Entourage 8.7 – Second to Last

As far as penultimate episodes go, “Entourage” has done a pretty stellar job of getting all its ducks in a row leading up to next week’s series finale. The journey getting there hasn’t been quite as linear as I had expected with so few episodes, but the various twists and turns have at least kept things fairly interesting. Instead of my usual recap, however, I’m going to break formula a little this week by talking more about the potential outcomes for each of the five main characters following the events of tonight’s episode.

1) Vince finally settles down

Obviously, I don’t mean that Vince is going to quit acting, move to Connecticut and start a family, but it definitely seems like he’s ready to start the next chapter of his life. Though trying to win over Sophia’s approval by making a video of interviews from ex-lovers might not sound like the greatest idea, it still had the desired effect – at least when combined with Drama and Turtle’s personal anecdotes. I still don’t buy the idea that Sophia is the first woman that Vince has ever pursued this intensely (a case can be made for both Mandy Moore and Sasha Grey), but he does seem like a new man after leaving rehab, and it’s nice to see him finally focusing on the important things in life.

2) Drama gets his chance to be the star

The one thing that Drama has wanted more than anything else since the show’s first season was to be taken seriously as an actor – something that has eluded him even when he was part of a hit TV series. But this miner movie sounds like it’s finally going to get him the respect he so desperately desires, especially when everyone in Hollywood seems to love Billy Walsh’s script. Of course, a lot of them also think that it’s too good for someone of Drama’s abilities, but Vince is so determined to make the movie with his big brother as the star that he donated $100,000 to Phil’s favorite charity in order to convince him to move ahead with the project. Could an Emmy nomination be far off?

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Entourage 8.5 – Motherfucker

After last week’s mostly uneventful episode, I was starting to get worried that this final season might end up being just a whole bunch of filler. But thankfully, there’s plenty to talk about tonight, starting with the latest development from the Vincent Chase career rehabilitation saga. Though it wasn’t totally surprising that Vince would botch his interview with the Vanity Fair reporter once he realized that she was smoking hot, I expected much worse to come from all his flirting. Instead, Vince took it upon himself to make things right, and though he did successfully smooth things over by giving a good second interview, he still had the urge to hit on her again when it was over. Vince claims that he’s in love, but this has happened too many times before for anyone to seriously believe that it’ll end any differently.

And as one Chase brother attempts to put his career back together, the other is coming dangerously close to tearing his apart. Then again, can you blame him? While Drama has tried to stick it out after Dice’s decision to walk from the show, his new replacement has become insufferable to work with, even going so far as to criticize his performance in the recording booth. Desperate to get Dice back at any cost, Drama makes the unselfish offer to give him the difference in his pay so that they would be making the same amount. Dice graciously declines, however, stating that if anyone’s going to pay him, it’ll be the network, and is confident they’re going to give in to his demands soon.

But Phil doesn’t think that’s the case, letting Drama in on the secret that the network is so pleased with his work that they’re planning to tailor the entire show around him. Granted, I thought that’s what they were doing this whole time by making a cartoon called “Johnny’s Bananas,” but I digress. Drama feels that if the network really believes in him that much, however, that they would be willing to do anything he asks, so he decides to walk from the show in an attempt to convince them that the cartoon will only be successful with Dice’s involvement. That would have been a pretty boneheaded decision a few weeks ago, but now that Drama knows what he does, it’s his best chance of saving the show. It also proves just how much he’s matured over the last eight seasons, because I don’t think a younger Drama would have done the same.

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Entourage 8.4 – Whiz Kid

After the misfortune of being present during Carl Ertz’s drug blowout and subsequent suicide, it didn’t take a genius to figure out that Vince would have his back against the wall for most of this week’s episode. But even with the paparazzi on the hunt for some juicy gossip, the guys didn’t seem too concerned that Vince would be in any real trouble. After all, though he may have been in Ertz’s house at the time of his death, Vince didn’t do any actual blow, so a drug test would clear him of any suspicion that he broke probation. Of course, Vince always seems to make things more complicated then they need to be – a lesson that Eric was unfort when Vince reveals that he smoked a joint recently to prove to himself that he wasn’t an addict.

That’s all fine and well, but it made passing the impending drug test a little trickier. Drama’s suggestion to use home remedies like vinegar to clean out his system didn’t go over too well when Vince could barely hold down a single sip, let alone the gallons necessary, and with only four hours to go until the test, he was forced to call in the big guns. You’d expect Billy Walsh to know quite a bit about cheating drug tests considering his past history, but even he seems too smart to try something as silly as a fake penis. Eric certainly didn’t think it was a very good idea, and rightfully so, because being caught with a contraption designed to cheat a drug test would likely yield a far worse punishment than if marijuana was found in his system. Nevertheless, that didn’t stop Vince from doing it anyway, and you really have to give him kudos for having the balls (no pun intended) to take such a big gamble. Let’s just hope he’s finally learned his lesson, because this subplot wasted an entire episode.

The only other major story development of the night revolved around Ari’s old and new relationships, with his night of fun with Dana Gordon ending on a sour note after he mentions that he’s late for couple’s therapy with his wife. Not exactly the most romantic thing to say to someone that you’ve just had copious amounts of sex with, but Dana didn’t seem as offended as other women might. Like, say, Mrs. Ari, who was so upset over Ari’s late arrival to their session (due to dealing with the whole Vince situation) that she decided to give him a taste of his own medicine by walking out midway through. You’d think that since Vince is considered family she would have understood, so I’ll just chalk that up to how ridiculously out of character she’s been acting all season.

I really don’t understand why she’s being so childish, but it’s only bringing out the worst in Ari, as her refusal to believe that he could possibly be seeing someone else was no doubt the motivation behind his decision to take Dana out to dinner at Bobby Flay’s restaurant. Even Flay knew it was a pretty low-ball move, and when Dana figured out that Ari was using her to get back at his wife, she was understandably a little pissed. Too bad, because they made a fun couple. But now that Dana is seemingly out of the picture, I’m still not entirely convinced that Ari will be getting back with his wife any time soon – at least, not as much as I was at the start of the season. Mrs. Ari really seems to mean business, and with only four episodes left, Ari’s going to have to do a heckuva lot more if he has any hope of winning her back.

  

Entourage 8.3 – One Last Shot

If there was ever any doubt that Vince would be able to kick his drug habit without relapsing even once, then tonight’s episode surely put an end to that debate, as it’s hard to imagine him even thinking about cocaine after what he witnessed. Though everyone warned him not to trust producer Carl Ertz (who, in addition to screwing him out of a movie a few years ago, didn’t appear nearly as drug-free as he claimed), Vince was all too willing to give him a second chance.

And though it looked like his faith in Ertz was actually going to pay off after CBS agreed to produce Vince’s TV movie with Drama attached, it all came tumbling down when he realized that Ertz was only doing him a favor so that he could pitch him some crappy action thriller called “Tax Man.” Turtle knew right away that something wasn’t right, but Vince was determined to stay and help Ertz get through his latest drug bender without anyone getting harmed. I kept telling myself that it wasn’t going to end well, and sure enough, Ertz ended up locking himself in his bathroom and shooting himself in the head. Talk about scaring someone straight. I’ve never seen Vince that shaken up before, and that includes his recent brush with death on that Nick Cassavetes movie.

While Vince tried to play sponsor to Ertz, Eric and Scotty were busy making sure that Drama didn’t shoot himself in the foot by siding with Dice over his contract demands. Though Drama wasn’t exactly opposed to the idea of making more money, after Phil reminded him of a past gig he had (a ‘90s cop show called “Concrete Heat”) that tested through the roof only to last a single week on the air, Drama agreed that it probably wasn’t worth the risk. Unfortunately, Dice refused to budge, and though Eric told him that the network would just fire him if he threatened to walk off the show, Dice decided to take his chances. As it turns out, it was a lose-lose situation for everyone involved. Dice got the boot, and in trying to replace him with an impersonator (played by Jamie Kennedy), Phil may have just ruined the only good thing that “Johnny’s Bananas” had going for it. Drama definitely didn’t look too happy about his new castmate, while Billy Walsh threw a king-sized hissy fit and stormed out of the building in classic fashion.

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