The countdown to the end of Entourage, HBO's fun-loving bromance comedy, officially began last night, and, thankfully, it kicked off in fine form. In case you forgot, last season ended with Vince's (Adrian Grenier) Sasha-Grey-enabled cocaine addiction coming to a head, resulting in the Hollywood playboy getting severely bodied by Eminem and then arrested for drug possession.
As the Season Eight premiere opened last night, the setting is three months after Marshall Mathers whooped his ass, more specifically, it's Vince's first day out of rehab. So what happened next?
Vince is sober, but the gang is worried about a relapse.
Things kick off with Drama (Kevin Dillon) hilariously substance-proofing Vince's crib on the day of his return. Curiously, Vinny has called everyone to be there for his big day—except Eric (Kevin Connolly). But Drama has insisted that no one cause Vince any kind of stress, less he turn to the powder again, which also means the gang, plus Ari (Jeremy Piven), Scott (Scott Caan), and a thankfully-still-around Billy Walsh (Rhys Coiro) have to smile and nod when Vince pitches a terrible Romanian miner script that he even wants to direct himself.
Truths come to light, however, at Vince's [sober] welcome home party. Vince reassures his crew that he isn't going to relapse, even if they admit to him that his idea sucks, which everyone proceeds to do (Ari: "It's disgusting, actually"), and, more importantly, Vince and E squash their beef.
It's not all happy endings for E, though.
At least not yet. In the premiere's most frustrating development, we learn that, in the three months that have lapsed between seasons, Eric has started his own management agency with frienemy Scott Lavin, but has broken up with Sloan (Emmanuelle Chriqui). Yet again.
How many times does that make now? Hell if we know—we'd need more than two hands to count that high. Chances are, this season, and the series itself, will end with those two happily together, so why spend the last episodes blatantly delaying the inevitable? And repeating the same tired storyline? We'd thought, at long last, that the will-they-or-won't-they saga of E and Sloan was dead and buried in the excellent Season Six finale, "Give a Little Bit."
Now, apparently she's not cool with his refusal to sign a prenup, even though she seemed just as horrified that her dad would suggest one in the seventh season's finale episode. Here's a tip, Sloan: You don't have to worry about any guy that's willing to drop his own 30k on the engagement ring.
Ari's marriage is completely in the gutter.
The Gold's are still separated and things have only gotten worse since we last saw them. Ari's been out of the house so long that his kid (played by series creator Doug Ellin's real-life son, Lucas) is skipping school just for some face-time with dad. In addition, the Hollywood super-agent is horrified to learn that his wife is now seeing someone else. Get ready for the inevitable showdown of Ari vs. "the other guy"! But, damn, when did Entourage's wifeys become so cold? Near the episode's end, Mrs. Gold's actions literally move Ari to tears, which is something we'd never expected to see.
Johnny Drama has a new co-star.
Your boy Drama spent much of the premiere more worried about Vince than himself, but he did screen a couple scenes of his new cartoon, Johnny's Bananas, at the house party in typical vain Drama fashion. It looks like his co-star, Andrew Dice Clay, is getting a better response than him, though. Is Vince's brother about to have another show stolen out from under him? Probably.
Turtle's still dating Alex.
Thankfully, the Avion-hawking was kept to a minimum, but in a couple of throwaway lines we learned that Turtle has managed to keep the impossibly bad Alex (Dania Ramirez) cuffed, and she's now the new face of Avion. In a welcome reveal, it turns out that, when she's around, he'll be able to have threesomes with girls that find her just as hot as he does. We wish we could feel sorry for you, Turtle, but that's not going to happen.
"I need to smoke. That's final."
Just when we thought a season of Entourage would finally feature the same house consecutively, Turtle facilitates the tradition of new season/new crib with a badly aimed toss of a still lit joint. And with that, we're starting fresh.
After last season's overall darkness (thanks to Vince's drug use), things are lightening up slowly but surely. There weren't any Sasha Grey mentions and the blatant Avion promotion that plagued season seven was gone.
Outside of the principal cast, Scott Caan continues to be a breath of fresh air; his pseudo-Ari mannerisms and say-what's-real personality fit right in as Lavin has essentially become a second-tier member of the crew. As long as the show continues to do what Eric promised and "keep friendship first," it seems like we're in for a proper send-off.