After a less than stellar second episode, The Grand Tour blasted their way back to their home in North Yorkshire, where the boys grew up near the fishing port of Whitby. How did the show go? Read our SPOILER ridden review of “Opera, Art and Donuts” right below:
This is where we find out what The Grand Tour really means. Basically, back in the Victorian times, rich people in tweed suits would take extended road trips and spend a few months learning about culture and other artsy stuff. So in this episode the Boys take a proper Grand Touring trip on some truly proper Grand Tourers: James May chose the Rolls Royce Dawn, Jeremy Clarkson chose the Aston Martin DB11, and Hammond, the most American of them all, chose the boisterous Dodge Challenger Hellcat, replete with truckloads of extra tires.
The starting point of the challenge was Siena, Italy. Home of the Palio di Siena, which is a horse race held during the summers. Already we get a glimpse of the stunning cinematography, as if we were there in the late 19th century, betting on the horses as they go around the dirt tracks.
As Clarkson and May bicker about their chosen rides and simplifying them to their basic colors and shared parts bin, one can’t help but feel a bit of nostalgia back to the days of old Top Gear, where two out of the three of them would tear each other down while the third member makes a grand entrance. And that’s exactly what happened here. The bickering was on point, the cars were spectacular, and the chemistry was all at a boiling point. It made us warm and fuzzy inside.As the cars make their individual introductions, you get a reminder of the quality and craftsmanship behind The Grand Tour’s filmmaking. It’s like Top Gear’s filmmaking but it’s the RS version of that. And when presented in 4K quality, the results are simply stunning. Rolls Royce, Aston Martin, and Dodge should take snippets from this episode and reuse it for their commercials.
Seeing the Boys arrive in Florence, Italy you also get a visual treat of the beautiful town known for its leatherwork. Kicking off its Grand Touring with extravagant style, Clarkson and May visited famous works of art in Florence museums while Hammond loudly served up donuts across town, and going through many sets of tires.Next they went to the Mugello Circuit in Tuscany, Italy, where Clarkson exercised his Aston Martin in an attempt to teach Hammond and his bad boy Hellcat a lesson. As expected, the Aston Martin was poised and fast and the Hellcat was hellishly fun and dangerous ride. Despite the differences in the cars’ styling, intent, and price range, they came very close to each other when it came to the timed lap of 2 minutes 18 seconds and change.
What hasn’t changed from the previous episodes are the Conversation Street bits. At this point the bit feels right at home and is a proper method of breaking up the fast pace films that bookend the episodes. For this particular session of Conversation Street, the Boys discussed local current events and threw in terms like ‘quids’, ‘jet’, and ‘prick teasers’, giving a sense that the Boys have finally come back to their home turf. We look forward to how Conversation Street will evolve as they move from one country to another in future episodes.
Back to the film the Boys talked about the quality of their cars’ interiors and hideous miles per gallon, with Hammond’s Hellcat registering a dismal 6.6, while Clarkson registers a decent mpg in his Aston Martin. While they made their way to Modena, home of the supercar manufacturers, Hammond made a quick stop by the Lamborghini Museum, explaining one of the behind the scenes video that we saw several months back.
As they progressed through their trip, Clarkson and May devised various ways to escape Hammond’s jovial attitude and his increasingly annoying Hellcat. Perhaps the most hilarious part of this was when Clarkson made a tweet and Facebook announcement that Hammond would be “exhibiting himself” in the Vicenza main square. If you can’t recall, back in August we reported when this event happened, and we were dumbfounded as to why Hammond had a giant portrait cut in half. Finishing their trip off at the sinking town of Venice, Clarkson and May became reunited with Hammond’s boisterous donut antics, though this time it was with a gigantic speedboat.
After the Italy film we also see that Celebrity Brain Crash hasn’t been given a rest in the third episode. Just like Conversation Street, this bit might be in it for the long haul, and we wish that Celebrity Brain Crash would eventually suffer the same treatment that the celebrities go through. But for this iteration it’s Simon Pegg’s turn to die. As the seagulls pecked at his dessert, he plunged into the icy waters of Whitby, where a rescue jet ski subtly sped off in the background. Very British humor, The Grand Tour can be…
Capping off the episode we get to see the punishment for Clarkson’s McLaren P1 not being faster than Hammond’s Porsche 918 or May’s Ferrari LaFerrari, which is the wrecking of his very old house. Seeing Hammond and May struggle with the demolition process is some of the comedic routine that we’ve been sorely missing for quite a while. We also find that Clarkson has quite the disturbing collection of items strewn about his house. Finishing off the already impressive episode, it wouldn’t be complete unless we saw a big bombshell go off, and this time it was in the form of Clarkson’s house going up in a giant ball of flame.For those who were disappointed with the second episode not having enough cars in it, this third episode was filled with lots of carporn. Clarkson’s, May’s, and Hammond’s critiques of their respective cars capture the essence of what it must be like to own them. The Rolls Royce was fully grown up and sophisticated, the Dodge Challenger Hellcat was immature and unrefined, and the Aston Martin had little blends of both. Watching this episode you completely understand why these gentlemen get paid a princely sum for the work that they do. They are utterly the best in their field and the production team behind them are pretty damn good too.
Does this episode have room for improvement? Totally. The ‘Celebrity Brain Crash’ segment has overstayed its welcome by two episodes by now, and the small bits of film don’t really have a cohesive feel to the rest of the episode. Besides that, we want the Boys to keep up the great work. We can’t wait for episode four!