Season Four Premiere
“Welcome to the Jungle”
Airdate: June 17th, 2007
In a rare cold open for HBO’s Entourage, a documentary filmmaker covers the filming of Medellin, the biographical film about Pablo Escobar that Vince and Eric are producing in Colombia. Asked what attracted them to the film, Vince says that it was everything, Eric says it was the script, and director Billy Walsh says it was the blood. And the rest of the episode follows much in that pattern: everything is struggling, the script is in trouble, and the blood is pouring. Taking the form of a documentary on the making of the film (Turtle is there as Vince’s assistant, Drama stops by while his show is on hiatus, Ari offers his own opinions from his office), this season premiere picked up on last season’s drama regarding getting financing for the film. The episode was something different for the series, and did exactly what it needed to do. After building for so many episodes to this conclusion, to this film process, we need to be able to see it…but it needs to be done in an accelerated fashion. And, that is what “Welcome to the Jungle” is all about.
That’s not to say it wasn’t funny: Billy literally attacking Sven Dovinsky, their Director of Photography, was absolutely hysterical. But it was really all about the drama that takes place on a film set…and I mean all the drama. While Aquaman was centered on Vince’s relationship with Mandy Moore, in this case it’s director Billy Walsh that is falling apart and the rest of the film starts to fall around him. The financier is arrested for trafficking cocaine. And then, of course, things start to turn around. They get Stephen Gaghan, who they fly down to rewrite the script, but then Billy pulls it all together overnight with a complete rewrite of the script. But, it’s brilliant, and in the film’s final scene they shoot the army storming Pablo Escobar’s hideout. And that’s a wrap on Medellin.
Now, this episode is likely to get a fair amount of criticism for being, well, not very normal (And for a criminal lack of Jeremy Piven’s Ari Gold). It was a tad on the dramatic side for the show, and never felt like it was a cohesive whole. However, I think it needs to be commended for being a great way of getting through a lot of story in a short period of time in an entertaining fashion. The scenes from the movie were well shot, the behind the scenes stuff was put together strongly, and although there wasn’t enough of Ari and Lloyd I think they’ll have to wait. They needed to get this plot out of the way in order for the series to move on in future episodes, and they did an admirable job with it. And thus, after being gone only two weeks, Entourage is back.
– I do wish they could have made Ari’s short scenes somewhat funnier, they didn’t really pop like they could have.
– I was actually more disappointed that Lloyd wasn’t in the episode, that would have been a nice break from the drama if he had been in an interview with Ari.
– Nice to see Perrey Reeves (Who I’ve put up for Emmy consideration) take over Debi Mazar’s spot in the opening credits. She deserves it over the often unseen Mazar.
– Vince’s fat makeup was kind of frustrating since they didn’t put him in a fat suit, so he looked ridiculously awkward. Like some form of action figure.
– Drama and Turtle weren’t quite given enough to do, but Drama did get to appear in the film which at least gives him a storyline within the episode. Turtle, on the other hand? Not so much.
– Does Billy Walsh speak Spanish? How could he write a script in Spanish? And why was the table read not in Spanish. Were only parts of the film in Spanish? Bah, who cares.