Californication, Showtime's sexually driven hit dramedy, returned last night for its fifth season. In series' time, two and a half years have transpired since anti-hero Hank Moody (David Duchovny) literally drove off into the sunset at the end of the show's creatively rejuvenating fourth season. Since then, much has changed in the self-destructive writer's life; when we first pick up with him, he's back in his beloved New York. Read on to see what debauchery Hank is setting himself up for this time.
Same Old Hank
Since the series started, Hank has always treated the Big Apple as his family's potential safe haven. Almost every season features the Moody's coming this close to packing and leaving California for good until one of Hank's humongous fuck-ups gets revealed that resplits up the family. At the start of Season Five's premiere, "JFK To LAX," Hank has been living in NY for a year, but he couldn't be happier that a call from his agent Charlie (Evan Handler) gives him an excuse to leave. That's because the relationship he's currently in is starting to get serious, and we know Hank's not interested in anything serious with a woman whose name doesn't start with "K" and end in "aren." The break-up with Carrie (Natalie Zea) is particularly messy, and now a whole restaurant full of New Yorkers know that Hank Moody likes to (anally) hit it and quit it.
Runkle has called Hank back to Cali because famous rapper Samurai Apocalypse (played by RZA, no less) is trying to break into film and wants Hank to write his script; apparently, the Californication writing team isn't aware that most rappers use their boring ol' government names these days. Anyway, between seasons Hank has written a book on his exploits, titled...wait for it... Californication. No mention yet of the autobiographical movie he was seen producing in last season's finale.
Samurai, or Sam for short, is a big fan of Hank's book and is dead-set on landing Mr. Moody as his screenwriter. Normally this would be the type of thing Hank refuses and never entertains again. We've got a feeling he'll end up working very closely with Sam for one main reason: Meagan Good. She plays Kali, a woman Hank started up a nice flirtatious bond with on the plane ride over. Turns out, she's Samurai's main chick, which will probably just make Hank go after her even more.
Charlie Hits Three Digits
The bald agent is currently enjoying a relatively easy-going separation from Marcy (Pamela Adlon), who's raising their two-year-old kid with Stu (Stephen Tobolowsky); predictably, she's not doing so well at it. Little Runkle is a mute and routinely peeks on his mom and step-dad while they get busy. To each his own, but personally we're trying hard to mentally scrub off the image of Stu bare-assed going down on Marcy. Meanwhile, Charlie is enjoying the carefree bachelor life, having finally reached his hundredth lay. Now that he's reached his life's goal, we wouldn't be surprised if the triangle between Charlie, Marcy, and Stu reheats in the coming weeks.
Karen And Becca Replace Hank
Back on the home-front, it would seem that Hank's baby mama Karen (Natascha McElhone) and his daughter Becca (Madeleine Martin) are doing just fine without him. After one episode, though, it's quite clear that both of the new men in their lives are obvious Hank substitutes. Karen has ditched Ben and married former flame Professor Richard Bates (Jason Beghe). Hank and Bates have squared off before, but they're so alike that even Hank admits he kind of likes the guy.
Becca, now in college, is dating a certified tool that Bates and Hank both despise, but Karen knows better: It's the classic girl-dates-her-dad scenario. It's a safe bet to assume that most of Karen's family probably hated Hank as much as Hank hates Tyler (Scott Michael Foster), and Becca will probably grow out of it sooner or later. Overall the family is doing just fine without Hank or the drama he usually brings with him. But going back to New York before he disturbs the peace isn't likely to happen soon, because, well, Carrie has burned down his apartment.
We've Seen This All Before
So far this season is moving along with similar story beats that Californication has employed before, just like fellow Showtime series Dexter. Besides skin color, there isn't much difference between the eccentric, perhaps kindred screwed-up spirit Samurai Apocalypse and the eccentric, kindred screwed-up spirit Lew Ashby (Callie Keith Rennie) that Hank befriended back in Season Two, for whom he was also hired to write. And once again, Hank mistakenly gets involved with a girl that he didn't know was off-limits. But unlike Dexter, this show is entertaining even while it's just going through the motions...for now. Time will tell if this season succeeds at keeping us interested, but for the time being it's good to have Hank, Charlie, and those Instagram'ed out transition shots back in our lives.
Lines Of The Night
"As I recalled it was mish into doggie then segued quite seamlessly into cowgirl." - Hank
"I don't even know if I pay the motherfucker, he might be my slave." - Samurai
"This is Hank Moody, writer slash rapist." - Samurai
"Your support means the world to me. Seriously, I could felch you right now." - Hank