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Recap / Thomas And Friends S 3 E 22 Oliver Owns Up
aka: Thomas The Tank Engine S 3 E 22 Oliver Owns Up

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Air date: June 16th, 1992 (UK), May 19th, 1993 (US)

Adapted from: Oliver the Western Engine, "Resource and Sagacity"

Oliver is still new to Sodor and tells Duck how very grateful he is that Douglas rescued him and Toad from being scrapped on the Other Railway. That night, Gordon, James, and Henry praise Oliver. Unfortunately, Oliver, who has never been complimented by big engines before soon becomes puffed up in the smokebox.

After pulling some coaches to Tidmouth, Oliver is told by the Fat Controller that he must learn how to handle trucks. However, Oliver is so confident in himself that he ignores the other engines warnings. Duck tries to convince Oliver, but Donald suggests that Oliver should learn for himself. After arranging some loaded trucks and then shunting empties to the hopper, he goes back to take the loaded trucks. But, the loaded trucks do not want Oliver, preferring Duck, Donald, or Douglas instead.


Oliver bosses the trucks about and takes them anyway. But the trucks decide to show Oliver who is boss by forcing him down the tracks. Oliver puts his weight against the trucks, but they still push him on, unaware of the danger ahead - he is heading towards the turntable. Then the inevitable happens - Oliver ends up bunker-first in the turntable well.

Duck is very concerned about Oliver's predicament as now Donald and Douglas will have to work without the use of the turntable. That night, the breakdown train rescues Oliver. The Fat Controller says that Oliver has a lot to learn about the troublesome nature of trucks and Oliver agrees.

Once home from the works, Oliver is a much wiser engine and knows how to handle trucks.


Tropes featured in the episode:

  • Acquired Situational Narcissism: Oliver becomes quite stuck up when Gordon, James, and Henry give him positive remarks about his adventures.
  • Adapted Out: In the story this episode is based on, Oliver tackles his passenger runs with Isabel, his autocoach, as well as Dulcie, another coach the Fat Controller rescued. In this adaptation, Isabel and Dulcie are neither seen nor mentioned, and Oliver tackles his passenger runs with non-sentient branch line coaches.
  • Break the Haughty: The trucks cause problems for a prideful Oliver.
  • Call-Back: Duck's problems with saying the word "sagacious" recalls his prior inability to say "revolutionary."
  • Compressed Vice: The episode deals with Oliver's inexperience with trucks, which, given he has his own brake van, seems unlikely. This was explained in the novels as him being inexperienced with ballast trucks specifically, that had an exceptionally nasty attitude.
    • In the books, it was said that Isabel was Oliver's 'faithful coach' while Toad was just 'a breakvan'.
  • Disneyfication: In the original adaptation from Oliver the Western Engine, Oliver falls into a turntable only to be confronted by a "pungent" Donald and Douglas, who snarked in their native language, and scolded "pointedly" by the Fat Controller, making Oliver feeling very silly. In this adaption, however, The Fat Controller was more forgiving towards Oliver and the other engines felt sorry for his situation and wished him back. The ending is expanded to show him happily coming back from the works.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: The trucks pushed Oliver into a turntable well all because he gave them a few sharp bumps (this is actually a step up from the novel, where they just didn't like a new engine bossing them around).
  • Jerkasses: The trucks again.

Alternative Title(s): Thomas The Tank Engine S 3 E 22 Oliver Owns Up


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