For the past two seasons of "Entourage," I've been trying to predict what Doug Elin and his writers have in store for Vince and his hang-abouts. Part of it is my love of the show and the characters, part of it is my inner-screenwriter trying to match wits with HBO hotshots. Watching Sunday night's season finale, a bad feeling started to creep over me. Most of my predictions were coming true and it didn't feel so good. That's inevitable, I suppose, when characters who you've been following for so many seasons finally hit rock bottom. But it left me wondering how inevitable Ari's and Vince's falls from grace really were. It's one thing for the writers to script these epic personal and professional collapses — and for viewers like you and me to see them coming — but did the guys actually earn them? And did they deserve them? My spoiler-ridden thoughts are after the jump. Don't read on until you've seen Sunday night's season finale.
To quickly recap, here's what happened to all the characters in the episode:
Vince: Still strung out on coke and booze, he shows up at Scotty's place at 4 a.m looking for coke, then misses Ari's kid's baseball game later in the morning in order to make an appearance at Sasha's gangbang DVD cover shoot. They get in a fight, and she breaks up with him. When he finally comes home, after buying a sweet car (was it a Maybach?), the guys confront him and try to hold a quasi-intervention. He tells them to f*ck off and storms off to the Roosevelt Hotel. He does more coke, drinks more booze, and crashes a party being thrown by Eminem. He wanders the party looking for girls to f*ck; when his not-so-smooth advances don't go over well with Minka Kelly, security comes over to ask him to leave. Drama shows up at this point to try to get his Bro to leave, but Vince refuses. Eminem tries to clear things up, but when Vince tells him to f*ck off, too, Eminem punches him. Really punches him. Don't f*ck with Detroit. A melee ensues, with Vince and Drama, but especially Vince, getting the shit kicked out of them. At the hospital, Vince tells all of his friends once again to f*ck off, but as he's trying to leave, a police officer holds up a baggie of coke that was found among his things. In other words, Vince is f*cked. An arrest, TMZ headlines, and rehab — as predicted — are all imminent.
Ari: Things are not well in the Gold household, as Mrs. Ari is still furious about the incident with Amanda Daniels at the restaurant (and the tapes that leaked to Deadline Hollywood). Vince skipping the little league baseball game doesn't help things, and when Ari leaves work to go home and try to spend the day with Mrs. Ari, he finds her sister there trying to console her, who's balling her eyes out. Ari's harsh dealing with the sister only helps reinforce Mrs. Ari's current feelings (telling her that he was going to hit her with a frying pan probably doesn't help things) and she goes upstairs. This is a problem because Ari's throwing a surprise birthday party later that night (complete with Christina Aguillera cameo), and he needs Mrs. Ari out of the house for a few hours, but to show back up at 7:30. Mrs. Ari gets drunk and decides that she's not showing up. Then the shoe really drops: she tells Ari that she needs a "break" from him. A separation, but probably not a divorce — as predicted — is imminent.
E: Terrence, who I completely forgot was Sloan's father, invites him out for dinner for a little future-father-in-law/son-in-law chat. It doesn't go so well. He questions whether he's really been getting clients other than Vince at his job (remember, Murray is Sloan's godfather, so probably a good friend of Terrence's). Then Terrence tells E that he'd like him to sign a pre-nup before the wedding. This infuriates E, who tells Scotty that he's willing to join him in his bid to take over Murray's company.
Turtle: I can't believe this stupid Avion tequila storyline is still going on. End result: Mark Cuban isn't going to buy the company for $20 million, he's just going to invest the $5 to build the factory, so Carlos could keep his part of the company, or something. I dunno. The Ryan Howard and Drew Brees cameos were funny though (especially Brees holding the duck).
Drama: He's definitely going to end up with E's sexy British assistant. Good for him. He deserves her.
O.K., so that's the character-by-character recap. Now let's get back to Vince. The reason why I had long predicted this type of flameout by our hero from Queens was that up until this season all of Vince's problems came from whether or not he landed a role, and whether or not the film was ultimately any good. Yes, making movies that do well at the box office or at film festivals is one part of life as a Hollywood star. But so is dealing with what I've called the "TMZ-ing of Hollywood." When paparazzi cameras follow you everywhere you go, TMZ and Perez hyperventilate over every little step or misstep you take, and Us Weekly will splash anything that a "source" tells them about you on their covers, you're biggest enemy isn't always the studio system and conniving directors and out-for-revenge producers. It's the Hollywood gossip machine — and the resulting public perception of you, the star, the brand. The things that feed that the most are sex tapes, getting arrested, Mel Gibson- or Christian Bale-style tirades, and, yes, drugs. I'm still convinced that the writers originally intended Vince's f*cking of the UCLA co-ed last season to be a sex tape scandal, but they ultimately put it off for this season (the harmless one in the pool that Turtle inadvertently posted to Twitter). So it's drugs that are ultimately Vince's downfall. But does Vince the coke head make any sense? Let's retrace the possible causes, working backwards.
There's Sasha, the adult entertainment star who none of his friends really ever warm up to. They think she's just another flash in the pan, another girl that Vince just likes to f*ck. Sasha never really discourages the coke, but we never see her take it herself and she doesn't supply it. O.K., maybe she was strung out in the now infamous "bush" scene, but she wasn't the impetus for Vince's new-found habit.
It wasn't Turtle's tequila. Vince has drank plenty in his life and will continue to drink plenty. Not that they mix very well, but you can't blame the coke on Avion.
Was it Scotty? Vince's partying ways have certainly intensified since befriending Scotty, and there's no doubt that some of the babes Scotty brought around early in the season had some powder in their purses. But after that first time at the party, Vince always got his coke from other sources, whether his usual pot guy or elsewhere. And although Scotty likes to party, he always seemed a little wary of this new side of Vince, if for no other reason than that he didn't want to piss off E. He's the one who told him to end it, after all.
Which leaves us with the stunt-gone-awry that opened the season. Here's the path of logic that we're expected to follow. Everyone in Hollywood thinks Vince is a pretty-boy p*ssy. So when he gets triple-dog-dared into doing the stunt himself, he does, trying to prove that he's worthy of being mentioned alongside the Will Smiths and Tom Cruises and Bradley Coopers of the action movie world. Something snaps in him when the stunt goes wrong and life, I suppose, flashes before his eyes. He walks out of the wreck with a strange look on his face that tells us that he loved the adrenaline rush but also that a screw or two were knocked loose. So first come the painkillers, then the shaved head, then the bad interview with Maria Menounos, then he jumps out of the airplane with Scotty, and finally buys a T-Rex skull. In an episode or two he'll meet Sasha, who provides a drug of another sort (sex), but before any of that happens, there's the party.