Thursday, 21 September 2017

Series 21: Dowager Hatt's Busy Day

Series 21 has already thrown up a couple of surprises with Diesel and Daisy leading the way. But now we get a plot line that's been done three times before, ranging from bad to terrible. But can Dowager Hatt, one of the funniest characters of the show, be the one to turn the fortunes of this plot type around? Let's find out! Here are my thoughts on Dowager Hatt's Busy Day!

She did. She absolutely did. To be honest, any human could've done the job better since, apart from management, they have no idea how the railway would operate. Even the engines would have, at least, a basic understanding of how things work... if they didn't get hit with the idiot stick.

Let's cut to the chase here: this is the funniest episode the show has produced so far. From start to finish, there's something to, at least, make you chuckle. Regardless whether you think the story itself is good or bad, you can never accuse it of being boring.

A vast majority of that is down to Dowager Hatt. From the scene where she's introduced to the episode to misnaming characters (did anyone find it even funnier that she misnamed Emily?) to bossing station staff around to seeing how her decisions played out, there was never a dull moment with her around. It also makes sense why she's being used so sparingly: they want to give her the best comedy and not make her overstay her welcome. And I'm perfectly fine with that.

I talked earlier about how including an engine is where the previous versions of this trope failed, but they actually made it work here. Whether it's down to Emily helping Dowager Hatt, or better writing for the characters, I can't say for sure. But she was well incorporated into the plot.

Which leads me onto my next point. We're three episodes in, and all of them have starred strong female characters in the leading roles. I think it's wonderful that Thomas & Friends is becoming more inclusive. From the diverse characters in Journey Beyond Sodor to the last three episodes being female led (without taking away from the male counterparts) to the show itself having a female director and producer. In a world that's currently intent on keeping women and minorities down like it's the 1800s, it's nice that media companies are saying "screw your backwards ideologies, we're doing things our way".

Back to the episode, and the ending. I didn't think they'd be able to top The Railcar and the Coaches' ending in terms of humour (this fast at least), but they did it here. In the back of your mind you feel sorry for Philip, but it's just so wonderfully random that you can't help laughing. It's also rather cool that they used the mine from Bubbling Boilers.

All that said, the story and theme are nothing new. I've said already that the story had been repeated three times beforehand, and the basic theme of "never be ashamed to ask for help" has been done countless times before. But I said it in an earlier review and I'll say it here: I can forgive these things if the focus is on the comedy. And this episode had that and strong characters, and I'm perfectly fine with that trade off.

Final Thoughts
I have never laughed so much throughout an episode as this. It's Lee Pressman's best one to date (yes, Gordon and Spencer has finally been toppled) and it's the show's funniest so far. If this is what we'll be expecting in the future, at least it's going to be a lot of fun.

The theme isn't anything to write home about and the story isn't original. But with a proper understanding of the characters, and bags of humour, those things can be forgotten about easily. Also, you have to see that ending; it's so brilliantly unexpected and hilarious!

Episode Ratings
Springtime for Diesel: 10/10
A Most Singular Engine: 10/10
Dowager Hatt's Busy Day: 10/10

Cumulative Total (So Far)

No comments:

Post a Comment