Sunday, 6 August 2017

Series 20: The Missing Breakdown Train

With Rocky being the main crane nowadays, it was hard to tell whether Jerome and Judy would be used again after The Adventure Begins. But the team surprised us - again - by giving us an episode where they were the starring characters. But how does The Missing Breakdown Train stack up?

Honestly? Not that well. Granted, it was great that they actually tackled the concern that Rocky was the go to crane these days, but I feel that this episode is a prime example that not all characters are made to be in the starring role.

Jerome and Judy are great as supporting or background characters, but bringing them to the forefront exposed their biggest problem: besides them wanting to be helpful in emergencies, they really don't have any character. And the fact they were left to their own devices rather than being paired up with another character made that even clearer.

Because of that, the episode seems to drag so much. It's just incredibly dull, and in an era where the writers have done what they can to add as much humour and as many colourful characters as possible, that's a real shame.

And while, yes, they did tackle the concern of Rocky taking over, it was only really at the start and the end of the episode, while the rest was just them being taken to random locations and realising some sights aren't what they're cracked up to be. And while that's fine, maybe putting more emphasis on them finding work would've been a better angle to take? Sure it's not really original, but it would have been more entertaining and fitting since they could make the littlest problems seem like a big deal which, to them, it would be.

Instead, we only have one rescue. To be fair, it was a funny predicament (Daisy never fails to entertain this series), but more could definitely have been done for them to prove themselves.

Also, this joke is just atrocious. Fans have complained about the truck's joke in the Journey Beyond Sodor trailer/extended clip on the official YouTube channel, but that has some context and truth behind it so it worked a lot better. This just came out of nowhere and served no real purpose other than grabbing the lowest hanging humour branch, which is a real disappointment considering how funny the show can be, sometimes without even trying.

To be fair though, I think the moral salvages things a bit, and is definitely the best part of the episode. It's one that kids can relate to, and one that they really need to learn. And I think it would benefit some older viewers as well, especially if you're going somewhere you don't know.

Final Thoughts
This is definitely one of the more forgettable episodes of this series and the show. While the moral was fantastic and it's great that Jerome and Judy will be used more in the future, the journey was just dull. With a few more character interactions and more of an emphasis on rescues, there could've been something interesting. Instead, we got a story that's bare boned and two characters that are just really flat with the inability to carry an episode alone.

Episode Ratings
Series Rating (so far)


  1. I think the one redeeming quality about the joke you call atrocious is that it's relatively subtle. At least, subtle enough that it took me a couple of times (plus a bit of internet) to truly realize that really was what was going on there.
    However, I do admit subtle things tend to go over my head.

    1. Problem is it's only "subtle" the first time you see the episode, whereas other examples of subtlety in the show, and books, are still subtle after multiple viewings.

      Besides which, it's still toilet humour for the sake of it solely because they're by the sea with seagulls. There isn't really any humour there, it's just what seagulls do.

  2. honestly, i was really looking forward to something amazing when I first heard about this episode. I kinda figured Oliver was going to get the spotlight too from seeing the still of him with Jerome and Judy. As for the episode, there are problems but I like the direction it's going in, and it sets a future for Jerome and Judy in episodes to come. The supporting cast is not all that bad, Ryan and Daisy in particular, but I do agree that Jerome and Judy themselves could have used with a bit more persona. The story itself is not so bad, it's just Davey Moore's weakest attempt this series, but I do believe he tried with this one.