Season 23, Episode 19: Out Of Site
Written By Michael White
Directed By Dianna Basso
When Thomas went on a big world adventure in Italy with his old friend Gina from the Great Railway Show, he met so many new friends on his travels from the amphibious giant Stefano to the excitable excavator Ester who was in need of help in digging the foundations for a new museum for ancient artifacts when the original site was on top of an ancient Roman palace...and while Thomas was not an expert on all things Italian, he was an expert in friendship and he called upon his construction friends from The Pack to help out with the archaeological dig while Thomas was busy solving the mystery of The Lost Engine much to the Pack's amazement when the old story was real after all. But now that Thomas and the Pack's adventures in Italy are over for now, it's time to journey back to Sodor for a double dosage of construction with the most cracking crew the North Western Railway has ever seen by welcoming two new recruits as we go 'Out Of Site'...let's take a look!
OUT OF SITE: Brenda learns that it's important to work as a team and not just care about her own jobs.
- The return of Jack And The Pack-I don't know how many fans in the community really wanted to see Jack And The Pack again in the series especially ever since the Big World Big Adventures revamp first started, but I am probably in the minority when I say that I loved Jack And The Pack during the model era of the series as well as in Season 20's "Mucking About" since they were a very cool concept albeit only having one or two episodes in the series every so often...also if you really think about it, Jack And The Pack will be having more appearances and screen time in this one season than they've had in the entirety of the series prior to this unless you count the half-completed spin-off series that happened between Seasons 7 and 8 of the television series! Also, there have been quite a few changes to the construction crew from Nathan Clarke no longer voicing Alfie The Excavator after Season 20's "Mucking About" as well as there being a couple of new recruits to join the team and balance out the genders...but we'll get to her in a moment!
- The return of Miss Jenny-the marketing may say that Jack The Frontloader is the leader of The Pack, but the real credit goes to the manager of the company and that is none other than the stern but friendly Miss Jenny Packard making her highly anticipated return to the series after a decade since Season 12's "Percy And The Bandstand" albeit in a non-speaking role since her last official role in the series was actually in the Jack And The Pack spinoff episode 'Mud Glorious Mud'...but regardless of when she last appeared, it is so great to see Miss Jenny again after so long and what's also great is that writer Michael White who has closely worked with Andrew Brenner kept her personality intact when entering into the newly CG-environment of the Thomas & Friends universe from her stern but friendly personality to her Irish accent supplied by newcomer to the voice cast Harriet Kershaw who will also supply the voice of Darcy The Tunnel Boring Machine as we will discover in our next episode. What else can you except...Miss Jenny, you'd make a mother proud!
- The fantasy sequences-with this now being one of the major selling points for the series, this sequence of Brenda fearing that Max and Monty will leave piles of stone in everyone's way certainly played a part in fueling her cleanliness obsessed behavior with how she wants to keep the construction site as pretty as a picture as we see Max and Monty causing confusion and delay with their unsafe dumping for Thomas on his branch line as well at Brendam Docks with boats crashing into piles of stone in the sea and for Rebecca where it is revealed that the stone dumping is so high that it goes up into outer space blocking the moon from orbiting the Earth...only for Brenda to realize that she was moving the stone that was needed for the foundations of the new hospital at Wellsworth!
- Brenda-as I have stated countless times ever since Season 23 first started with 'The Other Big Engine/Grudge Match', I am going off of the broadcasting schedule for the United States and I don't know for sure if this is the correct order to view the season...but as for Brenda herself while she does have a very cool design, her personality however is not all that original since all I see with Brenda in this case is the show staff trying to give the audience (particularly the older fans) the character development that Byron The Bulldozer from the original version of The Pack the character development that he was lacking during their two-part debut back in Season 6 and the half-completed spin-off series. Don't get me wrong, I like the idea of trying to make a gender balanced version of The Pack like with the Steam Team...but Brenda while having a cool design like I said earlier is basically just a female version of Byron The Bulldozer and it would've been better had we fleshed out the personalities of the other Pack members like Byron yet to be re-introduced into the television series!
- The story-don't get me wrong, it's not a bad story for us to properly get to know Brenda after her brief introduction during the 'Digs & Discoveries' special...but the concept and morals of 'all jobs are important' and 'working together' are some that we know all too well in the Thomas & Friends universe-in fact, this might just be me...but was anyone getting vibes from the Jack And The Pack spinoff episode 'On Site With Thomas' in terms of Brenda thinking she was the most important member of the team in terms of her job which prevented the other members of the team from getting any work done? It's not funny, it's not suspenseful and it's not dramatic because we know everything that's going to happen...but for a lot of people, they somehow don't mind this kind of story and I guess that's okay in my opinion
Overall even with Brenda's constant desire to keep the construction clean and tidy, 'Out Of Site' still managed to be a pretty good and proper introduction for the newest member of The Pack into the Thomas & Friends universe along with bringing back a much loved familiar face after so long...for that, it deserves a rating of an 8 out of 10 and the fun is only just beginning in our construction double feature as we are about to welcome another new face to the team who goes from 'boring' to awesome. See you next time!
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
Out Of Site-8/10
SEASON 23 OVERALL RATING: 8.68/10