Thunderbirds: Trapped in the Sky

July 7, 2015 in Cult TV, Guest Blogs by GuestBlogs

A Guest Blog by Hevy782


So here we are at the first episode of a TV classic. If you’re not all that familiar with the world of Thunderbirds then I suggest you read the introduction post first. Now without any further adieu let’s talk about Trapped in the Sky. The basic storyline is that a criminal mastermind, The Hood, has placed a bomb aboard the Fireflash, a hypersonic airliner on it’s maiden voyage, in order to draw out International Rescue so that he can steal their secrets. If the Fireflash uses it’s landing gear then the bomb will go off but if they stay in the sky then the passengers and crew will all eventually receive fatal doses of radiation, meaning that it’s a race against time to save the Fireflash. After an attempt to remove the bomb fails Thunderbirds 1 and 2 arrive with a plan. While they put this into operation The Hood sneaks onboard Thunderbird 1 and takes pictures of the interior so he can recreate it. Scott and Virgil manage to get the plane down by using elevator cars as replacement landing gear. Meanwhile, Lady Penelope and Parker hunt down The Hood and destroy the pictures. With the bomb defused and the secrets of International Rescue safe, Scott and Virgil head back to Tracy Island with their first operation completed successfully. But The Hood isn’t defeated so easily and will return to plague International Rescue time and time again.

I’m going to start off by saying this straight away, I think that Trapped in the Sky is a very strong start to the series. It sets up most of what you need to know about the series and is also just a well made episode in it’s own right. More on that in a second but first I want to quickly talk about a line which is quite amusing in retrospect and that is when Kyrano says that Jeff Tracy was one of the first men on the moon. It’s a throwaway line and probably would’ve meant very little at the time it went out but looking back it’s rather interesting to see how some parts of society thought it would take a long time to reach the moon. Little did they know that five years after they made this episode man would indeed land on the moon. Since then we appear to have given up with space travel however and the world of George Orwell’s 1984 now seems like a more realistic future than that of Gerry Anderson’s Thunderbirds but anyway, I think that’s enough of my political views and now let’s shift focus back to the topic at hand, Trapped in the Sky.

Now if you’ve read some of my Blake’s 7 post you’ll probably have realised that I am a big fan of model shots and Thuderbirds has plenty of those, and some breathtaking ones at that. Now while the visuals here are rather simple compared to what will come later there are still quite a few nice sequences, namely the landing of Fireflash. It’s a wonderfully made sequence and the instantly recognisable music in the background just fits so perfectly. What’s also nice about this resolution is that it doesn’t work first time which just racks up the tension even more for the second attempt as there is no time for a third attempt. But it’s not the only well done sequence of the episode as there are plenty more such as the attempt to remove the bomb by hand. It was going so well until the man fell and it kind of makes you wonder why they didn’t try it again as it was fairly close to success the first time. Then there’s the scene where Lady Penelope and Parker chase down The Hood. It was a rather minimalistic chase but nevertheless it served it’s purpose and the shot of the car rolling down the side of the hill was nicely done. It’s also quite funny as you would not see roads like that that empty in England nowadays and I don’t imagine traffic is going to improve that much in the next half a century or so.

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Now we come to rating Trapped in the Sky and I think a nine-out-of-ten is a very fair rating for this story. Next up is Pit of Peril where a five-hundred ton US Army walker, the Sidewinder, ends up in need of rescue but until then be sure to sound off your thoughts on the episode in the comments below.