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Recap / Thomas The Tank Engine S 18 E 7 Duck In The Water

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Air date: September 2nd, 2014 (UK)

One wet winter's day, Duck is at Knapford station with a goods train when James pulls in. James is pulling a passenger train and teases Duck for having to pull trucks. Duck knows that James sometimes has to pull trucks, too, but James says he shouldn't have to; the passengers prefer to have a bright red engine such as himself pulling them.

As James is taking his passenger train along the line, thunder and lightning starts rumbling in the skies above and rain starts to pour down. James is not happy; how can people admire his splendid paintwork in this horrendous weather? The torrential downpour continues for quite some time.

Later, Harold is hovering above Duck's branch line when he suddenly spots a flooded piece of track. Harold hurries away to inform the Fat Controller, but it is too late. Duck puffs straight into the flood waters and is stuck.


At Knapford, James is having a rest before pulling another passenger train when the Fat Controller approaches him. The Fat Controller can see that James does not have a job so gives him the duty of fetching Rocky to lift Duck out of the flood. James is not very happy with his task, but the Fat Controller tells him that the sooner he does it, the sooner he can get back to pulling passengers. James races off, still not happy with his unsuitable job, but sometimes even splendid engines have to do a job they don't like.

Rocky has just finished lifting a brake van back onto the rails when James buffers up to him. James explains that they need to rescue Duck. Rocky is happy to help, but tells James to wait while his crane arm is secured. James does not listen to Rocky and races away. As they clatter along the rails, Rocky swings back and forth unable to control his unsecured crane arm. On the way, Rocky's hook hits several things including a scarecrow and a water-tower, but still James does not stop.


As James and Rocky near the flooded section of track, Rocky's flailing crane arm knocks over a signal which is set to caution. Rocky doesn't know what he's hit, but James is sure it can't be very important. Duck is not happy in the cold water and his fire has gone out by the time James and Rocky arrive. Soon, Rocky is attached to Duck and is about to pull him out.

Meanwhile, Oliver is pulling a goods train along Duck's branch line, too. With the signal knocked over, Oliver is oblivious to the danger ahead. As Oliver rounds the bend, he has to brake hard but cannot avoid hitting James who knocks into Rocky. This causes Duck to be dropped back into the water. James is very cross and tells Oliver that he should have noticed the danger signal. Oliver is sure he didn't see a signal and he starts to reverse so that his driver can put out some flags to warn other engines. Suddenly, Percy comes steaming round the bend and knocks into the engines. Duck finds himself, once again, back in the water. Harold has been watching the events and flies off to fetch the Fat Controller.

Eventually, Duck is placed back on dry rails. The Fat Controller arrives in Harold as he is not at all happy. Rocky says the whole situation must be his fault as his crane arm had not been secured and he must have knocked over the signal. James interrupts and tells the Fat Controller that it had all been an accident. He explains that he had collected Rocky and was in such a rush that he hadn't waited for Rocky's crane arm to be secured. As he's explaining, James realizes that everything had been his fault. The Fat Controller is still not happy about all the chaos James has caused, but he is proud of James for admitting his guilt. The Fat Controller tells James to deliver Duck's goods train while Duck's firebox dries out. James is happy to do it.

As he sets off with the goods train, James realizes that it doesn't matter what job he's doing. As long as the sun is shining, James is always a splendid looking bright red engine.

Tropes featured in this episode:

  • Bittersweet Ending: James is mopey about being made to pull goods to make up for his antics, but accepts it's a good deed, and that the Fat Controller and the Western engines appreciate that.
  • The Bus Came Back: Duck's branch line, Little Western, returns for the first time since season 3.
  • A Day in the Limelight: For James and Duck.
  • Deadpan Snarker: James, to the point he even snarks the Fat Controller. Duck gets in on it too.
    Duck: Can I get out of the water now?
  • Explain, Explain... Oh, Crap!: James trying to explain that the accident was nobody's fault... and then realising it was his.
  • Jerkass: James.
    • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He sticks up for Rocky when he blames himself for the broken signal, and upon realizing his mistake, willingly takes the fall for it.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: James. After taking off with Rocky before his crane arm was secured, he causes a signal to fall down.
  • Visual Pun: See the image above.


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