Season 3 Episode 12

Mia Culpa

Aired Sunday 10:30 PM Dec 13, 2009 on Showtime
out of 10
User Rating
286 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

Just when Hank, Karen and Becca are about to move to New York, Mia comes back to town along with her new boyfriend. Meanwhile, Charlie thinks about having his vasectomy reversed.

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  • Mediocre.

    I feel like the return of Mia was, well, a last minute resort in terms of story development. And I, as a Swede, couldn't engage emotionally due to a different legal system. I simply can't understand the deal about Hank sleeping with Mia. In Sweden the lawful age is 15, not 18 as it is in several US. states. And also, Hank didn't know her age making all the drama rediculous. No intent, then there shouldn't be statutory rape either. The intended climax, when we see Karen's reaction and Hank's fall to the sound of "Rocket Man", fails because of this. Come on, he didn't murder someone - he had consensual intercourse, though with an underage girl, but still unaware of her illegal age. There's, simply put, no drama to it. It's just stupid and I feel that Hank is the actual victim, first getting seduced, then manipulated and threatened on several occations by Mia - and robbed on his first novel he's written in many years. I really hope that's the direction they take on the next season. Hank's not the criminal to be put behind bars, it's Mia.moreless
  • 312

    Californication's season three finale is fairly mediocre, but the ending featuring a magnificently-done video montage to Elton John's "Rocket Man" that needs to be seen to do it justice, as I cannot with simple words. That was one of the best things I have ever seen this show do, proving it is more than just a comedy about a playa'.

    That being said, the rest of this installment was forgettable. Why bring back Mia now? Why have Hank Moody snap over her, and not his wife, or his daughter, when Dean Koonz continued to press him about it. Did not buy that unnecessary, bloody outburst.

    This episode did provide some closure, as well as open some new doors, so from that standpoint I suppose it was a success, but I can also argue that I found it odd that the season finale was the least funny episode of the year.moreless
  • A fitting end to a superior season

    Californication has a habit of being understating the drama in situations until the season finales. But this season finale hit home just fine as Mia comes back into town and her manager/boyfriend wants to expose the real story behind her(Hank's) book. This leads to an explosive confrontation between the two and the boyfriend promises to call the cops on him. He tells Karen in a "Rocketman" narrated scene and the police have to physically force him off from trying to comfort her. Now that his biggest secret is out and Karen will most likely never speak to him again and Hank being carted off to jail for assault on manager man or the statutory rape thing remains to be seen. But this ended the game quite even with the plot of Charlie thinking that he and Marcy might get back together and then finds the divorce papers signed was heartbreaking. Can't wait for season 4 and the new direction that will have to be taken. California we hardly knew ya!moreless
  • Comeuppance

    It's amazing how a show can go from a 5.5 to a 9.0 in an episode. Writing-wise, you wouldn't think "Comings and Goings" and "Mia Culpa" were part of the same show. Even scenes like Runkle coming downstairs in the morning with a spring in his step only to see Marcy's signed divorce papers was shot and edited nicely, whereas if it happened in an average Season 3 episode it would've felt slapdash. Not that I haven't enjoyed Season 3, I've had a blast with it actually, but I have noticed a slight decline in story-telling to make way for gimmicks. Mia's back. I still think she's limited acting-wise and fails on line delivery on occasion but I didn't mind her, maybe even liked her. She seemed genuine in her last scene with Hank. Collini - IN. Thank God she's back, she was too precious to leave. Maybe the writers heard my cries? I hope she doesn't drop off the face of the show next Season as I've witnessed in the past (Bill and Damien). Hank's dreams were creepy, a real turnaround to the light and comical goings-on this Season, but they symbolized his deteriorating mood in the episode nicely. It was strange and sad seeing Hank like this. I'm guessing this is the direction the show will take next Season. The comeuppance and breakdown of Hank Moody. The writers are really experimenting here.

    I think if there's any flaw in the episode it's that Karen's reaction might've been a tad overdramatized for the sake of the last scene. She barely had a reaction when she found out he was sleeping with half of campus, but she ran out into the street screaming when he told her about an accident that happened 3 years ago when she was engaged to someone else at the time. Shout a bit, look disappointed and disgusted then leave, then maybe wipe a tear away, but what happened in the show was OTT. Overall they set up for the next Season nicely and produced possibly the best Finale of the show (what a nice book end to the Season 1 Finale btw).

    I'm looking forward to all of the story lines: Becca's possible sex life

    Runkle and Marcy's divorce

    Runke's possible yearn for children

    Runkle and Sue's relationship

    Sue's memoirs (LOL)

    Karen and Becca's reaction to Hank

    and of course Hank's comeuppance and breakdown.

    Can't believe I'll have to wait almost a year after watching all three Season's in less than a month ahhhh.moreless
  • Great finale, and a new side of Hank Moody.

    Well, another season of Californication has come and gone, and seeing Hank Moody finally hit rock bottom was a saddening scene. About midway through the episode, you could almost see the gears in Hank's head turning, contemplating whether or not he should keep the secret between him and Karen going on or whether or not he loved her enough to actually risk their relationship and come clean about the whole thing. While I don't find this season to be the best of the show, it certainly had the best finale of the bunch. They really screwed up tying up Charlie and Marcie's storyline, but as far as Mia's reappearance on the show.. man, it really helped lead to seeing Hank at his most vulnerable.

David Duchovney was on his game. He seemed more burnt out than usual, and his usual humor was gone in placement of pure anger and frustration at being caught in this situation with Mia once again. The steps the episode took to reach the point where "Rocket Man" finally started kicking in as he admitted the whole thing to Karen.. superb job.

    As I said before, the Charlie and Marcie storyline was just kind of left hanging. We were introduced to a possible storyline involving Sue Callini's memoirs being published, but I sort of hope this is her last appearance.. she was funny while she was around, but there's only so much of a sexed-out-of-her-mind agent I can take that looks like she's had about twenty bouts of plastic surgery. Let's focus more on the awkward and strange relationship between Charlie and Marcie.

    Overall, this was a pretty good finale, and in my eyes, the best of the bunch so far. It really leaves us hanging, wondering how Hank is going to rebound from the reveal of what is still by far the most inexcusable thing he's done. Two good Showtime shows aired with finales tonight, and both came through in the end, tying up their respective storylines while leaving us ready for more.moreless
James Frain

James Frain

Paul Ryder

Guest Star

Michael Deyermond

Michael Deyermond

Bookstore Owner

Guest Star

Brett Gelman

Brett Gelman

Annoying Hipster

Guest Star

Madeline Zima

Madeline Zima

Mia Cross

Recurring Role

Kathleen Turner

Kathleen Turner

Sue Collini

Recurring Role

Diane Farr

Diane Farr

Jill Robinson

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (2)

    • The episode title "Mia Culpa" is a form of the Latin phrase "mea culpa", which translates to "my fault" or "my own fault".

    • Featured Music:
      "Carmelita" by G.G. Allin (Opening scenes)
      "Ooh La La" by The Faces (At breakfast)
      "New York Groove" by Ace Frehley (Charlie and Hank at the bar)
      "Eyes Of Mermaide" by The Black Hollies (At the signing)
      "Dream" by Cafe Du Midi (At the house party)
      "Alarmist" by Pacific UV (At the house party)
      "You May Emerge From This More Dead Than Alive" by Hammock (Paul opens to Hank)
      "There Is A Formula To Your Despair" by The Warlocks (Hank and Paul fight)
      "Rocket Man 03" by Elton John (Closing scenes)

  • QUOTES (3)

    • Paul: So, workin' on anything?
      Hank: Oh God, no. Just mostly my tan. I'm trying to get that all-over deal. It's hard to get the taint nice and golden though.

    • Becca: What about that other place on the West Side, we go for breakfast sometimes? Barney something?
      Hank: Yeah, Greengrass. Barney Greengrass, where you may very well have been conceived, young lady.
      Becca: Really?
      Hank: Yeah.
      Karen: Actually, no, it was the bathroom at CBGB's.
      Becca: Jesus Christ! Boundaries, people!
      Hank: Yeah, but we went to the bathroom at Greengrass the next day, if you recall. And, and, and who's to say which batch of seed took root, woman?
      Karen: This is true.
      Becca: And there goes my appetite.

    • Sue: (to Charlie) Look, Runkle, whether you know it or not, you're a maverick, a renegade. You beat off to the march of your own drummer. That's the kind of agent I want.

  • NOTES (2)

    • Original International Air Dates:
      Czech Republic: March 23, 2010 on HBO
      Sweden: June 14, 2010 on TV400
      Germany: September 22, 2010 on AXN
      Finland: November 29, 2010 on Nelonen

    • This episode is rated TV-MA for brief nudity, mild violence, graphic language and adult content.


    • Mia: (responding to a question about her influences) God, uh, there are so many. Um, but if I had to narrow it down, I guess I'd have to say Bakowki... (Hank makes mooing sound from the audience)

      This is a reference to Peter Bakowski, an Australian poet who is famous for using very simple words and images in his work. His first published poetry was Thunder Road, Thunder Heart, released in 1988.

    • Paul: (referring to Mia) Look, Hank. What if she came clean? Told the story behind the story. Her fame suddenly becomes something else entirely, something I can work with. Who knows, maybe she goes on Oprah, a fuckin' reality show, I don't know.

      This is a reference to The Oprah Winfrey Show, the highest-rated talk show in the history of American TV. Oprah Winfrey has been hosting the show since 1986.

    • Becca: (in Hank's dream) Wherever you go, there you are.

      Becca's quote is a common saying that is used in the title of a 1994 book called Wherever You Go, There You Are: Mindfulness Meditation in Everyday Life. The book was written by Jon Kabat-Zinn, a professor at the University of Massachusetts who teaches meditation and relaxation techniques.

    • Becca: (to Hank) Chelsea immediately hooked up with the dickish good-looking one and spent the night in his dorm room. I ended up sexiled with the nerd...the Michael Cera-type.

      Michael Cera is an actor who has appeared mainly in comedy movies and TV shows, including Superbad, Arrested Development, and Year One. Becca is referring to the fact that Cera's roles often portray him as a nerd.

    • Becca: (referring to Mia's book) So is there going to be a movie?
      Mia: Uh, sure looks like it. We're talking to Evan Rachel Wood.

      Evan Rachel Wood is an actress who appeared in the TV series Once and Again. Wood has also starred in several independent films and received a Golden Globe nomination for her role in the movie Thirteen.

    • Hank: (to Mia) Look at you, all foot loose and fancy free and grown up.

      This is a reference to the 1977 Rod Stewart album Foot Loose & Fancy Free, which was Stewart's eighth album.