The Grand Tour

The Grand Tour Episode 2: Mixed Reviews Are In for Operation Desert Stumble

The second episode of The Grand Tour premiered this Friday to mixed reviews. Some have criticized the episodes lack of cars, the special forces bit, and the continuing gags from the first episode, as well as the highly disliked American driver. The show did feature some great cars like the Aston Martin Vulcan, Audi S8, and a few others, but it was largely compiled of the special forces segment. Some viewers and critics have sad the hosts should stick to cars, while others enjoyed the comedy and change of style in the segment.

For those of you who don’t know, the second episode, is actually the very first episode that was filmed for The Grand Tour. This may help explain the shows somewhat choppy flow, change of style, and lack of automotive content. Overall I think it was a great episode and a nice change of pace, but everyone has their opinion so we have gathered reviews from critics and viewers from all over the internet to give you an idea of what everyone else thought of Episode 2 of The Grand Tour. Let us know what you think after the reviews!

Obviously the reactions on Twitter were heatedly split. A lot of love and a lot of criticism, respectively. Looking at the reviews from critics across the internet you start to see more of the same thing as well. Check out these quotes from some of the reviews we found.

“…this episode isn’t completely terrible. But that’s only because this is like a concert where the main act turn out to be late and drunk, while the support act are rocking like their lives depend on it. Let’s hope we don’t see any more overly scripted mucking about this season.” -Adam Allcroft,

“Operation Desert Stumble” is better than “The Holy Trinity” because it’s more than just another car test. It allows the chemistry of the three presenters to shine through by putting them in a fun, creative situation.- Brittany Frederick,

“The Grand Tour’s daft second episode will appeal to nine year-olds and petrolhead dads, but it’s not as impressive as the first. And what’s with the music?” Ally Heath, GQ UK

“Jeremy Clarkson warned us that cars wouldn’t feature in this week’s episode, and perhaps we should have listened. The Grand Tour, like Top Gear before it, is at its best when it does two things – the hosts share their screen time with the cars, and the script walks the line between primetime comedy and reality TV. Episode two is a reminder of these facts.”- Brandon Turkus, Autoblog


On Amazon’s own IMDB page for The Grand Tour Nation it looks like the show has received overall positive marks but there is still time for that to adjust as more and more people watch over the weekend.


It’s clear that the departure from the norm has resulted in a lot of passionate feelings about Episode 2 of The Grand Tour. I think the changes the team has made to their format and the willingness to experiment will aide them well in the future and we will see The Grand Tour find success at the same level or higher of Top Gear. It’s no surpise the show struggled to live up to its premiere episode but I think down the line you will see this week’s episode looked at more fondly than not.

Did the critics get it right? Did the viewers? Either way we’re looking forward to the next episode and the rest of the season with a lot of optimism and excitement!

Nick Dunlap

Nick is a lifelong automotive enthusiast, as well as journalist, and content creator. Nick also successful competes in a variety of automotive fields including national level car shows, autocross, SCCA races, and more. He enjoys designing and building a variety of cars and helping others do the same with theirs.

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  1. Is Skinner being scripted/coached to say what he does? Rather than the “This is how Southerners talk” schtick, just let him give a real opinion of the car – that WOULD be worth watching – or just go back to the faceless, voiceless Stig.

    The current dead celebrities bit is, effectively, Jeremy shouting about the BBC’s threat. That was never my favorite part of old Top Gear anyway. Why not just do something else? The creative muscle is there. Use it. Come up with a completely different segment that can become a signature of the new show. Even James’ old “Insider Trading” segment from Season 2 would be an improvement.

    1. I agree with you on The American. I wish they would just let him do his thing, comment the way he wants to. They need to drop his script.

  2. I’ve watched both episodes of GT and I enjoyed them both but I do admit there is something missing. While contemplating this I realized the show is really a parody of Top Gear. They have taken all the iconic bits of Top Gear and are lampooning them. The “American” is the exact opposite of the Stig. He’s brash, vocal and the stereotypical red neck, NASCAR loving american; everything the Stig wasn’t. Then there is the EbolaDrome. The show has a bigger budget than they had at TG and yet their track isn’t much wider than a driveway and looks like it was an old service road with a loop added. Finally you have the celebrities that never make it to the show which also eliminates the leader board.
    The fact is, if you’re expecting a rehash of TG you’re going to be disappointed. Clarkson sold TG to the BBC a few years ago and the BBC is guarding those rights pretty closely. Personally I’m hoping this first season is a sort of transition to something different/better that lets the old camaraderie shine through.

    1. I think you’ve hit it right on the head!..taking the old popular elements and okie doking them..I think that’s clever and with development could work out if everyone eventually GETS’s hoping so and many times people’s criticisms end up being as a result of them not “getting” something..I think it’s going great so far overall

  3. Overall I am enjoying the show. To me it does feel fresh and a bit unrestricted. But I’m just not thrilled with Mike Skinner being the driver. He’s not funny, and detracts from the overall flow. Bummed that the babies over at the BBC won’t let them do things from the old show.

  4. I thought it was a fun episode; my wife and I laughed out loud multiple times, but I understand where the critics are coming from. As for the criticisms of Mike Skinner (The American), I don’t get it…the dude’s a fantastic driver, and his hillbilly banter about the ridiculous cars they ask him to drive is hilarious. I think it’s just that most Brits have a long standing hatred for NASCAR and stereotypical American attitude about foreign cars. Take it for what it is, a JOKE! It’s hyperbole, he’s just playing up the redneck American stereotype to a ridiculous, exaggerated point.

    1. Nah dude, we don’t hate it but there is virtually 0 coverage of the sport here (although we do have our own non professional versions this side of the pond).

      I’ve not managed to get to a Nascar race while driving the states yet but it’s on the list!

      Think the complaints are just down to miserable people with a poor sense of humour, I suppose it takes all sorts ????

    2. The thing is the jokes aren’t funny, they’re just dumb. I think he had one out of all his little quips so far that made me chuckle. I think he’s fine as a driver, just give him better jokes or not say anything at all. Maybe add a laugh track.

      As far as the rest of it goes I think it’s pretty good. Some of their bits go on way too long though, it seems they could edit out a good third of it and it would be a lot better.

  5. I liked this, but I have two sons that are Marines and one in the Air Force. It also helped that one of my son’s is currently assigned to work one of these “villages” for the U.S. I really appreciated the humor, but I can see where not everyone will get it. My wife and I were split on Jeremy being stuck in the window. She found it disturbing while I found it hilarious. I think that means they are right on target. I can’t think of a Top Gear season that had perfect episodes througout.

  6. I did like the episode – the American Driver was horrid though. Can we get the stig back? or maybe something like the stig. Some awesome driver that wont open his mouth?

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