Update: I know there was a 10th episode of Top Gear US Season 1, but it is a recap of the first season. I do not plan on reviewing any clip show.
For Season 2 of Top Gear US, there is a new opening theme and intro. For Top Gear Season 1 and Top Gear UK, the opening theme is a remix version “Jessica” by the Allman Brothers Band. For Season 2 of Top Gear US, Jessica has been taken out. Instead of giving a preview of the show during the intro song, it is the opening credits. I would like Top Gear US to use “Jessica” and use the Top Gear UK style for the intro. I am just nitpicking because I really enjoy Top Gear UK.
On this episode, the boys are in Texas to find an alternative to the pickup truck.
Segment 1: Guys arrive in Texas with their cars.
The Show immediately goes to Texas. The show does not start from the Top Gear US studio. The show starts with “Tush” by ZZ Top, a rock band from Houston, Tx. Adam is doing narration, explaining how Texans buy so many trucks and with high gas prices, it has become more expensive to own trucks. Top Gear guys had $2000 to find a replacement for a truck. Adam arrives first with a 1975 Ford Maverick. Adam goes on to explain why he picked the Maverick. He says the platform used for the Maverick was also used for the Ford Ranchero, a half car/half truck. Tanner arrives next in a BMW 325e. Tanner comments how Adam keeps going with American cars from the 1970’s in the cheap car challenges. Adam’s rebuttal is that Tanner’s BMW is veryÂ effeminate. Rutledge arrives in a 1991 Mazda Miata with a the rear window missing.Â RutledgeÂ explains why the Miata is similar to a truck. The guys are given their first task. They must travel 250 mile starting in Lubbock to get their first place. Tanner throws a cow pattie through the open hole of the Miata. They guys then head off. On the trip, the guys encounter cattle. Rutledge has screws falling off and says it is snug and very bumpy in the Miata. Tanner is enjoying his BMW. He is drifting and kicking up dirt that damages Adam’s windshield. Rutledge went with the Miata because it gets good gas mileage, it is peppy, and it can haul a lot of stuff. He sees the hole as a loading point. Rutledge says his car has a girly reputation, but the girl car is the BMW. Tanner says the BMW is overengineered. It can take a beating. Adam says the Maverick is comfortable, rear-wheel drive, good ground clearance, and has a V8 under the hood. Adam has to pull over because his car is missing a belt to drive the water pump. Rutledge says the cars are good labels for the hosts. The Maverick is old and out-of-style like Adam. The BMW isÂ pretentiousÂ and not that fast like Tanner. The Miata is sporty and affordable like Rutledge. The guys make it to Running-R Ranch.
Segment 2: Cattle Drive in Coupes
The guys must herd 100 cattle 20 miles in their cars. The guys had to keep the cattle in the pack and could not scare the cattle. Each cow and bull cost $500-$600, and need to be fat. The guys need to walk the cow, not run them. The cattle hate cars. The guys get advice from experts, who recommend using a V formation. The guys try to to reason with the cattle, but it went to deaf ears. The cattle follow the Maverick. Tanner got bored and turned herding into a race. Tanner drifts the BMW to get the cows moving. The cattle swarm past the Miata, scaring Rutledge. Rutledge tries to chase Tanner, but gets stuck in the mud. Commercial break. The show returns as the guys are outside the hanger where the Top Gear US studio is. Adam says he is enjoying Texas and says he knew they would see some cool things. Adam says the coolest thing he saw was a giant man stuck in a hole driving a tiny Miata. Rutledge says it was not his fault because he was chasing Tanner to stop Tanner from creating a stampede. Tanner says that the cattle were jogging and Rutledge did not have to follow him. Returning to Texas, Tanner and Adam try to flip Rutledge over. Tanner rips the back of the convertible top off the Miata. Eventually Tanner pulls Rutledge out of the mud. It was getting late, and the cattle escaped to the trees. The guys wrangle up the cattle. Tanner runs over rocks and cuts a gas line. Tanner mends the fuel line with tape. The guys traveled 10 miles before setting up camp. Adam tries to weasel his way out off the sleeping outside. The guys needed to stay with the cattle. The guys had whiskey and dip. I am surprised that Rutledge could not handle chewing tobacco, since he is from the South. Rutledge throws up from the tobacco. The guys eventually get the cattle into the pin. The guys think they got all the cattle in the pin, but one of the experts says he does not see 100 cattle. The guys drive off before the expert could count all the cattle. The guys then drive to a location 50 miles east of San Antonio.
Segment 3: Crop Food Challenge
The guys have to carry as much crop food as they can in their cars. The crop food is manure. Hot, steamy manure. The guys then have to drive 10 miles to a depot. The guys modify their cars. Tanner puts buckets on the outside of his car to carry the manure. Adam cut out the back of his Maverick for more storage space. Rutledge cuts out the convertible top. He put cardboard as an attempt to keep manure off him. To test the payload capacity of the cars, each car would be filled with 2000 pounds of manure. Adam was first. Adam gets two wheel loader scoops of manure. Since there is nothing separating Adam from the manure, he gets some manure on him. Tanner was next. He was putting on chapstick while the buckets were being loaded with manure. A couple of the buckets failed to hold any manure and were dangling off the car. Rutledge came up with a sign system. Thumbs up was good. X was bad. The show goes to commercial while the Miata was being loaded with manure. The show returns to outside the hanger. Rutledge says he did not care for the manure challenge. Rutledge says fun is not throwing up. Back to Texas. Rutledge’s Miata is being filled with manure, and some gets on Rutledge. He puts up the X sign to signal stop, but the manure just kept coming. Rutledge tells the manure dumper to load it up again. Half of Rutledge’s windshield is covered with manure. He runs into Adam, who then kicks manure off Rutledge’s windshield. The guys hit the road with manure. On the highway, Tanner swerves to get more manure on Rutledge. The guys make girl jokes at Tanner because he has no manure inside his car. The guys take a shortcut through downtown San Antonio. Adam breaks down in front of the Alamo. His Maverick overheated again. The breakdown halted traffic. Adam throws manure at Rutledge and the guys were off. Tanner backs into Rutledge. Tanner’s driving style was making it miserable for everyone else. Karma caught up to Tanner as he lost a bucket full of manure. Commercial break. The show returns to the hanger. Tanner does a recap. They lost cattle, slept with scorpions, and had to haul around crap. Tanner says it was one of the toughest challenges yet. Rutledge says Tanner was driving in an air conditioned car, putting on makeup. Tanner says he was putting on chapstick. Back to Texas. The guys are getting one of Tanner’s buckets out from under the Miata. The guys get the bucket loose. There is still manure in it until Adam pours the rest out of the bucket. Tanner tries to get as much of the manure back as he can. The guys make it to the weigh station. Adam went first and had 1,420 lbs of manure in his Maverick. Tanner went next and had 270 lbs of manure in his buckets. Adams says that the manure weighed less than Rutledge. Rutledge went last and had 570 lbs of manure. Adam won this challenge.
Segment 4: Monster Truck Race
The guys had 12 hours to prepare their cars for monster truck racing. The last car standing wins. Tanner says the winner gets double points. Tanner backs into the Miata before driving off. Rutledge is seen shoveling manure out of his car. The next day, the guys reveal their modifications to their cars. The guys would race 6 laps around the track. Adam took an early lead. He led the first two laps until the Maverick overheated and the engine caught fire. Commercial Break. The show returns to Texas. Adam says his car was the best until it caught fire during the monster truck race. As a consequence for breaking down, the Maverick was added to the track. Rutledge and Tanner restart the race. The race was back and forth until Rutledge loses a wheel. Tanner wins the wheel. He did not crush the Maverick. The show cuts to the hanger, where Tanner has his BMW with him. Adam says that Tanner did not win because Adam says he won the hauling competition and claims victory over the cattle drive. Tanner says that Maverick caught fire and could not have won. Rutledge goes through Adam’s history. Adam’s Maverick caught fire. Adam bent his Cadillac in half, in which Adam defended himself saying he drove it like a man. Adam broke the driveshaft on his Ford F-250, which Adam blames gravity for that. Tanner says Rutledge drove on three wheels, which Rutledge says was pretty awesome. Tanner says his car was the only one still running so he claims victory. The other two protest. The show ends.
Overall, this was an entertaining season premiere. The pilot episode was boring. The guys were in my home state of Texas. They drove through my college town carrying crap. The chemistry has vastly improved since season 1. I have issues with Rutledge. His laugh is annoying and he complains too much. The jokes were good and the timing of the jokes was spot on.
Final Verdict: 8 Stigs out of 10. Too much complaining from Rutledge. It would have been nice to see a fastest lap challenge for the cars in which the Stig would drive each car around a track carrying 500 lbs of some item. Still, it was an entertaining episode.
Originally written on July 31, 2011