And we are back! In what seems like an eternity since the pandemic began more than two years ago, we get the first true international Grand Tour adventure since “A Massive Hunt” premiered in December 2020. The challenge this time is for Clarkson , Hammon and May choose three rally cars and take them through the Scandinavian countries of Norway, Sweden and Finland, all while staying above the Arctic Circle. What follows looks like the most Top Gear-esque episode of the Grand Tour in years, full of challenges, pranks, injuries and even a small glimmer of hope.
As usual for these challenges, we start with a small argument between the presenters. While Richard Hammond and James May chose to do it right, choosing a Subaru Impreza and a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo respectively, Jeremy Clarkson appears with an Audi RS4. The other two are quick to point out that the RS4 is by no means a rally car, and Clarkson rationalizes the way (see, “bluff”) of letting it race. The purpose of choosing rally cars for the challenge was the belief that they would be suitable for the potentially rough Arctic terrain, although Clarkson seems to have gone for power and speed (again) rather than what could actually function.
We are naturally treated to a series of challenges during the 90-minute special, the first of which is a speed test in the tunnel of a former submarine base. This is where the first major incident of the stage occurs and surprisingly, the one injured is not Richard Hammond. James ends up speeding a little too much and when he tries to stop, ends up spinning his car and hitting the wall head-on. Luckily, he’s not injured beyond a broken rib, but the car is apparently another matter. Having taken the brunt of the impact, it becomes highly doubtful that it can be repaired and James is stuck in the Volvo 360 that producer Andy Willman has procured as the dreaded “rescue car”.
While James repairs himself and the Evo, Hammond and Clarkson continue, finding a workshop where they can “upgrade” their cars in the normal Grand Tour way. They are eventually joined by May who has miraculously repaired her Mitsubishi. The next challenge is skijoring, which is when a skier is pulled down a track, normally by dogs, horses or a motorbike/snowmobile, but this time it’s with the cars of the presenters. Following a visit to a mining town whose activities are sinking houses in the area, the three have the idea of creating their own houses that can be towed by their respective cars. Clarkson fashions what is essentially a tiny house, Hammond opts for a Scandinavian cabin, and May conspicuously looks like a closed bus stop (May saying it’s so he can watch the Northern Lights at night).
On the way back to the UK, shenanigans ensue as they can only when these three are involved. The Prank War begins when Clarkson freezes Hammond’s car keys in a block of ice, which Clarkson claims tried to prevent the freezing by peeing on the ice. Hammond then gets his revenge by pouring water on the Audi overnight, causing the entire RS4 to be encased in ice the next morning. Clarkson finally has the last laugh after realizing that they had in fact parked their mobile homes on a ski slope. He then detaches Hammond’s shed from the Subaru and pushes the shed down the slopes. It’s just one of two running jokes throughout the episode where the three of them keep camping in places they shouldn’t, like the aforementioned ski slope and confuse a traditional Sami hut. in a reenactment camp with emergency shelter.
After the pandemic ended hopes for more adventurous challenges in Season 4, The Grand Tour’s fifth season is back to the format we know and love. From legitimate scares to hilarious spins, this felt a lot closer to episodes of the past than “Lochdown” and “Carnage-a-Three.” Granted, these episodes helped us through the dark times, but as if you had to have fun when the weather was bad outside, they just weren’t the same. Now people can once again rejoice and enjoy good old automotive mayhem, just like the gasoline gods intended.
#Grand #Tour #Review #Scandinavian #Film