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Recap / Thunderbirds S 1 E 15 City Of Fire

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The One with... the building on fire.

The Thompson Tower, a magnificent engineering accomplishment, has been opened to the public. Unfortunately, this includes a truly manic lady driver, who crashes her car in the underground car park. Since everything in the Thunderbirds universe is Made of Explodium, the tower catches fire with disturbing rapidity. Evacuation plans and the local fire department are able to rescue the majority, but three people are trapped below ground, somewhere in the network of tunnels, trapped behind automatic fire doors.


Bringing their pet Drill Tank the Mole and the fireproof bulldozer Firefly, International Rescue turn up and try to cut through to the trapped family. It's an awful risk, as the experimental cutting gear they're using has caused unconsciousness in operators in all previous tests!

Tropes featured:

  • Casual Car Giveaway: One of the guys overseeing the rescue gives Scott his car when he has to go to Thunderbird 2 to pick up the Mole.
  • Drives Like Crazy: the woman driver who causes the inferno.
  • Failsafe Failure: The automatic sprinklers and vent shaft seal both fail to work, letting the fire spread from the car park to the Tower.
  • Godzilla Threshold: IR is forced to use the cutting gear fueled by Brain's new gas if they want to reach the trapped family in time, if though during a test on Tracy Island the gas caused Scott and Virgil to pass out.
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  • Idiot Houdini: The woman driver who causes the inferno never gets her just desserts for her stupidity; in fact, she's seen out driving again at the end of the episode with absolutely no improvement in her driving whatsoever.
  • Made of Explodium: The Thompson Tower doesn't so much catch fire as explode repeatedly until it collapses.
  • Sci-Fi Writers Have No Sense of Scale: The fire apparatus shown in the episode in real life would be woefully inadequate to deal with the fire alone. High-rise structure fires require teams of firefighters inside the building as well as outside to battle the blaze and ensure the building is clear. In-episode the tower is listed as 350-stories tall, 240-stories more than World Trade Center 1 and 2 in New York, and took practically all of the FDNY to battle on 9/11.
  • Tempting Fate: John sits in Thunderbird 5 lamenting about seeing his family again, only having 2 hours to go before 3-month shift ends. Cue the emergency call from Thompson Tower coming through.
    John: Uh-oh! I spoke too soon!
  • Values Dissonance: Did you see the words "manic lady driver" in the recap? It's played every bit as insensitively as it sounds.
    • They even note that the driver's sex should be obvious.

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