Thunderbirds Are Go – Season 1 Episode 26
Thunderbirds Are Go closes off the first season with an episode that deals with Kayo’s familial connection to the Hood while increasing the threat he represents to the team.
I wouldn’t say that the entire first season of Thunderbirds Are Go was building to this moment as such but the Hood has been a constant threat since it began. The secret of Kayo’s connection has been hanging over the show as well so on a thematic level it makes sense to connect these for the final episode of the season.
Naturally it works and they all take the bait which allows the Hood to execute his plan to take over the island. The only person that seems to find the situation suspicious enough to act on it is Kayo who immediately abandons her rescue and heads back to Tracy Island. The brothers note that it does seem like a trick but they refuse to abandon their missions in case it turns out to be genuine. It definitely comes across as naive but at the end of the day their job is to rescue those in danger so they can’t really turn away unless they are absolutely sure there is nothing there.
Kayo has been very consistently written as a character. She is more willing to trust her instincts and take action based on a gut feeling. As far as she’s concerned there’s enough evidence that her mission is a hoax so she leaves enough water for a survivor to make do if she turns out to be wrong and heads back to Tracy Island to investigate her hunch. There is no hesitation in her decision which really shows why she is such a valuable asset to the team since she can bring the decisiveness that the other brothers sometimes lack.
I’m in two minds about the Hood being in control of Tracy Island as it was mishandled in some respects. It was mentioned that the GDF don’t know the location of the island but it was never made clear how the Hood found it. He just happens to be there without explaining what genius method he employed to actually get there.
Putting that aside his presence on the island allowed the episode to take a more character driven turn as he used his connection to Kayo to manipulate the situation. She ends up going along with what he wants because he puts the Tracy brothers at risk and threatens to kill them if she doesn’t cooperate. It puts her in a really difficult situation but her constant insistence that they need to trust her shows that she definitely has a backup plan. We already see the beginnings of that when she enlists Lady Penelope to implement an emergency protocol.
The Hood is on top form in terms of using the information he has to manipulate the situation. He waits until the right time to mention that he is Kayo’s uncle and uses that fact to make the Tracy brothers doubt her loyalty to the extent that they are unsure whether to listen to her or not. The conversation they have is a really good way of putting that across and I like that they come to the conclusion that she has never steered them wrong before. This is dealt with later as the brothers collectively decide that if their father trusted her then they should too. Jeff Tracy hasn’t been seen at all in this show but everything the brothers do is informed by the lessons he taught them. They still unquestionably trust him to the point that if something was good enough for him then they can go by his judgement. I’d like to see some flashbacks of Jeff in the next season.
Another thing that didn’t really make sense is the Hood’s claim that Kayo has been his secret weapon without even knowing it. I’m unclear on what he did when she was around that made him succeed in his plan. I get that it was supposed to be a shocking reveal for both Kayo and the audience but I don’t understand what he meant by it.
Kayo leaving the Hood hanging until the last possible second where she reveals that she has lured him to a second island right next to Tracy Island was a really clever twist. Just as the Hood can exploit compassion to get what he wants Kayo can exploit his overconfidence. By that point he feels like he has won so isn’t expecting complications. It just shows how clever a character Kayo is that she was able to keep control of the situation while presenting the appearance that she had been beaten.
As always the set pieces were really well done. There weren’t as many of them due to the more character driven focus but that worked really well. Thunderbirds 1 and 2 collaboratively using grapple cables to rip apart the Hood’s ship was a really cool image and a really creative flip on the purpose of the vehicles. Usually they are used to protect people but in this case they are used for destruction. I also really liked the stock footage of the Tracy brothers mobilising being combined with a briefing on their situation. It made it feel less like the mobilisation was simply killing time as it moved the story forward with details of the missions.
The Hood’s capture made the whole thing feel a little neat but considering he has operatives everywhere I suspect it won’t be long before he’s free to torment International Rescue again. This definitely won’t be the end for him as he’s far too engaging a villain to cast aside so easily.
It has been a strong first season for Thunderbirds Are Go. It is very much a kid’s show and is definitely written for younger viewers but I am impressed with the depth and character development that creeps in from time to time. It’s worth watching for Weta’s excellent effects work that blends practical with CGI in a really interesting way but the characters are broadly inoffensive as well. It’s a fun show and I’ll keep watching if and when it returns for a second season.
A satisfying cap to the first season that gives Kayo plenty to do while increasing the threat that the Hood represents.
The Hood shows himself to be a clever threat to the Tracy brothers by using their compassion against them in engineering separate rescue scenarios that will demand all of their attention so that he can sneak into Tracy Island to take it over.
Kayo is the only one who thinks that it’s suspicious and trusts her instincts to return to Tracy Island to investigate. The brothers refuse to abandon their mission in case they aren’t a hoax which definitely comes across as naive but shows their commitment to rescuing people.
The Kayo character has been consistently written as someone who is willing to trust her instincts and act on a gut feeling. She leaves enough water for someone to survive in case she’s wrong but there’s no hesitation in her decision.
In some respects the Hood being in control of Tracy Island was mishandled. It has been established that the location of the island is a secret but it’s never made clear how he manages to find it.
His presence on the island allowed the episode to take a more character driven turn as he used his connection to Kayo to manipulate the situation. She goes along with what he wants as he threatens to kill the Tracy brothers if she doesn’t cooperate. She definitely has a backup plan as shown by her enlisting Lady Penelope to implement an emergency protocol.
The Hood is in top form using the information he has to manipulate the situation. He waits until the right time to reveal that he is Kayo’s uncle and uses that to make the Tracy brothers doubt her loyalty. The conversation they have brings this across well and I like that they ultimately choose to trust her. This is developed later in the episode by them choosing to trust their father’s decision to not let Kayo’s family connection be a problem. Jeff isn’t a character in this show but the brothers still go by everything he taught him and take his decisions at face value.
I’m not sure what was meant by Kayo being the Hood’s secret weapon all along. It isn’t made clear what he means by that. I get that it was supposed to be a shocking reveal but it fell flat due to the fact that it was confusing.
Kayo exploiting the Hood’s overconfidence to lead him to the second island. It shows that Kayo is able to keep control of the situation while presenting the appearance that she is beaten.
The set pieces were excellent as always. Thunderbirds 1 and 2 using grapple cables to tear the Hood’s ship apart was really cool and a creative flip on the purpose of the vehicles. Usually they protect but this time they destroy. I also liked seeing everyone be briefed on the situation while using the stock footage of the brothers mobilising. It felt less like the episode was killing time with the mobilisation and moved the story forward.
Having the Hood captured at the end feels a little neat but I doubt that it’ll be permanent. He is too engaging a villain to lock away forever.
The first season of Thunderbirds Are Go was a lot of fun. It is definitely written for younger viewers but greater depth and character development still managed to creep in. It always looked great with excellent effects work on the set pieces. I look forward to the second season.