An Eastbound & Down Community
HBO (ended 2013)

Eastbound & Down S04E08: "Chapter 29"


Four seasons in, there are two things Eastbound & Down viewers should know about finales: 1.) It's basically always going to end the same way, and 2.) We never really know if we've reached the honest-to-goodness end. Generally, those two things are related. The possibility of a real ending means that Kenny often returns to April and his family or vice versa, in some demented happy ending to a messed-up show. Fittingly, the conclusion to the HBO comedy's fourth season has been heavily marketed as the end, the true series finale to an unbelievably wild, weird, and moving journey that has seen Kenny Powers break bad and ruin a lot of lives, including his own, and "Chapter 29" ended exactly where anyone could have guessed it would since the Season 4 premiere: With the Powers family reunited and ready to face the crazy world (one that was probably created by Kenny) ahead of them.

That created a situation where Eastbound explicitly tested the law of diminishing returns. How many times can Kenny blow up his happiness with April, regain a big head, watch everything come crashing down, and ultimately realize that he's better off with his family around? Apparently, at least once more. For the first 23 minutes, "Chapter 29" was a fairly predictable Eastbound-style finale (inasmuch as any episode of this show can be predictable): Kenny was forced to make a choice between fame and family and yet again—and perhaps finally—he chose the latter. 

What worked best about the version of that story on display in this episode was that it really did feel like Kenny embarked on a journey of self discovery this season. He's always going to be a selfish prick who wants to be in the limelight, but as the season progressed, Kenny began to recognize the error of his ways. Although he's never fully lacked self awareness, Kenny had it more this go-around, going as far as begging April to take him back and reminding her that he was going to dominate her in Christmas gift-giving during the same conversation. Kenny P. is a complex specimen. In any event, by the time Kenny found himself ready to fully make amends with the Sports Sesh staff, no one—Stevie,April, even a big, bright new show offer from a villainous and deplorable network executive played by Sacha Baron Cohen—could convince him otherwise. Putting aside how ridiculous it would be for Kenny Powers to have his own Ellen- or Oprah-style daytime talk show, the sequence where Kenny admitted his sins in front of a live studio audience, giving up his show and the rediscovered fame in the process, was pretty fantastic. Not only did the show allow Kenny to apologize without fully losing himself, it also failed to give Guy Young any real moment of redemption. Kenny wasn't willing to further bury Guy under the weight of his stupid mistakes, but he certainly wasn't interested in truly helping him get out from underneath them, either. That was a nice reminder that even when Kenny knows he's wrong and tries to be a good dude, he only partially gets there. Plus Guy Young sucks anyway. 

One of the weirdest things about Eastbound & Down—throughout its entire run, but especially in the final season—is that it can be surprisingly moving. Though the show never fully asked us to forgive Kenny for all his sins, it also kept creating moments where it was hard not to feel for any number of characters impacted by Kenny's selfish behavior, including Kenny himself. Stevie's failed suicide/self-inflicted chin implant removal was too far on the dumb side (as a lot of the Stevie stuff is), but as the season progressed, the show kept hitting the right notes with Kenny's children, and that held true in this finale. Kenny's nervous attempt to explain to them that he'll visit in Santa Fe as long as he builds up the right amount of rewards points at Southwest Airlines was the perfect mix of stupid humor, character work, and mostly real emotion. The following scene, where he admitted to April that his earlier disappointment stemmed from himself—not the family—was even better. Danny McBride is a powerhouse of a comedic performer but this final season has proven that he has the chops for more complex work as well. 


So, unsurprisingly, Eastbound and Down ended with the family reunited and Kenny willing to work with April through counseling and more. It was one final acknowledgement that Kenny has more humanity than he likes to admit. And then all hell broke loose, as this show is wont to do. Kenny's patented voiceover just kept going further and further into his life, showing us his son (now played by True Blood's Alexander Skarsgard, with an amazing amount of gusto) graduating college, his daughter (played by Lindsay Lohan, because LOL) getting married, then April getting murdered in a robbery-gone-wrong, and eventually, Kenny's death after a 'second act' with some native African tribe. By the time ancient-looking Stevie and the kids dumped Kenny's ashes from a futuristic urn, the show had gone completely nuts. This was definitely one of those situations where the joke started funny, turned unfunny somewhere halfway through (April's death was just dark), and then swung back around to being funny again by the time Skarsgard reappeared in tears, chewing up scenery. 

Of course, this was all just Kenny's vision for his in-progress screenplay, mixed in with some real hope for his future life. In that regard, the show kind of got to have it both ways: It took Kenny's life as far as it could go, showing us the highs and lows along the way and creating a false sense of completion to the story. But it also immediately pulled back from that moment, which felt quite a bit like an acknowledgement that the Eastbound & Down creative team and McBride will come back to this character whenever they want. And really, Kenny Powers should never die.  

Is this the end for Eastbound & Down? Probably, for now. Although it was a familiar way to go out, it was also a fitting one. And even if the show decides to return some day in the unknown future and also decides to tell a story like this one a few more times, it'll probably still be worth it. 



INTERESTING STAGE DIRECTIONS

– One bummer about the final season: No appearances from Will Ferrell's Ashley Schaeffer, who was one of the most clearly awful human beings in the history of television. If Ferrell and McBride were to do at least one Funny or Die clip a year with Ashley and Kenny, I would be so happy.

– I'll miss so many things about this show, but special shout-out to the way it introduced random characters with a whole lotta oomph. Sacha Baron Cohen's character was the last in a long line of notable entrances, and the episode allowed him to get weirder as time went on. The bit about him and the 13-year old boy both getting herpes from the staff member was particularly dark. 

– Underrated awesome moment: Gene finally standing up to Dixie. The show lost the pair's thread a bit as Kenny's career took off, but it did a really great job of telling a simple story about how suburban life and parenting can wear people down and bring out the worst in them. 

– Seriously, Skarsgard was awesome in his few short scenes. Can't say the same for Lindsay Lohan, but she did in fact seem awake and alert. It's the little things.

– The best touch: Old Future Kenny drives a machine that's basically a jet-ski on land. Tremendous capper to all of Kenny's great rides over the years.


What did you guys think of the 'ending'? Were you satisfied?


25 Comments
Comments (25)
Submit
Sort: Latest | Popular
Brilliant final episode. Much happier with this than many shows that have finished recently. Sacha Baron Cohen was class and could easily have had a season built around him. The show does feel finished and it was done via a very well crafted finale, allowing closure through the projection of the future via the screenplay. Bringing it back to a couple scenes with the delightful April was a great piece of gift wrapping.
Reply
Flag
"oooh yeah!!! worldstar! worldstar!"...gonna miss this crazy show lol
3
Reply
Flag
this is sad.. i love the ending though. it was genius and had a lot of range having it end the way kenny's screenplay was written. i started watching this since season 1 when i was 18 and my sense of humor was (still is) dead on. maaaan im gonna miss this show but yea, should never return. he's already been through it all haha. there's no way in hell they could ever try and pick it back up or make anything soo unique or similar than the kenny power's story. cult classic for years to come.
Reply
Flag
The only HBO comedy that has been funny in a long time goes dark. Now all this network has left is 'Veep' (here's hoping that show will continue its upward swing). Kind of depressing but it went out, again, the way it should have. Danny McBride did surprising show a lot of range in Kenny F'in Powers and I'd be surprised if we didn't see the character again. Also wished to at least get a mention of Ashley Schaeffer this final season but I think Ferrell has probably been too busy dusting the cobwebs off of Rob Burgundy who is currently everywhere.

Lyndsey Lohan got no lines in an uncredited cameo- thanks for confirming that it was her. I thought it was kind of funny/sad that her first scene was picking up dad from 'Promises'. Skarsgard in that wig as Kenny's adult son was too funny.

Good ending to a really funny show.

2
Reply
Flag
Man, when this show decides to have a season finale, they like to wrap it up quick! What was built up over a season crumbled into a finale in twenty minutes or less! Still, it was awesome, in a crazy way, and if the show is truly over I will miss it. Part of me hopes it is -- I don't want another season to see Kenny screw things up with April then reconcile at the end in some bizarre finale. It's tired, let it sleep.
3
Reply
Flag
Kenny Powers never played baseball. It was just a fictional screenplay he was writing the whole time. O.o
3
Reply
Flag
lol! inception
Reply
Flag
Danny McBride is just off the charts brilliant. I loved him as Red in Pineapple Express and he just flat out hijacks the movie This is the End.

My favourite season of Eastbound was the one in Mexico. I thought Stevie had his best stuff in those episodes.

This season was enjoyable and this last episode was a great sendoff. I was sitting and watching the montage at the end thinking this is so appropriate (although April getting murdered was a bummer).

I hope the Powers enjoy their new life in Santa Fe. Did they take Dakota with them?

I am bleeping out!
2
Reply
Flag
This season just didn't do it for me. The first three seasons, I constantly had to pause and catch my breath from laughing so hard. This time around, it felt like they had enough ideas to do a solid 3 or 4 episodes and then stretched it over 8. The only part of this episode I laughed at was Stevie saying "I feel like Lil' Wayne with this sizzurp." Overall, a consistent end to a consistently sup-par season.
3
Reply
Flag
I'm gonna miss Kenny Fucking Powers!!! Such a great ending. I'm glad Kenny came full circle and got to be with his family. I'm gonna miss this show.
4
Reply
Flag
Staff
Good finale. I was satisfied. Great season. I wouldnt mind another season. But that's just it, I'll always say that. Danny McBride as Kenny Powers is Will Ferrell as Ron Burgundy.
3
Reply
Flag
Great finale! The show couldn't have ended any better. Loved Kenny´s life/screenplay montage. So random while ripping off a bunch of movies.

Like Aprils death by two muggers in an alley wasn´t just dark, it was a total Dark Knight/Batman ripoff. Only of course instead of both parents being murdered, Kenny survives.

Same goes for that Africa stuff, only i dont remember the name of the referenced movie :P

*audience goes apeshit*
3
Reply
Flag
"I find solace in the fact that from each sorrow comes a little bit of knowledge, and with knowledge comes wisdom" Kenny Powers - The antiheroe that got it all.
7
Reply
Flag
Follow this Show
Members
513