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So Entourage is back. Following what was undoubtedly the weakest season in the show’s previous seven, I was skeptical about the eighth and final season of the show really having anywhere to go with Vince crashing out on cocaine and getting booked for possession. Sufficed to say, I was wrong. With only eight episodes in this final season there really is no time for the show to mess around in getting to its point and that urgency was more than reflected by the writers in “Home Sweet Home,” making it one of the best episodes of the show that I can recall.
The bulk of the episode was devoted to the return of Vince after a ninety-day stint in rehab to avoid jail time. There were thousands of directions that the writers could have taken this whole situation, but the one that they chose was definitely the right one. Keeping the humor in the show was a problem that the seventh season suffered from, but Drama and Turtle’s entire existence in the episode as a result of Vince’s comeback was back to the comedy form of the show’s best days. As the two cleaned out the house of everything that wasn’t water, the wider plot of the show was expanded into what is going to allow the season to work.
Although the trailers for the season unsubtly dropped the bombshell on us, Eric and Sloan’s separation still kind of tugged at the heart strings about as much as anything happening on Entourage could. Although their screen time as a couple was devoted to bitching over the phone to one another in the premiere, the scope for things to come with them is pretty interesting. Ever since Sloan’s introduction to the show in season two, the on-again, off-again relationship that she and Eric share has been one of the tent poles of the show. After all of the fighting and the back and forth in seasons five and six, it seemed like all was finally coming into place. But when no wedding actually occurred in season seven, I was a bit confused. It will all feel like a bit of a waste of time if the two don’t ultimately end up together in the finale, but I can definitely appreciate why the writers kept the wedding back, giving themselves the chance to throw a prenup spanner in the works and give us eight final episodes of something to really care about.
One of the only true positives to come out of the seventh season was that Eric really started getting somewhere in his life outside of his relationships with his friends. As early as season two – or around the time that Sloan really became a fixture in his life – Eric always looked to be growing more than anyone else in the entourage, but never really got there. Now that Ari has truly had his moment in the spotlight heading the biggest agency firm in Hollywood, Eric seems to be the new big thing now that he and Scott have dethroned Murray and created the Murphy Lavin Group. Turtle has his tequila business, Drama is on another hit show and now that Eric has joined the pack, it’d be difficult to say that this fairly childish show hasn’t delivered one hell of a lot of character development over the last eight years. Whilst he remains a ruthless agent at heart, perhaps one of the biggest changes that we’ve seen has come from Ari.
After blowing the chance to bring an NFL team to LA when he thought he was being played by an enemy, Ari had what one might call a downward spiral at the end of last year. Whilst the loss of the potential of having a few hundred million extra dollars might have hurt, nothing did quite the damage that his wife separating from him did. As a fan of the show since the beginning, I’ve always liked Mrs. Ari. If she didn’t exist in the show then Jeremy Piven’s character would have been one of the most unlikable people on planet television throughout the show’s run. Instead the time that the two spent together always showed far more sides to him than you’d otherwise see. That being said, after only two months of separation, seeing someone again is kind of a harsh thing to do – even for Ari. The extent to which I now hate her will undoubtedly fade through the season as Ari undoubtedly vies to win her back, but for right now in “Home Sweet Home,” Mrs. Ari sucks.
With all the drama of Vince getting out of rehab put aside and all of our characters building for the season in place, the only thing left for the episode to do was bring a horde of attractive women onto the screen for an impromptu welcome home party for the movie star. As Vince tried to sell his friends on a movie idea that he had while in rehab, the non-alcoholic bash swung firmly into action. But when he found out that they were all just telling him that they liked it as a form of positive reinforcement, the episode really hit its peak. Using an attractive messenger Vince tricked his entourage into thinking that he was overdosing on cocaine so that he could get them all to see that he really doesn’t need that part of his life anymore. Willing to adapt and make the best of everything in his now sober life, at the behest of Billy Walsh, Vince backs the idea to turn his film into an MOW for Drama – just another in a series of plot points for the show to build upon. The episode ended with Turtle's weed burning down the entourages' house, all but creating a literal clean slate for the group.
As much as I love the show, praising Entourage feels like an odd thing to do, but I’d be hard pressed to say that it didn’t deserve it. The show has come off of the back of a low and delivered a very strong episode that quickly set up everything that we need to know about the season to come, all the while being funny and even a little dramatic at the same time. The characters have some interesting places to go and the story already feels like it’s going to create a strong season for the show to bow out on.