Ari muscles Vince out of the room with some of that fake aggressive NFL man-love, with the squeezing and the slapping and the smacking and the grabbing, but keeps Eric behind. Instead of dropping that big old box and making for the nearest exit, or begging Vince not to leave at any cost, or pulling out a shiv -- all options I would consider at this point -- Eric still plays the game in his head where Ari doesn't want him deader than dead. So Eric smiles stupidly and Ari gets right up in his grill about how you never, ever bring up the review. "I got more calls about this stupid-ass thing than I did when my mother passed away, all right?" He's so close to Eric's face that he's on the other side of it as he explains that, when your talent isn't talented, you always book your next job before the movie and the awful reviews come out. So we're over the Matterhorn thing, I guess. Not that he isn't completely right. It seems clear that Vince is untalented, since his skills don't even include conversation or walking across a room properly, and all that "give me four million dollars for something I love" talk doesn't actually amount to a hill of beans. Commerce/Art is now at 40-love. Which is unsustainable, as a conflict, because the only changes that can come about are either A. Vince somehow becomes talented or proves his worth, and the whole conversation shifts, or B. Eric gives in and becomes Ari. Both of which could happen next episode, if the pacing of this thing weren't so completely off-kilter. Maybe that's why HBO green-lit a second season before the first episode even aired. Or maybe they did that because they are awful people and have realized that more than half of their original programming is only successful due to Emperor's New TV inertia. I mean, my God, did you see K Street? That is not the product of people with a strong work ethic. That is not the product of people with the Tru Calling production team's work ethic. Or maybe I'm just pissed because I stupidly thought it was real, until the ghost showed up.
Eric offers Ari an Altoid in such a sweet, disingenuous way that Ari can't even get mad about it, but he does back off a little before going into his Slimy Agent Zen Place and telling Eric he needs to distract Vince by any means necessary so that he can stay focused on blah blah acting blah. He offers a hand to shake but it's merely a psych-out. He flips right back to scary and drops an F Bomb threat. I love Jeremy Piven so much. He then immediately flips back to Nice Ari and asks if Eric would like to "hug it out." His gaze goes nowhere near the mysterious lips as he asks this, by the way; he's kept fearsome eye contact this whole scene. It's quite intimidating. Eric demurs on the nappy hug-out, but Ari will not be denied: "Let's hug it out, bitch." Eric must give in, under duress. The fuck you're not going to hug Jeremy Piven when he tells you to. What is this, science fiction? The Piven says hug, you say how hard. Bitch. The Piven is like second in command of the Hug Police, right after Andrew WK.