‘Entourage’ Recap: For a Comedy, It’s Become Great Drama

Jeremy Piven in "Entourage" (Photo: HBO)

The suspense over the outcome of Vince’s drug test was front-and-center Sunday night on “Entourage,” but the episode’s best drama had to do with Ari and his marriage.

Drama? In a comedy? In this case, yes. Sure, we realize “Entourage” is technically a comedy: It’s a half-hour (always a dead giveaway), and on most nights the trials and tribulations of its principal characters are treated lightly. But with the violent suicide a week earlier by a drug-addicted producer at the end of his rope, and now the growing sense that Ari’s marriage to Mrs. Ari cannot be repaired, this “light-hearted” comedy has entered very dramatic territory.

And once again, it’s Jeremy Piven, this series’ most lauded cast member, who riveted our attention in Sunday’s episode – and not with the comedic, over-the-top explosions for which he’s best-known, but with the kind of quieter, dramatic acting that revealed Ari’s anguished inner life. Where Ari was once this one-dimensional character whose only obvious traits were bravado, arrogance and extreme (some might say obnoxious) over-confidence, now he’s just another middle-aged guy who failed to focus on what was most important to him – his marriage, home and family – and now he’s paying a steep price.

His scenes were the finest in the whole episode – the fourth of eight for this all-too-brief final season of the HBO series about contemporary Hollywood.

Elsewhere in the episode:

We finally got a look at Bobby Flay, guest-starring as himself in a confrontation in his own restaurant with Ari, who brought a date – Dana Gordon (Constance Zimmer) – simply because Flay is now dating Mrs. Ari (Perrey Reeves). Dana didn’t appreciate being used that way and her fling with Ari now appears to be over.

Vince (Adrian Grenier) passed his drug test, with the help of some substitute urine and a prosthetic penis supplied by the resourceful Billy Walsh (Rhys Coiro). The drug test seemed to be the only repercussion for Vince stemming from his presence, along with Turtle (Jerry Ferrara), at the producer’s suicide a week earlier.

No progress was made on any other storylines. Andrew Dice Clay did not appear, so the story of his contract demands was put on hold. Ditto for Turtle’s next entrepreneurial project and E’s love life. Maybe those storylines will get back on track next Sunday.

“Entourage” airs Sunday nights at 10:30/9:30c on HBO.

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The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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