Episode Title: "Suicide Solution"
Writer: Tom Kapinos
Director: David Duchovny
Previously on "Californication":
Hank Moody (David Duchovny) was bailed out of jail by his friend/manager Charlie Runkle (Evan Handler) and warned that his girlfriend Karen (Natascha McElhone) and their daughter Becca (Madeleline Martin) didn’t want him to come home after learning that he had once slept with a girl named Mia Cross (Madeline Zima), who was sixteen at the time. But while Hank’s personal life was in toil, Hollywood became interested in turning Hank’s novel (which was stolen by Mia) "F***ing and Punching" into a feature film with actress Sasha Bingham (Addison Timlin) playing Mia’s part.
Sasha also displayed an interest in Hank and seduced him while giving him script notes. She even recreated Mia’s knockout punch and sent Hank into a fevered dream in which he relived the anger and disappointment that his actions had inflicted upon Karen and Becca. When he woke up, Hank raced to see his new lawyer, Abby Rhoads (Carla Gugino). Abby told him that the assault charges had been dropped, but the police were still arresting him for statutory rape.
A few days later, Charlie’s ex-wife Marcy (Pamela Adlon) wakes up in bed with a naked man which turns out to be Hank. Unfortunately for her, she only realized this after fondling his junk. Hank and Marcy both scream in shock, which brings Charlie racing butt naked into the room, causing them to scream again. Hank explains that the couch was hurting his back and that nothing happened between them, but when Marcy is ready to throw him out he pleads with her to let him stay. Reluctantly, she agrees. But when Charlie joins them in bed and casually asks about a three way, Marcy runs off to barf in the bathroom.
Later, Hank goes outside of his home to visit a neglected friend: his black (and very dusty) Porsche, which won’t start. Karen comes out of the building while on the phone and ignores Hank completely before tossing the cell phone into his face. She angrily allows him to jumpstart his car with a boost from hers, but warns him that their daughter hates him now just as much as she does. Hank finally makes it over to see Abby, but she’s pissed about his constant lateness and questions whether she should stay on as his lawyer. She tells Hank that the DA wants to make an example out of him, but that doesn’t stop him from flirting with Abby.
At Marcy’s urging, Karen finally allows Hank to see Becca, but the father/daughter reunion doesn’t go as planned. She keeps her emotional distance and when Hank tries to buy his way back into her good graces by purchasing an expensive guitar, she refuses the gift. Undaunted, Hank tries to buy it anyway, but his credit card is declined. When they part, Becca doesn’t even respond to him when he tells her that he loves her. Later, Charlie drags Hank out to a meeting with Eddie Nero (Rob Lowe) who is interested in playing Hank in "F***ing and Punching."
However, Eddie’s antics are even more off-putting than Hank’s. Sasha then approaches their table and asks Hank to come back to her hotel. Eventually he does, but only to tell her that he can’t pursue any kind of relationship with her. She laughs him off and talks him into fingering her before Eddie arrives. She convinces Hank to hide in the bathroom while she goes out for drinks with Eddie to discuss the movie. While there, Hank steals some of her medication. When he gets back to Charlie’s place, he writes his daughter an earnest note about how much she means to him while downing pills and alcohol. Soon, he passes out completely.
What gives this episode some "punch" (if you’ll pardon the expression) is just how much pain Hank is in over losing the love and respect of his daughter. By comparison, Karen’s rejection doesn’t seem to have hurt him as deeply. But when Hank is with Becca, it’s clear just how much her anger cuts him to the bone. We’ve seen Hank humiliated many times before, but there’s a more raw and emotional side to seeing him humbled here that elevates the entire episode. This was a lot more dramatic than the season premiere, but it’s very compelling. If Hank didn’t wear his wounds so openly, than this show wouldn’t be any better than "Entourage." Instead, "Californication" is proving to be one of the few comedies with heart.
The sequence at the end with Hank’s note to his daughter and the dream imagery of him chasing her at different points in her life was very poignant and well written. It’s a little ambiguous as to whether Hank tried to kill himself there. On first viewing, I thought it was just a mistake he made. But on the second time through, I’m not so sure that wasn’t a suicide attempt. If suicides are really cries for help, then I don’t know this could be labeled anything but an attempt on his own life. Even if it was only through his carelessness and recklessness.
The opening scene between Hank, Charlie and Marcy was really funny and pretty light comedy compared to everything else in the episode. In a way, I’d kind of like to see Hank and Marcy get together just to watch how it would affect Charlie, Karen and Becca. But the best potential romance for Hank right now is still Carla Gugino’s Abby, who seems like the only person in Hank’s life who can really take his BS and give him the blunt reality of his situation. Plus, she may be even smarter than he is, which makes her even sexier.
Last week, I wondered what kind of actor would want to play Hank and Rob Lowe’s Eddie Nero provided the answer: someone who’s an even bigger a**hole than Hank… and that’s saying something! At the beginning of their meeting, it seemed like Hank was amused with Eddie’s antics until he became abusive towards Charlie. Hank’s quick defense actually of Charlie makes him seem more like a decent human being than anything else he’s done this season. But Charlie’s positive reaction to Eddie’s dick grabbing only make him look even more like a Hollywood phony. All he wants is his job and his life back, but even Hank isn’t as desperate as Charlie.
This episode continued the momentum from last week with an even better installment. If the rest of this season is this strong, it’s going to be a good year to be watching "Californication."
Crave Online Rating: 8 out of 10.