The Grand Tour Episode 2, has left me somewhat lost for words and in state of bewilderment, so much that I nearly decided not to cover it on my usual weekly slot. Did I enjoy it, yes but I have mixed feelings about it. In one hand this episode title Operation Desert Stumble promised to be an action pack adventure, full of Guns, explosions, fast cars and to top it all saving the damsel in stress. Instead we were presented with three not so young motoring journalists, rescuing the Queen of England from an airplane, and getting away in an Audi S8 Plus.
However I am jumping ahead of myself. Ep2 moves us from USA to South Africa and The Grand tent is up and full of car enthusiasts. The banter between the three is still there and engagement with the audience is as entertaining as ever. The show introduced a new segment which I personally enjoyed and aptly named “Making James May Do Something He Doesn’t Want to Do”, and as they were in South Africa, they sent the not so bemused James May to explore the South African Art of Spinning, or doing donuts in bashed up BMWs until the tires burst. It is extremely unsafe and somewhat dangerous and James May was more or less a passenger than an actual participant. The piece was entertaining and far superior than their other piece “The Celebrity Braincrash”, which I would like to report, is the worse concept I have seen on TV.
Next up, is Jeremy Clarkson’s review of Aston Martin Vulcan, possibly my favourite car of all time, there is allot of sense of humour from Clarkson here. The piece is very informative and beautifully shot. This was also the first true test for the new test track named “Eboladrome”. There were some issues which should be mentioned. The jury is still out on “The American”, I shall not go all out and say that he really is not very good, but his sense of humour is some what lost on me and his jokes will become rather tiresome quite quickly.
The second issue is the track itself, being too narrow on the corners and complex sections to allow The Vulcan really be unleashed to its full potentials. This was reflected on the Vulcans lap time which was only few seconds faster than the road legal McLaren 650S tested on TG track. The track needs to be revisited if TGT wants to in the same league as TG track and provide accurate track time.
I have already ranted about the next section Titled ‘Operation Desert Stumble’ at the start of this article. The section received somewhat of mixed review and criticism for being less car oriented. Number of viewers went as far as calling the episode ‘fake’, ‘dull’ and number of other words that should not be associated with TGT, especially after amazing first episode.
The two-part video takes the three action heroes to a special forces training camp in Jordan, where they were given a challenge to infiltrate a town, steal a car, get to an airport, take down a plane full of terrorists, rescue a VIP, and escape to an embassy This promised to be a lot fun, which unfortunately falls by the wayside in favour of jokes, in this case Jeremy being molested by terrorists (funny) and James being repeatedly shot by a sniper. Of course it’s not all doom and gloom for this section. There are number of funny elements that we should also focus on. Jeremy Clarkson reviewing the Audi S8 Plus under fire whilst driving and dodging terrorist gunfire is very good and I was finding even harder to contain myself. There was even more laughter when Hammond suggested that he can force Clarkson to exist the Blackhawk helicopter by tickling him. . There are also not so funny stuff as well, a pantsless Clarkson gets blown up by a lobbed grenade, and later, Hammond gets killed in a “knife fight.” Meanwhile Mr May shows his true colour and proves he is a murderous bastard. He shoots Hammond – twice – and then executes the Queen of England.
Clarkson had previously warned us about cars not being the main feature of this episode, and maybe this time we should have listened. The first episode was a roaring success which saw Amazon prime membership breaking streaming record for the company, however second episode by far has not met the expectation of the viewers. There is still a lot of work to be done and let us hope this was a one off lapse in judgment which will be forgotten in annals of history.