'Richard Hammond's Crash Course' Recap: Richard vs. the Landfill
'Richard Hammond's Crash Course' Recap: Richard vs. the Landfill
On this week's Crash Course, Richard Hammond visits someplace most of us would probably avoid going: a landfill.

He's at the Denver Regional Landfill in Denver, CO, tasked with learning how to operate a bulldozer, a compactor and a scraper. As usual, he has only three days to do it.
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When he arrives, he's met by landfill manager Brian, who gives him a quick overview of how the place operates. The assistant manager is Chris, and the scraper operator is Justin. These are the three guys who will be training Richard on the equipment. Brian is amused, calling Richard "a little fancy Englishman" and laughing at the idea that he could learn to operate all three machines in such a short time.

Richard starts his training with Chris's favorite machine, the bulldozer. Chris shows him just how much power the bulldozer has before setting him loose on the landfill's training ground. It's cute that the throttle controls designate "fast" with a picture of a rabbit and "slow" with one of a turtle. Soon, Richard is rumbling along with a big grin on his face.

That's not all: when he's done, Chris shows him how the bulldozer can roll an entire trailer - all forty-plus tons of it. Can Richard do the same thing? "There's no way," Chris tells us.

Unfortunately, he's right, as rather than roll the trailer, Richard pretty much destroys it, leading to more negative comments from his new colleagues. Richard's not off to a good start.

Day two focuses on the compactor, which weighs more than sixty tons and does pretty much what it says. "It runs about the place crushing stuff down," Richard quips, summing it up nicely. He's not thrilled about the complicated controls, telling Chris that "I feel like I'm giving birth."

However, he enjoys getting to destroy another minivan (following the one he wrecked with log darts in the show's first episode). We get to see that from multiple angles.

They've saved the most complicated piece for last: the scraper. It's up to Justin to teach Richard how to drive the vehicle that allegedly takes "years" for the landfill employees to master, according to Brian. The first thing Richard notices is that its tires are bigger than he is. The machine weighs a hundred tons when it's fully loaded and its tires alone cost a cool $14,000. Ouch!

Richard is intimidated at first, but his first run goes "surprisingly well" according to Justin. This leads his colleagues to set up an obstacle course to truly test him - one that involves land mines which will greet him if he strays off a predesignated track. He sets off quite a few of them, but at least he brings back a decent haul of dirt.

Final exam time! Richard now has to put everything he's learned to use. He'll have to handle twenty-six tons of garbage in fifteen minutes, operating all three machines in the process. It comes down to the wire, with the final load of dirt in the scraper as time expires. "I disgraced myself a bit," he says afterward, as he gets constructive criticism from Brian and Chris. "I guess the takeaway from all this is...from what we've seen here, I'm not seeing it translate," Brian tells us.

While both Richard and I leave Denver with an appreciation for just how much work it takes to deal with our garbage, this is my least favorite Crash Course episode yet, and that's because of the tone and attitude of the people involved. If you look back at episodes one and two, the soldiers and loggers that Richard worked with were more encouraging of him, and seemed like they really wanted to help him succeed.

From the first segment of this episode, it's clear that the landfill employees don't think Richard has a real shot, and most of what they have to say is criticism. I found myself wishing he would pass his final exam just so that he could prove them wrong. I get that what Richard's attempting is a challenge (that's the point of the show), but the negativity makes this episode less entertaining than the rest.

Next week, Richard tackles the striker. Let's hope he does better with that!

For more from Brittany Frederick, visit my BuddyTV writer page, and follow me on Twitter at @tvbrittanyf.


Image courtesy of BBC America

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