01 April 2016

TV Review: Thunderbirds - The Uninvited


This is probably one of the most bizarre episodes of Thunderbirds so far, but also one of the most enjoyable for its sheer wackiness. Let me tell you, when you have the flu and you're not quite thinking clearly and everything's already a bit confusing, The Uninvited is great medicine. There's another twist on the format - which is becoming more common than an 'ordinary' episode. 

Scott is shot down on his way back from investigating a call out in Tokyo by unknown planes that appear from nowhere and soon return there. He crash lands in the Sahara desert, five thousand miles from base, and his radio has conked out. Luckily, he's happened upon by two archaeologist types before too long. They contact Thunderbird 5 and quick as you like, Virgil, Brains and Tintin are on the scene - and Scott's scoffing down apple pie. Unless I zoned out for that bit, quite how they get his wrecked craft back to base is skimmed over - but the bottom line is that they do. 

Because Scott's daddy's favourite, he takes Alan up to Thunderbird 5 to swap with John. This is the first time we've seen Thunderbird 3 launch and it's a shame it's for such a mundane reason as it looks great - in fact it's probably my second favourite after Thunderbird 4. Meanwhile, thanks to some reckless driving, the archaeologists have lost their trailer containing all their fuel and water, and arrive at a waterhole with most of their remaining fuel. Unfortunately it's dried up but from here they spot the pyramid they had originally set out to find. 

Upon his return from space, Scott is immediately despatched in Thunderbird 1 to go and help and arrives soon after the pair have managed to gain access to the pyramid. Inside lies the treasure of their dreams, but one - driven a bit mad by the lack of water - decides Scott has come to steal it from them and shoots at him. Luckily, the natives turn up and put a stop to it - and they're the same lot that shot Scott down earlier. They take the three of them prisoner and deliver them to the main control centre, where Scott sees them about the launch missiles at Thunderbird 2. 

The design of the outfit inside the pyramid is really impressive and I'm staggered they would build such intricate models of siloes and things just to blow them up ten minutes later. The control room also looks great and these ancient people, who seem to have developed technology just as advanced as the outside world, are really fun. They have their own language but you can pretty much understand what they're saying through the consequences of their words. The boss is my favourite since he's the most enthusiastic and endearingly mad, but they're all great. As I already mentioned, everything soon starts to blow up after a few shots from Scott and some accidentally-pulled levers. They make the slowest escape in television history in the monorail car and soon they're out of the pyramid and away. 

This is another unconventional episode, but it's hugely enjoyable. Alan Fennell has written a very imaginative script and it's wonderfully realised by the production team. It's probably as close as we'll get to aliens appearing in this series, so I'm glad it's been handled in this way, rather than as a straight science fiction tale - Thunderbirds is best when it remembers its sense of humour. This is one of the most purely fun stories yet and so naturally it scores highly with me. I can't wait to see what they come up with next. 

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