Episode Title: "The Big Bang"
Writers: Doug Ellin & Jerry Ferrara
Director: David Nutter
When "Entourage" wraps up in two weeks, Jeremy Piven's Ari Gold will be missed most of all. Over the last eight seasons, Piven has somehow made an unbelievably slimy Hollywood agent into the most fully human characters on the show. Ari's stories are usually among the best written sequences of the entire series and this week was no exception.
After Mrs. Ari (Perrey Reeves) finally told Ari about her intent to divorce him, Ari has now come to realize that he could lose his agency as well as his children to her. Because his wife was the primary investor (to the tune of $11 million), Ari would have to either repay her completely, sell his stake in the company or let her potentially co-own the company. None of those particularly appeal to Ari, so he visits his soon-to-be former wife at home and he finds that Bobby Flay is already there cooking and flirting with her.
In a possible moment of personal growth (or as noted later, for more practical and legal reasons), Ari doesn't punch out the famous chef or yell and scream. He simply tells his wife (as we learn her first name is Melissa) that he never hid who he was but she has clearly hid herself from him. Piven's face and his body language demonstrated just how broken Ari was at the sight of Melissa with another man. This is Ari Gold at his lowest point in his life and he may never get back what he lost here.
But Ari still gets some of his signature one liners when negotiating with Babs (Beverly D'angelo) over ownership of the company if she covers the money that he owes his wife. Even emotionally on the ropes, Ari is still the funniest character on the show.
Meanwhile, Eric Murphy (Kevin Connolly) has made a gigantic mess with his personal and professional lives by sleeping with his new client (and former potential mother-in-law), Melinda Clarke; who showers Eric with gifts after she lands a new J.J. Abrams series. Although, I would have found it hilarious if it she just landed her role on "Nikita" and she only thought it was an Abrams show because it was so derivative of "Alias."
Johnny Galecki ("The Big Bang Theory") comes across Eric and Melinda having lunch before he insinuates that he's currently sleeping with Sloan (Emmanuelle Chriqui), the love of Eric's life. When this angers Eric, even Melinda openly wonders how he can still love Sloan after being intimate with Melinda. E is so pissed off that he tells Satan's favorite son, Scott Lavin (Scott Caan) to fire Galecki. It may not be the best business move, but it's hard to argue with Eric from an emotional point of view. There's something about the celebrity appearances on "Entourage" that makes me want to see all of them get punched out by someone.
Speaking of which, Andrew Dice Clay continues to whiz in the corner of the atrocious "Johnny's Bananas" storyline. After last week's episode, Johnny Drama (Kevin Dillon) has joined Clay on his ill-advised walkout. It would have been different if Clay had been more sympathetic to Drama's plight, but how can anyone side with this a**hole when all he wants is more money after already settling upon a deal?
At least Kevin Dillon plays desperation well and Drama holds out just long enough for the network to cave. Is it impossible for anyone on this show to suffer the consequences of their actions other than Ari?
Although Turtle's (Jerry Ferrara) story is still superfluous at best, it has made him likable again as he deals with Jon and Gina (the unbelievably spoiled couple behind Don Pepe) who are clearly stringing him along and enjoying their LA trip at his expense. Turtle actually seems to have a workable plan to make the restaurant a success; which makes his frustration palpable when Jon and Gina barely seem interested in what he has to say.
As for Vincent Chase (Adrian Grenier), his closing storyline seems to be centered on his pursuit of Sophia Lear (Alice Eve); who wrote a mostly flattering piece about him in Vanity Fair. But he's thrown by the insinuation that he only pretends to respect women to get them into bed and he even stalks her at a local restaurant to try to change her opinion. It is kind of refreshing to see Vince get continuously shot down by Sophia, but I suspect that he'll still get her in bed by the very last episode.
There are always happy endings in "Entourage," however I'll be more impressed with the series if it dares to give some of the guys an unhappy resolution to ultimately overcome after the series is over. But I doubt that the show wants to embrace reality at this point in its run.
Crave Online Rating: 7 out of 10.