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Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Californication takes "JFK to LAX"

     Roughly three years have passed in the world of Showtime's Californication as the series returns for a fifth season with "JFK to LAX." Hank (David Duchovny) breaks up with his girlfriend of a year, Carrie (Natalie Zea, Justified) when she wants to get serious. Then he flees on a plane to LA, meeting a charming young lady named Kali (Meagan Good) along the way. What Hank doesn't realize until later is that Kali is already spoken for by the rapper Samurai Apocalypse (RZA, Blade: Trinity) who'd like to hire Hank to write a movie.

     Isn't this always the way of Californication? Hank doesn't intend to get into trouble, but it just happens. And he doesn't set out to hook up with non-single girls, but they are attracted to him like teen girls to cell phones. Or to Hank, for that matter. Thirty minutes into the new season, with everyone else starting fresh, Hank is right back as he started, in the same types of situations, which will surely end badly, as they always do.

     It's a good thing others have moved on in "JFK to LAX." Charlie Runkle (Evan Handler) seems at peace with ex-wife Marcy (Pamela Adlon), who is experiencing a sexual renaissance with Stu Baggs (Stephen Tobolowsky). It might help that she gave Charlie a son, Stuart (Quin and Reed Baron), though at two and a half, the son isn't talking yet. It also might help that Charlie finally brings is 100th girl! Both Charlie and Marcy have no shame in flaunting their sexual activities in front of Hank, a sign that they are in a good place.

     Karen (Natascha McElhone), too, has moved on, remarried and living happily with Richard (Jason Beghe). Hank seems happy enough for them, considering he likes how Richard treats Hank's daughter, Becca (Madeleine Martin), though Karen being married hasn't stopped Hank in the past from going after her. The difference here, though, from season one is that Karen doesn't appear to want Hank to continue to pursue her. So she has moved on without Hank, and that is, indeed, a big shake up in the ways of Californication.

     Speaking of Becca, she is on a path one might never think to see her on in "JFK to LAX:" she is dating an older boy named Tyler (Scott Michael Foster, Greek) who is just like her father. Shouldn't Becca have learned her lesson after watching all of the bad things that happen to Hank? True, girls to often idolize their dads, and look for someone like them. But in this case, it's a shame that Becca falls into that trap. Hank is essentially a good man, but he is wrong for any girl. And because viewers aren't familiar with and charmed by Tyler, this outsider view does not look good for poor Becca.

     In short, the hook of season five will be how does Hank cope with everyone he loves having moved on and found their happiness? Where does he go when he is no longer surrounded by tortured souls? Considering he spends the past three years in New York, away from these people, perhaps it's his fault that they were in bad places originally, and without him, they are better off. Except for Becca. Hank really must find a way to give his daughter a wake up call.

     Watch Californication Sundays at 10:30 p.m. ET on Showtime.

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