This episode of Eastbound and Down managed to do a lot of important things. First, as Eastbound and Down is considered more of a long movie chopped into different “chapters” rather than episodes, this episode marked the end of the first act and we head straight into the second. Second, it reset everything that needed to be held over from the first season while solidifying everything new for the second season.
Let’s look at the latter first. This episode featured many returns for Kenny Powers. The biggest, of course, is his number one fan/stalker/creeper Stevie. He managed to track Kenny Powers down following the trail he left with his stolen credit card, cross international borders, get shot in the leg and still thank the lord when Kenny welcomes him back in his life. And oh yeah, Kenny was the one that shot him in the leg.
Stevie’s return also gave us the worst opening of the show so far. I’m all for celebrating the human form in all it’s shapes and sizes except for Stevie Janowski’s naked ass. That should always be covered. Even if he is banging a hooker in hopes of getting Kenny Power’s sloppy seconds.
Also was anyone else surprised by the fact that Stevie carries around a baseball card of Kenny Powers? And that he has him as his background on his phone? And that he tries to mimic Kenny Power’s powerful middle finger? While on the toilet flipping it off? And has someone else take the picture for him? Anyone surprised? No? That’s what I thought.
Side note: Stevie said he worked at a Starbucks in Shelby, North Carolina. Even though Kenny and Stevie lived in a fictionalized version of Shelby, I have to point out (as a native son of Shelby) that there is no Starbucks in Shelby. Thought you should know.
Kenny Powers needs two things: He needs devotion and he needs to dominate. Well, he also needs a hot woman, but more on that later. With Stevie’s return, he has someone devoted to him. Now he just needs to dominate and with his return to the mound, he can start doing that once again.
And in true KP fashion, his return was perhaps the most "American" and egotistic thing any of the dozens of spectators had ever seen. He had the fireworks, the smoke machine, the tunnel of balloons, the poorly photoshopped 4x12 banners, and the American flag cape, everything one would need to loudly proclaim “I’m back, bitches!”
Now, baseball is a very mental game. Pitchers and hitters routinely go into mental slumps where they just can’t perform. Kenny realized what sort of mental build up he had gotten himself into when the music faded. It was just him and the pitcher once again, and he had to strike him out. And he did. In three straight-as-an-arrow pitches he struck the guy out. Kenny Powers is back, muchachos.
And with Kenny’s return to the mound, he also discovered that all the wealth and power that he thought could only be found in America can also be attained in Mexico. When he met the owner of the Churros, hilariously played by Danny McBride and Co. friend Michael Pena, Kenny Powers recognized in him a counterpart. Anyone that would fly in a karate master for personal sword fighting lessons is a person Kenny Powers can get along with. And in his own astute deduction skills, “you’re a rich motherfucker.” Nothing slips by Kenny Powers.
Now we have everything set. The first act is over, what haunts him from the first season is back. Stevie returns with devoted. April is married, so he has to deal with a broken heart. He’s made his return to baseball. Everything new for the second season has been introduced. He has the new team and coach, he’s made a new rich and eccentric friend, and he has his neighbors. The only thing left to do is see what happens when everything plays out.
So yes, this was a good episode. But if this was just a set up, I can’t wait to see what the pay off will be.
Actually, wait. We didn’t get to see much of Ana de la Reguera or her amazing backside. We only saw her from the waist up in her car. This episode sucked.