ENTOURAGE 8.07 ‘Second to Last’

Eric forces a confrontation with Sloan as Turtle gets desperate for money and Ari comes to an important realization.

Blair Marnellby Blair Marnell

Episode Title: "Second to Last"

Writer: Ally Musika

Director: Kevin Connolly

It's unclear why "Entourage" has never really developed Vincent Chase (Adrian Grenier) as a character. The closest the series came to giving him a real personality was last season when he went on a destructive binge that nearly landed him in jail. That had the possibly unintended consequence of making him unlikable.

This season, Vince has been back to the mellow and loyal friend that he was throughout most of the series' run. And while he's got some admirable qualities, Vince tends to be a little bland compared to the rest of the guys in his circle of friends. That's why it's even more mystifying that Vince's final arc is revolving around his obsession with Sophia Lear (Alice Eve);  a woman who just isn't into him. On one hand, it speaks to Vince's latent insecurities when he runs off to his ex-girlfriends and films them refuting Sophia's contention that he doesn't respect women or treat his lovers well.

Although it's nice to see a woman keep Vince at arm's length for once, this story seems like it's going to leave Vince without any added dimensions or a sense of closure that some of the other stories in the series are getting.

This was also the week in which Eric Murphy's (Kevin Connolly) on-again, off-again courtship with Sloan (Emmanuelle Chriqui) finally wore out its welcome. Their entire separation this season has felt forced and it left both Eric and Sloan looking like caricatures of the people they used to be. This week's episode amped the ridiculousness to new heights by having Eric (with Melinda Clarke by his side) confront Sloan while she was on a lunch date with the supremely annoying, Johnny Galecki ("The Big Bang Theory").

In the past, the show has gotten away with similar scenes with Jeremy Piven's Ari Gold, but Ari is an over-the-top character to begin with. He can easily be placed in those kinds of situations and come out untarnished. E's not as lucky and his harsh comments to Sloan tarnish his "nice guy" image.

Is there who doesn't believe that Eric and Sloan are going to get back together in the finale? Especially after the revelation at the end? I'd be less annoyed with this storyline if it was a little more grounded (and if it had much less Galecki).

As for Ari, everyone's favorite agent finally realized that he wants his wife, Melissa (Perrey Reeves) more than he wants anything else. Ari's current lover, Dana Gordon (Constance Zimmer) is understanding towards him (perhaps too understanding), but it was a nice bittersweet moment when she told him to keep trying to win back Melissa.

Over in Turtle's (Jerry Ferrara) story, the writers on this series finally found a way to make us root for him again as he dealt with the incredibly spoiled couple, Jon and Gina over his attempts to bring Don Pepe to the west coast. Desperate for the money to meet their demands, Turtle turns to his investors Mark Teixeira, Amare Stoudemire, Michael Strahan and Alex Rodriguez; who all refuse to send more money and essentially cuss him out. I know that part of the appeal of appearing on "Entourage" is the chance for famous people to make fun of themselves. But all of the athletes in that sequence came off as huge douchebags. 

The best moment in the entire episode came when Turtle learned that Mark Cuban had taken his Avion tequila company public; which meant that Turtle had inadvertently cost himself and Vince millions of dollars by buying out ahead of time to get capitol for the Don Pepe project. Ferrara really captured the horror of that news and still made it funny.

Of course Vince had to come along and reveal that he never sold the shares because he believed in Turtle's vision; which was a nice vindication for Turtle and it meant that he got the millions he needed. But can no one lose on this show? Up to that point, Turtle's story was really going in interesting directions. Now that he's got money to burn, there's no drama in it.

Speaking of drama, or rather Johnny Drama (Kevin Dillon)… the horrendous "Johnny's Bananas" animated series made no appearances this week. But the fallout of Johnny's decision to walk out in support of Andrew Dice Clay led Phil Yagoda (William Fichtner) to blackball Johnny's TV movie until Vince made a $100,000 payoff to Phil's favorite charity to get it back on track. I'm not sure if "money solves everything" is the best message for the series to be giving its audience. But time and time again on this show, it turns out to be the case.

With the last episode of "Entourage" less than a week away, it's surprising that only Eric and Ari's stories feel like they have any sense of finality to them. Making my last predictions now, I'm guessing that Eric will move to New York to be with Sloan and Ari will get back together with his wife on a trial basis, at least. There are no unhappy endings in the world of "Entourage." The only question is how happy the endings are going to be.

Crave Online Rating: 6.5 out of 10.