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.
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.
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?