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Recap / Thunderbirds S 1 E 13 Vault Of Death

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The One Where Parker robs a bank.

With the Kathmandu Olympics starting in a matter of hours, International Rescue must disarm a bomb placed inside gymnastic equipment!

No, wait, that's the other Vault Of Death. This one's about the vault of the Bank of England, which has been fitted with a fancy new unbreakable electronic lock and two-foot-thick steel door. The vault also includes a depressurising system, since documents last longer in a vacuum. Unfortunately, someone is trapped inside the vault and the only key is miles away. The surrounding terrain is too crowded for the Mole, forcing International Rescue to go in through the old Underground rail network. Lady Penelope and Parker race cross-country to deliver the chairman and his key to open the main door, but, on arrival at Threadneedle Street, the chairman realises he's left the key at Lady Penelope's.


Fortunately, "Nosey" Parker demonstrates his skills by popping open the Bank's expensive and complex new lock with... a hairpin. Of course, this is made somewhat irrevelvant after an old acquaitance of Parker, recently escaped from prison, blows the back off the vault as part of a robbery.

  • Abandoned Area: Virgil and Alan gain access to the Bank of England by travelling through The London Underground, which by then had been disused for decades in favour of an overhead monorail.
  • A Foggy Day in London Town: In the opening scene, Lady Penelope scares the crap out of the policeman guarding the Bank of England by approaching him through a thick fog. Then Parker uses the distraction to his advantage to knock out said policeman with a chloroform-filled rag.
  • Almost Out of Oxygen: An unusual example as the air is being actively pumped out of the vault in which Lambert is trapped. He is so engrossed in his work that he does not even notice until he is literally gasping for breath. Thankfully, International Rescue had already been working on freeing him for some time.
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  • Badass Boast: "They haven't made a vault yet that Nosey Parker can't open!"
  • Chekhov's Skill: Parker's expertise at opening vaults.
  • Cut Phone Lines: When Lovegrove attempts to contact Lord Silton at Lady Penelope's mansion to inform him that Lambert is trapped in the vault, Parker cuts the lines before the situation can be fully explained.
  • A Day in the Limelight: For Parker.
  • Dramatic Drop: Parker drops his tray of drinks when he overhears the chairman tell Lady Penelope that there is an emergency at the bank of England, possibly a robbery.
    • Also combined with Contrived Clumsiness considering Parker had just read about Light-Fingered Fred escaping from prison.
  • Drives Like Crazy: Lady Penelope
  • Flash Back: To Parker's days in jail.
  • For the Evulz: Fred's motivation for robbing the Bank of England seems to be simply to prove to himself that he can.
  • Garbage Hideout: Light-fingered Fred escapes from prison via hiding himself in a trash can.
  • Gosh Dang It to Heck!: When Parker spills the tray of coffee on Lord Silton, Silton angrily calls Parker a "clumsy nincompoop".
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  • Hairpin Lockpick: How Parker opens the new, high tech vault to save Lambert.
  • Leitmotif: Several pieces of music particular to this episode:
    • Light-fingered Fred's theme.
    • Lady Penelope's frantic driving to London.
    • When Alan and Virgil are in the London Underground tunnels, we hear music resembling "Oranges and Lemons say the bells of St Clement's", the nursery rhyme about London churches.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: After the rescue, Lady Penelope asks Parker how it took him two and a half hours to open the old vault, while the newer, more advanced, vault only took seconds. Parker admits that it was cause they had an audience the first time, and one rule that must never be broken is: "NEVER disappoint your public!".
  • Proscenium Reveal: We see Parker and Lady Penelope actually breaking into the Bank of England, from start to finish, before it is revealed that they have been asked to do so.
  • Recruiting the Criminal: Parker, a former thief, is hired by the chairman to break into the bank to test the old vault's security.
  • Rule of Three: The third prison cell shown at Parkmoor Scrubs is the one normally occupied by Light-fingered Fred, who has just escaped.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: The rescue itself isn't too complicated, but keeps getting set back by ill fate. The terrain being too crowded for the Mole. Parker being unwilling to go to the bank fast, as he believes his old cell block mate is robbing the place. Lady Penelope's suicidal driving. Scott being unable to cut through the cell door. The chairman forgetting his key. Eventually, Virgil and Alan have to settle for using the abandoned underground system and blow a hole in the side of the vault, only to find it has already been opened by Parker.
  • Speak of the Devil: Lambert, already running dangerously low on oxygen, desperately attempts to call for International Rescue... Cue Alan and Virgil bursting through the wall of the vault.
    Lambert: "I knew you were highly efficient, but this is ridiculous!"
  • The Stinger: After the action, Parker's old mate finally turns up to rob the vault, finding the place already opened from two sides. He states that he'd do a better job, "burglar-proofing," his child's piggy bank.
  • Superdickery: What's this? Lady Penelope and Parker are robbing a bank?
  • Tempting Fate: The chairman keeps insisting his briefcase "never leaves his side". Guess what he leaves at Lady Penelope's when lives depend on it?
  • Workaholic: Lambert. When he finally realizes he is locked in the vault, he's already minutes away from death.
    Ludgrove: Lambert was working on them, sir. His concentration is quite terrifying.

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