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EPISODE NOTES- SERIES 2

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1986 saw the return of Thomas the Tank Engine and his friends, stronger than ever before. 

With a new slate of 26 episodes airing from the 24th September, it saw a variety of new methods and combinations on trial. Ringo Starr had of course returned to provide his narration for the UK dub while George Carlin offered his voice for the US. At the time of production, Christopher Awdry was continuing on The Railway Series and had some episodes such as 'The Runaway' and 'Better Late Than Never' adapted for screen not long after their press release. 

Series 2 also saw a variety of characters make their debut, including Devious Diesel, the first seed in the steam engine versus diesel rivalry which would become a long-lasting trope of the series until the end. 

This was the last series of Thomas produced by Clearwater Features and the last slate of stories for the '80s decade. 

1. THOMAS, PERCY & THE COAL

Denham: 5.5 / 10

Connor: 6.5 / 10

Parry: 6 / 10 

SYNOPSIS: Thomas and Percy both share their misfortunate scrapes involving coal. 

VERDICT: A decent, but not great, narrative to begin Series 2.

2. COWS

Denham: 8 / 10

Connor: 7 / 10

Parry: 6.5 / 10

SYNOPSIS: Henry and Gordon tease Edward for leaving his train behind, but soon find themselves in trouble.

VERDICT: Fantastic interactions between characters, though a little light on action.

3. bertie's chase

Denham: 8 / 10

Connor: 8 / 10 

Parry: 8 / 10

SYNOPSIS: Bertie promises to get Thomas' passengers to his connecting service with Edward. 

VERDICT: Nice set design and wonderful music; could use more animation.

4. saved from scrap

Denham: 7 / 10

Connor: 6 / 10

Parry: 8 / 10

SYNOPSIS: Edward meets an old traction engine who is at risk of being scrapped for spare parts. 

VERDICT: A light, quaint and humble story, with nice models.

Denham: 9 / 10

Connor: 10 / 10

Parry: 9 / 10

SYNOPSIS: After he teases Edward, James finds himself in dire circumstances. 

VERDICT: Action-packed, with fantastic music, modelling and camerawork.

5. old iron

6. thomas & trevor

Denham: 6 / 10

Connor: 6 / 10

Parry: 6 / 10

SYNOPSIS: Trevor helps out Thomas at the harbor for a day. 

VERDICT: Story is sorely lacking, although the sets and music are nice.

7. PERCY & THE SIGNAL

Denham: 8 / 10

Connor: 6 / 10

Parry: 8 / 10

SYNOPSIS: Percy gets the better of himself after playing tricks on Gordon and James. 

VERDICT: Humorous interactions and great sound mixing, but not very exciting.

8. duck takes charge

Denham: 9 / 10

Connor: 7 / 10

Parry: 6 / 10

SYNOPSIS: A new engine called Montague (affectionately nicknamed 'Duck') shows the big engines a thing or two.

VERDICT: Great dialogue and visuals; could use more excitement.

Denham: 8 / 10

Connor: 8 / 10

Parry: 10 / 10

SYNOPSIS: Percy meets a new helicopter who he later shares a daring race with.  

VERDICT: Music, photography, editing and story all wonderful.

9. PERCY & HAROLD

Denham: 6.5 / 10

Connor: 5 / 10

Parry: 6 / 10

SYNOPSIS: Thomas is sent away for repairs, but through error, finds out his brakes aren't properly fixed. 

VERDICT: Good visuals; too much exposition, needs more action.

11. percy takes the plunge

Denham: 9 / 10

Connor: 5.5 / 10

Parry: 6.5 / 10

SYNOPSIS: Percy tests the boundaries of warning signs and gets himself into a sticky situation.

VERDICT: Sound mixing is exquisite, as is the set design.

10. THE RUNAWAY

12. POP GOES THE DIESEL

Denham: 9 / 10

Connor: 7.5 / 10

Parry: 9 / 10

SYNOPSIS: A new diesel engine on trial has the worst brought out of him when challenged against the trucks. 

VERDICT: Great narration, writing and music, though visually a little drab.

13. DIRTY WORK

Denham: 8 / 10

Connor: 7 / 10

Parry: 7 / 10

SYNOPSIS: Diesel disturbs peace in the yard and turns the big engines against Duck. 

VERDICT: A cleverly-written story that can only be enjoyed with proper context of the previous story​​.

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14. A CLOSE SHAVE

Denham: 9 / 10

Connor: 6.5  / 10

Parry: 7 / 10

SYNOPSIS: When working with Edward, Duck finds himself in a daring runaway with the troublesome trucks. 

VERDICT: Nifty details and a spectacular crash, but needs to address the Diesel conflict more.

15. better late than never

Denham: 6.8 / 10

Connor: 4.5 / 10

Parry: 4 / 10

SYNOPSIS: Repairs on the viaduct cause delays on the main line, infuriating Thomas to no end. 

VERDICT: Tom Denham loves this “humble” episode and he’s alone in that opinion.

16. break van

Denham: 10 / 10

Connor: 8 / 10

Parry: 10 / 10

SYNOPSIS: Two new engines from Scotland come to help out on the main line, but each causes grief  and inconvenience for the Fat Controller . 

VERDICT: Plenty of memorable scenes; visuals, story and production all excellent.

17. THE DEPUTATION

Denham: 7 / 10

Connor: 8 / 10

Parry: 8 / 10

SYNOPSIS: The fate of Donald and Douglas remains uncertain in the absence of the Fat Controller. 

VERDICT: The snowy landscapes and brilliant narration make this one special.

18. thomas comes to breakfast

Denham: 7 / 10

Connor: 6 / 10

Parry: 7 / 10

SYNOPSIS: Thomas gets cocky about his own autonomy and then by coincidence crashes into the stationmaster's house when a cleaner interferes with his controls. 

VERDICT: Memorable, funny, but somewhat illogical.

19. DAISY

Denham: 7 / 10

Connor: 8 / 10

Parry: 8 / 10

SYNOPSIS: A snooty diesel with a distain for hard work comes to fill in the timetable while Thomas is away. 

VERDICT: Highly entertaining, if only due to Ringo’s narration. And Daisy’s theme tune.

20. percy's predicament

Denham: 8 / 10

Connor: 6.5 / 10

Parry: 6 / 10

SYNOPSIS: When he swaps duties for the day with Toby, Percy soon quickly learns not to mistreat trucks. 

VERDICT: Fun ditties, appealing set design and a great crash.

21. THE DISEASEL

Denham: 9 / 10

Connor: 7.5 / 10

Parry: 10 / 10

SYNOPSIS: Bill and Ben the quarry tank engines try to play a trick on a diesel with misconstrued motives. 

VERDICT: An entertaining introduction to Bill, Ben and Boco.

22. WRONG ROAD

Denham: 7 / 10

Connor: 9 / 10

Parry: 8 / 10

SYNOPSIS: Gordon shares his disgust for branch lines with Edward, but perhaps speaks too soon. 

VERDICT: Another fun story where logic is somewhat lacking. The visuals are nice though.

23. edward's exploit

Denham: 8 / 10

Connor: 8 / 10

Parry: 7 / 10

SYNOPSIS: Edward promises to get his passengers home under immense pressure. 

VERDICT: Rather unexciting, yet still a charmer.

24. GHOST TRAIN

Denham: 8 / 10

Connor: 8 / 10

Parry: 8 / 10

SYNOPSIS: Percy believes his driver about a faux ghost story leaving Thomas highly amused. 

VERDICT: Superb music, editing and visuals; spooky without being scary.

25. WOOLY BEAR

Denham: 6.5/ 10

Connor: 6 / 10

Parry: 7 / 10

SYNOPSIS: An incident with treacle, wind and hay creates an undesirable alter ego for Percy the small engine.

VERDICT: A bit of a downer, could use more narrative heft.

26. THOMAS & THE MISSING CHRISTMAS TREE

Denham: - / 10

Connor: - / 10

Parry: - / 10

SYNOPSIS: It's up to Donald and Douglas to rescue a  snow-trapped Thomas, who is sent to collect the town Christmas tree.

VERDICT: A beautiful, snow-capped finale with plenty of throwbacks.

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