It's been a full year since the fourth-season finale of HBO's "Entourage" (10 p.m. Sunday), so it's easy to forget where the story ended. The fifth season premiere takes this long delay in new episodes due to the writers' strike into account, providing all the necessary reminders and setting the show in a new direction, albeit one it's gone in before.
For a while now, "Entourage" has felt like a series that exhausted its premise. That doesn't change in season five, but the show seems more comfortable now that Vince (Adrian Grenier) and his posse are once again scraping by and no longer on top. That was the dynamic when the show began and Vince's disastrous bomb, "Medellin," puts them in a corner again.
As movie critic Richard Roeper notes in his "Medellin" review, Vincent Chase is "in a fat suit and bad makeup that makes him look like the love child of Jiminy Glick and a box of Twinkies."
- When: 10 p.m. Sunday, HBO.
Vince drowns his sorrows in booze and women during a Mexican getaway with Turtle (Jerry Ferrara), Eric (Kevin Connolly) tries to expand his management business by taking on new clients, and Drama (Kevin Dillon) creates drama with his long-distance girlfriend in France.
Next week Vince's ambition returns, and his agent, Ari (Jeremy Piven), gives him a straight assessment of how Vince is viewed in Hollywood: People think he doesn't care. Ari's also brutally honest about Vince's acting skills in a rare moment that doesn't involve the volatile agent blowing smoke or cursing a blue streak. It's a welcome, unusual moment of honesty in a dishonest business, and in a show that more often than not thrives on macho bravado (see: Ari's upcoming street race against rival agent Adam Davies).
As Vince tries to escape from "movie jail" and claw his way back to the top, "Entourage" has some direction again. It's less aimless and has renewed momentum -- even if its plots tread familiar ground.