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  #1  
Old 17th November 2017, 11:02 PM
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Default Episode 2.21 - Home On The Range - Discussion

The Tracys leave their island home to visit a family estate, but the appearance of a mysterious intruder threatens to break the peace...


Guest Cast:
N/A

Written by:
Patrick Rieger

Directed by:
Andrew McCully
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Last edited by Thunderbird 2; 2nd December 2017 at 06:04 PM.
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  #2  
Old 18th November 2017, 12:32 PM
David David is offline
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Really nice to see the old style hoverbikes, and to hear the Tracy Lounge music.

I have to wonder what the point of John being in TB5 is if they can leave the annoying computer thingy in charge.

Not the best story in this half season.
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Old 18th November 2017, 03:10 PM
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This episode managed to delight me by balancing a really understated realistic rescue with more dramatic mechanic shenanigans.

I imagine this is the one fan-fiction writers have been waiting for these last 52 years: Momma Tracy's Ranch, brother's bantering about the old days etc, great stuff!
Loved the X-Men style 'Danger-Room' and the storage facilities for TB1 and TB2.

That wild-west-style music, another winner from the Foster Brothers! And speaking of music...well I don't even want to spoil it here (even thought I'm giving spoilers)....but that final piece of music, amazing choice!!!

A rescue that was understated as I've said, but carried out carefully and professionally and with lots of nice moments between Kat and her rescuers.

John gets more to do on Earth AGAIN, loving this trend!

Kayo's back, 'nuff said!

Hoverbikes!

When Alan was watching TBS and FAB1 fly off, I almost expected him to say "I wish that was me!"

Oh OH! And the Mechanic, that bit where John said "You have to be family to call her that!", could this be a not so-subtle hint that most folks have guessed at??

Top stuff!
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  #4  
Old 18th November 2017, 04:57 PM
FAB_61 FAB_61 is offline
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Certainly not a usual “major rescue” episode but a nicely put together story that I suspect is laying some ground for the series finale.

Some nice touches with the music – starting with a “Good, Bad and the Ugly” variant of the usual themes; and moving thru to the Tracy lounge piano at the end. Shame the opportunity wasn’t taken to actually have Virgil playing it.

On the subject of Virgil, he was writing left handed – has that ever been established before?

The mystery around the mechanic and his knowledge of International Rescue and the Tracy family continues to build – it was clear he was at the Ranch before they arrived to “borrow some computing power” and “wasn’t expecting them to turn up”. How come he knows where it is and what facilities are there?

Has Kat only been introduced for this episode or is she going to turn up again? I’d favour the latter.

Great to see the hover-bikes make an appearance – and for them to be used to good effect and not just as a gimmicky reference to the original series.

Whilst the rescue itself was perhaps a side story to some extent, it was well thought out in terms of it’s practicality; and it was good to see all the team having to work together.

I commented a couple of episodes back that there seems to be a lot more confidence and consistency in this batch of episodes in terms of how the characters should be behaving and interacting, and that the style seems to have settled down a bit – this episode, to me, seems to confirm that, hopefully this will be maintained as the show moves forward.
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Old 18th November 2017, 09:04 PM
Conrad Lefkon Conrad Lefkon is offline
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Default Conrad Lefkon's Review of ‘Home On The Range’

1 Sets

The Gran Roca Ranch location was a pleasing change being in a lovely unspoilt red mountainous Arizona-type setting. I hope we see it again with its wooden verandas and comfortably old-fashioned carpets and furniture. The replication in the desert of so many of the island’s facilities for hiding and launching the Thunderbirds craft seemed like a colossal waste of money but then again if you are a billionaire it doesn’t really matter.

I am always willing to suspend disbelief but I thought that the obstacle course was ridiculous especially when Max blew a fuse and put the family in danger. It seemed contradictory that they were testing Brain’s new Gecko gloves and yet they had already worked out a ‘manoeuvre 17’ which made use of the gloves in such a way as to hold a dangling human chain.

2 Vehicles

Once more the concept of the Thunderbirds craft being non-operational was explored, as in ‘Unplugged’, and so we see International Rescue using a combination of team work and improvisation to save the day. The use of the old hoverbikes was amusing, if a little lightweight, but I liked the way they negotiated the rocks and flew in formation.

3 Characters

I enjoyed all the banter and horseplay along with the deeper and more personal family moments. It is perhaps a pity that Kat Cavanaugh did not have her own distinctive CGI character being one of the regular CGI Repertory Company (a definite parallel with the original puppet series).

I realise that The Mechanic’s shenanigans caused all the technical problems but I am still not really sure what he was doing at the house. When John said “Let’s separate the man from the machine” I thought we were in for a big reveal but if that happened it passed me by.

4 Story

The story had echoes of the original episodes ‘Cry Wolf’ and ‘The Imposters’. This is one that I will watch multiple times but not really for the right reasons. The plus point was that I didn’t always know the way the story was unfolding. The rescue scenario was disappointing and the resolution using the hoverbikes unremarkable which is probably why I will revisit having forgotten that so little happens. With such a wonderful setting it feels like a lost opportunity.

Rating: C+
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Last edited by Conrad Lefkon; 19th November 2017 at 02:43 PM.
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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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