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Old 7th May 2018, 02:27 PM
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Thunderbird 2 Thunderbird 2 is offline
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Default Episode 3.7 - Rally Raid - Discussion

Lady Penelope and Parker compete in a desert motor race, and all seems well until the Chaos Crew steals an experimental new engine from the leading vehicle.

Guest Cast:
Ben Bailey Smith - Jensen Hunt.
Naomi Mcdonald - BR2 Driver.

Written by:
Benjamin Townsend

Directed by:
Theo Baynton

Special Notation:
This Episode is dedicated to the memory of Sylvia Anderson
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Last edited by Thunderbird 2; 13th May 2018 at 04:28 PM.
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Old 12th May 2018, 05:57 PM
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I have to admit, I actually rather liked this one - despite the lack of a real rescue and the inclusion of the Chaos Crew.

Obviously had shades of Move – And You're Dead with the race, but the idea of the Hood trying to steal an advanced computer from a racing car, for some reason, does rather feel like something I wouldn't be surprised to see in an original series episode. Maybe it was the desert setting, but the whole thing just had that kind of cheesy 60's spy movie vibe to it.

Plus David Graham is just exquisite as the more modern 'sassy' Parker, and I really enjoyed Lady Penelope in this one; the way she dealt with Jensen Hunt and just remained calm and confident throughout was really nice to see at length again.

That said, the Chaos Crew certainly solidified themselves as useless saturday morning cartoon villains by just parking out in the open to get snacks... I have to wonder when the Hood is going to realise he's employing the wrong people. Yikes. Just yikes.

Not outstanding, and it didn't reeeeally feel like Thunderbirds (more acceptible in a Lady Penelope focussed episode, to be fair), but it did what it was trying to do very well, which is more than can be said for a couple of episodes so far from Season 3.

Last edited by OrbitalWings; 12th May 2018 at 06:03 PM.
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Old 13th May 2018, 12:32 PM
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Not much t say about this one other than a fairly run-of-the-mill B plot that may have worked in conjunction with a rescue as a 45 minute episode, but never mind.

Liked the references (visual and musical) to Sylvia, and the dedication in the credits was nice.
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Old 14th May 2018, 06:48 PM
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For once – by accident, I saw the trailer for this episode. Normally I try very hard to avoid the modern media PR routine of trailing and info dumping before I see episodes of TAG, because I don't want to have a coloured impression (or expectation) before I see the episode, in the same manner as I saw the entire original series. Due to this annoying mishap, I thought I was braced for how poor the episode could be. Nope, not even close!

The storyline is so paper thin, its alarming rather than annoying. The idea of Creighton Ward ladies being race car drivers is not a far fetched one in itself, I say that after visiting the amazing Beaulieu Estate and National Motor Museum a couple of months ago. The idea that Lady P far less Lady Sylvia could be champions in the sport is a delicious one. Equally the idea of TAG revisiting the past with one of the Tracy Brothers (or Sister, ie Kayo) being an off road racer provides a myriad of options and ideas that could also tie in with a number of rescue scenarios. In the basic idea, the potential is sound.
Instead, we are presented with the latest square peg, round hole. In this case, the peg is FAB1.2. The car is a limousine, and a road use one at that. Plapping performance racing tyres and a gaudy spoiler on the boot does not change that, and looks dreadful.
We are given the BR2, but unlike the original, this one is not even properly presented as the Macguffin of the week. The computer-me-bob go fast device is stolen, the car is then forgotten about. - Pointless. The whole episode feels cheap. The characters are well realised, but the racing concept is done with no detail. The other race cars, the setting, it is all so bland and unfinished! Even the filling station (in the middle of an empty desert?) has no detail, its all plain walls and closed panels. We have the chase sequences of course, but an episode cannot rely on those alone.

That leaves the characters to save the day. Lady P and Parker are as good as always, but this story is a poor fit to their skill sets, setting aside Parker's driving. Jensen Hunt is perhaps one of the most offensive characters the series has presented us till Penelope tells him where he gets off, and the poor BR2 driver is effectively forgotten about, by writer and characters. - We are not even given her name. Ironically, the usual outstanding performances of the cast make this all the more obvious, not less. That and John's couple of brief moments really highlight this is one best to miss out and move on.

This insipid episode was dedicated to the memory of Sylvia Anderson, a delightful, highly creative and talented lady. If that is not a backhanded compliment by the Producers of this mess, I don't know what is, as unhappy as I am to admit it.

- - - - - - - - - - - -
Although I never met Sylvia Anderson in person, I spoke with her on the phone a couple of times in the early 1990's while she was still the UK Rep for HBO. A nicer, more engaging person I could not have expected. I consider myself lucky that I had that opportunity to bounce my ideas off her and to Thank her for the glorious work and series she co-created, especially Thunderbirds and Captain Scarlet. In particular, I noted the characters she created especially Lady Penelope, Parker and the Tracy Family, - with Virgil in particular.

- - - - - - - - - - - -



(Tactful) Plus Points:
Penelope notes she wants to honour her Great Aunt. A kind of 'in house' salute to Mrs Anderson.
The use of the classic era music, and brief dedication at the end of the closing credits to Mrs Anderson.


Iffy Elements:
Hunt is another take on a Le-Mishler character from the start – he improves, but his initial rudeness crosses a line, even by TAG's obnoxious guest standards.
Lady P's weak excuse for not launching Thunderbird 1.2 after the crash.
A high point of the classic episode, the BR2 car is nothing special here. But none of the race cars are either.
Due to the fat race tyres, FAB1.2 can't use flying mode? - What a surprise.

Iffy to Excruciating Elements:
FAB1.2 now joins Thunderbirds 2.2, 3.2 and 4.2 as a misused vehicle, in getting forced into a function that does not fit her design or operation in a painfully weak attempt to make the episode work.
The episode depicts a simplified, and obviously budgeted American take on desert off-road motor racing, in spite of the lacklustre and somewhat generic attempts to verbally reference the UK / European versions of motor sport.
The BR2 driver is so arbitrary you forget she is part of the story. We are not even given her name, far less who she is, or what she is about.


T-T.I.R.E. or C-C.R.A.P. Episode?:
Neither the Rally Race, nor the Chaos Crew Storylines have anything tangible to them. Essentially the episode is too weak to be in either category, even though it's clearly supposed to be the latter. Once again, Havoc and Fuse show they are a major narrative step backwards from The Mechanic.


Possible References:
Jensen Hunt is a portmanteau of James Hunt and Jenson Button, the character resembles Lewis Hamilton. - All famous as British Formula One Motor Racing drivers.
Lady P says Hunt has “The X Factor.” Rather than a classic phrase, this is a crass name-check of another ITV series.
The desert race and its location style (cheaply) reflect Pixar's original Cars film. (2006)
The Turbo Boost style leap implies Classic Knight Rider, as does Spoiler's “Super Pursuit” Mode.
Its a stretch – the desert filling station, M.A.S.K's operations base?



TOS References & Other Anderson:
The “Corolla Rally”name could be a misrepresentation of Parola Sands from Move And You're Dead.
The BR2 as the “wow-we” car is lifted from Move And You're Dead as well.
“Jensen” is a name check to the character in Danger at Ocean Deep. (Not to be confused with Jansen in TOS Path of Destruction.)


Continuity Good...
A direct reference to Lady Sylvia, who appears to have passed, following Mrs Anderson in reality. - Lady P clearly refers to her Great Aunt in the past tense.

...And Bad,
Lady P refers to the “Original FAB 1” - Presumably she actually means FAB Zero?
Was Big Alice really necessary?!

Questions:
I'd need another bloddy thread to list them all!
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Last edited by Thunderbird 2; 14th May 2018 at 06:51 PM.
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Old 14th May 2018, 08:53 PM
FAB_61 FAB_61 is offline
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I'm not sure where to start......

Whilst it could be argued that some of the Lady Penelope centred stories in the original Thunderbirds were a bit contrived, and not in the "grand rescue" style of some of the others, they were at least decent stories and worked in the context of the character.

What we had here was a story that could have been part of any series that just happened to be using TAG characters - and I think I'm not convinced that calling it a "story" is justified.

If it wasn't for the lack of any new mechandise/tie-ins etc I'd have been tempted to think that this whole episode was just a glorified advert for some sort of video game (I note the reference made in the earlier review to "Cars" but I'm thinking "Phantom Menace Pod Race" here - blatent padding to sell a game).

But we haven't even got that idea to fall back on.

Not only do we have Lady Penelope involved in something that seems completely out of place, we also get a totally annoying "guest" character (the name of which a 5 year old could have thought of - but at least he had a name), and the Chaos Crew showing just how completely useless they are - having stolen the "computer thingy" all they needed to do was remote in the "Chaos Cruiser" and fly off - but no...... they have to stop for a burger and loose it again.

There were various ideas when "Havoc" and "Fuse" were introduced as characters as to who they were based on - I'm starting to think it's "Team Rocket" from Pokemon, equally useless and annoying.

Other odd things:

Lady P says she's going to call the train driver to let him know they're going to jump on the back of the train - eh? why?

Fixing the "computer" into FAB 1.2 magically makes it go faster - how's that supposed to work? [That said, Tesla's apparently have something called "Ludicrous Mode" (Spaceballs reference) that takes the usual limits off the motors and lets a Model S go from 0-60 in under 3 seconds - you can't use it too often otherwise it burns things out]

I think what annoys me most is that if this was supposed to be a tribute to Sylvia Anderson they could (should) have come up with something a damn sight better.

FAB_61

Last edited by FAB_61; 14th May 2018 at 09:12 PM.
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