DISCLAIMER: This recap of the Shoresy season finale episode “Don’t Poke the Bear” has spoilers. Proceed at your peril, and give your balls a tug.
Welcome back, hockey players! It’s finale time for Shoresy, and our boys haven’t thrown in the towel yet. The premise of “Don’t Poke the Bear” encapsulates its title as the Bulldogs give everything they’ve got to beat the Cyclones. Jared Keeso imbues his performance with Shoresy’s signature foul-mouthed chirpiness and unexpected vulnerability. Letterkenny portrays him as one-dimensional, but Keeso injects our titular dirty hockey player with layers and intricacies. He’s like a fully-fleshed-out human!
“Don’t Poke the Bear” is about hope in the face of inevitable defeat and how winning and losing isn’t everything. The Bulldogs banded together as a team, and that’s what matters. Their unwavering loyalty should be the gold standard.
Ready to delve into “Don’t Poke the Bear”? Let’s get to it.
We open with a full-circle moment, with Anik (Kim Cloutier) filming another episode of BROdude Presents: Questionable Call with her fellow hockey experts. They gush about Shoresy and how he vowed never to lose again while simultaneously putting the Sudbury Bulldogs on the map.
Meanwhile, Sanguinet (Harlan Blayne Kytwayhat) gets cozy with Mercedes (Eliana Jones) in a hot tub. She asks if he recalls how they met. We see a flashback to Wasaga Beach, wherein Mercedes gives Sanguinet an underwater squeezer while the results of Shoresy’s aqua dump floats by them. So romantic!
Laura Mohr (Camille Sullivan) chats with Nat (Tasya Teles), Miigwan (Keilani Rose) and Ziigwan (Blair Lamora) about the Bulldogs. Nat explains why she loves hockey and adores her players, and it’s surprisingly tender. Teles brings a heaping helping of nuance and depth to Nat. We see Laura’s sweet on Shoresy.
Later, Shoresy heads home to find Dolo (Jonathan-Ismael Diaby) and Hitch (Terry Ryan) sitting on the couch while looking suspicious. They hear some happy sounds blaring from JJ Frankie JJ’s (Max Bouffard) room. Shoresy peeks inside, but JJ Frankie JJ isn’t sleeping with Laurence. Uh oh. Laurence Leboeuf knocks on Shoresy’s door and encounters Lysandre Nadeau as she departs post-coitus with JJ Frankie JJ.
Then, Nat, Miigwan and Ziigwan present Shoresy with quite the honor — a new jersey with the letter “C” emblazoned on the front. He’s now the team captain of the Bulldogs! Shoresy starts sobbing, which is all kinds of adorable.
At Sanguinet’s behest, Shoresy employs Fish (Jacob Smith) to his section after JJ Frankie JJ fails to show up for the game. After introducing Shoresy as their team captain, Sanguinet tasks the three Jims with working front and center since they’re short a player. They’re beauties, aren’t they?
Next, our boys play their hearts out against the Soo Cyclones. Much to Nat’s delight, bums are in seats. Unfortunately, the Bulldogs are losing significantly, which doesn’t bode well for Nat and Shoresy’s deal. If they fail, they fold.
After vomiting in his porcelain throne, Shoresy declares they might as well reconcile with the loss and give the Cyclones “the lumber.” Sanguinet apologizes to Michaels (Ryan McDonell) for the Mercedes squeezer incident, and the latter accepts it.
With that, our fellas play for the fun of the game while trying not to focus on losing. We see the announcers, played by Jonathan Torrens and Jacob Tierney, cheering from the box. Tierney even removes a wig in his excitement. Nat stars forlornly at photos on the wall featuring her with the Bulldogs. It appears she’s with a parent in a few of them. I think it’s safe to assume that said parent passed away.
Nat heads to the ice, pleasantly surprised by the turnout and the crowd’s overflowing enthusiasm for the team. The clock runs out, signifying the end of the game and a loss for the Bulldogs. Nat stands with the team on the rink while the crowd eagerly cheers.
Then, the boys consume their requisite drumsticks (now I want ice cream) while chatting on their phones with their parents. Shoresy started a trend.
Shoresy sits with Nat, who reminds him of their deal. They lost, so it’s time to fold. However, it’s abundantly clear that neither wants to end this ride—we flashback to a moment when Shoresy had his head over the toilet. The boys revealed they planned to play like him — dirty as all get-out. That’s how they’ll take on the Cyclones in the playoffs.
Shoresy relays this game plan to Nat. He tells her that they started this journey with only one man who refused to lose. Now, they have 16. Admittedly, this line got me. Nat asks Shoresy what he’ll change since everyone else vows to play like him.
Later, we see our team, led by their captain, running down a desolate street at night as snow blows all around them. Suddenly, the light changes from red to green, and the screen cuts to black.
“Don’t Poke the Bear” ends positively despite the team’s defeat. Who doesn’t love a good underdog story? Shoresy took my expectations and turned them upside down, displaying a series with bottomless depth and heart. It’s more than just a show with niche humor and rapid-fire dialogue (although I think it’s not as fast as Letterkenny in that department). It boasts characters we care about and an inspirational story to boot.
I think it sets up Season 2 nicely, should Hulu decide to renew it. I hope so!
Even after this devastating loss, do you think our boys can defeat the Cyclones in the playoffs? Where did JJ Frankie JJ go? Will we see more Letterkenny cameos in Season 2? Get yourself a Puppers, give your balls a tug and play with Big Sexy until the wait’s over if you want.
Shoresy Season 1 is now streaming on Hulu.