Hey, it’s the Robert Mitchum puppet again, shown here with Symphony Angel. He’s appeared on at least one other instance since we first saw him, too. It’s kind of cute the way they reused puppet heads on this show. The commodore in this episode was also in episode 13 in a different role. It’s almost like a little repertory company of actors coming in for different parts each week.
This is a really exciting episode, with a great finale. The Mysteron duplicate of the commodore has a great big machine gun on the battlements of a castle in remote Scotland, ready to shoot down a “magnacopter” full of important bigwigs as soon as it takes off. Captain Scarlet goes after the guy while wearing a jetpack. Daniel got really excited during this scene, with good reason. It’s huge fun.
My only complaint about this fun episode is that Colonel White showed off his lousy leadership skills again. The most important conference ever is going on, and he’s lost contact with Captain Scarlet and Symphony Angel, who are meant to be providing security, and he finally figures out that the Mysterons plan to murder all the delegates. So he sends everybody, right? He launches all four angels and all four captains on base, and starts moving Cloudbase to Scotland, yeah? No, he sends Captain Blue. Alone. Who has to pick up an SPV at the Auld Lang Syne factory first. No rush. This isn’t that important.
Nope, there’s no getting around it. That is definitely a Robert Mitchum puppet in the role of Colonel Storm. Caricatures sometimes showed up in Gerry Anderson’s programs – Troy Tempest, the hero of Stingray, was famously based on James Garner – but there aren’t too many in Captain Scarlet.
Daniel was very, very excited by this episode. Col. Storm, after he is killed and Mysteronized, programs a super-tank called the Unitron to destroy himself, and then he ensures that he sticks next to the Supreme Commander of Earth Forces so that he becomes a suicide bomber-by-tank. The Angels lob missile after missile at the unstoppable tank, and it’s a really exciting sequence, with lots of explosions and fast cutting between shots of the dive-bombing planes.
He said that this was the best episode of the show so far, although oddly, he says that his favorite part came when the tank smashed into the wall of the control center… “and the wall broke!” Not sure why a crack in the interior drywall was all that thrilling, but there you go.
For my part… I saw eight or nine episodes in the early nineties when the Sci-Fi Channel launched and they included truncated episodes on the morning “Sci-Fi Cartoon Quest” block, but today I am finding this show a lot less thrilling than I remember it. I’m kind of ready for some of the other characters to get some screen time and do something. Maybe I’m spoiled by how magically human the Tracys and their friends were in Thunderbirds, but everybody at Spectrum is really boring.