‘Californication’ Recap: Ride Along

Californication Ride AlongS5E5: It would seem that Californication is at its (relative) best when it keeps things simple. Take this week’s episode, for example. It’s a bit of a bottle episode, sticking Charlie, Samurai and Hank in a cop car for 90 percent of the episode, but it helped to really harness the funny parts of the worn out Hank Moody persona. Plus, they finally acknowledged that whole thing about how Hank was on trial for statutory rape last season – it’s important that this time lapse doesn’t let us forget where we came from.

“What the f**k you got against Ryan Seacrest, man?” –Samurai

Samurai is still occupying that stereotypical space of a rapper with a short fuse and a complete lack of logic or common sense. But, he does have a point about Hank’s abject hatred of everything he can possibly hate. That doesn’t last too long because Samurai is sure Kali is hooking up with someone else (Hank) because she told Sam it was over. Sam’s plan? “Shoot the guy’s d**k off.” Good thing the next thing Samurai plans to do is take Hank with him on a ride-along in a cop car to help him get a more authentic policeman persona for Santa Monica Cop. That should be nice and safe. 

“If I wanted to sit around and eat donuts, I would have stayed home and smoked some f**king weed.” –Sam

Still, it’s not the most coherent storyline – even if it is funny at times. First, Charlie gets himself a spot on the ride-along because both Hank and Samurai are successful because of his assistance and when he gets in the cop car, Charlie is touching everything like a kid who just drank eight juice boxes. The cop asks what Samurai’s movie is about, and Hank offers up some hipster drivel about it being derivative bull shit while Sam tells him to be more like Charlie and enjoy the little things (which is where we started with the Ryan Seacrest issue). As an aside, the cop says the new movie sounds like Beverly Hills Cop – because it is. Is this seriously going to be joke all season? When they stop to get donuts, and address the cliché a little too thoroughly, the cop has a stroke in the coffee shop. And you think this is the moment where Hank learns a lesson about being too cynical all the time, but Hank’s cynicism goes right out the window and Charlie takes that lead. The mortality issues brought up by the cop’s stroke are dropped in lieu of the idea of a joy ride. They take the cop to the hospital and Samurai wants to drive the cop car since its driver is laid up. Charlie is worried about the legality of taking the car – rightfully – but they hop in anyway.

When they’re driving around, Charlie says Hank is still on probation – what? A reference to his former legal debacle? No way – but Samurai doesn’t care. Then he gets a call that Kali is at a club with some guy, so they go to the club to catch her in the act. And now we’ve gone from the “Hank needs to lighten up” theme to the “Hank has fallen in with a bad crowd” theme, which will dictate the rest of the episode.

“I try to get out but he pulls me back in with the money and well, the money.” –Hank

While tailing Kali, they pick up a hooker because she says she’s being harassed – she later thanks Charlie with a blow job and he finds out mid-fellatio that she is a he. Needless to say, he spends the rest of the ride crying. None of this should surprise the seasoned Califonication fan – Charlie is always dealing with strange sexual encounters. 

They follow Kali and her date, then pull them over. Samurai talks to the man-friend and Hank runs around the car to talk to Kali about how Sam might find out about them, so she offers up a simple solution: stop hanging out with Sam. But he’s a cool kid, mom! And he likes me! (Is what Hank would say is he was speaking honestly.) Just then, Sam beats the guy up with his nightstick, tells him Kali’s his “bitch” and the guy’s just stoked that he’s meeting Samurai Apocalypse. Ah, Hollywood. And as if Hank didn’t have enough signs already that he should stop spending so much time with his new “raptor” – that’s rapper turned actor in lame old, formerly-cool writer speak – Becca ushers him into a big one.

“Besides, he was being a total dick. It was like he was standing in for you tonight.” –Tyler

Becca calls because Tyler gets Richard drunk, which means he’s performing his mangina monologue at a restaurant. While Hank is giving Tyler a hard time for starting this (could he be more of a mini-Hank?), Samurai comes in and that whole “who beat up Tyler?” mystery unravels really quickly. Becca asks Hank if he asked Samurai to beat up Tyler, he says no and Samurai backs him up, but adds that he knew Hank wanted it so he did and he’d do it again. Yep, that’s just as bad, Mr. Samurai.

Hank’s like the high school pariah who starts hanging out with the cool kids who smoke behind the bleachers. It starts out as a beneficial venture, but eventually it catches up with him. And right after he alienates Becca, he and Samurai are pulled over with a naked, drunk Richard in the backseat. What’s that about probation? Methinks Hank is in big trouble again.

What did you think of tonight’s episode? Let me know in the comments or get at me on Twitter @KelseaStahler