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Recap / Thomas The Tank Engine S 2 E 20 Percy's Predicament

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Air date: November 26th, 1986

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Daisy's time on the Island of Sodor is going badly for everyone concerned. Not only is she frightened of bulls and cows, she remains lazy, bad-tempered, stubborn and refuses to do jobs she doesn't want to do, to which she makes excuses.

Percy grumpily shunts trucks one day, as Toby pulls in noticing Daisy has once again refused to take the milk wagon, forcing Percy to make a special trip with it after his normal work is done. Wanting to help, Toby offers to take the milk if Percy fetches his trucks from the quarry in return. The crews agree to this and Percy sets off.

Percy goes to the quarry to fetch the trucks. Having never been there before, he starts enjoying himself by ordering the trucks about. The trucks don't take kindly to a stranger entering the quarry and giving orders and vow to pay Percy out. Once arranged into a goods train, the trucks lure Percy into a false sense of security by following him so quietly that he thinks they are under control. When Percy sees a sign saying "All Trains stop to pin down Brakes", he whistles to the guard to pin down his brakes, only for the trucks to push him along. Due to warning the traffic at the crossing, The signalman is too late to switch Percy to the runaway siding and Percy crashes into a brakevan, destroying it and perching himself on top of the remains of a truck.

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The next day, Toby and Daisy help clear up the mess. The Fat Controller arrives and scolds Percy, telling him that because of his bossiness toward the trucks, now the branch line will have to be run with only Toby and Daisy, leaving it in an awkward predicament. Percy, very much stuck in his own predicament, understands what he means.

The Fat Controller also tells Daisy off for her laziness, but gives her a second chance given how hard she worked after Percy's accident. Daisy is pleased and promises to work hard with Toby's help. Knowing Toby has a lot of experience with running a branch line, the Fat Controller is satisfied.

The next day, Thomas returns from the works and is happily reunited with Annie and Clarabel while Percy is sent away to be repaired. All the engines are now friends and Daisy learns a lot from Toby, leading her to become a really useful engine, even managing to scare a cow away all on her own.

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Tropes featured in the episode (YMMV here):

  • Alliterative Title
  • Arson, Murder, and Lifesaving: The Fat Controller rebukes Daisy for her stubborn and lazy behavior, but then acknowledges that she helped Toby clear up after the accident and also has given her a second chance.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Despite Percy being sent to the works, Thomas returns and works with Toby and Daisy. This may somewhat be subverted since the narrator says "all are now friends", meaning that Percy may have returned from the works.
    • Not in the book which states that "all three engines are great friends". The show likely altered this to avert Snub by Omission for poor Percy.
  • Bowdlerise:
    • In the UK, the trucks shout "Pay Percy out!", but in the US, it's "Pay Percy back!".
    • When The Fat Controller reprimands Percy in the UK, he tells him that he hoped that his predicament will teach him to be careful with trucks. In the US, he advises him to be more careful with Freight Cars.
  • Butt-Monkey: Percy, considering that this episode marks yet another accident for him in this season.
  • Character Development: Daisy vows to become a hard worker... at least until 18 seasons later.
  • Continuity Nod: Percy crashing into the brakevan was similar to Henry's accident in "The Flying Kipper", except in this episode, the brakevan was completely destroyed upon impact, while the former just has the roof, bottom and wheels come off..
  • Dark Reprise: The instrumentation for Percy's theme becomes harder and more frantic as he loses control of the trucks before eventually fading into the "Danger" theme.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: The trucks send Percy colliding into a brake van for talking to them in a bit too bossy a tone.
  • Dissonant Serenity: In the midst of clearing up the accident, Toby and Daisy didn't seem terrified of Percy's condition.
  • From Bad to Worse: If Thomas crashing into the stationmaster's house and Daisy's behavior was bad enough, then Percy's accident with the trucks takes the cake. Thankfully, Thomas comes back.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Percy crashing to the brake van has led the branch line to being only run by two engines - Toby and Daisy. This was thankfully subverted as Thomas came back from being repaired.
  • Runaway Train: The trucks push Percy down the line, passing a sign saying "All Trains Must Pin Down Their Breaks".
  • Series Continuity Error: The narrator mentions that Percy has never went to the quarry before, despite appearing there in "Percy and Harold". However, in said episode's adaptation from the books, Percy met Toby at the station instead of the quarry.
  • What the Hell, Hero?:
    • The Fat Controller reprimands Percy for his bossiness towards the trucks putting the branch line in a predicament after his accident with the brake van.
    • After that, he calls out Daisy for her laziness, but gives her a second chance after helping Toby clear up the mess.

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