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After exploding out of the gate in week one and slowing things down in week two, week three of the two-month goodbye tour for Entourage saw fit to throw some drama into the lives of Vince and his band of merry men. Until last season the drama in the show had always been heavily, if not entirely, based around movies for Vince, or Drama trying to get any kind of job going. Taking on a slightly more serious tone with Vince battling a drug addiction (although he didn’t see it as a problem at all) was a good move for the show even if it wasn’t executed particularly well, if only because it allowed season 8 to go in the direction that it’s going right now.
Any number of people out there are going to say that the show doesn’t really do an awful lot with its time on screen and whilst it would be difficult to truly argue that there is some huge deeper meaning to anything going on, if you take Entourage at face value, the 8th season really is pushing its boundaries. “One Last Shot” in particular served to deliver the first genuine piece of shocking drama the show has ever had, all the while continuing to progress the characters more than the show has ever sought to before. It might not be The Wire, but it seems clear that the team behind the show is determined to use the time they have left to actually do something.
The main storyline this week revolved around Vince. Still sober and still trying to get his script made into a movie of the week for Drama, Vince happens across Carl Urtz – the movie producer that screwed him out of a feature during his comeback in season 5 – while at a narcotics anonymous meeting. Although their relationship is less than good, Vince’s newfound forgiveness in the wake of his addiction and Urtz’s seemingly genuine desire to make up for what he did leads Vince to hand over the script to him to get a network on board with producing it. While the entirety of the entourage, save for Vince himself, consider the move a terrible idea, Urtz gets CBS on board with the project – with one or two conditions. Not only does Vince have to appear in the movie but he has to star in another project for Urtz as part of a “you do one for me, I do one for you” deal.
Seeing through the extremely thinly veiled cover of Carl getting Drama’s movie the go-ahead, Vince refuses the offer and pushes Urtz – freshly high after 3 years sober – over the edge. Locking himself in the bathroom, feeling guilty over what he had done and snorting cocaine as if it were air, Urtz pulls out a gun from a drawer and shoots himself in the head. The ramifications for Vince being present at a drug-induced suicide are bound to be numerous and potentially career-killing given the promo for the next episode, but putting that aside, it was a big move for the show to take. While there is usually a lot of money involved in the various dealings in the show, nothing has ever really felt all that important given that the whole entourage would remain millionaires regardless. But when people start killing themselves, things get just a bit more serious. I’ll be extremely disappointed if the situation isn’t used as a major shock to Vince’s system, causing him to stay away from drugs once and for all, but there are multiple avenues that could be taken.
The morose nature of a drug addiction and violent suicide aside, the rest of the entourage weren’t short of their moments in the spotlight either. After finding out that his wife is dating a celebrity chef during their separation, Ari is in a bit of a downward spiral. After missing things at work and not coming through for Vince, he takes to getting back on the dating scene at the behest of Lloyd. After a somewhat awkward start, Ari does well enough by the end of the evening to get an offer to join his much younger date in her apartment, but feeling his age and lacking a condom, he declines, instead opting to call up his old flame Dana Gordon to “talk.” After seeming genuinely devastated at his wife wanting a separation and pleading to get her back, sleeping with another woman is a pretty big step for Ari. Add on the fact that the woman is someone who very nearly beat out his wife to hold that title, and some interesting things may be around the corner for the super agent.
Continuing the relationship issues theme, Turtle finally got broken up with by the completely pointless tequila-selling woman that is Alex. I ranted last week about how unnecessary it was to even mention her name if she wasn’t going to be on the screen, and although her being eliminated from the story is a good thing, even the way that she broke up with Turtle annoyed me. Having her uncle Carlos casually mention it during a business meeting is just a little too brutal for someone that was never particularly nice in the first place. Turtle’s main focus in the episode fortunately didn’t actually revolve around Alex, though, with the aforementioned meeting being about Avion going national and no longer requiring him to work. Dissatisfied with just living life on the sidelines and picking up a dividend from his stock in the company, Turtle opts to sell and use the profits to bring New York pizza to LA once and for all.
Although his departure from the tequila trade does make one of the only positives in season 7 essentially redundant now, Turtle finally branching out on his own can only be a good thing for his character and the show. Elsewhere in the land of sub-par pizza, Drama, Eric and Scott have a less than stellar time trying to convince Dice to back out of his threat to boycott Johnny’s Bananas for a bigger paycheck. The result is Dice being replaced on the show by an actor doing a fairly accurate yet terrible impression of him and the future for Johnny’s Bananas hangs in the balance.
Entourage is never going to go down as a show that is anything other than the male version of Sex and the City, much in the same way that Bridesmaids is just The Hangover with lipstick, but it is certainly trying (and succeeding) to not be labeled as bad. Almost any show that runs for 8 seasons is going to hit a rough patch or two and if they don’t recover after they strike, their legacy becomes that one bad moment. Only three episodes after the blemish on its record, Entourage has revived itself to near the top of its game and should you find yourself with HBO and some spare time, the remainder of the 8th season wouldn’t be a waste.