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“Come on, Gordon! Rocket coming through!”
―Stephen

Slow Stephen is the thirteenth episode of the nineteenth series.

Plot

Stephen is a very old engine. In his early days, he was known as "The Rocket" due to his high speed. However, he is now one of the slowest engines on Sodor, which can be a problem for the main line engines when they get stuck behind him. One day, Gordon passes by while Stephen is on his way to pick up some tourists and calls him a silly little engine. As Stephen crosses the Sodor Suspension Bridge, he hears a strange noise, but he thinks it is Gordon making him dizzy. However, as he crosses the bridge, a bolt and support start to come loose.

At Knapford, Stephen stops to pick up passengers for Ulfstead Castle. James pulls up behind Stephen and tells him to hurry up, and that he does not understand why the passengers want to travel on such a slow engine. Thomas tells James he is just jealous of Stephen, while Stephen tells James that Thomas is only joking. He then asks Thomas and James if either of them have ever heard a strange noise as they cross the Suspension Bridge, but neither of them have.

Later as Stephen crosses the bridge again, he listens for the noise. This time, he hears nothing, believing he imagined the noise and happily carries on his way. But while Emily crosses the bridge with her goods train, the loosened bolt falls out of its support and falls to the ground, while the support loosens more. Stephen stops at Brendam to pick up some passengers from a cruise ship, and Porter admires him for being such a popular engine.

Stephen crosses the bridge a third time, and this time he hears the strange noise again, then sees a bolt fall onto the tracks in front of him, while another one falls out of another support which loosens too. Stephen realizes that the bridge is collapsing and hurries to get his passengers to safety. He manages to stop Thomas before he crosses, but Clarabel tells them that Gordon will be coming with the express any minute. Annie and Clarabel refuse to let Thomas risk crossing the bridge to stop Gordon, so Stephen, who shunts his train into a siding and is uncoupled offers to cross instead, since he is lighter than Thomas. As Gordon draws closer, Stephen gets stuck on a broken rail, but he manages to reach the other side, and his crew waves red flags to try and stop Gordon as he approaches the bridge. The big blue engine stops just in time, and just as he is in the middle of insulting Stephen again, the bridge finally gives way and the track collapses. Gordon is very grateful to Stephen for saving him and his passengers from disaster. The Fat Controller congratulates Thomas and Stephen and calls them Really Useful heroes.

Once the bridge's repairs start, all the engines have to cross it as slowly as Stephen, much to Gordon's irritation. The amazing story of Stephen's heroism brings even more tourists to the Island of Sodor.

Characters

Locations

Cast

UK, AUS, NZ and MYS

US and CAN

Trivia

  • Going by production order, this is the fifteenth episode of the nineteenth series.
  • This episode marks the first of a few things:
    • The first time the Sodor Suspension Bridge collapsed since its debut.
    • The first appearance of Reagh in the television series.
  • This episode marks Stephen's only appearance in the nineteenth series.
  • It is likely that Millie, Sir Robert Norramby, Bill and Ben were originally going to appear in the episode, as their voice actors (Miranda Raison, Mike Grady, and Jonathan Broadbent) were listed in the UK credits even though they do not voice any characters in the episode. Had Millie appeared in this episode, this would have been her only speaking role and appearance in the nineteenth series.
  • After Stephen saves Gordon, music from Sodor's Legend of the Lost Treasure can be heard.
  • A painting of the scene of Thomas, Winston and the Fat Controller looking at Stephen can be seen at Thomas Land Edaville Railroad inside the building of Winston's Skyline Express.
  • On 31st December 2017, when Thomas & Friends was removed from the PBS Kids lineup, this episode along with Two Wheels Good were the very last episodes to be broadcasted.
  • The Medieval Latin music piece "Dies Irae" can be heard during the scenes building up to the collapse of the bridge. "Dies Irae" is the theme of death, which was composed in 1490.
  • In the Estonian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Baltic Russian and Vietnamese dubs, UK dub can be heard in the background as a dubbing track was not used.

Goofs

  • Miranda Raison, Mike Grady and Jonathan Broadbent are listed in the UK credits, but they do not voice any characters in the episode. It is possible that their roles were cut. Rob Rackstraw is also credited, despite not voicing any characters in the UK dub.
  • After Gordon berates Stephen near the beginning, Stephen simply closes his eyes, but the sound designers seemingly mistook this as him whistling and added his whistle sound effect. As a result, no steam emits when he "whistles."
  • When the Fat Controller arrives and inspects the bridge, Thomas' driver's arm can be seen clipping through the cab door. It disappears in the close up of Thomas.
  • When Stephen greets the passengers at Brendam, the lens carrier of his lamp is black instead of gold.
  • At the beginning when Gordon overtakes Stephen, he has six express coaches. But in the shot just before Gordon crosses the Suspension Bridge, he has seven coaches, but in next shot, he has six coaches again.
  • When Hiro passes Stephen, the utility vans are not properly rendered.
  • A workman welding on the bridge is wearing gloves in the close-up of him, but in the next shot, his gloves are gone.

Merchandise

In Other Languages

View content
Language Title
Chinese Mandarin 慢吞吞的斯蒂芬
Czech Pomalý Stephen
Dutch Langzame Stephen
French Stephen la Tortue
German Der langsame Stephen
Hungarian Lassú Stephen
Indonesian Stephen yang Lamban
Italian Stephen e il Ponte Sospeso
Japanese のろのろスティーブン
Korean 느림보, 스티븐
Latin American Spanish Stephen el Lento
Norwegian Trege Stephen
Polish Powolny Sławek
Portuguese O Lento Stephen
Romanian Stephen cel lent
Russian Храбрец Стивен
Serbian Spori Stiven
Slovenian Počasni Štefan
Spanish Stephen "El Lento"
Ukrainian Повільний Стівен

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