September 12th, 2011
11:52 AM ET
Earlier this week I found myself bugged by two very pressing questions. The first was whether Don Julio Jones is the right name for both of my fantasy football teams, and the other, more pertinent question had to do with "Entourage's" series finale.
When "Entourage" says goodbye for good, where will the finale rank among the likes of greats like “The Sopranos,” “The Wire” and “Sex and the City”?
Fortunately, I had the pleasure of speaking with a guy who might know a thing or two about answering that question: Jerry Ferrara, aka Turtle.
“There’s always a part of me that’s like, '"Entourage" is on that list,' but then there’s another part of me that’s like, 'But is it? Are we on that list?!'”
Good answer/question, Jerry. While the jury seems split – on Twitter at least – on how the “The End” did or did not bring the series to a proper close, let’s break it down for ourselves.
We kick things off with some big news. Twenty-four hours after his date with Sophia, Vince decides that he and the newfound love of his life are getting married. Vince wants the boys and Ari to head to Paris for the ceremony. It took him eight years, Mandy Moore and a porn star to find “the one,” but eh, he seems to have found her in only the way Vince can. Add to that, E and Sloan are having a baby. Looks like we’re all growing up fast!
Over at Ari’s office, our boy is unshaven, disheveled and seemingly at his lowest point as an agent. After admitting he's actually "devastated” by his divorce, Melissa Gold walks in. (Although I'm skeptical about these two getting back together at the expense of the more awesome Dana Gordon, I will continue to refer to her as Melissa Gold until it actually happens. ) At any rate, Melissa wants to tell the kids about the divorce together, but not before one last trip to Dr. Marcus.
Like the good guy (or sucker) that he is, E wants to head to New York, even if that means going from garlic-knot-maker turned mini-mogul back to garlic-knot-maker. Regardless of whether Sloan wants him there, E is hell-bent on being a part of the baby’s life. Vince wants E to come to the wedding and be his best man, and offers to talk to Sloan. Of course E freaks out at the sheer thought.
Drama and Turtle drop by Sloan’s to get her to join the crew in Paris for the wedding, but all Sloan wants to know is, “Did E [make love to] Melinda?” (And if scenes like this don’t convince you that Johnny Drama and Turtle are one of the best television duos ever, then you just haven’t been paying attention for the last eight years.)
Drama swears on his career that it didn't happen, and the lie is all good because as he tells it, “I had my balls crossed!”
At therapy, Melissa reveals she broke up with Bobby Flay and Ari reveals he and Dana are no more. Ari agrees he’ll join her and tell the kids it’s over, even if mommy and daddy admit they still love each other. Was that not the most productive therapy session they’ve had all series? Something tells me some good might come out of this for those hoping for a Gold reconciliation.
Speaking of love, Vince and Billy are ring shopping. They start talking about the future and how it might involve a move back to New York for the crew. With one of the lines of the night Billy fires back, “You guys are good friends. I wouldn’t move west of Gower for a dude.”
And that is the heart of "Entourage." When life is good, when life is bad, none of it matters when you’ve got a friend or two to drop everything for you. Friendship and growing up have always been at the core of this series, and leave it to Billy to sum that up for us.
Vince then takes a call with Terrance McQuewick, but as he tries to make a plea for E to the father that hates him most, he ends up revealing that Sloan is pregnant. Apparently Poppa McQuewick wasn’t actually made aware of all this. “Whoops” is right, Vince.
Back to that ring, which is 6.45 carats and costs $1.4 million. All Vince can say is, “That’s fine, as long as it comes in a nice box,” as he realizes that the prospect of throwing his best friend under the bus outweighs the rock he just bought.
Ari’s having doubts about his track record as a father and calls his daughter Sarah (who somehow is 25 now). Next to Turtle and E, Ari’s growth as a character has been one of the most fun to watch. Aside from the fact that he overlooked an opera CD Sarah gave him, she lets Ari know he’s ultimately a great father. Mr. Hug it Out has gone from invincible Hollywood god to desperate family man to CEO of...well, we'll get there.
The guys rendezvous, and Drama and Turtle swear they’ve convinced Sloan to come, but she’s sending E nasty “I never want to see you again” type messages. Vince admits he might’ve jumped the gun letting Sloan’s dad in on the news. But this is Vince, who likely has one more trick up his sleeve.
Back at the office, Ari and Jake are looking for the opera CD Sarah was talking about. Mr. Gold spits out one of his classic one-liners that I wish we heard more of this season: “Lloyd!!!!!!” Leave it to Lloyd (Rex Lee) to be Ari’s saving grace.
As the opera blares from the speakers, Ari readies his swan song. Teary-eyed and seemingly at peace with himself, we see Ari realizing his family is his greatest motivation and inspiration. As he tells Babs, “The only thing you can’t take is this picture of my family and my lucky horseshoe.” Ciao, Babs, indeed.
It’s now Vince’s turn to convince Sloan to make up with E and head to Paris. With lines like, “He will kill for you and this baby,” and the usual Vince Chase charm, it should work, right? He tells Sloan that unless she’s over E, her dad needs to just accept their love for one another and move on. Couldn’t have said it better.
Instead of moving on with their agreed upon plan, Ari confronts Melissa at home. With a little help from Il Volo, he serenades Mrs. Ari back into love with him. The moment is so wonderful that an interruption by Lloyd seems fitting. “I’m family too aren’t I?!” Yes, you are, Lloyd and like Ari says, “you will shine." Hopefully we’ll get to see that light in the movie.
With that, we’re back at the private jetport, and I couldn’t help but get a little choked up seeing the shot of the planes, which let it be known it's time to say goodbye like season finales past. Scott’s there. Sophia’s there. Ari shows up with Mrs. Ari (yeah I forgave her; so should you).
The gang's all here and surprise, surprise, Vince got E and Sloan their own separate plane. Am I the only one a little upset that E and Ari didn’t actually hug it out?
What really struck me in this final scene weren’t the happy endings of our characters, but the hurt in Jerry Ferrara’s eyes didn’t seem forced. It seems Ferrara wasn't just acting as Turtle sensed the beginning, middle and end concluding before his eyes. “I’m a little emotional.” We are too, Turtle. Cue Led Zepplin’s “Going to California,” and the end credits.
That was that, but wait, there’s more!
Somewhere in Italy, Ari and Mrs. Ari are living the high life when the phone rings. And when the phone rings near Ari Gold, you can bet business is on the other line. John Ellis (Alan Dale) wants Ari to be the Chairman and CEO of his studio.
“You want to know what heaven really is, Ari, try being God,” John tells him.
Fin....Or is it? This conclusion begs the question of whether Ari will head back to L.A. for another shot at building the empire he dreams of. Perhaps it's a query – along with a few others – to be answered in the potential movie.
Whether or not the show ended the way you wanted, it’s sure not going to please everyone. That said, do you think the “Lost” diehards or “Soprano” lovers are still happy with their endings? Regardless, you can’t deny they’ll always have a place in their hearts for the series that made them care enough to question the very notion of what a series finale should be.
Mr. Ellin, Mr. Levinson and Mr. Wahlberg, thank you.
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