Chain Reaction
Series 2, Episode 13
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Air date 25/03/2011
Written by Dystin Johnson
Directed by Michael Davies
Episode guide
The Visitors

Chain Reaction was the thirteenth episode of the second season of Tracy Beaker Returns. It was broadcast at 17:00 on the CBBC Channel on 25/03/2011.


Tracy begins suffering from recurring dreams where she is on a boat and is swept over by a tidal wave.


The episode opens with Tracy narrating over a cartoon animation of a dream she keeps having. Cam and Tracy's biological mother are on a ship when suddenly, a wave comes toward it. Tracy throws the ship's anchor overboard, but both Cam and Tracy's mum vanish and the wave still comes and crashes over the ship.

After the opening titles, we cut to Elm Tree House. Tracy goes to the office to tell Gina that she has cleaned some rooms in the DG. Gina suggests that Tracy goes home (she is working beyond her shift's end), but Tracy says that she will tidy the kitchen before doing that.

In the kitchen, Tracy talks with Sapphire. Tracy tells Sapph that Cam has been gone for 3 weeks, but will be back next week. She says that she has enjoyed being on her own in the flat and has been having parties every night. Sapph then asks Tracy why she is still at the DG at 8 o'clock, to which Tracy claims she just wanted to get cleaning the kitchen done. Sapph exits the kitchen and tells Gina in the hallway that something is wrong with Tracy.

Upstairs, Elektra randomly walks into Carmen's bedroom and plonks herself down on the bed. Carmen is playing with her collection of necklaces. She tells Elektra that each one has a memory, such as one her mum got her when she did not come home one night and another when she went into town with Tracy and some of the other girls.

Gina finds Mike in the office and tells him of her and Sapph's suspicions of something being wrong with Tracy. Mike disagrees, thinking that if something were wrong, Tracy would not have kept quiet about it. Gina however tries to use the fact Tracy is staying late cleaning the DG as evidence as something wrong, but Mike rebuffs her. The conversation is ended when Lily's social worker rings up.

Back upstairs, Elektra is admiring herself in Carmen's mirror holding a necklace in front of her. Carmen tells Elektra that she can wear the necklace tomorrow and it will have a memory of the day she realised she could be friends with Elektra. Elektra is happy about this.

Gina then has the kids come down to a house meeting in the kitchen. She explains to everyone that Lily is returning to stay at the Dumping Ground for respite care, much to Carmen's joy.

Back at home, Tracy and Cam both have news for each other, but Cam lets Tracy give her news first. Tracy tells Cam the news that Lily will be having respite care, so she will be coming back to live at their flat, and after hearing this, Cam decides her news is not important. She asks how the flat is and Tracy lies that there are pizza boxes everywhere, when in reality it is spic and span.

The following morning, Carmen asks Elektra to return the necklace, as she wants to give it to Lily. Elektra is annoyed by this, throws the necklace on to Lily's bed, kicks said bed and hurts Carmen (who was standing behind the bed).

Tracy greets Gina in the office, who comments she is four hours early for her shift! Tracy fibs that it is because Mike wanted the files re-organised, then claims she is doing overtime.

Lily then arrives at the DG and is greeted by everyone except for Elektra. She then has a talk in the office with Mike and Tracy where she tells Mike that things are fine with her dad, but he needs a break. Tracy then tells Lily that it will be great to have her back living at the flat.

In the kitchen, Gina has Elektra take some sheets to Carmen's bedroom (for Lily) and tells her to make the bed as well, much to Elektra's disgust. Elektra takes the sheets to Carmen's room, but tells her that there is a disgusting smell, chucks the sheets at her and walks out.

In the office a pile of files that Tracy had stacked (as part of her re-organising) falls over, prompting Gina to tell Tracy off for leaving the job unfinished. Gina tries to get Tracy to put the files back the way they were, only for Tracy to claim that Mike wanted it done. Gina counters with Tracy's claim that Mike wanted her to earn overtime, which Tracy still claims is true, only for Mike to enter and deny her claim. The care workers try to ask Tracy if something is wrong, given all of her cleaning, but she rebuffs them with her "tidy office, tidy minds" excuse.

In Carmen's bedroom, Carmen and Lily are making Lily's bed. Elektra tells Lily that there is a strange smell coming from the bedroom and leaves. Lily then tells Carmen that she would rather live at the DG during respite care instead of Cam's, to which Carmen replies that she needs to tell Tracy.

Downstairs, the other DG kids (aside from Elektra, who is playing pool with herself) are discussing having a party for Lily. Toby mentions that they do not have money for decorations, but Tee says that they can make their own paper chains and Gus mentions that he has a book about how to do that.

Having learnt that a party is going to be held for Lily, Carmen and Lily then start picking out what tops they are going to wear to the party. Tracy then enters the bedroom and Carmen claims she is going to get something from Tee (in reality she is going to be listening outside the door). Lily says that she has been thinking about where she is going to stay during respite care and Tracy thinks that she has been thinking about that as well, and says that she thinks it is better for Lily to be staying with kids of her age and should therefore stay at the DG. Lily agrees to this. Meanwhile, Elektra finds Carmen outside the bedroom door, sniffs her hair and claims that she is what stinks.

In the kitchen, Gus briefs Harry and Toby about their jobs for making the paper chain and they get started. They continue working into lunch, where Toby tells Frank that he has read that the world's longest paper chain was 32.7m long and Gus thinks they can break it.

Back at home, Tracy contacts Cam on instant messenger. While she is waiting to connect, she looks at her mobile and sees a couple of pictures of Seth. The messenger then connects. Tracy tells Cam that Lily will now be staying at the DG. Cam then reveals to Tracy some news: as Lily will not be returning to live at Cam's, this means that Cam can acccept a six month contract! Cam says that she can return if Tracy needs her, but Tracy gives Cam her blessing. Cam then tells Tracy to have an early night (believing that she has been partying again), but that night, Tracy has her dream of being swept over by the wave again.

The following morning, Tracy rings Seth, presumably to tell him that she has reconsidered his offer of travelling with him. Seth, however, has some news of his own for Tracy. Whilst touring with the band, he met a girl. But before Seth can say anymore, Tracy claims that Mike wants her and hangs up.

At the DG, Gus and the other kids (except for Carmen, Lily and Elektra) are pulling out the chain so they can measure it. Elektra walks into the hallway, but is stopped from breaking it by Frank and Toby. Elsewhere, Tracy walks into the office, only to learn that Gina has put away Tracy's stacks of files. Annoyed, Tracy walks out of the office, only to walk into Toby, who was measuring the paper chain with a tape measure. This causes Toby to let go of the tape, causing it to whizz over to Gus, who is holding the other end of the tape measure. He lets go of it, but the tape still manages to catch his fingers.

Upstairs, Elektra snaps Lily's necklace. Carmen sees what Elektra has done and tries telling her that she was the one person who was prepared to be her friend and that Elektra does not have to act the way she is, but this falls on deaf ears.

In the kitchen, the kids are working on the paper chain where Tracy becomes annoyed with the noise that they are making and yells at them to go to the pool room. Carmen then comes to talk to Tracy about Elektra, but Tracy is dismissive and asks Carmen to sort things out between herself and Elektra. Elektra enters the room and puts on a facade saying that she is willing to fix things with Carmen. Tracy, thinking that everything is fine, leaves, only for Elektra to pinch Carmen for snitching on her. Carmen leaves and goes to the pool room. Tracy is on her way there as well and receives a text from Seth saying "sorry". She then enters the pool room where the kids start shouting at her (Gus because Tracy walked into the paper chain, Lily because Tracy failed to help Carmen). Mike walks in only to have to catch Tracy when she faints.

Tracy is taken out of the pool room and a sombre mood descends over the kids, who have now stopped working on the paper chain. Johnny comments that this is the "worst party ever" (despite the fact it has not even started) and Lily says that she does not feel like having a party.

Upstairs in Carmen's bedroom, Elektra picks up the pieces of the necklace to reassemble it.

Out in the garden, Harry finds Carmen. He tells her that Jeff is scared, so Carmen gives Jeff an invisible cloak of bravery, which she explains makes Jeff not feel scared when he is wearing it.

In another room, Tracy wakes up and Mike explains she had a panic attack. He learns from Tracy that Cam will now be spending 6 months in America. Mike asks Tracy how she feels about that as well as the fact that Lily will not be staying at her's. Tracy tries to avoid answering, saying that it is best for Lily, but Mike re-iterates the question. Tracy says that it does not matter how she feels, saying that the kids come first. Mike tells Tracy that he remembers when Tracy was upset when she was younger, she would get very angry. He says that while Tracy does not get so angry nowadays, she still has not learnt to express when she is upset. He explains that when someone truly loves you, it is alright to tell them when you are upset with them. Tracy asks Mike if growing up is always this difficult, to which Mike replies "only when you care about things so much".

In the pool room, the paper chain has been hung up. Gus declares that the length is 53m, to which Toby declares is a new world record.

In Carmen's bedroom, Elektra is about to leave the now-repaired necklace on the bed, but stops on hearing Lily enter the room. Carmen enters a few seconds later and stands up to Elektra, telling her to not bully her again. Elektra leaves.

Later that day, Tracy is out in the area of the garden with the car seats. Lily, now dressed in a party outfit, finds her. She apoloigises for not moving back in to the flat and tells Tracy that she was like a big sister to her. Lily then invites Tracy to the party. Tracy refuses, but Lily insists.

Tracy comes to the pool room and finds everyone (except Elektra) waiting for her. Lily explains the party is for Tracy, who was the one who needed it more.

Later, Tracy finds Elektra on the stairs. Tracy tells her that she needs to stop upsetting people and running away from the consequences. Elektra asks what about the people who upset her, to which Tracy asks if Elektra told them they had upset her. She gets her to come to the party.

Elektra and Tracy enter the room where Elektra apologises to Carmen for being mean and explains that she was upset because Carmen took the necklace back, and Carmen apologises for doing that. Gus then yells to stop the music and calls Toby an idiot. Gus has read a book and has discovered that the longest paper chain was 327.1m, not 32.7m! Toby says that he is not good at decimal points, which causes the others to laugh. The doorbell then rings. Tracy goes to answer it and finds Seth at the door.

Seth enters the pool room and is greeted by Toby. Seth explains that he was not going to miss a party in honour of Tracy Beaker. The episode ends with everyone dancing and Tracy narrating that everyone is linked by troubles and that one weak link will break the chain, but not for long as no one in the DG will let that happen.


  • Final appearance of John Bell as Toby Coleman.
  • First time Lily comes to the Dumping Ground for respite care.
  • The song Macarena by the group Los del Rio is heard during Tracy's party.
  • This is the third time Cam has been to America.
  • The episode takes place at least three weeks after the events of Grandad, given that Cam was still in the UK in that episode.
  • Sapphire gives Tracy a picture of everyone in the country from A Day in The Country.
  • The epsiode title could be a play of the name of the song "Chain Reaction" by Diana Ross .


  • When Gus, Harry and Toby are shown working on the paper chain during lunch, we see Frank (followed by Johnny) enter the kitchen and Frank walks in front of the kitchen worktop. When the camera cuts angles, Frank is shown to be walking into the kitchen again.
  • When the paper chain gets hung up, when Gus is saying "42 metres, 53 metres exactly", the subtitles read "32 metres, 53 three metres exactly" (emphasis mine).
Tracy Beaker Returns episodes

Season 1: Tracy Beaker SuperstarNew Life's EveBad Luck BoyBy The BookFamily ValuesAnarchy in the DGSecretsSistersGood Luck BoyViva CarmenThe WerewolfA Day at The BeachMoving On

Season 2: The Burnywood MenaceDrainedCrushedRefugeesMoneyElektraWhat You Don't KnowA Day in The CountryThe Scare GameOut of ControlSnake BiteGrandadChain Reaction

"You Choose" specials: Come Alone, CarmenCyberbullyingBeg, Borrow or Steal

Season 3: The VisitorsFirestarterShadowsBig BrotherBelongingEggsJustine Littlewood ReturnsRewardSummer HolidayGoing HomeJody JacksonThe InvitationGoodbye Tracy Beaker