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TV Review: Entourage – “Home Sweet Home”

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As HBO’s Entourage begins its final season with “Home Sweet Home,” a lot changes for the boys. Vince (Adrian Grenier) is out of rehab, and Johnny Drama (Kevin Dillon) goes to great lengths to make sure there isn’t a substance around to tempt his brother. Drama is only partially successful, as Turtle (Jerry Ferrara) can’t bear to part with everything. E (Kevin Connolly) and Scott (Scott Caan) have taken over the management company they work for, and their names now grace the letterhead. Sloan (Emmanuelle Chriqui) upsets E when she mails back his engagement ring. Ari (Jeremy Piven) is in much the same boat as E, learning Mrs. Ari (Perrey Reeves), from whom he is unhappily separated, is seeing another man.

Ari is the single best character in “Home Sweet Home.” At heart, he is the same guy he has always been. Ari talks a big game, as he needs to, to be successful in his chosen career. But he is still a devoted family man to Mrs. Ari and the kids. After ten weeks of being apart, Ari is letting work slip, though, as Lloyd (Rex Lee) points out. This is a change for the sharkish agent, and almost a tad regrettable. Ari does have a tendency to let work rule his life when it shouldn’t, but only because he cares so deeply for his family and certain clients. Certain clients, of course, being Vince. However, Mrs. Ari says she wants Ari to put family first, and he is doing that now more than ever. He is bending over backwards to try to make her happy.

Is it too late? While Ari does his best to work his way back into Mrs. Ari’s good graces, she reveals to him that she is seeing another man. Ari talks tough, but he never cheats on her. They have been married many years. Besides only recently splitting, they are in counseling together. That, along with the lengths Ari is going to win her back, which are implied, even if not explicitly shown much, makes her reentry into the dating world so soon a severe betrayal to him. If she is that done with her marriage, why keep stringing Ari along, as counseling does? Why not tell him sooner? It’s pure torture. Mrs. Ari is the heartless one in this coupling.

The tears rolling down Ari’s cheeks at the end of “Home Sweet Home,” as he says he doesn’t want to be left out to the guys, may be Piven’s most moving, best acted scene to date. It also demonstrates range away from the loud, foul-mouthed character he usually is. Though, of course, no one wants him to permanently change from that guy.

E has been in an on again/off again relationship with Sloan for nearly the entire run of Entourage. Disappointingly, they are currently off. Why? Haven’t they been through enough? It almost feels like a cop out, that the fight over the prenup is only shown in aftermath. Did the writers decide that fans have seen enough of the duo arguing? Because that is true. But when there is a real issue to work out, and surely they will work it out before Entourage comes to an end, it would be nice to see them really explore their feelings. Instead, they are already in a bitter feud as “Home Sweet Home” starts.

Professionally, E is having a better time of it. He doesn’t always see eye to eye with Scott, but considering how the latter has become a part of E’s circle of friends, there is enough commonality for them to work out a business arrangement. With the two having taken down their boss, again, something it would have been nice to see on screen, they will likely be capable of keeping things running smoothly. E certainly has his weaknesses as a manager, but Scott is a nice balance, who can pick up the slack where E falters. A brief scene where the two try to sign Johnny Galecki (The Big Bang Theory) as a client is nothing short of wonderful.

Johnny Drama actually has an acting career in “Home Sweet Home,” something he has merely yearned for throughout Entourage‘s seasons. With his animated series going well, and a possible TV movie in the pipeline, the older brother is in demand more than he has been in years. Will he screw it up? Inevitably, he will probably fail again. Drama is his own worst enemy, and cannot allow himself to do well for long. However, with the series so close to a close, perhaps this time will be different. Fans will be disappointed if Drama is back in the unemployment line as the final credits roll, which hints that maybe this time fame will stick. Well, relative fame, anyway.

A sober Vince is a strange sight to behold. The lynchpin of Entourage, Vince has many ups and downs. Last season, his drug use reveals a brand new, very deep low. Now Vince is staying away from even alcohol. With his friends walking on egg shells around him, even Billy Walsh (Rhys Coiro), who knows how Vince feels, they are doing more harm than good. Vince needs to find normal again, albeit a new normal, where mind altering substances are not a part of it. If he cannot feel relaxed with the people he cares most about, how can he be expected to reacclimate? Worse, Vince may soon begin blaming his sobriety on their new behavior, and seek to return to an arrangement he is comfortable with, which will include alcohol and drugs.

But, again, because Entourage is in its final season, it is more likely Vince will stay on top of his problem. He only has seven short episodes left to reignite his career, and so much focus will be on getting him there, rather than fighting old demons. His next big picture is months away, so something else will have to come along in the meantime. Whatever it is, for a storytelling climax, it is likely to be life altering.

Entourage continues its final season Sunday nights at 10:35 p.m. ET on HBO.

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About JeromeWetzelTV

Jerome writes TV reviews for BlogCritics.org and Seat42F.com, as well as fiction. He is a frequent guest on two podcasts, Let's Talk TV with Barbara Barnett and The Good, the Bad, & the Geeky. All of his work can be found on his website, jeromewetzel.com