”Entourage”: Ari sins big
Oy, what an episode. If last week’s lack of forward plot motion felt like airy, sweet filler — the cotton candy of the season, if you will — then the delightfully sly resolution in ”Return of the King” went down like a cold beer on a hot day: It quenched a long-lasting thirst.
At last Ari and Vince reunited! Kinda. It took an act of God to bring the two together in yet another attempt for Vince to land his Holy Grail of acting, the role of Pablo Escobar in Medellín. The act of God involved Ari — and every other person in Los Angeles of Jewish faith — heading to temple for the high holy day of Yom Kippur. For those still confused about the holiday, Yom Kippur is the Day of Atonement, during which Jews fast for an entire day while listening to a sermon in temple and asking forgiveness for any misdeeds in the prior year. By the time night falls, everyone has a clean soul and a serious jones for deli food. Ari evidently has a reformist mentality regarding the occasion. Case in point: After committing a sin by haggling with Amanda instead of praying with his family, Ari told his daughter, ”As long as you apologize by sundown, it doesn’t matter what you do.” Seems in L.A. sealing the deal is the real religion.
The episode kicked off with Ari and family headed into temple and running into Medellín producer Nick Rubenstein (a frenetic tour de force by Adam Goldberg), who confirmed Ari’s intel from a previous episode: Benicio Del Toro was unhappy with Medellín. Now Benicio was officially out. Nick’s unshakable confirmation? A pic from Us Weekly of Benicio cavorting with a blonde in Antigua. (Forget The New York Times, people. Jann Wenner’s glossy is the paper of record in Southern California.) And Nick told Ari, ”We want Vince.” The producers were desperate, since the film was moments from falling apart without a star. They even offered Ari a commission to act as their agent in order to land Vince, leading to Nick and Ari calling Vince to offer him the part while he was cavorting at the racetrack with the gang.
And let’s quickly wrap up that brief tangent. While at the track, Drama bought a horse bound for the glue factory and eventually ”gifted” it to Ed Burns. Funny, random, and a great payoff. Plus, isn’t Drama best when his altruistic emotions lead him to make rash decisions and then he tries to furiously backpedal? Drama’s heart is in the right place even if his brain is nowhere near Realityville. Drama is so much less enjoyable to watch when he’s just being a self-centered ass. Last week I was really pulling for Chuck Liddell to bring down a world of pain on Drama. Tonight I felt bad for the guy. Sure, he was still an ass, but he was an ass in over his head after trying to help a sweet, innocent creature, and that makes Drama an ass I’m rooting for.
Now, back to the juicy main story. Nick and Ari had a trio of problems. 1. They needed Vince to be on a plane to Colombia that very night or else the production would shut down. 2. Nick had only received approval from the studio boss to pay Vince $3 million, and Vince’s rate was $6 million. 3. Conducting business on Yom Kippur is a big no-no. (In my experience the only things that stop Hollywood from doing business are a riot, an earthquake, or a Jewish holiday.) So the boys attempted two different tactics. Nick interrupted the studio head at temple not once but twice to try and get more money for Vince. And Ari played mind games with worrywart E by planting a seed of doubt that Amanda was holding out for too high a price. (Saying to Nick that E’s ”more of a neurotic Jew then you are” was actually a pretty big Hollywood compliment.) The ploys had unfortunate results both professionally and personally. Nick scuttled the whole project by harassing the studio head until he pulled the plug, while Vince started to believe that Amanda didn’t really try to make the deal because of her personal feelings. The final tally: Vince lost his dream role, his girl, and his agent.
By sundown the only person who really needed to ask for forgiveness was Vince. Accusing Amanda of letting personal biases get in the way of his career blew up in his face. After Amanda set him straight that it was Nick who caused the role to disappear, Vince attempted to make nice. And that went over like a roasted pig at a bar mitzvah. Maybe Vince was right that Ari would ”never have let this happen,” but I felt that Vince let his boys get into his head and that made him screw up with Amanda. I wish we could have seen her woo Vince as an agent at the start of the season, since we had only gotten brief glimpses of her professional abilities before she and Vince took it to the next level. Amanda must be the best of the best if she can snare a client like Vince, but we’ve had to take it on faith. Which made it hard to side with her even when clearly Vince was in the wrong. Looks like we won’t get the chance, as Amanda’s final line of the night said it all: ”Now, Vince, we say goodbye.”
So what do you think? Will Amanda really give up her biggest client? And will Amanda really give up her lover? Is Vince going to run right back to Ari? Is Medellín really dead? And how should Ed Burns give payback to Drama for the ”present” to his little girl?