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After three weeks of fairly top of the line material from Entourage, it was inevitable that the show would eventually live up to the expectations that it has formed throughout its run and deliver an episode in which not very much of anything happened. In saying that, however, just because there wasn’t very much plot progression does not mean that “Whiz Kid” wasn’t a good episode, or at the very least, far more than tolerable to watch.
If you were coming at it as a first time viewer I wouldn’t blame you for asking “what the hell is this show about?” But if you’re familiar with the show or more specifically the current season, the episode worked just fine for its 20 minutes on air (comfortably the shortest episode of the season thus far). On a side note, the episode marked the first writing effort for actor Jerry Ferrara who plays Turtle on the show (in a co-write with series creator Doug Ellin), and even though I mentioned that the episode didn’t necessarily meet the standards of the season thus far, it kept in very well with the tone of the show and felt just as much an episode of Entourage as any other; it was a commendable effort indeed.
The main crux of the episode involved the entourage rallying to help Vince and Turtle deal with the aftermath of Carl Urtz shooting himself in the head at the end of last week’s episode. Although obviously cleared of any wrongdoing in the shooting itself, the presence of mountains of cocaine at the scene of the suicide meant a mandatory drug test for a still on probation Vince – a test that he was not too likely to pass. While the threat of Vince losing a film role wasn’t exactly a fresh approach for the show to create tension, the way that he’d gotten himself into trouble this time made for undoubtedly the best part of the episode.
Instead of succumbing to addiction or doing something outright stupid to create a bit of drama in the show, Vince had smoked some marijuana just to prove to himself that he could. Tired of being told that he was an addict in rehab and that he can never have these things again because they would cause his downfall, he took drugs to test himself. Now whilst marijuana isn’t exactly the most addictive substance in the known universe, his strength of character – the same that he displayed in the season premiere when his friends were treating him differently – showed a side to Vince that is impossible not to like. He has transitioned from an absolute mess last year into a better and more motivated person than he has ever been, and he was about to pay the price for it.
Knowing just one or two drug addicts and having access to the internet, the bulk of the rest of the episode dealt with Vince trying to find ways to pass the test and save his career. Drama’s approach was a full body cleanse involving drinking bottles of vinegar and applying THC removing hair cleanser, while the usually erratic and unstable Billy Walsh had the slightly more ridiculous yet slightly more plausible plan. Knowing how closely Vince will be watched, the option of simply switching out his urine was removed, but attaching a fake penis and filling it with clean urine was well within the realm of the possible. Fully prepared to go ahead with the penis plan, Vince seemingly changed his mind after Eric rejected the idea, but upon receiving the news that he’d passed the test, it was clear that Vince had taken the plunge. Now past the incident and more ready than ever to get back on top, the entourage set about getting Drama’s movie into development and preparing Vince for his next film.
Despite its title, “Whiz Kid” wasn’t entirely about Vince and his unclean urine as Ari’s marriage issues had their part to play as well. After finding out that his wife was dating again, Ari slept with his old flame Dana Gordon in last week's episode, and although the chemistry between the two was clearly there, he insisted on still working on his marriage. Arriving late to a couple's therapy session following the shooting incident, Mrs. Ari stormed out on him for the first time, creating a firm desire for revenge. After his wife not believing that he had also met someone else during their separation, Ari took to flaunting Dana in her face by taking her on a date to one of Mrs. Ari’s boyfriend’s restaurants. While mildly effective, the plan ultimately backfired on Ari when Dana found out that she was being used, but Mrs. Ari’s negative reaction to the date does leave some possibility of the return of the power couple before the season is through.
As I said before, “Whiz Kid” wasn’t the best episode of Entourage given its fairly non-existent plot, but for what it was, it worked. It gave Vince a chance to shine as a character, showing that he had truly overcome his addiction and also displayed a slightly softer side to Ari in the short time that he and Dana remained in bed together.