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Entourage Finale: Bros Before Closure

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The idea of doing a finale for a series like HBO’s Entourage seems to go against the very idea of the show. Whereas some series, like Lost or The Shield, demand a final closure or reckoning, Entourage has always been dedicated to the idea that things just go on. This is not to say that I wanted the show to last forever—the show has seemed to be on autopilot since the Medellin arc ended—but there was not real narrative reason that it shouldn’t.

So Entourage ended last night with an ending that could just as well have been a season ending. This serves a practical purpose, since there’s been talk about continuing its story in the movies. But it also fit the spirit of the show, which made it clear over the years that there might be an obstacle here or there, but—despite the title “The End”—the Vince and company’s bromance would go on.

Thus E got on a plane with Sloan, for a getaway in which they might work everything out, or they might not. Vince was embarking on a marriage that might lat or might not. And in the final shot, we see Ari and Melissa enjoying an early retirement that might last—or very definitely might not, given the arrival of an offer to head an entertainment conglomerate that Ari would seem very unlikely to refuse. The ending, in other words, allowed itself the feel of a finale—planes taking off into the sunset, weddings, endings, new beginnings—in such a way that a future Entourage movie could go in any direction it wanted to.

Entourage has always been a series half-hearted about big changes and big conflicts. It largely lost the thread it established early on, for instance, of Vince being torn between artistic ambition and commercial success. And the various story climaxes of the finale episode, and the final season, felt a little rushed and forced as a result. Sloan’s decision to give Eric another chance seemed abrupt (and unearned, since she ended up being magically persuaded not by E but by Vince). Vince’s decision to get engaged seemed the kind of arbitrary thing someone does because it’s a series finale. And Melissa’s decision to take Ari back—did anyone think they’d end up split for good?

All of which is maybe beside the point. I would have been glad if Entourage had ended a couple of years ago. (Or at any point, really, before Turtle got skinny. I simply can’t deal with that.) But Entourage’s pleasures have always been in its hangout vibe and in what happens between its big plot movements. In which case, maybe a less-than-satisfying finale—but one that closed on the show’s regular theme of bros sticking together—was the only kind that made sense for it. So long, Vince, or rather: see you in the movies.