International Rescue helps put out a vast oilfield fire. On the way out, Ned Cook, NBC News, tries to record Thunderbird 1 - and is defeated by the magnetic beam. Crossing the Pacific, however, worse is to come - the new USS Sentinel, a warship capable of over 200 knots, mistakenly fires upon Thunderbird 2, crippling its engines and forcing a dangerous crashlanding on Tracy Island.
In New York, the final stage of the plan to move the Empire State Building commences. However, previously unsuspected subsidence causes the vast tower to collapse - trapping Ned Cook and his cameraman in an underground chamber which is slowly filling with water. Without Thunderbird 2, International Resuce can't use their heavy equipment - how will they rescue the trapped men?
- Going for the Big Scoop: Ned Cook.
- Harsher in Hindsight: The title, and to some extent the plot, given the September 11th attacks.
- Jerkass: Ned Cook towards International Rescue, at first. He learns to appreciate them at the end.
- Killed Off for Real / Monumental Damage: The Empire State Building is destroyed when it topples over.
- Militaries Are Useless: Played straight when the USS sentinel shoots down Thunderbird 2. The crew attempt to set it right by transporting Gordon later, but it takes a lot longer than it would otherwise. Gordon gets quite impatient about the whole thing.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: The crew of the USS Sentinel, who shoot down Thunderbird 2. However, they were just doing their duty, cease the attack the instant they find out who they're firing on, and moreover, they actually help to resolve the problem they caused by helping Thunderbird 4 get to New York in time.
- Poor Communication Kills: International Rescue's own secrecy comes back to bite them here, as it causes the crew of the USS Sentinel to open fire on Thunderbird 2. It's even highlighted by how they stop immediately after finding out who they're firing at.
- Take a Third Option: Brains determines they might be able to bring Thunderbird 4 to Cook and his cameraman via an underground stream, but with Thunderbird 2 out of action, Thunderbird 4 cannot be airlifted into position, and Thunderbird 4 itself is too slow to get there in time if it went all the way by sea. The answer is to get the USS Sentinel to bring Thunderbird 4 to New York.
- Technology Porn: Thunderbird 2's crash while on fire is arguably Technology Gorn.