Thunderbirds – 14. End Of The Road

Directed by David Lane

Teleplay by Dennis Spooner

First Broadcast – 25th November 1965

The construction world of the future is a theme focussed on time and again in Thunderbirds. It often comes back to the idea that despite all the highly advanced and automated technology, it still takes hard work and human sacrifice to make things really happen. Despite all these tech-based endeavours, human characters are still the central focus of such stories, End of the Road being a standout example. It’s an episode full of spectacular special effects and some lovely looking guest vehicles – but also in the middle of it all is Eddie Houseman, a guest character whom we grow to like as we learn about his determination and his loose ties with the International Rescue organisation.

Eddie is so much the focus of the episode that he and his construction vehicles feature very heavily in the opening teaser, leaving next to no room for International Rescue!

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Kicking straight off in the mountainous region of South-East Asia, the title card boldly proclaims that this is End of the Road, an ominous title with literal and figuritive connotations.

Suddenly the mountains start exploding because it’s Thunderbirds and that’s just how you open a Thunderbirds episode good and proper. A truck from the Gray & Houseman Construction Company is firing explosives into the distance in a sequence which basically gives us some magnificent music and spectacular special effects.

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Inside the truck, Chuck Taylor, Eddie Houseman, and Cheng are at the controls supervising the demolition of the mountain. Chuck later appears as… well, Chuck in Day of Disaster – he has the same helmet and everything. He’s also guarding the press conference in additional material for The Mighty Atom. The controls of the tractor are later seen inside the D.O.M.O. in The Duchess Assignment.

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The explosives truck itself is a lovely little model, the body of which is also used for the Transmitter Truck in Sun Probe, and the Fire Truck in Security Hazard.

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Huge boulders start to tumble down the mountain, matched with some thundering sound effects making them look very big, heavy, and destructive.

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Eddie watches through his binoculars which if you look very carefully appear to have two big blue irises and pupils looking through them. It could just be a coincidence, but that’s certainly what it looks like and it’s a nice, albeit slightly creepy, touch.

The cutting through the mountains is completed and congratulations are passed around before preceeding to inspect their work.

More gorgeous models shots as the truck passes through the newly made cutting in the mountain. The high angle shot in particular is incredible. The detailing carved into the enormous polystyrene blocks to simulate the mountains is superb. If I had one criticism of this episode it’s that there are actually too many gorgeous model shots which slow the pace of the story a fair bit. But hey, it looks great so I can’t complain.

Suddenly the rocks start to fall again and plunge down into the canyon dangerously near the tractor. Taylor forces the truck into reverse.

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Did I mention how good and realistic these model shots look? Despite nearly getting killed by their handy work, the workers decide not to mention the rock falls to anyone and head back to base.

That base being the Gray & Houseman Construction Vehicle, sometimes referred to as the Highway Pathfinder. This big red monster is another lovely model full of detail. Very basically the vehicle is able to clear the way ahead, and then lays tarmack and painted white lines from the rear. Gone are the days when a small piece of highway took weeks of construction, in the future it takes just a few minutes and a small crew to do the bulk of the work, connecting entire countries for trade and migration like never before. The same model was painted yellow for its appearance as a road construction vehicle in Atlantic Inferno.

Observing the path ahead is the waiter from The Perils of Penelope and Wade from The Mighty Atom. In the control room is one of the police officers from Terror In New York City and at the main console is J.B. Lester who gives the order for some trees and rocks to be blasted out of the way.

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The front mounted canon opens fire and takes care of the problem. Sure is efficient!

Eddie and his team arrive back at the construction vehicle. The entire front section opens up to reveal a garage. It’s just so Thunderbirds. The truck is spun around on a turntable and gives all the model enthusiasts out there a good look at this neat little machine.

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Eddie sits down in Bob Gray’s office. They’re both very pleased to have blasted through the mountain before the monsoon season starts, allowing them to meet their predicted project delivery date. Bob Gray is another new puppet who later appears as Cravitz in Atlantic Inferno.

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Basically wanting any excuse to have a drink, Bob pulls a bottle out of his desk which definitely doesn’t make him look like he likes a drink on the job or anything. Judging by the poster on his wall he’s also a fan of Grauman’s Chinese Theatre in Hollywood…

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It turns out Eddie is going off on vacation to look up an old friend… what an international man of mystery…

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Meanwhile on Tracy Island, Tin-Tin is waving a piece of cotton wool in front of her face while Grandma glides across the background without moving her legs.

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Tin-Tin certainly has an interesting taste in decor… Grandma has just finished making a dress for Tin-Tin and has in mind that she might wear it for a special someone, namely Alan. It isn’t mentioned enough how good Christine Finn is at voicing these two characters. She doesn’t have many guest roles in the show but the characters she does voice are distinctive and given a lot of warmth.

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Speaking of Alan, this is the first time we learn that his TV portrait has multiple functions. A map of the ocean around Tracy Island reveals that an aircraft is approaching.

Jeff gets up from his desk, not looking terribly impressed. Scott manages to tear himself away from his magazine – a different looking Scott puppet is used for this shot compared to the rest of the episode, suggesting a re-shoot or late addition.

The plane in question is a small jet which is later used by Tim Casey, painted yellow, in Edge of Impact. The puppet set, which was also used for Interceptor One in Trapped In The Sky, doesn’t quite match the model which doesn’t have the same transparent overhead canopy. As the jet steers away, the island in the background bears no resemblance to the standard Tracy Island seen in stock footage and even appears to have snow on the top.

Gordon assumes the plane is going away but Scott is quick to correct him. Jeff goes berserk when he realises the plane is coming into land and demands Operation Cover-Up be triggered immediately. I wonder if he gets like that every time the postman turns up.

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Jeff and Gordon are suddenly no longer stood directly in front of the portraits as they change over.

The jet comes in over the end of the Thunderbird 2 runway which was seen for the first time in last week’s episode, Terror In New York City. A rolling road is used as the plane comes into land, making the runway look a lot longer than it has previously.

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Virgil has fully recovered from his crash last week and is totally chilled about the entire situation. There’s only orange juice in that glass, honest.

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Alan and Gordon exchange cheeky looks as if to say, “Isn’t life blissful, I certainly hope nobody comes along to spoil how nice and normal everything is.” Either that or they’re coming up with a plan to draw a moustache on Virgil’s face…

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Brains stares at the camera wishing that someone would come and play chess with him. While Brains does appear in the episode, he has no dialogue… probably sulking because he has no friends.

Jeff, Tin-Tin and particularly Scott discuss the mysterious visitor and how ruddy inconvenient it is of them to turn up unannounced.

Kyrano announces the arrival of Eddie Houseman! Tin-Tin is more than a bit excited as indicated by some lovely music. All has become clear. She must be the old friend he referred to. How did he know she was living on Tracy Island? She probably shouldn’t be giving that information out willy-nilly what with her uncle being a dangerous criminal and master of disguise…

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I believe this is the first wide shot we get of the whole island lit up at night in the series. It certainly looks pretty and gives a better idea where exactly all the island’s buildings are located.

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A full moon is out tonight, or in this case a very nice painting of one.

The camera pans down and across to reveal Gordon and Virgil chatting away on the balcony while Alan randomly hits keys on Virgil’s beloved piano.

Virgil and Gordon raise their voices and have a conversation steaming with sarcasm about Eddie and Tin-Tin. It’s a wonderful piece of humour and a reminder that these brothers love to tease each other and that Alan is a young and sensitive soul. Virgil raises the question, “Is he as handsome as I am, Gordon?” Okay, maybe it wasn’t just orange juice in that drink earlier…

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Needless to say Alan is concerned that the love of his life has been taken away from him. It’s a testament to the great writing and characterisation work done over the course of the series, as well as the talents of the voice artists and puppeteers, that the Thunderbirds characters were able to convincingly portray very human attributes like jealousy and love-sickness.

Out in the moonlight, Eddie and Tin-Tin are taking a ride in a speedboat. Back projection is used with a certain amount of success on the puppet set. It’s been a long time since they’ve seen each other. We don’t really learn much else about the nature of their relationship other than that. Thunderbirds isn’t really about romance, the idea often being hinted at rather than being directly addressed. It means a lot is left to the imagination for the grown-ups watching, and the kids who are perhaps less interested in that sort of thing can just ignore it.

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Alan sulks some more, looking down at the water. Barry Gray’s music also does a superb job of giving the puppets a much wider range of emotions than they could possibly be capable of expressing on their own.

The boat whizzes back to the jetty. Eddie’s been telling Tin-Tin about his earth-moving machinery and says he wishes she could see it…

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As the construction vehicle trundles along, a hand can be seen on the left of shot catching it.

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Lester brings in a seismogram indicating earth tremors up in the mountains. He says the signals are faint, but they don’t look all that faint.

The construction vehicle rolls along as the Gray and Houseman helijet takes off. This is most likely the first time the ‘jumping jack’ helijet was actually used in the production before being incorporated in additional material for Pit of Peril and City of Fire. The same piece of set which is always used for the helijet interiors in the series is utilised once again here.

The mountain really looks like an actual mountain. Gray and Lester watch as rubble falls from the peak into the canyon. This wouldn’t have been too much of a surprise if Eddie had bothered to mention it before swanning off to Tracy Island. Bob realises that the monsoon will make the problem a whole lot worse, preventing them from finishing the project on time. You might say it’s the end of the road…

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We come to a commerical break. The great model shots keep on coming.

Back on the island, Tin-Tin is getting ready for another night with Eddie. She suddenly has a picture of him which later turns up in the Williams’ house in Cry Wolf for some reason.

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Kyrano and Tin-Tin have a brief conversation at her door. I’ve referenced this before, but the awkwardness of their relationship comes through once again here. They just don’t seem able to communicate with each other very effectively, although on this ocassion it probably has less to do with Kyrano being something of a double agent, and more because he’s realising that his daughter is all grown up and that her date might have just stood her up…

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Yeah, Eddie has jumped in his plane to get back to work. Jerk.

The footage of Alan and Tin-Tin on the balcony from Trapped in the Sky is re-used here even though there are a total of four people standing up there on this ocassion. Tin-Tin is very upset. Jeff essentially tells her that Eddie’s work on the road is more important than their little fling – a bit heartless. Scott and Virgil seem pretty glad to see the back of him. One of Virgil’s eyebrows is oddly crooked for some reason.

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Not sounding terribly sympathetic, Scott wonders what the fuss is all about at the construction site… because Scott is insensitive to pretty much everyone.

The rain has set in over the mountain and has started to disintergrate the ground.

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Lester is refereeing a shouting match between Eddie and Bob. Bob wants to sit and wait for the rains to stop while Eddie wants to keep working to ensure the project is completed on schedule. He cooks up a scheme to blow up the top of the mountain in such a way that it stops crumbling into the canyon. The danger of working with explosives on such unstable ground is made clear so Bob pulls rank on Eddie to stop him going any further with the idea. Serves him right for not bringing up the problem when he was first driving through the canyon at the beginning of the episode.

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Tin-Tin is sulking in a towel. Her sunglasses make her look extra grumpy.

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Alan has come along to cheer her up. Don’t worry, he isn’t going to sing. He wants to go water-skiing. She doesn’t. So…

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He tells her what a rubbish guy Eddie is. Smooth Alan, real smooth…

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Yeah she’s gone. Alan’s well and truly jammed some salt into that wound.

Alan has no idea what he did wrong, claiming to be no good at “making fancy speeches.” I do wonder whether Alan is stuck in the 1800’s sometimes. Grandma promises to make everything alright. This is probably the tightest close-up we get of her in the series which you’ll probably be pleased to learn. I think it’s safe to assume that the whole sub-plot of Eddie and Tin-Tin’s relationship and Grandma attempting to court her on Alan’s behalf was added to the script before shooting began, extending the story from its original half hour form.

As the rain continues to pour at the mountain, everyone has turned in for the night. By Bob’s bedside is the ‘thorium-beam transmitter’ from Operation Crash-Dive which has played many other roles throughout the series, with many different coloured lightbulbs… Tin-Tin’s typewriter with the lego bricks for keys also makes an appearance.

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Eddie peers through the door to check Bob is asleep. A floor puppeteer’s fingers can be spotted under Eddie’s arm holding him up.

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Eddie enters the garage. The front track section of the explosives truck is absolutely massive standing next to him, possibly a little too big compared to the model shots. Lots of mud has been splattered over the ground to show where the truck has been driving in and out – a really nice touch.

Operating the door control himself, Eddie drives the truck out of the garage into the stormy night. I hope someone shut the door behind him to stop the rain getting in.

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Looks like Eddie’s going to get a bit wet out there.

The camera pans across the empty control room. The console closest to the camera appears to have parts of Thunderbird 3’s control panel from Sun Probe attached to it. The seismograph is suddenly showing some pretty big readings. That’s probably not good.

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Bob is woken up by Lester. There’s been an alarm signal. Scary stuff! Some plasticine has been stuck over Bob’s eyes to simulate his heavy eyelids.

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I know I spend a lot of time pointing out floor puppeteers accidentally turning up in shot to move the puppets, but here’s a pretty seamless moment where Bob gets out of bed and not a single human hand can be seen on screen. The floor puppeteers must have had to work incredibly hard to keep out of shot and do a very good job most of the time.

And so the spectacular model shots continue as lightning flashes and a thin spray of rain falls while the truck soldiers on towards the top of the mountain.

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Bob and Lester watch the readings grow larger before finally twigging that Eddie might just have disappeared up the mountain. Has no-one noticed that the massive garage door is open?

Eddie gets himself ready to go outside with his special red helmet for keeping the rain off. The storm continues to rage as we head for the next commerical break.

Back at the base, Chuck is the smart one who actually notices that the garage door is open and the Explosives Truck is missing. Bob is pretty cheesed off.

Up on the mountain, Eddie is drilling cavities to place the explosives. The rain is absolutely pouring, making for some very large drips on Eddie’s face, but for the most part the rain is pretty well in scale. One can only imagine how difficult it must have been to work on the set with everything getting absolutely drenched in water. It’s a great sequence full of danger and excitement with the music doing a lot to contribute.

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Slowly but surely, Eddie eases an explosive charge into the cavity. It interests me that despite being a close-up of a hand, the puppet is used rather than a live-action insert. There’s no real rhyme or reason in the series as to when a real hand is used versus a puppet hand. If an action is particularly complicated then a real hand stands in, but beyond that it must have purely been up to the director’s choice and whether time was available to make full size replicas of the sets, props, and costumes.

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Bob talks to the empty control cabin for a bit. The shots of Eddie are then repeated as he puts in another explosive which actually works without appearing repetitive.

Eddie pops back into the truck as Bob continues to make contact. That must be a really good jacket because he only has a few sprinkles of rain on him.

Bob starts to get pretty hysterical when Eddie announces his intention to fire the charges before the peak collapses completely and causes a landslide. I like that Bob cares about his friend, but he is a bit whiney about the whole thing.

Regardless of the risks, and not even taking a moment to move the truck out of the way even slightly, Eddie sets off the charges. The top of the mountain completely explodes and rock is chucked everywhere. Boulders start to roll, but apparently they don’t fall into the road cutting. A lot of cleaning up will still need to be done though before anymore road building can be done.

The force of the blast causes the tractor to swing out, knocking Eddie flying in a motion which probably should have broken his arm. A box of nutomic charges slides across the floor.

Another charge goes up as more of the mountain collapses. Again, it looks like a lot of the rock falls into the canyon but we’re told later that the cutting is clear and the road is saved, so I guess that makes it okay. The truck is left teetering on the edge of the cliff. The literal cliffhanger scenario is used surprisingly sparingly in the series, making this fairly simplistic disaster a classic.

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Clinging to a post, Eddie manages to pull himself up and talk to Bob. We’re told that the cutting is out of danger but with a case of charges still on board, the truck is in very real danger of a big explosion if it were to fall from the cliff. On the right of this shot is the winch control from the Anderbad Tunnel in The Perils of Penelope.

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The storm continues to rage as the truck tips back and forth. The lightning flashes are great for the drama. This is yet another gorgeous model shot.

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At the construction vehicle, someone’s finally shut the front door.

Bob immediately contacts International Rescue. We haven’t seen John for a couple of episodes so it’s nice to see he’s handling the loneliness of his existence relatively well.

The helijet is taken out for a gander at the mountain. Eddie attempts to stand up and the explosives are sent sliding as the truck starts to tip. Scary stuff!

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Lester and Cheng are the lucky ones who get to stand in the rain. AP Films were always really good at doing storms and rain – there’s some cracking ones in Stingray too.

John informs base of the situation but is being awfully sheepish about the whole thing. He reveals that the identity of the rescue victim is the notorious Tin-Tin abandoning scoundrel, Eddie Houseman.

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Alan may have his snottiest looking angry face on because he’s concerned for Eddie, but more likely because Alan’s not a very nice person and doesn’t fancy saving him very much.

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Champion of pointing out the obvious, Scott reminds us all that Eddie knows them. Thanks Scott, it’s not like we’ve been following the story up until now or anything.

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Alan is suddenly smiling again at the thought of not saving Eddie – nasty little twerp. Jeff immediately puts his boys back on the straight and narrow by reminding them that regardless of the risk to their secret identity, human life must come first. It’s very noble and makes Jeff’s polar opposite response to a similar issue in The Impostors seem even more bizarre and out of character. Scott is immediately dispatched in Thunderbird 1.

Back at the mountain boulders continue to fall and get awfully close to whacking the truck. There’s a lot of shots of boulders falling in this episode, perhaps too many,  but it reminds us that it could be all over in a matter of seconds as we head for the next commerical break.

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Virgil and Alan are being briefed before taking off in Thunderbird 2. When asked if they have any questions, they both answer “No sir” but if you study the lip movements, they open their mouths to speak at the same time, but their replies come one after another. I’m having to get picky like that because this episode doesn’t have that much wrong with it really.

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And so Virgil and Alan are off in Thunderbird 2, which is all better after her run in with the US Navy last week.

The key Gray and Houseman personnel are all assembled at the helijet. Lester is in the cockpit and rather bizarrely the footage has been reversed because the rain can be spotted pouring upwards!

Lester is attempting to contact International Rescue for an update but getting no response. He’s managed to dry off from the rain… that is until he sticks his head out of the window and is suddenly covered in water droplets, probably because this shot took a few takes and the crew couldn’t keep drying the puppet off.

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It sounds like Chuck says, “Well they’re making things difficult.” Impatient little chap isn’t he? Although he could be saying that the weather’s making things difficult in which case he’s probably right.

More rocks falling, and more rocks nearly hitting the truck. The tension does struggle a bit to rise any further at this point because tons of stuff keeps nearly crashing into the truck but always misses or doesn’t cause any problems. There isn’t really anywhere for the disaster to escalate to before International Rescue arrive.

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Even on Tracy Island nobody’s really feeling very tense about anything. They’re a bit nervous perhaps but the sense of urgency just isn’t there, probably because this scene was added into the script to extend the episode. Gordon’s so bored he’s actually given in to playing chess with Brains, even though I think we can all guess who might win.

Tin-Tin seems particularly disinterested to begin with. Has nobody told her that it’s Eddie they’ve gone to rescue? I know he ditched her and everything but I’d have thought she’d at least be a little concerned. So despite Tin-Tin’s ex being in life threatening jeopardy, Grandma continues with her grand sceheme to get Alan back in Tin-Tin’s good books. She does this by claiming Alan is very sick but insisted on going on the rescue anyway… this somehow makes Tin-Tin go all soft and gooey inside. Even if that wasn’t clearly a load of rubbish, she should surely still be more worried about Eddie than Alan who, at best, would only have a light sniffle if he felt up for travelling at high speed in Thunderbird 2. Grandma talks about him bearing the pain. How long does she believe this charade will last for considering Alan hasn’t got a ruddy clue? It’s just a pretty awful plan and exposes some of Tin-Tin’s very flimsy characterisation.

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They’re approaching the danger zone and here’s a nice model shot of Thunderbird 1. Seeing as there are thick, grey clouds in the background it would have perhaps been nice to have some clouds or rain going past in the foreground too. Some rain can just about be seen flickering past but quite a bit more would have looked much more dramatic.

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We get this quite nice shot of Thunderbird 1’s interior, showing us a few of her gizmos and demonstrating that Scott can’t actually see anything much while he’s flying her.

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Eddie is getting pessimistic and reckons this assignment will just be too tough for International Rescue. I’ve got to be honest Eddie, this isn’t exactly the most complex mission that International Rescue has ever undertaken. If they can drag a 500 ton metal monster out of a flaming pit or stop a space rocket colliding with the Sun, I think they can manage to stop you falling off a cliff you negative nancy.

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Scott decides to fly straight through the canyon to show off. A view of that from inside the truck’s cabin would have been cool. Although flying a supersonic rocket next to a carefully balanced vehicle full of explosives might not be the best idea for maintaining stability.

Scott decides to actually do something useful for once and try to stop the boulders from hitting the truck, so we get to see this rather elegant turn. It’s nice to Thunderbird 1’s lightning manoeuvrability on display rather than just being Scott’s taxi for getting from A to B.

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We get a rare opportunity to see one of Thunderbird 1’s gadgets in action. Normally Thunderbird 2 has all the cool toys.

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The long yellow arrows are fired with great accuracy into the cliff just above the truck. Whether they’re stable enough to hold back boulders I don’t know, but great job Scott for actually doing something cool and exciting for once!

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Just to finish showing off, Thunderbird 1 zips over the top of a mountain.

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By the time they’re actually needed to catch boulders, the arrows have somehow rearranged themselves into a more useful barrier formation and successfully save the truck from getting squished.

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Chuck’s limited vocabulary is tested for moment, just about managing to describe Thunderbird 1 as “a machine.”

Thunderbird 2 arrives with the same dark and cloudy backdrop but for some reason poorly matched stock footage had to be used to show her descending. Scott describes his yellow arrows as a “steel screen” which is sure as heck not what they look like but never mind. The plan is simple. Thunderbird 2 just needs to pick up the truck with its grabs. What could possibly go wrong?

Alan operates Thunderbird 2’s switch that does pretty much anything to open the hatch and lower the magnetic grabs. These are the same ones used in Brink of Disaster.

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The grabs are suddenly turned 90 degrees as Thunderbird 2 comes in to make her pick up. Needless to say its yet another gorgeous model shot which makes Thunderbird 2 look as mighty and majestic as always. The yellow arrows have, however, disappeared.

Disaster strikes! Thunderbird 2’s thrusters are causing the truck to tip over and send the nuomtic charges across the floor. I mean the blast of four enormous jets would probably do much worse damage if you parked your truck underneath them, but at least the force of the thrusters is acknowledged somewhat.

Thunderbird 2 quickly pulls away. Scott and Virgil need to do some rethinking. Virgil considers asking the Gray and Houseman team to attach a line to the truck… isn’t that sort of your job, guys? Not to mention I doubt they would have that kind of kit. Fortunately, Scott has yet another bright idea!

With some careful navigation and some rousing music, Scott steers Thunderbird 1 in towards the truck and nuzzles the nose of the craft in underneath to provide support and stability. Assuming Thunderbird 1’s hull is strong enough to do that it’s actually a pretty good idea. Scott is a much better character when he’s able to apply his quick thinking and leadership skills as well as actively participating in a rescue rather than sitting and watching while Virgil does all the fun stuff.

Eddie’s getting awfully sweaty and worried while Thunderbird 2 successfully comes in for the pick up. The magnetic grabs make contact with a satisfying clunk.

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Thunderbird 1 pulls away as the truck is lifted away from the ledge and Thunderbird 2 gracefully spins around. The bottom of Thunderbird 2’s pod looks a little bit wonky at the front although that could just be the way it’s lit.

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Virgil and Alan struggle to maintain control. You try flying a plane with a truck hanging from the belly of it.

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Ignoring all the magnificent stuff going on in the foreground, the painted mountain backdrop looks pretty epic too.

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Uh oh! One gone, three to go! I do wonder how powerful four magnets would have to be in order to hold up a truck like that.

Eddie decides to take a look outside and admire the view. Not really, that would be silly. He’s planning to jump for it rather than trusting International Rescue to drop him off safely. So Virgil has to pause briefly on another ridge.

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Off he pops… hope he isn’t too high up…

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Eddie rolls through the mud… except that isn’t Eddie… believe it or not, this week’s stunt puppet is Scott Tracy himself. Not only do they pass some resemblance at a glance, but there were probably so many Scott puppets in the studio that they could afford to risk one of them becoming non-operational.

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With Eddie clear the journey continues. Another magnet comes loose.

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Despite the plan being to take the truck to level ground and remove the explosives, Thunderbird 2 starts to gain altitude for some reason.

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The truck finally falls from the grip of the grabs. Rather than being magnetic, the model was held in place by piercing small pins through it.

The model gets chucked down the cliff and falls apart before bursting into flames in the nice big explosion we’ve all been waiting for. Presumably rather than blowing up the actual model, a rough replica was built purely for destruction purposes.

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Somehow, Lester manages to step down from the helijet with a nice bit of puppetry.

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Eddie walks up to his pals with his hair slightly ruffled and a little smear of mud on him. Despite a vital piece of equipment getting blown to pieces as a result, everyone is pretty pleased that Eddie risked his life for the road after all. But never mind that, Eddie wants to thank the International Rescue guys whom he had very little confidence in for most of the rescue.

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In the name of secrecy, however, Thunderbirds 1 and 2 turn around immediately and head back to base. Either that or they just don’t fancy chatting to Eddie very much.

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Back at HQ, Gordon and Jeff are pretty chuffed that everything has gone so well. Jeff’s even popped his blue jumper on for the ocassion.

Tin-Tin gives Alan a call to check he’s feeling alright because of this fictional illness that Grandma’s assigned him with. Fortunately Alan is just about smart enough to go along with it, although Grandma’s going to have to fill him in on all this before Tin-Tin calls an ambulance or something like that. But never mind all that, Tin-Tin’s having fuzzy feelings for Alan again.

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Grandma’s thrilled about the whole dumb plan paying off.

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And with that, everything is tied up so Thunderbirds 1 and 2 fly off and the episode ends with a flourish of Barry Gray musical goodness.

End of the Road is full of spectacular model shots. It gets a big tick for that. It has a good balance of serious rescue business and hardware and a flimsy but fun romantic subplot which gives us some nice character moments. That said, the simplicity of the rescue itself and the heavy reliance on model shots do make it a little dull at times. But despite that one cannot ignore the sheer slickness of the production values. The puppets and models are looking superb while retaining the charm that series one is often preferred for. For some, End of the Road might be a classic for obeying the Thunderbirds format to the letter but also adding a twist to it by putting Eddie and Tin-Tin together. While I can respect that, for me its just a little too slow and simple in places to stand up against some of the series’ best episodes.

Next week, Brains takes us to the heart of an emergency at Allington Bridge when the transportation of a space rocket to Mars goes very badly wrong! Only International Rescue can save the day in Day of Disaster.

One thought on “Thunderbirds – 14. End Of The Road

  1. Pingback: Thunderbirds – 26. Security Hazard – Security Hazard

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