‘Californication’ Season Premiere Recap: JFK to LAX

S5E1: You know, using the fast-forward button on a series is sort of cheating, but usually, a series uses it to make it easier to change things around without causing problems in continuity. Californication just uses it to set the clock back to Season One, which if you ask me is a gross abuse of the fast-forward technique. Here we are in Season Five and absolutely nothing is different. Go figure. We all knew Moody wouldn’t change.

Watch the full episode here!

“I’m a casual guy, I have to be because I’m broken.” –Hank

I get that this line about being broken is somewhat ironic, but this episode is so evident of the series’ static nature that I can’t help but be annoyed with it. Yeah, Hank’s a broken man, so he keeps things casual with his many sexual exploits, pisses them off and moves on. This time, Hank is pulling his usual move – he’s just doing it on the East Coast. Now, the notion that Hank would start this season in New York is something that I actually loved, but it doesn’t last all that long unfortunately. Hank breaks up with his I-don’t-want-to-be-that-girl-but-where-is-this-going girlfriend and while he does call her a goddess, she still hates his guts. You really can’t argue with “Do you think I would have let you sodomize me if I didn’t think there was a future here?”

With that, Charlie offers Hank a job opportunity in L.A. and he takes the opportunity to get a temporary respite from the aftermath of his “breakup.”

“One could argue that it’s not entirely my fault that you force grown men to make huge puddles in your lap.” –Hank

Of course, Hank meets a beautiful young woman on the plane (Meagan Goode). He spills a drink on her and boom, sexual chemistry. Through some in-flight musical chairs, they end up sitting next to each other and Hank tells her the story of the past four seasons – a.k.a. how he chased his ex-wife for four seasons. She beckons him into the bathroom, and boom: mile high club – almost. An old lady busts in on them and they only make it to first base. He tries to get her number in the pickup area at LAX, but her Steve Nash look-a-like driver shuts the door in his face and they speed off.

“If you absolutely have to be with someone else, this is the guy.” -Hank

“I know, he’s like you but awesome.” –Karen

Californication Season 5 jfk lax

When Charlie picks Hank up, his first stop is Karen’s and while she’s happily remarried and it totally kills Hank, as usual, they’re both more concerned with Becca’s new “hot” boyfriend. Karen is not that worried because Becca’s in college, but Richard hates the boyfriend with the power of a thousand suns. As a solution, Karen decides they should all have dinner.

When the boyfriend, Tyler, gets there, it’s extremely evident that he’s a mini-Hank. He even drops some of Hank’s various go-to phrases, including noting that he and Becca are “keeping it simple.” Did we hear that in the first scene? Why yes we did. As Hank grills Tyler and berates him for dating a girl so much younger than he is and for driving after having an entire bottle of wine, it’s very obvious to everyone but Hank that he and Tyler are the same. Now, this is a plot point I can get on board with – I just wish Karen wouldn’t have gone and ruined it by explicitly pointing it out to Hank. We can still be subtle, guys.

This display pisses Becca off and we’re back to Hank having yet another rocky relationship with his daughter. Seriously, nothing had changed.

“I read your shit from cover to cover, even the pretentious parts.” –Samurai

Oh, and then there’s that whole job thing. In order to tie in the cartoonish sexual revolution going on over at Marcy and her new husband Stu’s house, we find that Hank’s new job is somehow through Stu. After an incredibly uncomfortable stop at Marcy’s, Hank meets his new boss: Samurai Apocalypse, hip hop mogul. He wants Hank to write him an action movie so he can have his “Eddie Murphy moment.” Of course, Sam is irrational and – shocker – his girlfriend is Kali, the beautiful girl from the airplane. And boom: there’s the conflict with that storyline.

But wait, Hank was only coming for a visit, right? That’s why we keep seeing his ex texting him in all caps until he gets one final, ominous text: she’s found a way to “solve their issues.” Clearly, she’s burnt down his apartment. Hank goes to Charlie’s house, where the bald lawyer is boning his 100th lady who somehow doesn’t find this disgusting at all. Right on cue, Hank gets the call: who would have guessed it (ME, ME; I would have guessed it), the ex burned down his apartment, forcing him to stay in L.A. Convenient and predictable.

Don’t get me wrong, I love Hank Moody and I look forward to seeing what he gets himself into this season, but I wouldn’t feel right if I wasn’t totally honest about the utter predictability of this entire episode. Honestly, if they would have just kept Hank in New York for a few more episodes, I think half of the issues I have with this premiere would be solved. I’m still hopeful that this was rocky start to a pretty good season, but then again, Hank Moody is notorious for disappointing those around him.

Were you disappointed with the season premiere? Or do you think I’m off my rocker? Sound off in the comments or get at me on Twitter (@KelseaStahler).