Californication Review: "Freeze Frame" (Episode 4.05)

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Californication Review: "Freeze Frame" (Episode 4.05)

So far in Season 4 of Californication, the show has taken a nosedive away from its strong suits, opting more for shock value instead of the character and plot development so pivotal throughout the show’s first three seasons. Last week’s episode “Monkey Business” hit a low point for the show, with a bizarre introduction to Fucking and Punching’s principal financier, weird monkey scenarios and a trite Queens of Dogtown subplot.

“Freeze Frame” moves on from that debacle of an episode. Hank stops by his old home to pick up his suit and tie as he prepares for his court hearings. He’s greeted by a cold Karen and Becca during his short return home. When asking his family how he looks all dressed up, Karen sneers back “like a statutory rapist in a suit,” while Becca follows in similar fashion saying, “You know what they say…you can’t polish a turd.”

Hank receives some promising news from his lawyer Abby regarding his pending charge. She shows him a video of Mia’s deposition, where she does not accuse him of rape and bears some of the responsibility from that ill-fated night. “The prosecution has a lame case,” Abby explains, “expect a deal imminently.” Hank asks Abby to go to dinner to celebrate, but she claims that she had previous obligations with her best friend Vanessa. After her secretary informs the two that Abby’s date with ‘Jake’ had to be canceled, Hank guilts Abby into a dinner date.

Charlie’s manscaping attempt and fiasco is this week’s shock value failure, but thankfully it remains a secondary plot rather than a main affair during “Freeze Frame.” Charlie drops his pants to Hank, seeking out advice on whether or not manscaping is a good idea. He then proceeds to go home and alleviate some of his hairiness, but Marcy startles him into severing off a portion of his genitalia. Blood dripping on the floor, Charlie screaming—this scene induces wincing at the highest of levels.

As Hank goes to meet Abby for dinner, he unexpectedly runs into Mia, whom he “rescues…from the clutches of evil hipster douchebags.” Mia is waiting to meet with Sasha Bingham, to discuss her part for the upcoming movie. Hank tries to conceal his sexual relations with the girl who’s playing Mia, but fails to do so as Sasha jumps into his arms upon arrival. Abby arrives in the midst of the two Mia’s surrounding Hank.

At dinner, Abby opens up a little bit about her past experiences as a writer and turns out to be rather similar to Hank. When Hank inquires into her relationship history, we out that Abby’s professional addiction keeps her from getting close to others—as men often are just impediments to getting her work finished. In this conversation, Abby helps to paint Hank’s character in further detail.

“We’re a lot alike,” she explains. “You’re a smart, charming guy with a lot of fucked up dark shit running through that pretty little head of yours. I’ve just figured out a better way to channel it.” She doesn’t believe in both the coexistence of the “dark swirling chaos” and the “white picket fence,” while Hank disagrees. It’s these two forces that define the inner-struggle within the novelist’s life.

Karen’s text interrupts Abby and Hank’s intriguing conversation, informing Hank last minute about Becca’s first ever gig at the Whiskey. Hank shows up, unaware that Karen would be accompanied by Ben. After rudely dismissing her suitor, Ben responds back at Hank. “Don’t be that guy…don’t be the guy who makes this shit any weirder than it has to be.” Hank loses another battle in the war for Karen, along with Becca’s as well, who claims to her bandmate that her father is “out of the picture.”

After being attended to at the hospital, Charlie discovers a doctor who had lost his medical license performed his vasectomy. “You found him in the back of the L.A. Weekly? his ER doctor inquired. “He enjoyed, how do I put this delicately… fucking around with men’s genitalia!” Marcy realizes that the vasectomy did not hold, meaning that it was more than likely Charlie impregnated her.

Hank arrives back at his hotel room dismayed when Sasha comes pounding on his door. For once, Sasha is not looking to fuck Hank, but rather informs Hank about Mia sitting over the ledge of their high-rise hotel. After joining her on the ledge and talking about their life mistakes and regrets, Hank asserts to Mia that “We need to forgive our fuckin’ selves, cause nobody’s going to do that for us.” It’s one of the more memorable moments of the season thus far featuring Hank Moody at his finest as he convinces Mia to eventually go inside.

Back within the hotel party, “Freeze Frame” concludes with Sasha and Mia reaching down Hank’s pants simultaneously, only to be captured by a fellow partygoer’s cameraphone, all without Hank’s knowledge. This final scene provides yet another instance of Hank’s good intentions overshadowed by his dark swirling chaos.

Stray Observations:

• “Speaking of dark, how’s Lenny Kravitz? You know, Ben Harper, that van-sized, caramel-colored man you’ve been hanging around with. Should I be worried? He does seem dangerously cool—kind of like a young Lando Calrissian.” – Hank on Karen’s newest suitor

• “I wanted him to remember me.” – Mia deposition response to why she punched Hank during intercourse.

• “I like it when you say ‘imminently’—it gets me a little hard.” – Hank’s response to Abby’s use of the word imminently.

• “You told me you were having dinner with a woman, which leads me to believe that you didn’t want me to know that you were having dinner with a Jake that is probably very handsome, very fit and very fucking boring.” – Hank’s theory on why Abby kept her dating life private.

• “This gangsta needs to get paaaid!” – Hank

• “You’re like a sexy gummy bear with a caramel on the inside. A gummy bear wrapped around some other sweet goodness.” – Hank to Abby

• “You actually smiled for once, not a smirk.” – Abby calling out Hank’s message from Karen.

• “I love me the lady parts. Mind you, I don’t think I’d ever go for a vagina-flavored cupcake. But when you’re down there in the ladyness, you don’t want that shit to taste like ice cream. It’s complicated.” – Hank

• “I just want a do-over, go back to being a kid” – Mia

• “I just want to go back to ’94—that was a good year. I met Karen, Becca was born. It was the year that changed my life. Plus, no Internet, cell phones, texting, tweeting, twatting, twittering. Movies were a buck, gas was 10 cents a gallon. Blow jobs were free. Speaking of which, Clinton was in the White House.”