Friday, 16 January 2015

Series 18: Emily Saves the World

This should be fun! Here's my thoughts on the fifth Dinos and Discoveries episode, Emily Saves the World!

On paper, I should hate this episode. It defies the laws of physics a couple of times, the globe travels from wherever that huge bridge is located to Brendam Docks. It's a cross between Rusty and the Boulder and Percy and the Magic Carpet. This episode was doomed to fail!

Yet... I like it. Quite a bit. OK, I don't love it by any stretch, but I still think it's really enjoyable. And that's down to three words: suspension of disbelief. Rusty and the Boulder failed to keep this as the boulder magically went behind Rusty somehow and it caused a shed to burst into flames when it (the shed) was destroyed. Thomas the Jet Engine (which was referenced here) failed because going at that speed would have caused a train, in reality, to derail. And Percy and the Magic Carpet failed as there are no magical elements on Sodor, bar paid magicians.

Here, though, I could believe that the majority of what happened was possible. Key words: the majority. One of the things I can't believe is engines magically choosing which way to go of their own accord. The episode also shows that there is a huge gantry signalbox with a signalman in it further down the line! It's spewing out a contradiction, and the team really should decide by either the 19th or 20th series whether to stick to the rules of the railway or return to those days where engines could do what they wanted, because it's really starting to drive me up the wall. I don't care which it is, as long as they remain consistent.

The other things I really can't buy are the globe's movements early in the episode. It literally bounces off the flatbed, onto the brake van's roof and onto Hiro's train without either train even flinching. Even if the globe had a small mass, it still would have caused something to happen! The globe also rolls up a small grassy hill which could be put down to momentum, but it still looked odd.

And the final thing I couldn't buy was actually the same issue I had with the dinosaurs: fitting under bridges and through tunnels. The animators even had to cut to other angles at Crovan's Gate and the Steamworks to avoid the viewers seeing any texture clipping! That said, it did hit the gantry signalbox, so it's more hilariously contrived than anything.

Other than that though, the episode is pretty solid. It's relatively well paced, the interactions were great, the references did a good job tying all the eras of the show together (for better or worse) while being relevant to the plot and it did, as I've said, hold enough suspension of disbelief to make the majority of what happened feel believable.

Rubber globes, even of that size, are relatively light, I imagine. And since it was never mentioned how windy the island was that day, that may have been the cause of the globe's propulsion, with a drop in the wind causing it to stop in front of the tunnel, only for James to bump it out of the way with the wind pushing it on towards the Docks. Am I angry that some parts of the globe are inaccurate? No! Many fictional globes before this have been inaccurate, and many will be in the future.

And even though Emily was a bit of a braggart when she first had the globe on her flatbed, she was punished for it a lot sooner than many episodes from the past, which was really good. It kept things moving at a smoother pace.

But the main thing that pulled me in was the humour. Once the episode got going, it was really funny, especially when the Fat Controller wonders where Emily is when she and the globe go past behind him. It's a classic gag that worked well here.

I also quite like how they integrated Captain into the action. Sure, he was only at the Docks seemingly because the plot demanded it, but if this means he has a chance to do something significant in the future, I don't mind at all!

The animation, again, was brilliant (even though the globe changes tracks as it passes through Wellsworth). It was great to see another angle of Crovan's Gate; it looks much bigger now they've added a third standard gauge line by the the narrow gauge terminus, and I'm really looking forward to seeing more of the set in the future.

The voice acting was top notch and the music was really good too. The remix of Emily's series 8-12 theme was well done. I'd go on a limb and say it was actually better than the original.

Fan Reaction

The Mad Controller's Corner

Final Thoughts
For me, this was the "pleasant surprise" of the series. It hasn't changed my train of thought on episodes that defy the laws of realism, but as long as there's enough suspension of disbelief, and the story holds up well, I see no issue with one or two episodes like this per series, provided railway laws are adhered to. It was, overall, a pretty fun watch, and while it isn't my favourite of the series, it's earned a respectable score.

Episode Ratings

Series Rating (so far)

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