‘Pit of Peril’ (TV)



Please feel free to comment on my review.

This is a pretty intense ‘Thunderbirds’ episode! An accident causes an enormous and unwieldy 500 ton U.S. army prototype walker named the Sidewinder to topple into a burning landfill and fall deep.

International Rescue is soon called on the scene after the U.S. army’s attempts to rescue the Sidewinder and crew have failed. Scott, Virgil and Brains are sent to save the Sidewinder and crew. 🙂

This episode introduces the Mole, one of my favourite rescue vehicles in the Thunderbirds series as it’s a like a massive drill. There are also the Recovery Vehicles that pull the Sidewinder out of the pit.

When I first saw the Sidewinder vehicle trudging its way through the African jungle, it was terrifying to see it since it appeared to be a monster of a vehicle. The wildlife and animals were terrified too. 🙂

It was also disturbing to see the Sidewinder pulling trees out from their roots in the jungle as it trudged through. When it came to the Sidewinder falling into the pit though, it was a different story.

I was concerned for the Sidewinder’s crew, including Colonel Sweeney (voiced by Ray Barrett), Frank (voiced by David Graham) and Johnny (voiced by Shame Rimmer). They couldn’t survive for long. 😐

The Sidewinder crew’s superior officer General Peters (voiced by David Graham) was also concerned for them, along with Lieutenant Ralph (voiced by Peter Dyneley). How would they save this crew? 😐

It’s interesting how it’s revealed by Brains later on that the Sidewinder strayed onto a World War II landfill covered by a thin crust of soil. And this tale takes place in the early 21st century – year: 2065.

An army helijet soon arrives on the scene. Its crew attempt to lower two men into the pit. One is to get below the smoke to find where the Sidewinder is, the other is to attach a cable to one of its legs.

The helijet is piloted by Charlie (voiced by Matt Zimmerman). The first to go into the pit is Lieutenant Mead (voiced by Ray Barrett) and the second man is Sergeant Reynolds (voiced by David Graham). 🙂

Both Mead and Reynolds receive severe injuries from going into the pit. When the army’s efforts are in vain, General Peter becomes despairing before Lieutenant Ralph thinks of International Rescue. 🙂

I suppose the Thunderbirds and International Rescue must have been around for a while at this time since this is like the second episode of the series. Was that ‘Trapped In The Sky’ incident big news? 😐

Incidentally, the first time I saw this episode was on a Volume 2 VHS. On it, it featured ‘Thunderbirds to the Rescue’ (‘Trapped in the Sky’ and ‘Operation Crash-Drive’), ‘Pit of Peril’ itself and ‘City of Fire’.

Interesting fact is that ‘City of Fire’ was the next episode to be produced, but ‘The Perils of Penelope’ was broadcast next. The actual broadcast order of episodes is very different to the production order.

Another intriguing fact is this episode has no female characters in it. Tin-Tin doesn’t even appear in the episode. I wonder what the episode would’ve been like if female U.S. army characters appeared.

The Mole would make a few more appearances in ‘City of Fire’ and ‘The Duchess Assignment’ and make a cameo in ‘Cry Wolf’. The Recovery Vehicles only made one single appearance in this episode.

I recall having the Recovery Vehicles as toys once when I was playing with Thunderbirds back in the 1990s. I also had the Mole too. In fact, I’m sure I had two Mole toys when I was growing up as a kid.

Matt Zimmerman makes his first ‘Thunderbirds’ contribution and voices two characters in the story. This includes Charlie the pilot and a helicopter pilot captain that pilots General Peters’ helicopter. 😀

He would go on to voice Alan Tracy in the series. By the way, Alan doesn’t appear in the tale, despite appearing in the opening credits. Gordon doesn’t appear either. John aboard Thunderbird 5 does. 😀

It was a relief when Virgil in the Recovery Vehicles saved the Sidewinder and its crew. General Peters is equally delighted that the International Rescue team managed to achieve rescuing the Sidewinder.

‘Pit of Peril’ is definitely a great ‘Thunderbirds’ episode in the TV series! I like how the International Rescue team manage to achieve the impossible and it’s great to see the Mole’s debut appearance. 🙂

‘Pit of Peril’ rating – 9/10

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