by Steve Hayes
Featuring: James, I.Q., Tracy, Gordo, Phoebe, Trevor, Coach Mitchell, Mr Milbanks, Captain Plank, Ms Fortune, Snuffer, Scumlord.
and I.Q. arrive in San Fransisco; they have two tickets for the debut
journey of an experimental cold fusion train, that will take its
passengers under the sea. But it isn't long before they run into
danger, as Snuffer arrives, planting a bomb in one of the carriages.
James spots him leaving the train and gives chase. Suddenly the whole
station starts shaking, and James rushes to the aid of Misty Dawn, a
stewardess from the train. Snuffer escapes, and James and I.Q.,
assuming the tremor was an earthquake, watch the press conference and
Mayor's speech that take place before the train is due to depart.
Snuffer reports back to Ms Fortune via video link - she's in a nearby
train of her own. He explains he hasn't been able to detonate the bomb
because he was interrupted by James. She tells him to get on with it;
she wants the cold fusion technology from the train for herself, as it
will sell for a billion dollars.
Back at Warfield, Tracy, Gordo and Phoebe watch the news that a quake
has shaken San Fransisco - the same quake that caused the station to
shake. It appears it was caused by another villain, Captain Walker D.
Plank, who using an earthquake machine to disrupt the cold fusion
train, so he can steal the engine in order to sell it to Scumlord for a
lot of money. He and his pirate crew approach San Fransisco in his
submarine. Meanwhile, I.Q. and James board the train. I.Q. receives an
ID badge from a train crew member - but he's actually an operative of Captain Plank, and he reports back to him that Bond is on board. I.Q. gives James the latest
upgrade of his watch - which now contains a titanium-tipped buzzsaw. At
that moment, the train pulls away from the platform, and James sees
Snuffer and two of his goons boarding it. They're trying to activate
the bomb, but James defeats the two goons - until Snuffer pulls a gun
on him. They throw James out of the train window!
the crooks set the bomb to go off in five minutes, James manages to
keep a grip on the outside of the train, and I.Q. and Misty let him
back in through a a window. Suddenly the bomb blows, but it only causes
the train to screech to a halt. Back at Warfield, Mr Mitchell has
Trevor scrubbing the floor as punishment for having dropped an orange
on him out of an upstairs window, and Gordo, Tracy and Phoebe are much
amused. Back in the train tunnel, Ms Fortune and Snuffer approach in
their own train, as engineers try to fix the cold fusion train to get
it going again. Another quake rocks the tunnels and large automatic
steel doors come down, trapping them on the section of track where the
train is stuck - it's designed to isolate the train to protect it from
damage in other areas of the track. Ms Fortune is furious, as she can't
get at the cold fusion train.
Meanwhile, outside the tunnel, Plank's submarine has arrived. The
pirates use a huge boring tube device to cut a hole in the tunnel wall,
and Plank and his men enter, using an airlock on the boring device to
prevent any water coming through. Plank and his cronies head straight
for the cold fusion engine, meaning to steal it; but Snuffer and his
men turn up at the same time, claiming the device for Ms Fortune.
Plank's annoyed, claiming he's acting under direct instruction from
Scumlord. His pirates chase Snuffer off, and then steal the engine -
but James lassoes them before they can get it back to the sub.
Unfortunately, Plank emerges with his gun trained on James. Snuffer
goes back to Ms Fortune, meanwhile, relaying what Plank has said.
Furious, she contacts Scumlord, who confirms that Plank's scheme has
priority over hers - partly since he now has James hostage! She and her
cronies retreat in their train.
Plank's sub returns to his secret hideaway, where he locks James in a
cell and tells the pirates to keep the engine safe. James quickly cuts
through his cell wall with the titanium blade on his watch, but slips
into the water where he comes face-to-face with a gigantic eel-like
creature! His watch buys him just enough time to escape, and he
observes Plank and Scumlord discussing payment and delivery terms via
video link. Scumlord then orders Plank to destroy the train tunnel, by
homing in on the badge his goon gave I.Q. to cause another quake. The
pirates spot James, and chase, but he overwhelms them. James escapes in
a minisub with the cold fusion engine, and Plank follows in another -
but James outmanoevres him and uses a missile to sink Plank's minisub.
Back at Warfield, Trevor's still mopping the floor - but sees Tracy and
the others approaching and decides to take revenge for mocking him by
pouring water down the stairs so they slip on them. But it's Mitchell
and Mr Milbanks who reach the steps first, and end up toppling all the
way down them - meaning more trouble for Trevor.
Back in the tunnels, James takes the minisub, complete with the
reclaimed cold fusion engine, to rejoin Misty and I.Q. James explains
that I.Q.'s ID badge is being used to pinpoint where the quakes should
be directed - so I.Q. attaches it to the minisub, before sending it
back to Plank's main sub on autopilot. When it gets to the sub the
pirates start the quake device, causing a quake on board that gives
Plank a taste of his own medicine. The sub starts letting in water,
forcing them to surface and run away. But the danger's not over yet;
with Plank out of the picture, Ms Fortune decides to give it a second
try. She sets her train, containing a remote bomb, on collision course
with the cold fusion train, telling James they'll only stop it if the
engine is handed over - but I.Q. manages to override Ms Fortune's
signal, causing the second train to stop seconds before the crash and
preventing the bomb from detonating. Ms Fortune and Snuffer try to
escape in their limousine, but the train coming in the opposite
direction hits the limo, destroying it. The crooks escape, but Ms
Fortune is furious that her dress is ruined. Back in San Fransisco,
Misty kisses the boys goodbye - she seems particularly taken with I.Q.
who gets a full smack on the lips. The pair head back to Warfield,
avoiding telling Mr Milbanks the full story as usual.
Review: There's plenty going on in Danger Train to
keep viewers entertained - like all good episodes of the show it's
fast-paced, riddled with egotistical villains, and utterly implausible.
While the possibilities of cold fusion power had been largely
discredited by the time James Bond Jr went to air, it appears
still to have had some popular interest around this time - and in any
case the details of it are largely unimportant here. Suffice it to say
that whether Plank or Ms Fortune get their hands on it, the
consequences for everyone will be disastrous. On that premise, James
puts up a characteristically noble fight in an outing that isn't at all
restricted by the confines of the train setting (thanks largely to
Captain Plank's surprise involvement). The politics between the various
S.C.U.M. operatives is also interesting to watch; indeed, the episode
is almost unique in that it briefly pits two of S.C.U.M.'s criminal
masterminds against one another - a format only properly repeated in
the comic story Indian Summer (which
also features Ms Fortune). Ongoing Trevor-centric events at Warfield
are nothing if not predictable, meanwhile, but nevertheless are brief
enough not to impinge too much on the main story. The
one major criticism of this episode is that there's so much going on,
it becomes difficult to follow at times. But then perhaps that's part
of the motivation.
'clash of the crooks' between Ms Fortune and Plank is enjoyable; and
Scumlord plays an unusually prominent part in proceedings, which always
livens things up a bit - even if he's not physically present.
Lows: What was that eel thing? Other than a filling device to pad out an already fairly madcap episode?
Gadgets & Gizmos: I.Q.'s
titanium-tipped buzzsaw is both cutting and compact, fitting as it does
into James's watch. When he's not busy pimping timepieces with deadly
attachments, I.Q. apparently hones his expertise on nuclear fusion,
which he puts into practice fixing the train.
S.C.U.M. on the Surface: Very
much so, yes, albeit from two different angles. Crucially, Scumlord is
supporting Plank's bid for the cold fusion engine over Ms. Fortune's,
but both are reporting to him - and Ms. Fortune backs off, at least
temporarily, when she realises this.
Sticker Story: Merlin Stickers adapted this episode for their James Bond Jr album under the title 'A Dangerous Journey'.
Snuffer boards the train as it leaves the station, James confronts him
and is attacked by one of his heavies - but it is the same man as the
one that just reported back to Captain Plank. Double agent, anyone?