Thunderbirds Are Go – Season 1 Episode 20
Thunderbirds Are Go focuses on Parker as his master safe-cracking expertise are needed to free a trapped scientist from an antimatter vault.
Parker’s abilities as a safe-cracker were a present element in the original series but I don’t have a clear enough memory of it to do a meaningful comparison. For the purposes of this review it’s worth noting that this show sticks as close as it can to the established character traits of the show that inspired this one.
Parker takes significant focus in this episode as the Global Defense Force seek him out to help with the crisis. Apparently he has had some experience with this before and is required to help here so that the scientist stuck inside doesn’t die.
There’s plenty of insight into Parker’s past which seems to be very colourful in terms of what he got up to before being in service to Lady Penelope. His constant reminders that he “allegedly” did all this to keep himself sweet legally get a bit tiresome but at least start out amusing. I imagine younger viewers will find the repetition funny enough.
The best thing about how Parker’s past was revealed is that it happened organically as the story progressed. Information was revealed as it became important and the facts were interesting. He’s clearly had an interesting run in life so maybe in the future a few flashbacks could be a fun diversion.
Parker reflecting on his experiences was a good way to reveal how his service to Lady Penelope came about. His devotion to the family reminds me a lot of Bruce Wayne and Alfred from Batman lore -duh- in that Alfred’s service to Bruce exists out of respect to his family. It adds plenty of depth to the dynamic between Lady Penelope and Parker as well as showing Parker to be a man of principle who takes his duties very seriously. He is also not proud of his past so is seeking atonement in many ways. Clearly nobody blames him for what he did in the past but it’s something that Parker often thinks off. Great job on the writers for giving Parker some meaningful development.
The safe-cracking techniques were a lot of fun to watch. I like Parker’s old school approach to taking down modern technology with things like chewing gum and other such rudimentary methods. There’s a retro spy feel to all of it that I find appealing and it provides an entertaining contrast to all the advanced technology on display. I imagine it’s a message for kids to not discount the old stuff and, to be fair, it’s a solid message to send.
International Rescue were featured here but the story didn’t hang on them. Thunderbird 2 was needed to remove the generator before it exploded but all of the life saving was down to Parker. The visuals were really cool and it was great to see Scott and Virgil team up again. Scott’s reckless attitude even slightly presented itself.
Even the supporting characters were well done this week. Professor Lungren (Christina Kowalchuk) was interestingly selfless and cared more about people losing their lives than her experiments. I liked how willing she was to sacrifice herself to make sure that nobody else got hurt. Colonel Casey (Adjoa Andoh) was a nicely formidable presence as well. The role of the Global Defense Force in this episode generally added more scope to the series that has been somewhat lacking. It’s good to see that International Rescue aren’t the only competent organisation in this world.
Despite the excellent development for Parker, I think more could have been made of his relationship with Lady Penelope. She is mostly there as a sounding board for him but no real insight is given into how close they are supposed to be. It’s a fairly minor niggle but giving her something meaningful to contribute would have enhanced this episode greatly.