Sinister intrigue, a wobbling Telecom tower and some dodgy use of Tin-Tin as a 'distraction' give "Edge of Impact" some memorable moments. It opens on exciting music and action as a tiny jet is ordered to attack an installation and a ship, obliterating both with little trouble. In a concrete military shed overlooking this destruction, we see that the Hood has been following the action on some huge binoculars. He's hanging out with a shifty looking general, who must be evil because he has a thick Baltic accent – which is Cold War shorthand for 'keep an eye on your nukes.' The General bemoans the fact that with his nifty fighter plane he "could be master of the land and sea as well" but that something called "Red Arrow" is hampering his dreams. The Hood politely refuses to believe anything is faster, but apparently this Red Arrow is faster by speed alone.

The General wants the Hood to do him a "little favour" for which he will be "repaid generously". This arouses the Hoods eyes – they get lit up with greed and malice! The General wants to appease his restless army, using the Hood to eliminate the competition and ensuring that the first test of the Red Arrow is a failure. So it's not officially a threat then, is it? Yet? Gleeful at the chance for some destruction, the Hood promises that the "Red Arrow is doomed".

Naturally, the next thing we see is London Airport, where for some reason they're testing military aircraft. I wonder what EasyJet makes of that? Norman, the London controller from all the Fireflash-based episodes, is watching the unveiling of the Red Arrow. Going by the dialogue, it sounds like London airport has Camera Detectors similar to the ones in Thunderbird One, although these don't seem to be 'Automatic' and therefore can't be as good.

Now we see the Red Arrow that got up the General's nose. It gets a dramatic reveal, with music usually reserved for Thunderbird Two's newest pod vehicle blasting as the hangar moves away from it. The people in the control tower seem excited, and there's another man standing next to Norman. This is Tim Casey, a grey haired USAF colonel. He orders the British pilot in Red Arrow not to do any "exhibition flying", and follows with some no-nonsense instructions.

At this point, a blue 'North Pole Laundry' van pulls up outside the airport. Driving it is none other than the Hood, dressed like a creepy milkman with a beard and moustache to hide his features. He smirks that he doesn't think that Red Arrow "will be going very far today!"

Commander Norman wishes the Red Arrow pilot, Rees, good luck, and I notice he defers to Casey as 'sir,' although Casey cheerfully calls him by his first name. As the Red Arrow lifts off, Norman gives the mandatory "that's some aircraft" line that peppers most episodes. Just then, a worried Rees reports that Red Arrow is increasing speed! Tim Casey warns him to slow down, but the poor pilot reports that he's being pulled off course, and as the air pressure drops the poor pilot blacks out! Casey yells at Rees to bail out, while fire engines zoom out as they always do, uselessly – unless they're spreading out with a huge net or something. Sirens wail dramatically, but the Red Arrow crashes and explodes, clearly killing the pilot. Tim Casey looks sad and disappointed. As the Hood speeds off in his van, Casey mutters "What went wrong?" and says it twice for emphasis as the fire trucks work on the burning Red Arrow wreckage.

The place is now Tracy Island. The time – breakfast! Jeff is reading a story from a newspaper called 'the Astronaut Observer' to the boys, who are sitting around the table with him. It's worth noting that Virgil is the only one in his dressing gown, smoking a breakfast cigarette! The article tells them that Tim Casey will be replaced after the Red Arrow Test Tragedy, and sad music underlines it. Scott, in a natty white pullover and already looking like he's had too much coffee, helpfully checks if this is the same Tim Casey who was with Jeff in the "early days of space travel". Jeff confirms this and Scott wonders why they can't "eliminate all faults before attempting takeoff". The boy has a point. He also says "gosh", bless him. Jeff reminds them that the Red Arrow was using "twin rockets" which is apparently a pretty new field, but he is surprised that Tim Casey could have made a mistake, and ominously suggests that it "could be sabotage".

Scott's eyes slide over, exclaiming "Sabotage?" and Gordon actually gets a line, asking, "What makes you think that…?" Jeff is apparently as surprised as anyone else that Gordon got to say something, and replies that the Red Arrow is a "powerful weapon" and that some people (who could they be?) "would like to see it out of action for a long time.

Naturally, the next thing we see is the Hood's secret temple hideout. The Hood has dressed up in all his golden finery to treat the dodgy General to a slap up banquet, and the General says appreciatively, "You have served me well!" The Hood would rather like some payment for the services he's rendered so far, and the General indulges him by opening a little treasure chest stuffed with shiny gold. The Hood's eyes get all excited again, and the criminal reaches for it, but jerks away when the General rudely snaps the lid shut. If looks could kill, he'd be one dead fascist dictator. The General explains that he wants another favour, telling the Hood that Red Arrow Two will be going out on tests soon, and "it too must fail". The Hood frantically assures him that "it will!" and the General promises him the casket of gold if he manages it.

Back on Tracy Island, Brains is sitting in his lab with Alan and Braman (the robot Brains built in "Sun Probe"), when they notice there's something headed for their base. Alan's wearing his most retina-bothering jacket, and thinks the object is heading for them at a fair speed, but Brains suggests it's heading to a nearby island called Moyla. Hmm.

The Red Arrow controversy seems to have stirred up old memories for Jeff, as he chats to Scott and Virgil about the old Moon shots (the mind boggles) he used to do with Tim Casey. Scott helps out the exposition a little more by asking if Tim Casey knows anything about the "International Rescue setup". Jeff snorts, of course not, and points out how top secret their policy is, plus Tim Casey is in the armed forces. Scott qualifies his question by remarking that as Jeff and Tim Casey had been buddies, "you might have talked it over with him." Jeff doesn't really reply to this as Alan's portrait starts to flash, and Jeff flicks a switch which reveals a map of the island in place of his son's face. It's quickly clear that a small dot of light – the aircraft – is heading straight for them! Scott goes back to his clipped sounding voice, "We're not expecting visitors?" and Jeff agrees that they aren't, "Unless it's some more of Tin-Tin's admirers" (which appears to be a sly dig at the events of "End of the Road").

Jeff opens up his desk microphone to chat to Alan and Brains, and Brains says the unidentified object is approaching on "Flight path 408," which Scott quickly notes is not a commercial one. Scott has some impressive knowledge, there! Jeff agrees that the flight is unusual, and Virgil wants to know what they're going to do. Jeff grumpily says, "What do you expect us to do? Intercept?" and adds that as long as the base remains undiscovered, an attack on the island is unlikely. Although, Jeff, how would you know? Really?

Virgil points out that there's one thing they really should do, and Jeff more cheerfully asks what that is. Scott and Virgil chorus, "Operation Cover-up!" Aww, and Jeff agrees and makes the boys' portraits change to their relaxed golfer poses. Now we see a yellow two-man jet is approaching and Brains adds that it's now "heading straight for our base".

Scott, Virgil and Jeff are now all on the balcony to watch the jet land. Scott exclaims, "Here he comes!" and then the pilot pushes it into a dive. Scott shouts, "We're being attacked!" and Jeff yells "Down!" and they all hit the deck as the music emphasises how dangerous and lethal this could be. We see the pilot flick a 'missile' switch, but then the music becomes cute again. It wasn't a missile at all, but one of those sky-banners, and it streams out behind the plane, reading "Greetings Jeff Tracy". We can just about tell that Tim Casey is in the passenger seat as the jet slowly glides above the villa.

Scott sits up off the floor, demanding to know "What happened?" as they weren't attacked. Jeff gets it, chuckling that only Tim Casey would do a joke like this, and tells the boys, "It looks like we've got a visitor". Luckily for Tim Casey, IR don't have robotic defences designed to shoot someone who dives at their secret base!

On a more ominous note, the next thing we see is a rain-swept metal tower, labelled "British Telecom Ltd: Television Radio Tower". The Hood's polar cleaning van is parked below it, and there's creepy, sneaky music as the camera zooms towards a man in a dark raincoat, standing in front of the tower, who in no way appears to be taking a leak. Of course, it's the Hood, and as he sneers "Gooood," he sets a little whirring machine going. Little whirring machines are never good things on this show! He calls the tower control room, naming them 'Sky Control' and the two men inside chat to him via the 'Sound only selected' part of the videophone. I always liked the little lightning forks on the sign for 'Sound only Selected". The Hood speaks in a distinctly Welsh accent when he lies that they "shouldn't have anything to worry about in tomorrow's storm".

Sky Control thank him and say they feel a "lot happier now", as the Hood was meant to fixing a dodgy stanchion on the tower. Wonder what he did with that guy? The Hood wishes them a good night, then gloats that all he has to do is "wait for the next test of Red Arrow", while his eyes light up in the shadows. Yikes. It's a foolproof plan, as always, Hoody, provided no one spots the gigantic gizmo buzzing away at eye level.

Back on Tracy Island, Jeff is chilling out next to the pool with Tim Casey. Casey's still worried about the Red Arrow test the next day, and still can't figure how the last tragedy happened. Brains has also been working on the "mystery," and shows up with a possible answer, having gone over the Red Arrow blueprints for clues. I have to wonder if the Air Force is entirely happy with Casey giving these top secret documents to his millionaire chum's pet scientist? There must have been a lot of forms to fill out! Anyway, Brains can't find anything wrong, and Jeff concludes that it was sabotage. Brains agrees that it was probably a "homing device" that the pilot was unaware of. Brains has created plans for a detector to see if this is the case, and Casey agrees, sending it back to the airfield with his co-pilot, Goddard. He hopes it will "do the trick". Again, there's probably a mountain of Health & Safety paperwork to fill out. As the jet takes off, Goddard hopes that this will have "the saboteurs licked now". Pilot speak is hilarious.

Back at the Telecom Tower of Terror, the controller with the glasses, Jim, is glad about the supposedly fixed stanchion, as there's a storm coming and they would have waved about "like a palm tree in a monsoon". His colleague, Stan, tells him to check the scanner as the pressure's dropping and the storm has already reached Iceland. Stan quips that they're in for a "swinging time".

At the Red Arrow Two test site, the danger is mounting as the second jet is unveiled to more depressing music than last time. Commander Norman sends Goddard on his way (so Casey went holidaying with the test pilot!) and says that if he had his way, Colonel Casey would be there too! He must miss getting called Norman instead of sir. So, Red Arrow Two takes off, to certain doom!

A stock-footage thundercloud booms above the Telecom tower, and Stan is sure they're about to be engulfed by the storm. Just then, Jim spots a cyclone force disruption which is unlikely to be caused just by the storm. Of course, Red Arrow Two approaches and the 'cyclonic force indicator' goes berserk. The two controllers figure it might be an aircraft, although there aren't any flight paths for miles around. As they ponder, the Red Arrow continues towards them.

Goddard is losing control of the jet, realising, "This plane is flying itself!" and at this point, I realise that the Hood's missed a trick and should be using this gadget to capture International Rescue craft! D'oh.

Commander Norman warns Goddard that this is the same trouble as before (and also similar to the problems with the Fireflash in Operation Crash Dive?) and informs the pilot he's already eighty miles off course. He orders him to eject and point the craft into the ground. As they take action, Brains' diversion detector seems to confirm that an evil device is affecting the controls. Then Goddard ejects to safety.

In the Telecom Tower, Stan tells Jim that he's checked and thinks that all the static could be doing it, except…just then, Norman calls them from London airport. He warns them that there's an unmanned aircraft in their "vicinity". They receive this news a little incredulously, but Stan doesn't want to waste time and sends for the lift, although Jim still reckons it's a "million to one chance we'd get hit". Stan just wants the elevator. Now.

There's a frantic race against time as they wait for the elevator to climb the tower, and rain batters the outside of the structure while the Red Arrow Two hurtles toward them. The two men get a LOT MORE anxious when Norman tells them that the jet is definitely going to collide with them. Jim repeatedly hits the lift call button, which we all know never helps a bit.

Commander Norman still can't believe that it's happened again and figures that whatever has pulled the second Red Arrow off course "must have fantastic power". He hears that Goddard has landed safely and wants to see him "right away".

The Red Arrow is finally starting to crash. Stan looks freaked out as they hear it get closer. Jim exclaims that "it's too late! Hang on!" and the fighter jet hits them square on, sending bits of metal and tower shattering in all directions. They were lucky it didn't hit them in the tower itself, instead causing it to splinter in the middle and sway dangerously.

Stan and Jim have survived and cling on for dear life, and both seem unharmed. Stan is convinced that the place will "go over at any minute" and realises that they're trapped!

At a far sunnier London airport, where it's also daylight, Norman interrogates Goddard, who confirms that Brains' 'Diversion Detector' was working and that something was moving the Red Arrow. Norman absorbs this and hopes they'll accept it as evidence at the enquiry. I'm sure they will, if all the proper forms are above-board! Norman's assistant tells them that the Red Arrow Two has hit the telecom relay tower and that they're lost contact with the men inside. Norman doesn't know how to save them, and muses that a helicopter (not a heli-jet then? I thought this was the future!) would be no good in the storm. Er, Norman, are we going to call IR perhaps?

In the rocking tower, cups of tea spill and smash as the tower office rolls back and forth. Jim has now lost his glasses, and Stan is trying to fix the radio so that they can call International Rescue. So he has the right idea, at least! Jim wonders what even they could do "in a storm like this".

On Tracy Island, Alan and Scott are chatting on comfy cushions on the floor, and Tin-Tin teases them, asking where they get all their "energy". Alan jokes that they've just finished an "exhausting" game of checkers, and Scott adds that they're "conserving" their energy for a walk around the island that they promised the Colonel that evening. Just as we learn that Casey's still with Jeff at the pool, John's portrait eyes start to flash. Shouldn't they be on vibrate or something, given that we're meant to be on 'Operation Cover-up'?

By the pool, Tim Casey admires the island but is baffled by what they do all day. He figures they need something to "occupy" themselves with. Jeff innocently muses, "Yeah…" as he hopes that Casey doesn't notice that his drink's mixing stick has started flashing like a rubbish Christmas tree. Jeff immediately excuses himself and legs it up to the lounge.

Alan is grumpily worried that "this would have to happen while there's a visitor on the island." And, apparently, no contingency plans, again. Tin-Tin is "sure" that they could trust Colonel Casey, nice poncho and pigtails combo she's wearing, too. Scott cuts in that "that's not the point" and reminds them that IR is meant to be "a secret organisation". Just then Jeff arrives and asks, "What's up, Scott?"

Scott tells him – the emergency call, two men are trapped, etc. and Alan excitedly butts in, adding that the "weather conditions are awful" and make conventional rescue "impossible". Jeff is sadder that he'll now have to tell Casey yet another Red Arrow has failed, but he quickly moves on to the rescue. He sends Scott to prepare for launch and gets Alan to fetch Virgil. He then decides to use Tin-Tin to distract Tim Casey, and doesn't care how she does it! Oh boy.

Scott begins a very quiet launch procedure. I don't rate the chances for the two guys in the tower, either, this is taking hours!

Jeff orders to Virgil to get moving, and to be ready as soon as Tin-Tin has the Colonel out of the way. Let's just take one more second to appreciate Virgil's chunky light blue jumper and jeans combo. I can only assume it was a bit chilly on the tropical island that afternoon, or he was right beneath the aircon vent all day? Thunderbird One rolls silently into position ready for launch, and Thunderbird Two selects Pod 3, and then Scott and Virgil just, er, wait.

Tin-Tin and Tim Casey are in scuba gear, heading into the ocean. She lies extensively about a "water mamba" that's been spotted in the area, and that he must see one before he leaves. Before the Colonel can make a protest she cries out, "There it is!" and dives into the water. Casey frantically follows, and Tin-Tin tells Jeff that she'll be taking the Colonel to the caves, and to let her know "when the boys come back". Jeff congratulates her on her work and tells Scott he's clear to go. Music is also go again. LAUNCH!

Thunderbird Two calls Scott, and Scott's already spoken to the danger zone, noting that local weather conditions are "very bad". He muses that it "must be tough on top of that tower now," and he's not wrong. A violent gust of wind sends poor bespectacled Jim toppling and the poor guy whacks his head, hard.

Next scene, and Thunderbird One's wings are opening to allow Scott to land near the stricken tower. Hopefully he's out of crash range? Scott tells Virgil that he's landed and will be directing the rescue from inside Thunderbird One instead of Mobile Control. Virgil says he'll be there in 45 minutes, and we see Alan is checking out some paperwork next to him in TB2. Scott tells Virgil to "channel in" the Remote Camera, which he'll be sending up to take a look at Jim and Stan. The camera was last seen in "Pit of Peril," and Scott watches the live feed with a serious expression. Thunderbird Two draws nearer, and Alan and Virgil are watching the same footage. Alan points out that the tower's main stanchion is "nearly gone," and Virgil wants to see what "shape" the two men are in. Scott agrees and tells Virgil to land on the west side, "away from the impact area." (They hope.)

Inside the ailing tower, Stan and Jim wait anxiously for IR and then spot the little remote camera outside. There's hope! Virgil then tells Scott that he's approaching, and lands in a blur of rain and smoke. Very cool. Even Scott says, "Nice landing," before adding in more typical, rapid-fire speak, "Make it snappy now, this thing isn't going to last much longer". Phew. A chilledout Virgil replies that "We're on our way". Thunderbird Two's pod opens up and reveals one of the show's tiniest pod vehicles. It seems to be a teeny cannon. While Alan drives it from inside its glass-covered cabin, Virgil is perched outside to face the elements, protected only by his white IR-branded raincoat.

Still safe and dry inside Thunderbird One, Scott sends the remote camera up to help Alan with the angle, and while it's clear that they don't have long, it's also not easy to tell what their plan is. Jim is also baffled, he worries that if IR don't act soon, he and Jim will "be down there with them. In bits." Nice. Stan also has no idea how IR will get up to them.

Inside the pod vehicle, Alan asks a soggy Virgil if he's OK – maybe he feels guilty? Virgil responds with a dismissive "Yeah, yeah," and Alan points the cannon upright (no giggling at the back of the room, now) and works out the best angle, allowing for wind speed. Alan then tells Scott to withdraw the camera, and this makes Stan and Jim fear that IR have given up. IR? Give up? Never!

Scott orders, "It's International Rescue, all systems go! Good luck!" and Alan responds with "Rescue…go!" and fires. Something leaps from the cannon nozzle and smashes through the wobbling tower window. Thankfully it doesn't brain either of the men. After a moment's confusion, Jim and Stan work out what's been delivered. They have a capsule each, which has split open to reveal a backpack with PUT ON NOW written in big letters. Some awesome puppet hand acting going on as the two men grab them, and Jim uses a rope walk to get his.

Virgil and Alan wait anxiously below as more of the tower gives way. An exasperated Virgil says, "What's keeping these guys?" and Scott, still cosy in his cockpit, mutters, "Come on…"

Up above, the two men slide open a window and Stan tells Jim to go first! So he is the boss, then. Jim climbs out just as the rest of the tower seems to give way, and with a cry of, "Here I go!" he pulls the pin as the instructions say. He flies upwards into the stormy air! As more of the tower comes down, and Alan and Virgil seem to be a bit too close to it, Stan also zooms into the ether.

NOW the tower comes crashing down and Scott – in a CRASH ZOOM – yells, "Look out!" Alan and Virgil narrowly miss getting squished under a big pile of falling metal, and Virgil takes a nasty looking fall backwards. More worryingly, there is no sign of the two tower controllers. Scott joins his brothers out in the sopping rain, and he doesn't even have his waterproof on like they do! As his uniform gets drenched, he's clearly upset. "We were just seconds too late." Virgil commiserates, "This is the first time International Rescue has failed". Aww, guys.

Alan is the only one still looking up, and he suddenly exclaims, "No, fellas, look! Look!" and we see that Stan and Jim are floating down towards them on the jet-pack thingie. An extremely soggy Scott (steady, ladies) says more triumphantly, "We did it! They're safe!" Yay! Someone might need to catch them, though.

Before the triumphant finish is over, and the storm clears, Virgil abruptly notices something weird amongst the wreckage, asking, "What's that over there?" The Hood is totally busted. Sort of.

Jeff is on the Island, wishing out loud to Brains that there was "some way to vindicate Tim Casey". He hopes that the rescue will have brought something to light, and when Brains asks how the rescue is going, he gets Jeff muttering that he doesn't like to disturb the boys with "needless calls" during a rescue – only to be interrupted by Virgil's radio call.

Virgil tells him that they've saved the two men, summing up Jeff's questions with a quick, "Yes, they're fine." He's more excited about something odd they've found, and Virgil sends a picture of the device to Jeff's desk screen. Brains examines it, going, "Hmm," a lot before identifying it as the cause of the Red Arrow's test failures. Jeff instructs Virgil to tell the police that the saboteur is most likely in the area of the relay tower. Well, I doubt the police will need more extensive instructions than that, right?

Exciting chase music plays as the Hood speeds away in his ridiculous North Pole cleaning van, still wearing his dodgy disguise. He cackles, "At last! The Red Arrow is destroyed!" and he can't wait to get his mitts on the General's gold. As he zooms through the English countryside, a police car breaks cover and speeds after him, sirens blaring. The Hood is determined that the police will never catch him, and speeds up.

A bored-sounding policeman makes a radio call requesting interception of the Hood's van. A reply confirms he will be intercepted at a crossroads, and the Hood soon sees the roadblock. Convinced it's "an ambush!" he bursts through it, and his van handles like a brick as he does. Tyres squeal on the wet road, but he seems to have escaped for now. The Hood calls General Bron, calling himself Agent 671. He thinks that IR have discovered something at the rescue zone and have sent cops after him. The Hood sounds a bit Welsh again. The General calls the Hood a "fool," saying "don't you know you can never get away from International Rescue?" which makes our boys sound like they have dodgy New Jersey family connections. The Hood boasts that he has already thrown off the police. However, he may have slightly misjudged the situation…

The policeman who chased the Hood in the car stops at the roadblock, and the policemen guarding the roadblock say they "tried to warn" the Hood that the bridge was down but he blasted through. The cop in the car says they'd "better go and see what's become of him".

In a hilarious piece of comic timing, the Hood hurtles off the broken bridge and crashes into the water. OOOPS.

As the North Pole van rapidly sinks, the General's angry voice gurgles over the Hood's radio, calling him a "fool" after hearing the giveaway 'bang' of the crash. The General sneers that "not only" has the Hood let IR ruin his plans, but he has proved he "cannot even drive a car!" He tells him he must fend for himself, now. The Hood looks too beaten up by the crash to even protest, and it couldn't have happened to a nicer guy!

Back on Tracy Island, some very quiet landings are taking place. The pool covers over Thunderbird One again. Operation Coverup must resume.

In the caves, Tin-Tin's questionable game of 'hunt the water mamba' is wearing thin on Colonel Casey, perhaps as he realises that she actually did bring him there for water mambas and nothing else. Tin-Tin tries to string it out a little longer as he starts to get antsy about the extended swim, but before the Colonel can lose his rag, she gets a little light flashing in her face mask. This is a signal all right. She smoothly concurs that, "perhaps we ought to be getting back".

In the lounge, Jeff completes Operation Cover-up and reminds everyone that everything must be just as it was before the rescue, so really they were lucky no one got a concussion when the tower collapsed, or lost a limb or anything! Scott has already nabbed a newspaper and is in full lounging mode. As he did earlier, Alan just can't wait to give Colonel Casey the scoop about the Red Arrow saboteur, although Jeff calls dibs on informing the guy, prompting some top eye-rolling from Alan.

Colonel Casey enters the lounge with Tin-Tin, and Jeff feigns surprise that they'd disappeared without saying where they'd gone. Casey bashfully admits that he and Tin-Tin "went for a swim" and should probably have told them about it. Jeff cuts right to telling him that the Red Arrow sabotage case has been "split wide open," and when Colonel Casey asks who he has to thank, Virgil gets the scoop in instead! Virgil tells him that IR found the Red Arrow was being drawn off course by the homing beacon. Tim Casey is mightily impressed, calling IR's work "real enterprising" and he bets that the boys "sometimes wish" that they "belonged to an organisation like that". Alan agrees with this a bit too much, adding sarcastically that "it would give us something to 'occupy' ourselves with". I think he may have overheard Casey and Jeff's little chat! Scott seems to give Alan a warning look for this, especially when Alan goes on to say, "Nothing ever happens around here". Hmm.

Jeff quickly adds that the research base wants Tim Casey back for "reinstatement". Yay! Casey wonders that things were "sure happening" while they were out swimming. Tin-Tin gives rather a coy reply of, "they certainly were, Colonel". Gulp.

Tim Casey takes off again from the island, and he must have had a 2-4-1 deal on the banners because this one reads, "Thanks Jeff Tracy!" and you know, I think he may have known the truth all along.

This was a strong episode, with the sneaky Hood being his usual useless self, and unusually working for a dodgy dictatorship. He's a real bad guy and thoroughly deserves his watery comeuppance, although as usual we can assume he gets away again. Edge of Impact is a solid story without too much filler, and it's always nice to get some back story on Jeff Tracy's space days. It was sweet when they thought they'd failed at the rescue, but of course, IR never do – at least not up to this episode!


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Impact is right! I've never seen so many plane crashes in a single episode of our beloved show. It appears initially that Colonel Tim Casey is a major screw up. Scott wonders why the faults in the Red Arrow aircraft could not have been discovered before take-off. Okay, well, we know better, right? We are privy to the other side of the story. There has been some er, um, interference. Yes, old baldy is back! And where did he get those eyebrows if he's bald? Did he forget to completely remove one of his latest disguises? Did the marionette makers have lots of leftover hair to sweep up and reuse? Or, is that where he keeps his favourite pets? I shudder to think what they might be. But, what Scott really wants to know is...WHAT HAPPENED? Well calm down my high strung jet jock; no more caffeine for you!

In one of only two episodes where The Hood is actually working for someone else, sabotage is still the name of the game. His boss (THE GENERAL?) has developed an aircraft to rival the new Red Arrow jets developed by the U.S. military. He doesn't want the competition and so orders The Hood to eliminate the threat.

The first disaster occurs at the airport we have seen used many times as London Airport. The Red Arrow is drawn off course during a test flight. It returns to its hangar only to crash and burst into flames. The pilot is killed as his oxygen system had also been compromised and he passed out before he could eject. The reason for this fault in the system is not fully explained. Everyone is baffled by the malfunctions and Tim Casey is effectively "fired" as the head of the Red Arrow project. He decides to pay his old buddy, Jeff Tracy, a visit and flies to Tracy Island…unannounced. After scaring everyone half to death by swooping down as if he were going to attack, Colonel Casey deploys a greeting in the form of a banner. Everyone is relieved as they had no idea who was approaching their home base.

Jeff and the Colonel are relaxing by the pool with a drink when Jeff gets an alert on his swizzle stick. He excuses himself to go take care of whatever it is with no explanation to his guest. It turns out another Red Arrow jet has been thrown off course. Jeff explains that these jets are powered by twin rockets, which is a new technology. This time the pilot manages to eject but the plane still crashes into a radio tower, trapping two men as it threatens to come crashing down. Ironically, the tower is owned by a company which later became a real communications company in the U.K. Jeff has to keep Tim Casey from finding out that he and his family are really International Rescue, so he tells Tin-Tin to distract him. Meanwhile, our heroes sit quietly in their rescue crafts, waiting for the "all clear." It is so quiet in fact, that the usual montage of pre-launch musical selections is not even played. Tin-Tin takes the Colonel skin-diving to see the rare Water Mamba creature, which she has invented just for this particular occasion.

Thunderbirds One and Two arrive on the scene of the crash and Scott has to remain inside Thunderbird One to use Mobile Control because of a bad rain storm. The tower is starting to fall to pieces and there is no time to lose. Scott uses the remote camera in Thunderbird One to fly up and catch a glimpse of the two relay operators they have been told are trapped inside at the top of the tower. This device always reminds me of the robotic, computerized pets we see for sale in some of the more upscale stores. It even has four legs. Video is sent back to Scott confirming the men are there and still alive. Alan and Virgil use the Booster Mortar to shoot a tube containing Low-altitude Escape Harnesses up to the two men. It comes crashing through their window and the men grab for the equipment. Just then, the radio tower collapses completely. In one of the most poignant scenes in Thunderbirds, the three Tracy brothers stand in the rain, grieving for the two men they have failed to save. Their grief turns to elation however when they realize the men in the tower have donned the harnesses and are now floating safely back down to the ground. Yay, a happy ending for all! Virgil discovers a device at the base of the tower that doesn't belong there and it's determined this is the cause of the plane crashes. It seems to have the effect of drawing an aircraft in range to it. Yay again!

Back at the Tracy Villa Colonel Casey is wondering why Tin-Tin is still looking for Water Mambas after they've already explored twenty different underwater caves. She is about to delay him further when she gets the word from Jeff that the boys have returned from their mission and the coast is clear. Upon their return, Jeff tells Tim Casey that he has been reinstated, as the real cause of the crashes has been determined. Colonel Casey remarks that the Tracy boys probably wish they belonged to an organization like International Rescue. Alan remarks, tongue in cheek, how nice that would be as "Nothing ever happens around here." Tim Casey leaves and bids his friend a fond farewell, deploying another banner in flight. All is once again 'business as usual' on the island. That is, of course, unless you think about that outlandish diving outfit Tin-Tin was wearing. Tin-Tin, Grandma's grandma called. She'd like her bathing cap collection back.

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