Sunday’s episode of Entourage was technically the show’s third-season finale. But don’t worry — you won’t have to wait long to see what happens next.

Because of the way HBO broke up this season, airing 12 episodes last summer and the remaining eight over the past couple months, season three of Entourage is ending a mere two weeks before the start of season four. And that’s probably a good thing, because — and maybe it has something to do with knowing the show will be right back — this episode didn’t feel especially finale-like. It did what the show does, and did it fairly well, but I doubt it would have kept me on pins and needles over a regular-length hiatus.

Like the previous season finales of the series (including last summer’s midseason closer), this one found Vince, E and the rest of the crew in a transition period. Having sold the house to finance the Medellin script purchase, the guys are going their slightly separate ways, with Eric moving in with Sloan, Drama looking for his own place and Turtle still crashing with Vince at the Mondrian Hotel. The other guys are a little bewildered and not at all pleased with E’s decision, and they let him know with the usual round of insults and raised eyebrows.

They get over it (or Vince seems to, anyway) when Eric is able to bring their dream project together, with money from the newly trust-funded Nicky Rubenstein (a returning Adam Goldberg, bringing his live-wire A-game) and a director in Billy Walsh (Rhys Coiro, also reprising his role), the Queens Boulevard helmer who’s now directing porn ("they gave me a 25-picture deal after just one scene").

The scenes with Eric and Vince hanging around Walsh’s porn set were among the episode’s best for the utterly unglamorous way they depicted an adult-film shoot (not to mention several throwaway sight gags in the background). You get the sense the show is saying, Hey, it’s work — and nice guy Vince even ran lines with one of the actresses.

Walsh is great in small doses, and tonight had just about the right amount of him. But I fear that we might get all too much of him in the coming season. We’ve thus far had to take the other characters’ word for what a brilliant director he is, because all we’ve ever seen is him being a bullying jerk. The show already has one loose cannon in Jeremy Piven’s Ari; I’m not sure it really needs another one on a semi-regular basis.

On the upside, credited regular Debi Mazar made her first appearance on the show since before its last hiatus, directing some high-quality spleen at Drama for being such a penny-pincher and goading him into looking for something a little nicer than a beat-up studio apartment. Which he got, although not before overextending himself, in true Drama style, on a sweet Beverly Hills condo.

(Here’s hoping, for Johnny’s sake, that the fake NBC that’s home to his show Five Towns is in a little better shape than the real one.)

In the space of eight episodes, then, Vince and Eric have repaired their relationship with Ari and gotten a prestige movie off the ground, and Drama has landed on a hit TV series. That’s in keeping with the Entourage way too — things seem to work out for our guys. They at least had to work for it a little this time, though, and given what we saw of the coming season, it’s not going to be particularly smooth sailing with the making of Medellin.

And that’s fine. Entourage has always bought into the idea that a movie star leads a charmed life, regardless of what pitfalls he has to hurdle. It’s part of the show’s charm and I’ll be back in a couple weeks to see how it goes.

What did you think of Sunday’s finale? How much Walsh is too much Walsh?

Posted by:Rick Porter