Thunderbirds Are Go – Season 1 Episode 19
Thunderbirds Are Go lets Virgil and Gordon work together on a mission to save a seismologist and his son when an illegal mining operation malfunctions.
The seismologist and his son aren’t responsible for the accident, they merely stumble onto it so International Rescue aren’t yet tasked with saving someone who is doing something illegal. It’s a shame as this would have been a good opportunity to see how their professionalism stacks up when they have to use their skills and technology to save people who are breaking the law.
Aiden Williams (William Wright-Neblett) is a young man who idolises International Rescue so much that he knows their rescue procedures. This comes in handy as his father Robert (Paterson Joseph) is not quite as clued up so it’s up to Aiden to make sure they survive. This of course helps Virgil and Gordon who are struggling to reach them due to the dangers involved.
It hasn’t been explicitly stated but this episode leads me to assume that International Rescue aren’t a big secret like they were in the original series. I never understood why that is so it makes sense for me to have them a public rescue organisation who are accountable to only themselves. Maybe there are still a secret but nobody seems overly concerned with making sure that their names aren’t known or anything like that.
The major theme of the episode is the importance of family. Aiden does everything he can to protect his father because he feels that it’s his responsibility. There’s a mention from Gordon that he understands what he means by being determined to protect his father.
Unfortunately the episode doesn’t deal with that as well as it could. This would have been the perfect opportunity for Gordon to relate his personal experience of losing his father to the desperation of the situation. The episode tries to hint that one day Aiden could join International Rescue so a more thorough exploration of how the loss inspired the Tracy brothers would have made this episode more memorable than it ultimately turns out to be.
As always the rescue was competently executed. I liked seeing Thunderbird 4 in action again but it’s far from the most exciting rescue the series has had. There wasn’t much in the way of tension despite the ticking clock nature of the situation. I never felt that anyone was in any real danger. Watching Thunderbird 2 hovering around waiting for Gordon to do his thing wasn’t the most entertaining visual either. This would definitely be considered a fairly average episode of this show which is a shame as it had a lot of potential to make thins more relevant to the characters. If the episode had taken more time to explore the potential it had then it would have gained a lot more tension.
The episode also falls over in how it deals with the illegal mining operation. John mentions that the people responsible have been arrested and that’s the end of it. All of this happens off screen which removes any sort of payoff for the unseen villains of the piece. Lady Penelope and Parker are supposed to exist for this very reason so I’m confused over why they weren’t used.
It would have been easy for a subplot involving Lady Penelope and Parker or even the criminally underused Kayo trying to track down the people responsible for this while Virgil and Gordon worked to save Aiden and Robert. It would certainly have broken up the tedium of the fairly pedestrian rescue scenes. It’s a shame that the show doesn’t use the resources available to it to tell more engaging stories.
A fairly dull episode that never manages to climb too far above average and fails to make effective use of the resources available to it.
Introducing a child who idolises International Rescue to the point where he knows their rescue procedures is a good idea and it ties in nicely to the theme of the importance of family but the episode misses the opportunity to tie this to the Tracy brothers suffering the loss of their own family in a meaningful way. It would have upped the tension if some exploration of Gordon’s feelings about losing Jeff had been part of the narrative.
The rescue was competently executed but wasn’t all that interesting to watch. Thunderbird 2 hovering around waiting for Thunderbird 4 to finish the job wasn’t especially entertaining and Thunderbird 4s scenes were lacking in tension and urgency.
I’m confused as to why Lady Penelope and Parker or the underused Kayo weren’t involved in tracking down those responsible for the illegal mining operation. The whole thing is resolved off screen which removes any payoff for the unseen villains. A subplot involving any of these character tracking them down would have broken up the tedium of the rescue scenes.