A well-behaved Hank Moody is a ticking time bomb. If you leave him to his own devices, he’ll erupt in a timely matter. If some lucky lady gets her hands on the detonator, it doesn’t take much to set Hank off.
Defusing Hank would be an error in judgment for Californication’s writing team. Even when Hank is behaving at his absolute best as he was in “30 Minutes or Less,” trouble will find him. He’s beyond a chick magnet. He’s toxic, as Rath puts it, almost radioactive.
When you pick up an episode with Hank uttering the words “good boy,” it’s like clockwork that temptation is lurking in the shadows. In Los Angeles, the shadows are darkest on-set, where beautiful people are doing whatever it takes to get noticed, get ahead or kill some time in between takes with another beautiful specimen. That atmosphere is a perfect storm of revelry for Hank to get swept away in. It’s why when Hank’s rock and roll escapes let us down last season, there was reason to be hopeful when we learned Michael Imperioli was there to guide David Duchovny’s character into the world of television this season.
Imperioli’s brilliant Rick Rath has dished out plenty of advice to Hank thus far. Don’t start groping the actresses, he said, or the entire show will go down in flames. Of course Hank, whether from your perspective he is guilty or not, chooses not to heed Rath’s warning. Maybe Hank shouldn’t have bribed Hugh to take the sexual harassment course for him. Sure, he brushed off the early advances of the beautiful, “man eater” Amy Taylor Walsh. Then in Julia’s trailer he just narrowly avoids succumbing to Julia’s desires, thanks to the little cock blocker known as Levon.
When shooting starts, Rath’s clown college unravels when the bombastic Hashtag Black accuses Hank of moving in on Amy. Hank, the toddler with the toxic personality, did it again. He found a way to thrust himself in the most unflattering of circumstances. Hank acts like the victim, like he’s too weak to resist unwanted advances. At times he’s showed us that is true.
Somehow he finds the right words to revert to a sympathetic figure in the eyes of the ladies and the fans that tune in to watch Hank’s act each week. “I want to be mad at you but then you’re so fucking sweet,” says Julia after finding out Hank’s tongue was again inside Amy. It’s a problem with no solution. Hank is a villain, and to the ladies in his life a bad guy has never looked so good.
With all the confusing sexual energy Hank has to navigate, from Amy to Julia to Rath’s secretary, it still all comes back to Karen. He tells Charlie that he’s having a drink with Karen later on because she centers him. Something feels a little off, since their relationship has been nonexistent lately. Hank’s world revolves around Levon and Julia while Karen seems out of reach and Becca is long the forgotten child.
As the table-turning ending reveals, Hank will have to re-enter Karen’s world. It’s his last chance to set things straight, but we know trouble will find Hank eventually. If it doesn’t, then, as Amy says, “Where’s the fun in that?”