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Recap / Thomas The Tank Engine S 2 E 16 Break Van

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U.S. Title: Donald and Douglas

Air date: November 12th, 1986

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/309px-breakvan19_5928.png
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Two black twin engines from Scotland named Donald and Douglas have arrived on the Island of Sodor to help out; however, the Fat Controller had only sent for one engine. While the twins mean well, their identical appearance causes confusion and the Fat Controller has numbers painted on them; Donald's is 9 and Douglas' is 10. However, the Fat Controller still intends to send one of the engines back to Scotland.

In the yard, a Spiteful Brake Van takes a dislike to Douglas and always causes things to go wrong whenever Douglas takes it out. As a result, Douglas' trains are late and he's subsequently blamed, making him worry. Donald is angry at his twin's unfair treatment and bumps the brake van violently before threatening it. The Spiteful Brake Van starts behaving better afterwards.

One day, however, Donald reverses onto some slippery rails, but he's unable to stop and accidentally crashes into a Signal Box, tender first. The Fat Controller is furious at Donald for his clumsiness and tells him that he had decided to keep him and send Douglas back before this incident. Now Donald needs to have his tender mended and James will have to do his work, which the Fat Controller knows he won't like.

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The Fat Controller's proven right; James is very angry about the extra work. Douglas jokes about James' incident with some tar wagons, worsening his bad mood. He takes a goods which includes the Spiteful Brake Van, who decides to make work difficult for James and has the trucks hold back, quickly tiring James out.

Meeting Douglas at Wellsworth, James asks for his assistance in climbing up Gordon's Hill and Douglas agrees. The two engines work as hard as they can, halfway up the hill, however, James starts losing steam and Douglas accidentally crushes the Spiteful Brake Van while pushing. The Fat Controller arrives on Edward, who came with the Breakdown Train to help clear the mess and is angry that Douglas has also caused trouble. Edward stands up for Douglas, having heard what happened and tells the Fat Controller of all the hard work Douglas did. The Fat Controller feels that Douglas went too far, but understands Douglas had good intentions and was only trying to help. The Fat Controller is left unsure about what to do with Donald and Douglas, but that's another story.

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Tropes featured in the episode (YMMV here):

  • Amusing Injuries: After being accidentally smashed apart by Douglas, the face of the brake van can be seen with a black eye and grimace as it's lifted away.
  • Another Story for Another Time: In the ending, the narrator does this in regards to The Fat Controller is still making a decision on which twin should he send away, which refers to the next episode "The Deputation".
  • Asshole Victim: The Spiteful Brake Van.
  • Berserk Button: Donald was angry when the Brake Van caused trouble for his brother.
    • James was mad when he realizes that he has to do Donald's work as well as his own after the latter had an accident with the signal box and he was even angrier when Douglas reminded him about the accident with the tar wagons in "Dirty Objects".
  • Big Brother Instinct: This is more of Twin Brother Instinct with Donald bumping the break van for causing trouble for his twin brother.
  • Big "SHUT UP!": James says this to Douglas after he reminded him of "tar wagons", though in the books, he was saying it to Gordon and Henry who were chuckling at Douglas' comments (they can be seen doing so in the background of the episode as well).
  • Bully Hunter: Donald.
  • Call-Back: Douglas' reminder of James bumping into tar wagons.
  • Chronic Villainy: Even after one hard bump from Donald to make him behave, The Spiteful Brake Van returned to his troublesome ways as he tells the trucks to hold James back.
  • Compressed Adaptation: Donald and Douglas' introduction was edited down greatly. "The Missing Coach" was planned to be made as an episode (with even half the footage filmed), but was ditched due to it's slightly convoluted plot which was feared to be too complicated for children.
  • The Freelance Shame Squad: Gordon and Henry laughed in the background about Douglas' remarks about James' accident with the tar wagons.
  • Jerkass: The Spiteful Brake Van.
  • Karmic Death: The Brake Van was unintentionally broken by Douglas. This is fitting considering that he was the one that caused his trains to be late.
  • Reverse Arm-Fold: The Fat Controller does this in the end while thinking about his decision.
  • Tear Off Your Face: This was the fate of the Spiteful Brake Van after Douglas unintentionally breaks him to pieces up on Gordon's Hill.
  • Violent Glaswegian: Donald is a family-friendly example when he attacks the Spiteful Brake Van.

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