TV Review: ENTOURAGE, 8.6 - "The Big Bang"

With only two episodes remaining Entourage gets back on track with a solid episode ahead of the rapidly approaching final curtain.

€œ€He€™s gonna bury my miners!€ €“ Drama

rating: 3

Maybe it€™s the fact that I€™m writing this latest Entourage review for the first time this season without repeat viewings of the episode due to bank holiday shenanigans, or maybe it just was a much improved episode, but €˜The Big Bang€™ was definitely a marked step in the right direction for the show heading in to the final two episodes. Don€™t get me wrong, I still have plenty of issues with this season €“ the main one being how they can possibly ever tie up every single plot thread that they have dangling at the moment in just two episodes €“ but given what had gone before it, this felt like Entourage at least back on track if not exactly winning the race. The opening scene, whilst stereotypically Entourage music video-esque with scantily clad women practically falling out of the screen at you served to move all four of the entourage€™s storylines along as well as recapping where we were up to after a few stop-start episodes. Johnny€™s progress from last week€™s meeting with Phil was revealed by a brilliant T-shirt that simply read €œI€™m on strike bitches€ across the back €“ I always knew Drama was matter of fact but this took that character trait to a new level. E meanwhile was getting abuse for being a €œmotherfucker€ after his tryst with Melinda Clarke last week, though why he told them all what he€™d done is beyond me. And Turtle€™s bid to open a restaurant was also back on track as we learnt that he was flying in the Don Peppe team to try and wow them with his proposal. Vince meanwhile was still obsessing over the Sophia Lear Vanity Fair interview whilst being photographed for the feature. After the rest of the entourage dispersed Vince and Shauna received Sophia€™s article and although the majority of the six page feature was positive, showed Vince€™s recovery in a great light and impressed the editors enough to give Vince the cover, Vince took exception to Sophia€™s view of the way he treats women and ill-advisedly stormed off to confront her. Whether Vince is actually growing up and craving a relationship with a woman with some sort of substance to her or whether he just wants Sophia because she€™s made it clear he can€™t have her, making him more of a child than he€™ll probably ever realise, remains to be seen. So far though his obsession with impressing her and winning her over has failed dismally and by the close of €˜The Big Bang€™ he didn€™t look to have made much progress.; unless you call stalking her to a restaurant and disturbing her just before an interview €˜progress€™. If television has taught us anything though, Vince and Sophia will be in bed together before the final scene of this eighth and final season. Ari€™s woman trouble went from bad to worse in €˜The Big Bang€™ €“ there was no follow up on Dana€™s late night call to him at the end of last week€™s episode, but his divorce from Melissa suddenly became a living hell for Ari when he realised that he wasn€™t just going to be fighting for his kids but his business as well. Before I delve too deeply in to that can of worms, you may have read that last paragraph and wondered who the hell Melissa is. Well it must be getting near the end of the show, because we are starting to be fed little nuggets about the characters that have never previously been revealed €“ such as Mrs. Ari€™s actual name €“ Melissa. Nothing would have ever probably been a popular choice as a name for Mrs. Gold, but there€™s part of me that was kind of hoping for something slightly more bizarre than Melissa (no offence intended to any Melissa€™s out there) but maybe that€™s the joke. I did like it how it almost seemed that Bobby Flay calling her by her name was the moment Ari realised she was gone, as if that revelation was her opening up to another man to him. After having had the frighteners put on him by the returning Rob Morrow as his legal counsel Ari realised he needed to pay back his wife€™s contribution to his company, unfortunately for him this came out at a cool eleven million dollars. After having to practically beg Barbara for the money in some form, including being firmly put in his place by his ball-busting business €˜partner€™: €œworld class chauvinist Ari Gold€™s balls are now being held by two women€ who€™d have thunk it€€ Ari, like Vince before him, also went against sound advice and went over to the former marital home. Before Ari got in to the house, we got our first suggestion that maybe everything isn€™t lost for the Golds though as Melissa (it just feels wrong typing that) clammed up when Flay started putting the moves on her in the kitchen. Ari soon interrupted things and after smelling Flay€™s cooking, barged in to make the predictable scene, but then in a shock move backed down and did the smart thing: walked away. This surprise move coupled with the reluctance Mrs Ari (that€™s better) had to reciprocate Flay€™s affections has now left me leaning more towards Ari€™s happy ending being back with his wife rather than Dana, time will tell on that front though as there€™s not much of it left to suggest a reconciliation may be on the cards. Whilst on the subject of trouble with members of the opposite sex, let€™s not forget little Eric who was ducking Melinda Clarke€™s phone calls after sleeping with her last week. E€™s ducking and diving was brought to an abrupt end however when Melinda had a new car delivered to the Murphy-Lavin group car park with a big red bow on it, much to Scott€™s bemusement, and thus our amusement as no one does bewildered better than Scott Caan. E of course took the car as a thank you for the sex rather than his company securing Clarke a role on a JJ Abrams show and felt used. Melinda soon set him straight whilst still gamely really dialling up the man-eating send-up of herself we first saw last week. E€™s frustrations were only made worse when Johnny Galecki of The Big Bang Theory (hence the pun-tastic episode title) reprising his great cameo from earlier in the season, showed up and needled E about his relationship with Melinda. Galecki then infuriated E by claiming to have taken Sloan out to dinner the previous night, something he hinted at wishing to do in the season opener when he first appeared. Galecki was very funny in his short appearance again, especially his recollection of whether it was he or Melinda that followed the other in to the bathroom at the Golden Globes. E however didn€™t find him funny in the slightest, and in spite of the fact he€™s slept with her ex-stepmother took Galecki€™s insinuations to mean that he and Sloan are now sleeping together and was furious. This prompted E to then inform Scott that unless he fired Galecki as a client, the Murphy-Lavin Group would be no more, provoking a physical reaction of frustration from Scott on a par with Phil€™s brilliant reaction to Drama last week. Speaking of the elder Chase brother, Johnny€™s commitment to his strike was tested throughout the episode, first by a once again scene and episode-stealing Billy Walsh (more on that later) and then later by both E and Lloyd, the latter giving Drama the ominous news that they€™d ordered more episodes of Mike & Molly to replace Johnny€™s Bananas €“ Jesus, if that doesn€™t make you want to go back to work then nothing will, no one needs to see MORE Mike & Molly. It wasn€™t until he went to see Dice, interrupting a hilariously trashy poker game in the process, that Drama really saw his dedication to the cause tested though when Phil phoned him. Phil was now not only threatening to pull the plug on the cartoon but also on the miner movie as he had great pull with the man set to make that happen: Les Moonves of CBS, as to quote Phil he once €œsaved Les Moonves€™s Great Dane from drowning when he was a puppy€. Under duress from Dice, Drama stuck to his guns though and seconds later Dice got a call from Phil which seemed to signify that Johnny had fucked it all up again. This is TV though and Entourage might€™ve been dark at times recently but it€™s not a dark enough show to not give the best regular character on the show a happy ending. Dice was of course winding Johnny up, the network caved, Dice gets his money and Johnny gets his show and a chance to now literally bury his miners rather than the figurative way in which he saw Phil trying to do it. A Hail of Bullets: - If they ever make an Entourage spin-off I am hereby declaring my support for it to feature Billy Walsh as a pirate. Seriously, if they had him dressed up like a pirate threatening to gut Drama €œlike a salmon steak€ every week I€™d be throwing out five star ratings on a weekly basis. This is not the first time Rhys Coiro has had minimal screen time this season yet still managed to steal the show and Bogart most of the best lines of the night, Billy Walsh really is one of the, if not THE, best recurring character the show has. - After a somewhat lengthy absence E€™s secretary made reappearance in this episode, and much to my delight there was again a subtle hint at something between her and Drama. It€™s without a doubt too late for anything to develop now, even on a show like Entourage, but it gives me hope for Drama after the show ends, because I€™m a hopeless romantic and I think about things like that€ - I know it€™s probably not cool to admit, and that his filmography does read like a veritable collection of garbage, but I fucking love David Spade. Obviously there€™s a bias here, but his cameo last night was by far my favourite celebrity cameo this season, possibly ever on Entourage (okay, maybe I€™m getting a little carried away there). That scene with Spade was great even before his appearance, which is a surprise given it was part of the Turtle-Don Peppe thread, including the non-plussed reaction Turtle got to his list of celebrities, instead being asked if he knew €œanyone on Glee€ by the star-hungry New Yorkers. Then they spotted the €œguy from Saturday Night Live€ who was as awkward and sarcastic as I€™ve come to love him for: his lacklustre thumbs up for the photo, commenting that he€™d €œnever signed a blueprint before€ and then telling her to find Jay Leno because he makes a smiley face when she asked him to write something funny. €œThat very tiny guy gets lots of pussy?€ €“ brilliant. - is it Johnny€™s Bananas or Johnny Bananas? I€™ve always thought it was the former but Lloyd called it the latter last night. There€™s no point to this bullet point really, I was just curious. Entourage continues Sunday @ 10.30pm on HBO in the US and Monday @ 10.45pm on Sky Atlantic in the UK.
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