Recap: Eastbound & Down, “Chapter 22”

eastbound and down chapter 22

Ask any messiah and they’ll tell you, “resurrections are tricky business.” To rise from the ashes like a phoenix, one must first become the phoenix, ready to vanquish their enemies from God’s green earth and take back what is rightfully their’s. But how you justify your return lies in the details. In this case, “Chapter 22” of Eastbound & Down has a lot of ground to cover.

After completing the Kenny Powers saga last year, Jody Hill, Danny McBride, and HBO hope to justify the return of their star pitcher, but where can he go? Apparently, back to suburbia. “Chapter 22” brings Kenny back to “Chapter one,” in the suburbs of Charlotte, NC. There, he reigns king over his castle with a house and family, who think he’s pretty much the best. Domesticated, Kenny rinsed the bleach from his hair, clipped the testicles from his truck, and extinguished the fire in his heart. Kenny Powers might as well still be dead.

In many ways, this seems like the story that always should have followed season two, bringing the story full circle (and, apparently, this was the story McBride and Hill always wanted to tell). Things have come back around for Kenny, and rather than being a disruption in his suburban town, he’s now just a member of it. What a better place for the phoenix to rise?

The show makes perfect use of his surroundings. Kenny’s asides to April, her awards, Ken Marino’s Guy Young, and Kenny’s boss at the car rental depot work perfectly, mostly because McBride feels right at home as Kenny Powers. Him trying to fit in is almost as funny as Powers trying to reign.

Hill’s direction felt a bit off in this episode. HIs camera work was more fluid and faster, as was his use of music, almost bordering on parody. Maybe that was a reflection of Kenny’s supposed transformation, but it just wasn’t working for me.

Like Kenny, Eastbound & Down has a lot to prove this season, and as Kenny started interacting with his old friends and re-kindling that old fire, the episode started to come into its own. Considering most of this episode was setup, there were still plenty of great laughs and little bits about what the season will be about, namely Kenny’s relationship with his son.

Kenny fucking Powers is back and digging his own pool this time. Let’s just hope he can fill it with enough water to float through these next couple episodes.

 

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