'Top Gear' (UK) Recap: 'Series 19, Episode 7'
March 18th, 2013 10:20pm EDT
When last we left Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, and James May, they were venturing through Africa in cheap estate cars looking for the source of the Nile River. Here, then, is the second part of Top Gear's Africa Special. It's just as much off-kilter as the first part.
As dawn breaks, James is yelling at Jeremy for cutting out a portion of his Volvo's hood to replace the panel James removed from the door of Jeremy's BMW. Turnabout is fair play. Not content to stop there, Jeremy explains to camera that he's solved the BMW's issue with hill starts by attaching a log to the rear of his vehicle. There's really nothing you can say about that to make it sound like a good idea, so the episode cuts elsewhere before picking up with the hosts resuming their journey to Tanzania, while James continues to criticize Jeremy's handiwork.
Jeremy ignores him, but the universe gets its revenge when his new accessory bounces up and shatters the rear window of the BMW. While James laughs at this turn of events, our hosts have the decency to stop and pick up all the glass shards so none of the barefoot locals injure themselves. They then cross the border into Rwanda, which they know almost nothing about. There's then "an interminably long wait" to get into Tanzania, which Jeremy and James spend defacing the trunk of Richard's Subaru.
The decision is made to set up camp for the evening after their border crossing. While Richard makes yet more baked beans, Jeremy plots to steal his rear window. That's not the only thievery that goes on: James swipes a portion of Richard's hood to make up for the piece Jeremy stole from him, so Richard takes another door section off of Jeremy's BMW to replace it. After this version of car part musical chairs, the trip is halted by a river with no apparent bridge. Jeremy brings out what he calls the "ARU" (Aerial Reconnaissance Unit), instructing Hammond to fly it while James checks the camera to see if they can find a proper crossing.
Unfortunately, there isn't one to be found, so Jeremy wants to build a giant raft to ferry their cars across. Cue another construction montage set to some cheery music. The BMW is the first to take the plunge, and makes it across very awkwardly. Next to go is the Subaru, which loses the chair that was on its roof (and it's promptly picked up by a passerby). That leaves the Volvo, which Jeremy insists on towing out with his car, and this being Jeremy, he does so with too much speed, almost sinking it. However, aside from some minor damage and the loss of Richard's chair, all three cars survive. The same can't be said for the Ford Scorpio backup car, much to the hosts' utter delight.
On the other side of the river, James loses two wheels - not just tires, but the entire wheels - to a Tanzanian pothole, causing Jeremy and Richard to abandon him as per the Top Gear code. He's able to make repairs and catch up with his co-hosts, but sort of regets doing so when he finds them "in a swarm of lake flies." The three of them are all too happy to board a proper ferry this time and cross Lake Victoria. A whopping sixteen hours later they're deposited near the river they believe will lead them to the source of the Nile.
This next portion of their journey takes them through the Serengeti, gives them a chance to make comments about a passing pack of tourists, and leads them each to say that their car has been the best one on the trip. This even as they're all dirty, battered, and struggling to get over a difficult road full of sharp stones. Jeremy's the first one to be affected, his passenger-side airbag randomly deploying with a flash and a bang. Following that, each of the hosts loses at least one tire, some more than one. Richard suffers the worst damage, shearing the Subaru's track control arm. This leaves him stranded fifteen miles from camp, fabricating replacement parts. Jeremy and James are not too pleased to see the Subaru catch up with them.
That leads them to propose a winner take all race to the source of the Nile. While Jeremy strangely takes the "slow and steady" approach, James and Richard tear off in a desperate attempt to beat each other to the finish line some twelve miles away. After some getting lost and a few spots of high-contact driving, the cars are abandoned and a good old-fashioned footrace begins. It's James who arrives first, followed closely by Jeremy and then Richard a few moments later. Ending in true explorer fashion, the trio claim their discovery in the name of Top Gear and pose for a photograph thereafter. They're still ambitious, but this time not quite rubbish.
(c)2013 Brittany Frederick. Appears at Starpulse with permission. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted. Visit my official website and follow me on Twitter at @tvbrittanyf.
Photo Credits: BBC