EPISODE 32: GIVE OR TAKE A MILLION
32: GIVE OR TAKE A MILLION
It’s a Christmas episode! So, don’t expect too much.
But what’s going on? On International Rescue’s tropical
island base, the Tracy villa is whimsically covered in
snow. But how? The excitement is…well, nonexistent,
actually. But all will be revealed, soon. But, don’t worry,
pick up a sherry and enjoy. Because it’s Christmas…it’s
Christmaaas! Did I mention it’s Christmas?
First, breaking news – the Tracys have invited yet
another kid onto this supposedly secret island, this
time, it appears, entirely by choice. Jeff and a small boy
called Nicky (the kid is kitted out in a small yellowsashed,
Virgil Tracy uniform) and some Thunderbirds
merchandise are hanging out by the pool. Jeff is
cunningly disguised as Santa Claus/Father Christmas,
although it might have been a more effective disguise if
he’d left the hat on. Not much breathable fabric in that
outfit, though. Ick.
The kid is naturally very excited at getting to visit
International Rescue’s top secret (how’s that again?)
island base, and is asking Mr Tracy for his ‘wish’ –
though Jeff rather half-heartedly tries to get him to call
him ‘Santa’ instead to hide his identity. Um, OK, Jeff,
that’s definitely working – slow clap. Also, Nicky thinks
that the island’s snow is “fantastic” given that it’s still
tropical just a few metres away. So what’s Nicky’s
wish? The kid wants to see “all the Thunderbirds” lift
off. Jeff says that this “not possible” (er, why? Perhaps
he means “too expensive!”) but then says Nicky can
see one take off. Or does he mean Thunderbird One?
The kid, Nicky, chooses Thunderbird Three – so Jeff
radios from “Christmas Control” to order TB3’s
The launch starts and it seems Alan is taking Three by
himself (does Scott know?) and during this long, lonely
journey on the sofa, Nicky is worried about missing the
launch. Not a problem, Jeff tells him, the ship is 287
feet high. Well, that’s going to enrage – or please -
any dedicated model builders. We get a beauty shot all
the way up Three’s curvy orange body (oo-er) then
BOOM, she launches!
Nicky is suitably impressed by Three’s explosion
through the Roundhouse donut hole, and thanks Jeff
for the greatest thrill of his life. Nicky is actually so
pleased that he thinks he’s dreaming – you know, like
they deliberately made that kid think he was dreaming
at the end of the recap episode from hell (otherwise
known as “Security Hazard”). I suppose Jeff’s swung back to the ‘ah, stuff it” security mindset. I mean, he’s
already told Nicky the exact height of TB3, so why not
go all the way and give him a tour and some
After the launch, Jeff guilt-trips Nicky (depending on
your point of view…) that it took a lot of people a “lot of
time and trouble” to arrange this. He flashes the story
back to a bitchy committee meeting at Coralville
hospital, at which he was not actually present, so we
won’t ask how he knew what was happening... Also,
this flashback ends at a non-specific time, so…yes,
never mind. The Coralville committee group are
arguing vehemently, but all the meeting chairman
reminds them that they’re there to discuss ways of
raising money for a “new solar therapy wing” at their
children’s hospital. So they get to business. What we
have here are two bigwigs of capitalist industry. One
company is willing to supply a rocket, the other, Mr
Harman, will fill it with toys – on one condition that it’s
launched from the roof of his own department store.
The other bigwig snarks about “free publicity.” But
Harman adds he will write a cheque for $10k right there
and then. That settles it. Now the final success of the
scheme “depends on International Rescue.”
Meanwhile, at Coralville Children’s Hospital, the music
suggests something tense and exciting is about to
happen. Don’t get your hopes up, people. It’s a little
while after the committee meeting, and Coralville
hospital staff are waiting for the test rocket from the
scheme to arrive at the hospital. Wait, is that safe?If it’s
a test, perhaps they should aim it at someplace that’s
NOT full of children? Anyway, the rocket is launching.
By the speed of the action, the ten minute wait seems
to be happening in real time, too. Apparently, all the
windows at the hospital have been “screened” so no
one except the little group can see the rocket arrive.
Um, they’re totally going to HEAR it, right?
The rocket finally gets there with all the precision timing
required and drops a payload box before it continues
flying to…somewhere else. Probably they had it hit
another rival hospital down the road. The ejected box
parachutes gently to the ground. Tense music plays, as
if it’s full of radioactive material or the Hood’s left a
deadly virus inside. None of these things happen,
sadly. The female nurse opens the box and a load of
brown wrapped packages are revealed within.
They open one of the parcels and the china horse
ornament inside appears to be in totally perfect condition. Amazon will be after this delivery technology
in a heartbeat – wait, they already are (yay drones!).
The nurse is impressed by the test, and everyone is
excited about the next launch of the rocket and the
whole plan taking place at Christmas.
The plan’s next stage, though, is to contact
International Rescue. There’s the usual wrangling
about how they reach IR – of course the answer is,
“Oh just use any frequency.” The Coralville crew radio
to Thunderbird Five, way above the Earth, and tell John
that the test operation was a “complete success” and
that the Christmas day operation is going ahead “as
planned.” John is told the early time for pickup of the
“lucky winner” and John says they’ll be there, then
signs off. The nurse asks Mr Harman what International
Rescue are actually going to be doing – we’re sort of
curious ourselves. Anything to keep ourselves awake
here. Harman tells her to “wait and see.” Hmm. I think
this should probably involve a parental consent form.
On Tracy Island, things are seriously laid back. Alan
and Tin-Tin lounge by the balcony, Scott is playing a
board game on his own (aww), Virgil is reading, and
Jeff and Gordon are at the desk. Then John calls in and
reports that the Coralville plan is going ahead.
Jeff surmises they will have a guest “besides Penelope”
for Christmas, and that it will involve a “trip” for Virgil in
Thunderbird Two. Grandma enters the room just as Jeff
makes an announcement. Although there’s no danger,
this operation must be taken “as seriously as any other”
and “security” still has “top priority.” Gordon makes the
very valid point that there could be a distress call on the
day, which Tin-Tin tuts about, telling him not to “spoil
it.” Jeez, Tin-Tin…however, Jeff agrees with her, as
making someone “happy at Christmas” is more
worthwhile – he’s really not balancing this up against
potentially saving thousands of lives from massive
Christmas Day disasters, is he?
But we’re getting ahead of ourselves here. Grandma
has even more pressing concerns – it is almost
Christmas, after all! (Did you get that yet?) Jeff leaps
into order-giving. He assigns shopping duties to Tin-Tin
and Scott, packing them off to the mainland on the 21st
December for the expedition. Scott asks Tin-Tin if
there’s much to get. The list she wields is not short. It
seems about 287 feet long, in fact...
As the scientists prepare to abort the rogue, Rick hums
his new jingle, looking insufferably smug. At Sentinel
base, Power and Professor Marshall tensely await
detonation time, and Power appears to be counting it
down off his wristwatch. With ten seconds to go, it’s
made very clear in a wide angle shot that the little
KLA station is in direct trajectory with the naughty
rocket. A second later, BOOM!
Heartwarming montage alert. Yet more whimsy as the islanders prepare for Christmas. Grandma and Kyrano
puzzle over Christmas recipes, while Virgil and Alan
wrestle with tinsel. Then Grandma is roasting a turkey,
or eight, with Brains applying all his technical skills to
an electronic whisking device. Jeff is trying to work at
his desk when Alan drops a stream of tinsel on him,
then the other half falls off too – oh, the hilarity. It’s the
23rd now, and Scott and Tin-Tin arrive back at base
with all the shopping.
Tin-Tin looks knackered, and Scott is weirdly
impassive, much as he has been for all of season two.
Maybe they overdid the eggnog in the hotel room. The
island is already stuffed with cooked food – it seems
odd to have so much meat prepared for the next day,
unless Brains has a futuristic preservative technique for
this sort of occasion? There are decorations and a bare
tree in front of their portraits. And now it’s Christmas
Eve, the house is fully decorated and there is tinsel
everywhere you look. Literally. Everyone is chilling out,
and Virgil is reading a card while Tin-Tin puts the
finishing touches to the tree. Jeff congratulates them on
how “wonderful” the place looks. Gordon asks if they
can open their presents now. Tin-Tin tuts “Not yet” and
Scott says they’re waiting til their “guest” arrives the
next day. Christmas Day. The day you’re meant to
open the presents…most people do it like that, right?
Jeff reckons that they should all take it easy and see
how things are going in New York. The TV shows
Harman’s store, where it’s snowing heavily, and the
reporter talks about the Christmas Rocket preparations.
Tin-Tin loves how the snow looks and Virgil wishes that
they could have a “white Christmas, just like the old
days.” Aww, I smell a fanfiction lurking right there. Virgil
sounds so wistful. We’re shown Brains looking rather
mysterious following Virgil’s words. However, Scott is
more interested in the “final section” of the rocket
arriving on the report. Virgil reckons that the kids will be
really surprised. The screen shows a man packing the
rocket with brown wrapped presents for the kids.
However, Brains has now disappeared and Gordon
heads off to look for him. Haven’t we established by
now that Brains quickly gets bored watching the TV
with the Tracys, and tends to wander off and do his
own thing? See ‘Day of Disaster’ and ‘Sun Probe’ for
In the Tracy villa kitchen, Kyrano asks Grandma why
she doesn’t use the nuclear powered cooker. (It was
the 1960s, OK?) Grandma, in her chef’s hat, tells him
she “never did get the hang of those rods…” and thinks
they’ll taste better the normal way. I suspect she may
be right...never mind the fact that they might wind up
glowing in the dark… Gordon pops in then, asking if
they’ve seen Brains. Grandma tells him that the
scientist said something about an “experiment” and
Gordon realises he should probably leave Brains alone
if he’s “busy.” Strange noises are coming from inside
Brains’ laboratory, while the door is clearly marked “Do
Not Disturb!” Oh boy. Luckily we still get to see inside.
Brains pores over a map of the island, working out wind
speed. He has the glass beakers of doom going at full
bubble. What is going on?
At the department store, the store Santas are finishing
up their last shift and say “cut the snow” (which is
actually some nifty foreshadowing…). They both leave
the Santa’s Grotto area, exhausted. One of them feels “like we had a million kids in there today.” They’re going
to meet the present-wrapping guy afterwards, for drinks
I guess. Then they hear a strange noise. A Jack-in-theBox
pops out and some gnarly looking guys with guns
threaten the two fake Santas and order them into a
room. These are clearly bad guys.
Oblivious to events in the Grotto, Harman asks his
official present-wrapper, Tanner, how the packing is
going. Tanner says it’s all fine and that the “publicity”
has been “tremendous” for the store. Harman says it’s
“doubled” their Christmas profits, adding that those
takings are now stashed away as safely as the Second
National Bank, which happens to be right next door.
With that subtle segue, we’re taken to the sign that
says ‘Second National Bank – Vault B.’ Hmm, what’s
the significance of that, then? Inside the bank, a
security guard is signing off to the bank owner on the
phone, reporting that they’re about to close the vault
door. Once they’ve tested the extremely touch-sensitive
vault floor, they lock it up. Apparently, the tiles on the
vault floor can “register a pin drop.” That’ll be important
in a minute.
Next door in the department store, the hapless store
Santas have now been tied up and gagged. As the
crooks retrieve their equipment from the Jack-in-theBox,
the blond one, Scobie, explains their plan to cut
through the wall and get into the vault. His buddy-incrime,
Straker, asks how much they’ll be able to steal
(interesting that he didn’t know the answer to that
question already…he must be a trusting sort of guy!).
Scobie thinks, “About ten million, give or take a million.”
Title reference! His buddy’s eyes don’t quite light up
like the Hood’s, or burst wide with dollar signs, but they
might as well have.
What follows feels like the longest robbery in history.
It’s not exactly the opening sequence of The Dark
Knight, though I know Nolan is a fan of the show (he
did cast Shane Rimmer in the Batman Begins, after all)!
The two thieves drill a hole in the vault/department
store wall. Inside the vault, there’s lots and lots of gold
bars just waiting to be stolen. Also, the alarm is still set.
The thieving duo finally get the drill through the wall.
The drill has a vacuum attached that sucks up all the
It’s all incredibly exciting. Honest.
Meanwhile, Tanner is wrapping up the present with the
International Rescue invitation card inside. It reads
essentially that International Rescue request the
pleasure of their company. Which is fine, but what if the
kid can’t go? What if their parents don’t want to send
them off to a strange island base for Christmas? This
could go badly wrong. Except, we know it all goes OK,
because of the suspiciously healthy-looking Nicky
who’s hanging out with Jeff at the start. So, here
they’ve tried to build up Christmassy tension with the
present wrapping. I’m not convinced it’s worked.
Back at the vault, the drilling goes on. And on. And on.
Zzzz. Now they’ve cut a circle out of the wall and they
pull it out together. Inappropriately tense and exciting
music tries to liven up the scene. Once the hole is
created, the two crooks look through it, admiring the
gold inside the vault. Tanner is invited up to Harman’s
office now he’s finished. But not before treating us to a full two minutes of present wrapping. Just in case we’d
forgotten the season.
The heist grinds on... Keep awake at the back, there!
The crooks fire a small zip line across the bank vault to
the opposite wall. The rope almost gets away from
them and is in danger of landing on the floor – d’oh –
but they catch it and pull it up just in time. Didn’t you
practice this, guys? It’s a good thing criminals on this
show are always rubbish at carrying out these schemes
effectively. Once more, we’re reminded that it would be
very bad if the cable touches the floor, and then they fix
the line up so that Scobie can pull himself along it
across the vault. Because the floor’s touch sensitive,
did I mention that? There’s very tense music again, it’s
all so very Hitchcock. The sucker holding the line to the
other wall does not look safe at all. As he enters the
vault, Scobie is briefly tempted to grab the pile of cash
that’s just sitting there, waiting for a stiff breeze to blow
it off the shelf, but Straker urges him to leave it alone
and to get hold of the gold.
On Tracy Island, Virgil and Tin-Tin are enjoying a late
night coffee together, and it must be midnight because
Tin-Tin pulls the date off the calendar to reveal “25
December 2026.” Now, there’s a whole debate lurking
here about which year the show is actually set in,
especially when the comics say something else
entirely, and the creators and those involved in the
show changed their minds on pretty much a yearly
basis. I’ll just say now – there’s not enough time here
to go into it and I don’t want to speculate. So, that’s all
I’m going to say about it here. It would be nice if it was
all just a short time away, though, rather than not for
another thirty odd years.
Anyway, Virgil and Tin-Tin’s cosy coffee date (nice
plaid shirt, btw, Virg) is interrupted by a strange thud up
on the kitchen roof. Is it the Hood lurking in a Santa
suit? A spooky raven? Is something totally and utterly
awesome about to happen? Nope, although the scene
is worth it for Virgil’s frowny face alone.
As Tin-Tin muses that she thought everyone was
asleep, Virgil goes out into the dark garden area,
looking like he has every intention of bashing in Santa’s
head if need be. The door opens with chilling music,
and the close-ups on Virgil and Tin-Tin’s worried eyes
are spooky. Tin-Tin hides behind Virgil as he demands,
who goes there?! Then they realise it’s Brains! Virgil
asks him what on earth he’s doing, wandering around
at this time of night. Brains mutters that he was
checking “the weather” and Virgil gives us and the
camera a humorous look that sort of breaks the Fourth
Wall. Think he’s asking us to find him a way out of this
Fully recovered from the scare, Tin-Tin invites Brains
for a cup of coffee, and Virgil says it’s “back to bed”
afterwards. Get down, you slash fiction writers. Brains
meekly agrees to this and tells Virgil “don’t look so
worried.” Tin-Tin says she will take care of Brains, but
that Virgil had “better be going.”
Immediately after this, Thunderbird Two rolls out to
launch. I thought that Virgil was leaving around
midnight after saying goodbye to Tin-Tin and Brains.
But here the launch seems to take place in broad
daylight – one of the continuity hazards of re-using old
stock footage? Anyway, Virgil is now on his way to the hospital to kidnap a sick child. I mean, to bring a lucky
winner to Tracy Island on a trip of a lifetime. The 1960s
were very different times, all right?
Back at the heist – yes, it’s still going on! – Scobie is
pushing the pulley’s weight limit by majorly overloading
himself with gold bars. He’s soon dangerously close to
the floor, and his horrible, two-tone, canvas bowling
shoes are skimming the tiles as his buddy pulls him
back across the vault.
No idea why they don’t just do this in stages. Or have
they been going back and forth all night? Somehow I
doubt it. They are the worst. Bank robbers. Ever.
Tension increases as Scobie knocks a pencil and it
winds up halfway off a desk. There’s a dramatic
CRASH ZOOM on the Pencil!
Now, though, it’s Christmas Day, and a reporter is
giving some free publicity to Harman at the store.
Still in the vault (how long was this meant to take
them?) the two crooks are sure that they’ve made it –
then they release the pulley and the rope’s loose length
falls down, knocking the Pencil onto the Floor! The
alarm gurgles a warning and the two crooks run for it.
The two department store Santas are still there. Did
Tanner go off to get drunk by himself, then? Or maybe
he had a party with Harman on his own. Also, there’s a
disturbing naked doll on a shelf behind the two crooks,
as they decide to put on the Santa Suits in an effort to
escape unnoticed. Maybe the suits were part of their
plan all along. Or maybe they were banking on a less
frantic getaway if they hadn’t set off the alarm.
Inside the vault, the security guards use a video
camera and see the pulley and the great big hole the
crooks cut into the wall! Might have been an idea to
have that camera switched on all night, then, and like,
watch it? The security guards figure out that the crooks
might still be in the department store.
They’re right...we’re back with Scobie and Straker as
they spot an elevator, or so they think.
A moment later, we see Harman and Tanner initiate the
launch, loading the presents canister – which now
holds two hapless thieves as well – into the rocket’s
belly. The security guards try to warn the rocket launch
site about the crooks, as they’ve figured out they’re
aboard, but the phone can’t be heard over the take-off
roar. And apparently the combined extra weight of two
men doesn’t do anything to the rocket’s payload limits.
As it lifts, the terrified stowaways are bashing the
canister door to be let out. No one can hear them,
On screens at Tracy Island, and in Coralville Children’s
Hospital, the TV news is reporting on the robbery of $6
million. The bank is offering a 10% reward to anyone
who catches the thieves! The Coralville nurse who we
met at the beginning wonders how they even got into
Meanwhile, Jeff calls Thunderbird Two to tell him that
the rocket is en route, and Virgil says he’ll reach the
hospital in 3.5 minutes. Virgil flies overhead and will
“cruise around” until the winner is ready. Above them,
the rocket drops its payload. Hope Virgil is keeping out
of the way of that thing. I’m still really curious - where
does the rest of the rocket go after delivery?
The canister of presents parachutes to the ground. The
Coralville nurse is very excited. Then Doctor Lang pulls
out a gun! Pushing ahead of the nurse, he opens the
canister – of course, inside it are the two crooks, who
are passed out from the “gravity force.” Huh. Well, that
Apparently the Police Department had already warned
Dr Lang about the stowaways. But no one tells this
poor nurse anything at all. She’ll probably sue.
Virgil reports the successful present delivery to Jeff,
adding that it contained the two crooks. Jeff correctly
guesses they are from the recent heist at the bank.
Virgil says that Coralville has handed the crooks over to
the cops, which means that the hospital gets the
reward money – totally predictable and all but, yay.
So, that’s that all wrapped up, then. The end, right?
Move along. Except that Virgil is waiting for the winner
to be revealed. But, we already know who that is. Just
a few moments later, Coralville tells Virgil that IR’s
guest is ready for collection.
At the department store in New York, Harman raises a
toast at his lavish Christmas party. He calls it a
“Christmas to remember” and congratulates them on
also making Christmas a happier time for the Coralville
kids. He adds that the publicity sure didn’t hurt either,
prompting lots of guffaws. He toasts to “one and all,
especially the children at Coralville.” At a more modest
Christmas gathering at Coralville, they also call it one
for the books, and mention the reward money again.
Ugh, so much repetition in this episode. We know
about the reward money. You already mentioned it four
times! The nurse wonders how Nicky is enjoying
Christmas with International Rescue.
By the sound of it, he’d be enjoying it a lot more with
some earplugs. Back at the Tracy villa, the boys are
gathered at Virgil’s piano, ‘singing’ along to ‘Good King
Wenceslas.’ Poor Virgil’s expression as he plays –
halfway between murderous and grudgingly tolerant –
is priceless…the Von Trapp family they are decidedly
Penelope, Jeff, Nicky, Tin-Tin and Brains are watching
this performance – Nicky looks a bit like he wishes
he’d won a PlayStation instead. When the carol
mercifully ends, Jeff thanks his sons and says he’s glad
Penelope could make it this year. Hah, I bet that last
year she was escaping from sharks with lasers on their
heads, or breaking up a world-wide terrorist
organisation. Anything but this sort of thing. Despite
probably cursing her inability to come up with a suitably
international-security-ish excuse this year, though, she
says she’s having a “wonderful time.” Grandma asks
how Nicky liked the singing. Nicky kindly calls the
brothers’ song a “smash” but quickly asks what’s up
Jeff reckons there’s time for another carol before
“refreshments.” Scott half-groans “not more food!” TinTin
also “couldn’t eat another thing.” Brains then
announces he has a “party piece” he’d like to do. Nicky
thinks “that’s great.” Brains needs them all to close their
eyes, though, before he can pull it off. Virgil isn’t sure
he likes the sound of that. Which makes me wonder
what their Christmas parties are like when they don’t
have a small kid to consider. Grin.
Scott encourages him to play along, “Ah, come on,
Virgil.” So, as requested, they all close their eyes –
and strange electronic hums start to play. Nicky wants
to look, but Brains tells him “not yet” and operates a
remote control that sends jets of white foam spurting
from the top of the Tracy villa. Um… Anyway,
enchanting Christmas music plays while the area
around the villa fills with ‘snow.’ I swear that Jeff peeks
at this point, more than once, just to make sure Brains
isn’t burning down the house.
Finally, Brains tells them that they can all open their
eyes again. Nicky double-blinks at the view, and the
Tracy boys all turn as one. Penelope exclaims for TinTin
to “look!” and Tin-Tin realises that this was what
Brains was “up to” the night before. Virgil simply exclaims “It’s beautiful!” Aww, how sweet, it’s just what
Nicky is very impressed by “Snow, on palm trees!” and
Jeff notes that Brains has given them a “real, old
fashioned Christmas.” It does look pretty, though you
can’t help wondering what this artificial snow is made
of, and exactly what it’s doing to the rare exotic wildlife.
We’ll never find out, though, because a music box
version of the Thunderbirds theme tune plays us out
over the snowy island, and that’s it. Christmas is done,
and the show’s all over.
No, that’s really it. That’s the end of the show. Apart
from the two movies, Thunderbirds Are Go and
Thunderbird Six – and your mileage may vary on
those – that’s the end of the series. Forever.
Goodbye, International Rescue.
While I have fond memories of the final episode, it’s not
one of their best by any stretch of the imagination. For
a start, remember when Thunderbirds was all about
daring rescues and planes that couldn’t land and men
being set on fire in a pit of burning rubble? It was
usually high-stakes, gripping stuff – but I had serious
trouble staying awake during this one. Like the
automatic car park scene in ‘Move – and You’re
Dead,’ only for an entire episode! And of course, it
being a Christmas special, it just has to involve
kids…which Jeff is developing a perplexing habit of
letting run all over his supposedly top secret base. With
all the publicity, isn’t Nicky going to be a target for the
show’s villain, the Hood, just like the kids in 'Cry Wolf'?
Speaking of the Hood, I want to go on record as saying
that it was a horrible mistake to stop using him, and
even worse to make him into such a joke. He got his
revenge in the TV21 comics, though, where he was
able to be a lot more dark and interesting!
‘Give or Take a Million’s’ strengths are in getting to see
the Tracy family interact and hang out together.
It’s a great shame that the framing story is so deeply
tedious and unimaginative, though it does all hang
together better than I remember. It did bother me that
there was no actual link between the robbery story and
IR at all, except for the fact that they were going to host
the winner of the contest. And no rescue on the
episode either, even of the crooks after they found
themselves accidental stowaways on the rocket. A
stronger story for this episode could have involved
International Rescue stopping an evil toy seller’s
Christmas rocket from crashing into the children’s
hospital after his team lose control of it. And yes, the
evil toy seller could be the Hood under a mask!
As almost every other rocket tends to explode on this
show, the fact that the Christmas delivery one doesn’t
blow up or go wrong, is a true miracle. If it had gone
wrong, then perhaps IR could have then saved the
presents and taken the kid to the Island, and celebrated
Christmas anyway. Ah well. It’s all over now and if the
show had been allowed to continue, who knows what
might have happened to it?
In all, this episode is best watched at Christmas after a
mountain of Quality Street chocolates and far too much
to Episode Index
THINGS TO WATCH FOR
32: GIVE OR TAKE A MILLION
Interestingly, the Thunderbird 3 launch is from the (then) upcoming
Thunderbirds Are Go movie. Also, the Thunderbird Two
launch footage looks seriously old and scratchy
compared to the stock of the rest of the episode, not to
mention that the launch is going on in daylight, when
the storyline’s timing suggested a midnight lift-off.
For all that Tin-Tin and Alan are "snuggling," (they’re hanging out
together by the balcony windows in the first Tracy
Island scene), Tin-Tin and Virgil’s midnight
coffee together certainly raises some questions... Was it only
coffee she had with Virg? Nudge, wink, etc...also it was
also sweet when she hid behind Virg as the spooky
roof door opened!
Scott is relegated to
chauffeuring the Christmas shopping and barely gets
any lines at all. Virgil gets his best moment when he
goes hunting the mysterious noise on the roof. He kind
of acted like my cat when there’s a stranger at the door
– instantly turning into a suspicious hunter. Gordon,
Alan and John all get a few lines as we get to see more
of the family in their downtime.
IR's fantastic-but-unreliable equipment! All
working fine, I think, and even the rocket behaves itself
(very disappointing). Wait a minute. Why the hell wasn’t
the story about the Christmas rocket malfunctioning?
That would have been awesome!
Let’s hope Nicky didn’t bring a camera phone with him.
Let’s hope no one interrogates Nicky after he gets
home either. Especially the Hood!
Everyone is full of the
Christmas spirit this time. The brothers are so nice to
each other all episode – unless you count that
exasperated look Virgil gives his brothers as they carol
No rescues at all.
Not. A. Single. Rescue. Zzz.
Thunderbird Two is a taxi (come to
think of it, why did they send Thunderbird Two on this
mission when there was only one passenger? Wouldn’t
One have made more sense..?). Three is launched for
no reason with just Alan aboard. John is stuck on
present-wrapper Tanner gets to chuck presents
around, although human hands get to wrap them in that
very odd little scene. Wait, did he wrap ALL the
Brains isn’t anywhere
near any action this time, partly because there IS no
action, but he is up to something mysterious and pretty
much ends the series on a snowy high.
‘CRASH ZOOM’ drinking game: ON A PENCIL!!!
Also, think there’s another ZOOM in on the two
unconscious crooks, once Dr Lang opens the present
event had a good result for the hospital, Mr Harman
seems to be in it entirely for his store’s publicity. Very
benevolent capitalism going on here. Also, the two
crooks come second for being rubbish AND for ruining
the store Santas’ Christmas plans. And finally, I reckon
Tanner must have ditched the store Santas and gone
out for that drink without them, and that’s why no one
knew they were tied up, or spotted that the crooks were
robbing the vault. They’re probably still there,
actually…no security guards were evident in the
department store at all!
The premise, that a small child would
be allowed to hop alone onto a mysterious rescue
vehicle to visit a bunch of strange men, with barely ten
minutes’ notice, on Christmas Day, is very innocent and
naive. But the whole episode is SO 1960s it hurts.
Although actually, it also kind of has the mood of a stiff
1950s holiday special. Especially the singing. Egads,
There’s a fake-out jinx when Jeff
agrees with Tin-Tin that they should go ahead and
have a guest for Christmas Day, despite Gordon’s quite
reasonable point that they might well have a rescue call
and need to go out. I think this particularly applies to a
call potentially coming in while Thunderbird Two is busy
picking up the prize winner. But, you know, it’s
CHRISTMAS. Also, nothing exciting actually happens
in this episode, so it’s all OK.
What’s a solar therapy
wing? It sounds like a high tech sort of sunbathing...
Why were there no security guards in the department
store? How did no one even hear the drilling? Will there
be a rescue call on Christmas Day after all? Why
couldn’t Jeff launch all of the Thunderbirds at once?
Would the world explode at the sheer awesomeness of
that...or would it just have cost too much..?
Nicky has some seriously
ugly hair. Penelope has an impressively huge
ornamental hairdo at the party.
Most Overused Phrase: Not so much a phrase as a
repetition of what we already knew. “There’s a reward
for the thieves” got repeated over and over and over
again. Also anything involving “rocket delivery of the
presents”, and the process of the rocket launches
themselves. But the worst offender was, “Don’t touch
the floooooooooor! It’s alaaarmed!”
If the thieves had
thought for a minute longer, they might have worked
out they could rob the bank in a few trips back and forth
and be gone, and avoided that whole overload issue
which set off the alarm. And what was their escape
plan even if the alarm didn’t go off? How the hell were
they going to scamper out of the department store, let
alone New York, with half a ton of gold wedged down
their trousers? The mind boggles.
<< Episode Index
<< Thunderbirds Machines
<< Thunderbird Three's Silo