I just want you to know that Im coming to find you, and when I do Im going to shoot you... Terrence
rating: 2.5The series finale of Entourage was the very definition of bittersweet for me. On the one hand I was sad that a show Id watched since day one and invested eight years in was coming to an end, but on the other hand I was glad, because the end of the show also signified the end of my reviews. Constantly casting a critical eye over the show this season has left me resenting it for consistently failing to deliver anything of substance for me to analyse, and I dont want that to be the way I remember a show that for seven years previously Id enjoyed almost every minute of. The End was indicative of everything thats been wrong with this final season of Entourage though, and as a result, from what Ive seen, has been met with near universal negativity from the majority of critics and fans alike. We all knew the show would finish with happy endings for all the characters, but one would at least have thought that they would have been resolutions that would have evolved from arcs wed seen develop over the season and series, not feel like theyd just been cobbled together at the last minute as the show rapidly ran out of time to wrap everything up satisfactorily. The biggest culprit of the above was without a doubt Vinces arc that revolved around his pursuit of Sophia Lear (Alice Eve). When we last left Vince, yes Sophia had agreed to a date with him, but prior to that had steadfastly refused his advances. A mere twenty-four hours later though were supposed to believe that this intellectual, sophisticated woman would do something as a rash as get married after one, admittedly long, date? It certainly, as Turtle rightly pointed out, required a gigantic leap of faith even by Entourage standards. And with one fell swoop, all those weeks of presenting Sophia as breaking the mould of the stereotypical Entourage love interest went out of the window as she, like thousands before her, melted after just twenty-four hours in the company of the irresistible Vinny Chase. Id honestly have took issue with Sophia just sleeping with him after just one date given how the writers had written her up until this final episode but for her to agree to marry him was utterly ridiculous - it felt rushed, they didnt even have the decency to let us see the relationship on screen other than for a brief glimpse of Sophia at the end of the episode and ultimately robbed long-term fans of the show of the pay-off of finally seeing Vince grow up. At the beginning of the episode when Vince announced his engagement the rest of the group assumed he was back using again, I think its fairer to assume that its those responsible for the writing in this finale that were on drugs. Elsewhere in Entourages land of speedy developments, although wed last left Ari and Mrs. Ari (Im still refusing to address her as Melissa) a long way from reconciliation yes the seeds had been planted that there may be a glimmer of hope for the Golds, but moving to Florence together for a year seemed a bit of a stretch by the time the credits rolled everything seemed rosy again for Ari. By the time the credits finished however, things were a little different, but Ill get to that later. Having spent much of the season a broken man, as former NFL coach Mike Ditka remarked hes a fucking mess, Ari getting back together with his wife and reassessing his parenting skills did feel like a resolution hed earned and wed earned as viewers having watched this man neglect his family in favour of work for eight years. Having Ari finally realise the error of his ways was about the only way this could end for him, if he was to get a happy ending, after making his devotion to his job the catalyst for the break-up of his family. It was kind of ironic that his daughter uncovering a potential new star act those Italian Jonas Brothers opera singers was the moment of epiphany for Ari. He seemed to view it as a realisation that hed missed his kids growing up, but it could also be argued that Aris unrelenting addiction to work had rubbed off on his kids and he had to give up the former to save the latter from ending up like him. Aris driveway reconciliation with his wife, utilising those same opera singers that had helped him reach the decision to finally put family first, was about the only bit of real, heartfelt emotion on display in this episode. His subsequent chat with Lloyd also carried some real weight to it as wed seen poor Lloyd abused and mistreated for so long by Ari that to finally see him show not only respect, but also love, for Lloyd was a touching moment, even if it was wrapped in Aris usual colourful language: Youre the gay son I never wanted Youre more cunning and cuntier than shell ever be. E and Sloan meanwhile, the other potential reconciliation of the series that all logic would have suggested would never occur, also ended up with a happy ending of sorts. At least in the context of the episode, they ended on a happy note, but giving their circumstances any sort of thought whatsoever makes it painfully obvious that its all going to end in tears. E, also sporting a beard (as was Ari) as unshaven is the universal TV look of internal turmoil, had made the decision in between episodes to stalk Sloan cross-country to New York even though Sloan doesnt want anything to do with him. Of course the rest of the group cant stand by and watch one of their own suffer so Turtle and Drama try and convince Sloan by virtue of Vinces wedding to at least see E. Sloan, rightly sceptical: he was single last Wednesday, is suspicious of their motives and suspects the two of them of trying to trick her. Turtles explanation that Sloan was carrying our baby seemed to remind Sloan of some of the positives of being with E and by proxy the rest of the entourage. But the elephant in the room is Es tryst with Melinda, although Drama and Turtle lie and say it never happened, with Drama going as far as to swear on his career: I had my balls crossed, when it does eventually come out, and it will, whats going to happen then. I dont think Vinces later argument that if it did happen E did it because of Sloan is going to wash somehow. I dont understand why, if the intention was always to at least suggest at an E-Sloan reunion, they would have even put E with Melinda (Sloans ex-Stepmom) a mere three episodes before the end of the show, surely all hope of these two living happily ever after went out the window then. The one good thing about the inexplicable reunion of Sloan and E was that it prompted the brief return of Sloans Father Terrence McQuewick (Malcolm McDowell). Terrences reaction to Vince inadvertently breaking the pregnancy news to him and his subsequent threat to E (see opening quote) were rare highlights in an episode surprisingly low on guest stars. Although recurring guest stars Billy (Rhys Coiro) & Scott (Scott Caan) were present, they were given so little to do Im guessing their inclusion was just to give them a presence in the finale of a show theyve both been a big part of for a number of years. Speaking of merely a presence, the finale was also very light on Turtle (thankfully) and Drama (criminally). Last weeks episode mustve been the culmination of their journeys, so Im assuming were not supposed to ask what has become of Turtles restaurant plans maybe now hes a millionaire all his desire to succeed on his own has gone out of the window and hell revert back to smoking weed all day and playing video games. Drama meanwhile, well we know hes now got two chances to get his career back on track, his cartoon and the miner movie, but whether either of those does actually lead to a career resurgence for Johnny Chase well just have to wonder about. Of course, maybe Im being slightly harsh on the way things ended, because if the long-mooted Entourage movie does actually happen then we may get to see some of the questions this finale failed to address actually answered. If that is the plan though then its an awfully cynical move to not give fans of the TV show a genuine emotional pay-off to eight years of investment just to try and hawk a few cinema tickets. A movie version of a TV show should stand alone and only add to what preceded it on the small screen, not answer questions left unanswered by poor writing. That post credits scene with John Ellis (Alan Dale) offering Ari the chance to be God as chairman and CEO of presumably a Time-Warner-esque company certainly seemed to suggest though that a big screen version of Entourage is definitely on the horizon, otherwise why would they undo the happy ending theyd just given the shows most memorable character within seconds of giving it to him? Ultimately The End was sadly a huge let down. I didnt feel for one minute like I was watching the last episode ever of the show there was no sense of occasion, nothing to make it feel special in any way, it just felt like any other episode of Entourage. Everything that went down on screen in this finale felt rushed, it was almost like no one bothered to tell the writers that they only had eight episodes this season and once they realised they had to squash episodes worth of material in to one half hour clusterfuck. If a show is cancelled and doesnt get the opportunity to finish things off the way it would have chosen to then, although frustrating, I can live with that, but when a show has a year or so to plan its climax and then doesnt deliver to millions of loyal fans then thats pretty poor. I dont know whether its a result of the extra depth Ive been forced to look at the show with this season or whether its just been a bad final season but season eight has really disappointed me. I dont want my lasting memory of Entourage to be a negative one though so I think it may be worth just writing off season eight as a season too far and remembering the show in the earlier days when it was at its best, after all there arent many TV shows that know when to call it a day. A Hail of Bullets: - Seeing Jeremy Piven with a beard again reminded me of his time on Ellen as Ellen DeGeneress cousin, hes come quite a long way from that dire step backwards after starting out with prominent roles on Larry Sanders and Seinfeld. - How great is Lloyds run!? I cant believe Ive only just noticed it now the show has ended. I think there may have to be some repeat viewings to see if it makes an appearance at any other points in the shows history. - The writing for The End may have been pretty terrible but at least someone had the thought to at least have a throwaway moment where Vince has the decency to let his own Mother know that hes getting married. - Mrs. Aris magnificent posterior got a whole lot of attention in those final moments of the show; in fact I think Perrey Reevess ass got more screen time than Sophia did.
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