Episode Six - "White as Snow"

"I’ll take care of Mr Snow..."

The three officers are present in a non-speaking capacity on Cloudbase, and Captain Grey appears to be all on his own. Awww. Dr Fawn is referred to but never seen.

"Our next act of retaliation will be to kill Commander in Chief of Spectrum Colonel White. Do you hear, Earthmen? We will kill Colonel White!"

A TVR-17 radio station satellite is destroyed and duplicated by the Mysterons, who use it in a kamikaze attempt to obliterate Cloudbase. When the Colonel orders the satellite to be destroyed, Captain Scarlet questions the ruthlessness of his superior – the satellite could simply be out of control and with innocent lives onboard. The satellite is taken out by Symphony Angel, much to Scarlet’s chagrin, and shortly after the event the Colonel learns that the latest Mysteron threat is the claiming of his own life. Not wishing to draw his fellow officers and personnel into the crossfire he leaves the base to live out the duration of the threat onboard a submarine – without telling Captain Scarlet and temporary Acting-Commander Blue where he’s gone. When Scarlet learns that the TVR-17 satellite really was a Mysteron threat he vows to try and find the Colonel to aid him in defeating the Mysterons…

And yes. That picture up there is the Colonel in a sea-salt-hat and shades.

The Mysterons destroy and take over a satellite early on, something we know is well within their capabilities – though unusually they don’t simply affect it via distance as they did with the plane in Winged Assassin or the vehicles in Big Ben Strikes Again and Avalanche; Captain Black instead infiltrates the satellite’s control room on Earth and fiddles with the controls to make it crash (and they also duplicate the radio DJ as well, despite the fact he serves no real purpose given that the satellite is under Mysteron influence anyway). I expect this may have been done as the makers wanted to side step the issue of: if the Mysterons could sabotage a satellite from distance, couldn’t they do the same to Cloudbase and just make things far easier for themselves?

The Mysterons later make a chain tighten itself around the ankle of a naval officer, showing that they can affect inanimate objects. The Mysteron duplicate also appears inside the submarine, despite the fact that the officer duplicated was killed via drowning outside; this suggests that the Mysterons have powers of teleportation.

Scarlet’s plan to kill the Mysteron duplicate onboard the submarine comes close to failing when he gets himself shot and killed instead. Fortunately he takes out the duplicate before he actually expires…

Captain Scarlet isn’t very safety conscious, seemingly not understanding that it’s generally a bad idea to let off bullets when onboard a submarine. He quickly learns this however when his first shot hits a gas pipe, filling the area with some form of smoke and sealing the bulkhead, preventing anybody from coming to his aid.

The Colonel survives the threat. Hurrah!

Spectrum: 4 Mysterons: 2

 

No particularly bad expository dialogue this week.

Not a line, but you could quite easily say that the plunging satellite looks like a cock. You’d be wrong, but you could certainly say it.

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There’s a fun moment when it’s discovered that the Colonel has been bundled into a cupboard by Captain Scarlet. It also leads to one of the series’ funniest lines when the Colonel and the Navy personnel discover Scarlet’s body:

COLONEL: "When I’m finished with him he’ll wish he’d never been born!"

NAVY GUY: "Sir, I don’t think you appreciate that the man is dead."

COLONEL: "That’s no excuse!"

The scene also ends with the Colonel getting angry and going "Oh-" cutting off as he’s seemingly about to swear. Oh, what could have been…

There’s a few nice shots of the officers relaxing on Cloudbase whilst listening to some funky tunes (and the TVR-17’s tune really is quite good, and used for the scene selection pages on the Scarlet DVDs). Of course when the Colonel discovers Scarlet sitting at his desk (see pictures) we’re led on some patented hilarity of the "Are you comfy, Captain?" "Yes sir… I mean no sir… I mean…" variety. Ho ho ho.

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The Colonel suddenly seems to have decided that he’s Cloudbase’s resident comedian, churning out several amusing lines that would be more amusing if only they were actually at all amusing in the first place:

"This is supposed to be an operational base – not a rest centre!"

A rest centre! Wooooah! Ha ha! Erm… rest centre?

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The helicopter pilot sees the Colonel’s submarine coming up from the sea:

PILOT: "Wow! Are you some kind of big shot in the Navy?"

COLONEL: "No. I’m a deep sea fisherman."

Ba-zing! You go, Colonel!

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"Move! This is supposed to be a Spectrum base – not a rest centre!"

Yes, he says it twice. Guess he must be running out of good material.

"Gross insubordination, striking a superior officer, impersonating another rank – apart from the list of charges the Navy could bring… You leave me no alternative. Captain Scarlet… I sentence you… to death."

Um, yes. Really. He does.

"However… as you are indestructible, there’d be little point in standing you up before a firing squad. Dismiss."

Ho ho ho! You zany guy, Colonel! Ha ha!

… Sigh…

Scarlet gets really very annoyed about the Colonel ordering the renegade satellite to be destroyed before it hits Cloudbase. Slightly unreasonable, you may think – I certainly did, as it seems he’s attempting to get his own base blown up – though Scarlet objected more to the possible loss of innocent lives onboard the satellite and had no reason to believe that the satellite was under Mysteron influence. So maybe you can forgive him for that. However, immediately following the Colonel’s reporting of the Mysteron threat to the rest of Cloudbase, telling his officers that the Mysterons intend to kill him, and with heavy emphasis on the fact that the Mysterons could attack Cloudbase itself if he remains on it, we have this following exchange:

BLUE: "Are you still sore about that satellite?"

SCARLET: "Sore! It was cold blooded murder!"

BLUE: "You don’t know that!"

SCARLET: "That’s the point – no one knew! The Colonel should never have ordered its destruction!"

Oh put 2 and 2 together, for God’s sake, Scarlet…

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COLONEL: "Captain Scarlet, I’d like you to take command of Cloudbase in my absence."

SCARLET: "Is that an order, sir?"

COLONEL: "… No, Captain, a request."

SCARLET: "Then I’m afraid I must refuse."

You nearly expect him to go "So nyehhhh!" Little snot.

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COLONEL: "I will leave immediately. And remember: under no circumstances must you try to contact me."

‘Cos I’m sick to the back teeth of all of you…

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Captain Blue proves to be a dictatorial sort when put in command, putting the Angels on endless shooting runs and making his officers attend medical lectures. I’m not sure if Lieutenant Green is being facetious or not, but apparently Dr Fawn is giving a compulsory lecture on the "physiology of the lower primates". A-buh???

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I don’t think I’ve yet mentioned Harmony Angel’s dreadful line readings, mainly because she barely speaks in the series. But the fake Japanese accent means that she has a ludicrously halting mode of speech: "Here we go… again."

 

The Angels go out to shoot some targets in a desert, but only Colonel White and Captain Scarlet leave the base for anything plot-related.

Scarlet estimates that the TVR-17 had about a dozen people on board when it was destroyed, though we only ever see one of them.

There’s another particular nasty death onboard the submarine; a naval personnel guy gets his foot caught in a chain which wraps itself around his ankle via Mysteron influence, just as the submarine is about to dive. He’s still struggling to free himself as the submarine submerges, drowning him and probably breaking at least one of his legs… Really quite scary for kids, though it does beggar belief that the Naval Captain would allow the submarine to dive before he was sure that there was nobody wandering around the deck first…

Once again, Spectrum loses nothing. Except perhaps the cost of some shooting range targets. Maybe.

No cars even in the episode, which means there aren’t any car crashes either.

Five big explosions: one when the satellite is destroyed, one when the duplicate satellite is destroyed, and a few more when the Angels are flying around the desert and shooting at things. This latter bit of padding gives us a further two small explosions as well.

Colonel White giving his name in a moment that the makers decided was worthy of an ad-break cliffhanger: "Snow… Robert Snow." Though of course he could just be being "witty" again. Ha ha.

Befitting the Colonel’s slightly zanier side this episode, the whole debacle ends on him grinning like a smug chimp at us from behind his desk. Oh, Colonel! Whatever will you do next!

When the TVR-17’s music begins to get too loud, Symphony suddenly develops some very strange eyebrows to indicate her growing annoyance.

It’s a nice element of realism having the satellite’s tunes getting more and more distorted as the volume gets too loud for Cloudbase’s speakers to cope with. Though this of course leaves aside the obvious point that if the music really was loud enough to do that then everybody on Cloudbase ought to be keeling over with blood spurting from their ears, as opposed to just looking a bit peeved and irritated.

The strange mini-rotor helicopter the Colonel uses to get to the submarine appeared many times in assorted episodes of Thunderbirds and, for all I know, possibly other Supermarionation shows before that.

The Colonel wants to leave Cloudbase so that he doesn’t put his personnel in danger – yet is quite happy to live onboard a manned submarine, thereby presumably putting a whole lot of other military types into deadly danger instead.

Colonel White’s disguise when he arrives on the submarine ought to make you smirk a bit. I hope you already have.

If the Colonel wants to make sure that nobody finds out where he’s gone, why on Earth does he tell Lieutenant Green? Given that Green appears to be the subordinate of practically everybody else on the bloody base, he’s the only character who can be specifically ordered to divulge the Colonel’s location – which is precisely what happens when Scarlet "pulls rank" on him. And the Mysterons know where the Colonel is going anyway.

An odd episode, this one. The satellite attack, though well done, is a blatant bit of padding, barely related to the rest of the episode at all; its repercussions – basically Scarlet getting a bit huffy about the Colonel – go nowhere and are pretty ill-founded anyway. Yet the first half is probably better than the second, which, for an attack on one of the lead character’s lives, is rather low key: the Colonel goes to a submarine and a Mysteron tries to shoot him. That’s it. The rather feeble humour that infests the episode doesn’t help either. An average episode, all told.

 

Feel free to smirk here.

Symphony glowers at your childishness in obeying that last caption.

Scarlet on the job. Hur hur. You could make another joke out of that, y’know.

…Um… Oh, make up your own caption.

"Hee hee, I’m such a loveable chump." Bless ‘im.