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Recap / Thomas The Tank Engine S 2 E 17 The Deputation

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Air date: November 19th, 1986

Heavier than normal snow has fallen on the Island of Sodor and while the other engines hate it, Donald and Douglas are used to the conditions and clear the lines. They encounter one drift deeper than most, which turns out to be Henry.

Henry is rescued and returns to the shed, but both Donald and Douglas are upset. They know the Fat Controller will be returning soon and, after crashing into a signalbox and destroying the spiteful break van between them, are worried that he will send one or possibly both of them away which would lead to them being scrapped. The other engines decide that they have to do something to allow both Donald and Douglas to stay. However, no one knows what to do.

Percy talks to Edward about the situation and he suggests that the engines nominate someone to talk to the Fat Controller, a deputation. Percy relays this to the others that they need a "disputation" and they agree to this and nominate a horrified Percy to do the job.


The Fat Controller returns and a nervous Percy stammers through his speech about allowing the twins to stay. The Fat Controller catches on that Percy is a deputation and tells him he understands.

Later in the sheds, the Fat Controller responds to the engines' request. After informing them, although he understands their feelings, he doesn't appreciate them interfering in his decision making. He then surprises everyone by awarding Donald and Douglas, as a result of their good work in the snow, with new coats of paint and their names painted on them and as he doesn't want to see any more mistakes. The engines realize that the Fat Controller is allowing both twins to stay and, overjoyed, drown out the rest of his speech with happy whistles.


Tropes featured in the episode:

  • Armor-Piercing Question: Duck's question to Percy. See Beat.
  • Asshole Victim: James mentions about how he's glad the Spiteful Brake Van is broken to pieces and never repaired.
  • Beat:
    Henry: What is a desperation?
    Percy: It's when engines tell The Fat Controller what's wrong.
    Duck: Did you say "tell The Fat Controller"?
    Storyteller: There was a long silence...
    Gordon: I propose that Percy be our...disputation.
  • Bowdlerise: In the UK version, The Fat Controller tells the engines that he had a deputation and he understands their feelings, but doesn't approve of interference in his decision making. In the US, he tells them that he understands their feelings and has given a lot of thought to the matter.
  • Delusions of Eloquence: The engines discussing their depo station/desperation/disputation.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: Despite their troubles in "Brake Van", and thanks to Percy's help, Donald and Douglas are here to stay in The Fat Controller's railway. Cue to all of the engines whistling with joy.
  • Felony Misdemeanor: Gordon complained about how the twins were going to be sent away because Donald accidentally broken a signal box followed by James with breaking the Spiteful Brake Van.
  • Got Volunteered: Percy.
  • Oh, Crap!: Percy after being volunteered to confront the Fat Controller. He almost jumps when he comes before him.
  • Series Continuity Error: The episode keeps the Fat Controller's mentioning of giving the twins name plates so "there will be no more mistakes". This refers to the Twin Switch in the novel story "The Missing Coach", which was scrapped during production.
  • True Companions: All of the engines are quick to defend the twins despite the trouble they caused previously.


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