S4E8: Parenting is an overarching theme in Californication, but it's not always the parent doing the parenting. In seasons past, we've seen Hank deal with all sorts of issues with Becca, from her getting stoned and sharing his wisdom, to the reversal, with him going on a bender and needing her advice. Through their ups and downs, their relationship has become special and, well, it's one of Hanks' best and most redeeming qualities. He's always been a father -- a good one -- and somehow, he's managed to not screw that up.
This week, the parenting theme came out even stronger, beyond just Hank and Becca. Marcy's pregnant. We meet Sasha's mom. And Hank deals with all of it. "Lights. Camera. Asshole." wasn't the best episode that Californication has ever done, but it did offer us a few sweet, genuine moments that made me remember why I enjoy Hank Moody so much and why, despite his constant idiocy, I genuinely want him to succeed.
"100 Gs?" -Hank
Hank's been offered a job, and it's a pretty friggin' sweet job. Sasha Bingham has hired him (for 100,000 dollars for one week's work) to help re-write some of her lines for her new zombie apocalypse film. In reality, Sasha just wants him to be around so she can have someone to "play with," but there seems to be something more than that. Sure, she likes to have sex with Hank, but it almost seems like she, in a really creepy way, looks to Hank as a father figure. Later in the episode, we learn that her mother is only around a few times a year and that she could really use the support. So, it's almost as if Hank has been paid 100 G's to hang around Sasha while she works, be supportive, offer advice and, well, be willing to have sex at any moment.
Before they start to get frisky, though, Hank receives a call. Becca is in trouble -- she's high. He leaves Sasha and rushes to Becca, and we see a fucked up Becca. It's sad. She tells Hank in the most honest way that she is beginning to understand why he is always messed up. "It's easier when you're high," she says. Hank can't offer anything except a shoulder. (I'd also like to note that it was nice to see Hank and Becca have a scene together again. Since this season has focused so much on Hank's legal troubles, we haven't seen as many Hank-Becca moments as previous seasons.)
"I think you need to face the fact that there's a part of you that wants to have a baby." -Karen
Meanwhile, sticking with the parental theme, Marcy goes to the doctor for her abortion. She brings Karen, and the two talk about the situation. Marcy isn't quite sure whose baby it is, but it's pretty apparent that she believes it's Charlie's, not Stu's. But beyond that, Karen calls Marcy out on the fact that maybe she actually does want a baby. After all, she's changed the appointment with the doctor numerous times and continues to hint about motherhood. So after a long discussion, Marcy decides that she will keep the baby.
"Your mother?" -Hank
Hank takes Becca home and, of course, meets a woman. They sleep together, and Hank is actually happy about it. He calls her "age appropriate," which doesn't necessarily make her feel the best, but in a weird way, it's charming. Hank spends so much of his life in Californication looking for something. But, he doesn't really know what that something is. So, often times, his quest to find that "something" affects everyone around him -- sometimes positively, but most of the time, negatively. Regardless, there's something always likable about Hank Moody. As a viewer, I want him to succeed -- despite how hard he messes up. Perhaps the reason for this should be credited to David Duchovny for playing Hank in such a lovable way, but I always want him to be successful. When he meets this woman, visibly, we can see that he feels comfortable with her. Almost as if there's a weight off his shoulders that he's actually with someone who actually has the potential of a relationship. But, then we learn that this magical woman is Sasha's mom and, well, Sasha does what she should do and punches Hank right in the dick.
"I'm going to be a father!" -Stu
Back to Marcy's pregnancy problem/joy, and she tells Stu that she's pregnant, but, he doesn't let her finish. He immediately assumes that he's the father. (And really, why wouldn't he? If a woman I was dating told me she was pregnant, I'd assume I was the father as well.) Stu's celebration is so loud and boisterous that Marcy doesn't even stop him to tell him the truth. Perhaps this is because, maybe, deep down, Marcy wants to believe that Stu is the father as well.
"You're reaching the point of no return." -Sasha's Mom
Hank finds himself at the bar, again, talking with Sasha's mom, again. And, well, this woman is special. Although she's only known Hank for a short amount of time, she's able to understand him and understand what he's going through. She helps him recognize that this time this crazy life that he lives is not going to last forever. Eventually, he's going to have to face the consequences of all of his actions.
And, frankly, that's what Californication is about. Hank has been hiding from his problems since we first met him in season one. That's all he does; he hides. But sometimes, rarely, we have characters that come into this world and they remind Hank that he needs to face the reality of the life that he's lived. He's not going to be able to escape and if he keeps running, he'll alienate his whole world, and, to be even more specific, he'll alienate Becca. "Lights. Camera. Asshole." was a crazy episode that put Hank in weird situations, but on top of that, it was an episode that challenged Hank to confront his issues before it's too late.