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The Grand Tour Presents: Seamen – Review


The first episode of the fourth season of “The Grand Tour” on Amazon Prime began, appropriately enough – with a prolonged argument over whose boat was better. Substitute boats for cars and it was just alike any other episode of “Top Gear” or “The Grand Tour” previous to it with these three hosts – Richard Hammond, James May and Jeremy Clarkson – involved.

After it was determined that each boat had its virtues – Hammond’s Miami Vice-style Scarab boat had the most horsepower, Jeremy’s “Apocalypse Now” Patrol Boat River [PBR] was most suited for the Cambodia/Vietnam location and James’ 1939 wooden boat was old and slow and aesthetically pleasing – it was on to the bikes. Yes, bikes. There were no cars in this episode of “Top Gear”/”The Grand Tour” as executive producer Andy Wilman once again toyed with the boys’ dislike of bikes by forcing them to ride bicycles [not motorbikes] to destinations throughout the episode where they could not use their boats. In this case, it was to get to their boats when the water had dried up – blamed on climate change and China – in their original intended location.

Once they arrived at their boats’ location, Hammond immediately made it known that a] he did not like boats and b] he could not park a boat at the dock, continually crashing it into said dock. Jeremy revealed that he had spent a boatload of money on his PBR which was only a replica since there were no working genuine PBR’s currently in existence. James explained why his boat was best-suited for their Cambodia/Vietnam adventure – because it was a pleasure craft.

Much like previous episodes of “Top Gear” or “The Grand Tour” that were extended specials, the idea was for the boys to have a race from Point A to Point B, which, in this case, involved navigating a serpentine system of muddy rivers after first dining on the local cuisine of dragonflies and crickets. With their props [or jets, in Jeremy’s case]consistently getting clogged by either fishing nets or plant matter, the going was slow and got worse when Jeremy led them down a dead-end river pathway.

But before that, Richard had defeated Jeremy in requisite boat drag race, James seemingly lost his cushion and Jeremy’s PBR which he had personally christened “boat-machine” was revealed to actually loosely translate to “motherfucker” in Vietnamese.

Eventually, all three made their way to the ocean – which was not the intent, but which was the quickest way to end the journey – and survived, albeit barely, to get all their boats to the dock at their final destination.

Even though the episode had no cars whatsoever – at least, as driven by the hosts – it was essentially a boat version of a normal episode and a welcome sight for sore eyes to see the boys back at it with their various veiled digs and insults being tossed about like their boats on the ocean’s waves. In the end, it was extremely predictable, but ASN awards this episode a 93 out of a 100 anyway – just because it was so nice to finally have the boys back for another season.

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