Thursday, 27 October 2016

Series 19: Rocky Rescue

Three down, two to go, and we've now arrived at an episode that I've declared on Twitter as "the worst episode of the show". Time to find out if I still think that in an actual review. It's Rocky Rescue!

Can I just say that I'm getting sick to death of the "teamwork" moral? I hinted at that in the No Help At All review, but at least it made sense for those characters to learn it. But the rescue team? We've seen them work as a team many times before: Toad & the Whale, Wild Water Rescue, Too Many Fire Engines. Heck, Belle and Flynn worked pretty well together in Day of the Diesels!

That, for me, is the biggest problem with this episode: the story is written solely to revolve around the moral it tries to teach, regardless of logic, consistency or any unfortunate implications it may lead to. And you'd better believe that I will get to them.

First off: logic. No, I'm not that bothered about the boulder rolling away like it did. What I will question is how it managed to get stuck in ballast when it didn't look all that stuck to the viewers? Better yet, how did a 40 ton crane with its stabilisers out manage to derail at such a slow speed when a streamlined engine going like the clappers didn't even flinch in the exact same place?

Oh, and Rocky's coupling is officially the worst on Sodor if edging backwards slightly manages to snap it. I wouldn't really mind if it was rusty or something, but it looked perfectly fine!

Second, consistency. Remember Helping Hiro's accident? Hiro ran over some pipes, toppled on his side, was re-railed and couldn't move under his own power. Then how the hell can Henry go through a similar incident yet move as though nothing had happened?! Sure, Hiro's lack of movement served the plot, but Henry's just makes his purpose pointless! You could've told the same story with Rocky simply trying to lift Boulder's child out of the way, accidentally dropping it so it rolls away, hitting him and having that whole runaway sequence. At least that wouldn't have screwed up the consistency that, I thought, the series wanted to pride itself on.

And then there's the characters. I really like the team being confident in themselves and rather boastful of their own abilities (except Butch; I thought he was the most grounded of the group with Rocky); it's something I'd love to see more of. But when they can't put that aside in order to work as a team, that's where my problems lie. They've been working together for years now. Like I said earlier, we've seen them work together quite a lot in that time. So to see them this incompetent trying to rescue Rocky is outright baffling.

Which leads on to the unfortunate implications. Who would ever want to be rescued by a team this incompetent when it comes to working together to rescue someone? People just wouldn't feel safe, and wouldn't be able to trust them. If you carry that on to the real world, what kind of message would this send to kids? Sure, I know what they want the message to be, but I've said it before and I'll say it again: it's a lesson the rescue team (and kids, since it's been taught so often in the last year alone with Legend of the Lost Treasure and No Help At All) don't need to learn!

Going back to what I liked (which was very little), Thomas and Rocky are pretty good throughout. The latter especially; his humble nature is fantastic and it was nice to see him chat with a workman while he waited to be rescued.

Fan Reaction

Final Thoughts
I stand by what I originally said: this is the worst episode of the show. Sure it's well structured, the dialogue is better, the animation is amazing and the other technicals (voice acting and music) are fantastic, but they don't earn points with me any more. Those things are standard by this point, not a freak occurrence. The story just forgets everything the series had built on in order to allow itself to happen. This team have shown they can do better with these characters, so to see this from them is a huge disappointment. At least Fiery Flynn and Race to the Rescue, as bad as they are, were par for the course for that era!

Honestly, I think this episode would've "worked" better in series 17. It still would've been bad, but it would've been a good way to transition from the old character renditions to new ones. It wouldn't have felt out of place too much and it would have led on to episodes like Toad & the Whale and Wild Water Rescue really well.

Episode Ratings

Series Rating (so far)


  1. Wow! So you officially consider an episode as brainless as this to be worse than an episode that makes firefighters look like oblivious idiots on the job... Congratulations, Davey Moore, you idiot, you have to TRY to be that terrible!

    1. I consider this to be the worst BECAUSE it makes the rescue team look like oblivious idiots on the job. Difference is all but one of the team suffer here. At least only Flynn suffered when he starred in Fiery Flynn and Race to the Rescue