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Thunder In Paradise #17

Yep, we've reached the end of the line for the world's first TARDIS speedboat. The final episode of the series is a two-parter, "The MAJOR and the Minor", in which Spence and Bru come up against the double whammy of a virtually unstoppable android warrior, and a desperately annoying teenage prodigy. By the end of it, I'm generally wishing that it was the minor rather than the MAJOR that was getting a pasting, but that's for later. Meanwhile, back to the beginning.

There's a project underway to design the perfect soldier, a large, bizarrely under-dressed, humanoid robot called MAJOR. That's 'Morphizing Acrylonitrile JPS-particle Organic Replica' for those of you who like to take notes. I don't why I'm surprised that he's half-naked. This is Thunder In Paradise, after all, where everybody is half-naked. I guess I usually expect soldiers to wear a little more clothing, but then after years watching John Black being a semi-clad super-soldier over on Days Of our Lives, I should probably know better. Anyway, MAJOR is a remarkable invention, clothes or no, but the problem is that he keeps blasting the living daylights out of civilians as well as enemy soldiers, which apparently is an issue. I don't know. Be handy in the average supermarket, if you ask me. According to the project head, the best way to make the soldier behave is to to plug his brain into that of Hobie from Baywatch (thereby presumably filling his thoughts with images of scantily-clad women playing volleyball in slow motion). In this, Hobie from Baywatch is called something else, and is apparently a genius. I'm not convinced. When he tries to plug himself into MAJOR's thoughts, in order to control who he shoots at in tests... well, let's just say that I'm not one hundred percent certain that his genius rating is entirely earned. You'll see what I mean in the screencaps. Anyway, when – shock, horror – Hobie from Baywatch proves incapable of turning a homicidal robot into the perfect invention, it's decided that the brain of the perfect human soldier is needed instead. Yes, they want Spence. I'm not sure that Spence actually has a brain, but they seem eager to have him anyway; and since Hobie from Baywatch turns out to be his nephew, the little feller is dispatched to rope him in. Since this leads to vast amounts of geeky!Bru, this is not entirely a bad thing, although I'm still not convinced that Spence's brainwaves should really be wished upon anybody. We do get to see Spence's thoughts, though – basically half the preceding season on fast-forward – and they're all of Bru. :D Lots of Spence himself too – how do TV people always manage to see themselves in flashbacks?! – but mostly Bru. Even poor Jessica is little more than an afterthought. And it's a two-parter, don't forget, so it's not just a flashback, it's a practically never-ending musical montage of Spence. Thinking about Bru. Still, we all have a hobby. But – oh no! – an Evil Somebody has hacked into the computer, and is trying to issue MAJOR with new instructions. This scrambles his systems slightly, mixes with Spence's thoughts, and causes our homicidal android friend to run away, his brain apparently now filled with only one thing. Oddly enough it's not a musical montage of Bru, but a single image of Jessica. Spence, Bru – and, sadly, Hobie from Baywatch - dash immediately to the rescue. Actually they stand staring at each other for quite some time, waiting for the commercial break, but I'm sure they intended it to be dramatic. MAJOR, however, is able to plug into a nearby satellite. Spence's brainful of thoughts of himself and Bru has made MAJOR's poor scrambled programming think that the boys are his enemies, so he unleashes the entire American missile network upon them. Or their cartoon equivalent, anyway. Jeepers. I feel a cliffhanger ending coming on.

Two hundred converging missiles having been destroyed by Thunder's self-defence systems (some of those missiles were nuclear, and our heroes have just blown them up off the coast of Florida, but let's not get into that), the boys hurry to find Jessica. The Evil Somebody from earlier has figured out what's going on, though, and has also come running. Predictably this leads to fighting. Evil Somebody – who is, we rather gloriously discover, called Darius Rampyke – is yet another wrestler, whilst his sidekick is, equally predictably, though rather more interestingly, a Martial Arts nut. Still, it's a fun sequence. Ten minutes of high-kicking fun later, we're no nearer to actually achieving anything, but what the hey. Hobie has meanwhile tracked down MAJOR through the use of his Super-Powered Silly Headgear, a sort of super-VR thingy that's supposed to let him control MAJOR, but of course never does. It's all for nothing, though. As Spence and Bru run up – and please, directors, stop making them run on sand! For two boys who supposedly live on a beach, they're impressively rubbish at it – MAJOR grabs Jessica and whizzes off. The boys dash after him, back to the lab where he lives, but Evil Somebody is also on the trail. Sorry, but I'll just giggle if I call him Darius Rampyke, so Evil Somebody he'll remain. Leaving Hobie to wander around with his silly hat on, which is presumably some sort of punishment for his general twuntishness, Spence and Bru rush off for some fun and games with the bad guys. Spence goes to wrestle with MAJOR, which leaves Bru having some one-on-one with Evil Somebody. Who is quite a large Evil Somebody, it must be said, so it's quite a good fight. Needless to say we have to spend most of our time watching Spence and The Android That Stole His Brain, but c'est la TV. Rather annoyingly, MAJOR lives underwater. "The womb environment", the science bods called it at the start of the show, which means that he and Spence fight underwater. Underwater fights don't really cut it, though, do they. Everything's in slo-mo, and have you ever tried to punch somebody underwater? It doesn't work. There's this big thing in the way, called 'water'. Also there's the problem that, try as he might, the actor playing MAJOR can only pretend for short spaces of time that he doesn't need to breathe. Androids can generally be expected not to look bug-eyed and desperate for oxygen after sixty seconds of wrestling. Humans can't. Really, they should have stayed with Bru and the giant Evil Somebody.

Oh, but we all know who wins, so why spin it out. A tired MAJOR reveals that this whole shebang was due to Spence's love for Jessica getting programmed into him, so he set out to protect her from all perceived threats. When he then deduces that the only person nearby likely to be a threat to her is himself, he wanders back into his tank to self-destruct. Everybody looks suitably sad, but nobody thinks to either stop him, or point out that the whole situation only started in the first place because of Evil Somebody, so technically he's a far greater threat than poor old MAJOR. Also, presumably if Hobie from Baywatch was a bit more of a genius, none of it would have happened anyway. Kill him! Make him self-destruct! But no, it's bye bye bizarrely under-clad super soldier. And also, shortly afterwards, bye bye Thunder In Paradise. Shame the final episode wasn't a very inspired one, but there have been worse ones in the run. No way did it need to be a two-parter, though.

And so to our final set of Thunder screencaps...

One semi-naked super-soldier.

And his ultra-whizzy gun.

To say nothing of his somewhat malfunctioning trousers.

And his annoying teenage programmer.

His annoying teenage programmer thinks that he can take control his creation by guiding his arm as he fires.
His super-genius brain seems to have overlooked one minor detail however.

Such as the fact that they're holding their guns in different hands.

Meanwhile, Spence and Bru dress up for an early morning financial consultation.
Hang on a mo. Back up a couple of episodes...

Are Spence and Bru sharing clothes?! That's kind of cute.

Not for long, though, as we're off for another contractually obligated lack-of-clothing moment.
Here, Bru demonstrates his novel approach to weightlifting.


Boom in the shot! :D

Blimey. Actual clothing.

"Just think of nothing, Mr Spencer."
I'm not saying anything...

Evil Somebody, aka Darius Rampyke.
Poor sod. With a name like that, it's no wonder he turned evil.

Evil Somebody's evil associate. Who looks startlingly like Stephen McGann at times, but isn't.

On hearing that Jessica is the target of a homicidal robot, Bru turns the concern up to eleven,
well aware that he's the only one who'll bother to react.

Hobie may be annoying, but he's nice enough to compliment
This makes Bru very happy, so we'll tolerate the aggravating child for now at least.

Attack of the deadly animated missiles!

In search of Jessica...

... who's busy hiding.

This means that Spence and Bru get to have fun in the jungle...

... whilst Hobie wanders around in a silly hat.

Evil Somebody wrestling!

MAJOR makes off with Jessica, leaving Spence highly confused about the best place to start looking for her.
They're not likely to be sitting on a cloud, Spencer.

"Bru, did you think to install an ejector seat?"
"No. Damn."

Homicidal android wrestling! No, honest. It's just that it's underwater in a tank full of bubbles, so you can't see it.

Bru turns up with Evil Somebody slung over his shoulder. I have no idea why.
It has no plot relevance whatsoever.

A contrite MAJOR gives up on his plans to adopt Jessica, and goes off for a bit of self-destruction in his tank.

He is not holding his breath. That's just part of the self-destruction process.

Obligatory goofy family moment at the end.

So there you have it, then. Twenty-two episodes of explosions, gunfire and general silliness. If you ever get the chance to watch it... well, running in the other direction might be the better option. I love this show, but then nobody has ever suggested that I'm a beacon of good taste. Hey, I'm a Days Of Our Lives fan, after all. Or I used to be.


Sorry. Farewell Thunder In Paradise. Chris Lemmon's working on a new film, apparently, after years concentrating on writing rather than acting. It's a little indie thing that he's written himself, called Publicity Stunt. Look out for it some time, or Thunder will track you down. ;)


( 5 fierce growls — Growl fiercely )
Dec. 12th, 2009 10:40 pm (UTC)
spaghetti straps for men? really terrible effects? Man this show has more homoerotic subtext and camp than Starsky and Hutch.
Dec. 13th, 2009 01:07 am (UTC)
In the previous episode, it of the rubber fetish wrestling, the boys revealed that their team chant in the SEALs was "HoYay!"

Okay, so it was "Hoo yah!", but it's practically the same thing... ;)
Dec. 13th, 2009 12:15 am (UTC)
Uh oh, that's not Hobie from baywatch...that's J.T from 'Step by Step'(Brandon Call) who played the son of Mr. 'Man from Atlantis' himself, Patrick Duffy...yes, I was a willing victim of TIGF nights during the nineties...anyway, this kid always annoyed the heck out of me. I actually really liked Hobie from Baywatch, he was a cutie.
I hate it when shows come to an end. :sniffles: Especially when they leave so many questions unanswered or loose ends, but I doubt this show had any of that, right? This has been a laugh-aloud pleasure to read this Thunder blog. Now I have to get back to mine, but I got caught up breaking my writers block with a brand new Cover Up story! :D
Dec. 13th, 2009 01:09 am (UTC)
Is so Hobie. In season one he was played by Brandon Call. I think he did change heads later, yes, but I only watched season one.

I used to like Step By Step. Haven't thought about that show in years. :)
Dec. 13th, 2009 01:46 am (UTC)
Now you're making me check their film history..growls...:D

Oh..you are so right! Season 1...see, now I would have to think back to when I was 9 years old, lol. I didn't really start watching Baywatch until about 11..but come to think of it..I do remember Brandon, the next Hobie, Jeremy Jackson, was the one I distinctly remember, he took over in 91-99 and Brandon went on to do step by step just as long, 91-98.
my mistake! :P
( 5 fierce growls — Growl fiercely )

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