S02E07 Well that was a fun ride. We end coming back to where we left off at the end last year, but this is a new beginning and yeah, I lost myself. I thought I had it but it just slipped right away from me.
Anyway, this week we wrap on the second season of Eastbound and Down by returning from whence we came. Kenny Powers has conquered Mexico, now he needs to reclaim his bride before taking on his next great adventure in Myrtle Beach. Ah, but not everything has stayed perfect for him in his absence.
First he had to sneak Stevie’s bride Maria back across the border. Now, I’ve seen some incredibly complicated rigging designed to smuggle people across the border so I wasn’t quite sure how they were going to smuggle her under a poncho and an empty box of Tecante. But Kenny used his incredible luck and landed the one border guard that is a fan of baseball and still remembered who he is to let them through without a problem.
But first I have to draw attention to the shout out Shelby, NC got! Woo! It’s not everyday my little hometown gets referenced on one of the best television shows on air. I felt a little bit of pride when Kenny Powers spoke that name and I myself wanted to tear down the highway throwing back a few while a topless Mexican woman cheered in the back seat. Reminds me of elementary school.
Eventually Kenny makes it back. He drops off Stevie in what was seemingly a tender moment. Of course, Stevie saddled “his little mule” with all the stuff while he said goodbye to his hero, so yeah there were some laughs. Despite treating him like shit, I think Kenny actually does respect Stevie just a little bit more now after their adventure. I mean, you have to respect someone who quit their job and snuck across the border to basically do your laundry. That’s devotion.
After dropping off the kids, Kenny had to take care of the next item on his list of priorities, which was dropping the kids off at the pool. And seeing his brother’s family, but hey, kill two birds with one stone, right? Dustin was very... surprised? to see his brother again. His kids loved having Uncle Kenny back and Cassie was wary at first. But they seemed to welcome him back about as well as Kenny could hope. I mean after all, family is family. And when Kenny drops the bomb that when he visited his father and old Dad didn’t ask about Dusting at all, that look on Dustin’s face was worth the whole season. Simply amazing.
Kenny takes care of his business at home and then sets off to reclaim his prized bride. He strolls into Jefferson Middle School (pimped out in his white suit, of course) and nimbly climbs onto the lunch tables to make his proclamations heard. He asks for his large breasted woman to step forth and join her man on their quest for baseball and Myrtle Beach. But the art teacher that steps forward isn’t April. In fact she doesn’t work there any more as Principal Cutler informs him.
In fact she has taken up a real estate practice. Cutler takes him out to an open house she is having because apparently principals can just leave their school for a few minutes to go see their ex-fiancee. Either way Kenny confronts April and HOLY SHIT SHE IS PREGGO! AND WITH A BLACK MAN’S CHILD TOO! AW HELL NAH! We learned a lot in this very short and funny scene. April left Cutler and began seeing a black guy and Cutler has apparently been stalking them ever since. This really throws a wrench in Kenny’s plans and he storms off to the one place where he can relax.
On his old jet ski that he stored in a mud pool off the side of the lake. After a few trips around the lake to clear his head he’s off to the other place that clears his mind.
Clegg’s. Oh yes, Clegg made his triumphant return with his nose to the powder, I mean, grind. Kenny and Clegg commiserate about April’s baby in the oven and share a little coke when the nasty hooker from the first season returns. Surprisingly she has cleaned up a lot from when we last saw her but man, she is still nasty. But this isn’t helping Kenny so he decides to take off, once and for all, to Myrtle Beach.
Kenny has truly lost everything in his quest for everything. He doesn’t have a family he can turn to and the one woman of his dreams is now permanently tied to someone else. So he heads out. But first he has to drop off his book with Stevie who can give it to April because after all, he did everything for her. Stevie, on the other hand, is not adjusting that well to Maria’s domestic life. She invited all her cousins to come and stay with them and they have overrun the place. When Stevie tries to leave with Kenny for Myrtle Beach, Kenny refuses saying true love is hard. And then we get the single greatest line of the whole season. “It's better to be strangled by a necklace of Mexicans than to be strangled by no one at all.” I swear I want to have that sewn on a throw pillow or engraved on the inside of my wedding ring. It’s pure Shakespeare.
Stevie does drop off the tapes with April, who promptly listens to them. This really affects her and she pulls up right as Kenny was about to leave. Kenny hilariously asks if she read his book which she hasn’t but she has listened to his tapes. What Kenny said really struck a nerve with her because she sees that he really did do everything for her in a way. Except everything with Vida, that was only a couple of times. Then we got the biggest shock of all.
The kid is his! Honestly, I did not see this coming. At all. I was totally speechless and not the only one. For once Kenny Powers was reduced to babbling incoherent thoughts and not just because he was drunk. The thought of April carrying his child, it was almost too much to believe. Eventually April agrees to talk with Kenny about it at a Mexican restaurant (“shitty decor but the food is good. Kinda like the real Mexico) but April will drive herself. She knows better than to let Kenny drive her. And we end with Kenny and April walking up to the restaurant.
With that, we’re two thirds of the way done with the Kenny Powers saga. How was it? It was just as good as the first season but unfortunately it came after the first one so it couldn’t possibly live up to something that good and new as the first season. We got Kenny Powers at his best, his worst, at his highest, his lowest, and everything in between. By taking Kenny out of his normal elements we see who he really is and man, is he not one of the greatest characters ever filmed. So brash, so raw, so unapologetic in everything. And even then, besides the phenomenal writing and acting, this show looks amazing. It shot on 35mm and looked stunning. I’ve never been to Mexico but I have lived in North Carolina for most of my life and it looks exactly like they filmed. Gorgeous and rich, they captured the heart of the South and its truth. It’s loud, obnoxious, arrogant, a little racist still, but welcoming at the same time. Eastbound and Down has done all of that and I know that it will continue to do that.
In fact, its not even really fair to call Eastbound and Down a TV show. Much like there is a definable difference between a “movie” and a “film,” Eastbound and Down is more than just another show. It’s not a “TV movie” either but honestly a slightly restructured film that was chopped up for television. Like Louie, it is redefining what television can do. So thank you Kenny Powers for a great year. It was incredibly short but I’m just glad for what I have. We’ll see you in Myrtle Beach you magnificent mulleted bastard.