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 “immediate launch.”

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 blueprints?

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? 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 similar moments.

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 excess dust.

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 episode?

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, either.

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 the vault.

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 was easy.

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 not.

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 next.

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 he wanted!

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 sherry.


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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. Hmm.

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 merrily away!

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 Thunderbird Five.

Official 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 presents himself?

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 container.

Although his 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, the singing...

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.

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