“Cars on the Road” takes place after the events of “Cars 3,” in which Lightning McQueen (Owen Wilson) settled back at Radiator Springs. Now, in this new chapter of his life, he learns that his best friend Mater (Larry the Cable Guy) has a sister named Mato (Dana Powell), and she’s getting married. So, Mater has to head East to attend her wedding. But since he isn’t on good terms with her, he is afraid to do it all on his own. That’s when McQueen proposes the idea of going along with him. He says that they can even take a ride on Mack (John Ratzenberger) and reach the venue in no time. However, Mater counters that that is no way of conducting a road trip and that they’ve got to drive all the way themselves. After some subtle persuasion from Sally (Bonnie Hunt), McQueen agrees to Mater’s definition of a road trip and hits the road with him.
Episode 1 ‘Dino Park’ Recap
The first place they stop at is Cartaceous Gardens. Yes, car versions of dinosaurs canonically exist. Lightning is clearly very well-versed about dino-cars. But Mater is on the opposite spectrum and is, in fact, afraid of them. When Lightning tries to educate him about the cars’ Jurassic age, he simply drifts off and starts dreaming about living in that era. In that vivid dream, he sees Lightning approaching the car version of a T-Rex to get a closer look at it. However, things go sideways as it tries to eat Lightning. Mater comes to the rescue. That’s when an even bigger dino-car arrives to eat the dino-car trying to eat Lightning. When they are about to go off a cliff, he snaps back into reality and states that he has accidentally learned a thing or two about dino-cars. And on that note, they hit the road again.
Episode 2 ‘Lights Out’ Recap
Mater predicts that it’s going to rain and says that they should’ve stopped at the cute, little motel they just passed. McQueen says that there’s nothing to worry about because the sun is out. He is quickly proven wrong as it starts to pour. While looking for a place to spend the night, they come across the Destiny Hotel, which is spooky as hell. Mater is visibly scared. But McQueen says that he’s going to sleep like a rock. Quite the opposite happens, actually. Mater goes to sleep, and McQueen stays wide awake as he’s too spooked by the branches hitting the glass and the sounds on the floor right above them. After hearing someone call out his name, McQueen ventures out into the hallways, where he’s followed by the ghosts of the cars in the portraits.
Then the episode goes into “The Shining” mode with “race” written forwards and backward like “redrum” on a door. McQueen comes across a pair of twins asking him to come to play with them. The carpet on the floor resembles the one from The Overlook Hotel. When he tries to access the elevator, antifreeze floods out of it (instead of blood). He enters the hotel’s ballroom and is taken for a ride with all the floating ghosts there. And finally, he is chased down by a fiery ghost car all the way to his room. The following day, Mater tells McQueen to always choose the hotels because he slept so peacefully. McQueen hilariously declines this proposition. Now, if you are wondering if the ghosts are real or just a figment of McQueen’s imagination, that’s answered with the appearance of the ghost named Randy.
Episode 3 ‘Salt Fever’ Recap
McQueen and Mater’s road trip leads them into the desert. As they are wondering where they have to go, a car going at breakneck speeds whizzes past them. Eventually, they find out that the desert is the hub for experimental cars from all over the globe that are trying to surpass all kinds of speed barriers. While McQueen wonders if there’s any place for a racing car, Mater goes to the Japanese camp to check if they can modify him so that he can increase his usual velocity by several notches. Fearing for his life, McQueen advises against it. But when has Mater ever listened to him? So, he goes ahead with the procedure and appears out of the tent, looking like a tow truck on rockets. When Mater hits the salt desert, McQueen goes after him just to make sure that he’s okay. However, Mater goes supersonic, leaving McQueen behind.
After a while, though, McQueen’s fears come true. Mater’s equipment goes haywire, and he crashes. Well, not actually. Time stops for him as the literal Speed Demon (Kathy Holly) arrives to take his soul to heaven. But Mater is in no mood to go back, especially since he doesn’t want to leave McQueen to deal with his loss all on his own. The Speed Demon can’t let him return to the mortal world. So, Mater tricks her into closing her eyes and floats away into his physical self. Seeing his enthusiasm to stay alive, the Speed Demon says that there’s no harm in letting one soul slip through the cracks. While returning back to the campsite (spot the Indian flag on one of the tents there), Mater voices his realization about how much McQueen cares about him. That’s when he’s hounded by all the teams wanting him to test their equipment for them. Since Mater understands the value of his life, he and McQueen decide to get the hell out of there as quickly as possible.
Episode 4 ‘The Legend’ Recap
McQueen and Mater arrive at Wayne County Family Campground to rest for the night. McQueen assumes that he and Mater are going to have a quiet time by the fire. But Mater has other plans as he befriends a trio of conspiracy theorists who are looking for Bigfoot (the car version of it, of course). And although McQueen isn’t all that interested in venturing into the forest to look for it, Mater pushes him into the expedition anyway. Things go wrong pretty quickly as McQueen gets separated from the group and is hunted by a monster. While trying to get away from it, he knocks himself out by running into a tree and then finds himself hanging in someone’s house. It turns out that the monster isn’t a monster, but a moss-covered monster truck known as Ivy (Quinta Brunson).
As per Ivy’s backstory, she used to jump over cars (like monster trucks usually do) for sport. But after a while, she didn’t feel like destroying cars anymore. That’s why she quit and sought refuge in the woods. And as her peaceful time up there is now being disturbed by the cryptid hunters, she asks McQueen and Mater (who bursts into the house to rescue McQueen but ends up helping Ivy) to assist her in getting those “gas bags” off of her mountain. They put up an elaborate act by pretending to be aliens that are sucking the life out of Mater. That spooks the trio enough to run away from that place. The next day, Ivy thanks Mater and McQueen for helping her reclaim her mountain. However, instead of staying there, she joins them on their road trip.
Episode 5 ‘Show Time’ Recap
Mater, McQueen, and Ivy stop at a submarine-shaped car wash to, well, clean themselves up. McQueen isn’t too fond of its design because it looks like you are entering the submarine (mind you, submarines are probably a race in this universe) through its butt and coming out of its mouth. So, he hangs back while Mater and Ivy take the dive. While the latter comes out looking completely unrecognizable without her moss and dirt, the former looks the same. McQueen hilariously says that it’s impossible to mess with perfection. Then they hit the road again and start talking about enjoying the simple pleasures of life, something that Mater thinks he has forgotten how to relish. McQueen, on the other hand, claims that he celebrates everything that comes his way. However, when he sees a circus, he recoils and tells the other two to keep driving instead of making yet another pit stop.
But Mater and Ivy end up taking McQueen to the circus. And that’s when it becomes clear that he doesn’t like circuses because he’s afraid of clowns. Still, he’s forced to stay there for the show, which gets beautifully chaotic with every passing second. Finally, when McQueen thinks the torture is over, the organizers call for a volunteer. Although Mater nominates McQueen’s name to mess with him, Ivy steps into the spotlight to do a stunt. Yes, the stunt that she has always done: jumping onto cars. However, this time, instead of jumping onto them, Ivy skips over them to the tune of her favorite EDM. In fact, she enjoys it so much that she decides to stay with the circus troupe because, at her heart, she is a performer. Mater and McQueen bid goodbye to Ivy and hit the road again. Mater says they should revisit the circus on their way back from the wedding. McQueen tells him that they don’t need to make such hasty commitments yet.
Episode 6 ‘Trucks’ Recap
Mater suffers from a little existential crisis as he thinks that, despite being a tow truck, he isn’t an actual truck. McQueen assures him that he is as much a truck as the rest of them. But Mater doesn’t look all that convinced. They take a pause at a nearby gas stop that’s named after trucks and, hence, is crowded with trucks. McQueen goes into the shop to buy some supplies while Mater stays outside looking at all the trucks. That’s when the episode turns into a musical with all the trucks around there joining their hands and vocals to lift Mater’s spirits. When McQueen comes out of the shop, he asks him if everything is okay. Mater visibly appears more confident as he feels that he is a truck as well. In a post-credits scene, McQueen hums a tune and wonders how it feels to have a song stuck in one’s head.
Episode 7 ‘B-Movie’ Recap
McQueen asks Mater whether he has prepared the speech he’s about to deliver at Mato’s wedding. Mater says that the thought of it makes him nervous because he essentially has stage fright. As McQueen tells him that he’s going to fare fine, they stumble upon a movie set for Brakelight Pictures (it’s a riff on Searchlight Pictures, a branch of 20th Century Fox that Disney has acquired). They seem to be producing an alien invasion film where the aliens look very much like the ones from “Mars Attacks!”. One of the assistant directors recognizes McQueen and urges him to play a minor part in the movie. McQueen recognizes the famous horror movie director Bella Cadavre (Megan Cavanagh) and gets all excited about starring in her film. But, soon after that, he realizes that the character he’s playing has just one line. And when the time comes for him to deliver that one line, he falters badly.
In an attempt to cheer McQueen up, Mater puts on the space zombie prop and fools around a bit. Bella notices that and decides to cast him in multiple roles. Surprisingly, Mater knocks it out of the mark and impresses everyone in the cast and crew. He even gets the part of the President of the United States of America, for which he has to write his own speech. This makes McQueen jealous because he thinks he would be good at this. Mater tells him that he’s good at everything he does and that he should leave something for the rest of them. The following day when they show up on the set, they find out that their movie has been scrapped. Now, instead of a sci-fi horror film, it’s a musical, starring Ivy! They watch her performance and resume their road trip again. McQueen asks Mater if he finished his President’s speech. Mater says he has. He even gives him a taster and, according to McQueen, it’s splendid.
Episode 8 ‘Road Rumblers’ Recap
Finally, the inevitable happens: the duo is lost. At least Mater thinks that they are lost, while McQueen insists that they are on the right track. They get into an argument about it, which ends with them saying “fine” to each other repeatedly in the cutest way possible. But they pause their tiff after noticing a carnival going on in the distance. While looking at it, they are surrounded by a group of cars clearly inspired by the “Mad Max” movies. The reference becomes a little clearer when Mater and McQueen are brought to the “arena,” and an Aunty Entity-esque (Tina Turner) car appears, called the Chieftess (Toks Olagundoye). She tells them that they can either go to the badlands, where the scavengers will strip them away piece by piece, or they can partake in the battle at the Thundercone, which will involve them going down a massive, inverted cone (filled with traps) while attempting to knock each other out. Whoever survives will be the winner.
McQueen and Mater, now equipped with weapons and metallic extensions, do go down the Thundercone. But, midway through the fight, they realize that everyone has left to go battle the electrically charged cars because the two groups have a long-running tiff. McQueen and Mater try to reason with them by saying that arguing over inconsequential matters is totally unnecessary. However, no one listens to them, and they start fighting anyway. McQueen and Mater realize that that’s their cue to escape. They reach a gas station along with a member of the Thundercone-rs, i.e., Jeremy (Zeno Robinson), who has some semblance of sensibility and isn’t a fan of engaging in combat. While having a drink, they notice that the rivaling parties have put an end to their squabble and are arriving at the station to have a drink. To celebrate that, McQueen goes to order at least a hundred more sippy coolers.
‘Cars On The Road’ Episode 9: Ending Explained – What Is Mater’s Big Issue With Mato?
In the episode titled “Gettin’ Hitched,” Mater and McQueen finally reach the venue for Mato’s wedding, and that’s when we all get to know that Mater is actually from a very affluent family. In addition to that, and with the arrival of Cruz (Cristela Alonzo), we find out that Mato is getting married to Cruz’s cousin, Mateo (Oscar Camacho). McQueen catches up with Cruz to find out what she has been doing in the off-season. She says she has opened a racing school, formed a non-profit organization that provides snow tires to the “lightly treaded,” and she’s learning French. Before Cruz gets to know what McQueen has been up to, the ceremony begins, and Mato arrives. She rushes to meet Mater, Cruz, and McQueen. Initially, she doesn’t seem as intimidating as Mater said she is. But, as the conversation goes on, it becomes incredibly apparent that the big problem between the brother and sister is their competitiveness.
The ceremony takes a pause as Mater and Mato race backward to the old oak tree to partake in a lawn drawing contest; tree climbing contest; stunt performing contest; drinking game; rock-paper-and-scissors; a spelling bee; a number plate reading contest; jenga; number plate house of cards; and a stare-off. By the way, all of this is judged by Cruz because she has taken a course in being a professional referee and concludes that Mato is the winner. When Mato and Mater start to argue about that, Cruz reveals she also dabbles in family therapy. After giving them a free session, the brother-sister duo calms down and admits that they admire each other very much. With that out of the way, Mato goes to marry Mateo, which is officiated by Cruz because the priest angrily walks away after being made to wait for so long. Mater gives his speech and incorporates his presidential address into it. And McQueen and Mater hit the road again, hoping to run into many more adventures. In a post-credit scene, McQueen wonders where Mateo and Mato went for their honeymoon. And that’s answered by Mateo and Mato screaming each other’s names as they navigate the world’s largest tire maze.
“Cars on the Road” is a 2022 Animated Adventure Series streaming on Disney Hotstar.