This episode doesn’t mess around. Instantly, the title card come up over a sandy looking patch of rocks, and a dangerous style of music plays, as if something dreadful is about to happen. In one more ‘ba-ba-baaaah’ we spot a small boy lying on a ledge some way down the cliff face. The boy starts to sit up, thinks out loud, “Where am I…?” – which reveals he has an Australian accent. He realises he has fallen and hurt his leg. At least, that’s how it appears right now. He reaches out for a bag which has fallen close to him, albeit worryingly near the cusp of the crumbling ledge. After a tense moment, he grabs it – “Made it!” – and pulls out a radio. He instantly calls for International Rescue. Hooray!

Up in Thunderbird Five, John picks up the kid’s call for help. The boy says he’s on a ledge which is starting to collapse, and that he’s lost and scared. “Please don’t let me die…send help!” he begs. John tries to ask him for more information, but he has no luck getting through to the kid.

When he hangs up on John, the boy says, in a much less worried voice and to no one in particular, “Gee, I hope they picked up my message.”

It’s a breezy day on Tracy Island and the palm trees are aswaying as John reports the boy’s distress call. Jeff asks Scott, perched on the desk, what he thinks. Scott wishes they knew the boy’s exact location, which allows John to be a smartass, saying, “Fortunately he stayed on the air long enough to get a fix on him.” Within about a mile of the call location, in fact. Jeff reckons that’s “close enough,” and sends Scott off to help. Scott seems rather chipper, calling out, “Australia, here I come!” as he whizzes around in the entrance to Thunderbird One.

As Scott leaves, John is concerned that the boy could “panic and fall,” and Jeff instructs him to listen out in case the kid calls back, so they can trace the call more precisely. Now Thunderbird One blasts off to Australia.

The kid is still on the ledge and worries that now it’s almost dark and he “should have been found by now.” His calls for help echo across the desolate Australian landscape, bouncing off impassive crags and sunbleached rock. Nice set design here, too. We see Thunderbird One zooming across the sky to his rescue, and Scott reports he’s three minutes from the area. Jeff tells him to try to locate the boy on the scanner. As Scott comes in low, he opens the hatch window in his cockpit. There’s some slightly creepy music playing as he scans the area on his video screen. Before very long, the kid sees him! Scott gets a CRASH ZOOM and exclaims, “I’ve spotted him!” He also sounds a little nonplussed as he adds that the boy is “on his feet…he’s waving at me.”

The kid, on the dodgy ledge, is suitably impressed by Thunderbird One’s appearance, and Scott informs Jeff that he won’t need any help finishing the rescue. It’s almost sunset over the desert. A rope drops to rescue the little boy from the ledge, and before you can even say, ‘Isn’t that rather low-tech for our IR boys? Wouldn’t they have jet-packs or something?’ the main twist in the plot is revealed. The kid who called out IR reaches the top of the cliff and tells his rescuer, “You arrived just in time…you saved my life.” Is it Scott who’s rescued him? Not unless he’s shrunk, gone blond and de-aged about twenty years.

The little boy who made the call has actually been rescued by an even littler boy, dressed in a homemade IR uniform, who tells him, “That’s all right, sonny.” Clearly he’s paid attention to the plot of the series in most weeks – the littler boy also pushes away the first boy’s eager offer of a reward of a “couple of million or so?” and only asks that his rescuees “don’t try and follow me when I leave here.” Out of the mouths of babes, etc, eh, Scott? Scott has of course been watching this whole game whilst lurking in some bushes nearby, and after the little kid adds, “Please, no photographs,” our field commander steps out in full view of the kids. His response, “Now I’ve seen everything,” indicates he’s a little charmed by the whole thing, but also aggravated. “So you never did need rescuing? I think somebody had better do some explaining.” Uh oh. Time to talk to your dad, kids.

The only thing I’ve never quite understood about the previous scene is why the first kid didn’t really seem to acknowledge that he’d just seen a Thunderbird machine, with a guy inside it, looking down on him, just before he was ‘rescued.’ Only a few options there, really. Either he just didn’t know what it was, and ignored it, or he really can’t tell the difference between fantasy and reality! Yes, yes, I know, who are we to talk…anyway, back to Scott being serious.

The two would-be International Rescue members sit either side of their dad, Mr Williams, who is apologising profusely to Scott while he explains the situation behind the fake call. Mr Williams takes the blame and Scott gently points out that “blame” isn’t the point, and that someone who really needed help “could have lost their life” while he came here on a rescue that wasn’t necessary. Williams agrees that he isn’t trying to “make excuses” but asks Scott to look at it from the boys’ perspective. Depending on what canon story you subscribe to, it’s clear that Scott (and Jeff) would identify with this backstory – particularly the part where Tony and Bob’s mother died and Williams had to be a “mother and a father” for them. Williams adds that life is pretty “dreary” out in the back end of an Australian nowhere for such “lively” boys, so he “tried to make it up to them” by building the walkie-talkies so they could “amuse themselves.” Naturally their favourite game to play at is “International Rescue.”

The littlest boy, Tony, eagerly tells Scott that they play International Rescue “all the time” and their dad practically makes Scott blush by saying that he and the other members of IR are “their heroes” and “the greatest in their book.” Awww. A little rattled by such open admiration, Scott tries to remind them that although he understands the situation, the game could have “had very serious results.” The boys say they “really are sorry” and want to know what Scott intends to do with them! Scott muses that “there are several things I should do…” but explains that he’s decided to take them on “a little trip” to International Rescue’s secret base - once he’s checked with their dad anyway. Scott seems to think this will show them just “how much trouble a false alarm causes”. Not sure how it shows them that, it actually seems more like a reward for falsely calling IR to the scene, doesn’t it? But anyway, just like the audience, the kids can’t believe this is happening and beg their dad to let them go with Scott. Cheerful music plays and the kids cheer, “We’re really gonna ride in Thunderbird One!”

Scott must have stayed at the Williams place overnight, because it’s bright daylight as Scott blasts off with the two boys in the cockpit. Their dad waves them off holding a steaming cup of coffee. The kids are in their Sunday best, tucked away in a pair of seats under Scott’s chair. Have to wonder how they cope as One shifts from horizontal to vertical? Anyway, they’re on their way for a very special tour of Tracy Island.

Jeff has organised an impromptu dress parade in the lounge. He’s got Gordon, Alan and Virgil lined up in their uniforms, looking a bit like half a rainbow, while he sternly instructs them to give the kids a “real warm welcome.” They all respond, “Yes, Father,” although I keep expecting one of them to roll their eyes. Now Brains lets them know that Scott is two minutes away.

Scott tells Tony and Bob they’re almost there and asks if they “know the drill?” the two kids are wearing eye masks and Scott repeats that IR is “top secret” and must stay that way as “too many of the wrong guys would like to get their hands on our secrets.” And your equipment, Scott, don’t forget that. The boys tell him they’re ready and that he can “take her down now.” This makes Scott chuckle as he brings One in to land.

They’re fully prepared for the two boys to arrive. Tin-Tin marvels at the huge spread of food that Grandma has laid on for them, the table is groaning under sugary deliciousness and Tin-Tin thinks there is “enough food to feed an army.” Grandma, having clearly had some experience feeding hungry young boys, concedes it’d be too much for an army, but she’s not so sure it can satisfy “two growing youngsters,” and laments that she gets little opportunity to practice her cooking skills on a “secret base.” Grandma wonders where the boys are now, and Tin-Tin sounds highly amused as she says “Uncle Alan” is giving them the “grand tour” in the monorail.

‘Uncle Alan’ is about to get his ego heavily pricked as he shows off to the two kids. The monorail takes him, Tony and Bob around the launch bays, starting with Thunderbird Two’s Pod vehicles, most of which we recognise from their previous adventures. Alan rather sniffily calls these their “minor craft” and promises something “much more impressive” in a moment. He’s not wrong – they go through a tunnel and come out onto a long beauty pass past the gigantic form of Thunderbird Three. We get some appropriately grand music as they glide around the big red rocket, because it really is a beautiful and HUGE machine. Tony, the littlest kid, is in considerable awe. He is also sure that “Scott’s the only one allowed to pilot that one!” Scott has clearly made a big impression on the kids here. Aww. We see that the ‘Intertalk’ radio is on, its light flashing, as Alan puts them straight, saying that actually he is in charge of the spaceship. They don’t seem to believe he’s allowed to pilot it “all by himself” and Alan admits that he does take Scott with him “as a rule” but “just to keep me on course.” Uh huh. This prompts some rather dry snarking from Scott, who was probably listening in the whole time (and, I’d imagine, with Virgil, as Alan earlier dismissed the Pod vehicles as “minor craft”). Scott says, “Sir…if you’ll pardon the intrusion, sir, would you tell the boys their lunch is ready? Sir.” Grin. The kids get it. One decimated lunch table later, Grandma declares to Tin-Tin, “We only just had enough!” Jeff is sitting next to Tony and Bob at the big coffee table, while the Tracy brothers are sitting opposite them on the sofa, apparently just watching the kids eat (although I think Virg has probably managed to snaffle a tray of something!) The kids declare it’s the best meal they ever had, and Brains asks if they enjoyed the tour. Bob says it was “super” and wishes he lived there. Tony says that they now totally understand why they mustn’t call out International Rescue “without a good reason,” and Jeff figures that this makes the (massive security) risk “worthwhile.” And remember, all you kids at home, don’t you crank-call the fire brigade, police or an ambulance either! Jeff reminds them how “privileged” they were to come to this top secret base, and adds that this was why they had to wear the blindfolds, so they wouldn’t know what part of the world they were in. Hopefully they haven’t looked out of a window, then? That would rule out the Arctic and anywhere near a mountain, wouldn’t it?

Now Jeff reckons it’s time they were returning home, and he hands this job to Virgil. Before they go, he tells Tony and Bob it’s been good having them, and the kid say thanks and everyone waves and says goodbye. Awww. Scott says he’ll show them to the passenger lift chute for Thunderbird Two (where IS it?) and we get a brief TB2 launch sequence, where Virgil tells his two re-blindfolded charges “Here we go, boys!” before he blasts off on the home trip.

Back in the Tracy lounge, Scott thanks Jeff for letting him bring the boys to the Island. Jeff is pleased they had time to do it, because when they don’t “it’ll be a sad day.” I think that means that way too much of their work is automated. There’s a slow crash zoom in on Jeff as he also proceeds to do his trademark jinxing of the events to follow, telling Scott “Besides, a thing like that’s not gonna cause any harm…” D’oh! They cut away before Scott slaps his own forehead.

As Thunderbird Two thunders into the sky, the rushing of its machinery is neatly cut into the rushing of newspapers printing. This printing press footage seems to be a recurring theme with Australian based episodes (well, “The Mighty Atom,” anyway) and the next shot is a close up on the World News headlines. It reports on Tony and Bob’s fake rescue incident with the headline ‘INTERNATIONAL RESCUE ANSWERS FALSE ALARM’ — confusingly, the date on the newspaper claims it’s 31 December 1964. Which is a debate for some other time, because I’m too busy trying to figure out how the press found out. There are some other headlines here which are also intriguing, the best of which being “Navy stops pirates” – have to wonder about Stingray there! It turns out that Tony and Bob are the ones reading about themselves in the news, and are excited to see a picture of their house on the front page. Who the hell is editing this paper? No pics of the kids? Anyway, they can’t wait to show their dad the issue, as he’s been locked in his office all day and hasn’t seen it yet. Also a plot point for later – if this house is so far out in the middle of nowhere, who the heck delivers the paper? My money’s on trained postal wallabies. Anyway, Williams finishes up his work for the day and is a little alarmed by the contents of the newspaper when the boys show the story to him. He worries that now the press have got hold of it, “people might start to suspect things…” Who could he be worrying about?

A certain master criminal with a penchant for epaulettes, gold lamé outfits and an eye for a good story, that’s who. The evil Hood gloats in his sinister temple hideout, looking at the same front page story – come to think of it, who the heck delivers his newspaper every day? – cackling at the idea that the Williams home is a described as a “weather station,” as he clearly understands it’s a more important building than that. Hoody reckons that the Williams house could be just what he “was looking for” and he is very tickled by the irony of International Rescue leading him to it. He snarks that he should share profits from these secrets with the Rescue team and this tickles him so much his eyes glow bright yellow. Eeep.

In outer space, a satellite pirouettes past the moon and the information is fed towards a building we last saw in “The Imposters.” A uniformed man in a room filled with a huge map and lots of flashing lights calls out that the Dunsley Tracker satellite is “now on standby,” and another man floats across the map on some sort of hover chair, which massively reminds me of the boss in Team America. It seems that these pictures of the orbit are being transmitted to Williams’ ‘weather station.’

Back in the Williams homestead, much cuter music plays as we learn that the kids really can’t spell. They’ve renamed their room ‘Internashnul Rescue’ HQ and they’re busy roleplaying again, and this time they have a lot more authentic detail to add! From a desk clearly based on the Tracy’s lounge setup, Bob tells Tony that it’s Tony’s turn to be rescued and wants to know where he’ll be going. Tony reckons “the old mine.” Oh no! Bob gruffly decides that this is a job for Thunderbird Two (aka their little go-kart painted up as Two!) and sends him off. They will meet again in thirty minutes.

Williams is looking at a machine spitting out the moon photos we saw earlier. He’s interrupted when Bob calls him over a radio link to ask if he’s in the “dark room.” Williams opens a video link and tells his son he’s very busy, and won’t be out for a “couple hours.” Bob is fine with this, but just wanted to tell him that he and Tony are going out to play. Williams correctly guesses that the game is “International Rescue,” and sternly reminds him what Mr Tracy said about using the radios for false calls. Bob is a little disgusted at the suggestion they’d do that, “We’re not kids, you know.” Fair enough. Williams gets back to work and Bob begins his ‘rescue.’

Someone sinister is watching the Williams house through a big pair of binoculars. It’s the Hood, of course, and he wants to be “sure where everyone is” before he makes any move on the secrets of the building. He spots Tony leaving and finds it “interesting” as he realises the little boy is heading straight for “Charity Springs Tin Mine,” according to the map. The Hood reckons that the mine will “keep the two boys out of the way.” Gulp.

Tony is soon at the mine entrance, which is already pretty lethal looking, given all the ‘Danger’ and ‘Land Subsidence’ warning notices plastered on every surface. Tony thinks there should be a “good place” to get rescued from “somewhere” (try standing still for five minutes) and while he searches, we see the ground is already giving way in places. The Hood is closing in as he drives his Jeep, and he’s in disguise, so you know he’s definitely up to no good at all! Once he meets Tony at the mine, he tells the boy he’s been sent to “survey” the mine and hams up his evilness to an extent that only a very stupid kid wouldn’t be suspicious. Hmm. The Hood claims to recognise Tony from his “picture in the paper” (love how he spits out that in a ‘friendly’ way) and he quizzes Tony about his brother. Tony innocently tells the Hood that he’s looking for a “good place to be rescued from,” and the Hood points him to the mine entrance. Don’t talk to strangers, kids!

Bob is on his way and clearly a Virgil fan as he speeds along in his Thunderbird Two-coloured go-kart. He narrates his adventure, saying, “Don’t worry, Tony, International Rescue are on their way.” He soon arrives at the mine and rapidly clocks the falling rubble and danger signs. He calls out for his brother, “I don’t think we should play around here.” The Hood surprises him and a more suspicious Bob demands to know who he is. The Hood again claims to be a surveyor and tells him that although he told Tony they could play here, he thinks it’s too dangerous. He recommends that Bob should “collect” Tony and go home, and asks if their father is at home right now. Bob is still highly suspicious, and the Hood bluffs that he may have to “go and see him” and, VERY suspiciously, asks, “He is alone, isn’t he?”

For some reason, this response makes Bob spill a bundle of information about how their dad won’t have visitors in the house (excepting would-be rescuers from International Rescue, I suppose) and that he’s usually in the “dark room,” which piques Hoody’s interest. He asks what’s in this room. Bob doesn’t know, but asks if his little brother went into the mine. This is confirmed and Bob runs off, creeped out as the Hood demands to know “where exactly is this ‘dark room’?” With Bob gone, the Hood grumpily supposes he can find the mysterious room on his own, and elects to deal with “those foolish boys” before he leaves. Dramatic pause! Those kids are in a lot of trouble.

Bob goes deeper into the dodgy mine. Rubble crumbles from the ceiling as he calls for his brother, telling him that “the game’s off!” and at this, Tony sticks out his head from behind a big piece of wood and calls he’s “down here”. The Hood then fires a grenade into the mine! Holy crap! The mine goes BOOM and the force of it violently blasts Tony and Bob off their feet and down a deep shaft. The Hood speeds away from the devastation. Will the kids be all right?

Back on Tracy Island, Gordon, Tin-Tin and Virgil are relaxing beside the pool. Gordon strums a guitar and sighs, “Ah, oh, this is the life!” and Tin-Tin teases that he shouldn’t get “too comfortable”. Virgil gets what she means, saying that whenever they get the chance to put their “feet up” they get an emergency call. For those interested, Virgil is reading an actual jazz magazine here, of the wholesome variety. Gordon jokes that if they do get a call then they can always pass it on to Tony and Bob, which prompts giggles from the other two, but is also rather sad considering they don’t realize the two kids could be under eighty tons of rubble even as they speak!

Unaware of the danger his children are in, Williams is talking to his bosses about the latest photographs showing the “installations” they’ve been searching for. Wow, there’s secret spy stuff going on and Lady Penelope is nowhere to be seen – I love this episode! The lieutenant at the spy base tells Williams they will arrange a “collection” of the secret material for the next day. Williams is pleased by this, as if it’s successful he’ll be returned to his old job and won’t just see his kids in the school holidays. Aww. He’s only a part time spy techie, then. Hope the money’s worth it. As Williams signs off, he hears the door open in the laboratory outside through his radio link. Of course, it’s the Hood!

As the Hood examines the cluttered lab space, there’s a slow, deliberate shot of some cutting equipment on the ground beside him. Just then Williams calls him on the video screen, and the surprised Hood spins round to meet Williams face to face. Williams demands to know what the Hood thinks he’s up to – the Hood then removes his mask. This is never a good thing. I do have to question why the Hood bothers with a mask at all, especially as he’s potentially being filmed. Maybe he needed to clear the way for some extra oomph in his evil powers, as his eyes glow and he starts to hypnotise poor Williams through the video image. The Hood orders the trapped spy to “open the door!” and his glowing eyes start to fill up the video image. Williams repeats to himself as a kind of mental defence, “turn off the screen” and there’s a brief battle of wills before Williams barely succeeds in shutting off the video link. The effort of resisting the Hood’s instructions has taken its toll, however, and Williams passes out entirely.

Back in the blown up mine, Tony and Bob appear to have survived the awful destruction in one piece. Less fortunately, their legs are now trapped underneath a solid wooden beam, and neither can get free. Bob sees Tony pull out one of the radios and reminds him about what “Mr Tracy” said about never using them again. Little Tony sensibly points out that this “is an emergency” and immediately radios International Rescue.

John picks up Tony’s frantic call for help and quickly recognises their voices. Tony gabbles about the man they met trapping them in the mine with a bomb. John is politely sceptical, “We told you not to involve us in your games…” he starts to say, but Tony promises, “This time it’s true!” and asks Bob to back him up. John doesn’t appear to hear the rocks crashing down around the boys and still refuses to help. Maybe Skippy the Kangaroo will be more use to those poor kids?

Tracy Island soon gets a call from John who reports the boys’ ‘fake’ call, admitting that the kids almost had him convinced. When he hangs up, Virgil claims to find the story completely unbelievable and is amazed that “John turns round and says he was almost ready to believe them!” I feel there’s some point scoring going on between the brothers in this episode. Yes, I’m probably reading too much into it. Anyway, a bit mean there, Virg. At least Jeff defends John’s outlook here, bringing up that he recalls when “they were youngsters” and tells them that when kids play games they really do believe in them.

Scott sounds like he’s about to defend how he and his brothers were “a couple of good kids” but it’s quickly clear he’s talking about Tony and Bob, and that he’s a little hurt that they would break their promise not to call IR again after everything he did for them. Aww. Jeff tells him not to take it to heart, that “boys will be boys,” and he suggests they go “get something to eat.” Perhaps Grandma hasn’t been able to stop cooking in bulk since Tony and Bob left the island?

Back at the ‘weather station,’ Mr Williams is still lying unconscious after his collapse, and his sons are starting to despair at their situation in the mine. Tony asks Bob why John didn’t believe them, and Bob reckons that “nobody” will find them and that they will “never” get out. Things look bleak all round as more rocks fall inside the mine.

Back at spy satellite HQ, a character puppet who played the volatile Col Lambert in The Imposters has returned reincarnated (with what sounds like Col Tim Casey’s voice!) and is congratulating the lieutenant who spoke to Williams on the “great news” from Australia. Col Jameson doesn’t like how long it will take to collect the photographs, but the lieutenant assures him they will be as safe as “Fort Knox” and that the tracking station is so far out in the Australian bush that he thinks tomorrow is “the earliest we can get there.” So who does deliver the Williams’ post and newspapers? Anyway, this doesn’t bode well for Williams’ current situation.

On cue, a light starts flashing from the tracking station. HQ is not expecting a call from Williams, who has now woken up and frantically asks for help. He tells them that “someone’s trying to get in here” and that he’s worried sick about his boys. The colonel demands to know what’s happened and orders the lieutenant to find out how fast they can get “some men” to Williams’ position. Williams explains the major problem with defending himself from the intruder, explaining that he “started to hypnotise me,” and that he doubts he can face him with a gun because of “those eyes.” Williams can hear the Hood outside now! As expected, the arch criminal is employing the cutting tools outside to burn his way in. No one in the Williams family is safe, and just to reinforce that, there’s another shot of Tony and Bob trying to dodge the falling rubble and big pieces of timber in the mine. Things do not look too hopeful.

Up in Thunderbird Five, John lets Jeff know that Tony and Bob “must have gone home for tea,” as they’ve stopped calling for help, and Jeff is satisfied that his “taking no notice” plan has worked.

At the tracking station, Williams is starting to panic as the Hood begins to burn through the door. The colonel is appalled that it will take a minimum of three hours to reach Williams, and two hours for anyone from the nearest town to get there – and using anyone from the town would blow “all our security.” The colonel lets Williams know that they can’t get him help for “several hours” and Williams points out, “he’s practically through!” The colonel orders him to hold on for as long as he can and to only burn or destroy the photos when he’s “absolutely certain” that the Hood is through, because the pictures are “vital.” They’re the goodies, remember, and who knows where the Hood will sell them. Whatever they are. Williams finally suggests calling International Rescue for help, as they “made it here in thirty-five minutes,” and he figures that, even if that is too late, it’s still “better than nothing.” The colonel agrees and says he’ll try to get permission for the idea.

While he does this we see Tony and Bob aren’t getting any safer, and after we do a long steady glide into the crumbling tunnel, Bob cries out, “It’s gonna collapse! On top of us!”

As the danger reaches a peak, Col Jameson contacts John in Thunderbird Five, and then we immediately see Jeff putting it all together. “Of course” he realises that Tony and Bob “must really be in the mine,” and this prompts a two-hander from Scott and Virgil. Scott agrees that “Someone wanted to get them out of the way….” And Virgil finishes, “While he…gets the secret photographs.” Jeff agrees that they must act, as even though they are not a “political organisation,” the two little boys are in danger and the call cannot be ignored. So, yes, IR’s ‘not getting involved’ political policy is upheld about as much as Captain Kirk’s Prime Directive. Jeff sends Scott to “look after Williams” and appoints Alan and Virgil to get the boys out of the mine. Without more than blast-offs, the two Thunderbird machines are on their way!

Fitting his character perfectly, Gordon is talking to Tony and Bob from Jeff’s desk, telling them to hold on while the others are on their way. The kids promise to “be brave.” Sniff.

At the satellite HQ, Col Jameson hears that IR should be with Williams very soon. The lieutenant wonders if the intruder knows anything about the “photographs from Alpha Two Zero” (now there’s a good story title!) and the colonel doesn’t know what to make of it. He reckons they are not dealing with an “ordinary thief.” The lieutenant is suspicious of the young boys also being trapped in a mine, leaving the colonel certain that the Hood wanted the photographs, “and it looks like he’ll stop at nothing.”

At the tracking station, time is fast running out. The Hood is just about through the door, and as Williams frantically tries, and utterly fails to use a lighter to destroy the photographs, the master criminal kicks in the door and bellows, “Williams!” Just a few moments of his evil hypnotic stare is enough to completely knock Williams out, and just as the poor guy hits the floor, Thunderbird One lands beside the house.

Don’t get your hopes up for a cool face to face confrontation between the Hood and Scott here, or a chase involving Thunderbird One. Still, not a bad chase is about to start as Scott spots the Hood leaving the house – with a shot of Williams out cold on the floor. Scott quickly gets onto his hoverbike and gives chase to the Hood, who’s trying to escape in the jeep.

While Scott closes in on the big bad, Thunderbird Two is landing at the mine. Virgil tells Alan to get base chatting to the boys so that they can “home in on their walkietalkie.” I do like how Virg says ‘walkie-talkie.’ He brings Thunderbird Two down as Gordon tells the trapped boys that Virgil and Alan have arrived and will have them out soon. Bob warns them to hurry as “there’s not much time,” and the roof continues to cave in and fall. On their hoverbikes, Virgil and Alan pull up in front of a huge “Danger Unsafe Shaft” sign, which is funny however you look at it. Stop giggling at the back! Virgil and Alan have a plan, and Alan reckons that the shaft (steady!) entrance they’re next to “is as good as any.” Virgil agrees, and tells him to call Tony and Bob as he readies the equipment. Alan tells the kids that he and Virgil are close and Bob tells him that they’re OK, but to hurry, and Tony adds that “the roof’s gonna cave in!”

Virgil staples a metal line into what is hopefully a sturdy wooden beam above the ‘unsafe shaft’ and Alan volunteers to head down first. They both dangle from harnesses that get them both to the bottom of the mine shaft. I’d like to point out, as they land amongst falling rubble and masonry, that neither of them is wearing a hard hat despite huge bits of rock hurtling at them from all sides. Once they’re at the bottom, Alan calls the boys again and tells them to use the walkie-talkie. Tony warns them that it’s dangerous and they’d “better not come after us!” The Tracys ignore this, and Virgil seems to triangulate the walkie-talkie signal, directing Alan along the tunnel. Everything looks creepy and lethal down here. As they’re walking, Virgil’s spider-sense kicks in and he stops Alan from walking as more of the roof tumbles in front of them. Then Virg says, “Let’s try it now.” Oh, so that’s why they don’t have hard-hats. Virgil’s psychic.

Tony and Bob see a light up ahead. “It’s them!” Tony exclaims, and Bob is also pleased, “They made it.” Alan and Virgil reach them and Alan promises they’ll “soon” have them out, and begins lifting the beam whilst rather redundantly instructing Virgil to “pull the boys clear”. Alan lifts up the beam fully and Virgil pulls Tony clear! The beams right above them don’t look too sturdy, and everything is about to come crashing down. Next they release Bob, and Virgil gets him clear of the area mere seconds before a few tons of metal, wood and rock crash down.

Up above in the desolate Australian bush, Scott is still chasing after the Hood. It’s still a shame this wasn’t a Thunderbird One deal again, but it’s hilarious to see Scott’s determined form on hoverbike reflected in the Hood’s wing mirror. The first time I saw this, I still had some hopes for at least some sort of face to face confrontation with the Hood. Sadly, this is not how it pans out. The Hood continues his record of appalling driving and hurtles right off the cliff after mishandling a cliff path turn. As usual. The Jeep hurtles to the ground below the cliff and bursts into flames. Scott brings his hoverbike to a stop on the edge of the cliff and surveys the wreckage from his position. It doesn’t seem like he’ll go down to investigate as he comments, “I guess that’s the last crooked plan he’ll ever try to play,” (sounding a little like John Wayne) but he does elect to go and “collect those photographs.” At least he doesn’t leave that up to fate, as he tends to when the Hood videos IR’s machines. As Scott leaves, he totally misses that the Hood is wedged rather painfully in a conveniently placed branch sticking out of the cliff side. The Hood viciously curses “those foolish boys” and “their stupid father” but most of all, “curse International Rescue.” As if the universe, or gravity, takes offence at this final sentiment, the branch snaps under his weight and Hoody hurtles into the small pond at the base of the cliff. We can only assume that, even if he survives, that Scott will still entirely fail to see him and arrest him. There’s no way in hell that fall got rid of the Hood for good, though.

Now both Thunderbirds One and Two are ‘parked’ outside the Williams homestead, and Williams is glad to have the photographs back, but even more grateful to the Tracys for saving his sons’ lives. Virgil and Scott are both leaning on the desk in Williams’ lab while Alan is rebelliously sitting on a backwards chair. I do love how this episode seems to have subtly nailed all their personalities, and of course Alan is sitting like that in this scene, it makes perfect sense.

Scott just says they were “glad” they were able to help and apologises that he should have known that Tony and Bob wouldn’t have “broken their promise.” The two kids, especially Tony, still seem to hero worship Scott and they single him out to see something they’ve built, which they want him to see before tea time. Scott cheerfully says, “Sure, Tony, you lead the way.” Yet another ‘aww’, I’m afraid. Some rather mischievous music plays as we see what they have in store for the eldest Tracy. The kids have really paid attention on their tour and there is now a section marked ‘Shute Relese’ (sic) set up for Thunderbird Two in their kid-sized HQ. The camera follows a wire on a pulley attached to a long wooden table, which their dad had “fixed” up for them. They tell Scott he’ll need to lie down on the table for it to work. A somewhat reluctant Scott agrees he’ll “try anything once.” Uh oh.

As Scott lies down as instructed, Tony declares, “Emergency, Scott, away you go,” and they hoist up the end of the table. At heart-stopping speed, Scott shoots down the table onto a slide and promptly gets wedged boots first into the boys’ customised TB2 go-kart. The go-kart speeds into the yard with Scott still stuck in it, and Tony and Bob watch events through their fingers as the cart whizzes through a barn, raising hell with some angry chickens before it crashes somewhere off camera with a spectacular series of clangs. Bob says, “Gee, Mr Tracy, we’re sorry…” and Tony concludes that Scott must’ve been “too heavy for our emergency exit.” The boys crane their heads to analyse the state Scott’s in. Now we see it, too.

To put it gently, Scott is covered in crap, and a large banana peel, and some straw, and there may be a scrambled egg or two lurking somewhere unmentionable, as he’s landed amongst some nasty looking rubbish bins. Gross. Scott takes this indignity on the chin, however, and can only mutter as the credits come up, “The things I do for International Rescue…” Even with this goofy ending, which works with Scott’s sense of humour, this is a great little episode that truly seemed to grasp how the little things about the Tracys and their family make them more interesting as characters. From Jeff’s ‘I remember when you were kids’ comment to Scott’s subtle snarking at Alan, it feels very much like the visit from the two little boys let the writers explore a bit more about the Tracys themselves. Tony and Bob aren’t too annoying either, and there’s a genuine sense of worry when they’re put into real danger and no one will believe them. The Hood finally gets to demonstrate true ruthlessness here, callously chucking a bomb into the mine after the two kids, and as usual it’s a shame that there’s no proper resolution to his conflict with International Rescue. He really adds an edge of darkness to this episode, which makes the cuter elements, like the kids’ visit to the IR base, work a little more smoothly for the contrast.

I especially love the parallels in this episode between the two little boys and the Tracy brothers. There’s an even clearer parallel between the viewers and the little boys who play at International Rescue, to the extent that Cry Wolf could almost be a fanfiction story. It feels like an unsubtle nod to the fans of the show, a lot of whom, in the show’s initial run in the 1960s, would be the right age to also play at being the Tracys in their school playgrounds and back gardens. And they were probably wishing, like Bob, that they could live on Tracy Island, too!


<< back to Episode Index


As you can guess from the title, this episode is about people ‘crying wolf.’ In particular, the wayward Williams boys, who live with their father in the dusty outback of north Australia and have nothing to do all day except play – one game in particular being that of ‘International Rescue.’

As the episode opens, we find Tony Williams (or was it Bob?) fallen down a ravine and calling ‘International Rescue’ on his walkie-talkie. Bob (or is it Tony?) is playing the role of ‘International Rescue’, and soon zooms to his brother’s aid in a cobbled-together green gocart whimsically christened ‘Thunderbird 2.’

Unfortunately for our two freckle-faced protagonists, John Tracy has been eavesdropping on their walkie-talkie transmissions and, convinced they really are in trouble, has despatched Scott in Thunderbird One to rescue them.

Scott arrives just in time (took him all of 35 minutes to get to the Northern Territory, which means, if I want a coconut, he can be here in 20) to overhear them playing their game and discovers he’s been had. He gives them a bit of a stern telling off before taking them home to their overworked father and giving him a telling off as well. Scott quickly softens though, once he hears Mr Williams’ sorry story of single parenthood, and offers to take Tony and Bob back to Base for a tour. Scott seems convinced that a tour of IR’s facilities will show the boys the seriousness of their offence (ie, calling IR out under false pretences, even though they hadn’t actually done that and we can blame John’s eavesdropping and Jeff’s soft heart for the whole debacle), but we all know Scott just wants to show off his toys. Yeah. Boys.

The two lucky lads are blindfolded for their trip to the island, and are taken on a monorail tour of the Tracy Island’s hollowed out volcano courtesy of Mr Alan, and what a grand tour it is. We are shown Thunderbird Three from a unique and majestic angle, most of Thunderbird Two’s pod equipment, and not forgetting Virgil, Alan and Gordon tricked out in uniform and standing smartly to attention. The uniforms are ditched in time for an extravagant feast cooked up by Grandma, and then the boys are taken home to their father, who is still glued to his office chair.

End of story? No! Because somebody has tipped off the Press about IR’s visit to the Williams clan, and our anti-hero, the Hood, who subscribes to all the major newspapers (hard copy and home delivered) puts two and two together and figures out that Mr Williams works at a top secret satellite tracking base that ol’ Hoodie has been looking for for some time. The Hood is so excited at this bit of intelligence being delivered unwittingly by his enemies, International Rescue, that he fairly splits his ribcage giggling inanely.

Travelling to the site of the Williams ranch, the Hood disguises himself as a Friendly Mine Inspector — although the combination of the dodgy disguise, the safari suit, the sugary sweet voice, the ‘hello little boy’ and the (quite frankly, Freudian) abandoned mine-shaft should have been enough to send Tony and Bob screaming back to their father, but if they’d done that then we’d never have had an episode. So, at the Friendly Mine Inspector’s urging, Tony (or Bob) goes into the mine to hide, and Bob (or Tony) goes in to save him. The Friendly Mine Inspector (or, the Hood) then lobs a hand grenade after the both of them and goes cackling off to drag Mr Williams out of his comfy chair.

Here is the ‘cry wolf ’ bit: trapped in the collapsing mineshaft, Tony and Bob call for help on their walkie talkie, but this time John’s having none of it. (Going to make a scary father, our John.) Basically, the boys are left to their fate, which is certain death if the cracking beam above their head is any indication. Meanwhile, the Hood has reached Mr Williams’ office door, but Mr Williams isn’t going for the Friendly Mine Inspector bit. Williams calls for help from his military commanders, but they advise they can’t get there for hours. They tell him to sit tight, and to eat the top secret satellite photos only when all hope is lost. (Well, they didn’t say ‘eat’, but the implication was clear.) Understandably, Mr Williams is peeing his pants by this point, particularly as the Hood has found the video link to the office and is trying out his hypnosis skills over the telly.

Oh, but of course! IR can be there in 35 minutes! Why didn’t we think of that? Soon Scott, Virgil and Alan are on their way to Australia, beating themselves up over not trusting Tony and Bob the whole way.

After 35 minutes, however, the Hood has cut through the office door with a blowtorch and taken off with the photographs before Williams could stuff them into his mouth. Scott takes off after the villain on his hoverbike as Virgil and Alan land at the abandoned mine and set to heaving the boys out from under the debris that was crushing them to death. Armed with only a hoverbike and grim expression, Scott drives the Hood’s escape vehicle over a cliff (a common theme — and the Hood survives, so don’t worry), retrieves the photos, and joins Virgil, Alan, Tony, Bob and Mr Williams back at the ranch. To show their appreciation, Tony and Bob demonstrate to Scott their ‘rescue chute’ – a coffee table strung by rope to the ceiling, and down which Scott will slide to ‘Thunderbird Two’, the green go-cart we were introduced to earlier. But oh, disaster. Scott is far too heavy for the contraption and ends up somewhat ignominiously in the backyard rubbish bin with his ankles up around his earlobes.

Now, that’s devotion!

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