Arts & Entertainment

Anthony Bourdain Contemplates His Own Death in a Painful New Episode of Parts Unknown

He attends a funeral in Indonesia in the third episode of his final season.

In the spring before his death by suicide on June 8, Anthony Bourdain traveled to Indonesia, where he attended a funeral and cremation ceremony. Bourdain died before finishing his voiceover for the episode, but narration by Kadek Adidharma frames a story around the Indonesian cycle of death.

“Heaven and hell are allegories—not truths,” Adidharma says. “Life is cyclical, and so is death...death is only the beginning."

In the second half of the episode, Bourdain sits down with a friend named Lawrence, where they discuss what they want to happen to their bodies after they die.

“Leave me in the jungle. I don’t want a party: ‘reported dead.’ You know, what actually happens to my physical remains is of zero interest to me, unless they can provide entertainment value," Bourdain says. "Throw me into a wood chipper and spray me into Harrods, you know, at the middle of the rush hour. That would be pretty epic. I wouldn’t mind being remembered in that way.”

In reality, Bourdain was cremated in France this summer, and his remains and belongings were sent to his younger brother, Christopher. The family had a small private ceremony. “He would want as little fuss as possible,” Bourdain's mother, Gladys, told the New York Times.

It's a chilling, unfinished episode of Parts Unknown, where death had obviously been on Bourdain's mind in the months before his own suicide. At one point in Indonesia, a producer asks Bourdain to describe a dish to the camera.

“No, no, I’ll get it in VO because I’ve had it before," Bourdain responds. "We don’t need to talk about this food, because I know it very, very well. I will speak incredibly knowledgeably of it in voice over.”

He, of course, never filmed that voiceover. His final full episode of the series aired after his death and was the last to include his narration.


This episode ends with the villagers scattering the ashes in the ocean, and includes a snippet of Bourdain speaking: "All stories should end on a beach, all good ones anyway," he says, "Why should this one be any different?"

CNN will air a special episode of Parts Unknown that explores Bourdain's impact.

This story originally appeared on Esquire.comMinor edits have been made by the editors.

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