One thing this particular episode really drives home is how lonely the Tracys’ lives can be. Alan spends the entire series quietly pining for Tintin, but in this episode, he has a rival. An old friend in the construction business, Eddie Houseman, shows up unannounced on their island to woo her for a couple of days, and Alan, with all the one-note sadness of a character who’s appearing in a TV show that will get broadcast in random order on stations across the world and can’t actually develop, pouts about it. But it also shows that they can’t have guests, other than Lady Penelope, since they can’t launch a mission if anybody’s on their island.
The mission this time is rescuing Houseman himself, because he’s an impetuous blowhard who will risk his life to save his company. He gets in a ridiculous scrape and is trapped in a genuine cliffhanger that reminded me of the end of the movie The Italian Job, with added explosives. When Eddie’s vehicle is lifted by Thunderbird 2 via a magnetic clamp, and starts to slip, Daniel had to hide under his blanket because it was so exciting.
The production is absolutely first-rate, but our older daughter Ivy, who’s seventeen, joined us and raised an eyebrow about how dated it appears to her jaded teen eyes. Hmph! I’d like to know what show from 1966 was willing to film the wild things this series did. At one point, the Eddie puppet is halfway up a mountain, jackhammering into it to plant explosives while being pelted by artificial rain. All in a day’s work for the Supermarionation crew!