If you are reading this and were somehow able to pry yourself away from Lady Gaga’s meat dress and the rest of MTV’s Video Music Awards (sarcasm), chances are you tuned into one heck of an Entourage season send-off tonight.
By now, as a fan of the show, you already know what’s on the horizon, right? There’s “up” seasons and “down” seasons. Either Vincent Chase (Adrian Grenier) is an A-List star and his crew bask in the glories of endless money, babes and parties or they’re downtrodden, passing the time by partaking in indie flicks and wallowing in self pity. The oscillation back and forth over the years has been dizzying and jarring to say the least. As fun as it was to vicariously revel in the successes of Head On, Aquaman and Queens Boulevard, it was equally depressing to wade through the muddy waters of the Medellin failure. But all this time, the gang never seemed like they were truly in danger of regressing back to the days of riding the E train in Queens.
But Season Seven has been different. As in uncharted territory different. This time around the block, the writers danced around with the theme of self-implosion for Vince in the gang and they finally decided to follow through. No chickening out. No backtracking. All formulas out the window. A long story made short: Vince is in deep trouble. More specifically, he got his pretty face beat up, sent to the emergency room and caught by the cops with cocaine on his person.
In perhaps the first episode worthy of tears, the cleverly titled “Lose Yourself” featured Eminem and a whirlwind of heartbreaking developments, which will undoubtedly change the future’s of Vince, Ari, E, Drama and Turtle.
Things started out with Vince missing-in-action and Drama, Ari, Turtle, E and Scott joining forces to stage an intervention for baby bro. Little did they know that Vinny was across town playing the role of the psycho boyfriend at Sasha’s porn flick photo shoot. In the last of a series of ultimatums, Vince demands that she give up her ass-less chaps and bow out of the movie. Of course, Sasha doesn’t comply and these two lovebirds are finally kaput.
Meanwhile, we can thank the gods of boredom that the Avion storyline is finally put out of its misery. But you have to give Turtle an A for effort. He unbelievably calls around town, searching for $20 million to help Carlos buy the majority share of Avion. But his magical rolodex of sports stars (MLB pitcher first baseman Ryan Howard and NFL quarterback Drew Brees) yields no results. What does work is a heart-to-heart talk with Mark Cuban, which convinces the billionaire to not take over the company. That sound you hear is a collective sigh of relief that this plotline won’t live to see another day.
As for the most powerful agent in Hollywood, Ari can’t seem to stop his downward spiral either. The restaurant blowup on Amanda Daniels was the straw that broke the camel’s back: Mrs. Ari tells him that she needs a break. This after Ari attempts to throw more money at his problems by throwing her a surprise 40th birthday party with her favorite singer Christina Aguilera performing. Is it splitsville for Ari and his still unnamed wife? Don’t count on it, but seeing Jeremy Piven exercise some real range has been nothing short of amazing. Hugging his Blackberry, Ari looked truly broken at the core, and no amount of money was going to fix this situation.
Back to that intervention, it’s wasn’t a hard guess to surmise that Vince wouldn’t go down easy. Not only does he go into full denial mode, he accuses each and every member of his entourage of being parasites, their only concern being their meal ticket being yanked away (This was actually a long overdue epiphany on his part that needs to be explored further). This clash of heads results in Vince storming out of the house and checking into the infamous Roosevelt hotel. Completely rattled by what he sees as betrayal from everyone, he indulges in more cocaine. After moseying over to an Eminem party, his rowdy behavior in the midst of actress Minka Kelly gets him punched in the face by none other than Slim Shady, Eminem. When he fights back, with Drama in tow, Eminem’s bodyguards beat him into a pulp, sending him to the emergency room. A cop then confronts Vince for having cocaine in his possession. Cut to black. Cue Eminem song.
In this seventh season, the writers finally dared to put everything on the line. At the core, the show has always been about the guys’ relationships with each other. But this season has brought an underlying issue to light: These guys are not happy with riding Vince’s coattails, but he can’t function without his boys. With everyone focusing on themselves and their own successes, they all collectively failed each other.
Overall, while this season started with a slow simmer, but the show finally has its mojo back. The stage is set for one more go-round, Season Eight, which will undoubtedly feature the theme of redemption. That said, Doug Ellin and the rest of the writers have one heck of a daunting task in front of them to bring this puppy in for a landing in only six episodes. I would like to be the first to request that the meaningless cameos be kept to a minimum, so that the focus is on the crew.
So now it’s back to the waiting game, something many Entourage fans are familiar with. Before you embark on another year long wait, tell us what you thought of tonight’s episode. Was all of this Vince’s fault or the rest of the crew for not stepping in sooner? How should the writers bring Vince out of this predicament? Do you even want to see Vince get in trouble or should the show sidestep a possible arrest? Even more important, should the series end with Vince and the rest of the guys on top?