'Entourage': 'Is this an ambush?'
We've reached the second to last "Entourage" episode of the season, folks. And while last week saw a lot of posturing and threats, in this episode -- titled "Porn Scenes from an Italian Restaurant" (and directed by Kevin Connolly, aka E) -- push really came to shove. Let's put it this way: Sasha wasn't the only one being ganged up on during this half-hour.
Vince was still as unstrung and high as ever. Shaking off his shackles, the actor relayed to Ari that he doesn't need a babysitter and told E that things weren't OK between them until Sasha got a part in the "Air-Walker" movie. Luckily, potential "Air-Walker" director Peter Berg (whose straight-shooting no-nonsense was much appreciated) was amenable. The guy behind "Friday Night Lights" smoothly played off his Sasha awareness ("I'm familiar with her work"), was able to see a part for her as a secretary, and found a way to fit in the Under Armour brand ever so subtly on his shirt to boot. Well played.
Sasha Grey, however, refused to bow down to Vince's controlling ways. We learned a lot about Sasha in this episode: First, she was "a very shy conservative" and the last of her friends to lose their virginity. Second, she's kind of a snob ("Why did you invite him?" she pooh-poohed about dinner companion Scotty. "The conversation's lacking a little depth."). Third, she was once engaged to a fellow porn star –- some dude who just so happened to be one of the guys involved in her upcoming onscreen gang-bang. Finally, she doesn't like to be told what to do. Oh, but we knew that already. Vince offered Sasha an "Air-Walker" part with the hopes that she would quit her adult film. When that didn't work, he went for plan B and told her that he loved her. "Sounds more like you’re trying to control me," she responded. Angry, passionate bathroom sex ensued.
Newly chastened Ari, despite his attempt to be a bowling family man, had gone from orange to red alert thanks to Amanda Daniels (Carla Gugino). Dana Owens, aka Queen Latifah, let it slip that Daniels was taking the reins in trying to get an NFL team to L.A., which, of course, left Ari apoplectic. Though anyone else find her bid to go halfsies with Ari on this L.A. football team deal a little hard to swallow? Wasn't this the same woman who said Ari was like Iran and needed arms control, and threatened to sue and take him down just a couple episodes earlier? And while it's always a treat to get a key Jeremy Piven scene, it was also hard to believe that Ari would call Amanda "a whore with more cleavage than talent" in front of potential NFL clients, Wolfgang Zwiener, and his disapproving and now freshly humiliated wife.
And how telling was it that Ari said he wanted to take Daniels to task for "everything you did to me, my career, and my family?" Tacking on the family at the end was all too clear to Mrs. Ari where his priorities resided. Will this, and the fact that he stowed his BlackBerry in the men's room, count as a betrayal and result in a reexamination of their relationship?
Avion tequila is also causing its share of trouble. Turtle can't stop yammering on about the stuff despite Carlos' explicit request that he cease and desist all talk of the liquor. But whether out of sheer business savvy or sheer stupidity (perhaps a bit of both), Turtle just couldn't keep his goateed mouth shut. He arranged a meeting between the fuming Carlos ("Why are people in Texas inquiring about my tequila?") and a rich and loving it Mark Cuban, who had designs both on a new bottle and on making tequila the official drink of the Dallas Mavericks. The results were woozy and boozy. Carlos was afraid the business would be sold from the family and immediately went into my way or the highway mode, barking to the Texas tall man and his business partners that "the terms are my terms of no terms." To which smug Cuban slyly countered, "What if I just bought your ... company?" "It's not for sale." "Yes it is," Cuban neener-neenered. Then the Mavs owner put his thumb on his nose, blew a raspberry and sailed on his merry mogul way on his boatful of cash.
Drama was navigating his own storm of inner conflict as to whether or not to lend his voice to an ape. The studio was itching to start production on "Johnny's Bananas." And all the hemming and hawing started to drag on like a gorilla's extra-long limbs. So thank goodness Drama finally agreed to take on the role, like we all knew he would so many episodes ago. Though that brief scene with Phil Yagoda transforming the offices into a jungle with palm trees, with Lloyd behind a cutout the whole nine yards was hilarious. And it gave E's assistant Jennie (Janet Montgomery) some good screen time (maybe she'll get more when she moves to Fox's "Human Target" next season).
The half-hour ended with Lloyd stumbling upon Vince's freezer bag-sized stash of cocaine in the drawer, and a rearview shot of Billy Walsh dripping wet in bright pink swim trunks, and a painful reminder of the nightmare that was Medellin tattooed on his back.
How do you think this season is going to end? With Vince triumphant and Air-Walking, or down in the gutter with a bloody nose? Will Ari repair the relationship with his clients and his wife? What'd you think of Kevin Connolly's directing? Think we'll get to meet Sasha's ex-fiance? What's Marilyn Manson's manson?
-- Allyssa Lee
Photo credits: Claudette Barius / HBO