S2:E5: And so we begin the great mountain climb that is the rebirth of Kenny Powers. After what can only be described as an epic bit of self destruction last week, this week on Eastbound and Down we get to witness the phoenix rise again.
We start off with a little bit of getting to know the original Kenny Powers: his father. If there ever was better evidence of the whole nature vs. nurture debate, I would love to see it...because after watching Kenny and Eduardo, you can’t really argue for nurture anymore. Don Johnson does his best Kenny Powers impersonation and then actually manages to make it his own character and out-Kenny-Powers Kenny Powers himself. It was a perfect choice casting wise and absolutely hilarious.
So here’s what we learn about Kenny’s father. Yes, he’s taken up a new wife and also had another son, much to Kenny’s dismay. He owns the “largest fleet of non-occupational ATVs on a non-resort area... in South Mexico” which Kenny admires, but not as much as he admires Jet-Skis. They try to one up each other with their respected recreational vehicles of choice but the elder Powers trumps the younger when he asks “have you ever climbed a mountain? On a jet-ski?” Kenny is once again a little kid looking up to his old man. And he looks down at him like he always has: “You’re ten pounds of shit in a five pound bag and hanging out with faggots.”
Which is exactly what he becomes. After a few ride-a-longs with the old man, a few beers shared at the grown-up table, and a couple of joints by a lake, Kenny was ready to make the big commitment and say the “L” word to his old man. He was even ready to settle down and help run the family ATV company.
But then things took a turn for the worse, as they always do. The first big shocker of the evening (which by the way caught me completely off guard) was Stevie’s revelation that he lied about April’s marriage. This is almost as bad as Brutus stabbing Caesar in the back. Well, not quite, but still quite close in the ultimate betrayals of history. But did Kenny deserve it? He did force Stevie to break up with his one and only love of his entire life. He has caused no shortage of embarrassment and humiliation for Stevie (even if Stevie doesn’t realize this) and all Stevie ever wanted was to hang out and be best buds with Kenny. It’s a very very complicated relationship.
To Kenny though, that’s water under the bridge. He’s happy for once in his life with his new father. Well, almost completely happy. He isn’t too thrilled about his younger half-brother but a quick piss on his computer turned that around. After that, he’s completely content to smoke a joint with his old man, his new brother, and Stevie. Then we got the second big shocker of the evening when Kenny’s father really did call the cops on Kenny and he and Stevie get carted off to jail.
Kenny’s incarceration was fairly revealing. First I realized how much the show cuts away to Stevie for physical gags. First there was the kid’s table of beers and then Stevie taking a dump in the jail. This isn’t a complaint, just an observation.
Secondly we see what kind of person Kenny’s father really is. And he’s more like Kenny than Kenny was willing to admit which is why Kenny ended up in jail. Kenny and Stevie have another little moment before someone comes and bails Kenny out. It’s his new stepmom. Now we learn that Eduardo’s ATV company isn’t even his: it's hers. She isn’t even that interested in Eduardo anymore. She wants the newer version (and yes, she grabbed his crotch when she said that).
Kenny and Stevie make bail and head out. Kenny has a few terse words with his father before leaving. Kenny tries to play the upper hand about his father’s lying but Eduardo calls him out just as well. Kenny has been lying to himself since he arrived in Mexico. That just spurs Kenny on. Then we get to hear the two rules Kenny lives by: 1. He doesn’t fuck with the devil. 2. He doesn’t tag team with blood relatives. Two rules to live by, kids.
And then with a handkerchief-wrapped punch to the window, Kenny and Stevie ride off into the sunset. Well, they make a pit stop first. Kenny makes one phone call and he leaves the most ominous message for April... “I’m coming for you.” And with that, we’re off for a wild ride.