Entourage Decoder

7/17/2006 1:57 PM PDT

Entourage Decoder

Last night's episode of "Entourage" was undoubtedly the hottest yet -- and not just because of Eric's unlikely threesome with the smoldering Sloane and the tantalizing Tori. Ari's rage -- which has been pretty well contained all season -- finally exploded in some of the most vintage Gold tantrums yet, and it seems that Johnny's career might just start catching fire (thanks to Lloyd) as Vince's is in danger of flaming out.

Nevertheless, there were, as ever, plenty of blink-and-you'll-miss tidbits that made us go "hmmm," like Drama's potential pilot, Vinny's replacement as Aquaman, and that sexy dinner spot that was the prelude to E's ecstasy.

ART: Lloyd (you go, Lloyd!) gets Drama an audition for the role of "the older brother" in a TV pilot "by Ed Burns" about "four Irish boys." Maybe it's just us, but that description sounds oddly familiar. Why?

LIFE: Maybe it's because Irish brothers are as common in actor-writer-director Edward Burns' oeuvre as Italian mobsters are in Martin Scorsese's or unexplained supernatural phenomena are in M. Night Shyamalan's. Consider: Burns' first film, "The Brothers MacMullen," was about three Irish brothers; his next film, "She's The One," centered around two Irish brothers; his latest effort, "The Groomsmen," also centered around two brothers from an Irish 'hood. Oh, and the one TV pilot he produced? "The Fighting Fitzgeralds," about, yes, three Irish brothers and their recently widowed (Irish) dad.

ART: E realizes just how, shall we say, screwed they are when Ari tells him that Jake Gyllenhaal has been signed on to replace Vince as Aquaman. Has the star of a superhero movie franchise ever been replaced mid-production?

LIFE: Well, this is just exactly why we love "Entourage": In fact, before the release of "Spider-Man 2," it was revealed that Tobey Maguire had such severe back problems that director Sam Raimi was worried that Maguire might suffer paralysis from doing some of the stunts, and as a result the studio had Gyllenhaal prepared to take the role of Peter Parker. The situation was made even more awkward by the fact that Gyllenhaal was dating "Spidey" co-star Kirsten Dunst at the time. So could Ari's epithet for Jake -- "Brokeback" -- have been just a coincidence? We think not. (Val Kilmer and George Clooney replaced Michael Keaton, of course, in the original "Batman" franchise, but we're going to pretend like that whole thing didn't happen.)

ART: Eric, Sloane, and Tori get warmed up for their big night over dinner together at "the Dakota," a choice that elicits approval from the boys. How appropriate would it be to help put our boy -- and his ladies -- in the mood for love?

LIFE: As a place for their cutely awkward pas de deux (or, rather, trois), the sensuously leather- and suede-clad Dakota would be hard to beat. For one thing, just the prices alone might impress the pants off your date: a bone-in 18 oz. filet rings in at $54, and the large seafood platter -- enough for three -- is a cool $90. But add to that the fact that the restaurant is attached to Hollywood' super-trendy Roosevelt Hotel, and the journey from table to boudoir couldn't be easier.