Well, this does it friends. Saturday night’s episode of MYTHBUSTERS was titled “Grand Finale” for a reason. It was the very last episode of what has rightly been called a life changing series. Life changing for its hosts, life changing for its fans, and life changing for a world in need of a textbook example of working and playing with the scientific principle. And hosts Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman have never disappointed, including Saturday night. Except in this final episode, they ramped up everything they have ever done, ending the series with a bang — literally.
The grand finale featured four epic experiments:
First up was ramping up use of the slow motion camera. Their highest previous frame rate was 10,000 frames per second, and this time the MYTHBUSTERS crew blew up an RV – built of both solid metal and flimsy wood, making for an interesting visual spectacle – with 850 pounds of ANFO and shot it at an incredible 50,000 frames per second. Not only was the explosion amazing, but the multiple playbacks were wonderfully satisfying, watching the sparks, the flames, the smoke, and the bits of RV fly out in slow motion and the shock wave spread out like some kind of special effect.
In an homage to a favorite past episode, the MYTHBUSTERS crew ramped up the Truck Wedge episode in a test of momentum versus history. If you remember the past episode, Adam and Jamie hitched a steel wedge to the front of a dump truck and ran it through a line of parked cars as a method of clearing through heavy traffic. This time, they built a bigger, better wedge and strapped it to a semi truck and ran it through a double line of 20 cars then more than 200 props from 14 years of MYTHBUSTERS shows: cars, planes, Christmas trees, brick walls, water tanks, boxes, tables, toilets, the killer washing machine, the needle in a haystack – you name it – ending it with the 1967 Chevy Impala strapped with a Jato rocket. The wedge worked so well, the truck never slowed down from the 45 miles per hour speed at which driver Adam initially rammed the mélange. Adam had intended the exercise as a catharsis for fans as the MYTHBUSTERS crashed through the string of props and destroyed them, but it turned out to be cathartic for him as well, bringing up tears.
For Buster’s final farewell, Adam and Jamie thought it should be in the guise of the superhero he has been for the series, suffering through demise after demise in the name of science and human knowledge. And so it was that they dressed Buster in a superhero suit, strapped him to a rocket sled at the New Mexico Tech facility while assuming a flying-superhero pose, toasted him by smacking him in the head with a bottle of champagne – a couple of times to make it break – and firing off 10 rockets to send the sled off at 780 miles per hour toward a cement block wall. In the end, there was nothing left of poor Buster, just a hole left in the wall by the impact of the rocket sled. In the reunion episode that followed, Adam and Jamie presented Kari Byron, Tory Belleci, and Grant Imahara with Plexiglas boxes containing what tiny bits of Buster they found that survived, including small pieces of the superhero outfit.
The final ramp-up of the episode – of the series – was the explosion to end all explosions. Picking up where the series’ most famous explosion left off (exploding cement truck), Adam and Jamie packed 5001 pounds of ANFO into a cement truck, to not only ramp up the original cement truck experiment but also to ramp up the biggest explosion they had ever done. You see, in the original episode the MYTHBUSTERS crew used only 850 pounds of explosive. And in the previous biggest explosion, the MYTHBUSTERS crew had used 5,000 pounds of ANFO trying to make diamonds. This episode outdid both. And once they loaded the cement truck with ANFO, Adam and Jamie went to their safety shed, counted down a final time, and kaboom! “That was magnificent,” said Adam one last time. The slow motion camera replays showed the cement truck disappear in a cloud of dirt and smoke and flame, leaving a crater and only bits of metal.
Right after the official Grand Finale episode, Adam and Jamie met with former co-hosts Kari, Tory, and Grant to reminisce about the past 14 years of MYTHBUSTERS. There were tears and laughs and clips from past episodes. They shared their favorite myths, their least favorite moments, and things they learned from their experiences. It was the perfect way to end the series, bringing back together the five who have filled our lives with so much fun and science, and who were torn away from us a year ago when Kari, Tory, and Grant left and the series was reduced to just the two hosts. Speak of catharsis. As a fan, I thank MYTHBUSTERS for including all five in one final revisit with their fans.
If you missed tonight’s two episodes – “Grand Finale” and “Reunion” – they repeat Sunday night at 9:00 pm ET (6:00 pm PT) and 10:00 p.m. ET (7:00 p.m. PT) on the Science Channel. And at 8:00 p.m. ET (5:00 p.m. PT), there’s a “lost episode” involving duct tape that precedes the repeats on the Science Channel. Don’t miss it!
My personal thanks to Adam Savage, Jamie Hyeman, Kari Byron, Tory Belleci, and Grant Imahara and the entire MYTHBUSTERS crew for 14 years of great entertainment and adventure. My daughter and I will miss you terribly. We will join you for repeats on the Science Channel from time to time to recall all those great times.