Season 23, Episode 23: Too Loud, Thomas!
Written By Becky Overton
Directed By Dianna Basso
When Season 23 of 'Thomas & Friends' first began, Thomas had traveled to Brazil where he learned about their special party music that they called batucada and even got to give some performers a musical ride as he went about his work with his 'musical cargo' as well as getting to start the carnival with a blast of his whistle after accidentally bringing a rusty old tanker to start the show...but what sort of musical adventures will Thomas get up to in Italy when he reunites with his friends Lorenzo and Beppe? Let's go go go on a big world adventure back to Italy as we lower the volume with 'Too Loud, Thomas'!
TOO LOUD, THOMAS: Thomas wants to perform opera like Lorenzo and Beppe, but finds it a lot more difficult than he first thought
- The animation-even if they had to reuse a lot of assets from Sodor in order to create the railways of Italy like they did for the movie such as Lower Suddery Station and the shunting yards, you can't deny that the team at Jam Filled still did an amazing job in capturing the beauty and serenity of Italy from the lush green valleys filled with trees to the magnificent mountains and beautiful beaches where we get to see the return of a rather huge and amphibious old friend who I was so happy to see again since his debut in the 'Digs & Discoveries' two part special...I may not have ever been to Italy myself, but I adore how gorgeous it looks and authentic it sounds in the music department thanks to the compositions by Chris Renshaw-what else can you say except 'bravo, bellissimo'!
- The fantasy sequences-with this now being one of the major selling points for the series, this sequence of Thomas painted in white with clown makeup on his face singing opera as a nod to the famous Italian clown-based opera 'Pagliacci' amazed me in how authentic the stage environment was and how true it stuck to the original source material which I'm sure that the adults will easily be able to pick up on even if this is a reference that will more than likely fly over the heads of the kids and a majority of the fandom ...it's funny how now both of my favorite animated shows have referenced 'Pagliacci' this year alone: the My Little Pony episode 'Between Dark And Dawn' where a rather agitated Princess Celestia was dragged by Princess Luna into seeing 'Ponygliacci' while on their sister trip, and now here with 'Thomas & Friends' in an entirely opera-based episode especially considering that the most opera we have seen in the series is any of the appearances from Alicia Botti ever since her debut in Season 6!
- The return of Ester-although she doesn't appear on screen as much as Stefano does, Ester still makes for a pretty enjoyable character since we have never had a female excavator in the world of Thomas before seeing as we've only had Alfie and Oliver from The Pack who made their return in the second part of the 'Digs & Discoveries' two part special and we can see that she gets very excitable about the archaeological dig that she is working on with Gina...while we may not have gotten to fully dive deep into her character, it was great knowing her while we did!
- The return of Stefano-just from his legendary beach landing alone, Stefano has certainly made a grand entrance into the Thomas & Friends universe since we've never had a 'super cruiser' as Mattel calls him in Thomas before-in fact as his character bio states, he is quite charming and gentle despite him being a bit of a showboat who loves to wow everyone with his amphibious abilities and revels in their surprise...but I really wish that a majority of the fandom would stop making D-Day jokes about Stefano every time that he enters and exits the beach when talking to Thomas-guys, it's flat out insulting to history and to those men who gave their lives so that we could continue to live ours!
- 'Singing Sucks'-I understand what this episode was going for in terms of Thomas failing to sing opera like Lorenzo and Beppe, but the thing that irritates me to no end is honestly what the episode is showcasing and that is Thomas singing horribly since both of Thomas' current voice actors John Hasler (UK) and Joseph May (US) have both sung fairly well as the number one engine in the past as well as there being times when they're pretty spot on in modern 'Thomas & Friends'...and with this episode, it's like they were trying to make it horribly off key on purpose which is made worse by the fact that this takes up a majority of the episode which I feel could really irritate a lot of the fandom since it's like being at a karaoke bar full of nothing but singers who are drunk off their asses or have no singing chops whatsoever! Like I said, I understand what this episode was trying to do with its concept...but it just feels weird when you know that the actors working behind the scenes have sung much better in the past
Overall despite having hitting some sour notes, 'Too Loud, Thomas' made for a pretty good conclusion to our adventures in beautiful Italy...whether or not we see our friends Gina or Stefano or even Lorenzo and Beppe again is up for debate at this point, but for now I am gonna give 'Too Loud, Thomas' a rating of an 8 out of 10.
The Other Big Engine-9.5/10
Gordon Gets The Giggles-8.5/10
Laid Back Shane-8.5/10
Free The Roads-10/10
Heart Of Gold-10/10
Wish You Were Here-9/10
Diesel Glows Away-7.5/10
Too Loud, Thomas-8/10
SEASON 23 OVERALL RATING: 8.57/10