Last week was about saving, but this week is about destroying on Crash Course. Richard Hammond is in Florida to learn what it really takes to demolish a building (hint: it’s not just crushing).
Richard quickly gets us up to speed on the many uses of a track hoe for demolishing a building, which a guy named Rich (ha) explains is a multi-step process that involves recycling and dismantling in addition to the crushing. Track hoe operator Danny is skeptical about teaching Richard how to use the machine, but he says he’ll try his best. I suppose that’s all we can ask for.
Richard is curious how precise the track hoe can be, so he engineers a test to see if Danny can pick up the crew’s drink cooler with the vehicle’s bucket – which he does without incident. Suitably impressed, Richard climbs into the cab to get his first instructions from Danny on the track hoe’s controls. “It didn’t take us long at all to get him set up in the machine,” Rich says, and Danny agrees, “He picked it up really fast.”
The first test is for Richard to move…the job site’s outside restroom. He fails this when it falls from the track hoe’s bucket, and flunks the test a second time when he pretty much crushes the thing and renders it unusable. It’s a disappointing end to day one.
Day two begins with Rich showing how it’s done, saying that his idea of stress relief is to “wreck a crack house,” which is an interesting way to put it. Can Richard finish what Rich started? Maybe if he stops giggling with amusement. He’s deliriously happy once he’s at the controls of the track hoe.
Job done, he gets to visit his temporary boss at home, at his “man-cave.” We find out that Rich enjoys bonsai trees, which is an interesting opposite to his profession.
And then we get to the wrecking ball, that symbol of destruction that Richard tells us is actually illegal in the United Kingdom. “It’s making me nervous even when it’s still,” he admits. before Danny shows him how to use it.
“I’m guessing if I get this wrong I am, well, killed?” Richard asks him, to which Danny responds in the affirmative. So Richard swallows his pride, tells the crew to flee, and utters that Jeremy Clarkson phrase, “How hard can this be?” As it turns out, very. Thankfully, there are more hapless minivans for him to practice on.
On day three, he must learn how to use the concrete densifier, which is a different head attached to the track hoe. The best part of this segment is the growling that Richard makes for sound effects as he’s crushing concrete. He decides to use the densifier to lay waste to a garden statue of Michaelangelo’s David. Oddly, David’s rear end survives.
But can Richard pass his final exam: the demolition of almost an entire house, without disturbing the dummy who’s sleeping in the bedroom? Unlike in the previous episodes, there’s no time limit on this task, and Richard can (and does) ask Danny for help along the way. There are some nervewracking moments. but with a few tips, Richard literally brings down the house and passes his final exam, earning himself an open invitation to return any time he likes.
This might be the most informational episode of the series thus far. Like Richard, I was unaware of the intricacies of the demolition process, so I now consider myself properly educated in the many steps it takes to tear something down. As he says, it really is like doing a puzzle in reverse. And there is a certain amount of almost childlike delight in destruction on this scale. Who among us hasn’t enjoyed breaking something at some point in our lives?
Next week: it’s the season finale of Crash Course! But I’ve really become attached to this show! Ah, well, I’m sure Richard has another half-dozen on the way…
For more from Brittany Frederick, visit my BuddyTV writer page, and follow me on Twitter at @tvbrittanyf.
Image courtesy of BBC America