“The Grand Tour” Season 4 Episode 1 Review: Clarkson in climate change documentary
The first episode of The Grand Tour Season 4 is now available on Amazon Prime Video. Warning: Episode 1 is car-free and shows a different side to Jeremy Clarkson that some viewers may find disturbing (climate change). If you need wheels, roads, and car facts, this episode is not for you.
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Season 4 has done away with the big tent and talk show elements, focusing solely on the big specials where the team travel massive distances using a variety of vehicles. Episode 1 of Season 4 takes the team from Cambodia to Vietnam and looks spectacular in 4k.
Rest assured, the friendship between presenters Jeremy Clarkson, James May, and Richard Hammond remains intriguing.
The idiots we’ve come to love
The first episode is titled “Seamen,” and that is enough to summarize the presenters’ personalities. They are fully grown men who behave like children, and because of this, The Grand Tour is Amazon Prime Video’s most valuable show.
After decades with the BBC doing Top Gear, and now onto a fourth season with Prime Video, the truth is undeniable. We watch The Grand Tour because of the presenters. Each is unique, but it’s only when they’re together that magic happens. Granted, it’s often childish and full of cruel innuendo, but whether its car or boat, it remains unmissable.
Clarkson talking climate change
This is the biggest difference in the episode. Clarkson seems to have evolved. There are several moments where a newfound maturity was on show and it’s worrying. A less blunt Clarkson could be a tragedy for The Grand Tour and Amazon Prime Video.
He still makes May and Hammond’s life a misery throughout the journey. Yet there’s self-reflection on climate change, cooking with spices, a love story, and worst still sympathy for his co-presenters. It’s jarring, more so than the entire episode being about boats.
Not as much fun on the water
Despite the beautiful scenery and the usual banter, it just wasn’t as good on the water. There was no technical talk or back catalog of comparisons to pull from. There was something missing and having watched the episode twice now, Clarkson was the only presenter having fun.
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By the end of the episode, it was clear, this wasn’t a fun journey. It started with May and Hammond’s lack of excitement and got worst. What comes across is often harrowing and bleak. Plus the final sequence is like an endurance documentary where life is genuinely on the line — and then it made sense. That was the whole point.
The Grand Tour season 4 verdict: Chill
- Streaming on Amazon Prime Video
- Created by W. Chump & Sons and Amazon Studios
- Starring Jeremy Clarkson, James May, and Richard Hammond
When Jeremy Clarkson talks about climate change and the show gives examples that are only relevant to a boat, it all falls into place. It’s a social and political message delivered to a motoring audience via the credibility of trusted and loved presenters. It’s smart.
As someone opposed to using a show or movie to push agendas, this one does make sense. The question is what comes next? If it remains in the political messaging zone, then chill becomes a kill.
It’s fantastic that they’ve done away with the talk show element, but this is a show that should have been a binge. Episode 2 will determine its fate.
Regardless of what happens, we still have the early years of Top Gear and Seasons 1 to 3 of The Grand Tour.