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Fortune Teller Schemer is the eighth episode of the third season.

Plot

A sudden frost has hit the Indian Valley Railroad, freezing the switches. As a result, the trains are unable to run until the switches are fixed, delaying the passengers at Shining Time Station.

Suddenly, Ginny rushes into the station and hugs Schemer, telling him that the fortune telling machine in his arcade has advised Ginny to take steps to avoid disaster. She therefore added protection to her tomato crop and sure enough, they are now safe from the sudden frost. After hearing of this, Schemer becomes convinced that his machine can actually predict the future.

Taking advantage of the stranded passengers, Schemer lures them all into the arcade to his fortune telling machine. Naturally, Ginny is the first to read her fortune, telling her to take advice from a trusted advisor, which Schemer interprets as himself. Ginny asks Schemer for his advice on whether she should get a new hairdo. After looking at her gray and boring hair, Schemer says, "Definitely."

Mr. Conductor meets with Dan and Kara and tells them that Jack Frost is the one behind the cold weather. Kara blames Jack Frost as the reason the passengers are believing what Schemer says, but Mr. Conductor explains that this happens when people get impatient. Dan asks if Thomas was ever impatient before, and Mr. Conductor replies that Thomas once got so impatient, he left his conductor behind, which he explains in the story "Thomas and the Conductor".

After the story is done, Kara says that at least Thomas was sorry for what he did while Schemer isn't, so Mr. Conductor decides to go talk to Jack Frost before the trouble gets worse. Meanwhile, Schemer is still talking advantage of the passengers, as he interprets one customer's fortune of supporting the arts as paying all his money to the jukebox. The Jukebox Puppet Band is displeased by Schemer's deceit, but still knows their duty lies and plays the song "Turkey in the Straw".

Later, Midge Smoot is taking to Stacy about Schemer predicting the future. As Stacy tries to explain to Midge that no one, let alone Schemer, can predict the future and that the prediction with the weather was just a coincidence, Schemer makes a grand entrance into the station. Dressed in a mystical turban and robe, and now addresses himself as the great and powerful "El Schemo". He convinces Midge to have her fortune told, and the machine says nature will submit to her design. Midge interprets this as a command to rip a troublesome patch of poison ivy with her bare hands, so she leaves to do just that. Stacy tries to convince the passengers of Schemer's deceit, but they are too blinded by their admiration to El Schemo to listen to her.

After Mr. Conductor tells another Thomas story called "A Cow on the Line", he plots with Stacy, Kara and Dan to stop Schemer's latest scheme. Things start to turn around when Midge and Ginny return, now furious at Schemer. Midge, in her attempt to pull out her poison ivy patch is now broken out all over in a rash, and Ginny's new hairdo went horribly wrong, turning her hair wild and purple. As Schemer starts to explain, Mr. Conductor possesses the fortune telling machine, exposing that Schemer has been manipulating the machine's messages to his own advantage, and that Schemer is a fraud. Now, the passengers realizing that they've been duped all storm out vowing to never use the arcade again, and they go to catch their trains, which by this time, are running again.

After they all leave, Stacy forces Schemer to admit that his latest scheme was completely out of line, and Schemer promises that he will never do it again, even though it was fun for him. Mr. Conductor possesses the machine again, to warn Schemer that he will be haunted if he ever does pull a scheme like that again. Schemer runs off in terror, but not before the machine makes a correct prediction that Schemer will take a trip, as Schemer falls while he darts off.

Characters

Thomas Stories

One day Henry was late and Thomas gets impatient about it. He gets so impatient that he leaves his conductor behind.

Jukebox Band Segment Song

  • Turkey in the Straw

Trivia

  • The Charlie McCarthy turkey from "Billy's Party" makes a return appearance in the Jukebox during the musical number.
  • In the Fox Family version, the Jukebox Band's song is cut out and the Thomas outro theme is added to the end of "Thomas and the Conductor".
  • Billy and Becky do not appear in this episode. Billy's absence is explained as being outdoors, presumably to repair the switches.
  • This is the first and only time Schemer interacted with Mr. Conductor (albeit in disguise).
  • Both Thomas stories involve an engine getting embarrassed by a certain mistake.
  • There are multiple differences between the Fox Family and Nick Jr. variants of this episode. Here is a list of all the changes:
    • Fox Family:
      • 1. The scene of Schemer asking Ginny if the machine actually predicted the future is missing the three second pause.
      • 2. All Jukebox Band segments are cut.
      • 3. The scene of Kara coming into Billy's workshop is shortened.
      • 4. Mr. Conductor explaining that he's been giving a helping hand and saying he knew who was behind the sudden frost is omitted.
      • 5. Checkpoint from Mr. C saying that Jack Frost loves to confuse people to Kara saying he could be Schemer's best friend is cut.
      • 6. Mr. C appearing outside the workshop and saying that Kara is right is cut.
      • 7. Some scenes were cut in "El Schemo's" introduction is cut.
      • 8. Mr. C saying that Jack Frost finding Schemer's act hilarious s omitted.
      • 9. El Scheme's song is shortened.
      • 10. Ginny and Midge returning to the station is cut to El Schemo saying his lambs have returned home.
      • 11. El Schemo telling everyone to silence is cut.
      • 12. El Schemo asking the "machine" about Ginny's tomatoes is cut.
      • 13. The scene of Dan saying the people didn't have to do what Schemer said up to when everyone leaves the station is cut in place of the commercial break.
      • 14. The music for when Schemer speeds over to the steps at his arcade is heard instead when it comes back from commercial when he says, "Everyone thinks I'm no good!"
    • Nick Jr.:
      • 1. The beginning Jukebox segment with Tito, Slots and Didi remains intact for unknown reasons, while Turkey in the Straw remains cut.
      • 2. Dan telling Mr. Conductor about Ginny's fortune is cut.
      • 3. After the Thomas story "A Cow on the Line" it immediately cuts to Stacy telling everyone her plan.
      • 4. El Schemo asking the machine to tell the future is cut.
      • 5. There are multiple edits to the Thomas stories. These include:
    • Thomas and the Conductor:
      • 1. The opening scene plays at normal speed, but in the next shot after it, the rest of the episode remains sped up.
      • 2. After the scene where Annie and Clarabel agree with Thomas, it immediately cuts to Thomas traveling under the road bridge.
      • 3. After Annie says, "We haven't a Conductor!", it cuts straight to Thomas stopping at the signal.
      • 4. Thomas' pause shot after the coaches say, "We've left him behind!" is omitted.
    • A Cow on the Line:
      • 1. The whole episode is sped up from the get-go.
      • 2. The shot where the narrator says, "The sun shown, birds sang." is cut.
      • 3. After Edward loses the end of his train, it immediately cuts to him arriving at the yard. The episode's sped up speed also slows slightly and remains that way for the rest of the episode.

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