Sunday, 10 October 2010

Californication 3.11 'Comings & Goings'


"Dr. Drew says you could get a prolapsed anus from that shit" – Marcy

‘Comings & Goings’ was quite an apt name for the penultimate episode of Californication’s third season.

There were quite a few comings, in the sexual sense – although upsettingly for Hank, not from Karen in our opening scene – and their were several goings as recurring characters were seemingly given some closure as we head toward next week’s finale.

After finally making sweet, sweet love to his lady, Hank was dejected to discover that Karen had not quite ascended to orgasmic heights during their coitus; his demeanour helped out even less by news from Karen that he wouldn’t get a chance to make amends as they had a lunch date with Felicia.

As Hank, Becca and Karen arrived at the Koons residence, Hank spotted that the other guests at the dinner consisted of Jill and Jackie – as Becca observed “at least it won’t be a dull Saturday afternoon”.

As hard as it is to believe that Felicia would be able to persuade the whole “Ya-Ya Sisterhood” to attend this “luncheon”, I guess we just have to assume that the opportunity to do some serious Hank-bashing was too tempting to turn down.

Over at the Runkles, it was open house time as they desperately try to offload their house, after the somewhat awkward start to the day of Marcy walking in on Charlie getting reverse cow-girled off some wannabe Hollywood type on the floor - “you said not to mess up the bed…” the Runkles headed off to a bar so as not to scare off any potential buyers with their divorce stench.

As Hank’s women took turns taking shots at his character, including Karen who was enjoying the “appraisal of [Hank’s] little idiosyncrasies” it became apparent Hank wasn’t the only male guest at this little get-together as fresh out of rehab Richard Bates (Jason Beghe) arrived.

Although a sober Bates means we didn’t get to see him “tuck and do the pee-pee dance” again, we did discover that Bates was the professor that Karen had an affair with at college.

Now this development did seem to kind of come out of nowhere and whilst it was a little convenient that it happened to be Bates whom Karen had slept with, it was a nice turn of pace to see Hank as the one who had to deal with the jealousy of having to associate with one of his partner’s ex-lovers as opposed to Karen, who’s been having to do that all season long.

Jealous Hank is not a side of Moody’s character we’ve seen too often and his “too cool for school” exterior was momentarily dropped as Bates and Karen reminisced.

Speaking of jealousy, as Charlie and Marcy killed time whilst the open house took place it became clear Marcy had been a bit miffed to see Charlie at it with another woman. Their heart-to-heart of sorts was soon interrupted by a phone call from their real estate agent Sharon (Marcy’s ringtone still rather disturbingly being Jessie’s Girl) to inform them they’d had an offer on the house.

Back at the luncheon Hank’s character assassination continued as Bates continued to hog the limelight and the fickle attentions of Hank’s former admirers. Hank’s misery was somewhat curtailed though as a drunken Dean Koons arrived at his former residence in full civil war regalia intent on challenging Hank to a duel.

This of course gave us some more Peter Gallagher gold as the drunken Dean relentlessly pressured Hank into duelling with him, even if it was only with blanks.

Before the duel over at the Koons’, Charlie and Marcy reminisced about all the places they’d bumped uglies in their house. When it emerged they’d never christened the powder room, they took it upon themselves to ensure no room was left “uninitiated” – which was always going to end badly, and it did as Charlie broke “bathroom boning 101” and knocked the sink off the wall during his thrusting, injuring his back in the process.

Seeing her lovable idiot of a husband prone on the floor, and spying his Marcy butterfly tattoo from last week’s episode seemed to have some sort of effect on Mrs. Runkle as she realised she still loved “retarded and sweet” Runkle.

The duel meanwhile soon descended into chaos as the Dean, Hank and Bates got into a three-way fist fight and rolled around like children on the floor much to the delight of the ladies in attendance.

After Hank had cleaned himself up, the dinner date Felicia dubbed a “fabulous disaster” which could also have been referring to her relationship with Hank, seemed to be all but over.

That word “passionate” which had been banded about all afternoon reared its head again as Hank described the Dean’s determination to win back his lady and with that Felicia bid Hank farewell and went in to the house to take care of the General – in more ways than one no doubt.

Seeing Jill and Jackie now enamoured with Bates can’t have done Hank’s ego any good but it at least proved how transitional his relationships with the two women were. Only a couple of weeks back they were both professing their love for him, now they practically walk right through him to get to the next bad boy professor on campus.

And with that all the campus-based recurring characters strolled off into the sunset with things almost back to normal as they had been before Hurricane Hank blew through the halls – as Felicia said “nothing really changes”.

The arrival of divorce papers put everything back into perspective for the Runkles and as Charlie made a last ditch plea for Marcy to give it another shot, Marcy’s comment that “there’s always a shitty part with us” left things ambiguous on that side of the Californication spectrum – the papers remained unsigned as the Runkles hugged it out on the sofa – will they give another go?

I’d hate to see them separate, as together they are the source of most of the show’s more vulgar and debauched scenes and jokes, so hopefully next week’s finale will see the Runkles back together, at least until the next “shitty part” anyway.

With the episode ending with Hank and Karen seemingly in a good place and ready to move to New York, I shudder to think what fresh hell will arrive next week to spoil the party, but knowing that a certain plagiarising former Moody conquest returns before the season ends I dare say I could hazard a strong guess…

Bullet Points:

- Jason Beghe’s gruff voice is one of the best on TV, rivalled only by Max Martini maybe.

Every line he delivers makes me laugh just because of the tone of his voice – “for fuck’s sake Moody, stop fucking around” was my personal favourite from this episode.

- The Becca-Chelsea relationship seemed like it was going to be quite pivotal to the season at one point but it sort of just faded into the background recently. Perhaps their brawl ended any chance of them ever being BFF’s but I guess their shared dysfunctional families ensure they will always have something to bond over.

- I never thought they’d be able to top Callum Keith Rennie as a guest star from last season but in Peter Gallagher and Kathleen Turner this season they just about managed it.

I’ve waxed lyrical about Turner previously, as I have with Gallagher, but as this seemed to be the last appearance of Dean Koons; Gallagher deserved some praise one last time.

- ‘Comings & Goings’ did a great job of balancing storyline development and laugh-out loud humour, something that the show has struggled with at times this season. Episodes have either been stand-alone comedy pieces or gone slightly drama-heavy so it was great to see them actually strike the perfect balance with this episode, making it one of the, if not the, strongest episode of the season so far.

Californication concludes Wednesday @ 10.50pm on FIVER.


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