After what I thought was a fantastic first season, Californication was in danger of entering the Entourage zone. The Entourage zone is where the plot doesn't go anywhere and the viewer begins to not care what happens to any of the characters. Through the second season and most of the third, I though Californication might be heading there. This week's season three finale changed my mind completely.
It starts with the fact that I genuinely care about what may or may not happen to these characters. Hank, Karen and Becca, and the relationships with each other, matter to me. I continue to hope that Hank and Karen will end up together in the end, and I want Becca to, as she said "love her dad, and always will." Even though Hank is a f*ck up and has messed his own life up more than a little, he still cares for his daughter so much that he puts more effort into her than anything else. That is what makes the audience want to have good things happen to them.
At the beginning of this week's finale we see the three of them sit down to a delightful family breakfast (with the fantastic Oh La La playing in the background). This family comradery is what makes me smile while watching this show. The comedy and the sex are nice distractions from time to time, but the essence of Californication is Hank and his girls.
The whole show started with Hank making the biggest mistake of his life, sleeping with an underage girl that happened to end up being his ex-girlfriend's new fiance's daughter. Throughout the three seasons, it has been the one thing looming over Hank. It has kept the viewers on the edges of their seats, waiting for it to come to the forefront and for Hank's life to fall apart. That was the reason that the season one finale was so good (because it almost did) and that is the reason this third season finale was so good.
Mia (the underage girl in question) has a new manager and boyfriend (played by a skinnier and balder Paul Raines from 24). Mia told this boyfriend the entire story about her sleeping with Hank and that she stole his book and claimed it as her own. After realizing that this douche was going to reveal this to America, Hank finally found the courage to tell his lady the truth. As he gets home and begins to tell Karen the truth about what he had done oh 2 to 3 years ago the audio of their voices stops and Elton John's Rocketman begins to play. At first I get angry. Are you kidding me? The moment that has been hanging over our heads for three seasons and you're not going to let me hear what is actually said between them? But less than a minute into the argument and subsequent arrest I realized that this technique made the scene that much better. We got the essence of what was being said. If we were to hear Karen screaming and yelling, the whole moment would have come across as anger. That's not what this moment was about. Instead it was depressing. The silence and the Rocketman gave that feeling of depression. As the rage was shown on Karen's face, and the disappointment that was on both Hank's and Becca's, we knew that Hank had finally hit rock bottom. All the trouble he had gone through to make necessary changes in his life were all for not. Everything flew out the window when he revealed to her what was the biggest mistake of his life.
I believe Californication is coming back, but I personally would be completely satisfied with such a depressing ending to this series. It really would be going out the right way.