Just when we were really getting into the shenanigans, Top Gear is taking some time off. It's the mid-season break - but not to worry, because Adam, Tanner and Rutledge are going out in a big way (you expected anything else?) by putting some rental cars through things they were never intended for.
The boys have to drive 130 miles from Monument Valley to Moab, Utah in three different categories of rental cars - bought by the show, because no rental company would be crazy enough to rent cars for anything like this. Rutledge gets a bright yellow Yaris, Tanner has a Lincoln Town Car, and Adam is behind the wheel of a Ford Mustang. Can they complete the trip without getting stranded or wrecked? Erm...
Rutledge's Yaris gets felled early on by a sand pit, so Tanner has to come to his rescue with the winch he's attached to the Town Car. That's not a good start for our group, who travel on only to discover that discover the route they'd intended to take is covered in mud. Being the boys from Top Gear , rather than going another way, they see this as an opportunity for drag racing. The Mustang takes an early lead, but gets stuck near the end, and the Yaris is trapped...again. That's when Rutledge realizes it's not mud they're stuck in, but manure. "I have hit a new low," he declares. "This is the worst day of my life."
Some time later, once both Rutledge and Adam have been rescued and the convoy is back on the road, the guys hit some narrow, twisty road going through the mountains with no guard rails. Making it to the top takes about an hour and shakes everyone up a little bit. As the sun goes down, our heroes decide to pull over and call it a night - but their accomodations leave a lot to be desired. Rutledge plans on sleeping in the trunk of his Yaris, Adam needs subtitles while trying to put an air mattress on the roof of the Mustang, and Tanner is likewise in the trunk of the Lincoln. No one wakes up gracefully.
Once they're mostly awake, the guys hit the road again - "and it was in the middle of nowhere that Tanner finally hit puberty," Adam declares - and wade into the giant rocks of the Lockhart Basin. Everyone feigns confidence, but it's pretty obvious they're all a little nervous. Tanner's Town Car gets through fairly well, but Adam's Mustang struggles on its way up, and the Yaris - you guessed it - gets stuck again. "Is Yaris the Greek god of disappointment?" Adam wonders.
After another night of uncomfortable camping, the guys continue their trip through rocky territory. Adam loses the skid plate off his Mustang, which is mangled when Rutledge recovers it. As is customary on Top Gear, he's promptly left behind by Tanner and Rutledge to fend for himself, who will probably both need a chiropractor after this. Soon, Tanner fears that he's broken the rear suspension on the Lincoln, but presses on regardless. That means, unbelievably, that the Yaris is the vehicle in the best shape so far. At least, until the guys reach the tail end of their journey and find out it involves one heck of a drop.
What are they to do? Adam quotes Clint Eastwood in saying they should go for it. Tanner's plan involves hooking up his winch to a land anchor, and hoping he can lower the Town Car down in one piece. Adam and Rutledge watch in awe as this is almost a good idea - because the car ends up nose down on the ground, leaving Tanner with a predicament as to how to get it back on four wheels. Rutledge brings in a "big-ass" crane to help him out, but has an issue hooking up the support straps, and the Yaris is soon hanging literally by a thread. Thankfully, the crane operator is able to lower the car down without dropping it.
Not to be outdone, Adam's ordered a bouncy castle and inflated it before strapping a glider to the top of the Mustang. "This does feel like the worst idea you've ever had," Rutledge warns him before Adam launches "Pegasus One." Watching this, Tanner is able to say 'bitch' without being bleeped. The Mustang, however, isn't so lucky, as it's destroyed in a horrific tumble and kills the bouncy castle on impact. Adam refuses to admit that his idea is a failure, while Rutledge has to tow Tanner's Town Car off the cliff. The Yaris, having suffered the least damage through all this nonsense, is declared the winner of this episode.
However, the best is yet to come: we get to watch the guys hose off their vehicles - or in Adam's case, the bumper off the Mustang, the remains of which are now on the back of a tow truck - and return the keys - or in Adam's case, leave the bumper outside and walk away before anyone can ask what he did. As they sneak off into the night, it's a Top Gear ending that brings this little car wash incident from the UK series to mind. It's also impossible not to smile at. There's no doubt that these three guys have one of the best jobs on the planet, and that our world is just a little bit brighter for getting to watch them do things we would probably never even think of.
Top Gear will be back with ten new episodes next year.
For more from Brittany Frederick, visit Digital Airwaves and follow me on Twitter (@tvbrittanyf).
(c)2012 Brittany Frederick/Digital Airwaves. Appears at Starpulse with permission. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted.