The end of the American Road Trip challenge. After seeing the level of destruction Hurricane Katrina had brought to New Orleans, the trio abandon their plans for the final challenge and instead all decide to freely donate their cars to a local charity. Except James, who tried to donate but nobody wanted it. Especially notable as the trio had spent the majority of the episode being rather condescending to American people and their culture, and the Alabama hillbilly incident likely didn't help their views on them either.
It gives me really great pleasure, because I really doubted that i'd be saying this at one point... ladies and gentlemen... RICHARD HAMMOND!
(Cue Richard, accompanied by a huge hug by Jeremy)
And don't forget, just after the crash, who were some of the first people to visit Hammond in hospital? May and Clarkson.
Clarkson: Both James and I are looking forward to getting our Hamster back.
The above cannot be stressed enough. Hammond's autobiography of the crash and his recovery even specifies that the instant May and Clarkson heard what had happened, they abandoned what they were doing to go and see him.
Jeremy sounds like he's about to cry when he reintroduces Hammond back to the show.
The moment on the Death Road in Bolivia between May and Hammond when all May could see in the dark was the back of Hammond's Toyota.
May: Hammond, I want to say something to you that I wouldn't say at any other time.
May: Please don't leave me.
Hammond: Oh God, those words are going to stay with me for a bit, I'll struggle to get over that. [more sincerely] No, I won't.
Just a small thing, but in the episode in which Hammond is hypnotized by Paul Mckenna in the studio, to check that he truly has been 'put to sleep', so to speak, Clarkson leans forward and says the following:
It just seems so sweet that Clarkson knows him well enough to know that if he were awake, he would respond to him.
It's more of a Crowning Moment of Cute, really, but during the Race to the London Airport challenge, The Stig is waiting at a bus stop when he's accosted by a flock of children. They're still in class, so they have to leave, and they all wish The Stig the best on his race.
Little happy child: Good luck on the bus!
Hammond taking a picture for the children in the village between Hanoi and Ha Long. Sweeeeet!
When trekking through the Himalayas in the India special, the gang is forced to camp in freezing weather due to Hammond's failing lights. While no one is happy about this, what follows is a genuinely tender moment between mates without all the vitriol that usually divides them.
In the same special, Hammond got one of the Mini's headlights to work at the very end. It was a real scrapper.
The India special ended with the trio coming across some locals playing cricket outside the Hill View Cafe in the Himalayas. Placing empty Coke cans and tennis balls on the vertical custom exhaust of Jeremy's Jaguar, they created a new variation on the sport. And after an episode full of pitfalls, mistakes, and diplomatic failures, the show caps off with the cast and crew enjoying a game with a bunch of random kids they found and truly enjoying themselves for the first time.
Doubling as a Crowning Moment Of Awesome: in series 17, Hammond did a segment about a rally car team made up of war amputees who were attempting to qualify for the Dakar Rally, one of the most difficult rally races in the world. Come the first episode of series 19, not only do we find that the team qualified for the Rally, but they finished it as well, a feat that not even some of the able-bodied teams in the Rally were able to accomplish.
During the Middle East Special, Hammond and Clarkson's genuine worry when May got knocked on his arse by a tow-rope and has to be rushed to hospital, due to suffering a bad concussion. Their concern is particularly telling, in that for the rest of their trek across the Syrian Desert and the next day, neither of them mess around and only start again after May returns, having recovered.
Nearly all of the overseas specials, such as the India or Middle-East Specials, portray the places they're visiting in a rather positive light. There's usually a bunch of kids and/or enthusiastic adults to whom the presenters are more than welcome to accommodate, and the beautiful scenery is almost always commented on (for example, after a terrifying ordeal going through a road in Iraq, the journey back is much more enjoyable and appears truly beautiful).
Jeremy giving May a Dacia Sandero in the Romania special. May mentions he's geniunely touched, and he'd been waiting two years for the Sandero. Then it gets destroyed.
The Season 20 Finale where the team gathers a huge amount of British made automotive engineering in front of Buckingham Palace. For a country who's motoring industry has gone through the grinder for quite some time, that display of automotive brilliance showed Britain could still make great and world class vehicles.