Well, our hope that last week's episode, "Waiting For The Miracle," was the beginning of a run of A-grade episodes went down the drain last night. Which isn't to say that this week's episode of Californication, titled "The Ride Along," wasn't entertaining, but it definitely wasn't without flaws.
Santa Monica Cops?
Hank (David Duchovny), Samurai (Rza), and Charlie (Evan Handler) riding along with a cop on his night beat—this should've been a recipe for comedy gold. RZA has quickly developed a nice chemistry with Duchovny that prevents any scene that the two share from actually being boring. But most of their ride along was frustratingly inert. Most of the episode's first half is dedicated to the guys rolling with an officer that makes several off-color comments about the line of duty, but he's just fucking around with them. Then they actually, seriously, post up at a donut shop... Where the cop suffers a stroke. A bizarre, dull chain of events designed to put our three trouble-making degenerates in a cop car, unsupervised.
Things pick up when Sam gets a bead on Kali's (Meagan Good) whereabouts. She recently moved out and ended the pleasure side of their relationship, and Sam is violently obsessed with finding out who the inevitable new man is. (Hint: It's Hank.) Whatever Hank and Kali have going on behind the scenes, it isn't exclusive yet because they find her leaving the club with a random guy that Sam proceeds to beat up under cover of his fake cop uniform.
While Hank plays with fire and Sam plays with his nightstick, Charlie is entertaining a hooker in the back seat of the car that the gang picked up on his insistence along the way. Predictably she starts going down on him, but unpredictably, she is a he. As horrified as we were for dude, Handler's mortified screams—and, later, persistent cries—were hilarious. First a tramp stamp, and now this; when will Charlie stop losing so badly?
Bates Bares All
Give it up for Bates (Jason Beghe) for saving the episode from being a complete bore. Becca (Madeleine Martin) calls Hank for help at a restaurant because her hell-spawn boyfriend slipped Bates, a recovering alcoholic, a mixed drink on the low. And as we remember from Season Three, Bates + alcohol = his best Buffalo Bill impersonation. Every one of Beghe's scenes in "The Ride Along," from running around the streets naked to over-sharing some insight into his (voluntary) prison stint, was golden.
Hank walks into the restaurant with Bates putting it all on tucked display for the crowd, but he ends up in even worse standing with Karen (Natascha McElhone) and Becca when Tyler (Scott Michael Foster) sees Samurai and figures out that Hank had something to do with the beating he took a few weeks ago. Which didn't take long, but how Karen and Becca get righteously angry at Hank and still leave with Tyler, the guy who purposely slipped Bates alcohol, is beyond us.
Best Lines Of The Night
"Ever since 9/11 fucking firemen get all the pussy." - Officer Lopes
"I was just telling Karen I used to fuck guys like Tyler back in prison." - Bates
"Right now the love of my life is getting pounded by some omnisexual chicken hawk." - Hank