Without words

It’s been, what — two weeks? — since the season finale of Californication aired and I still can’t get “Rocket Man” out of my head. I don’t particularly like Elton John, but this scene just blew me away. It was an uneven season, and I often couldn’t make up my mind whether I was watching one of the best of the HBO/Showtime bunch or one of the worst. Commenters at New York magazine’s site were similarly ambivalent about the season, but I was surprised how many didn’t like this ending. Compare it to the Dexter ending. Both Dexter and Californication‘s Hank have been getting sloppy (actually, Hank started sloppy), and that sloppiness has finally bitten them in the ass. Hard. Dexter pulled a traditional last-second shock move — you think it’s over, and then it’s so not. With Hank, I never bought that it would be over, never bought that he’d actually get back together with Karen and live happily ever after. It was just a question of how and when it would unravel, and that unraveling was a banal event poetically told. With dialogue, it’s a confession, an argument, a physical struggle. The Elton John song puts the emphasis back on Hank: Things aren’t falling apart because Hank slept with Mia, who was like a daughter to Karen, etc., they’re falling apart because Hank can’t get the hang of this terrestrial life. The song elevates the scene, and for me, the scene has elevated the song. I really like it now. And the drums help:

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