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Published on December 14th, 2009 | by Iris Hogan


Californication Season 3 Finale : Well Played Kapinos Onward to Season 4

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“You’re gonna die poor, drunk… and alone.”

The season 3 finale of Californication was its best episode ever. If you’ve been following Californication since day one, then each moment was even more rewarding than the next. Mia’s (Madeline Zima) return could have been a simple gimmick, but it wasn’t. The drama tied up three seasons of push and pull between Karen (Natascha McElhone) and Hank (David Duchovny), with the love of Becca (Madeleine Martin) dangling in the middle. While everyone gasps over the season finale of Dexter, watching this Trinity unfold was just as satisfying.

We knew that Hank’s secret about Mia would be exposed at some point, but we never really had an episode that fully explored the mental impact of Hank’s sexual indiscretions. Taking a page from The Sopranos’ creator David Chase, Tom Kapinos created a semi-dream episode that revolved around Hank’s emotional abyss. While Hank floated around in a pool, the women in his life danced around him, exposing different facets of Hank’s spiritual poverty. The dream scenes were reminiscent of MacBeth in that Felicia, Jackie (Eva Amurri) and Jill (Diane Farr) played the parts of the Three Witches (or Weird Sisters), cutting short Hank’s own destitute life.

“You’re just chasing the dragon. We’re never going to live happily ever after.”

Sadly, it doesn’t look as though there will ever be a happy ending for Hank and Karen, but that is what lures us back to Californication week after week. James Frain (The Tudors) joined the Cali cast to do what he does best, add gas to the fire. Frain played the role of Mia’s boyfriend and manager, Paul. Much like Frain’s role as Cromwell, Paul tried to exploit her relationship with Hank in order to turn Mia into the next VH1 reality-show-joke-of-the-week. We’ve seen Hank end up in fistfights before, and he did it once again when taking down Mia’s boyfriend. This wasn’t a jealousy spat; Hank was playing the role of the knight in shining armor looking out for the interests of Mia, Karen and Becca. Unfortunately, “no matter how you slice it,” Hank’s actions caused the fight and not the conniving manager.

The coup de grâce fight was between Hank and Karen. Never before have we witnessed such an emotional scene on Californication. As the music played to sight of Karen’s inaudible cries, we watched the three seasons of infidelity and Hank’s callous disregard for the repercussions of his own actions unfold. Some things you can’t change, and the past is one of them.

Where does Becca end up in this relationship fiasco? After Becca reveals to Hank that she is no longer a virgin, she says to him, “I hope you know that I love you dad and I always will.” In the final scene we see Becca chasing after her father, as Karen tries to hold her back. Becca has undeniably chosen Hank in this lovers quarrel. Will that mean she’ll move on to New York with mommy dearest all the while hating Karen? That’s best left for Season 4. What we do know is that Hank won’t be taking that Casablanca flight to a better skyscraper filled world of loving bliss. He sacrificed that chance, and drowned in his own vomit because of it. The season 2 promo pictures of Hank drowning finally came to fruition.

As for Charlie Runkle, the divorce papers have been signed. Charlie and Marcy are no more. As Peppermint Patty would say, “Sorry Chuck.” You may have tried to kick the football, but it was taken out from under you when you were caught up in the moment of “what could have been.”

A hearty round of applause goes to Tom Kapinos for delivering an excellent end to season 3. The finale was well played and we all look forward to season 4.

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  • Toni

    I nearly died during that final scene. Karen is such a great actor. I really hope she comes back next year

  • AGREE!!!!


  • Jacqueline A.

    This was indeed a great episode. what makes me more happy is that it didn’t end like the Dexter finale. I just don’t know where they are going to take Dexter next season. With Californication this really feels like the start of a great arc and path for Duchovny. I am anxious for season 4!

  • Darius White

    damn, i forgot those promo pictures. Hank’s my dude. It was sad to see him get arrested again. Everytime he’s around Karen he gets arrested and punches a cop. WTF is that about?!??!

  • Stefan

    Californication is definately the most emotional, crazy, funny and best show i have ever seen. This season’s finally just confirmed it. Beautiful.

  • Quinton

    I haven’t watched the finale yet, but I cannot wait to see it if it is all that I’ve heard that it is. I absolutely, unequivocally L.O.V.E. this show! I am definitely looking forward to season 4!

  • Tito Rodríguez

    Never seen anything like Californication before. I must accept the fact that in the first episode what made me follow the show was the sex and the jokes, but there’s much more than that in Hank Moody’s life. A character that causes not less than affection and understanding. I’m in love with this show, and the long lapse between season 2 and 3 made me think that it was done. I’m really happy it goes on. Each episode it’s a lesson. Congratulations to all of those that make this possible…

  • John

    Californication is really my favourite tv show. i hope the next season will have same as the previous ones lots of funny scenes to laugh with all the main actors, i’d miss any of them! Go on like this, I can’t stop watching it!

  • Carter

    favorite Tv show??? best show ever? Really? Last night’s episode was good, but the Entourage finale was much better. They really tied up all the story arcs.

  • Rich in Phoenix

    “Double, double toil and trouble
    Fire burn, and cauldron bubble”

    (witches in Macbeth Act 4, scene 1)

    Yes Iris, the final episode was very much like a scene from a Shakespearean tragedy. Good ending to a decent season. It certainly has wet our appetite for next season; may it come soon.

  • Polish Hank Moody

    Yeah this last episode was great. Great play, great scenario, great emotions. I can’t wait till the 4th season.

  • Rudraneel

    hank just gets his pangs of guilt at the wrong times……..great season great episode cannot wait for the next season…..aaaahhhhhh i dunno why californication cudn end on a happy note for once now im all sad!!!!!!!!!

  • Marko

    I’ve been watching californication since day 1…I’m a huge fan…can’t wait for the next season…too bad I’ll probably have to wait till the next september… :((((

  • radina

    wtf it was the worst episode ever! i’m so disappointed.. it looked like a clean and dramatic way to to end it. to teach people watching the show a lesson that this is wt happens to you if you fuck up like hank moody. this season has just been a downward spiral culminating to hi getting back in jail..
    i mean do you really think karen will forgive him for the umpteenth time after the biggest shit he’s ever done?! the only thing good about it is that it surprised everyone who thought californicaton would have a happy ending, including me.. i still hoped things would make a turn for the better but now im wondering –
    will there be a fourth season?

  • Brian

    Best Episode. Been watching since first episode.

  • Hank

    Without a doubt, the most unexpected finalé of the season. If Mia was ever going to return to haunt Hank, there was no clue that it was going to happen now. This incredible episode brings everything that has gone before it to fruition. One of the most well-crafted series to grace the small screen will be missed until September. Whether you love it because of the sheer lewdness, or even in spite of it, you can’t help but be absorbed by it.

  • Hank is the man

    Fantastic Show, Great Season, Awesome Season Final. The last scene was emotional and it broke my heart how Becca ran after Hank as he was getting cuffed. Can’t wait for Season 4.

    On a side note I just wanna say. Poor Runkle :(

  • himanshu

    It has the real taste of drama..A proper Art work all together..simply great.. can’t wait.

  • Alex H

    With a cast of unbelievable characters and a storyline ridden with plot holes, the writers of Californication keep trying to add a serious undertone to the show, but they fail miserably every time. The third season of this show was promising at first, because it focused more and humor and less on the plot, but the latter half of the season ended up being even worse than the first two.

    It makes sense for showtime to try to get viewers interested in the show with captivating storylines, but this is just going too far. This show is another example of why showtime will never come close to surpassing HBO; they are going for mass appeal, sacrificing content for marketing.

  • mat

    Personally, I think the season finale was better than the rest of season 3 put together, which showed Hank being more of an ass instead of being a cool guy with good intentions but caught in the wrong circumstances. The finale was more connected with seasons 1 and 2 than it was with the third, bringing resolution to the underlying plot of those two, which I think a lot of people were waiting for.

  • feliz

    wow finale episode of the season. So unexpected i just cant wait till season 4. Also this is the best show i watched ever in my life. I watched the whole season 1 in 9 hr straight form 2:00 am till 11:00 what a no life. best show ever made.

    Also i feel bad for runkle

  • rasmus

    What’s the name of the song beeing played at the end where Karen and Hanks get’s in a big fight?

    Hope someone can help,

  • JT

    Rocketman by Elton John

  • http://buzzfocus T.R. Buck

    This is by far the best show on t.v.
    As for Alex H.’s comment!! Stick to HBO then, I mean isn’t Entourage just a generic Californication anyways. Stick to mister Drive Me Crazy and quite dissing best series on t.v. Maybe Melissa Joan Hart put a spell on you!!! Either way Drive somebody else crazy!!!

    !!!!!!!!!!Season 4 !!!!!!!!!!!
    !!!Can’t Wait!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • John Rauch

    Pfffttt Karen is the worst actress ever, watch her in the final breakdown, she’s basically laughing in the kitchen … take a look.

    Good Show though.

  • Nan

    When exactly does season 4 start??

  • Terry Boyden

    @Nan – Californication will return late september 2010.
    @Alex H. Really?? How can you judge all of Showtime based on one story arc, from one show? I am in no way slamming your comment, but I’m sure someone can say the same thing about every season of Entourage. Hey, I luv the show, but I can’t say ALL OF HBO is ridden with thin plots because of Entourage.

    Have you watched The United States of Tara or Dexter?

    -The BuzzFocus Team

  • emilia bee

    i think that was fantastic, sad, and lovely finale. it is a thrill to watch duchovny drown in his desires… natasha’s eyes are enchanting.. and the writing is superb. love to hate you mia. way to go kapinos. thank you from me. emilia bee

  • fornica

    what the hell is wrong with Mr. Kapinos to leave us
    alone with such a cliffhanger :-(
    Without any question, ep12 was the most emotional episode in all seasons.
    In my opinion the 3rd season was a little bit too overdone. It was not authentic to me. And hey, i really miss Lew Ashby, but…
    … cant wait for season 4

  • Eddy.junk

    This was just awsome. It was a highly emotional season finale :p I loved the cliffhanger, it’s really so unexpected. I thought there would be a happy end. Can’t wait to see more Californication!

  • Damilee

    If Hank had been able to go to the Big Apple the show wouldn’t have been Californication any longer, right? This finale had me crying in a couple of spots. This says a lot about good writing and acting. I couldn’t help but to reflect on some things in my own life and how it affected my daughters.

  • Ed

    Wow. Moving season finale. I actually cried. Highly emotional…
    Great writing, great acting. Truly a work of art. This should get an award.

  • Paul

    Really really really good last show….WOW
    I agree with the earlier comment that S3 was a bit over-done. Kind of looking for the next thing to write about but jusy throwing in random, unreal plot lines. Fortunately, this last show was a masterpiece of writing, drama and emotion. I hope we see more Runkle and Hank exploits next season

    Can not wait for S4

  • nathaniel

    that was incrediable. i think it really sucks that marce and runkle came to an end, it would have been nice to see them pull through. that would make a good season 4 if they get back together. hank and karen yet again. good luck hank!! cant wait for season 4

  • sgt. salt

    In the final scene when Hank takes a swing at the cop it moved me so much. It was such an act of desperation and such a showing of how much he just wants to be with his family more than anything despite how much of a screw up he is.

    I feel like i relate to Hank more than any other tv character(only with less extremely hot women in my life). I think a lot of people do and that is a large part of why this show is so addictive. I have never rooted for a character to come out on top so much.

  • Teddy


    You know, season 3 sucked in my opinion and I kinda lost respect for the character Hank whom I’d grown to love…and then, after not bothering with the finale for a few weeks…BANG! I’m in again…

    Well done.

  • gnake

    Well, I like californication, all seasons, but I didn’t like the finale of season 3. To much drama over something that happened like two years before. But hey, it’s not supposed to be realistic I guess. Or maybe I’m weird because I don’t understand that this one mistake is so shocking to Karen, next to all his other mistakes???

  • Robby

    Great show…from the episodes I’ve seen. I’ve just started on season 3 (missed the previous) but I really liked it: Hank and family, hank and the triangle, runkle and wife…LOL.

    the finale: quite a tear (as in rip, not crying) on the family, especially Becca but it’s great he stood up to the responsibility he caused by telling the wife (ex wife?) about the situation before “the sh*t hit the fan” legal-wise. Cant wait for the next season, like Dexter and SOA. I guess I’ll watch seasons 1 and 2 in the mean time.


    p.s: wish I had a stripper, assistant, and boss’ wife as notches in my belt…lol

  • nicole

    Does anyone know when the third season is planned to be released on DVD? I have the other two and have since been hooked, but don’t get the show on tv. Can’t wait for the release date so I can see what this third season brings.

  • JenJen

    Yes somebody please tel me when season 3 comes out on dvd!! I can’t get cable anymore (showtime), so can’t watch in on tv! just finished season 2 and am hooked!
    Im from Australia , it usually comes out later here than US but happy to buy online even…


  • Traycie

    I am absolutely heart broken. I was in pain watching the last 5 minutes of the show. I think it could very well be one of the best shows I have ever watched. The dialog, the dark humor, the sarcastic undertones at times, the obvious and not so obvious comedy, the drama, the over the top antics. It is by far the most entertaining show on tv right now. I am so excited to know what’s going to happen in season 4.

    p.s. I miss Lew Ashby too. He was awesome.

  • Ramunas

    Its absolutely amazing and astonished finale, the best serial i have ever seen and was createt, such an emotional and funny and the end made it both….

  • Stefan

    I agree, this is one of the best episodes ever. But the finale in season 2 is just as good, or even better?


    When Hank Kicked the the crap outta Her manager i was swinging with him that jerk ruined his life in so many ways one of the most emotional season finale’s ive ever seen in my entire life.GO HANK WOOT WOOT!!!!!

  • Elisea

    I really think I’m going to die of anticipation waiting on season 4. Season 3 had the most intense finale! It’s like coming down off of drugs, I won’t be happy until I get my next fix in like, what, 5 months! I’m gonna need rehab.

  • BigD

    I have seen a lot of good TV shows but this…this is in a category of its own. It just gets you hooked. The humor, the drama, the caracters, the life style, just everything about this shows is GREAT. Hank Moody and Californication have become my obsesion. My day cant finish if i dont watch few episodes any season for far it doesnt matter. Its just briliant. Now i cant wait for season 4 i like need to go to rehab till september, but rehab is for quitters :) any ways i would really love to know what exactly Hank sad to Karen at the season 3 finale. I get the point that he told her about Mia but i want to know the exact words durrign that whole part. Any one knows where i can find that out?

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