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Old 2nd December 2017, 06:03 PM
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Home On The Range is Thunderbirds answer to The Waltons! A story that is essentially about family and teamwork, and it does a good job of featuring the extended Tracy family well. Not only Lady P & Parker who again work with Kayo, but Brains and Mrs Tracy all get their fair share of the story alongside the Brothers Tracy. Little elements peppered through the story make you want to smile because all the characters are true to themselves and each other. Even Alan's sad recognition that he is too young to have such early memories, sets the right tone.

Added to this is Kat Cavanagh - the roving reporter from Falling Skies is back, and after establishing the evil journalist cliché, we are given her change of heart when the team go all out to save her. - This is where the action of the episode is effective, the Brothers using the hover bikes is a wonderful nod to the original series and the same sound effects and motion of the bikes shows the people responsible for the visuals of this series (Miniature AND CGI) really do care and have an eye for respect as well as detail to TOS. For the most part the writer of this episode gets that tone right too.
In regards to Cavanagh, I hope her promise to do right by IR in the media bears fruit in future stories, because this would be a lovely echo to Ned Cook from TOS's Terror In New York City. Our characters need someone in the media on their side. Scott's references to IR being public but having to keep some things classified is a lovely way to balance the extremes of the cloak and dagger secrecy of the classic series and the modern show's embracing of the social media age we live in now. All of these things work well and make the episode enjoyable, engaging and fun.

The ranch itself – which I had assumed would be an update of the Bonga Bonga Ranch from TOS is a wonderful creation and is clearly the TAG equivalent of Mateo Island in the Hayes manual. - It has bays for at least the Earth based Thunderbird vehicles, and is a proper training facility too, which makes more sense than trying to squeeze such facilities into the much more contained Tracy Island of this series. We still don't know what happened to Jeff's wife, but this set up implies she may have known and approved of IR before she died.

There is a small down point to this story. - The fact it had to have a baddie subplot at all. The Mechanic feels like a bolt on as an excuse to exclude The Thunderbird vehicles, when there could have been several other better ways of doing it. Especially since the ridge cavern where Ms Cavanagh was trapped is quite isolated. The fact it is done by disrupting the IR network server is worse, because it exposes a serious vulnerability in all the Thunderbird vehicles. - One that The Hood tried to exploit once before.

In the end, if you take away The Mechanic's inclusion here you are left with a lovely story featuring our extended family of characters at their home from home. It shows who they are as a family and their dedication to their collective cause. As Jeff Tracy once said himself, “We rescue people. Its what we do.”
We need more episodes that present a fair balance of both sides of that particular coin.

Plus Points:
The wall climb teamwork. - Watch for Scott and Virgil throwing Gordon “Up!”
The Ranch itself and that it belonged to the Boys Mum / Jeff's Wife.
Scott's Facepalm – Meme city!
A traditional techniques rescue operation.
Everyone (including Mrs Tracy and EOS) have something solid to do in this story.


Iffy Elements:
Establishing that disrupting the computer network renders the Thunderbirds (except TB5.2), FAB1.2 and MAX useless.
“The run of the mill” intrusion and escape of The Mechanic.
The Mechanic is too stupid to recognise Brains is talking to someone else, when he warns / instructs Mrs Tracy.


Possible References:

“Possessed” Max harks back to both the Original Battlestar Galactica Cylons and Short Circuit (1986)
Code 47 could be a very subtle reference to the three TNG era Star Trek series.
The Ranch hanger bay facilities imply a TOS Hayes Manual influence here and there.

Undeniably Blatant References:

TOS:
The Hover Bikes are seen and heard in all their classic glory. Even down to Scott on Blue, Virgil on Red!
We hear Virgil's composition From “Trapped In The Sky.”
Another question from TOS resolved – Virgil IS Left Handed.


Continuity Good:

Kat Cavanagh returns from “Falling Skies.”
Brains 'checks' The Mechanic is not a Drone - as seen in "Up From The Depths II"
Brains also implies the events from “Legacy”


Anomalies:

How did The Mechanic compromise security and secure his ship inside The Ranch complex?
Where did the spare seat from FAB1.2 come from?

Questions:

Scott orders they will use Thunderbirds 1.2 and 2.2. But after Max, TBS, and FAB1.2 malfunction why did he not order a systems check first?
The Mechanic addresses Mrs Tracy as “Grandma” John retorts “Only family get to call her that!” - Are the writers implying what they seem to be implying? (Scott facepalm)
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Last edited by Thunderbird 2; 3rd December 2017 at 11:16 AM.
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