The Tripods Season 1 Episodes 8 and 9

Episode 8: Beanpole’s got an answer for everything. The lanky Frenchman can analyse any situation and reach a definitive conclusion. Usually though he decides it’s some kind of chemin de fer. This week it’s a canal but it may as well be a tree, a tomato or a trestle table. He and Henry have been improbably reunited with Will presumably having deciding to stay in a tiny boat until he showed up. Had Will married Eloise and lived happily ever after in the Chateau that would be a lot of years in a tiny boat. You can imagine them aged 80 still in the tiny boat. “Pass the cheese” “Pardon?” “The cheese, Frenchie” “Ah, the chemin de fer” “Aaaaaarghh”. Despite the tiny boat being a wreck they manage to conjure up a stew so after a century of Tripod rule there must still be a Tesco Direct open nearby.

As the episode starts Will is still moping about the loss of Eloise; when Sarlot coms over to gloat I was waiting for Will to say “Yesterday, all my troubles seemed so far away”. Eventually he escapes from the Chateau to rendezvous with his friends in the tiny boat. This leads to a cracking sequence in which he runs into a Tripod at night which director Graham Theakston handles very well combining sound and lots of green lights. It’s one of two scenes that make this episode the most exciting since the series began. The Tripod has tagged Will and follows the trio as they hide out in a farmhouse leading to a dramatic conclusion though the episode seems to run on a bit past this instead of ending with the Tripod claw crashing in through the window.

The story is also advanced somewhat with Will’s nocturnal peril leading him to the conclusion that the Tripod is just a vehicle inside which lurks something else driving it. That’ll be some kind of chemin de fer then.
Will is delighted they've walked all the way to the Mull of Kintyre

Episode 9: The first change of director- Christopher Barry picks up the baton from Graham Theakston  – results in little discernable change to the Sun drenched look but a notable increase in fussy incidental music. This week the boys escape their Tripod pursuer by firstly removing the tracer from Will (though the actor seems unsure afterwards exactly which part of his body is hurting) and planting it on a dummy made of sacks which they send off on a horse. The temptation to follow the adventures of the dummy is strong because at least it’s heading away from the vineyard. Actually this is all done rather well and the blood remains on Beanpole’s hands till he’s seen washing it off later. Ah oui, of course Beanpole being French is able to do a bit of basic surgery as well. The whole tenor of the series suggests that the French they are wonderful, kind and helpful whereas the English are stupide, ne’st pas?

Anyway once they arrive at a vineyard – guessing probably correctly that the Tripod will not think to double back once it realises it’s been pursuing some old sacks- the lads are greeted by a number of girls and their mother who turns out to be Scottish. As this isn’t acknowledged for about 10 minutes I’d assumed the actor was delivering the worst French accent ever but – nay- she’s from Scotland. The scenario is essentially the flip side of what happened at the Chateau; this time Will is again injured but it’s him that’s moping about while Henry and Beanpole keep the girls amused in a montage of smiling and picking grapes. It’s like an episode of Countryfile albeit without John Craven popping up to tell us exactly how much wine the vineyard produces per month.

Just when you think the cliff-hanger might be Henry getting trapped in a vat of grapes, one of the girls brings her fiancée home and he turns out to be a Guard. Knowing how everyone in France they like Will, the poor Guard will probably end up in the cottage pie by next week.

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