Thunderbirds 1.11 – Brink of Disaster

I love this image. Jeff Tracy is so pissed off they’ve had to give him a different head.

This is a really fun episode, despite featuring the most scatterbrained criminals I think the show’s ever had. Jeff correctly predicts that the president of the Pacific-Atlantic Monorail Company will have to appear before a government inquiry. Oh, to be a fly on the wall for that spectacle in the Senate. The gang – dey all speak in telebishun gangster – have all been funneling money from race track and casino operations and jewelry heists into monorail investments, apparently thinking that profits from ticket sales will be even higher than knocking over Monte Carlo. The line evidently passes through Brockway, Ogdenville, and North Haverbrook.

The monorail’s president, and head of the gang, is dis guy named Grafton, who calls on Lady Penelope to see whether she might be interested in a legitimate investment, while simultaneously casing da joint and immobilizing her alarms so other members of his gang can come by later and snatch all her jewels. Lady Penelope passes on investing, but sets up a meeting with Jeff Tracy. Okay, so this is a kids’ show, but it’s amazing that Grafton’s even been able to convince his own gang of anything when his approach to a potential huge investor is so comically “bad guy.”

There’s the expected inability of the writers to predict anything about costs in the future, which is also pretty funny. Grafton’s desperate for an infusion of $40 million to complete his coast-to-coast line. As I write this, the Georgia DOT is partway through a four-year, thirty-mile project in Cobb County which will literally cost 24 times that amount, and will soon begin the work on an interchange between two highways in Fulton that is going to run a cool billion. $40 million in the year 2065 is what dis guy will need for about 2500 feet of track.

The action splits between two problems: a couple of hoodlums have a wacky time breaking into Lady Penelope’s place and getting shot at while, simultaneously, in the USA, a helijet pilot proves Grafton’s “nuddin’ can go wrong” shtick to be a fib by crashing into the monorail and screwing up the automatic brakes. Grafton is trying to sell Jeff on an investment, and digging a hole with every word, but fortunately, Jeff brought Tintin and Brains with him so that when things do go wrong, they can shut down the runaway train. It looks pretty bleak right at the end, which is when Jeff puts on his “pissed off” head. I can imagine the director calling to the puppetry team and requesting a new, angry head be sculpted, because the usual one just isn’t cutting it.

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