By ADAM BUCKMAN
NEW YORK, Sept. 12, 2011 — That was a dirty trick – ending the final episode of “Entourage” with “Going to California,” Led Zeppelin’s iconic song about the lure and promise of southern Cal.
The song framed a finish full of elaborate happy endings for the show’s principal characters – four of whom were once boys from New York who followed their dreams to California and, by the looks of it Sunday night on HBO, attained them.
The Led Zeppelin song came as they were gathered in an airplane hangar preparing to take two separate private jets on trips abroad – and at least three of the five were embarking on new lives representing a newfound maturity that was not much in evidence in this fun-loving, free-wheeling show’s previous seasons and episodes.
Why was the Zeppelin song a dirty trick? Because it happens to be a beautiful song, and thus elevated a series that was never long on sentiment to something with meaning – at least for its final moments.
Of course, the neat tying up of all the show’s loose ends in one 35-minute final episode was as much of a fantasy as the way the show’s various storylines were wrapped up for each of the characters:
Vincent Chase (Adrian Grenier): After one 24-hour date with the new love of his life – the journalist Sophia Lear (Alice Eve) – Vince declared they would marry that very evening in Paris, bought a ring for more than a million dollars and lined up a private jet to whisk everyone abroad.
Eric “E” Murphy (Kevin Connolly): Thanks to Vince’s largesse – not to mention his charismatic powers of persuasion – Sloan (Emmanuelle Chriqui) agreed to meet E at the airport for their own private jet flight anywhere in the world. With Sloan already pregnant with their child, we’re left to assume they will live happily ever after.
Ari Gold (Jeremy Piven): Ari did the unthinkable: He threw over his job as co-owner of the most powerful talent agency in Hollywood – the occupation that always seemed as vital to his survival as the blood coursing through his veins – in order to reconcile with Mrs. Ari (Perrey Reeves). With the help of a young trio of Italian opera singers, the gambit worked and Mr. and Mrs. Ari joined the group for the trip to Paris.
Turtle (Jerry Ferrara) and Johnny Drama (Kevin Dillon): There were no marriages or new loves for these two – their happy endings were sealed a week earlier, with Drama getting the TV-movie role of his dreams and Turtle becoming a multimillionaire thanks to Vince’s safe-keeping of Turtle’s investment in the tequila company.
Lloyd (Rex Lee): We were glad to see that a consideration of Lloyd’s future was included in the “Entourage” finale. He was a great character and, in the end, when he fretted about what he would do at the agency without Ari to guide him, Ari told him, rightfully, that he possesses all the tools now to go in there and make his mark in the firm – and not as an Ari clone either, but as his own man.
“Standing on a hill in my mountain of dreams . . . ” “Going to California”? Why not? I wrote back when “Entourage” began in 2004 that, at its heart, it was a series about California – specifically, southern California (by which we mean L.A. and Hollywood) – about the fantasy and the reality of the place, and how the two are sometimes difficult to distinguish.
As for the series finale, whether you buy into the neat and tidy happy endings that creator Doug Ellin and his team conjured for the episode, as a time capsule of life in La La Land in the years 2004-2011, “Entourage” got it right. And we’ll miss it.
Contact Adam Buckman: firstname.lastname@example.org