It’s been almost three years since The Grand Tour switched its format away from the frilly touring tent and to its all-special format. On Friday, Amazon launched the fifth such particular, and the primary “submit pandemic” episode (their time period, not mine). In “A Scandi Flick,” the acquainted trio heads throughout Scandinavia in three rally-inspired all-wheel drive sedans. It’s actually not the present’s worst work, but it surely’s removed from the most effective. You’ll must droop disbelief and go away your considering abilities in one other room.
(Warning: Huge spoilers are forward, so if you wish to keep away from them then cease right here.)
The brand new particular is the longest within the present’s revised format portfolio, as the primary three episodes “Seamen,” “ A Large Hunt,” and ” Lochdown” all spanned an hour and half-hour, whereas “ Carnage A Trois” was an hour and eight minutes. The premise is an attention-grabbing one this time, and avoids the corny “What’s with this and that?” immediate of each “Lochdown” and “Carnage A Trois.” Clarkson explains that for this episode the staff needs to discover the world of the 2000s rally-inspired four-door.
An attention-grabbing subject for certain, however there’s an instantaneous flaw within the immediate when the presenters pull their vehicles round for a primary look. Hammond selects the obvious automotive within the class, a 2003 Subaru Impreza WRX STi, whereas Might goes for the second automotive any fanatic would consider, a 2004 Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VIII. For his selection, Clarkson goes with a 2007 Audi RS4.
Instantly, Clarkson is lambasted for his RS4 selection as a result of “it’s not a Quattro.” Hammond and Might are referring to the B2 Audi Quattro that went rallying within the Eighties, and its accompanying road-going model. Clarkson defends his choice saying that Audi has a protracted rallying historical past, which it does.
However because the query is proscribed to four-doors, the Quattro (out of manufacturing since 1991) was off-limits anyway. It was a two-door hatchback, and that latter attribute was shared by virtually all rally vehicles within the 90s and 2000s. 4-doors have been the uncommon exception, and Subaru and Mitsubishi made the one spicy road-going variations a client may buy.
One factor to notice about this specific episode (not like “A Large Hunt”), is how the trio is intent on having fun with themselves all through. The unscripted moments in retailers and on the street carry again a sense of the outdated Prime Gear episodes. And that’s been missing in a lot of The Grand Tour again catalog.
The three of them are assigned to discover which of their vehicles is the most effective by touring 600 miles throughout Norway, Sweden, and Finland and finishing challenges. It’s a basic Prime Gear immediate for certain. The staff is assured by varied information retailers they’ll be within the wilderness for many of their journey. A map is proven with the route however doesn’t embrace cities or factors of curiosity, solely nationwide borders. Begin suspending perception right here.
The snowy Scandinavian panorama reveals itself instantly and stays put by the whole present. As normal for The Grand Tour it’s all excellently filmed, and accompanied by appropriately refined background music. The present does nature photographs and sweeping views of roads so completely.
Accompanying the staff is the anticipated Horrible Backup Automobile, a Volvo 345 on this occasion. It’s communist-looking and from the Eighties, and doesn’t actually match this system, aside from its Swedish origin. It’s first seen early on once they go to a store to purchase some cold-weather automotive provides for the wilderness. Ultimately, it vanishes however that doesn’t matter.
Nearly instantly the primary problem takes place, in a submarine base positioned inside a mountain. There’s a straight stretch of tunnel that presents a possibility for a pace and bravado check, which might’t occur outdoor due to the climate. Clarkson goes first, and in a second James Might in all probability regrets, he goes subsequent.
His Evo loses traction upon braking on the finish of the tunnel, and the yellow automotive fishtails and slams driver’s aspect into the concrete wall at appreciable pace. Viewers are offered with the footage because it occurs, and see James hit his head towards the window and B-pillar of the Mitsubishi as he crashes. EMS are current instantly, and varied crew look on as a bloodied and shaken James will get out of his wrecked Evo.
Might is absent from the episode for some time as he’s within the hospital, and has a damaged rib. He sticks round in Norway as the opposite two cross into Sweden to proceed the journey. It’s round this second, 28 minutes in, that the episode begins its decline.
Hammond and Clarkson discover a store “within the wilderness” the place they’ll modify their vehicles and get them extra rally-ish. Clarkson applies a wonderful Audi Sport livery to his RS4, and Hammond goes for a basic Martini racing livery on the WRX. Clarkson additionally provides a particular characteristic to his exhaust, a flamethrower.
A theoretical flamethrower, that’s. In an uncommon flip for the present, CGI flames are offered as a substitute of actual hearth. Maybe legal guidelines or legal professionals prevented the actual factor, however when Clarkson presses the Flame On button some unconvincing CGI does the remaining. The 2 do some rally driving on a frozen lake that’s been plowed right into a race observe, which they simply occur to search out on their drive. The driving is entertaining, a minimum of.
Might hires a store to restore the in depth injury accomplished to the Evo, which permits him to affix the opposite two on the frozen lake at in regards to the 40 minute mark. The Evo is clearly worse for put on, however nonetheless in functioning situation. Skiers flip up on the lake, after which a race ensues because the sedans tow their human skier cargo round as quick as doable. It’s all very choreographed as it might be too harmful to do it for actual.
Driving by extra “wilderness,” the staff finally ends up spending the evening in a wooden survival hut they discover that’s crammed with meat. Seems they fail to spot they’re at a museum property, and get up within the morning surrounded by tour teams. Hammond has coated Clarkson’s Audi utterly with ice, and Clarkson dumps gasoline on the Audi’s hood to assist get the door open (?). It’s time for extra hearth, which additionally seems like CGI.
At an hour into the episode it’s out of steam and out of fabric, however retains on going. At a restaurant the trio see a home being moved throughout a city. This prompts them to place their very own lodging on skis, as a result of they’re about to be “within the wilderness.” The explanation there’s no data proven when a map is offered turns into apparent, as a result of the staff has been in or close to populated areas at virtually all occasions through the journey.
A few minutes elapse and the trio has their chosen houses on skis, which they proceed to drive round and crash into snow banks, dumpsters, “essential indicators,” and related. The staff reiterates they don’t know the place they’re going at completely different factors, and drives into the night. A severe storm occurs in order that they name it an evening, and park the place they’re.
That is after all at a ski resort, on the prime of a ski slope. Antics ensue, they usually take turns heading down the ski slope. Clarkson decides to push a sleeping Hammond down the slope in his transportable home in a second of tried homicide. Thankfully, the home is miraculously secure and Hammond incurs no damage when he slams into the barrier on the base of the slope.
We’re nonetheless watching a automotive present as Clarkson takes the RS4 down the slope together with his home hooked up. He unintentionally presses the CGI hearth button, which lights his picket home on hearth for actual. Might leaves his trailer on the prime of the hill as a result of he can’t work out how one can connect it to the Evo.
The ultimate gag lasts for quarter-hour because the staff drive throughout a helpful plowed frozen lake to allow them to pace towards their ultimate vacation spot (an airport) in time. All of the sudden they know precisely the place they’re going. Might drives his automotive right into a delicate patch of ice in the course of the lake, and unintentionally falls by. Hammond and Clarkson create a rudimentary winch system out of wooden which miraculously works, however the Evo is theoretically ruined as soon as once more.
The present ends with yet one more accident! The presenters hop on a non-public jet and take off, whereas the crew stands there in dismay. They aren’t speculated to take off on that airplane, it’s a prop! They’re speculated to take off on a industrial airliner parked simply close by. These ornery presenters!
“A Scandi Flick” is about 45 minutes of content material offered in an hour and 39. The staff are having fun with themselves all through, however a lot of fluff and script ought to have been left on the modifying flooring together with the CGI. It’s actually higher than “Carnage A Trois” and “A Large Hunt,” however pales towards “Seamen” and the 2019 Mongolia particular “Survival of the Fattest.” It’s solely a enjoyable watch in the event you don’t give it some thought too onerous.
[Images: Amazon Prime]
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