Episode Title: “…And Justice For All”
Writer: Tom Kapinos
Director: Adam Bernstein
Previously on “Californication”:
In part from the disastrous testimony from his best friend and agent, Charlie Runkle (Evan Handler) and the devastating revelations from Bill Lewis (Damian Young), Hank Moody (David Duchovny) was found guilty of statutory rape. Which was incredible given the fact that his “victim” Mia (Madeline Zima) admitted in open court that she tricked and later blackmailed Hank over their encounter. In the immediate aftermath of the verdict, Hank and his lawyer Abby (Carla Gugino) slept together again and she urged him to face the consequences of his actions.
Instead, Hank decided to run off… until fielding a frantic call from Marcy (Pamela Adlon). The emergency turned out to be a ruse to lure him to a surprise party with Charlie and Marcy along with Hank’s former girlfriend Karen (Natascha McElhone) and their daughter, Becca (Madeleline Martin). The five of them enjoyed one last night together before Hank returned to court to learn the price he would pay.
In court, Hank stands for his sentencing and listens as the judge reads him the riot act for squandering his life. She sentences him to three years… and Hank immediately faints and pictures life in jail without his family. When he awakens back in court, Abby reassures him that he was given three years of probation instead of prison and they celebrate the relative good news by sleeping together again. Afterwards, Hank and Abby go as a couple to a party being held by Stu Beggs (Stephen Tobolowsky), where they encounter Karen and her new boyfriend, Ben (Michael Ealy). Now that Hank isn’t facing prison time, Ben seems decidedly more hostile and less cool towards him.
Likewise, Karen seems more annoyed than tolerant of his antics as well as somewhat shocked to see Hank dating his lawyer. Charlie brings his (disgusting) girlfriend, Peggy (Melissa Stephens) to the party, and she continues to openly speak about her sexual depravity. Crazed actor Eddie Nero (Rob Lowe) is also there, with a Hank Moody style haircut and imitating his mannerisms in a way that Hank describes as “Bruce Springsteen meets Mickey Rourke, in a gay bar.” Eddie constantly tries to bait the dinner party into telling him their relationship secrets, particularly Hank and Karen.
Eventually, it descends into a farce when Charlie declares his undying love for Marcy, followed by her admission that the baby is his. Peggy then goes crazy and stabs Charlie in the hand, leading Marcy to attack her. In the ensuing struggle, Eddie restrains and then kisses Peggy, finally finding someone as f***ed up as he is. After dinner, Abby talks to an increasingly drunk Hank by the pool and she doesn’t take the bait to breakup with him. Instead, she challenges him to come after her for a real long term relationship. Just as he seems to want to go after her, he falls into the pool and nearly drowns.
While at the bottom of the pool, Hank sees Jesus dive in and save him. But it’s actually just Ben, who Hank concedes is the better man. Later, Becca visits him to say goodbye as she and Karen go off on a road trip with Ben and his daughter. She even suggests that the changes in their lives may be good ones. After they leave, Hank visits the set of the movie based on the novel inspired by his life and he sees the actresses playing Karen and Becca. He ends up sleeping the Faux Karen while on the road, both Karen and Becca spot someone who eerily reminds them of Hank until they see him clearly.
With most of his ties to Los Angeles shattered, Hank Moody literally drives off into the sunset with his belongings in the backseat of his car.
After a lot of buildup, the ending of this season basically petered out with little impact.
The statutory rape specter has been hanging over “Californication” since the very beginning. So to see it dealt with so lightly was a dramatic letdown. All of that time and trial led to just probation?! I can see the logic in not sending Hank to prison, since that would radically change the show. But if you’ve been promising major consequences for Hank’s actions, then you have to deliver! That ending just felt too easy and by the numbers.
Likewise, the dinner scene between nearly all of the major characters may have been the worst in the entire series. It featured horrible, on-the-nose dialog with a cross of contrived situations. None of it felt real, even within the context of the show! Charlie’s declaration of love for Marcy at least seemed somewhat earnest, but it went downhill quickly from there. As much as I’ve grown to despise Charlie, I hated Peggy even more. She’s like the evil cartoon Kim Bassinger from “Cool World.” Everything about her is so fake that you don’t believe in her.
The reconciliation of sorts between Ben and Hank was nicely played. And Ben’s retort to Hank after saving him was pretty funny. It would be a nice change of pace if Hank actually formed a “bro-mance” with Karen’s newest love. But it would have been even more refreshing to see Hank end up with Abby for a more stable and long term relationship. The door between the two is still open at the end, but from what I’ve heard about the fifth season of “Californication,” that’s not going to happen.
In fact, there doesn’t really need to be a fifth season after this. Hank’s ultimate punishment is being excluded from living with Karen and Becca. Even his brief romance with Karen’s double doesn’t change that. And I’m kind of done with Hank Moody. I don’t really want to see him again after this. If the last time I ever watch Hank Moody is that image of him driving off into the sunset, I’m okay with that.
“Californication” is over for me.
Crave Online Rating: 7 out of 10.