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  TERROR IN NEW YORK CITY

An attempt to move the Empire State Building ends in disaster when it collapses, trapping two men underground. With Thunderbird 2 crippled from an accidental attack from the US Navy, how can International Rescue save them?

The desert oil fire An oil drill is on fire in a desert. Virgil approaches it in Firefly and anounces to Scott (who has set up Mobile Control on a nearby gantry) that he is going in. He moves through the thick smoke and fires the cannon at the inferno. The explosion thrusts Firefly backwards but the fire burns itself out, leaving the oil gushing harmlessly out of the top.

As Virgil returns to Thunderbird 2 a reporter, Ned Cook, bemoans his inability to get pictures of the Thunderbird machines. He instructs his cameraman, Joe, to get on a roof-mounted camera on their van. Thunderbird 2 takes off. Ned drives to cover the Thunderbird 1 take-off but Scott registers this and tells Ned to destroy the film. Ned is obstinate and drives off, despite Joe's urges for him to stop. Thunderbird 1 gives chase and Scott wipes the film electromagnetically, something which Joe proves when he pulls out a smouldering film.

Scott tells Virgil about the delay. At Tracy Island, Jeff is dictating a letter to Tin-Tin on the typewriter when Virgil reports their success. Jeff continues his letter, declining an invitation to be at an attempt to move the Empire State Building, but gives his support as he believes old monuments need preserving.

The Sentinel fires at Thunderbird 2 Virgil sees a ship moving at an incredible speed and Scott suggests it is the Sentinel, the new US navy vessel. Spotting Thunderbird 2, the commander of the Sentinel becomes worried about the 'UFO' and puts the missiles on standby. Virgil changes course so as not to lead them to Tracy Island but in doing so heads on a course directly towards New York. The Sentinel commander discovers that no scheduled aircraft should be in the area and orders the missile countdown to commence. Two are launched but by pulling up at the last moment, Virgil is able to dodge them and they explode beneath Thunderbird 2's tail, causing minimal damage. Two more missiles are fired and this time the evasion tactics fail; Thunderbird 2 is on fire and diving towards the ocean! Jeff contacts Washington just as the Sentinel fires its two final missiles and the goverment order the Sentinel commander to abort the missiles.

Thunderbird 2 pulls out of a dive Virgil regains conciousness and manages to pull Thunderbird 2 up although he does not know whether he can make it back to base or not. Jeff tells Alan and Gordon to stand by with the fire-fighting equipment. Brains thinks his chances are good providing the reactor is not damaged but Virgil cannot tell if this is so. Jeff joins Alan and Gordon at the landing control room and several upright, hose-like objects rise out of the sides of the runway. Virgil is very close now and prepares for his final approach. Thunderbird 2 crashes down onto the runway and hurtles down it, causing the wheels to collapse. Foam is released to dampen the flames and Thunderbird 2 stops. Virgil relapses into unconciousness.

Virgil wakes up in bed wearing a bandage. Jeff tells him that Thunderbird 2 will be out of commission for a few weeks while Brains and Tin-Tin repair it. Jeff has ordered the necessary components from different air corperations so that none of them know what they are making, the jigsaw puzzle only fitting together there.

Gordon tells Virgil to watch the attempt to move the Empire State Building on TV. The others are watching it in the lounge. Ned, who is presenting the programme, explains that the area the building currently stands on is needed for redevelopment. After ten years of planning and two years of construction they are now ready to begin; the skyscraper has been raised by hydraulic jacks and rails positioned underneath and the only phase that remains is to move it.

A siren sounds and the gantry begins to haul it along the rails, to Ned's excitement. However, the ground suddenly begins to crack beneath it and the motors are shut down. The police order Ned and Joe off the site but before they can move the ground gives way beneath them, dropping them into a gigantic chasm. Aside from some bad gashing, they are safe. The Empire State building is now extremely unsafe and the Tracys have lost their TV picture. After a series of explosions, the Empire State Building crashes down, completely covering the chasm.

The Tracys recieve new pictures of the rubble and Ned's voice is heard calling for help. Scott wants Thunderbird 2 to go out to the site but Jeff reminds him that it is impossible. Ned was heard using his microphone and the broadcasters now intend to keep a radio link with him. He explains that he and Joe are trapped in a cavern and water is seeping in. Brains deduces that it is an underground river, which also could have caused the collapse and Jeff realises that if so, the two men will drown. Scott wishes they could get up the river in Thunderbird 4 but making the journey by sea is too slow and risky. Virgil suggests that the Sentinel could transport Thunderbird 4 and so Jeff gets permission from Washington DC. Scott launches Thunderbird 1, Gordon launches Thunderbird 4 by driving off the end of the runway and Virgil goes back to bed.

The police rush to the danger zone and set up a sight control and they are contacted by Scott. They have drilled a hole through which to drop supplies to the trapped men. The area has been evacuated as it could collapse at any minute. Thunderbird 4 is hauled aboard the Sentinel; their ETA at New York is 24 hours. Thunderbird 1 lands in a car park. Brains examines maps of New York and tells Jeff that while there is no record of an underground river, various small streams could have eaten away at the rock forming new rivers. This means that finding the entrance will be hard leading to an even greater delay. Scott radios base and confirms that food can be sent down but the water will be up at much the same time as Thunderbird 4 arrives. Jeff tells him to put down breathing apparatus.

Night falls. Nine hours later the water is up to Ned and Joe's waists and is freezing. They have about ten hours left until the water covers them at 10 AM. Unfortunately the Sentinel is due to arrive five minutes later, even at maxmum speed. The police send down the breathing apparatus. The speed of the rising water is quickening; there are nine hours left and a further two in each tank's supply.

With two hours to go until Thunderbird 4 arrives, Ned and Joe, the latter in a bad way, are forced to don their mask as the cavern is completely filled. The Sentinel approaches New York but is forced to slow down because of heavy shipping. Going under it in Thunderbird 4 will be much quicker and so Gordon heads off underwater. Both parties have 20 minutes left. Gordon searches for an entrance and eventually finds it. Fortunately the river is big enough for navigation. Scott tells Ned to find the way to the river from the cavern.

The police tell Scott that the Fulmer Finance Building is also about to collapse but was evacuated long ago. When it goes over, however, it will cause a tidal current that would be fatal to the two men. That leaves about 2.5 minutes. Gordon tells Scott to let Ned guide him personally. The air is running out of the tanks and Joe is almost unconcious. Ned finds the way out of the cavern and they both go through. Gordon has still heard no signal. He comes to a dead end, but it is in fact merely a sharp corner. Ned sees Thunderbird 4's beacon and urges Joe to swin on towards it. Eventually Gordon sees them and opens the hatch for them to swin in. Scott urges Gordon to get clear. The Fulmer Finance Building topples over and the current hurls Thunderbird 4 against the riverbed.

Later, at the Ned Cook Show, a compere introduces Ned in a wheelchair who is famous for never missing a show, no matter what the circumstances. Ned praises and thanks International Rescue, unaware that most of its members are sitting on the back row.

Verdict: Good ideas and powerful images jostle for space in this, the episode that almost everyone remembers. The idea of moving the Empire State Building is inspired and the crashing of Thunderbird 2 reinforces that International Rescue are not indestructible. Certainly one of the best in the series.
6/6
Broadcast information: Broadcast on BBC 2 on Tuesday 21st November 2000 at 6:00 pm and on Saturday 25th November 2000 at 2:35 pm.

DVD availability: On Volume 1 and the Complete Box Set.

VHS availability: On Volume 2, the Pod 1 Box Set and the Complete Box Set.