Tuesday, March 22, 2011

What I’m Watching: Californication

Californication: Season 4, Episode 11 “The Last Supper” (B+)

Complete with gloomy title, this episode epitomizes the ultimate contradiction of calm before and after the storm, as Hank’s verdict has already come down and he still awaits his sentencing. This episode was very much in the moment, relegated mostly to our core five characters, leaving Abby to occupy only a scene or two. Though it’s a risky device, I like how we skipped over the pronouncement of the verdict completely since it’s a much better to see a doe-eyed Karen discover it online only to be questioned moments later by her daughter. Charlie in particular seemed to be the most devastated after hearing Hank’s fate, though that could have had something to do with the way in which the news was delivered to him. Becca did a superb job summing up the state of things, and this was a wonderful throwback to a time of bliss that even we haven’t seen, where Hank, Karen, Charlie, Marcy, and Becca are all just one happy family. Marcy discussing Charlie’s crude sexual habits in front of Becca was fairly jarring, as was Marcy turning the conversation back on the illicit actions of Karen, prompting cursing from the usually polite and relatively proper Karen. That final scene was extraordinarily well-done and perfectly fitting as a coda for the complicated relationship between Hank and Karen. I’ve rarely been as impressed with the acting of both David Duchovny and Natasha McElhone (and I mean that as a sincere compliment to their especially convincing work in this episode). Next week marks the season finale – what will become of Hank?

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