Anthony Bourdain’s final full episode of Parts Unknown aired last Sunday, and in case you missed it, the episode was as emotional as expected. In it, Bourdain traveled around Kenya with comedian W. Kamau Bell, visiting city markets, meeting with LGBT activists, and, of course, sampling some incredible food.
Before his death at age 61 in June, Bourdain filmed other episodes in locations such as Indonesia, Big Bend in southwest Texas, the Asturias region of Spain, and the Lower East Side of New York City. But the episode that aired this weekend was the last for which he had recorded his scripted narration.
The show was filled with poignant moments. “I fucking pinch myself because I cannot fucking believe that I get to do this or see this, ever, or that I ever would,” Bourdain says, reflecting on his late-blooming career. “Because at 44 years old, dunking fries, I knew with absolute certainty that I would never, ever see Rome, much less this.”
But it was his post-credits coda that summed up, not just Parts Unknown, but Bourdain’s approach to making and presenting the show. “Who gets to tell the stories? This is a question asked often,” he says. “The answer, in this case, for better or for worse, is I do. At least this time out. I do my best. I look, I listen. But in the end — I know — it’s my story. Not Kamau’s. Not Kenya’s or Kenyans’. Those stories are yet to be heard.”
After a screening of the show at the Tribeca TV Festival on Saturday, episode director Morgan Fallon said, “People would be like, ‘Well, why didn’t you go here? You didn’t show this.’ Or, ‘It’s not a complete picture.’ I mean, yeah. We go to a city like Lagos. There’s 20 million people there. We can make 10 shows about Lagos, easily. It’s his experience. It’s his journey. It’s his little sliver. That’s really what travel is. I think it’s very important for him to be able to articulate that.”
CNN plans to use audio captured during filming to serve as the narration through the rest of the season, which will comprise five regular episodes and two specials.
Watch the extended trailer for the first episode below.
In other TV and movie news, watch the emotional trailer for Barry Jenkins’ ‘If Beale Street Could Talk.’