Wednesday, 20 April 2016

S19 Ep.22: The Other Side of the Mountain


Written by
Andrew Brenner

Directed by

Produced by
Jennifer Hill (Arc)
Ian McCue (HIT)

Air Date:
17/01/16 - JPN

Road works were happening on Thomas' branch line and Bertie was diverted on the other side of the mountain and teased Thomas that there was something good. 

- Nice to hear a tidbit of Bertie's original theme
- Bertie's cheeky persona is shown once again
- The sign did serve a good plot twist
- More things done with road vehicles

- This feels like a rehash of 'Thomas' Shortcut'
- The pacing feels a bit awkward
- The crash was over the top
- The purpose of the sign
- The last scene felt like filler

I'll be honest, I do say some bad episodes can be a bit watchable, 'Steamie Stafford' I can sit through since I can see little kids enjoying the episode as they do like making train noises along with the moral that being yourself is good, but I don't see it as one of the best episodes to enjoy. But to me this episode is...not great. One thing the whole plot just felt like a rehash of 'Thomas' Shortcut'. The episode shows Thomas wanting to know what Bertie is doing, Bertie tells him and Thomas wants in. Yes Bertie did taunt him about it but that also happened in probably Andrew Brenner's best script, 'Thomas' Shortcut'. I don't mind if there are stories based on older ones or have a similar plot as it has its own twist around to make it at least entertaining and unique. Whereas this just feels like the S17 episode all over again.

One thing that Chris Tomson pointed out in the review of this said episode is that Thomas 'likes' working on his branch line best. Maybe it could've been better if they've written that he loves his branch line and takes pride in it because he earned it because of what he did at the end of 'The Adventure Begins' by saving James and not thinking about himself and cares for his fellow steam engines. Here it seems like Thomas just likes working on it implying he has no passion for it.

The pacing for it just feels awkward in places that it makes the episode feel rushed, especially with Thomas confronting Bertie at the level crossing, I wouldn't mind if they use a three strikes formula to show that. It worked well in 'Thomas' Shortcut' as that episode shows Thomas crossing each track and ending up not as a shortcut. Besides the three strike formula had existed in the past and they work well...except from S13-16 

The crash, to be honest I found it as so bad that it's good when I first saw the episode and I don't mind that there's some unrealistic moments in the show as long as it gives a purpose and the crash does add one, but it was over the top and it felt like something out of Trainz, and this is coming from a Trainz user. What I think could've been better if it were an old piece of line, since we see so many of them on Sodor and yeah it's still repeating what 'Thomas' Shortcut'. By the way, has anyone noticed that Toby came out of nowhere when Thomas missed his signal? Yeah it's a cliched plot device (the old line idea) but it still works and more realistic and add more sense then the crash even if it means repeating the same plot that we've seen in S17. 

Though I will say the about the sign, it did serve for plot point and a bit of a funny plot twist. But as a nitpick the purpose of the sign didn't really add much for what it was advertising and I think it would've been better if it were promoting like maybe a salon or a travel agency. Plus the last scene with Thomas as an airplane was kind of funny but it felt like such filler to fill the episode time slot and it felt a bit pointless, they could at least add maybe Thomas all fixed up and puffing past the mountain learning his lesson. They did that for 'Helping Hiro', you didn't see Thomas thinking about flying past that curve.

Some say Annie and Clarabel were out of character in this episode and I didn't add in my pro and con because I can see it as 50/50. On one side I'm glad that we see them giggling and chuckling as it adds more depth into their character, but I can see that it's a bit out of character since they are always serious about Thomas' antics and try to bring him down to earth but if you keep them serious they wouldn't be interesting characters. I also like how the road vehicles are used. Instead of just racing they can bring more things like carrying engines to and from places whenever they have accidents far from the railway line and it feels like we're seeing something you see in the Railway Series book, 'Thomas and The Great Railway Show'.

While this episode can be enjoyed by some fans young and old with its action, it was not good and not the best of the season and probably Andrew Brenner's worst script to be honest. 

Rating: 2/10

Episode Ratings:
Lost Property - 9/10
Helping Hiro - 6/10
Slow Stephen - 9/10
No Help At All! - 8/10
The Other Side of the Mountain - 2/10

Series Rating (So far):