Eastbound & Down
This week we gain a more sophisticated understanding of death, infidelity, mysticism, fatherhood, Pearl Jam and how twins work. We are also reminded that, of these concepts, the only one Kenny Powers understands is Pearl Jam, and only sort of.
So yeah, Kenny turns around and sees that Shane is dead. Does our hero panic? Does he call 911? No; he finishes the rest of the yay, wipes down the table, and arranges Shane’s body on the sofa with a book. I just unsuccessfully rewound it at least four times trying to figure out what the book was, but whatever it is, it is the color of over-the-counter energy pills. In three seasons, we’ve come to know Kenny and his specific delusions intimately, so we know he loved his buddy Shane and genuinely, unironically considers this a Viking fucking funeral. Even though just before he leaves Shane’s corpse there, he asks it if he can have his truck. (It does not say no.)
However, back at home, not even ownership of the Pussy Rocket can assuage Kenny of the burgeoning fear that a curse from baby Toby is causing the all the Sturm und Drang in his life. In order to appease his infant son/the gods, he buys Toby his first pet, a hermit crab named Spurgeon (“With a name like Spurgeon, you know he gets pussy,” exclaims Stevie, who’s been getting restless with his own sexless marriage to Mexican Grimace).
Like any good foil, Russian nemesis Dochenko appears to have taken up Kenny’s boogie boarding hobby as well, and, as the waves crash to the shore, he and Kenny exchange nuanced barbs about the responsibility for Shane’s death: “Maybe if someone had listened to their mentor, then someone wouldn’t have been showboating, and then Shane wouldn’t-a been so compelled to do a shit-ton of cocaine. Maybe he’d just have done the normal amount of cocaine, and he’d still be alive,” Kenny says, and upon parting: “Your dick is all done in and smashed-up in those roller-skating shorts.”
At Shane’s funeral, Kenny wars with the family over burying Shane with shades and instantly gravitates toward Shane’s straightlaced twin brother Cole. He even crashes Shane’s family mourning and invites Cole out to the places he and Shane used to hang, regaling the dude with stories of his dead brother’s stellar character and esoteric whimsy (“One time Shane lost his pinky ring fucking around with a girl with a C-section scar here”). After Kenny plays an unfortunate raise-the-dead trick on Andrea (an-DRAY-uh!) and her roommate, Cole loses it and gives Kenny a tongue-lashing, as well as insinuating that Kenny had a hand in Shane’s demise.
At Shane’s funeral, Kenny (a vision in all-black and fringe, what we’ve come to know as his “gone rogue” outfit) plunks a boombox on top of Shane’s coffin and cuts his grandpa’s eulogy short with a whole lot of this:
“Shane and I loved the movie Top Gun. We used to joke about, who was Goose and who was Tom Cruise? Well, now that Shane is dead, I guess we know who was Goose. Shane was Goose. Because in that motion picture, Goose dies, and Shane is dead, so that makes him Goose. And me? Tom Cruise. I’m Tom Cruise, guys.” He then claims he’s now in possession of Shane’s powers and rocks out to Pearl Jam’s “Alive” until Cole smashes the boom box as any sane human is wont to do.
Stevie, parked outside, begins consoling Shane’s sister. And then begins having sex with Shane’s sister. As we recall, Stevie doesn’t have much sexual experience, so he runs out of the car right after and has a healthy guilt puke. It all culminates with Cole reclaiming the Pussy Rocket from Kenny and driving away with all of Kenny’s stuff inside, Stevie allowing himself to be anally penetrated by Maria as a self-flagellation technique for his infidelity…and, as Kenny’s iPhone lies on a deserted stretch of highway road, April calls him.
We fade out on Kenny reading a Penthouse letter to Toby at bedtime. I have a feeling my Kramer vs. Kramer prediction is coming true and we’ll see a custody battle come to a head in the next few weeks. I’m Tom Cruise, guys.