Recently the kids have been watching a lot of Thomas and Friends of which I more or less approve. In all of it though, Sir Topham Hatt just seems a little off.
For starters, he always rolls around in a suit and tie. And not just a suit and tie. He's got the full on vest and pocket watch thing going. Who wears a suit and tie around these days? Especially for a job where you drive around all day and visit train stations. Weird. Then when he does show up he always has two guys with him who are also dressed in suits minus the vest/pocketwatch combo. They just stand around staring at people. Are they mute? What do they do? I assume one of them is the driver. What does the other one do? Cigar lighter? Shoe shine lacky? Door opener?
And have you noticed that apparently if you want to get around the Island of Sodor you ride on Sir Topham Hatt's railroad or you don't ride at all? There don't appear to be any other modes of transport running around. Except for maybe the helicopter. Oh wait, apparently Sir Topham Hatt owns that too. So if you want your coal to get from the mine to the market, I guess you better be in the good graces of Monsieur Hatt.
On the upside, working with Topham apparently means that no matter what you are shipping, it can be picked up on short notice at any time, day or night. Seriously, engines are perpetually being sent off in the middle of the night to pick up a giant Chinese dragon on a couple hours notice or whatever. I'm sure for the right price he can make sure a small shipment of "stuff" gets picked up on 30 minutes notice wherever works for you and delievered in the next few hours.
Perhaps pulling all those all night trasfers is why Sir Topham Hatt is always getting ready to receive some really important peeps. Are we seriously supposed to believe that the queen mother cares enough to visit the Island of Sodor? I mean the island can't be more than 10 miles wide and apparently it's biggest feature is that most of it is covered in train tracks. Why is the Duke coming? Why is some weird Chinese envoy coming? Why is the railroad guy setting up the big meetings? Shouldn't the mayor or governor do that sort of thing? Wait, does Sodor have any kind of organized goverment?
Throw all that in with the way he talks to his trains like they are not quite equals but not just employees either and you have to admit the whole thing just seems a little shady. He's always talking to them in a not quite fatherly tone, maybe more godfatherly. And he always makes it sound like he's offering them their next assignment in stead of just telling them what to do. You know sort of like an offer you can't refuse.
All I know is something shady's going down somewhere on Sodor and I'm keeping my nose out of it.