July 25th, 2011
12:03 PM ET
The one word on my mind as “Entourage” launched into its eighth and final season last night was uncertainty.
To quote The Notorious B.I.G., “things done changed.”
We kick things off to the rhythms of Toro y Moi's "Still Sound" and a trip to the Murphy Lavin Group. Yep - Eric not only has his own business, but he’s running it with the guy we thought was his career nemesis, Scott Lavin (Scott Caan). Interesting, but not nearly as telling as the phone call Eric receives from Sloan.
Apparently, after the whole dinner with Sloan’s pop went sour last season (you don’t mess with the guy from “Clockwork Orange”), Sloan gave Eric the boot and is none too happy that he hasn’t completely moved his stuff out of their place.
We then head to rehab, where we find our boy Vincent Chase delivering his “I’m an addict,” speech. It turns out that since being coked up and arrested after some porn-star loving from Sasha Grey, Vinny is now 90 days sober. Here’s hoping this is a Robert Downey Jr. style comeback to sobriety.
At casa de Chase, we find Johnny Drama and a slimmed-down Turtle doing some cleansing of their own. Drama had Turtle sweeping the entire house for all drugs – even Advil – as to not encourage his baby half-brother into having a relapse. For all of the ups and downs of this show, you can’t deny that the Drama-Turtle duo will go down as one of the best in television history. Sword fight, anyone?
Back at Murphy-Lavin, Eric and Scott are trying to reel in hot new client…Johnny Galecki? Aside from chasing Victoria’s Secret models, it looks like the “Big Bang Theory” star has Scott convinced he can be a money maker in the movie business, something he and Eric disagree on.
Scott did make a great point in equating Eric and Sloan’s relationship to the romance between Ronnie and Sammie Sweetheart of “Jersey Shore” fame. (Minus the fact that I think of Emanuelle Chriqui the same way that my colleague thinks of “True Blood’s” Alexander Skarsgard.) Just like with the aforementioned “Jersey Shore” love battle, I wish they’d hurry up and come to some sort of conclusion with this story line or scrap it all together.
Anyway, there’s bigger fish to fry as Vince is set to be released from rehab, and apparently everyone but Eric is made aware of the situation. Let’s just say Eric is feeling a bit left out, but what else is new?
We then made a stop at the office of everyone’s favorite egomaniacal super agent, Ari Gold. Ari is a mess and has been a bit off his game since Mrs. Ari decided they needed some time away. I honestly hate to see Ari in this state, but something tells me it can only go up from here.
Outside of the rehab clinic, throngs of fans and press are present for Vince’s big release with one reporter saying, “Can a young star actor get his life back on track?” It’s something we all want to know, but I’m positive it will take the entire season to figure that out.
For the time being, Vince is eager to get back to work, but his pitch for a trapped miners film featuring a dog co-star goes over like a preschooler showing you a finger painting. In actuality it’s crap, but you treat it like it’s a Picasso, because you wouldn’t dare break the little tyke’s heart.
The boys head home, where we find Eric still miffed at Vince for not calling him before his rehab release. Sadly for E, his best friend’s silent treatment is the least of his problems, because Sloan wasn’t satisfied with just an angry phone call. In the ultimate diss, she mails her engagement ring back to Eric in a “non-padded envelope,” as Drama’s quick to point out. Ouch!
But regardless, the gang is reunited again. What better way to welcome Vince back home and help ease the mind than to throw a sober party? (By the way – “Entourage’s” writing never gets old. Ari had the best line of the night, telling Eric, “We don’t want him to mistake your pale round face for a crack rock.”)
Back at the Gold house, things are falling apart. Mrs. Ari is pissed that her hubby decided to swipe their son from school and take him to the office, and when Ari tells her she should spend more time with her kids than the kids she does charity work with…let’s just say one shouldn’t speak ill of her African children.
The Golds have been separated for 10 weeks, and when Ari pleads to his wife that he wants to come home, she drops a bomb: “I’ve been seeing someone.”
Next to his epic collapse last season, this might be the most vulnerable and human we’ve seen Ari Gold look all series. Breaks your heart.
Back in Chase land, there are plenty of girls to keep the show’s eye candy craving demographic happy, all thanks to Billy Walsh (who apparently is now some hot girl wrangler who raids addiction groups for talent).
After sending (or trying to, at least) Sloan an angry voicemail, Eric decides he needs to find out why Vince seems to be mad at him.
In a heart to heart, Eric admits he struggles with being completely honest with Vince as both his friend and manager. Vince says he wants to get back to his old movie-making, lady-loving self. Rehab not only kept him from jail time, but it also helped him clear his head.
Vince wants to know what E really thinks about his miner movie, and when Turtle co-signs on it sucking, Vince goes into “teaching his boys a lesson” mode. He storms through the house where folks are gathered to watch Drama’s “Johnny Bananas” cartoon which, thanks to his sidekick Andrew Dice Clay, is a hit.
Vince schemes to get all his boys in one room – minus Turtle, who is smoking a joint in the guest house but makes it after he unsuccessfully tries to put out the doobie. Vince says that he wants to move on from his past, but needs his friends to stop acting friggin’ weird or else he won’t make it. For better or for worse they’re all back together again, and thanks to Turtle’s love for the ganja, they’re currently homeless.
As far as season premieres go, I felt this one delivered as a good set-up for the season and not much else. A lot of intriguing story lines have emerged and it looks as though things could go either way for all of our characters, but nothing about this introduction to the end of the series blew me away. If Eminem's "Till I Collapse" in the closing credits is any indication, it looks like Vince and our guys will do everything they can to bring Vince back to relevance, and hopefully they bring the show back with them.
On a side note, whoever edits the “Next on True Blood” segments should lend their talents to the “Entourage” folks. Those “TB” previews make you feel like the next episode will be life-changing, which is something I can’t say for this show. Maybe I should mail my complaints via padded envelope.
What did you guys think? What stood out about the premiere for you?
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