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Eastbound & Down Recap: Hard-core Errands

We've never seen Steve Little before Eastbound & Down, or at least not that we're aware of. IMDb says he’s been in a few things, bit parts; we're just saying he’s not ringing a bell. There’s no particular reason to believe he’s anything other than a talented character actor delivering a virtuoso performance as the well-intentioned but clearly damaged sycophant Stevie Janowski. But every now and then there’s a nagging suspicion that maybe, just maybe, during certain vaguely slurred lines, that Little as well may be just the slightest bit … off. We realize that’s not fair to say, so consider this a blanket apology to Mr. Little and his loved ones. But watch the eyes. And maybe the spittle.

Of course, you can’t see his eyes right away, as the very first image in this episode is Stevie’s bare ass, thrusting enthusiastically behind a woefully underpaid Mexican hooker. Stevie’s hot on the heels of his missing idol Kenny Powers, leaving no stone, or Mexican hooker, unturned as he walks a mile in his master’s shoes. Seems Stevie’s interpreted Kenny’s unauthorized use of his credit card for beer, lube, and Magnum condoms as a $22,000 trail of breadcrumbs rather than, you know, larceny. But hey, he’s no worse a detective than Jonathan Ames.

Kenny’s now officially on the Charros, hitting 90 on the radar gun thanks to a quick pre-practice bump — he’s got this comeback locked down like a girl’s private parts, who’s small. As such, he’s summoned to the home of the team’s owner, Sebastian Cisneros, (Michael Pena, possibly out-creeping his turn in Danny McBride and Jody Hill’s Observe and Report), full of marbles and architectures and flying buttresses and shit. Kenny wants his triumphant debut to have all the pageantry of an Alabama concert, and Sebastian can provide this.

Stevie’s waiting in Kenny’s apartment when he returns, and is greeted with a bullet in the leg. Though not a trained medical professional, Kenny treats the wound with Jack Daniels and margarita mix. Conveniently for Stevie, this means he has to stay at Kenny’s hovel as he recovers, and conveniently for Kenny, Stevie’s wallet is left unattended. Kenny tries ditching him by dumping him into a truck full of illegal immigrants heading to America, but not before Stevie drops a bomb: April has married Cutler, sending Kenny into a funk. Once again he’s questioning whether he can come back, only now he’s doing it in the clubhouse while the game is in progress.

Thanks to Roger’s pep talk, Kenny takes the field for the final out to the strains of Rick Derringer’s WWE-classic “Real American” and fireworks as a crowd of dozens looks on, totally confused and mortified, Sebastian Cisneros very much excepted. He strikes out his only batter, and the crowd files out of the stadium silently. Kenny walks out and finds a vomit-encrusted Stevie getting out of a cab, begging on hands and knees to be allowed to join this Hispanic adventure. Fortunately, Stevie is ready for some hard-core errands.

Like a girl’s private parts. Who’s small.

Photo: Fred Norris/HBO