Reviews · TV

TV Review: Entourage 5.12 – Return To Queens Blvd

The gang returns home to New York City, but Hollywood seems to follow. Vince’s mom tells him and Eric that Gus Van Sant is in town and in need of a replacement for Joaquin Phoenix due to an injury.
By  · Published on November 24th, 2008

Entourage, HBO, Airs Sundays 10pm E/P

Episode: “Return To Queens Blvd” (Season Five, Episode Twelve)

Synopsis: The gang returns home to New York City, but Hollywood seems to follow. Vince’s mom tells him and Eric that Gus Van Sant is in town and in need of a replacement for Joaquin Phoenix due to an injury. Vince calls Ari, who says Vince has no shot at the role. Eric pushes Vince to audition, something he hasn’t had to do in quite some time, and eventually Vince agrees. Too bad no one asked if Gus is even interested in Vince at all…

Review: “Entourage” is not a show of subtleties. I know this is no great observation, but this has never been as apparent as it was this season. The final episode of the season moves Vince from the lows of unemployment where he can’t even get an audition to the highs of a personal call from Martin Scorsese offering him the lead in his next movie. The fact that this happens in under twenty-five minutes is a miracle only Hollywood can provide.

Vince and the boys spend the night partying in Queens, a town where everyone still loves and respects the young actor, even if he can’t get a job. His mom hosts a party for him where family and friends come to celebrate his success and hob-knob with celebrities. I understand that “Entourage” was never meant to be a wholly believable show, but when Vince’s mom mentions to the crowd that he may be working with Gus Van Sant and they all go “oooh” as if they know who he is? Highly doubtful. Although props to the show’s writers for predicting Joaquin Phoenix’s early retirement from acting!

Eric’s efforts to get Vince a meeting with Van Sant were well done, and did a great job showcasing the little guy’s tenacity for his friend and favorite client. It also served as a fantastic lead in to Vince’s meltdown. His “fuck!” exclamation and subsequent firing of Eric were long overdue reactions to his current situation. Vince doles out emotion at a trickle normally so it was nice to see a real outburst. That said, firing Eric was a stupid, amateurish, and completely immature thing to do. Vince is the one who’s fucked his own career up, not Eric. The one good thing it did was give Eric a kick in the pants about getting back to work for his other clients. This schism and strain in their relationship is an exciting and ballsy way to end the season, having dischord instead of harmony carry over into next ye– oh, never mind. Vince apologizes and hires Eric back on as his manager. But Vince is still unemployable. Directors won’t even talk to him, let alone hire him, and his career looks to be doo– oh, never mind. Martin Scorsese calls Vince and personally offers him the lead in his re-imagining of The Great Gatsby. Of course he does. (Reader Andrew Pickens was astute enough to recall a possible foreshadowing way back in the second season when Eric references a particular shot as one that may get Vince a role in a Scorsese movie. My memory isn’t as sharp, but if true, these “Entourage” writers really know how to plan ahead…)

So besides Vince’s career going from bottom to top without touching the middle, what else happened of note? Turtle came out, or at least his relationship with Meadow Soprano did. This looks to be a sweet and harmless diversion for the show. It doesn’t really offer anything meaty or interesting, but it has its funny moments… like Turtle telling Jamie Lynn Sigler that his cock likes to be in her mouth… as his mom overhears it all and trys to bust into his room. Drama bought a bar which is bound to cause the man some, wait for it, drama next season. Hopefully this won’t interfere with filming his TV show. Does he still have a TV show? Vince will be shooting the Scorsese flick in NYC, so there should be plenty opportunity for bar-related hi-jinks. And speaking of Vince, his local ex-girlfriend, Kara, will probably be around for much of next season too.

So was this the best season of “Entourage?” No. At the end of the day, or season, very little actually happened. Vince started the season at the bottom with no job prospects, no respect, and no future in Hollywood. He would have ended the season the same way if weren’t for the deus ex machina named Scorcese that popped up in the final five minutes. Several possible story lines were teased including Eric’s new clients and Ari’s studio-head job offer, but ultimately very little came of them. The show focuses exclusively on the quintet, which is how it should be, and yet I can’t help but wish they would open up some of the other story threads a bit more. For the briefest of seconds I was hopeful that they would end the season with Vince back in the game, but without Eric. A fracture in the group is long overdue, and this was the perfect opportunity for Eric to step out on his own and leave the children behind. I know, I’m a fool. But it could have made for some interesting story lines… just like the others that were dropped in favor of the status quo.

Next season promises more of the same, with only two visible differences. One, Turtle is getting the sex from Sigler. And two, when the boys are in Queens, not every girl in the street looks like a model and turns to watch Vince as he passes. That’s probably the closest thing to reality we can expect from this escapist sitcom. And honestly, that’s okay.

What did you think of the finale? Of the season? Of the lame, one-second cameo from the over-exposed Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps?

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Rob Hunter has been writing for Film School Rejects since before you were born, which is weird seeing as he's so damn young. He's our Chief Film Critic and Associate Editor and lists 'Broadcast News' as his favorite film of all time. Feel free to say hi if you see him on Twitter @FakeRobHunter.