Eastbound & Down Recap: Does Shane Know?

Photo: Fred Norris/HBO

After last week’s Ashley Schaeffer geisha-themed red-herring plotline — which restored Kenny and Stevie’s friendship — we find Kenny Powers and his Myrtle associates self-medicating in a variety of ways in order to deal with their own cultural irrelevance and/or mortality. More important, we finally find out the name of that blonde coed Kenny’s having sex with; it is Andrea. Not AN-dree-uh, but an-DRAY-uh.

Stevie, newly arrived to Myrtle Beach with wife Maria, is psyched to be hanging with Kenny again until Shane emerges from the crest of a wave. After a flurry of Top Gun references, Kenny introduces Shane as his “best friend.” Stevie clearly has problems with this. Wasting no time, Kenny puts Stevie and Maria to work turning his dojo into a childproof baby room for Toby and show them to their sleeping quarters (“My computer research lab,” says Kenny, which consists of a beat-up mid-nineties desktop PC). At Maria’s urging, Stevie reads a list of new relationship “rules” for Kenny that includes something about “mutual respect” (yeah, okay) and ends with “and party! Like! The fuck!” (probably). Baby Toby frolics on the sofa. In the background, two huge-titted women suck on a double-edged dildo.

On his audiobook voice-over, Kenny says he doesn’t believe in fate. He earned everything he’s gotten. “Except crabs. I got those from sleeping at a Red Roof Inn.” 

And out in the Merman’s baseball diamond, enter Matthew McConaughey, reprising his role as gay Texas baseball recruiter Roy “I Suck My Dream’s Dick” McDaniel. He introduces Kenny to fresh meat — a talented Russian pitcher who’s so young he’s “got nothing but peach fuzz on his pecker.” His name is Ivan Dochenko. “Asian dude?” asks Kenny (incorrectly). “I grew up watching you as a boy,” says Dochenko. “Don’t try to date me, motherfucker,” replies Kenny. McDaniel asks him to mentor Dochenko, to which Kenny reluctantly agrees because he is a consummate professional. Kinda. Not really.

In Andrea’s dining hall, Kenny asks her to “be the woman who would come to a very important game of mine, and in the moment of crisis, rise, stand, and give me the confidence I need to prevail.” She’s like, “I guess. If I’m free.” Then he tells her he’s stuck with Toby for the foreseeable future: “You think I wanna be hanging out with my son? Hell no! I’d much rather be doing cocaine and watching the Saw movies in your dorm room with you.” He mentions April seducing him. Andrea asks if he had sex with her the night before she ditched Toby with him. Kenny lies and says no.

For Dochenko’s first lesson, Kenny brandishes a rusty pitchfork that he seems to have found in a parking structure: “Ancient mermen used to use this in battle, to fight all the shrimps and jellyfish in the sea.” After a few attempts at hazing (“You have to crawl into there and murder a rat”), Dochenko is not amused. He calls Kenny a has-been and they get in each others’ faces. Official Nemesis Alert!

Kenny busts into Andrea’s class to request the confidence he needed two paragraphs prior, but she’s embarrassed in front of her peers and he backs out awkwardly, feelings hurt. He takes it out on Stevie, natch, who has not decorated the dojo to his liking (“It’s like where Cabbage Kids come to fuck,” Kenny snaps). Our hero admits that he’s nervous about that evening’s game.

“I’ve never heard you say you were nervous before!”
“That’s because I’ve never been nervous before.”
“Does Shane know?”

In classic seventh-grade-boy fashion, Kenny replies: “No! I don’t wanna look like a bitch in front of Shane! He’s my best friend, he’s not someone I say things to.”

Stevie gives Kenny the inspirational speech he needs to go out there, which he does. Kenny pitches two strikes and — at the moment of crisis, Stevie stands and holds up Toby, a nice nod to Kenny’s (assumably) forthcoming transition into a give-a-shit father — alas, a home run. They bench Kenny and send in Dochenko, who nails it.

After the game, Shane and Kenny do massive amounts of cocaine and attempt to convince themselves/each other that they are not old. While Shane cuts them both some more monster lines, Kenny searches on Shane’s playlist for coke-worthy tunes. “I don’t even know what half these songs fucking are,” says Kenny. “I know, I went crazy on Limewire in their early days,” replies Shane.

Finally, Kenny finds “Walk Like an Egyptian,” and as he obliviously rocks out to the new-wave eighties jam, Shane has what appears to be a heart attack and collapses. Ahh! Is he dead? And have we seen the last of Andrea?

Eastbound & Down Recap: Does Shane Know?