Thunderbirds Are Go – Season 1 Episode 6

May 2, 2015 | Posted by in TV
Thunderbirds Are Go


Thunderbirds Are Go focuses on Virgil and Grandma Tracy as London finds itself without power at the hands of an anti technology cult called “The Luddites”

What we have here is the strongest episode of Thunderbirds Are Go. My biggest criticism of the previous episodes was the virtual lack of character development but there was definitely some real progression for Virgil here.

The setup for the plot is a little on the nose and is painfully foreshadowed by Grandma Tracy’s assertions that technology isn’t the answer to everything and that old things can still be useful. She points all of this out just before the power cuts out but I’ll forgive the bluntness given that this is a kids show and obvious life lessons are absolutely the order of the day.

Thunderbirds Are Go

Thunderbird 2 successfully makes an emergency landing

It all pays off in a way that works because the lesson becomes the thematic hook of the episode. With the power down Virgil finds himself without the use of his gadgets for probably the first time and still has to find a way to be useful since he’s made a pledge to rescue people…internationally.

Grandma Tracy opens his mind to different ways of doing things and quite rightly points out that people were doing heroic things long before technology made that a lot easier. In prior episodes the characters were really arrogant because they knew that their tech could get the job done but without his devices Virgil is forced to rely on his wits. There’s even a really solid moment where Virgil questions whether he can actually pull this off or not. Naturally his grandmother is there to give him the encouragement he needs but for a second there Virgil showed genuine humility and that’s more in line with what I want to see on this show.

Some obvious sentiment manages to work pretty well here with heavy handed statements saying that it’s not the tech doing the rescuing, it’s the Tracy. It’s completely in your face but it kinds of works because Grandma Tracy comes across as someone who is in the know about these things through her life experience and the proof comes when Virgil manages to pull things of without the use of the resources he normally has.

The strongest moment in the episode where Virgil has to make a choice between saving a woman in imminent danger and going after the Hood who potentially threatens the world and he easily makes the choice to save the woman. His Grandmother chiming in with what could be a motto for International Rescue – “Save on life, then save the world”. It might not seem the most utilitarian but it worked for me. Virgil doesn’t really know if he can catch the Hood and make a difference but he does know that he can save a single life right there and then so he chooses that. Whether you agree with his decision or not he is committed to that and has no regrets. That sort of affirmation goes a long way towards establishing Virgil’s underlying motivation. I wonder if there be a later moment where there are consequences to him making that decision as this episode robs him of that after Parker’s careful pickpocketing.

Thunderbirds Are Go

Virgil makes his choice

Parker pickpocketing the Hook represents a large problem with this show in general. Whenever Parker and Lady Penelope are featured the audience already knows that they are more skilled than anyone else they might be facing. The Luddites didn’t stand a chance against them from the beginning and that was made abundantly clear. Whenever these characters are involved there’s little to no danger in the story.

As far as villains go the Luddites were absolutely ridiculous. They wanted to rid the world of power for some reason but their rationale was never made clear. What did they hope to accomplish by cutting all the power and what were they trying to prove? There was some nonsense about going back to better times but it really makes no sense why people would fully buy into such an idea. I did like that the Hood seemed to think the same and was just using them as expendable henchmen so that he could hold the world ransom for power. That as a motivation makes sense and I’ll give the episode props for having the Hood think the same as me.

As always the action sequences were first rate with the highlight being Thunderbird 2 making an emergency landing in the middle of London’s widest street. It’s really lucky that nothing got damaged and I’m not sure that there wouldn’t be a mark on the thing. At the very least the paintjob on the under carriage will need to be redone.

  • 9/10
    Unplugged - 9/10


Despite some minor weaknesses like the laughably poor villains with a plan that is just beyond stupid and the seeming invincibility of Parker and Lady Penelope this episode definitely stands out as being the strongest of the run so far.

The previous episodes have been lacking in character development but this episode makes up for it by giving Virgil a solid -if obvious- character arc where he is forced to learn the sort of man he is without the benefit of all of his technology backing him up. Basically he learns that he has what it takes to be a hero and affirms his commitment to saving people even when it gets difficult for him.

Grandma Tracy is used to great effect by being there to constantly support him and give him the encouragement he needs to find another way to get the job done. There’s some obvious sentimentality but if it’s for young kids then it’ll be a nice life lesson and there’s quite a lot of “in my day…” sort of chat but it really works in showing what it takes to be heroic.

Parker and Lady Penelope always come across as being the most skilled people in any situation which robs them of any drama. It’s always obvious that they will win because their opponents are so laughably beneath them in terms of ability. They really need to have something that can truly challenge them.

As above the Luddites were utterly ridiculous as far as villains go. Their motivation was non existent and it couldn’t even be speculated as to what they would hope to accomplish by living in a world without power. The Hood was right to use them as henchmen for a much better plan.

User Review
0 (0 votes)