NBC’s Aquarius
Season 2, Episode 7: “Piggies”
Directed by Jon Amiel
Written by Sera Gamble & Mike Moore

* For a review of the previous episode, “Revolution 9” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” – click here
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August 9th, 1969: Sadie (Ambyr Childers) cleans blood from the crime. On the 10th, Detective Sam Hodiak (David Duchovny) gets an intense phone call sending him out.
But cut back to 12 months earlier. Sam remembers Bobby Kennedy leaving The Ambassador Hotel while that fateful shot is fired. Afterwards, Sam has to figure out how he’ll deal with having been there, something that won’t too easily just go away. He goes about his business, though. In regards to those missing women, the pictures, he starts to figure out that one of the most recent victims posted a Lonely Heart ad in the paper. Hmm.
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We catch up now with undercover Charmain Tully (Claire Holt). She’s trying to get herself embedded further into the group, getting closer to the girl she met on the college campus. Only they’re planning something dangerous. The situation amplifies, terribly, when Charmain goes with the group to plant a bomb in a lab. She puts herself in harm’s way because of her guilt.
Meanwhile, Dt. Brian Shafe (Grey Damon) continues hiding his addiction to Big Sam. It’s getting tougher, and there’s no reason to think it won’t get worse still.
Ole Charlie Manson (Gethin Anthony) is still kicking around at the home of Dennis Wilson (Andy Favreau). And the Beach Boy is not pleased with all the medical bills getting run up by the Manson Family. The persuasive powers of Charlie come out again, even laying a kiss on Wilson to make sure he pays up on “the cost of authenticity” for his guests. Then they all get some news: Sadie’s pregnant.

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The greasy Ken Karn (Brian F. O’Byrne) is always out doing his duty. Or, what he perceives as duty. He’s got more work ahead of him for Richard Nixon and his campaign. They’ve got LBJ in their sights now.
Pulled away from his photographs of missing women, Dt. Hodiak is required at the scene of a grisly, blood soaked stabbing. He interviews the maid, a distraught African-American woman. At the very same time Charmain is over getting chewed out for soaking the bomb, stopping the explosion. She’s coming up against the line between criminality and law. Ah, that thin blue line.
Sadie and Tex Watson (Cameron Deane Stewart) talk about the baby. He wants to be the dad, but of course the baby “belongs to the family” – not creepy at all. When Tex goes to meet someone on a drug deal, it’s Ralph Church (Omar J. Dorsey). Looks like he didn’t die after all. Now Sadie worries about getting found out. When Ralph goes wild on them, they have to take off. More trouble to bring back for Charlie. They tell him about Ralph, how he’s out to kill him. But Charlie doesn’t care, as his insanity becomes more clear to everyone around him: “He cant kill me. I cant die.”
Grace Karn (Michaela McManus) is still trying to cover up the fact her daughter Emma (Emma Dumont) is lost somewhere, a runaway. She calls her father and wants to be done with the whole thing. However, what is the way out? What can Grace do? Her husband Ken is off doing his thing while she makes plans with her father to solve the Emma situation.
Dt. Shafe flies down to the Black Panther Party HQ to find his wife Kristin (Milauna Jackson). There’s a shooting involving officers and Black Panthers. Although things are still not pleasant between them. Back at the station, Hodiak interviews the maid from his victim’s home, Dierdre (Liz Femi). While the detective pushes things in the box his partner rushes in, upset at Sam using racially insensitive questioning to get what he needs. All the same, Dierdre did it. There’s simply a question of whether Sam acted at all morally. The concept of law comes up so much within this series, as we’re constantly asked to evaluate what makes proper police work and what does not. For all its faults, Aquarius does pose some wonderful questions for us to try and answer.
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Bunchy: “Police chop off your hair?”
Brian: “Yeah. Kristin took care of my balls.”
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At the Black Panther Party HQ, Bunchy (Gaius Charles) has an intense conversation about where he’d prefer to get shot, if it came to that, with Kristin. He talks about how everyone in the movement is “ready to be killed.” A harsh, true reality. He makes clear that while Brian shouldn’t be coming down there, he makes a proper point. That being in the BPP is willingly admitting that death may come at any moment. Same as Brian’s duty as a detective, though he’s also a junkie now. Not helping anything. Plus, he’s always lying. He covers up the needle she found with more lies.
Back with Charlie and Sadie, they’re turning Tex into a killer. It isn’t only Manson now. The women are becoming so brainwashed that they’re beginning to start helping their master almost without blinking. With a gun in his hand, Charlie is a terrifying sort. And he wants Emma to try getting her old cop buddy involved, the one who beat Manson to a pulp. The plots, they all weave back together.
Later, Emma goes to see Hodiak. She acts all proper, clean living, all that. She talks about staying with Dennis Wilson, Charlie and his music. The Manson Family and Emma are planning on using Sam in order to get Ralph out of their life again. Will the manipulation work, or will this just serve to get Sam closer to their action? Well, Emma has other things to worry about. A car picks her up off the street, claiming to be sent by Wilson. I doubt that, as it seems like a more shady operation than guys dispatched by a Beach Boy.

The group Charmain is infiltrating believes they’re next on the police target list after the Black Panthers. They’re carrying guns, readying themselves for a tough ride. What Charmain doesn’t like is that she is being forced into letting the group do illegal things, yet she’s there to be an arm of the law. She goes to Hodiak, to try and get advice. “Youre the first of your kind,” Sam tells her. He encourages her to remember that, above all else, she is being scrutinised for her gender. He doesn’t play into that, but tries to make sure she knows that giving up is not an option.
On the phone, Sam gets a call from someone who uses his full name, calling him “#1 detective” just like those envelopes with the photographs. Better yet, the detective recognises his voice.
On August 9th of ’69, Sadie walks bloody through the carnage of the Manson Family. Blood, bodies left in her wake. Behind stroll several others, all of them soaked with crimson. A creepy congregation of brainwashed souls.
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Another solid episode. Really dig all the political elements. Lots of intrigue, mystery, excitement. Next episode is titled, I believe, “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” and should bring more madness. Are we going to see Dt. Hodiak get further tangled up with the Manson Family? Soon. Soon.


I'm a Bachelor of Arts (Hons.) graduate & a Master's student with a concentration in pre-19th century literature. Although I've studied everything from Medieval literature onward, I've also spent an extensive time studying post-modern critical theory and have a large interest in both Marshall McLuhan and Jean Baudrillard. I completed my Honours thesis on John Milton's Paradise Lost + the communal aspects of its conception, writing, and its later printing/publication. My thesis will serve as the basis for a book about Milton's authorship and his influence on pop culture (that continues to this day). My Master's program involves a Creative Thesis, which will be a full-length, semi-autobiographical novel. Author Lisa Moore is supervising the writing of this thesis. I'm also a writer and a freelance editor. My short stories have been printed in Canada and the U.S. I edited Newfoundland author Earl B. Pilgrim's latest novel The Adventures of Ernest Doane Volume I. Aside from that I have a short screenplay titled "New Woman" that went into post-production in early 2018. I was part of a pilot episode for "The Ship" on CBC; I told a non-fiction story of mine about my own addiction/alcoholism live for an audience with nine other storytellers. Meanwhile, I'm writing more screenplays, working on editing a couple novels I've finished, and running this website/writing all of its content. I used to write for Film Inquiry frequently during 2016-17. Contact me at u39cjhn@mun.ca or hit me up on Twitter (@fathergore) if you want to chat, collaborate, or have any questions for me. I'm also on Facebook at www.facebook.com/fathersonholygore. Cheers!

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