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.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Ned Cook comes across as somewhat antagonistic with his attempts to photograph Thunderbird 1 for a news story. He learns to appreciate International Rescue at the end.
- Militaries Are Useless: Played straight when the USS sentinel shoots down Thunderbird 2. They don't even try to make contact with Thunderbird 2 before opening fire — a major procedural breech. 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.
- Monumental Damage: The Empire State Building is destroyed when it topples over. It's rebuilt by the time of "The Duchess Assignment" and reappears again in "Thunderbird 6".
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: The crew of the USS Sentinel, who shoot down Thunderbird 2. However, they were just doing their duty and cease the attack the instant they find out who they're firing on. Furthermore, they help International Rescue later in the episode by transporting Thunderbird 4 to New York.
- 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.