We're two episodes into the new season and there has yet to be any fornicating on Hank's (David Duchovny) end, but that's because, only two days back in sunny California, he's already getting into bigger trouble. Californication may be, on the surface, a rowdy, easy-going show with weird sex and some of the loosest women ever, but deep down the real story is about Hank and Becca (Madeleine Martin). Dude's pretty much come to terms with failing at his relationship with Karen (Natascha McElhone), but the struggle to protect Becca from both the sordidness he's exposed to daily and his image in her eyes is where the real drama in this dramedy lies. And once again Hank is incidentally close to irreparably damaging his last remaining meaningful relationship with a woman.
"I have a history of doing the well-intentioned wrong thing."
What a succinct way to sum up your life, Hank Moody. Hank's trying so hard to be on his best behavior at the start of this new season. He casually flirts with Kali (Megan Good) but rebuffs her advances because he knows Samurai (RZA) will kneecap him, and the new Hank is done playing with fire. Hell, he's even trying to get out of L.A. already because trouble is as much a guarantee as the constant sunshine. But of course the harder he tries,the easier trouble finds him.
In a desperate effort to get on good terms with Becca, Hank asks Charlie (Evan Handler) for a bribe gift in exchange for sitting down with Sam once more. A lot of good it does: Becca's tool boyfriend gets a brand new iPad since she already has one, and Hank gets in deep and in debt with Samurai's crew.
While spending a day with Sam, Hank learns that Peter Berg will be directing the sure-to-be classic Santa Monica Cop. Turns out Pete and Hank are Eskimo brothers by way of an ex-girlfriend; with stats like Hank has, he probably has more in Carmen with a lot of Hollywood. Californication doesn't do the celebrity cameo often so seeing Hank shoot the fair one with an exaggerated, douchey-version of Peter Berg was a nice touch, though, naturally, Berg he was wearing a shirt promoting upcoming film Battleship.
Hank also discovers that Tyler (Scott Michael Foster) is cheating on Becca. Shocker. Of course, as Tyler points out, doing or saying anything will only put him further in the dog house. But an offhand comment to Samurai and his goons (he kind of goons that shoot each other in the arm over nothing) earns Tyler an all-expenses-paid beating. No matter what Karen says, everything is most certainly not going to be fine.
Runkle Jr. Is Truly His Father's Son
Hank hasn'tgotten into any strange sexual situations lately but the Runkle's have certainly picked up the slack. We only knew Charlie for only a handful of episodes back in Season One before he was jerking off in his office (and getting caught on camera); now his son is whipping his junk out to the shorties at school... at age two-and-a-half. Marcy (Pamela Adlon) can drop the "like father, like son" blame but we'd wager that her and Stu's (Stephen Tobolowsky) irresponsible nooners factor in, as well.
The incident sends Charlie with hat in hand to the girl's mother's house, wherein he finds himself in a classic Runkle scenario: being sexually dominated by a psycho, assertive, hot woman. Alison makes him literally stroke himself in front of her, right in the middle of the kitchen, a prime spot for the cute babysitter to walk in on them and get herself fired. Thankfully, she gets hired by Charlie, so we'll be seeing more of her, but hopefully we'll see more of Alison, too. Runkle sexcapades are comedy gold.
The season Is Shaping Up
Last week we complained that Hank was falling into traps we've seen before, possibly setting us up for a mediocre, reheated season, but things got on the right track in "The Way Of The Fist," directed by David Duchovny, no less. The Kali predicament is still Mia-lite but this new business with Samurai and Tyler gives the season some real stakes. Don't get it twisted, this is basically a Mia retread as well: Hank incidentally gives a sociopath ammo to hold over his head and when the ball inevitably drops Becca will be beyond crushed. But like we said above, Californication's real stakes involve Hank and Becca, so with this they're playing to their strengths. Not to mention, there are now two ticking time bombs set to go off.
On the negative front, the portrayal of Samurai's entourage is lazy, and just like Sam, we would love it if Hank and Charlie would cease their "urban patois." We're willing to look the other way if it means seeing more of Alfred the butler and Megan Good in bikinis. Also, Samurai's insistence on introducing Hank as "writer/rapist" is always hilarious.
Lines Of The Night
"What, do you have a six-year plan, Stephen Hawking?" - Hank
"Nigga, you don't be fucking all the crazy ass pussy he be fucking." - Alfred
"I actually think we've been inside some of the same people." - Peter Berg
"Aw, man, Moody, you a fucking dog, raping and pillaging?" - Samurai