Darwinia, Australia, is a city with one of the best mass-transit systems in the world. The trouble is, no one is riding the train! The Planeteers fly to Australia to investigate, intent on getting to the bottom of stories that include missing train cars and ghosts...
Wheeler is surfing near Hope Island. As usual, he "wipes out" and washes up on the beach. He is met by Ma-Ti and Suchi. Ma-Ti tells Wheeler he has brought him a snack - a can of peanuts. As Wheeler unscrews the lid, fake snakes spring out, causing Wheeler to give a cry of shock and topple backwards.
Though he takes Ma-Ti's practical joke with good humour, he declares it "lame", and decides to show Ma-Ti what a real practical joke is like.
The trap is set, and Wheeler talks Ma-Ti through it. A coconut is at the top of a bamboo ramp. Once the coconut is knocked down, it will hit a stick, which will release the end of a leaf it is propping up. The leaf is full of water, which will land on whomever is unlucky enough to be standing underneath it. As "bait", Wheeler props a toy koala up against the coconut.
He and Ma-Ti then run away from the path, and lie in wait. Linka and Gi soon arrive, giggling and talking about the swim they are about to take, when Linka spots the toy koala. She reaches for it and knocks the coconut, but it becomes stuck on the bamboo ramp and the leaf does not fall. Linka and Gi walk away again, cooing over the toy koala.
Wheeler leaps up to check the practical joke trap, and accidently sets it off. The leaf full of water collapses and drenches him, prompting Ma-Ti to burst out into laughter. Gaia then arrives, and tells the Planeteers she needs them in The Crystal Chamber.
Gaia shows the Planeteers footage of a city in Australia, known as Darwinia. It is covered in thick smog, despite having "one of the best mass-transit systems around." Gaia sends the Planeteers to Australia to find out why nobody is using the train system.
Upon arriving, the Planeteers are dismayed and appalled at the amount of pollution in the air. As they fly overhead in the geo-cruiser, they see masses of cars below them, with the traffic at a standstill because so many people are trying to drive at the one time.
The Planeteers go to the train station and wait for the train. It is obvious it is difficult to breathe with the thick smog around - Suchi and Ma-Ti both seem particularly affected. Linka declares "This is the worst smog I have ever seen."
The Planeteers all board the train together, followed by another man with a camera slung over his shoulder. Wheeler declares the train to be "too cool" as it automatically buckles everyone's seatbelts. Gi is dismayed that the train is so empty, and Ma-Ti is confused that people are avoiding such nice trains and driving everywhere.
The man with the camera sits down nearby and tells them he has overheard them talking. He says that it does make sense nobody is using the trains, and introduces himself as Sam. Before he tells them why nobody is on the train, however, the scene changes.
Argos Bleak is watching the train on a surveillance system. He notes that there are six people in the last carriage, which is the most they've had all week. Plunder appears in the doorway behind him and tells Bleak to give the travellers "The full treatment."
Back on the train, Sam is telling the Planeteers that there have been stories of disappearing passengers and ghosts on the trains. Linka is skeptical, telling Sam there is no such thing as ghosts. Sam tells her it's fine to scoff, but there are some things that can't be explained - like 28 train cars disappearing. They go inside the tunnels and never come out again - and despite some of the carriages having people in them, nobody has been reported missing. Sam tells the Planeteers it makes him nervous, but he's riding the train in an effort to break the story and get a job. Right now, he is a freelancing journalist.
The carriage goes into a tunnel. Suddenly, the carriage that is holding the Planeteers disconnects from the others. The Planeteers are aware that something has happened, but they're not entirely sure what. Bleak can be heard laughing as the carriage carrying the Planeteers swings away onto a different rail and disappears into a hidden side tunnel.
Sam mentions they may all have a problem, as he is afraid as ghosts. Just as Wheeler is telling him there's nothing to worry about, as there is no such thing as ghosts, a ghost appears in the carriage. Wheeler, Sam and Suchi all give matching screams of terror, but Ma-Ti stands up and puts his arm through the projection. He tells everyone it is simply a hologram.
The ghost disappears, but the carriage is jolted, and Ma-Ti falls back into his seat. His seatbelt snaps around him again and begins to crush him. The Planeteers and Sam all begin to struggle against their crushing seatbelts. When they finally loosen, everyone slumps over, breathing heavily.
Linka suddenly cries out that the train is picking up speed. It speeds through a series of loops and swerves dangerously around steep curves, throwing its passengers back and forther in their seats. The carriage rolls about violently until it eventually slows and rejoins the rest of the train on the main rail again.
The Planeteers and Sam disembark the train. Wheeler wants to ride it again, and Sam is horrified. He is shaken by the sight of the ghost. Wheeler tells him it was just an illusion, like something at an amusement ride, and that ghosts aren't real.
Just then, Gaia appears, telling the Planeteers she has information for them. Sam faints at the sight of her.
Wheeler and Kwame carry Sam up the hill. Wheeler states he is exhausted, and Kwame tells him it is a side-effect of the smog.
Sam wakes up and Gi informs him that Gaia has just told them about a company called 'Private Transport'. Sam tells them that the company has a building downtown. While he, Linka, Gi and Ma-Ti head off in the geo-cruiser to find out more, Wheeler and Kwame sneak back down the hill and back into the train tunnel to see if they can discover any clues.
In the tunnel, Kwame and Wheeler are following the tracks. They discover an extra set of tracks leading away into the wall. Just as they are trying to figure out how to get inside, the door opens, and bright light blinds them. They fall to their knees just as Bleak emerges. He is wearing a gas mask and he sprays Wheeler and Kwame with gas that renders them unconscious. Bleak and his men drag them inside.
Meanwhile, the other Planeteers and Sam have found the building belonging to Private Transport. Suchi has been fitted with a headset with a light and camera. Ma-Ti direct Suchi up through the roof and into the building. In the geo-cruiser, Linka, Gi, Ma-Ti and Sam watch the footage Suchi is sending back to them on the Planet Vision screens.
Suchi opens a filing cabinet and Ma-Ti directs him to keep pulling out files, until Ma-Ti thinks he has the right one. Just outside the door, a security guard is on patrol. He discovers Suchi, and grabs hold of him. Suchi escapes to the roof, screeching loudly, and Linka, Gi and Sam all hurry to help him get away. Ma-Ti watches on from the geo-cruiser.
The security guard grabs hold of Suchi on the edge of the roof. He tries to grab him, and both he and Suchi fall. Down below, Linka and Gi have spotted them. Using a nearby fountain, Gi creates a spout of water that catches the security guard safely. Linka catches Suchi with a small whirlwind.
They all escape in the geo-cruiser. Linka looks over the information that was patched through by Suchi. She discovers that the missing train cars have been dumped into the ocean, and that Private Transport owns everything - the car lots, the gas stations - everything but the train.
Sam suddenly realises that it must have something to do with "That guy - name of Plinder, Plander, something like that..."
The Planeteers make the connection to Looten Plunder. Linka suddenly realises that Wheeler and Kwame haven't contacted them. They hurry to find their friends, knowing that they must be in trouble.
In Plunder's headquarters, Wheeler and Kwame are tied to chairs near a model of a freeway Plunder wishes to build. Plunder brags that their taste must be improving, given that they are "admiring" it. Wheeler calls him a slime-ball.
Bleak tells Plunder that one of the switches on the rail isn't working, and Plunder orders him to go and fix it. Bleak mutters under his breath, clearly not happy about being bossed around so much.
Plunder continues to brag about his freeway to Wheeler and Kwame, stating that it means freedom from the "slavish" timetable of public transport. Kwame is outraged, saying that the freeway is hideous, and that the air has become so polluted, people can't breathe.
Plunder is forced to leave Wheeler and Kwame alone, as Bleak calls to him that help is needed. Plunder angrily complains about being surrounded by incompetence as he leaves.
Wheeler immediately starts to squirm around in his bonds, trying to free himself. Kwame tells him it is useless, as they have been tied too tight, but Wheeler claims he picked up knowledge from a movie. By taking a deep breath as he was tied up, Wheeler's bonds are a little looser. He is able to wrestle one arm free.
Wheeler and Kwame steal away and investigate deeper into Plunder's operations. Just as they are checking out an abandoned train car, Plunder's voice rings down the tunnel. He orders Bleak to get rid of the train carriage. Wheeler and Kwame are hidden inside as Bleak uses a remote control to start the train moving along the rail.
Kwame realises that they are sharing the carriage with a group of mannequins, which explains the case of the missing people.
The geo-cruiser is flying nearby. Ma-Ti can sense that Wheeler and Kwame are close.
Kwame and Wheeler desperately try to get out of the train carriage, but the doors are locked. Wheeler begins to use his ring on one of the locks, attempting to burn through.
Overheard, the geo-cruiser spots the train carriage. On the Planet Vision, Gi, Linka, Ma-Ti and Sam all see that the train appears to be full of people. It crashes into the ocean and they fear they are too late to save everyone. Ma-Ti uses his ring to search the train, only to find it empty - except for Wheeler and Kwame. Wheeler is focused on trying to get the door open using his Fire power.
Wheeler warns Kwame to hold his breath just before the door bursts open and water floods the train car. Bubbles rise to the surface. On the shore, Linka and Gi are waiting nervously, praying for the boys to come up safely. Sam and Ma-Ti stand nearby.
Finally, Wheeler and Kwame emerge, breathing heavily. The other Planeteers and Sam all cheer on from the shore as they make their way from the water. Linka runs to Wheeler and embraces him, and Gi runs to Kwame and embraces him.
The Planeteers and Sam gather together to compare notes. Sam jots everything down in his notebook as Wheeler tells everyone that all the other train cars are down on the bottom of the ocean. Linka concludes the story by listing everything Plunder owns - car yards, tyre companies and gas stations included.
Suddenly, Suchi runs away behind the building. Ma-Ti follows him.
Sam flips through his notes and says it will all make a great story. However, Looten Plunder arrives. He and Bleak spray the Planeteers and Sam with concentrated smog. Choking, Linka tries to blow it away with her ring, but the pollution is too intense. Everyone collapses, and Plunder orders Bleak to tie them all up - "And do it right this time."
Ma-Ti, however, has avoided the smog. He and Suchi watch on from the sidelines. Suchi is drinking from a puddle. Ma-Ti looks up to where water is dripping down and discovers that Plunder and the other Planeteers (who are now tied up) are standing underneath a water tank.
The Planeteers (minus Ma-Ti) have been tightly tied up and are placed inside a train carriage. Wheeler complains about having "that déjà vu feeling." Plunder bids them bon voyage before leaving the carriage, claiming that once the Planeteers are out of the way, the blue car line will be dead and nothing will be able to stop his freeway.
Suchi is on the platform. Plunder spots him. He and Bleak express confusion and outrage, until Suchi jumps up in Plunder's face and screeches. Plunder stumbles back and Ma-Ti uses his distraction to hurl a stone at a supporting leg of the water tower. The stone smashes into the post and breaks it. It causes the water tank to overbalance and collapse, spilling its contents onto Plunder and Bleak. Plunder falls backwards and knocks the lever that is keeping the train in place. It starts to travel along the track, but Ma-Ti is able to jump aboard before it leaves the platform.
He unties the others, but says they are travelling too fast to jump out of the carriage. Kwame says it is time to call Captain Planet.
The Planeteers call Captain Planet. He emerges as five silhouettes coming together in one form. Beams of light spiral from the emblem on his chest as he utters his catchphrase: "By your powers combined, I am Captain Planet!"
Captain Planet manages to catch the Planeteers' train car just before it plunges into the ocean. He puts it safely back on the rail as they cheer him on.
Bleak and Plunder have hidden inside a pink car, and they make their escape as Captain Planet salvages the sunken train cars, throwing them up into the air and then creating a track for them to land on and roll down. He slows them by getting in front of them and pushing back against them, singing "I've been working on the rail road" as he does so.
Plunder and Bleak apparently escapse successfully, but Plunder's plans have also fallen through. Now that the blue car line is safe, passengers travel it instead of using their cars, and the smog over the city has cleared.
Sam has also had his story published. The Planeteers all congratulate him as he breaks the news to them.
Sam asks them to autograph his story, and Wheeler says that as Ma-Ti saved the day, he should go first. He hands Ma-Ti a pen, but it sprays water into Ma-Ti's face. Ma-Ti laughs and claims that Wheeler's practical joke really is "Top of the line."
Linka: (Choking on smog) And no one likes to breathe the pollution produced by too many cars!
Gi: But there are things we can all do to help the environment.
Kwame: We can carpool.
Gi: And combine several errands into one trip.
Captain Planet: Everyone has to do their part if we want clean air. Right team?
The Planeteers: Yeah!
Captain Planet: So remember, the power is yours!
Second Planeteer Alert:
Gi: But large cars use up large amounts of gas, and that means more air pollution.
Wheeler: But no matter what size your car is, it's important to keep it tuned up.
Kwame: Cars that are not careful make the smog problem even greater.
Wheeler: Avoid the hog, and the smog!
Planeteers: The power is yours!
Did You Notice?
- Wheeler normally windsurfed,this is the only episode were he rides a wave with a surfboard.
- Wheeler seemed new to surfing, since he lost his sailboard on the beach in the predator, it appears that he borrowed the board from Gi.
- Wheeler's surfboard is green, yellow and pink. His board shorts are blue with yellow triangles on them.
- Linka wears a green and yellow one-piece swimsuit, and Gi wears a blue two-piece with a green stripe up the side.
- Suchi wears a yellow and red bathing suit in this episode.
- Gaia refers to the new mission as an "eco-mystery" rather than an "eco-emergency".
- Gaia doesn't use the Crystal Vision screen right away - instead, she creates a sort of "crystal ball" effect in mid-air, showing the Planeteers footage in a red-glowing circle before she turns to the Crystal Vision screens for more footage.
- The first file Suchi pulls out of the drawer has the name "Larry Housten" on it.
- The office building for Private Transport Inc. is 30 stories tall.
- Plunder's cane is topped off with a red ball in this episode, not the ivory elephant's head.
- Given that it was daylight when Kwame and Wheeler split from the group, night time when Linka, Gi and Ma-Ti investigate the office buildings, and daylight again when Kwame and Wheeler are in the train carriage, the Planeteers were separated for at least a whole night.
- Ma-Ti can sense Kwame and Wheeler before he uses his ring.
- Gi embraces Kwame after he emerges from the water, and Linka embraces Wheeler.
- Suchi apparently smells the water before he leaves Ma-Ti's shoulder to go and get a drink.
- Ma-Ti is able to throw a stone hard enough and accurate enough to snap a main supporting beam on the water tower.
- Ma-Ti must have untied either Linka or Sam first - then he moves on to untie Kwame, as Sam unties Gi and Linka unties Wheeler.
- Captain Planet forms as five separate silhouettes coming together.
- Captain Planet turns to fog or steam to avoid being crushed by the train car as he puts it down.
- Despite the show being set in Australia, Bleak and Plunder are in a car with the steering wheel on the left-hand side. Australian cars have steering wheels on the right.
- Plunder and Bleak successfully escape.
- We never see Captain Planet return his powers in this episode.
Ma-Ti has just spooked Wheeler by giving him a can of peanuts loaded with paper snakes. He laughs hysterically.
Wheeler: Lame, Ma-Ti, extremely lame. If you're gonna play practical jokes, pal, forget this prehistoric stuff. You gotta get real creative! Now this is a top of the line practical joke!
He talks Ma-Ti through his practical joke set for Linka and Gi.
Gi: What's going on, Gaia?
Gaia: Planeteers, this is Darwinia, Australia. And the problem is smog - look at this.
The Planeteers all give general murmurs about how awful the situation looks.
Gaia: They have one of the best mass-transit systems around. Everybody's within six blocks of the train, and yet hardly anyone uses it. The smog from the cars is so thick, even I can't see through it. Planeteers, you've got to find out why no one is riding that train!
The Planeteers are flying over Darwinia in the geo-cruiser:
Gi: Planeteer alert! Look at that!
Kwame: All these cars - unbelievable!
As they are waiting at the train station:
Linka: this is the worst smog I have ever seen!
Ma-Ti and Suchi are both choking.
Ma-Ti: I know, Suchi! It hurts to breathe...
Bleak: Six people in the last carriage! That's the most we've had in a week.
Plunder: Give them the treatment. The full treatment.
Sam: ...And people say when you go into tunnels, things get crazy! Speeding through turns, ghosts suddenly appearing in the cars - it makes me a little nervous, I'll tell you.
Linka: But there are no such thing as ghosts!
Sam: Well, scoff if you want, but how do you explain 28 missing train cars? They go into the tunnels, but they don't come out! And it gets stranger - two boys saw a car filled with people disappear inside a tunnel. But no one's been reported missing!
Kwame: Hmm... It is strange that all these things are happening in tunnels.
Gi: If everyone is so afraid, Sam, why are you riding the train?
Sam: I've seen what happens with too many autos, mates. I got a scholarship at journalism school in Los Angeles.
Kwame: So you are a reporter?
Sam: Freelancer. But if I can break this story, I've got myself a job.
Outside the train, there is a click as the carriage disconnects from the main body.
Linka: What was that?!
The carriage is plunged into darkness, and swings away on a hidden track through an opening in the tunnel wall. Bleak can be heard laughing, though the Planeteers aren't aware of him.
Sam: Er, I'm afraid we've got a little problem here, mates.
Wheeler: What's that, Sam?
Sam: I'm afraid of ghosts.
Wheeler: Hey, don't worry Sam! There's no such thing as a - GHOST!
An image of a ghost suddenly appears in the carriage. It is green and skeletal, in ragged dress, screeching and waving its arms over the Planeteers. Sam and Wheeler both cry out in terror. Suchi also screeches at it. Ma-Ti gets to his feet and reaches towards the ghost.
Ma-Ti: It is a hologram! A three-dimensional picture! Do not be afraid, Suchi.
Ma-Ti is suddenly knocked back into his seat when the train hits a bump. His seatbelt clasps around him.
Ma-Ti: My seatbelt! It is crushing me!
Sam and the Planeteers have just left the train:
Wheeler: Rad ride! Let's go again!
Sam: A-again? Are you crazy? Didn't you see that ghost?
Wheeler: Nah, it was just an illusion! Like at an amusement park.
Gi: It wasn't real, Sam.
Linka: The only real thing is that someone is trying to scare people off the train. And we must find out who!
Sam: You may be right, but that ghost looked real to me.
Wheeler: Sam, I'm telling you, there's no such thing as ghosts.
Gaia appears above them.
Gaia: Planeteers, I've got some information for you.
Wheeler and Kwame are carrying Sam:
Wheeler: Man, either he's heavier than he looks, or I'm out of shape.
Kwame: (Coughing) It is the smog. Look, Sam is waking up.
Sam: What happened?
Linka: Are you feeling better?
Sam: Oh, yeah. Nothin' like a little lie down to pep you right up.
Gi: Sam, we just found out about a company called Private Transport. Do you know anything about them?
Sam: Hm. Only that they've got a big building downtown.
Kwame: Can you show us where?
Sam: Yeah, but -
Gi: Good! Come with us. We'll get you your story!
Wheeler and Kwame split from the group.
Sam: Say, where are they going?
Gi: To the train! They're going to sneak into the tunnel and find out what's going on.
Sam: Well what about us?
Linka: We are going to take a real close look at Private Transport Incorporated! Hang on!
Linka steers the geo-cruiser into the air.
Wheeler: Check it out! A switch in the tracks!
Kwame: That is where our car went! But how do we get inside?
Bleak: No problem, planet pains! All you have to do is ask!
Wheeler: What's going on?!
Bleak: Your worst nightmare!
Linka is looking at files on Planet Vision:
Linka: Private Transport Incorporated owns everything! The gas stations, car lots and repair shops!
Ma-Ti: Yes... everything but the train!
Linka: Oh, no! The disappearing trains rumour is not a rumour! They are dumping the trains into the ocean! Why would they do such a thing?
Sam: It's that guy - he wants to build a freeway like in Los Angeles! He's got to be the one behind this!
Sam: Name of uh, Plinder, Plander, something like that.
Linka, Gi and Ma-Ti all make the connection to Plunder. Linka says something in Russian.
Linka: Looten Plunder! We should have known! If there is money to be made from pollution... Wait! What about Wheeler and Kwame?
Gi: They could be in big trouble! Let's go!
Wheeler and Kwame are tied to chairs in front of a model of Plunder's freeway:
Plunder: Ah, I see you're admiring my new freeway. Your taste is improving.
Wheeler: We're not admiring it, Plunder, you slime-ball.
Plunder: Uh-uh, watch your manners, planet-oid.
Bleak: This switch isn't working, Mr. Plunder!
Plunder: Ohhh... Well, get out there and fix it.
Bleak: (Muttering) Bleak do this, Bleak do that... I'll get him one day.
Plunder: And now, where were we? Ah yes, my freeway. Hahahaha! There it is: Independence. Freedom from the slavish time table of public transportation. Isn't it beautiful?
Kwame: It is hideous! Look what is happening to the air! People cannot breathe!
Bleak: (From off-screen) Mr. Plunder! We need you!
Plunder: Must I do everything myself?! Why am I surrounded by incompetence? If you'll excuse me...
Wheeler: Hey, knock yourself out! I hope!
Wheeler is trying to escape the ropes binding him:
Kwame: It is no use, Wheeler! They have tied them too tight.
Wheeler: Kwame my man, you don't watch enough movies. I took a deep breath when they tied me up!
Wheeler: So they couldn't tie me as tightly!
Kwame: Look! Ah, that solves the mystery of the disappearing people! They were only mannequins!
Wheeler: So the dummy uses dummies to scare people off the train!
Gi: Planeteer alert! A runaway train car!
Linka: And it is filled with people!
The train car finds the end of the tracks and plummets into the ocean, sinking quickly.
Linka: We are too late!
Gi: All those people - what are we gonna do?
Ma-Ti: Heart! There is no one inside the train car... Except Wheeler and Kwame!
Linka: Oh, no! Wheeler! Kwame!
The Planeteers have been captured by Plunder and are tied up inside a train carriage:
Wheeler: You ever get that déjà vu feeling?
Plunder: Well, bon voyage, planet punks. With you out of the way, and the blue car line dead, nothing's going to stop my freeway. Eh?
Plunder notices Suchi on the platform.
Plunder: Bleak? What is this?!
Bleak: What the - ?
Suchi screeches and jumps up at Plunder's face.
Captain Planet is carrying the train carriage containing the Planeteers:
Captain Planet: Nothing like a little on the job training!
Captain Planet: That should get things back on track around here.
Sam: Hey mates! Me first story!
The Planeteers congratulate him.
Sam: How about the lot of you autographing it, huh?
Wheeler: And since Ma-Ti saved the day, he gets to go first!
Wheeler hands Ma-Ti a pen. It sprays water into Ma-Ti's face and they start to laugh.
Ma-Ti: That was truly top of the line, Wheeler!