Sorry for the delay in posting, Californicators, but this episode was such a turning point in the season I just had to invest a little post-sick day time into making it just right.
Several of you have posted comments saying that this was the best ep of the season, and I'm inclined to agree. So much real, vulnerable depth was added to our Hank through the mirror of his relationship with his caring but deeply flawed father. Hank gets news that his father has passed away, and through flashbacks we got to see the source of many of Hank's bad habits and attitudes. But more importantly, we saw where his self-hatred is coming from and why he's so determined to be a devoted dad and life partner. His greatest fear is being a failure in those two roles, as his father was before him. The guy was a womanizer, a drinker, critical as hell, bitter, angry, and prone to calling women "Sex on a stick" in front of his preteen granddaughter. Truly a creep. So Hank's act isn't an act - it's the result of the house of he was raised in.
Adding even further depth, we saw in flashback some really deep, beautiful scenes between Hank and Karen. They were painful, since they highlighted the slow growing-apart those two unwittingly experienced, but the connection between them was brutally palpable. In the scene in which Karen confessed her infidelity, Natascha McElhone's performance was stunning. I have new and unbridled respect for her as an actress, and for her character as a loving woman who isn't as independent as she'd like to be. Bravo.
But enough with the sap. "California Son" also had plenty of Moody-inspired shenanigans, including snorting coke off Judy Greer's posterior, a run-in with a pimp, and Charlie coming to Hank's rescue with lines like, "We will handle this like the proud, beautiful black men we are." The entire "Sir Trix-a-Lot" interlude was rockin' funny, and it's so nice to get a break from that annoying Mia, isn't it? Plus, we can always count on Charlie to be our comedic foil and prostitutional savior. God bless him.