Engine of the Future: ThomasNATION Review (by ThomasFan3000 and Team)

February 01, 2017

For the review of one of the concluding episodes of a marvellous Season 20, ThomasFan3000 takes the pen to write the review of "The Engine of the Future," Hugo's debut episode, on ThomasNATION.

Hey, guys! This is ThomasFan3000, here again to review Hugo's debut episode, "The Engine of the Future." This is nothing if not a controversial episode, completely fandom divided. While many appreciate its simplicity and moral, others think its far too dull, and doesn't match the par quality of the season.

So, what do I think of it? It appears I have taken the episode positively. Most of the episodes this season - even when they appear to be bad - I've taken positively, with the exceptions of the five of "Skiff's Mermaid" (even with its appealing humour), "The Missing Breakdown Train", "Hugo And The Airship" and even "Henry In The Dark" [which I liked, but also didn't] and "Mike's Whistle" to an extent. (But those too, I liked. Not loved, but liked - proving that this season, as most would agree, is miraculous.) But for this episode, I have mainly positives to say. But that doesn't mean its best...

So: we begin. There's an exceptionally fast engine who's speeding about Sodor, shocking everyone. This felt like the beginning to one of the two Nitrogen specials I loved, "Hero of the Rails." But that doesn't mean it was bad. In my opinion, it was a good way to start the episode.

The engine is Hugo. He goes straight up to Ulfstead Castle, and Franz - his inventor - introduces Hugo to Sir Robert Norramby, who were apparently friends. This felt really wonderful, taking the name of Hugo's basis' actual inventor - even though Franz's character looks nothing similar, but it is still a great thing for Thomas. 

The news travels fast. And in a somewhat hilarious sequence, Thomas, Percy, James and excited little Philip go to Ulfstead to see Hugo.

Next, we see Sir Topham Hatt and Robert Norramy going for a ride on Hugo. Now, Stephen, tells the gathered engines about how Hugo may replace all them. He talks of the Steam Revolution, and the upcoming events that are quite similar. He intends that the current steam engines will be replaced by the likes of Hugo. And I loved this, quite literally. This felt natural, perfect. It teaches us about reality, and also acts wonderfully to place a fear in all the engines' minds about the end of their jobs.

Soon, all the engines at Tidmouth know about their apparent replacement and they are all genuinely worried about them being scrapped. Edward's line was full of punch - "I don't know anything else." This draws a direct parallel to how kids might feel when someone new's there. It could be a brighter classmate, or a new baby, or anything. 

This episode is not just a "Thomas and engines hate the newbie" but this time, they have an actual, and just reason. Previously in suck circumstances, they thought it was a diesel, or the new engine looked ugly, but this particular reason of fear of replacement, is new, and more justified, more practical - and hence the story feels better, and relatable.

The engines deny Hugo to sleep with them. Percy tries to offer him his berth,  but Gordon, denies contemptuously - and it couldn't have been more natural: Gordon's anger, Percy's anger, though overcome by kindness. The next morning, poor Hugo feels depressed - you feel bad for him - what was the poor engine's fault? What did he do wrong, except being new? Why should the others hate him? "I'm not going to replace you" he intends as he speaks to Thomas.

Thomas & Percy realise what they've done and want to make it right. Really mature, here, Percy, just like before... And I love it.

Finally, when ol' Hugo comes back from his journeys of the day (which was a nice addition) he is surprised with a party. He is welcomed. All is put right... everyone is happy... And the episode ends, and you with a smile on your face.

This episode teaches a moral: a very important one - of welcoming the new addition, no matter who they are, or how better than you. Make them your friends, let them in, and be happy..."Accept the new guy, he's really friendly once you get to know him." This episode's excellent moral is, well... excellent.

Then what is the downside? I'm no-one to say how it could've been better, but at moments it feels dull. There's an air of cliché around it, which even though it breaks, it still remains. It has a great plot, but something lacked in the script? And that's all. Other than that, it was really marvellous. 

Those who say it goes nowhere - it does... It teaches an important lesson. Moreover, it is character development for all the engines, especially Percy. We feel bad for Hugo - his personality trait of insecurity is revealed, which is unique, and something new to the show that can be worked with. 

The animation was wonderful. I don't know much about real engines, so I'll leave the problems of Hugo's render - if there are any - to the experts.

All in all, except from being a tad bit dull, the episode succeeds in delivering emotion, character layers, and an excellent moral. A great episode from Brenner. A 4.5/5 for me.

Rating: 4.5 / 5

The other members had positive reviews, and some negative. The highest rating being actually 5, and the lowest 3.

ThomasNATION Rating: 4.12 / 5

Thanks for reading! Stay Tuned for more reviews coming soon!

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ThomasFan3000 - Jainil Devani
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