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Recap / Thomas The Tank Engine S5 E3 "A Better View for Gordon"

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Air date: September 5th, 1998

One morning, Gordon is complaining, which makes James cross. James asks why Gordon complains all the time, and Gordon tells him that he's a big engine, and that he shall complain whenever he wants, and he then tells James that he's just a small engine with ideas above his station, and that one day he'll show them just what a big engine can really do.

Later, Gordon is ordered by The Fat Controller to pull an empty express train to Kirkronan to test the new station building. Along the way, he begins to feel sick. His driver tells him that he may have to go to the works when his pipes are clogged. Gordon soon arrives at the station. He's impressed, but his mood soon changes when in front of him is a blank wall and a set of buffers. Gordon is bored by the blank plaster wall in front of his buffers, and says that important engines should have a panoramic view so that people could see him.


On the return journey, Gordon tries to build up speed, but he then breaks down and comes to a complete stop in a siding. Gordon's driver tells him that something inside of him is broken, and that he'll really have to go to the works. When James arrives to collect his coaches, he tells Gordon that he was too puffed up in his smokebox and it serves him right.

Gordon is repaired in time for the opening of the new station, but when he approaches Kirk Ronan, neither the driver and fireman can apply his brakes. Something had jammed and Gordon loses control and crashes through the wall. The Fat Controller tells him that he knew he wanted a panoramic view, but it was not the way to achieve it.

Upon his return from the Works, Gordon arrives back at the station for it's second official opening, and this time he arrives safely. Gordon is delighted to discover the broken wall has been turned into a panoramic window. The Fat Controller tells him that it's here to stay, and he trusts that he'll always see through it from the safety of his own rails.


Tropes featured in the episode:

  • Ask a Stupid Question...: Percy asks Gordon what can a big engine really do. Gordon's answer: "Not speak to silly little green engines for a start."
  • Big Damn Heroes: The Fat Controller helps Gordon out of the broken wall by saying that Gordon wants a panoramic view.
  • Deadpan Snarker: The Fat Controller gives a snarky lecture on Gordon's accident:
    The Fat Controller: Well, Gordon, I knew you wanted a panoramic view, but this is NOT the way to achieve it.
  • Grumpy Bear: Gordon in the beginning. He justifies this by saying that he's a big engine who knows everything.
  • Literal-Minded: Percy.
    Gordon: (to James) You're just a small red engine with ideas above your station!
    Percy: I can't see any, where are they?
    Gordon: Any what?
    Percy: "Ideas above the station", the sky is empty!
    James: Like your smoke box, Percy!
  • Made of Iron: Averted. Unlike other accidents, where it's said that "no one was hurt", Gordon's driver comes out of the accident with a broken arm and the Fat Controller with a black eye. The fireman seems fine, however.
  • No Sympathy: James teases Gordon for breaking down which he believed that served him right for his bragging.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: Gordon as this quote shows:
    Gordon: I'm the finest engine on the Island of Sodor! Probably the finest in the world!
  • Took a Level in Dumbass: This episode marks the start of Percy's dimwitted personality.
  • Very Loosely Based on a True Story: Gordon's crash at Kirk Ronan was inspired by the Gare Montparnasse derailment in Paris, France. On 22nd October 1895, the Granville-Paris Express ran through the buffer stop, across the station concourse, and crashed through the station wall; landing in the Place de Rennes below.


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