Because Daniel is spectacularly impatient, he’s been wondering since episode one when we’ll see Thunderbirds 3 and 4 in action. After an agonizingly long introduction – we’d rather have had some character development, you know, more of Alan flirting with Tin-Tin instead of the hours-long testing of all the thrusters and gadgets on the Sun Probe rocket, thanks – we finally get moving and into a really, really convoluted scenario. Sun Probe needs a powerful radio beam to switch on its retro rockets. Thunderbird 3 can get much closer to Sun Probe, and has to, because it has a very weak signal. Thunderbird 2 has an incredibly powerful transmitter but only has a chance of reaching the ship from a remote peak of the Himalayas.
So Thunderbird 3 fires the Sun Probe’s retro rockets, but loses power to its own, so Virgil and Brains, in Thunderbird 2, have to redirect their own beam and rescue their friends. Daniel thought this was incredibly exciting, but, in that charming way that the program spectacularly failed to predict the future, it prompted lots of eye-rolling from the grown-ups. In the Himalayas, Brains has brought along a robot called Braman which he hopes to program to beat a human at chess. (In 2065.) Since Braman can act as an auxiliary computer, he can feed it the most remarkable line of gobbledygook and redirect their radio beam:
“Calculate the following equation: What is the square root, to the power of 29, of the trigonometric amplitude of 87 divided by the quantitative hydraxis of 956 to the power of 77?”
The answer, of course, is 45,969. Well, obviously.