TV Review: Eastbound & Down 3.8 Finale, ‘Chapter 21’

It was a bittersweet finale, filled with sentiment and a good send-off for all the characters we have come to adore, but that doesn’t stop Danny McBride, Jody Hill and co. from delivering the dark comedy that defines the show.

rating: 4.5

Kenny Powers reaches the end of his three year journey of trying to get back into the majors in the conclusion to €˜Eastbound & Down€™. It was a bittersweet finale, filled with sentiment and a good send-off for all the characters we have come to adore, but that doesn€™t stop Danny McBride, Jody Hill and co. from delivering the dark comedy that defines the show. The show€™s opening title had always been one of it€™s great and unique staples, I€™d been pondering the past week how the final episode would open, thinking nothing could top €˜Chapter 20€™s €˜Tight dick, playa€™ by Craig Robinson. But they managed it. Seth Rogen opens the episode with a great cameo as a pitcher for Texas, who is also a douchebag, and unsuccessfully attempts to woo a couple of girls in a bar. Rogen chases them out into the street as they leave to do his best to give a heartfelt speech to convince them to stay. Wide shot with a man standing in the street? Pretty obvious what€™s going to happen next. After getting mowed down by a truck, his teammates surround him. Not concerned about him though, but whether they can find a closer pitcher for their next game, Rogen says he€™s fine and immediately dies, best opener the shows ever had. Following on from the return of April and loss of Toby, Kenny laments in Toby€™s room, once again hiding his feelings behind his persona as Stevie (sporting Ming the Merciless eyebrows) asks how he is, €˜It€™s fucking awesome, finally shits back to normal. I€™m once again a single thick-dick swinging bachelor. No dumb baggage to fucking carry me down.€™ But we all know how he really feels after he gets protective over finding Toby€™s favourite pet, Spurgen the hermit crab who now lives in a bong. Kenny then smugly returns to the Mermen coach after helping them win the previous game, the coach informs him Kenny is moving on up to the majors, and pitching for Texas. Kenny finally achieved what he set out to do, but that would make for a boring finale. Kenny then has the best line of the episode as he goes to inform his ex-girlfriend Andrea at college by bursting into one of her classes, €˜Everybody be cool. This isn€™t a school shooting, it€™s something far more fantastic!€™ It€™s a wonderful scene filled with smugness. During a ritual burning of random crap on Myrtle Beach, Stevie sincerely tells Kenny he wants to start a family with Maria in Myrtle now that she is pregnant, €˜She pissed on one of those sticks, I held it under her pussy myself.€™ It€™s a hard pill for Kenny to swallow, but Stevie sticks with Maria, even after Kenny offers him a co-starring role in the reality series he€™s developing (in his head.) Stevie€™s changing wig and eyebrow combination from scene to scene was a nice touch too. Kenny relieves Stevie of his duties and awards him the keys of the Jet Ski. The scene ends, naturally, with Stevie feeling up Maria on the beach. A bittersweet end to a hilarious partnership. Kenny makes a stop off at April€™s to see Toby one last time to tell him he won€™t see him as much once he€™s gone off to the majors. April apologises for leaving Kenny behind, saying she came back for him and Toby. Kenny comments on her shitty timing before leaving. Matthew McConaughey makes his final appearance as baseball scout Roy McDaniel to give Kenny a prayer/pep-talk in the locker room that revolves a little too much around oral sex, €˜It€™s come time Kenny. Spit? Or Swallow? You know the answer€™. Kenny returns to the field, and the reception of thousands of fans, which he takes a moment to stop and appreciate, it€™s been a long time coming. After two clean strikes, Kenny takes another moment, at which time the narration kicks in, and Kenny expresses how this is the first time in a while he€™s felt like he was in total control, the baseball holding the key to his future. Kenny drops the ball and forfeits the pitch, before running off the field. Kenny is fucking out. We then see Kenny speeding his way down a freeway, €˜I€™m in a fucking Cameron Crowe movie!€™ Kenny is fuelled by adrenaline and beer as he drives, presumably, back to April and Toby. Then in a not-so-shocking (he was drinking and driving) moment the truck rears off the road and crashes off a hill, before promptly exploding. Silence. I know McBride and Hill love exploring the depths of dark comedy but after three seasons of learning to love Kenny Powers, this is just mean. We€™re then given a montage of all the minor characters that have made Eastbound great as they learn of the news of Kenny€™s passing, with Stevie€™s being the funniest as he rides the Jet Ski in a new wig. Kenny wraps up the show with a narration summing up his life, hoping that it will inspire you. Then it turns out the bastard pulled a €˜Sherlock€™ in a closing scene that reveals he caused the crash himself as he returns for April and Toby. It€™s hard to be mad at him when you see him sporting ridiculously peroxided bleach blonde hair to conceal himself, poorly. It really makes the scene. Kenny goes on to apologise for leaving her behind and concentrating too much of his career, which he now realises isn€™t the most important thing in his life, but his family is. April points out what the audience had been thinking, that Kenny could have stayed in the majors and April and Toby could have joined him in Texas. Kenny€™s nervous €˜Uh-oh, no, that wouldn€™t have really€erm€worked€™ says it all. It would have also made for a boring finale. They share a kiss, and April ends the show with a €˜Come inside you son-of-a-bitch.€™ Perfect. RIP Eastbound & Down. But not Kenny Powers, fortunately. A fitting end to one of the most unique and refreshing comedies to grace our screens the past few years. Kudos to McBride and co. for ending it on their own terms before running it into the ground. It makes each of the 21 episodes we have a gem that will surely become a cult classic for comedy fans as time goes on.
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