‘Californication’ Season Premiere Recap: Exile on Main St.

S4E1: At the end of last season, we left Californication in turmoil. Just before Hank was about to unload everything from the past seasons that’s happened (he unknowingly had sex with a 16-year-old and was being blackmailed), he was arrested for assault charges. So, his family found out the truth in the worst possible way. Now, we pick up season four of Californication, just 72 hours after these events, with a solid season opener. It’s time for Hank to face the inevitable.

“You’re not a piece of shit Hank, on paper or otherwise.”

-Charlie Runkle

The relationship between Charlie Runkle and Hank is an interesting one. As much as they shouldn’t work well together, for some unknown reason, they do. And I think the reason for success — just like all of his relationships– is in spite of Hank Moody. Because seriously, and this goes back to a point I was making earlier, relationships with Hank tend to be a one-way street.

At the same time, Hank’s able to bring people his worldview and show them what he’s thinking about and why he believes the way he does, a more appropriate view might be to call it self-loathing. Because if you really think about it, Hank Moody is selfish. All that he cares about is how the world affects him. He may talk quite a bit, saying how much he loves his daughter Becca or how much he wants to be with Karen, but too often, that’s just talk. It’s very rare that Hank acts on the things he talks about. If he wants to actually make it seem like he gives a damn about what’s going on with the other people in his life, he’s going to need to make sure they see it. That means doing something more than just telling them that he loves them.

But, things are different with Runkle. For some reason, despite the rest of the world somehow always finding a way to take a dump on his head, Runkle is lovable. Perhaps that’s because he’s the opposite of Hank. His world falls apart, but most of the time, it’s out of his hands. So maybe that’s why it’s easier for him to embrace Hank and his mistakes. Runkle’s life has been so messed up that he’s given up on trying to control everything and he’s a better man because of that.

“You look tired.”

-Sasha Bingham

“It’s been a long life.”

-Hank Moody

Ah, yes. As soon as we were introduced to Sasha Bingham, I fully expected Hank to bang her. And, yep. He did. Welcome to the show, Ms. Addison Timlin. You didn’t even get three minutes in before the world saw your boobs.

But, I think there’s more to this relationship than just sex and one of the reasons is how telling that above quote is. Because it has been a long life for Hank Moody. Yes, pretty much everything that Hank has to complain about is self-imposed, but still, dealing with that wear-and-tear on a daily basis undoubtedly puts heavy weight on his shoulders. Yet this conversation between Hank and Sasha was charming. There was a connection, and I know Hank connects with nearly every single woman he encounters, but there was something different about Sasha. Maybe it’s because she seems to be a genuine artist herself, but regardless, something clicked between the two. And so, I found their connection and experience a bit more lovable.

(Before we go on, I must note something that irked me a little bit. Music fans, listen up. “Sympathy for the Devil” by the Rolling Stones played while Sasha and Hank started to kiss. Yet, the title of the episode was Exile on Main St., taken from the Stones’ 1972 album. There’s one problem with this, though. SFTD is not a track from Exile.)

“You’re being charged with statutory rape. “

-Hank’s lawyer

I should take this moment to note Carla Gugino joining the cast to play almost the exact same character that she did on Entourage. But, I won’t write her off yet. In her first scene, she held her own successfully against the musings of Moody and this is a type of character that this show needs. Someone tough, smart, and savvy. Gugino is all three and will be providing Hank with some much needed support this season. Even the way she delivered the news about the charges — short and to the point — was a telling trait to her character.

So, there you have it. It’s fair to say that this season will be centered on one thing: will Hank Moody be found guilty?