‘Hank hands a completed draft of “Santa Monica Cop” over to Samurai Apocalypse, but he still finds himself stuck in L.A. when he’s asked to take Kali, his “acquaintance” from the flight to Los Angles, out for a night on the town.‘
The fifth season of Californication seems to be having a bit of trouble finding its feet. After an interesting premiere, the second episode did nothing to really advance the story in any way. Boys & Girls is certainly better than The Way of the Fist, but like the premiere it fails to really stand out in any way.
What keeps the show from being completely uninteresting is the characters. They are all crazy enough to be a parody in any other setting, but there is something about them that makes the audience sympathise with their debauched lives and hope that they succeed with their repeated attempts to improve their lot. A good example during this episode would be Karen’s husband Bates (Jason Beghe). His appearance in this episode is only about 10 seconds long, but in that brief but hilarious time we know exactly what’s going on in his life and how hard a time he’s having in dealing with it.
Also stealing his scenes is Charlie (Evan Handler), who is having a crisis of sexuality. After following Hank’s terrible example and diving into every debauchery imaginable, he is now having a hard time relating to anyone without involving extreme fetishes. While this is a problem that few members of the audience can probably directly relate with, the whole situation is presented in such a way that Charlie doesn’t come off as a completely nasty pervert (notice I said completely), but as a lonely guy who has lost his way. The relationship that seems to be developing between Charlie and the nanny Lizzie looks like it might be one of the more interesting aspects of upcoming episodes, provided he doesn’t chase her off with his misguided attempts at romance.
Unfortunately the weak part of the series at the moment seems to be Hank. While the new signs of maturity that he’s showing are nice, his storylines are predictable and ultimately uninteresting. It was obvious from the moment that they first met that he would be getting together with Kali, it’s more a matter of what consequences would come from it. The scenes of the two of them together are fun (although the club scene felt like it was filling the show’s quota of nudity for the sake of it), but Hank seems to be mostly going through the motions now.
Ultimately, Californication seems like it’s trying to move on from the old formula, but it’s not quite sure how to do it. There are fun moments, but overall the show seems to lack the style that made it so enjoyable in earlier seasons. Hopefully it can find its feet before the end of the season, it would be a shame to see the show end on a low note.
What I Liked – Bates was hilarious. Charlie and Lizzie’s relationship looks like it might be interesting.
What I Didn’t Like – Hank and Kali relationship seemed to move too quickly. Club scene felt gratuitous.
Rating – 3.5 out of 5 (Enjoyable)
Previous Episode Review – The Way of the Fist