Episode Two of IRT was all about teamwork, or the lack of, when it came to the truckers finishing their runs.
Hugh & Rick
The relationship between Rick and Hugh has changed little from last season. Hugh has the experience and unbreakable work ethic while Rick does his best to keep up. This season the motivation for both to succeeded is high. Rick now owns his own truck and Hugh is chasing a cut of the total profits from his new employer. As we saw last week both drivers are hunting for trailers left behind at the end of last season. After what appears to be hours of aimless wandering the trailers are finally found and not a moment too soon as Rick was reaching his boiling point. The celebration is short lived when it is realized the trailers are facing the wrong way, haven’t moved in year and are snowed in. A front end is loader is eventually needed to dig out the trailers and spin them around. If I’ve learned anything from IRT it is the fact that you NEED a front end loader if you live any where near the Arctic Circle. Hugh grabs his trailer and hits the road with little trouble but fate is not so kind for our buddy Rick. Never one to miss a snow covered ditch he promptly sticks his trailer in one. Thankfully, the front end loader is still on the scene. During this event Hugh reassures Rick that he “has this” and “knows what he is doing”. A nice change of pace from past season when jokes and taunting would have only pushed Rick to the breaking point.
Jack and Austin
The struggles between Jack and Austin represents the timeless battle of age and experience butting heads with youth and perceived knowledge. As we know from past seasons Jack is never in a hurry to finish his runs if it means doing something unsafe. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this but for a young kid like Austin it is sheer torture. Because of their over sized loads the call is made to wait for the rest of the traffic at Cold Foot to hit the road. Austin questions this strategy while stewing in his cab, pouting like like a baby. His patience is further tested when the call is made to chain up. Austin is forced to seek Jack and his help when he discovers his binders are bent. He provides conflicting stories (lies) for why his chains are damaged, where his tools went and when the last time he inspected his chains. Once the run is completed Austin yearns for freedom but is told to head with Jack Jesse to pick up a disabled truck and trailer. Jack calmly enjoys a coffee while he watches Austin struggle to load the truck. Austin is forced to do this task by himself solely because of his impatience. Over the course of the entire episode Austin whines about being treated and viewed as Jack’s “little brother”. A view he constantly reinforces through out the entire episode with his child like behavior and inexperience. Chanelling his inner Dave Redmon, Austin proclaims he is done with convoys for the season.
As we saw last week, not all rookies are created equally. To start with, Darrell has already be cut loose to truck on his own. Clearly the training process at Carlile has changed from last season when it seemed like drivers had to be paired with trainers for an endless amount of time. The other rookie, Ron, aka Porkchop, is not so lucky. Trainer Phil provides a negative report to terminal manager Lane. After many stone face looks it is decided to put Tony and Porkchop together for a “final” test. Out in the yard Tony and his new trainee do a pretrip inspection during which Porkchop shows his willingness to get dirty for inspection of the trailer breaks. This earns him some brownie points with Tony. Moments before leaving the yard Phil pops his head in the cab for a motivatial talk. You know things are never good when a conversation starts with “Don’t think of this as being spanked…”, amazingly Porkchop holds it together. After a nice start with Tony, things quickly begin to fall apart with strange CB talk about lot lizards, pickles, ditches and witches. Tony does his best to explain that the on the haul road the CB is used for very relevant information about traffic and road conditions. Porkchop is unapologetic, claiming his manor of speech is how “real truckers in the south speak”. The brownie points have been spent. After a montage of gear grinding the team arrives at Cold Foot for the evening. Tony hooks up with Phil to commiserate over the time spent with the Chop.
Probably the most interesting moment of the show occurred when Alex drove by a what appeared to be a Mack DM plow truck that partially feel through the ice to be entombed for God only knows how long. It was a good reminder that for all the danger promised by the producers that never quite materialize driving the winter roads are truly a risky endeavour.
Also, the narrator informs us that next week is the last for one trucker! OOWowowo! BUT WHO!