The Grand Tour

The Grand Tour Episode 2: The Real First Episode Shows the Nerves

For those who didn’t follow the behind the scenes breakup between Jeremy Clarkson and the BBC, they probably didn’t know that episode two of The Grand Tour was actually the first studio taping of the show, not the Mad Max car orgy we saw in California.

Like it says in the X-Ray features, Johannesburg was picked because the hosts could count on an enthusiastic crowd to welcome them back from their 15 month hiatus from television. That same layoff is probably the reason episode 2 isn’t feeling as good as we wanted it to. It was like following a chef from one restaurant to another, but when you tasted his new dishes, you took a second to wonder what’s missing.

Coming off the emotional roller coaster that was episode one, it was easy to ride the wave of hype and have a crazy level of expectations for episode 2. However, the boys warned us that episode 2 wasn’t going to cover much about cars and from the sound of it on our Facebook page, that wasn’t a very good idea.

“Nostalgia is a file that removes the rough edges from the good old days” – Doug Larson

Don’t get me wrong, the boys have definitely done epic shows where no cars were even featured, such as the Vietnam special, but the main reason that episode was such a success was because of the adventure and competition all three were experiencing during that show, which created genuine non-scripted moments that we all remember.

Having them work together to save a VIP or take over a building or steal a car just didn’t have the same feel as we wanted them to, but did we all expect that to happen?

Remember, the boys have been away from television for 15+ months and during that time, they had to find a new employer, form a new company, find offices, hire employees and oh, they weren’t allowed to do anything they’ve done before or they’d get sued by the BBC. Also, don’t forget that the boys have had their rough shows before, so let’s not go over the deep end here.

If the law averages play out, we’re still in for a great season of The Grand Tour.

Now, to the show.

The Aston Martin Vulcan

If there was any time to have a perfect car that symbolized the struggle episode 2 goes through, it would be this Aston Martin Vulcan. You know that it is beautiful, that it was powerful and had every element of being an amazing car, but as Clarkson showed, it took a little getting used to in order to figure out how to love this car. Sound familiar?

Like with the M2, I feel Jezza is in his element when reviewing cars on the track and as usual, the review is amazing, with eloquent writing, amazing cinematography and a real sense of the power and “brutality” that can be felt through the screen. The funny bits we saw from the trailer of the car stalling and then rolling away without the hand brake were classic Clarkson, so there’s not much to get down on here.

The American

Now, if there was a poll taken by every viewer of The Grand Tour that asked what’s one thing they would want to get rid of, I would bet 9 out of 10 vote for “The American” team racing driver and the collection of corny lines he’s delivering during each of his test drives.

In Nashville, the director told the audience that The American is here to stay and it’s easy to understand why. Unlike some television shows, the show has been planned and filmed over the past year. It would be almost impossible to re-shoot everything now, especially since they have already started filming for Season 2. Now, if The American skit doesn’t get any better and sticks around for season 2, there might be a serious revolt on the hands of the producers.


The Rest

There are definitely still a few rough edges for the crew to polish up like the aforementioned team racing driver dialogue and the celebrity dying bit. A definite highlight was Conversation Street and watching the guys genuinely talk about the cars without a script.

Overall, I hope future shows get back to the formula that works and that’s the spontaneous chemistry that happens between the boys when faced with competition and challenges. It’s been 15 months since they have done a show, so this episode definitely gets a pass in my book.

What are your thoughts, reviews, and/or feedback on episode 2?

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  1. Jeremy and James say in this episode the new red bull/Aston car is the only car with a 1bhp-1kg power to weigh ratio. Are they forgetting the Koenigsegg one to one?? I will blindly love this show no matter what, that just seemed like a major slip up for a car show. Still haven’t been so happy to see three men in my life.

  2. Wasn’t the greatest episode they have ever done but certainly was not as bad as a lot of people are making it out to be either. It was a good premise but ust did not have the best execution. I have to admit, James May arguing with the Queen was pretty funny.

  3. TGT and TG are both influenced by having to be different than before. BBC would be wise to “bury the hatchet” and let go (give the lads free rein) because just like a grudge, the ill will they’re creating/created is PR slow poison. “DRAIN THE SWAMP” is the new “Bury The Hatchet” BEEB. Freedom of expression for the lads or be be despised by the rest of the world. What will it be?

  4. The American has to go..or let him talk unscripted. It’s painfully obvious, how scripted it is.

    Drop Celebrity Brain crash. It’s a filler segment, to suit networks, if Amazon decides to sell the program. Cringeworthy, at best.

    More cars, more reviews. I know TG are breathing down their necks, but still..

    The camera work, the 4K, HD shots, locations, are film worthy, and 10/10 for that. Plus the Vulcan was very nice, but that track is undersized. We need something more F1.

  5. This episode was getting back to the old days of outrageous skits and just being downright hilarious. Loved it to bits. I do agree that the only weak point is Mike Skinner the American. A bit of a wishy-washy redneck if honest and not particularly amusing. Hopefully dropped for series two. I am hoping that the boys will continue with “The Big Films” s of old, I’m wearing out my DVDs of African Special, Burma Special, Patagonia etc. We can only wish! I am a TG fn from way back and have found that TGT has carried on in very much the same vein. Hallelujah!

  6. I don’t really understand what he fuss is all about! They did mention in the first episode to bit expect car-related stuff in South Africa and Barbados. Episode 2 was hilarious. It felt like Monty Python on crack!!

  7. The Episode 2 was the real deal, what it is really meant to be. It sems apparent how the boys have stepped up the game up from Top Gear. Everything about the review of Vulcun was enjoyable.

  8. I’m in the minority on this but I thought it was hilarious and loved it. The skit was great, the Aston review was on point… In some respects the grand tour is a lot better than tg, that said I hope they do adventures in the same narrative as before. Vietnam will always be my favorite episode.

  9. I loved it yes the Nascar driver is falling flat. We all know, it’s going to only get better the more shows they make keep it up guys

  10. It was a great episode. It’s fun to watch them have more control over what they can say and do. Shooting the Queen in the back of the head on BBC? I doubt it…

  11. I liked #2 as it showed what the show is really all about, the friendship between the 3. Like all the housing shows on HGTV 98% could of us could never buy any of the cars they review (even the M2) It is the epic journeys they have been on that makes the show. However I agree the American has to go.

  12. I thought episode two was great, no complaints. Yes The American will take some getting used to – they could certainly give him some better lines (or let him ad lib, he’s probably funnier than the producers give him credit for, being a redneck). But I have zero complaints about TGT. They’re having to figure out how to do Top Gear without doing Top Gear so the slags at the Beeb won’t sue them. Cut them some slack.

  13. You’re out of your mind. Episode 2 was infinitely better than the first. The reason that these three have been so successful is not that they are really good at reviewing cars, lots of shows do that. It’s the non car review segments that made a lot of us love the show. Think about the most memorable moments from Top Gear. It’s probably not the time they reviewed an M3, but rather the time they created the sports train and caught the caravans on fire, or attempted to create amphibious vehicles. Episode 1 was all car review and setup information. If that’s all the grand tour will be, then many of us will not be around long. Episode 2 brought back the fun. It had a car review for those watching just for that, and a fun segment showing the three of them in a quasi car related challenge. It reminded me why I watch.

    But they do need to get rid of the American.

  14. I agree 100% the boys have had to overcome a lot just to get off the ground.episode 2 may be slightly disappointing but that’s only because episode 1 set such a high benchmark the episode was still genuinely funny.the only question mark for me is the American driver.drop him in season 2.he isn’t as funny as they would hope.but to be fair he will always be compared to the stig..and will always come out second.maybe he should not talk?? ????

  15. In all honesty for those who are taking this far to seriously, if you don’t like episode 2 of The Grand Tour, you probably aren’t a fan and in fact rather more of a spectator.

    I feel that the episode has been over criticised in a way the real Top Gear was when things where not to the pallet of the critics.

    It is “obvious” that the whole thing is scripted, as was the TG police chase in the barracks, the only difference in my opinion is that the stunts where far better and so ridiculous that they are funny.

    TGT is still far better than the beebs revised drizle and if we where all to forget where the Ape, Hamster and Captain Slow came from, we pwould all be having fun along with them and not criticising their efforts.

    1. So you blindly like everything they come up with? Do you also love everything your favourite music artist creates? It’s called critisism, must be unknown word to you. Critisism is not same as hate and doesn’t mean you are not a fan. Just the opposite, usually the biggest fans are brave enough to critisise.

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