Entourage: Claudette Barius
Charles Curtis
January 13, 2007 AT 05:00 AM EST

The ”Entourage” finale: The boys stay together

The second-season finale of Entourage, for all of its buildup, had its share of high points, but in the end it fell short of being the kind of episode that sets tongues wagging at the water cooler. Sure, the half hour was packed with plots and subplots — Eric possibly jumping ship into Ari’s old position, Turtle’s big night with Saigon’s first performance, Vince’s brooding, and Ari’s recovery. It even had another award-worthy set of cameos that included the normally dour West Wing actor Richard Schiff letting a slew of expletives fly and the always hilarious (at least on this show) Pauly Shore watching Drama suffer — Pauly gets extra points for comparing Johnny’s meltdown to that of a Surreal Life cast member.

Here’s the problem: It was a great episode but not necessarily a great finale. Sure, I loved watching the Hollywood machine at work — the sweet irony of a former pizza boy being groomed as the next Ari Gold was beautiful — and the ”Will Vince quit Aquaman?” suspense was skillfully handled. But there was no cliff-hanger. And sadly enough, I think you all knew that Vince wasn’t going to quit. If he doesn’t do Aquaman, there’s no season 3. (The horror!) The big payoff, which is normally what drives a season finale, was a bit of a dud.

What left me happy were a few unanswered questions that we can start building on for next season. Although future Emmy winner (fingers crossed) Jeremy Piven was relatively missing in action this episode, I still can’t wait to see what Ari will do now that he’s got his A-list client back on the track to stardom. Watching Ari and Lloyd try to build a new roster of talent should be hilarious — and should provide the pretext for some great star cameos. And what about Turtle’s new gig? Will Saigon be the first in a line of successes for the future rap mogul? My answer to that question is a prediction I made a few weeks ago: Turtle will leave the boys to head to New York City to become a full-time manager.

I also got the feeling that this was the last we’ll see of Terrance’s daughter, Sloan. I had such high hopes for E’s new romance, but we all know you have to pay the consequences when you turn down an offer you can’t refuse, especially from a guy like Terrance. So it’s goodbye, Sloan. (I wouldn’t cross my father if he were Malcolm McDowell.) Oh, well. I also had seriously high hopes when I saw Shauna cross paths with Ari. I wanted to hear them insult the heck out of each other in an all-out war of words. Instead we got a relatively lame attempt by the publicist to rouse Vince from his Mandy Moore-induced depression. By the way, ”I feel like I got shot” wins the award for most unintentionally funny line of the season. I’m sorry, I know Vince is a pretty boy, but he’s not that corny.

If this episode hammered one thing into our heads, though, it was that old phrase every male knows: Bros before…women. Sure, what’s left of Johnny’s career just landed in the toilet, and Eric gave up a lucrative offer in favor of friendship. But as long as Vince and Co. have each other (and a whole boatload of money to live off), nothing else matters. As corny as that sounds, that’s why the show is Entourage and not Sex and the Hollywood Star. As Johnny put it so eloquently, ”At least we’re all f—ed together.”

What do you think?? Did the finale live up to your expectations? What do you think made this season better than the first? And where will season 3 pick up?

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