The fourth episode of The Grand Tour is out and the Boys tackle another challenge filled adventure. This time they attempted to make a completely ‘Green’ vehicle in an episode titled “Enviro-Mental.” Was it any good? Read on in our SPOILER filled review right below:
Literally, this episode was a bit shitty. Figuratively, it was mostly good.
This one started out in Whitby, the same location where the Boys filmed the in-tent session for the third episode “Opera, Art and Donuts.” And in this one we were served once again with an hors d’oeuvres of Whitby news and general complaints, as Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, and James May go on commenting on the topics in their hilarious perspectives. The biggest takeaway from this segment is not the jokes nor the comments, it’s that we now understand what The Grand Tour is all about: It is a good old fashion variety show, and these beginning segments are just the show’s monologue in the location’s native flavors, news and jokes.
Moving on to the meatier entrees we get treated with a Clarksonian analysis of the greatest Porsche 911 available: The 911 GT3 RS! Listening to Jezza describe the rear-engined, rear-wheel drive, four-wheel steering supercar in his usual bombastic way, you feel right at home. It felt like you were watching old Top Gear back in 2004 and listening to him complain about the 911, only this time he couldn’t stop gushing over it.
Moving on to the BMW M4 GTS we were once again treated with top notch cinematography, presentation and commentary:
“This competition between these two cars is like a boxing match between an actual boxer and someone who thinks they’re a boxer because they’re wearing satin shorts.”
That is a massive burn on the BMW M4 GTS, in case you haven’t seen the episode. Rather, this entire segment has been a 10 minute commercial for the Porsche 911 GT3 RS.
Handing the BMW over to
their tame racing driver The American, we were once again treated with a fat dose of lousy stereotypes delivered by Mike Skinner, an American Stock Car Racing Driver turned Stig replacement. This is where The Grand Tour begins to taste a bit stale for non British viewers. The one-liner jokes feel as lame as the new version of British Top Gear: A bit constructed and a bit forced.
After another segment of ‘Conversation Street’ where they spoke about the new Ford GT and transgendered street lights in London, they moved on the main film of the episode, “Enviro-Mental.” Richard Hammond prefaced this episode by commenting how car manufacturers have spent a great amount of effort making environmentally friendly engines without making the rest of the car as ‘Green’. So in this challenge the Boys set out to modify their Land Rovers by stripping it of the metals and plastics and replacing it with more renewable materials.From the beginning of the film we were a bit disappointed that we weren’t shown the Land Rovers’ transformative process from their original forms to their environmentally friendly versions. It’s ok though as we were immediately treated with crazy renditions of sustainable vehicles. James May recreated his Land Rover with a body made entirely of mud, netting a claimed weight of 5 tons. Richard Hammond made his Land Rover body out of planters and other shrubs, which eventually attracted critters, becoming an ark of some sort. Finally Jeremy Clarkson, being the lead maniac amongst the three, made his renewable Land Rover out of the bones, hides, intestinal linings and assholes of cows. This show was getting shittier by the minute.After they set off on their mission to travel 11 miles via the nature route, May’s car of mud immediately fell apart, which prompted him to engineer new methods of recreating his car. This is where we saw the show’s brilliant writing: First, May’s evolution of sustainable car building became a history lesson on human architecture and building materials as we move on from building mud huts to building homes out of bricks. Second, they managed to do this while hinting that as we go on our righteous and cavalier mission to make greener and sustainable cars, we are also destroying mother nature in the process of manufacturing them. Brilliant! Also, there were feces in May’s mud car 2.0.
This was another point where the show made a strange turn. James May, The Reassembler, known for his engineering prowess and meticulous fashion, was anything but in the process of constructing his Green car. There were no engineering thought, and the car was put together as if it was designed to fail. We hate to nit-pick on this point but it felt like a weak setup for a cheap joke at Captain Slow’s expense. Given that he was portrayed as someone who could rebuild driveshafts in the middle of nowhere in earlier Top Gear, it’s surprising to find that he couldn’t properly lay bricks or build a roof for The Grand Tour. (Unless a brilliant James May is a BBC character, and this whole stunt is The Grand Tour’s attempt of not getting sued by the BBC over intellectual property infringement, then our apologies)Meanwhile, Richard Hammond and Jeremy Clarkson’s cars evolved in very unique ways. Hammond’s slowly became a shelter for wildlife, while Clarkson’s Land Rover’s bony exterior attracted nature by feeding it. Overnight, Clarkson’s cow parts were dragged away by the local dogs, which prompted him to visit the butcher and to eye up living creatures in his hunt for spare parts. As the challenge went on Jeremy’s car became more and more fresh, attracted maggots, and began to smell. Clarkson’s ability to take this in stride as if it was a minor stitching flaw in the dashboard of a Mercedes Benz is the reason why the show is so entertaining.
We are then treated to a good old race around a track, as these environmentally friendly cars were matched up with traditional cars made of steel and plastic. The progression of this race was hysterical and might be the highlight of the episode. James May’s increasingly shoddy car rendered him useless the entire race as he couldn’t properly see the race track. Richard Hammond’s reliable plant-lined car was brilliant despite its uncanny ability to be set on fire. While Jeremy Clarkson’s racing was hindered by him constantly losing his “nose-tampons” and the car’s ability to breed maggots. Combine the uniquely strange cars and the typical commentary and banter, this whole film had us in stitches.Then there was the part which we really hated, Celebrity Brain Crash. As we’ve stated in the Operation Desert Stumble and Opera, Art and Donuts episodes, Celebrity Brain Crash have to die like the celebrities they try to bring on. This time it was Jimmy Carr riding on a jet ski. He spectacularly died by crashing into a drifting Summer Queen, which we’ve seen the footage of as the Grand Tour terrorized Whitby.Overall we liked Enviro-Mental despite its overly constructed feel in certain segments. The chemistry between the Boys were still on point, however, we get the inkling that they are a bit tired of each other. It seems as if they’ve gone through a lot of de ja vu moments, that the surprise and mystery is quickly becoming a disappearing asset. To their credit they have done this a while, and when you have accomplished as many episodes and adventures as these three, perhaps they have seen it all before. The important thing is we still had a great time watching it and that’s all that mattered.
To catch the rest of our Grand Tour coverage check here and check often!
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