Episode 2.13 - Escape Proof - Discussion
A mysterious tunneling vehicle leaves a plumber trapped in its wake and it is up to Gordon and Virgil to free him...
Omid Djalili - Horse Williams
Season 2 of TAG will continue later in the year. - Date and time TBA.
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Last edited by Thunderbird 2; 5th March 2017 at 08:26 PM.
Conrad Lefkon's Review of ‘Escapeproof’
There were some nice modelled landscapes with greenery and mountains and the underground tunnel dug by the Mechanic’s excavating machine gave us something different. What was that drilling vehicle called? It seemed to be like a giant caterpillar and I liked the model version that erupted from the tunnel and belly flopped on the ground.
This was yet another episode where FAB1 was employed for its flying capabilities. I would have preferred that Thunderbird S had been used for the flight scenes and the detachable motorbike for the driving work.
The explorer pod with its crab-like claws was OK but nothing special. I can’t explain it but for some reason I don’t like it when Virgil leaps around and lifts stuff with his mechanical power suit (or whatever it’s called). Maybe it’s all that echoed shouting that accompanies underground rescues.
My previous posts about guest comedians adding value to the show did not apply here as Omid Djalili’s performance as ‘Horse’ was more irritating than entertaining. I recall him appearing in the short-lived BBC project called ‘Dickensian’ carrying a (very surprised-looking) stuffed black and white cat. Now that was funny!
The TBAG version of The Hood has been something of a damp squib – the original series version was far more menacing. Having said that, I am still intrigued to find out how The Hood got his cybernetic eye. In 'Journey To The Far Side Of The Sun' my impression was that Dr Kurt Hassler had an original good eye surgically removed to accommodate a spy camera - How horrible!
They seemed to get around the underwhelming Hood by introducing The Mechanic who has been a fearsome and unyielding antagonist. However, the way The Hood treated him in this story undermined much of that good work by downgrading him to a lackey. The Mechanic has now lost that air of invincibility which is a shame.
The GDF, for all their equipment and firepower, seem to come across as blustering dimwits. Their appearance should raise the stakes but they have become the collective equivalent of Ned Tedford.
Another story geared around a giant vehicle although what other show could bring you such a way-out machine? The most imaginative and exciting bit was the swallowing whole of the Hood’s prison cell and the subsequent escape. Having said that, this episode felt like a step backwards to the standards of Series One, and Series Two has been better than this, so I was disappointed.
ZUCA: "I... I thought you were someone else."
SCARLET: "Someone else dressed in scarlet? You've gotta be kidding."
Last edited by Conrad Lefkon; 8th January 2017 at 02:41 PM.
At an overall level I liked this episode, but it wasn’t one of the stronger ones – and I think to some extent it suffered from basically being constructed to set up the 2nd half of the series: Specifically – “Hood is out of prison and he’s no longer as friendly with the Mechanic”.
That latter bit especially seems very contrived with the “You’re two weeks late” comment that started it off being very odd. How long has the Hood supposedly been in prison? Why was “two weeks ago” so critical?
The tie-in with “Up from the depths” with the comment about the signal from the Hood’s eye having been detected before was interesting – but in a way in my mind it points to a missed story opportunity: If the DOS plus the TV-21 was intended to be able to lift something heavy off the ground why wasn’t it the Hood’s cell and not the Iridium vault (which seemed to serve no purpose at all)?. The Mechanic using the TV-21 to facilitate the escape of the hood might have allowed “Up From the Depths” to be used as a 2-part mid-season highlight.
Back to this week:
The “rescue” part of the story seemed overly contrived to raise the risk of Virgil and Gordon not being clear before the “Antlion” came back down the tunnel – but where was the mole when you needed it?
Once again we had FAB-1 being a general purpose “do anything” machine – and if it could fly down the tunnel (presumably faster than it could drive down it) why didn’t Parker just fly out of the way?
Overall the effects worked well – the shadows etc in the underground shots being well done, and the explosion of the Antlion having some scale to it.
That scene also raises the question of: Where did the Mechanic go? Was this one another drone like the one in “Up From The Depths”?
Overall – not bad, but could have been better in my view.
This episode opens with scenes reminiscent of Lady P and Parker nosing about in a similar fashion to Up From The Depths Part I, and that made me wary. However it quickly evolves into someone is trapped in collapsed rubble, a side effect of The Mechanic. Though its another victim due to the battering ram approach of the baddie, it works very well here.
Horse is as Lady P describes a “colourful” character, but unlike the tedious toxic twins of Fischler and LeMaire, he is likeable and genuinely funny. He tries to make the best of his predicament, and proves helpful when his plumbing skills are clarified later on. Its just a shame Gordon has to play the cabbage head to make that bit work. Horse's chatterboxing aspect would be a cause for concern, were it not he becomes self conscious that he is a distraction to his rescue. Omid Djalili does a wonderful job of conveying the fact his character is concerned for all of them, not just himself. The appreciation he expresses to Virgil and Gordon is genuine and pleasing to see. I just wish there had been time for us to see Lady P getting to know him a bit before Thunderbird 2.2 arrived, giving us her and Parker's perspective on this. But as we know well by now, 20 mins is 20 mins and there is a bigger story to be told. Nevertheless, Horse makes the right kind of impression. Easily a character in the same mould as Rich Hall's Captain Taylor, and one I would welcome a return for.
Unfortunately, the other supporting characters are not so lucky. When John warns Colonel Casey that this is a breakout, her scepticism is not only short sighted, it goes right against her character. Casey has known International Rescue and worked with them for a long time as seen in previous episodes, and she also knows how dangerous both The Hood and The Mechanic are. It beggars belief that she has any doubts about what is about to happen. The scene might have worked if The Prison Governor were written into those scenes, and he or she was a pompous blowhard about their “unbreachable” prison. The fact The Hood can use his Cloaking Holograph box to get away again only amplifies the “Get Out Of Jail” writing given to the Colonel.
Speaking of The Hood, the fact he treats The Mechanic as a brain dead henchman – and The Mechanic goes along with this – is incredibly disappointing. Previous episodes have shown The Mechanic is an unpredictable force to be reckoned with, whereas The Hood has always been something of a joke, getting thwarted by IR and often the cause of his own mishaps in TOS as well as TAG-15. The Mechanic has also hinted he is the grey matter behind some of the The Hood's tricks, such as the Holograph / cloak technology. One can only hope this is the start of a baddie civil war, upping the quality of a presumably desperate Hood, and making the now betrayed Mechanic even more dangerous than he has demonstrated in the past.
Visually this episode is very good, if somewhat basic in style. As a Thunderbird 2 & 2.2 fan, I love the moment Thunderbird 2.2 does a textbook landing, her wings folding up in perfect time to her legs extending. Its just a shame this is spoilt by the fully extended legs, yet module in place shot at the end of the episode. - FAB1.2 gets a lot of dodging about to do, and the pod vehicle selection Gordon has brought along is a practical rubble remover. Coupled with Virgil's Exoskeleton Suit, its easy to imagine them toiling for ages making careful progress to Horse. But the jaw drop portion of the episode has to be the breakout itself. John verbalises our disbelief and The Antline is probably the best Mechanic vehicle yet, like an over designed version of the 2004 film version of The Mole. - Its a shame it suffers the Self Destruct writers trapdoor.
Escape Proof is not the best episode of the Season – it does have problems, and it has sadly predictable and odd moments to make its story work. Even so, it certainly falls into the City Under the Sea, Up From The Depths Part I or Fight or Flight half of the season. Of course it also asks the question, what is next?
Believable emergency (Person trapped in rubble)
Likeable - if chatty! Guest character
Practical pod vehicle design
Virgil and Gordon speaking in almost perfect Unison again!
The Antline is an Uber Mole – The 'breakout' is breathtaking!
GDF Wild Goose Chase is obvious
Colonel Casey's out of character scepticism is disappointing. She knows better.
Gordon doesn't know basic plumbing codes?
Iffy to Excruciating Elements:
The Mechanic reduced to Minion for the plot's sake.
Thunderbird 2.2's landing mimics Star Wars Imperial Shuttles!
The surprise jail break echoes Magnetos escape in X Men II
The Hood's “holograph flickering eye” hints Lore's twitch in Star Trek The Next Generation's Datalore.
The “camera decent” at the start reflects The Imposters
Parker's near miss in the teaser implies vertigo? The Cham Cham
Continuity Good and Bad!:
Lady P's hunt through old lairs implies Up From The Depths Part I
Parker's wobbly moment implies he has vertigo. (See TOS above)
Gordon agreeing Lady P doesn't wait for back up – double continuity to TOS!
John references The Mechanics earlier search for info on Parkmoor Scrubs
The Mechanic blew up The Earthbreaker. Surely Col Casey knew he would do the same to The Antline?
Why wasn't the Hood scanned before he was locked up?
What does green and white represent in pipe colour codes?
Why did the The Mechanic do as The Hood asked, and how did he recover and elude capture?
The tunnel debris FAB1.2's missiles create and the following rubble blockage don't match up.
This is Thunderbird 2, how can I assist?
Last edited by Thunderbird 2; 5th March 2017 at 08:31 PM.