and start a massive tidal wave that will "hit those guys
in there like an avalanche!" As if to emphasise Scott’s fears, the
Fulmar building really starts to shudder and tip with an
increasingly thunderous roar.
A voice on the cop’s radio
tells them they have about two and a half minutes before the
building collapses, and that "geologists reckon after that,
anything can happen!" Hope these aren’t the same geologists who
missed the underground rivers. The laconic cop says to Scott, "I
guess you heard that." Scott doesn’t answer and urgently contacts
Gordon. The aquanaut seems chilled out, as he’s probably both used
to his brother stressing out and hasn’t seen the chaos rumbling
above him. Scott urges Gordon to locate Ned and Joe ASAP due to the
cave in. Gordon suggests leaving the radio frequency open so that
Ned and Joe can guide him to them. Not exactly sure how that’ll
work, surely it’s just ‘rock, rock, fish, rock?’
The air situation isn’t
good, and Joe is lying very still on the riverbed. Scott remains
sure there’s some air left in the tanks, ordering Ned to get Joe
moving and to get through the hole to reach TB4. Ned redeems
himself by continuing to help his hapless cameraman, telling him to
The Fulmar Finance building
is in its death throes, steadily crumbling sideways. The cop muses
that he "wouldn’t like to be under that baby when she goes over".
After a moment of thoughtful silence following this statement, Scott
snaps at Gordon to keep going: "We’ve got to find them!" Poor Scott;
it must be awful to have spoken to those two men all that time and
then know they could be about to die.
Gordon continues his
search, piercing the gloomy tunnels. For a moment he thinks he’s hit
a dead end, but it turns out to be a sharp bend. He follows the
tunnel to where Ned and Joe are on their last gasps of air. Gordon
hopes they can hold on for a few more seconds – as a viewer it’s
important to remember to breathe during these scenes! Ned and Joe
are nearly finished, and Scott does some superb, coach-like yelling,
keeping them alert, telling them to look out for TB4’s beacon
and to keep swimming. Ned finally spots TB4’s lights and he
and Joe start to float towards them. Gordon can hear their voices
and actually stands up to try and spot the pair, telling Scott that
he can’t see them.
The Fulmar Finance building
is very near to collapse. Suddenly something like sonar starts
beeping inside TB4 and Gordon spots Ned and Joe emerging from
the tunnel. Gordon yells at them to swim into the hatch, and we see
Ned helping Joe into it above Gordon’s head. But the Fulmar Finance
building is about to crumble. Gordon closes the hatch and announces
to Scott that he has them both, Scott roars at Gordon to "beat it!"
and the building comes thundering down. There’s another CRASH ZOOM
as Scott hits the deck and we see Thunderbird Four getting
mashed and spun by the fierce current the collapse generates. The
screen cuts rapidly to black and..?
A shiny dark gold curtain
comes up and happier ‘showbiz’ music trumpets over a stage set.
We’re watching the ‘Ned Cook Show,’ apparently being filmed before a
‘live’ studio audience. They’re ‘live’ because IR have rescued most
of them at some point in the series – a lot of fun can be had trying
to place each puppet head in the audience here. Other than that,
this is the most cringe-inducing part of the episode, folks. It
isn’t the ‘Tonight Show’ and thank God they don’t make ‘em exactly
like this anymore. An announcer stands on the stage, telling viewers
that Ned Cook has not missed a performance in the last 167 weeks of
broadcast. He goes on to say that a few days ago Ned was involved
with his cameraman (small smile here) in a disaster from which
"there seemed no escape." However, true to "his unique record," Ned
has made it there as always, albeit this time in a wheelchair and
bearing a few more scrapes than usual.
Ned thanks all his
"friends," the viewers, and says that before they start the show he
wants to send his thanks to "the great people" behind a certain
organisation. Although no one knows who they are and where they come
from, "come they do, and help they bring." Try not to throw up in
your mouth a little, there. He hopes his words "will reach those
gallant people." Aww. As he says this, we see Alan and then Gordon
in the audience, visibly fighting back sniggers. A pan across
reveals that Tin-Tin, Virgil, Scott, Brains, Grandma and Jeff are
also in the back row of the Ned Cook audience! Whose idea was the
horrible matching suits for the boys, though? As Ned thanks IR
from the bottom of his heart, having utterly changed his tune since
the oil well fire, we see a longer shot of the family and then Ned
Cook looking a little self-conscious before a jazzed-up TB
theme sends us into the end credits. Another rescue has been
Most things about this
episode are still very successful. Irony after irony defines the
rescue that just keeps getting worse, from Scott thwarting Ned
Cook’s ambitions after a successful operation, to Thunderbird Two
being put out of action, to a relatively straightforward rescue
being complicated by the need to transport TB4 vast distances
by any means necessary. The events crack along and there’s very
little of the hanging around that hampered very early episodes. The
IR team are on terrific form, with Scott being benignly bossy, Jeff
giving plenty of compassionate orders, and Gordon actually getting
an awful lot to do for once. The only bad part really is the
‘showbiz’ bit at the end, although it really did express how much
Ned Cook had learned his lesson. More importantly, who the hell was
minding Tracy Island and IR’s operations back home? Kyrano?