Californication isn't usually concerned with its Hollywood setting, but some of the best episodes have featured Hank Moody (David Duchovny) up to his usual antics while on set, and the latest did not disappoint. "At The Movies" actually finds Hank on location forSanta Monica Cop, and, unsurprisingly, Samurai Apocalypse's (RZA) paranoid, image-conscious personality compounded with typical on-set pressures equals trouble. What's surprising, however, is how Tyler, (Scott Michael Foster) evil antagonistic genius that he is, affects the major relationship shifts as we move into the final phase of Season Five.
The Blowjob, The Balcony, And The Barista
To be fair, Tyler isn't the reason Hank gets fired from his plush job as the instantly accessible script doctor for Samurai's action opus. But because of his increasingly dastardly maneuvers, which we'll get to later, the coveted Santa Monica Cop post functions as a tangible display of what's going on here: Tyler is taking over his idol's life.
Let's backtrack, first. The anxious trio of Sam, producer Stu (Stephen Tobolowsky),and the pervy director (last seen in Season Four) task Hank to rewrite a scene he and Sam had previously written while high. So what does Hank do but toke up and get to it, but while he's at it, the token eye candy wants some juicy scene-stealing lines,as well. The career thirsty actress was hilarious, from the way she matter-of-factly used Hank's toilet in front of him without missing a beat, to her business-like offer to, ahem, thank him for his troubles.
Her generosity set off a chain of unfortunate events for Hank, as she barely gets started before the director bursts in (in his mind,he had already claimed her), which Samurai quickly catches wind of, and reacts This week in the Samurai Is A Possessive Goon display: Sam gets his Suge Knight on and dangles Hank over the hotel balcony for all to see, punishment for putting his hands on the set's most coveted piece of ass. Samurai actually could care less, but he's got an image to uphold, yo! In case you haven't gotten it from the countless less-than-subtle foreshadowing moments this season, Young Apocalypse is not going to react well when the Hank-Kali news breaks.
Dust-ups with both the actor and the director? That's it for Hank's involvement with this blockbuster. Hank is largely unflappable when it comes to this sort of news, but this time it especially stings when he sees Tyler coming in as he's going out. Still, in classic Hank Moody sliding-scales fashion, as his career is threatened, his home life looks brighter than it's been in a long time. For a desperate family man like Hank, getting on his girls' good sides is well worth the price of Tyler the Phantom Menace.
Tyler, The Talented Mr. Ripley
Family before work: We know this is a principle Hank can readily stand tall on. But Charlie (Evan Handler)? Not so much. The two guys are practically family, but, unfortunately, Runkle finally lets the dollar signs sway his loyalty. Some of the blame goes to Lady Lizzie Macbeth, who continues to whisper in Charlie's ear, while also securing her own career. And, now, we're convinced that even when Lizzie's opportunistic nature is revealed, Charlie won't care much, if he doesn't already know. She's that hot' he's that weak-willed.
Being powerless to a pretty face is classic Runkle, but this trend of increasing humiliation and degradation is approaching caricature. Mistaking a tranny for a hooker is one thing, but getting cock-slapped to land a client? How does Charlie manage to stand without a spine, anyway?
Lastly, we can't forget the latest display of Tyler Is A Twisted Sociopath character development. Sensing Charlie's thirst to sign him, Tyler hinges their deal on a dare: walk up to the biggest guy in the bar and proposition him. Runkle does it, of course, and instead of a beating, he suffers the even worse fate of the aforementioned cock-slapping.
We've seen things take a serious turn within the Moody family a number of times, but Hank and Charlie have always been rock solid. Thanks to Tyler, though, things just got real.
Best Lines Of The Night
"There is no crying in tentpole filmmaking!" - Stu
"Did you hear the one about the polish actress that came to Hollywood and blew the writer? Just kidding, keep going." - Hank
"Cliches is cliches for a reason, because they fucking work!" - Samurai
"If I knew it'd be this easy to get back into your good graces, I would've blown Tyler a long time ago and we could've lived happily ever after." - Hank