Thunderbirds Are Go – Season 1 Episode 3
Thunderbirds Are Go focuses on Alan Tracy aboard Thunderbird 3 for the third episode as he works to stop an old mine from exploding and causing untold damage.
After an action packed opening episode featuring all of the Thunderbirds in action dealing with the same problem it’s good to see the show dial back and focus on the individual characters and how they react to pressure individually. In theory it should be an effective way to get to know more about the Tracy brothers.
The execution is unfortunately not quite as on point as it should be. We spent most of this episode with Alan but I don’t feel like I know him any better than I did at the start of it. A similar problem exists here to the first episode where Alan seems altogether overconfident and never really suffers any personal setbacks. The questionable voice acting makes it difficult to accept that Alan feels scared at any point because it never seems like he does.
Alan is a very skilled pilot unmistakeably but his complete lack of self doubt makes it difficult to root for him. Nothing he does here feels like any sort of a problem for him. I’m all for the characters being competent but the arrogance really irritates me. Fair enough this show is for kids but all the more reason to teach them humility through the characters having some humility. The only development Alan really receives is going from being bored by rounding up space junk to realising the importance of it and finding motivation for it. It’s not really enough of a lesson to be called character development.
Visually the episode was stunning with lots of really cool maneuvers going on as Thunderbird 3 weaves through space junk and ships in orbit with a nuke in tow. Thunderbird 3 looks great in action and pulls off some really cool moves when trying to stop the bomb causing insane damage.
The action always remained tense and well paced with a defined goal in mind. This show definitely can’t be faulted for keeping the pace exactly what it needs to be to remain engaging.
Connected to the main story was Lady Penelope and Parker’s contribution. Their objective was to enter an archive in order to get a hold of a document that has the kill code for the bomb. I found this part of the plot really irritating mostly because of the employees of that archive. They were told on no uncertain terms how urgent the issue was and that the repercussions were if the code wasn’t provided but they sat behind a cloak of bureaucratic ignorance and delayed the result as long as possible. It was played for laughs but I couldn’t help thinking how ridiculous those people were even by kid joke standards. If they had acted like human beings the problem would have been solved as soon as John called them.
There’s something about Parker and Lady Penelope that really bother me. It’s a combination of the way they talk as well as the lack of seriousness they approach everything. Parker’s covert skills are really impressive to watch but he acts a little too goofy for my tastes. There’s still lots of work to do before making these characters likeable.
Not as strong an experience as the pilot with lots of missed character development opportunities throughout.
Focusing individual episodes on one Tracy brother is a great ideas as it gives them the opportunity to find their own voice within the context of the show but Alan didn’t really learn anything here. He starts the episode arrogant and ends the same way. He does learn that his job of cleaning up space junk is an important one and becomes more willing to do it but it doesn’t qualify as character development.
Visually the episode is gorgeous with lots of impressive maneuvers performed by Thunderbird 3. There’s plenty of great shots of Thunderbird 3 weaving through space junk and larger ships with a nuke in tow to keep things interesting.
The episode is incredibly well paced with a great sense of tension at all points. Alan has a defined goal and everything he does is in pursuit of that so there’s no wasted time.
Parker and Lady Penelope’s story was pretty annoying mostly because of the insane bureaucrats that they have to deal with to get the code that will save the day. They are told how urgent it is but decide to act like jackasses anyway. I get that it’s played for laughs but it’s definitely a case of the wrong time for such an attempt at humour.
Parker’s covert activities are pretty impressive to watch but the way he acts is kinds of irritating. The same applies to Lady Penelope. There’s something unprofessional about these characters.
Maybe I’m holding this show to a higher standard than I should be but there’s lots of potential for interesting family friendly characters and story development that isn’t being tapped. It might come out in subsequent episodes but so far this show seems to coast by on impressive spectacle.