In tonight’s episode of The Grand Tour, Jeremy, James, and Richard take three old Jaguars on a quest to prove that they are indeed reliable. And they do end up doing one thing very reliably: breaking down.
The film begins with the presenters’ choice of Jag: Clarkson a V8 XJR, James an XK8 convertible, and Richard a 1967 Mark X 420G. It’s off to a good start, since I laughed more at Richard’s car’s toolkit than I probably have during the last three episodes combined.
The three Jaguars are then placed on a dirt track set against a staggering mountain backdrop to test their handling capabilities, and James quickly sets a lap record for the fastest Jaguar XK8 lap around that track. Based on how quietly Jeremy’s car runs, it’s either grown a set of electric motors or it’s stuck in overdrive. Hammond’s car immediately begins to smoke like its owners did when it was new, and the boot lid and rear window are promptly and badly broken, but it’s quickly mended and he even finds time to A) install a sunroof and B) buy a new car.
Incredibly, Hammond manages to destroy Jag #2 within an hour of leaving the hotel, through no fault of the rock-solid Jag’s. He’s soon back on the move, only to catch up with Clarkson, at the side of the road having a friendly chat with a cop, and is rescued by none other than the queen. Hammond’s car puts on an a display of spraying coolant worthy of Caesar’s Palace, and we even get a humorous interjection from a native in a Suburban.
At the Telluride airport, the challenge is to reach 100 and brake before plummeting off the cliff at the end. Clarkson just manages it, and Hammond does too, despite nearly becoming the second time we’ve seen him plummet off a cliff in a ball of fire, stopping nearly half a mile farther than Clarkson. Because there needs to be at least one contrived, super-staged joke, James falls off the cliff and ends up in an XJS miraculously unharmed, making Clarkson the only one still driving the car he started with.
In Celebrity Face-Off, two actors whose middle names are George (Luke Evans and Kiefer Sutherland) take to the track in the F-Type. We learn that Jason Statham has gone through over 140 million pounds’ worth of cars in the Fast and Furious movies, and that Sutherland once owned a Mustang with so little power that it was quite literally stopped by a robust wind. Sutherland turns a 1:17.8, smashing Evans’ 1:21.3, putting the former near the top of the board.
Getting back to Colorado, we see the film that’s haunted the trailers for months: car skiing. The cars obstinately refuse to do skiing, and thus need to be shackled together by some massive poles to climb the mountain like some majestic Jaguar centipede. At the top of the mountain, the cars are separated, and begin the treacherous journey down the mountain. Eventually, gravity stops doing the work, and the cars must be carefully piloted along to the massive, sheer drop, before another massive hill takes them to the bottom of the mountain (despite Hammond losing some big bits of car).
Despite not having a review segment or really any films but the Colorado trip, this is easily the show’s strongest episode in weeks. The first half is generally stellar, with well-timed jokes that don’t take it too far and incredible cinematography of the Colorado mountains and plateaus. The jokes where the presenters end up in different cars come off in the final product less torturously than I would have thought, and the only real misstep is James’ cliffside flight. The weakest episodes are most often buried mid-season, exemplified by last week’s show, meaning there’s hopefully an upward slope from here.
Stay tuned next week for our recap of episode 7!