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Recap / Thomas The Tank Engine S 2 E 14 A Close Shave

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U.S. Title: A Close Shave For Duck

Air date: November 5th, 1986

Duck tells Edward that Diesel has been telling lies about him and made the big engines and The Fat Controller think he told tales to the trucks, but Edward assures him that The Fat Controller doesn't think he's horrid. Edward then asks Duck to help him with his trucks and Duck happily agrees. Soon, Duck helps Edward push the trucks up Gordon's Hill. When the job us done, Duck strolls down the hill only to hear a Guard's warning whistle. The reason being that the troublesome trucks had broken away from Edward's coupling and are chasing Duck down the line. Duck tries his best to stop them from crashing into James' passenger train and is diverted into a siding where a barber set up shop.

Duck crashes into the barber shop. He apologizes to the barber for crashing into the building, but the barber doesn't accept his apology and lathers shaving cream all over his face, leaving Duck embarrassed. As Thomas arrives with the breakdown train to clear the mess, The Fat Controller arrives too and explaines that Duck and his crew prevented a serious accident, referring to it as "A Very Close Shave". The barber realizes his mistake and washes Duck's face with water, apologizing for misjudging him.


The Fat Controller then informs Duck that after he's washed and mended, he's coming home to the yard, but Duck is confused. He thinks that the big engines still don't like him and prefer Diesel, but the Fat Controller also informs him that he found out Diesel's lies and sent him away in disgrace, and that the engines are sorry and want him back. The Fat Controller is good as his word and everyone welcomes the Great Western engine back with cheers of whistles.


Tropes featured in the episode (YMMV here):

  • The Barber: The Crosby barber.
  • Book-Ends: Considering that this is the third and last episode of the Duck/Diesel saga, the episode ends with Duck on the rotating turntable just like in the beginning of "Pop Goes the Diesel", only this time he goes with the other engines celebrating his return.
  • Car Meets House: Engine meets barber shop, to be specific.
  • Comically Missing the Point: The barber is angry with Duck scaring his customers instead of crashing the barber shop.
    • Although later, when the Fat Controller arrives, the barber tells him that he's not happy about that either.
  • Compressed Adaptation: Some of the dialogue from the book version were omitted. Also, the number of runaway trucks were five and not 20.
  • Cool and Unusual Punishment: The barber lathering shaving cream all over Duck's face.
  • Deus ex Machina: It were to seem that the trucks were going to push Duck into the coaches, but gradually, he was diverted into a siding. Subverted in that he crashes into the barber shop.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: After everything that happened to Duck in the previous episode and after crashing into the barber shop, The Fat Controller and the other engines now realize that Diesel had lied and was sent away, and the engines give Duck a warm welcome back to the sheds after coming home from being mended.
  • Grand Finale: Of the "Duck and the Diesel Engine" arc.
  • Humiliation Conga: If the trucks pushing Duck to the barber shop wasn't enough, the barber puts shaving cream all over him.
  • Jerkass Realization: The barber washes Duck's face when the Fat Controller explains Duck's actions.
  • Karma Houdini: Reconstructed. The trucks are in a scattered heap as a result of the accident they caused, but all the same are left feeling very pleased with themselves.
  • Lack of Empathy: The trucks didn't show any concern of the Guard whom they've knocked off of the Brake Van since they were too proud of the chaos they've caused.
  • Offscreen Karma: The Fat Controller told Duck that he had realized Diesel's lies (explained in the novel as finding him directed Malicious Slander to Henry this time) and sent him packing to the other railway.
  • Runaway Train: What the troublesome trucks deliberately cause.
    "Hurrah! Hurrah! Hurrah! We've broken away! We've broken away! Chase him! Bump him! Throw him off the rails!"
  • Skewed Priorities: The barber is angry at Duck for frightening his customers more than the barber shop and his and the other's lives. However, he realizes his mistake after The Fat Controller explains Duck stopping the trucks to him.
  • So Proud of You: The Fat Controller commends Duck for his bravery in stopping the trucks.
  • Visual Pun: The Fat Controller explains that Duck had prevented the trucks from crashing to the coaches and then tells him it was a very close shave while looking at Duck's mouth covered in shaving cream.
  • You Shall Not Pass!: Duck holds off Edward's Runaway Train to keep them from crashing into James' train.


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