Plot: After messing up Principal Folsom’s birthday party, Fillmore and Ingrid are assigned to the model train convention duty where a horrible accident causes the entire convention to be destroyed. Seeing the remote control for a model car in the rubble peaks Fillmore’s interest since model train enthusiasts and RC car racers are notorious enemies. What and who has caused this derailment?
Breakdown: One of my favorite aspects of Fillmore is how it takes some mundane thing and makes it something extremely important or popular. I know model train enthusiasts are still a thing, but to have this huge train convention at school and have this many students obsessed with model trains? With all of the various and off-color extracurricular activities at this school, I always wanted to be a student at X.
Exaggerating the topics typically gives the episodes some good moments for comedy, and this one is no exception. From O’farrell getting sick over the ‘carnage’ of the train crash to the reporter speaking in a 1920’s journalist voice and flying an RC helicopter over the wreck, this episode is one of the best Fillmore episodes for exaggerated comedy.
Plot B involves Fillmore losing his pet fish, Felonious. He had him for over three years, and was particularly attached to him because he was his only friend through his juvenile delinquent days. Everyone tries to cheer Fillmore up by buying him a pet fish, but he doesn’t want them. While this plot is kinda jammed alongside the episode for the most part, it does come full circle into the case.
Moreover, they don’t solve this problem by buying Fillmore a new fish….kinda. Ingrid understands that the reason he can’t just move on and buy a new fish is because he’s not really allowing himself to say goodbye and grieve. She buys him a therapy book on grief in children, and Fillmore accepts it without a fight or judgment. Reading the book not only helps him get over his grief and get a new fish, but it also helps him figure out who the perp is.
It was a very healthy and believable way this situation would’ve been handled in the real world, and I applaud the writers for that.
However, I do have some gripes. First, it’s completely obvious who the perp is this time. I knew it from the instant he came on screen.
Second, his reasons for committing the crime were weak. The perp today is a celebrity in the model train world, Oscar. He is moving away because his parents own a model train business and they’re not getting as much work in the area as they used to so they’re moving to a place where model trains are more popular.
Oscar didn’t want to move, so he sabotaged the entire convention to have everyone’s best stuff be destroyed, forcing them to buy more supplies from his parent’s store and preventing them from moving. I get the plan, but one or two days of good business doesn’t change the fact that the hobby is dying in that area. They’d have to move either way.
Also, this isn’t really a gripe, but I am just now realizing that whenever Fillmore and Ingrid confront a suspect, most of the time they throw something in their faces and run away. The running part I’m fine with, even though I have mentioned how pointless that is, given school grounds and such, but why do they always feel the need to throw something at them? Distractions I get, but every single person does this. It’s hard to ignore at this point.
All in all, I loved this episode. The mystery was weak this time around, but that’s about it. Everything else is very solid, well-written and very funny.