Episode Title: "Home Sweet Home"
Writer: Tom Kapinos
Director: Adam Bernstein
Previously on "Californication":
In addition to facing charges of statutory rape, Hank Moody (David Duchovny) found himself on the outs with his girlfriend Karen (Natascha McElhone) and their daughter Becca (Madeleline Martin). However, with his newfound notoriety, Charlie Runkle (Evan Handler) brokered a deal that would let Hank write the screenplay based on "F***ing and Punching," which was originally stolen from him by Mia Cross (Madeline Zima), the girl who set him up for statutory charges in the first place. Hank also had a brief affair with Sasha Bingham (Addison Timlin), the actress who wanted to play Mia’s part in the movie.
When Hank was finally able to visit Becca, she was cold and listless towards him. He tried to buy his way back into her good graces by purchasing a guitar for her, but his credit card was declined at the store. Fed up with his situation, Hank stole some pills from Sasha and began taking them with an alcoholic chaser while writing a moving letter to his daughter. Unfortunately, the combination of drugs knocked out Hank and nearly killed him.
Sometime later, Hank wakes up in the hospital in a fair amount of pain, which his sarcastic doctor explains was a side effect of pumping his stomach. The doctor also chides him for nearly throwing his life away. Karen then enters and she is visibly happy to see that Hank is alive and openly welcomes him back into her life. She takes him home and breaks down crying while explaining to Hank that she never realized how much pain their split had caused him and she begs him to call her if he ever feels that despondent again. Hank realizes that she thinks he tried to kill himself, but instead of correcting her assumption he leads her into a kiss.
Later, Hank tells Charlie the truth about what happened and Charlie explains that everyone thought that what he wrote to Becca was meant as a suicide note. Charlie also tells him that the producers of the "F***ing and Punching" movie are hounding him for the screenplay which Hank hasn’t even started. In fact Stu Beggs (Stephen Tobolowsky) is so angry that Charlie has been avoiding his calls about the screenplay that he shows up at his house and encounters Charlie’s soon to be ex-wife, Marcy (Pamela Adlon). She isn’t impressed with Stu, who she claims reminds her too much of Charlie, but he is taken with her and asks her out.
Hank finally meets up with Becca while she plays guitar for tips on Venice Beach. She shuns him again and says that she’s saving her money so that she can move out. Later, Charlie finally takes a meeting with Stu, who asks his permission to pursue Marcy. Charlie reluctantly agrees and in return, Stu introduces him to Heather (Camille Chen), a member of his production company who he describes as "down to f***." Charlie does actually go all the way with her, for the approximately 37 seconds it takes him to finish. But she’s so wrapped up in working even while having sex that he doesn’t seem to enjoy it.
Back with Becca, a group of girls pretend to leave her a tip before trying to steal her money. She chases them down and catches their leader, Pearl (Zoë Kravitz), who gives Becca her money back and invites her to join their band, the Queens of Dogtown. Unfortunately, while Becca was pursuing them, someone stole her guitar and amp. At home, Hank shares a dinner with Karen as they reconnect. When they go out to look for Becca, she tells him that they may still have a shot at getting back together.
Eventually, Hank finds Becca back at their home and she once again rejects his attempt to reconcile with her. She lashes out at him for acting cowardly and for even thinking of killing himself and says that her father would never do that to her. He embraces her and admits that his overdose was just an accident, just as Karen comes into the room. Becca tries to make Hank repeat what he just said and when he doesn’t, she tells her mother the truth herself. Karen is livid to learn that Hank hasn’t really changed at all and throws him out again. In response, Hank packs a bag and his electric typewriter before checking into a hotel. Alone with his thoughts at last, Hank finally begins writing the screenplay for "F***ing and Punching."
Back in the first episode of the season, Charlie told Hank that it was his ambition to sleep with 100 women. Judging from his performance with Heather, he could probably get it done in an hour if he had enough d*** pills and willing participants. Heather’s causally disinterested attitude during sex was actually one of the funnier moments of the episode.
But the focus is still on Hank, who is once again on the outs with his family. And for all of the talk about what a horrible person Hank is, he could have had almost everything back if he had not been honest with Becca. And frankly, Hank’s blackout last week really did seem like a possible suicide attempt even if he wasn’t consciously thinking about it. He’s got a lot of problems, but the episode’s ending was actually somewhat hopeful in that it led Hank back to what he does best.
When Becca is opposite Hank, Madeleline Martin is quite good at seeming genuinely emotional. But the subplot with Becca potentially joining an angry rock girls band was kind of ridiculous, primarily because their first meeting with Becca seemed so cliché. It’s an awkward turn for Becca’s storyline and it’s not as interesting as the rift with her father.
Josh Gad had a great turn as Hank’s doctor at the beginning and he was really funny in that bit part. In fact, the entire hospital scene worked on a dramatic and comedic level that the rest of the episode never quite lives up to. It was still really entertaining, but it didn’t have the punch that it could have.
However, I’m still interested in seeing Hank and Karen finally getting back together if only because Duchovny and McElhone have great chemistry together. They’re very convincing as two people who are starting to fall back into their old feelings for each other. Hank’s debauchery is pretty easy to pull off and make it funny. It’s a lot harder to bring comedy out of a serious relationship, but the writers from "Californication" seem to be up for the challenge.
Crave Online Rating: 7 out of 10.