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CALIFORNICATION 4.11 ‘The Last Supper’

Hank’s wavers over facing his statutory rape sentence or running away forever.

CALIFORNICATION 4.11 'The Last Supper'

Episode Title: "The Last Supper"
 
Writer: Tom Kapinos
 
Director: John Dahl
 
Previously on "Californication": 
 
Hank Moody (David Duchovny) had his day in court and it was a f***ing disaster. His best friend Charlie Runkle (Evan Handler) delivered an idiotic masterpiece on the stand that made Hank look incredibly bad in front of the jurors and Hank’s former girlfriend Karen (Natascha McElhone) didn’t help much either. At the very least, Mia (Madeline Zima) defended Hank and admitted that he didn’t know her real age when they slept together and conceded that she had manipulated the situation.

However, Mia’s father, Bill Lewis (Damian Young) dropped a bombshell on the court: Hank briefly met Mia before they hooked up in the bookstore. Of course, Hank couldn’t remember it because he was so drunk at the time, but Karen was furious at him for that. Even Hank’s lawyer, Abby (Carla Gugino) was pissed off because it created doubt in the jury that Hank had no idea he was sleeping with a teenage girl. The damage was done and the outlook for his case seemed grim…

Story:
 
Sometime later, Karen checks her laptop and sees that Hank has been found guilty. She reluctantly shares the news with their daughter, Becca (Madeleline Martin), but Becca would rather brood alone. Outside the courthouse, Abby and Hank are stunned. She and Hank end up drunk and in bed back in her place. Around town, Charlie hears the news and sobs into the shoulder of Stu Beggs (Stephen Tobolowsky). Even Charlie’s soon to be ex-wife Marcy (Pamela Adlon) is noticeably unhappy about Hank’s verdict. 

The next morning, Abby catches Hank trying to sneak away and encourages him to face the music. The first stop on the Hank Moody pity tour is Charlie’s house, where he encounters Charlie’s latest girlfriend, Peggy (Melissa Stephens) who wants Hank to rape her in a home invasion fantasy. Gross. Charlie gives Hank the 100k for working as a script doctor and he immediately buys a new Porsche to replace the one Becca totaled. He also takes Becca out to stare at planes and escape from reality, but she yells at him for not being a better father and for letting his life go to s***.

Hank finally encounters some sympathy in the arms of his hooker friend, Trixie (Judy Greer). He then has a bizarre dream that places himself and his family in a "Father Knows Best" or "Leave It To Beaver" setting. Waking up alone, Hank gets fed up with his current reality and decides to drive off forever. On his way out of town, he gets a frantic call from Marcy and immediately backtracks to Karen’s home. There he finds Karen, Becca, Charlie and Marcy waiting to throw him a surprise party. Charlie remarks that this would have been the "Hank’s innocent" party, but they work with what they’re given.

The five of them enjoy a last meal together and Becca tells them how good the four adults are together while reminding them that they all blew what they had. After she goes to bed, everyone but Marcy shares a joint and gets high. For a while, things are good between them again. Then at the end of the night, Marcy and Charlie leave. Karen offers Hank one last time in bed, but he turns her down on the idea that it would be incredibly sad. Hank admits that he was going to make a run for it, but now doesn’t see any other way forward but to face his immanent sentence.

Breakdown:

This was a lot more solid than the last two episodes of "Californication." The humor is still MIA, but at the least the characters were acting like human beings again.

Any episode that doesn’t involve Evan Handler taking his clothes off and making me puke is a good thing. Plus, I’m actually starting to detest Peggy more than Charlie at this point. And is that even possible? Every single one of her sexual role-playing outings with Charlie has been disturbing and her latest rape fantasy was also uncalled for. I know this is a Showtime series, but does it have to try so hard to be Cinemax?

Hank’s storyline is at least getting interesting again. I wasn’t expecting the guilty verdict to come down, especially when Mia was so open about setting him up. Aside from Bill’s revelation last week, I felt that Charlie’s testimony was what really put Hank away. And that’s really sloppy writing from Tom Kapinos. I could have bought everything else about the trial. But that was the bridge too far.

So it was a welcome relief when most of this episode centered on the last night together between the four central characters. It was more than just a reunion, it was like the "Californication" from previous seasons finally showed up. It was undeniably fun to watch Hank, Karen, Marcy and even Charlie just hanging out and enjoying each other’s company. When the show works, it’s because we like the characters. And for those all-too-brief moments, everyone was likable again.

Hank himself is at his most compelling when he’s miserable. And his almost pathetic attempts to get a sympathetic ear even led Trixie to refuse his money! That was a nice touch. The fantasy sequence had some chuckle worthy moments but didn’t quite deliver the laughs we needed. Obviously, it’s hard to mine comedy out of a statutory rape conviction, but this show badly needs to lighten up. It’s becoming a chore to watch.

I’ll admit to being curious about how the case will ultimately play out. I can’t picture Hank Moody doing any real time. And if he only gets a slap on the wrist than what was the point of this story in the first place?

Crave Online Rating: 7.5 out of 10.