Self-important jerks, extremely funny writing, and Brains taking charge as only he can combine to make Day of Disaster one of the most interesting episodes in the series. The machine that requires rescuing is particularly epic, ensuring that this will be a rescue to remember.

It all starts with a fierce storm battering a suspension bridge. Two men watch the weather anxiously from inside a control room. The one with the moustache, the pompous Controller (who oddly never gets a name) is sure that the bridge can take it, but the more cautious Dave Clayton, a younger man with less facial decoration and a long-suffering attitude, is certain they should perform a full check-up. He might well be right, as the episode title flicking up over the bridge prophesies some real trouble ahead!

The next day, the bridge Controller is under pressure from the ‘Minister’ to ensure that there will be "no delay." The Controller urgently promises that the Allington Bridge will be reopened in time, and that they’re checking for storm damage right now.

Sweet, speculative music plays as a man in a hardhat is winched down beside the bridge. He’s using some kind of ‘storm damage stress detector’ although it’s not clear exactly what the crackling signifies, other than that perhaps it could be a radioactive bridge. The surveyor is pulled back up and he and several other surveyors (including one named Gerry, probably after the show’s creator), report to David Clayton that the bridge appears "OK." Clayton takes a lift back to the control tower at the top of the bridge. His partner, the moustached Controller, is already looking officious, and when Clayton tells him the good news, the Controller blusters that this was exactly what he expected and mocks Clayton’s anxiety about needing the checks at all. He also informs Clayton that he has given orders to reopen the bridge, despite Clayton’s concerns that more tests are needed. Clayton is worried about the ‘load’ the bridge has to carry – but the Controller huffs that the ‘Martian Probe Rocket’ will not get held up at Allington Bridge!

Enter the Martian Probe Vehicle/Rocket/explosion waiting to happen. It’s a gigantic machine. Its impressive appearance is accompanied by the excellent ‘March of the Oysters’ theme last heard on Stingray, although here it seems to trumpet ‘welcome to the 21st Century!’ as the gargantuan rocket is borne through city streets, accompanied by a four strong police escort. It’s not empty, either, as we meet Bill and Frank, two American engineers (it’s always two, remember) who’ve stayed on in the MSP’s nose cone during its journey to perform last minute tune ups.

Frank expositions the tight deadline for the craft’s launch, as it’ll be another four years before Mars is in range again. Bill reckons their work is done now and his mind is on getting coffee. Frank is more freaked out by the fact that the rocket is primed to take off "like that" – snapping his fingers (off camera!) – and worries what would happen if something went wrong. Bill jinxes them entirely by saying, "Nothing’s gonna go wrong." They never learn! Bill reminds Frank that the rocket can only launch if it’s upright, and reassures his colleague that he’ll be back in San Diego with his wife and kids "before they’ve even missed you." Wow, they are so screwed.

The police escort continues to lead the MSP (Martian Space Probe) along narrow English roads. We see NTBS (the infamous Ned Cook’s TV network in Terror in New York City) are filming the transport as it goes by. Rolling news is a bitch to fill, right?

Next we see the image on a posh TV in an even posher drawing room, and faithful butler Parker is fixing the image. Brains is there watching, and after thanking Parker he tries to get Lady Penelope interested in the non-events of the "huge ship" on the screen. Penelope is more worried that he has the correct strength of tea, which she’s made weak because "Americans usually prefer it that way." Brains seems a little thwarted as he takes his cup, but muses that the MSP’s creator, Professor Wingrove, must be excited that the project is nearing completion.

Penelope appears bored rigid. When I first saw this episode I always felt that she was disappointed that the Tracy boys weren’t there – and I think my theory gets borne out later on. For now, though, Brains continues to wax enthusiastic about the MSP mission, and he points out Professor Wingrove, who’s now appeared onscreen. I think there’s a rule that all scientists on the show must wear that dark one piece outfit with the light stripe down the front. Wingrove explains that the MSP had to launch from the UK because of the position of Mars, but as the UK apparently lacks Cape Kennedy’s facilities, they built the MSP to be completely automatic.

Remember, if your machine is COMPLETELY AUTOMATIC, I’d just get International Rescue to follow the thing around until it inevitably bursts into flames.

Perhaps intuiting that she’ll hear more than enough about the MSP soon, Penelope promptly flicks off the TV and announces that she’d "fail" in her duties as hostess if she didn’t tell Brains that, in her home, "everything stops for tea." So, she’s basically Brains’ grandma. Then she grills him for news on "Jeff and the boys."

This neatly takes us to current events on Tracy Island – Virgil is playing some jaunty jazz on the piano in their lounge, setting up the mood of silliness which follows. Alan plops onto the sofa with a heavy sigh. He’s wearing a grey one piece jogging suit with a great big red ‘A’ stitched on the breast pocket. What worries me is that this means all the Tracys have matching joggings suits with their initials on them, too. Maybe they were trying to keep Grandma busy? Anyway, stand by for some quality Alan teasing!

Alan’s sigh prompts Gordon, who’s relaxing on the sofa with a magazine, to enquire "what’s up, kiddo?" Alan grumbles that he’s "pooped" and Gordon teases him for coming back "exhausted" after a "short sprint around the island". Scott adds his own dig that "a kid" like Alan "should be able to take things like that in his stride". Please note Scott seems about to nod off, here. Alan is narked that his brothers all "sit around waiting for the next meal" and then have the "nerve" to say he’s unfit. Before the teasing can get nasty, Jeff steps and empathises that all the waiting around between operations is "killing" but that he’s sure they’ll get a call "soon enough." Er, yay?

Scott now wishes that he’d gone to England with Brains to watch the Martian Probe rocket launch. So does Penny, Scott. There was a very similar moment to this in Terror in New York City, although this time Jeff confirms out loud that he gave Scott the chance to go. At this point, Grandma appears looking worried, and Virgil stops his piano playing to listen.

It’s very serious – Grandma has mislaid her favourite, raspberry flavoured, edible transmitter while she was baking the apple pies for lunch! Jeff is concerned, as apparently the transmitters are needed "in case anyone’s captured and can’t contact base." Scott concludes that she thinks "one of us" has eaten the thing, and Grandma concurs. Virgil thinks the idea is ridiculous, as "we always know when we’ve eaten our edible transmitters" – which begs the question, just how often are you guys captured? Jeff thinks it’s entirely possible since Brains has made the devices "extra small." Oh dear.

Alan is sure it wasn’t him as he just had a light meal (and so not a whole apple pie) for lunch before his run. Jeff is anxious to discover the culprit, as it could be blocking other signals, although he’s not clear how or what these signals are. Jeff instructs Grandma to mix up a batch of Brains’ ‘Transmitter Dissolver’ and she agrees, scolding herself as she walks away. Gordon sounds alarmed as he asks, "What’s this about a Transmitter dissolver?" and Scott, also sounding panicked, says "You mean it’s some kind of medicine?" I think their worry is justified -- it sounds to me like it’ll cause no good results for the digestive process. Ick.

Jeff confirms it’s a medicine and resolves to find out who has the transmitter inside them – he brings up a map of the Tracy Villa interior, which slides up from behind the video-link portraits on the wall. The transmitter’s signal is beeping in the lounge, and it may have been worth checking that before Grandma left? Scott notes that this does mean one of them has swallowed the transmitter, and Jeff sends Scott off to his room to see if the signal moves. Scott goes without a protest while Jeff snarks that the "boys" should chew their food properly. When he’s gone the signal doesn’t budge and Jeff concludes it was either Gordon or Virgil who ate it. Jeff sends out an irked Gordon next, who protests that he’d know if he had eaten it. Jeff sends him packing, but the light still doesn’t move, so it seems that Virgil is going to have to take his medicine. Virgil also protests but Jeff orders him to go and wait for the medicine in his room. Hopefully he has a private bathroom! Jeff mutters grumpily that the boys "don’t get enough to do" on the island.

However, when Virgil leaves, the signal still doesn’t leave the lounge. Jeff fails to notice until Alan points this out, just as Tin-Tin arrives with the medicine. Jeff finally realises that it was he who ate the transmitter and chuckles in good-natured defeat, agreeing to "go quietly," while Alan shakes with mirth behind his book on Manet. This is a nice moment for the Tracy family, but it’s a pity the edible transmitters, silly as they are, don’t really have anything else to do with this episode. This was still a funny scene that provided more information and colour for each character. It’s valuable fan fiction fuel, too!

Now we’re back with the Martian Space Probe as it continues its journey. Frank is pleased that they’re almost at the launch site but Bill reckons they have a few more miles to go, and they still have to get across the Allington Suspension Bridge. We’re shown the bridge next, and ‘yes, it’s doomed’ music suggests that it all might go horribly wrong. The two controllers watch anxiously from above as the massive vehicle edges very slowly onto the bridge, the head Controller reassuring the Minister again that they’re confident the bridge can take the MSP and that it’s all proceeding exactly as scheduled. Clayton just hopes they "aren’t the ones to ruin it." The Controller scoffs at Dave’s concerns, blustering that the bridge can easily support the weight. Clayton muses that it probably can, in evenly distributed traffic. He’s less sure about its chances in a "solid mass."

As the MSP glides slowly to its fate, the two engineers inside it look forward to reaching the launch site and stretching their legs. This doesn’t seem likely, as the music grows more ominous than ever.

Back at Penelope’s mansion, Brains appears to have wrestled the remote control back from ‘er Ladyship and is watching the final stages of the MSP’s journey. The newscaster is giving some details about the Allington Bridge, explaining that it’s forty-two years old and is a link in the North-South ‘Superhighway.’ I like the 21st Century! But the music is worsening and the controllers watch more anxiously. Clayton points out that the rather helpful ‘Tonnage Indicator’ is at maximum and the Controller is starting to freak out at how very slowly the MSP is moving. Clayton finally tries to be optimistic, and the bored engineers wait inside, oblivious as the inevitable finally happens.

The bridge buckles and twists and then the suspension wires begin to snap one after the other. At the mansion, Brains starts yelling for Penelope, who has probably dozed off in her chair by this point. Back at the bridge Clayton urges the MSP on, but there’s no chance of it getting clear. Frank shouts, "She’s not gonna make it, Bill!" and he’s right. The bridge cracks and collapses, and the MSP plummets into the extremely deep waters of the river below. It lands upright, of course. Frank immediately spots that the auto countdown has started. He reckons they’re "gonna be blown to pieces!"

I have more questions. Surely there should be a ‘go’ button to prevent this kind of thing? How the hell does the ‘auto-launch’ get into the final blueprint? Wouldn’t it take off the minute it got erected at the launch site? Perhaps Frank and Bill are just awful engineers? No one else seems to wonder about this as FAB 1 speeds along the motorway. Penny and Brains are in the back and she asks him what his plan is once he gets to Allington Bridge. Brains doesn’t know yet, but he doesn’t rate the engineers’ chances of survival very highly.

At the bridge, a boat putters over the MSP crash site and we see cranes floating on the water. The pompous Controller is trying to reassure the Minister that things are in hand and that the floating cranes have been delivered. Now they’re waiting on the divers to get a line down to the rocket, and we see the little divers descending – the music gets appropriately Stingrayesque.

Inside the crashed rocket, Frank and Bill establish that they can’t get radio contact with outside, and that so far they’ve been down there for three hours! Don’t worry, guys, Penelope and Brains are on their way – only they get halted by a road block just as they near the site. Brains is frantic to reach the trapped men, and Penny coolly tells him to leave it to her. She chats to the constable in charge of the roadblock, who informs her of a "spot of trouble" by the river – he’s a real Dixon of Dock Green type and recognises her car, too. Penelope tries to sweet-talk her way in but the constable doesn’t recommend visiting the bridge due to the huge crowd of onlookers. She finds this "tiresome" and thanks the copper, closing the window.

Brains is still frantic to reach the two engineers and reckons he couldn’t "face the fellas" back at base if he hadn’t tried to "do something." I can’t help thinking that calling the "fellas" now would be a start! She tells Brains to cut across the fields to the bridge and intends to create a "rival distraction" which should clear away the crowds. She wishes him luck and mischievous music plays as FAB 1 leaves. It’s worth pointing out that the constable is still standing in the same road while Brains commits a bit of trespassing.

Meanwhile, the bridge controllers have a radio link setup, while Frank wonders if there’s anything they can do to stop the take-off, like smash up the equipment? Bill reckons that’s not such a good idea, as "the whole thing would probably explode!" I still reckon they’re not very good engineers. At that point the bridge controllers get through on the radio, but there’s not a lot to say.

FAB 1 pulls up amongst some run down buildings near the site. She wants to make sure she and Parker are all alone. Gulp.

At the bridge, the two controllers confirm that there’s 9 ¾ hours left before the countdown completes. The main Controller reckons they’ll have Frank and Bill free soon, but Frank would prefer it if they called International Rescue "just to be on the safe side". The Controller huffs, "certainly not". This show excels at its pompous control freak baddies in charge.

Back at dilapidation city, Penelope is still making sure she and Parker have some privacy. After an innuendo-laden conversation, Parker proceeds to use FAB 1’s front cannon to blow the crap out of the surrounding buildings – this show loves to max out its explosives budget!

The controllers hear the racket FAB 1’s making and assume it’s a scheduled demolition of the area. They’re just glad it’s distracted the crowd away – which has also given Brains the opportunity to sneak into the lift to the control room. Good work Penny! While he’s on his way, the Controller is appalled to learn that it will take one more hour to fix the lifting cables to the floating cranes. He spits that men’s lives are in danger and they need to work faster. At this tense point, Brains shows up in the control room and nervously says, "Hi there…" The Controller demands to know how he got in, which turns Brains all assertive: "Never you mind…" he says. Wow, kick-ass, Brains. He goes on to question them about the situation and the long-suffering Clayton gives him a full rundown of the rocket’s status and the countdown in progress. The Controller angrily tells Clayton off.

Next, Brains asks if they’ve called International Rescue, and when he learns they haven’t, he’s shocked that this is all the equipment they have. The Controller sneers, "what’s wrong with our equipment?" and there is no safe answer to that, although Brains calls it a 100 years out of date and "antiquated." So the Controller sarcastically asks Brains if he’s an expert on rescues. Brains appears stumped by this logical enough question – he can’t blow his cover, after all, and the Controller is a bit of a tool. Luckily for him, Clayton defends him, saying Brains is "just trying to help," even though the Controller snaps that they "don’t need help" from Brains "or anyone else!" This sets off Brains’ high-pitched, Jimmy Stewart voice as he exclaims he will not "just sit by and…". This promptly gets him branded as a troublemaker. The officious Controller snaps at Clayton to keep him there so he can’t interfere and stomps off. Clayton wearily apologises for his associate, but flatly advises Brains to "do us a favour, try and keep out of sight". There’s another use of the creaky waah-waah-waah music.

So, Brains does what any of us would do – he finally calls Thunderbird Five on his wristwatch! John Tracy gets this week’s CRASH ZOOM shot when Brains whispers that it’s him calling, and goes on to mutter the situation into his watch. You can imagine what this looks like to the two bridge controllers, and the Controller sniffs that he knew Brains was "a nut." But John Tracy has a handle on the situation and that Thunderbirds One and Four are required. And, presumably, Two will be there to airlift the submarine. Back on Tracy Island, the others are raring to go and we learn there’s just seven hours left. The launches seem to pass quickly, and soon Thunderbirds One and Two are on their way to Allington’s disaster site.

The floating cranes are working now, but Frank is still freaking out inside the MSP, as nothing seems to have happened. Bill advises him to relax, but Frank just can’t as they only have five hours left, "and seven gone!" at this point the head Controller contacts them from what they’re calling ‘rescue central control’ to announce the start of the crane lift. Frank grumbles it’s "about time, too." The Controller ignores this and orders the cranes to begin – they’re just lifting wreckage away from the rocket and business-like marching music underlies the action. Clayton reckons they won’t make it, but the Controller is desperate that "they have to." Brains’ expression suggests that he agrees with Clayton.

All the cranes manage to do is shunt the trapped engineers a little bit before they all come toppling down into the water, sinking like big metal stones. A quick line of dialogue confirms that the operators apparently got clear. Phew. However, Clayton is aghast as there’s now no time left to set up again. Things look very bad for Bill and Frank as the cranes finish sinking to the bottom of the river.

Back in the lounge on Tracy Island, there’s an air of expectant waiting. Alan is perched on Jeff’s desk and his father says he expects Scott to report in soon. Bill and Frank are also anticipating a call, but Frank can’t wait any longer and radios ‘central control,’ demanding to know if they’ve spoken to IR yet. The Controller orders them to clear the wavelength (surely he means clear the frequency?) as he’s still trying to reach International Rescue. Brains tells them that it’s a waste of time to try calling IR "on that thing," although I’m not entirely sure why. Given that in The Uninvited, Scott makes it clear that "any frequency will do," the Controller must be using a pair of iPod headphones to fail so badly.

Brains adds that actually, IR are already on their way! The Controller starts to snap at him again, but the sound of familiar retros quickly shuts him up. Both Brains and the music seem exultant as Thunderbird One swoops in overhead, and then cruises around the bridge to survey the situation.

Clayton also appears a little awed by Thunderbird One, commenting, "Isn’t she a beauty?" At this point, Scott calls base to tell them, "It looks pretty bad." He’s also aware he can’t do very much until Virgil and Gordon arrive, and he confirms that Brains is holed up in the control tower. There’s not long to go.

In the next scene Frank and Bill establish that IR have been on the scene for an hour without anything happening, but they think the rescue equipment is about to arrive. Frank remains pessimistic. Just then Thunderbird Two makes an appearance and dumps Pod 4 into the river. Thunderbird Four zooms into the water and aquanaut Gordon Tracy springs into action to investigate the wreckage. Brains speaks to Gordon – who chirpily calls him an "old sonuvagun!" and promises to give him a full rundown of what he sees. Brains’ little muttered whispers to Gordon are hilarious as he tries to explain things, whilst the Controller fumes that IR haven’t had the "decency" to keep him in the loop. Sadly we never really get a scene with Scott talking to the pompous Controller – I’d have really liked to have heard that. Clayton just can’t believe that Brains is still talking to his wristwatch, making the Controller suddenly concerned Brains might have "escaped from…somewhere…" Heh.

Thunderbird Four continues to whirr away underwater, and Brains intends for TB2 to lift the rocket after Gordon does some work with Four’s laser cutter, which we last saw saving a submerged Fireflash. Gordon tells Scott he’ll be "twenty minutes." Frank and Bill wait anxiously as the clock ticks away, while Brains also waits and TB1 hovers above. Finally, Gordon tells Scott he’s done and Scott lets Virgil know, "It’s all yours." Thunderbird Two has some new grabs with wickedly jagged pincer teeth, and Virgil uses these to begin clearing wreckage from around the rocket. It resembles a funfair grabbing game, only Virgil isn’t going to get a cuddly toy out of this, and he’s barely making a dent in all the clutter, although when Virgil drops it in a field (sending environmentalists choking with rage no doubt) it looks like tons and tons at once.

Back at base, Alan muses that they can’t have much time left, and Jeff agrees that they’re "cutting it fine" – which I think is actually the secret motto of International Rescue. The clock is literally ticking away and Frank and Bill are sweating plenty by the time Brains asks Gordon if the nose cone is clear, and Gordon says "nope" and points out they have just fifteen minutes left. I think the time for Plan B has long passed. Argh. Brains just has a last minute, Plan Z type suggestion left. What can it be?

The Controller has overheard part of "that crazy fella" talking to his watch again. Clayton gloomily responds that they’re desperate enough even to listen to him – but the Controller exclaims that he’s just suggested firing missiles! Well, that does sound insane…

It’s also exactly what Gordon does next! As the explosion rocks the rocketship, Frank wonders if they’re trying to "blow us to pieces?" although Bill notes it won’t make a lot of difference. Barely ten minutes to go. Brains asks Gordon if the debris has cleared, and once Gordon can see through the dust in the water he confirms, "It’s OK!" Then Brains tells Scott a plan we can’t really hear, and Scott agrees it’s worth a try and orders Virgil to stand by.

Gordon gets ready while inside the rocket, Frank comments that it’s gone quiet again. Bill thinks that IR "won’t give up until the end" and is sure they’re "planning something." He’s right. As Thunderbird Two swoops back overhead, Gordon rams the rocket’s tip with Thunderbird Four and, rather than making it blow up sooner, the nose cone detaches and begins to float upward! Heck, that was easy! The nose cone bobs onto the river surface and the Controller lets out an exultant, "They’ve done it!" Brains praises Gordon and sends in Virgil, who uses yet another set of TB2-sized pincers to delicately pick the separated nose cone up off the water. Then he very wisely speeds away.

Frank excitedly realises that they’re now airborne and Bill points out it was with half a minute to spare. Just as they’re completely clear, the countdown reaches 12 and the now noseless rockets blasts out of the river, wobbles unevenly and, after hanging there for just a moment, proceeds to EXPLODE!

Somehow it doesn’t blow out the glass in the control room, where the Controller crows, "They did it!" and Brains gets a little overexcited, cheering and stammering "W,w,w, well done, fellas!" and tosses in a "yippee" and a jig just to make sure they think he’s completely, utterly out of his mind. I know that the time I first watched it, I found this bit too excruciatingly embarrassing to watch. These days, it’s just unbelievably silly. It’s not really much of a surprise, then, that the very next scene shows IR’s top scientist in the care of Doctor Korda, a psychiatrist of the highest stereotype.

Korda gently asks a couch-bound Brains how long he’s had the "desire" to talk to watches. Secrecy can be a bitch, can’t it? Although Korda thinks he can help Brains (a little electroshock therapy?), rescue arrives in the form of Lady Penelope, decked out in the same outfit she wore for the drive to the rescue site. I assume the Controller packed Brains off for help about thirty seconds after the rescue, otherwise surely Scott could have given him a lift? Now Penelope coos at Brains that she’s here to take him home, "you poor dear." The doc protests, but Penelope hilariously refuses, saying the "hopeless case" is already being helped by "ten of the best doctors in Europe" and adding that "we really wouldn’t want to tie up any more." She’s so British.

Brains follows Penelope as she hands Korda a cheque, and then entirely ignores the doctor’s last objections. Penny sends Brains out to meet Parker and proceeds to cruelly freak out the doctor even more by chatting to a silent Scott on her powder compact, prompting the poor man to consider getting himself seen by a psychiatrist. Yet more waah-waah-waah music finishes the scene.

Back at her mansion, Lady Penelope seems to have finally got what she wanted all along – half the Tracy family are there for afternoon tea, chomping cigars. Going by some briefly overheard sniggers, they seem to be discussing the "edible transmitter" incident, until Jeff Tracy calls them via Penelope’s flashing teapot and Scott says he’ll answer it. As he picks up the second-girliest secret radio (next to Penny’s compact) in the show, Brains exclaims, "What are you doing?" Scott sounds baffled in response – points out that he’s answering his dad’s call, and adds an indignant, "What’s the matter with you, Brains?" Brains muses that it’s "nothing," but, if Scott’s "talking to teapots, there’s a guy I think you oughtta see…"

This gag produces a lot more side-splitting laughter amongst the Tracys than it strictly deserved, and frankly they sound like they’re forcing it. But at least Brains got to make a funny, even if it’s the most awkward joke ever used in the show. Awww.

So, dodgy ‘funny’ ending aside, this is one of the strongest episodes in the series. It zips along at speed, managing to carry tension and introduce interesting new characters -- the tense controllers and the trapped engineers are a joy to watch. Fish out of water stories are always fun, and both Brains and the rocket ship are out of their element and almost tested to destruction. I loved this episode when it was first on, and I’m happy to say I still adore it now.


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This particular episode brings to mind one of the longest bridges I’ve ever travelled on, which gave me the creeps. Why, you say? At one point, you totally lose sight of land on either side. I am speaking of the Oresund Bridge in Denmark. So, I get a real feel for what is going on here with the Allington Bridge in England. The thought of a spacecraft being transported across it is simply unfathomable. But, we’ll talk about that later. Right now, we have a more serious problem…Who ate the edible transmitter?

Now, I understand that Jeff has to empty the living room in order to find out who ingested the transmitter from off the shelf in the kitchen, but "Scott, go to your room?" I mean, really! Now that we’ve got that crisis out of the way, thanks to Brains’ recipe for transmitter dissolver, can we get back to the really important stuff? Uh, thank you. Sorry, I was momentarily distracted by that big "A" on Alan’s jogging suite. Of course, in a tropical island climate, that would have become a sweat suit. Anyway, that scene ends ironically when, after sending everyone to their rooms, Jeff discovers HE has in fact eaten the transmitter. Alan has to hide his face as he cannot control his amusement at that.

Meanwhile, Brains is in England having tea with Lady Penelope (a trip that we learn Scott also had the opportunity to take, but declined) and watching the rocket being transported across the bridge on the telly. As he is watching, the steel cables on the bridge begin to snap. The Martian probe rocket is now about halfway across it on a transport and there is no turning back. Eventually, the entire structure of the bridge collapses and everything ends up in the water. To make matters worse, there are three men trapped inside and the (analog) clock on the wall shows that the countdown to blastoff of the passenger capsule has started. The men were supposedly working inside the nose cone and what they were doing there during transport, we will never know.

Penny, Brains and Parker rush to the scene in FAB1. Brains takes stock of the situation and one of the three trapped men tries to convince the management to call International Rescue. He is unsuccessful and another attempt to get them to call is made by Brains, who takes an elevator up to the rescue control center. Again, the person in charge refuses to listen and believes Brains to be just a busybody. Of course Brains cannot reveal to anyone his expertise in the rescue business without divulging his connection to International Rescue. He is told to stay out of the way while a rescue attempt is made with antiquated dock equipment. Brains takes the opportunity to go off into a corner and call John up in Thunderbird Five on his wrist telecom. He is viewed as being a bit loony as it appears he is whispering into an ordinary watch. John receives the call and dispatches Thunderbirds One and Two, with Pod Four aboard. There are now five hours left before the rocket under the sea explodes.

Thanks to Brains’ conversation with John, IR arrives on the scene shortly after the first rescue attempt fails and one of the old cranes ends up on the bottom of the sea. Unbeknownst to the two workers in the rescue tower, the scientist is coordinating the entire rescue right under their noses. They write him off as a mental case, which suits his cover just fine.

As Gordon in Thunderbird Four clears debris from around the rocket ship, Virgil in Two lifts the twisted metal away, with Scott in One coordinating from the air. They work together like a well oiled machine. The clearing is taking too long, however, and Brains’ strategy becomes more aggressive. He tells Gordon to shoot debris away from the capsule with missiles. It works and the craft is free. Gordon head-butts the nose cone free of the rocket with Thunderbird Four. It bobs on the surface like the cap on a baby bottle. Now, here comes Virgil and Thunderbird Two with those infamous grabs of his. Will they hold this time? We can only hold our breath. Yes! He’s done it. The men are carried to safety with half a minute to spare. To add further drama, the rocket section of the craft lifts off from the sea bed and explodes in mid air. We never find out what happened to the workers in the crane or the transport vehicle. Brains is overjoyed that the rescue has been successful and I give his victory dance at the end a 7 out of 10 on the misunderstood super genius scale.

In the next scene, Brains is in the middle of a session with a psychiatrist. This is apparently to solidify his cover. Lady Penelope comes to take him home and is observed by the doctor talking into her powder compact. This causes the doctor to wonder whether HE should seek counseling! The episode ends with the Tracy men having a nice visit with Penny at Foxleyheath after their arduous task. Jeff Tracy calls them and Scott goes to answer the call on Penny’s teapot. Brains tells Scott that if he’s going to be talking to teapots, there’s somebody he should call. Everyone notices the irony of him speaking into yet another inanimate object and they all have a good laugh about it.

I found the rescue itself to be a bit mundane in this episode and so I appreciated the little injections of humor. The episode was also good at pointing out that were it not for Brains’ presence, the gentleman in charge on the Allington Bridge may have put his pride above the safety of the three men. A good lesson about what not to do in any emergency situation.

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