We’ve essentially hit the halfway mark on the first season of The Grand Tour, and since midseason finales are all the rage these days, why not look back and relive all the episodes we have seen so far? This weekend, I did just that. The house was nice and quite for the holiday, the kids were actually behaving for once, and I was sicker than a dog on the couch. Seemed like the perfect time to re-watch all the episodes once again.
Before I delved into ranking each episode, let’s talk about what I liked and didn’t like about the series as a whole so far:
- Jeremy, James, and Richard back on our screens
- Giant budget = awesome visuals
- Conversation Street intro shenanigans
- Different location every week
- not so subtle jabs at Top Gear
- The American
- Dying celebrity gag that has gone on 7 episodes too long
- Drone gag that has gone on 7 episodes too long
- “Experimental episode” wasn’t that great
- Hosts feel too forced at times
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All in all, I’m enjoying the first season so far, and despite the cons, it’s something I still look forward to every week. With that being said, let’s get on with the rankings!
7. Operation Desert Stumble (Episode 2)
It really should come as no surprise that this episode was my least favorite. I’m not necessarily saying it’s “bad;” the boys were trying something new and I can appreciate that. I just didn’t find it all that entertaining. In defense of the episode though, people (myself included) need to stop complaining about the show being “too scripted.” It was always scripted, even all the way back to the good old days of Top Gear. It seems more blatant now for some reason, but it’s not like an entirely new format was introduced for The Grand Tour. So that’s what this episode was; the same thing as usual, just tackling a completely different topic than cars.
6. Enviro-mental (Episode 4)
I know there were a lot of people who enjoyed this episode, and again, I most certainly didn’t “dislike” it. But I didn’t really like it. For all the complaints that Episode 2 felt too scripted, I actually felt that this one took the whole “scripted” thing too far. James erecting an entire mining setup to make bricks comes immediately to mind, as does Jeremy’s meat car. I’m not goign to lie though, I laughed way too long at Jeremy’s stretched cow rectum windshield. In fact, I’m still chuckling to this day.
5. The Holy Trinity (Episode 1)
This used to be my favorite episode, but to fair, at that point we were only two episodes in. Also, I feel my love for this episode may have been a bit biased since intro with the three Mustangs still stands as one of the coolest things I have seen in forever. Halfway through the season however, and Episode 1 doesn’t really stand up to the test of time. Upon re-watching it and fanboying all over the intro again, it turns out I wasn’t really all that interested in the rest of the show. It’s an important episode in the sense that it sets up the rest of the season, but even with the three blisteringly awesome hypercars, it really didn’t feel like anything special. I’m sure many will disagree with me, and if you do, please tell us why in the comments or our Facebook page!
4. Opera, Art, and Donuts (Episode 3)
I’m being a bit picky about this one, and I will now explain why. Overall the episode was extremely enjoyable. Italy is one of my favorite places in the world (been there once, plan to die there someday), and I loved the three cars that were featured, especially the Challenger Hellcat. However, Richard was REALLY annoying in the episode, and it was blatantly clear they were just playing up his “American-ness” to an absurd degree. It was the equivalent of having an Asian character with slanted eyes and buck teeth. No, I wasn’t offended, but it went on for a bit too long. I did get a chuckle at Richard getting mobbed in Vicenza though, which is actually home to a friend of mine. No, she didn’t get to see Hammond.
3. The Beach (Buggy) Boys (Episodes 7 & 8)
The grand tradition of globe hopping specials is alive and well in this two part Namibia special, as the boys drive across Namibia to the border of Angola in three “homemade” beach buggies. Like Vietnam and Iraq before it, this episode had it all; gags and pranks, dangerous situations, breakdowns, and dildo throwing (maybe that was just this one). Namibia is a stunning place and viewers were rewarded at the end with one of the most spectacular sights ever as the boys stumbled upon hundreds of waterfalls. This special made me look forward to whatever future specials they have in store, as I know they will do it right.
2. Morroccan Roll (Episode 5)
For one whole week, this was my favorite episode of The Grand Tour. It felt the most Top Gear-ish to me, especially with the game of Car Battleship, which I admit was way more riveting than I thought it would be. Even the celebrity death brought back some memories, as the band Golden Earring was “killed off” (if you recall, Golden Earring’s “Radar Love” was one of the Greatest Driving Songs on old Top Gear). From the challenges with the three cars to the studio bits, to the Battleship, this one felt like home.
1. Happy Finnish Christmas (Episode 6)
This is it, my favorite episode of The Grand Tour so far. This one had all the things that made old Top Gear great, and very little of what didn’t. The Christmas gifts segment was a perfect throwback to the Xmas segments of old, the challenge featured my very own car, the Ford Mustang, there was a perfect jab at Top Gear, and the Ford vs Ferrari film narrated by James was one of the best that I have ever seen, both on The Grand Tour and the entirety of Top Gear. It was almost like the producers sat back one day and said “What made Top Gear so great? Let’s pick out the best aspects of TG and mash it all into one episode of TGT.” And they did.
Obviously my list won’t be the same as yours, so let us know how you would rank the episodes so far! Hit us up in the comments and our Facebook page!