Last week ended with Hank reminding Charlie that, no matter what they’ve been through, they find a way to weather the gloomy storms that come their way. “Smile” has them weathering smaller storms this week, but preparing for larger ones that are forming as a result of their actions.
The episode begins with Hank walking in on a man bending Karen over and giving it right to her. Actually, Chris is just working on Karen’s back, but Hank is still none too pleased. He shares the news of Julia’s reaction, but also brings by his first paycheck for his writing gig. He figured Karen could use the financial support, despite the fact that she has a house and he doesn’t. Karen tears the check, telling Hank that he cannot buy her forgiveness.
She wants him out, but Hank won’t. So when Chris insists, Hank responds by kicking Chris, who responds with what looks like a painful sucker punch to the face. Hank resorts to the only tactic he has left: pouring hot coffee all over Chris. Take that!
The bad day is just starting. The Santa Monica Cop staff is a bit thin: Levon called off and Rath is eating in his office, which he doesn’t do unless he’s super-pissed.
And in pops a pissed Rath, ready for the page one rewrite of Hank’s script. While he’s still pissed, he won’t allow his anger to influence the table read. While Hank’s writing is fine- if not a bit smart-alecky, some changes can still be made. Also, Rath just got off the phone with Julia. She doesn’t want the part anymore, but there’s no time to recast the role. Hence, everyone needs to cancel their plans for the night because they’re staying in!
So Hank heads to the dentist’s office, where Julia is hard at work with a patient. Hank tries to talk her back into the role, but Julia doesn’t regret her decision. In fact, she wants to minimize her anger by not being around the likes of Hank, Rath and Hashtag.
The discussion is interrupted by the arrival of Dr. Daniel Allen, DDS, played by Dan Bakkedahl, who brings Hank into his office. Dr. Allen makes it clear that he won’t allow a valuable employee like Julia to be turned down the wrong road by the likes of Hank. The actual reason is that Dr. Allen has a thing for Julia. He never wanted to be an astronaut or play for the Yankees. He just wanted to marry a busty, blonde hygienist.
Very specific desires you have there, sir. Julia doesn’t know this, but Allen thinks he’s in a good position already since he and Julia get along. After all, a relationship should be about teamwork. Well, according to Hank’s grandmother, a relationship is about laughter, hot sex and the occasional Dutch oven, which sounds much more interesting, I will admit. Point is- Allen doesn’t want Hank to get Julia’s hopes up about acting. Also, stay away from the office.
Charlie drinks his lunch for the day when who should show up behind the bar but Krull. Yup, rather than continue touring with Atticus, Krull decided to stay put after bringing back Hank. Since the love of Krull’s life is dead, his focus will go to working on motorbikes and potential memoirs as a rock and roll butler. When you roll with the likes of Atticus, Bowie, Rolling Stones, Bad Company, Hendrix, McCartney, Ringo, Fleetwood Mac, Eagles, the Pistols, Motorhead, Motley Crue, Clapton, Black Sabbath and Ozzy, I imagine you’ve got to have at least one interesting story. Krull has some things written up, but he doesn’t fancy himself as a writer. Nonetheless, a now excited Charlie would love to see what Krull has to offer.
Hank meets up with Levon, who decides to spend his day off by blazing. Not a bad idea, but he could better manage his time. Anyway, Levon lets Hank know that Julia wants to move back to New York and thinks her son has lost his morals. Please, Julia. Levon liked to whip out his cock and you thought he had morals? But Julia finds show business corrupt and fucked up, which it is, so she shouldn’t be too surprised.
Levon shares Hank’s dislike of Dr. Allen, whom he refers to as Dr. Dick. Heh. The two conspire to deal with Allen. It all starts with Levon’s supposed and very well-timed toothache.
Marcy meets with Stu and demands to know why he would turn to prostitution. Stu isn’t exactly having fun with the women. Their blowjobs are rough and toothy, not silky like Marcy’s. Additionally, the orgasms are as painful as coming into a broken beer bottle. I cannot un-see that sort of visual. But hey, Stu’s gotta get the toxins out of him somehow after Marcy broke his heart…when he cheated on her.
But Stu asks what drew Marcy there. After talking with Charlie, she had planned to ask him for a loan, but turns out that Stu doesn’t do loans. He would pay her, and he brings up the same offer he made to Charlie: $1 million for one more night. And hey, she’s a high value target, so consider your options wisely, Marcy.
Hank and Levon head to the dentist’s office, and do a poor job of hiding the fact that they’ve been blazing. Julia’s at least understanding, though she still thinks Hank is an amoral prick. Hank insists his heart is in the right place, and tells Julia that she shouldn’t be surprised that she works in places where people want to fuck her. Yeah, seriously, lady, you’re Heather Graham! Men will want to fuck you no matter what.
Including Dr. Allen, who owns up to his desires when Hank calls him out on it. He pulls out a ring, even though he and Julia have never been on a single date. Despite that, he promises to be a positive male role model for Levon, who responds by swiftly kneeing Allen in the crotch. Hank follows that up with a punch to the face that ends up knocking out one of Allen’s teeth. Father-son bonding!
And so it was, Hank returned Julia to Santa Monica Cop, where she tells Rath that she’s on board. Rath is excited, though less thrilled when Levon lets him know that he wants to audition for a small part. Rath’s still pissed about Levon having sex in his pool, but it turned out to be on his bucket list. How high on the list was it?
At House Runkle, Charlie reads some of Krull’s work when Marcy enters. She takes Charlie to their room to discuss Stu’s proposal, the proposal that Charlie already knew about, but never told Marcy because, you know, they’re supposed to be good people. Marcy insists that if a client gets an offer, you bring it to the patient, but Charlie is insulted that Marcy would insinuate that her husband is also her pimp. Sure, Marcy was pissed about the offer, but she took some time to think about it.
Charlie is just concerned that Marcy would enjoy the sex, but she confesses that she never loved Stu. She may have loved his monster cock, but not the man. And if she’s been fucked by him before, what’s the big deal?
Well, the big deal is that all this talk of illicit sex is making Charlie quite the randy man, so Marcy presents herself and the two screw. When they’re both done, they both agree that this is one fucked-up situation, but sort of hot.
Krull also agrees.
Hank, Levon and Julia enjoy a monster movie while blazing. Well, Levon doesn’t get to since Mom’s around, but he heads to bed anyway. When Levon leaves, Julia thanks Hank for, again, not taking ‘no’ for an answer.
Though Hank is ready to leave, he’s got enough whiskey and weed in him to stun a horse, so Julia insists that he stay. In their moment together, Julia tells Hank that she was never afraid of acting, but that she would develop feelings for Hank all over again. Seeing Levon happy has made her happy.
The two look deep into each other’s eyes and…have another tickle fight!
Just kidding, that doesn’t last long. Yeah, they kiss, and despite once agreeing that going down this path was a bad idea, they continue.
“Smile” was another example of our lovable characters going against the grain. I’m reminded of a line by Jason Stackhouse on True Blood: “Sometimes the right thing is to do is to do the wrong thing.” Indeed, there are very few right choices on Californication that don’t come with some type of repercussion. Like last week, we see the consequences of bad decisions. More than that, we see how uncertain these people are about their futures. Their vision of a happy life falls apart due to their own decisions, particularly with the likes of Krull, Dr. Allen, and even Charlie and Marcy.
In fact, I’ll start with the Runkles. We get a good idea of where Charlie and Marcy’s morals stand when it comes to their financial security. While I’m sure most people would be offended at the idea of offering their significant other up as a sex object in exchange for a great amount of money, Charlie and Marcy are in a desperate situation. They want a secure future, but lack the funds. Of course, both express disgust at Stu for the idea and they know it’s wrong, but to them, $1 million is probably the most amount of money they’d expect to see in quite some time.
And I enjoyed just how angry Charlie was for a second when Marcy was upset at him for not discussing Stu’s offer to her first. We see just how much Charlie loves Marcy. He wants to keep her…well, pure isn’t the word, but at least with some dignity. But the whole idea of sticking to your morals gets turned on its side not just when Marcy considers Stu’s suggestion, but when it leads to Charlie getting a stiffy. They both acknowledge that this is a completely screwy situation, but the humor of this show has always come from characters trying to get out of morally irresponsible situations that they put themselves in.
I’m also glad to see Krull back, as his involvement ties directly to the events of the previous season for some more continuity. And given the laundry list of stars he’s traveled with, I’m also interested in his memoir.
Hank’s heart is in the right place, yes, but he has some misguided actions, such as, you know, getting a prostitute to deflower his virgin son or giving money to Karen. We know he wants to do the right thing, and in his own way, he is. Hank doesn’t typically listen to reason, which is why Julia thanked him for not listening to her instructions. Again, I like the growing bond Hank has with Levon, even if their bonding does involve smoking weed and getting into a fight with the dentist. Gotta start someplace, I guess.
Trying to control Hank is damn near impossible. He’s going to do and say the uncomfortable things that people don’t like, such as when he tells Julia about the nature of the entertainment industry. She’s a beautiful woman and Heather Graham- men are going to want to do very strange things to her, so she needs to accept that. Doesn’t mean she shouldn’t put up a fight.
But Karen is that one woman who won’t just fall head over heels for Hank’s antics. She knows how he thinks and won’t make it easy or beat around the bush when it comes to his crap, which is what makes Hank trying to win back her affection all the more important.
Also, given how Hank and Julia acknowledged before that kissing was a bad idea, they’re sliding backwards at the end of the episode. Maybe it’s all the whiskey and weed, but it’s still a bad decision.
There are smiles to be had with this episode, but also time to stop and consider the future. Whether it’s potentially offering your wife up for sex or having an affair with the woman who you just learned had a son you didn’t know about, Californication doesn’t give characters easy options. You hope they learn from their errors and do the right, but if they did, the show wouldn’t be as fun or interesting to watch.