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After ninety-six episodes spanning eight seasons, HBO comedy-drama Entourage finally came to a close on Sunday. Over its eight years on screen, the show has certainly had its ups and downs, with the eighth season in particular displaying perhaps the biggest range in quantity and quality of content that the show has ever seen. After starting so strong, the show wavered - seemingly unsure of where it was going - changing the lives and relationships of its characters forever, with little to no explanation. It wasn’t difficult to pan the middle of the season for that lack of logical direction and even as recently as last week’s penultimate episode, things were set to end in a pile of shame on the floor. Enter the series’ finale.
“The End,” apart from bearing the weight of being the end of a relatively long-running show, had an awful lot to do. Drama had a movie in the works, Turtle was a millionaire and Vince, Eric and Ari had relationship issues that would overflow any available cup to put them in. With only half an hour to get it all out of the way, prioritizing had to be done. Thankfully, despite near an entire season of poor choices on the part of the writing staff, they actually got it right for once. Ignoring the going nowhere business ideas of Turtle despite his tireless efforts, as well as all things Johnny Drama, “The End” focussed entirely on the relationships of what it wouldn’t be a stretch to say were the three main characters of the show.
Whilst just a paragraph ago I commended on the decision to focus on character and relationships, it's now time to slam the show for one of the three story lines. Unsurprisingly, it involves Vince. Since her introduction just a few weeks ago, Vanity Fair journalist Sophia has made no sense to me at all. From the moment that he met her, Vince was head over heels, which in of itself was fine, but the progression of their relationship since has been just a little bit stupid. In every episode in which she has appeared prior to the finale, Sophia has been portrayed as a fairly serious woman. She does serious and noteworthy journalism about serious and noteworthy things and had no tolerance for Vince when he tried to flirt with her instead of answering questions about his past and his drug addiction.
Characters do change, if they didn’t, TV shows would be pretty boring all around, but those changes should be gradual. Save for the reveal that someone you thought was good is actually bad in any given action-drama, shifts in the make-up of a character tend to take at least a few episodes, if not seasons. Last week, Sophia finally gave in to Vince’s advances and agreed to go on a date with him. This week, she’s getting married to him. Save for some suspiciously impressive beard growth on the part of Jeremy Piven, “The End” appears to take place just a day after “Second to Last.” Vince has just returned from the date, everyone has just found out that Sloan is pregnant and so forth. In that 24 hour period, a woman that found it offensively unprofessional to flirt with the subject of an article has agreed to get married to a man she has spoken to about four times in her life. Correct me if I’m wrong, but that seems just a bit unbelievable, no?
To add insult to completely out of left field wedding injury, the nuptials are taking place the very next day in Paris. Not wanting his nearest and dearest to miss out on the display of love, Vince’s task for the rest of the episode is to get everyone to come to the wedding. Whilst the majority of the short list of invitees are convinced after getting over the same shock that the viewer is feeling, one is a hold-out. Given the state of her relationship with Eric, Sloan is set to be a no-show for the wedding. In one of their few contributions to the episode, Turtle and Drama almost had her and “their” baby convinced to attend until Vince slipped up by accidently letting Sloan’s father know that she was pregnant before she had told him. As a result, Vince went on a last ditch attempt to not only get Sloan to come to his wedding, but to get her to take E back.
Entourage is not particularly known for having genuinely emotional content, but if ever it came close to giving an audience member the urge to cry, that scene may have been it. Vince affirms Eric’s love for the mother of his child as well as throwing in that he is getting married because he finally knows what love feels like after being told so often by Eric how he feels about Sloan. The resolution was left in the balance whilst Ari had his moment in the spotlight, with his marriage coming to an end. After being told that he was an absentee husband and father whilst trying to win his wife back, Ari looked to his daughter for confirmation of his parenting prowess. While she loves him, she uses an example of an opera group that she had tried to bring to her father’s attention as a case of him not paying enough attention. The result, a much more realistic character change than the aforementioned madness.
Seeing that the only things that he has ever truly loved were about to be lost to him, Ari, in an extremely appropriate fashion, quit his job, taking with him only a photograph of his family and his lucky horseshoe. Arriving at his house with the opera singers in tow, he pleaded with his wife to take him back in another somewhat touching moment. Of course, in a happily ever after type ending, she did, and after Lloyd arrived with the news of Vince’s wedding, everyone set their sights on the airport. As Vince, Sophia, Turtle, Drama, Ari and Melissa boarded the plane, the bridegroom forced his best man out of the trip, instead sending him to another plane. Convinced by Vince’s words earlier, Sloan was waiting for Eric, who had also quit his job (kind of), and after the two made up, the episode concluded with both planes flying off into the sunset.
Post-credits, Ari had one final hurdle to overcome when, whilst enjoying the Italian sun with his wife, he received a phone call from John Ellis (Alan Dale), the owner of Warner Bros. studios in the Entourage universe. Seeing it as his time to retire, John one-ups his previous offer to Ari of becoming head of the studio, by offering him his position of chairman and CEO of Warner Bros. Given a week to decide, Ari hangs up the phone and tells his wife that it was a cable company asking if they wanted TV, with his lie suggesting that as much as he wants the job, he will honor his promise to his wife to spend a year away from Hollywood.
It’s impossible to deny that the final season of Entourage has had its problems and for the most part has been less than stellar, but when it comes down to it, “The End” was a fitting end of the show. It might have been a little too happily ever after, but when you’ve spent eight years with a group of characters you’d have to be a little off to not want them to end on the best possible terms. It wasn’t perfect, but Entourage managed to largely redeem itself with its final episode and although I wouldn’t be rushing out to buy it on DVD, the show is definitely worth watching again somewhere down the line.