Monday, November 24, 2008

Entourage S.5 E.12 - "Return to Queens Blvd"

The boys were back in town again and after some requisite all-night partying and talks with Mom, they get back down to business. Vince and E squabbled over how to get Gus Van Sant to let Vince audition for his new movie while Turtle tried to keep his relationship with Jamie Lynn Sigler secret and Drama invested his money into a hometown bar. The episode returned to the original formula of preserving Ari for short but sweet appearances to dole out a few funny lines and further the plot rather than devoting whole sub-plots around him. As such, the episode divided the screen time pretty evenly amongst the boys.

The episode saw Vince at his most unsteady and insecure despite finding comfort in an ex-girlfriend – the episode’s only superfluous element, largely due to the terrible performance by the actress. On the other hand, Adrian Grenier displayed some of his best acting to date when cool-as-a-cucumber Vince finally let down his fa├žade in an explosive, expletive-fueled cell phone hurl. The subsequent mash-up between Vince and E was painful and unflinching (although marred by a distracting 360 degree revolving camera) and their reconciliation at the show’s end was just as bromantic as we would hope it to be.

After a season of suffering through set-back after set-back, Entourage’s hedonistic fans finally received the release they needed as Vinnie got offered the lead role in the next Scorsese film, a reworking of The Great Gatsby. It seems to me that Vinnie would be much better suited to play Gatsby than Nick Carroway but never mind if this means we’ll get to see more Scorsese cameos! I suspect the movie’s production will occur off-screen this time but hopefully the grand master will still be popping up during post-production.

One of Entourage’s strongest qualities is its ability to anticipate showbiz trends and comment on material contemporaneous to its air date rather than its shoot date. Last night we saw it with all the Gus Van Sant talk and Drama’s throwaway reference to Milk and even in the line about Joaquin Phoenix bowing out of a film which almost aligns with his supposed retirement announcement. Further in that regard, the entirety of season five feels like a reflection of America’s economic downturn what with all the dialogue about it being a bad year and hitting a rough patch. The doom and gloom is more likely a by-product of this season being written on the heels of the writer’s guild strike but it still feels like a contribution to Entourage’s eerie powers of prognostication.

While I was becoming accustomed to the show’s new tone and approach, the last five minutes did feel like a welcome return. With its promised summer 2009 airing maybe a bit more fun and sun in season six will help after this long winter of discontent. Who knows? Maybe even the economy will be on the incline by then.

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