'Top Gear' (UK) Recap: 'Series 19, Episode 2'
February 11th, 2013 10:20pm EST
Tonight, on Top Gear: Jeremy Clarkson points at a thing, Richard Hammond walks through a shop, and James May has some bananas. And they're all making another ill-advised trip to the United States, courtesy of "secret American" Richard.
They meet in Nevada, where they compare supercars. Jeremy brings the Lexus LFA, with James driving the Aston Martin Vanquish (which Jeremy promptly drools over), and Richard the SRT Viper. There's the usual banter over whose is better before Jeremy suggests they shut up and go for a drive. Unfortunately, they end up on a road where the speed limit is 35 MPH. Some "trickery in the edit" later, things finally start moving a bit faster. The trio head for the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, where the plan is to make use of the drag strip, since near every episode of Top Gear involves a drag race.
Jeremy is humiliated by a pickup truck from the Sheriff's Department, Richard is schooled by the Highway Patrol, and James gets beaten by a kid in a Mitsubishi. It only gets worse from there. "Having spent the entire evening losing to absolutely everything, we decided we didn't like drag racing," Jeremy narrates.
That's as good a time as any to break for The News. Jeremy's had another theory about the lack of parking in town centers; he suggests the abolishment of double yellow lines and traffic wardens alike. He then discusses how awkward it is when one stars to nod off while James is talking. He's got a device that helps with that - an earpiece that beeps to keep a driver awake.
Richard calls James and Jeremy "the oldest people in the world," leading James to tell him, "We can't all be 36 forever." The boys then discuss how Citroen has come up with a car that runs on compressed air. Jeremy tries to figure this out using a rolling chair and a fire extinguisher. Unsurprisingly, it doesn't work.
With that, it's back to the film. Morning has broken over Las Vegas, and the guys decide that they're going to speed down the Las Vegas Strip. Jeremy is forced to admit that his car lacks several things, including cupholders, even though it has the biggest price tag. Of course, he then must get even. When they stop at a gas station on their way to California, he irritates Richard by trying to put a firelog in his gas tank, so Richard retaliates by creating a cupholder for Jeremy - by taping his coffee cup to his steering wheel.
Their destination is the Willow Springs International Motorsports Park, but Jeremy makes them take a detour to a grooved road that allows cars to be used as instruments. James, being the music nerd and pianist that he is, loves this.
Once the trio finally get to the raceway, they're met by Challenge Man, who tells them that they'll be playing a version of laser tag. They're tasked with driving laps of the track while planes shoot at them, hoping to trigger the sensors on their cars. "We did what we do best - panic," Jeremy says over footage of him driving the wrong way on the track. James wins this challenge by virtue of being popped only 17 times to Richard's 23 and Jeremy's 48. Jeremy claims it's racism because his car is Japanese.
After a well-placed promo for the US edition of Top Gear, this week's Star in a Reasonably Priced Car is Fleetwood Mac namesake Mick Fleetwood. He and Jeremy briefly discuss the history of Fleetwood Mac, including the fighting and the songs written during said arguments. They then move onto cars, with Jeremy impressed that Mick drives a restored Austin, but unbothered by the bright orange pants he's wearing in the provided photo of him with said car. Mick does his lap in 1:45.4, putting him just behind Blur's Alex James.
You can watch a portion of Mick Fleetwood's appearance on the show below.
The final segment of this week's film sees Jeremy, Richard and James arriving in Los Angeles, with Richard challenging his co-hosts to see who can leave the longest tire tracks and best donuts. When they're done, all they've managed to do is make a giant part of the male anatomy, which gets censored.
They run away to Palm Springs, still extolling the virtues of their respective vehicles along the way. During drinks at a resort, the trio are told that they'll race to the US/Mexican border, with the last to arrive being left there to test a car for a future show. This is punishment because as Jeremy says, "they hate us in Mexico." No one wants to lose this challenge. So naturally, James and Jeremy plot to sabotage Richard's car, by stuffing fruit in the Viper's tailpipe, stealing fuses and disconnecting leads.
The race begins the following morning, with James declaring "it's all Hammond's fault," Jeremy being almost too fat for his seat belt, and Richard not enjoying the surprises he finds inside his Viper. He does eventually get back on the road, though, and makes up some time as the others are stuck in traffic. James and Jeremy take separate routes to the border, with Jeremy calling Richard and getting deservedly shouted at. Richard catches up with them, just as everyone is forced to decide which of three roads they'll take to the actual finish line.
In the end, Jeremy is the first to arrive, followed by James, leaving Richard the unfortunate loser. After an unsympathetic sendoff by his colleagues, he sadly starts his walk across the border. It's worth an added laugh when Richard doesn't appear in the show's closing moments either, with his colleagues joking that they'll either bring you a review of the Mexican sports car he's off testing, or a tribute to Richard Hammond.
This is one of the less memorable Top Gear trips in recent history, but it still does the job of entertaining, and there's one bright spot for the BBC. At least on this American road trip, no one flipped off any cops or was threatened by any rednecks.
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(c)2013 Brittany Frederick. Appears at Starpulse with permission. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted.
Photo Credits: BBC