From David Duchovny

Aquarius – Season 2, Episode 3: “Why Don’t We Do It in the Road”

NBC’s Aquarius
Season 2, Episode 3: “Why Don’t We Do It in the Road”
Directed by Timothy Busfield
Written by Alexandra Cunningham

* For a review of the previous episode, “Happiness is a Warm Gun” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “Revolution 1” – click here
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We start with Manson (Gethin Anthony) meeting Charles ‘Tex’ Watson (Cameron Deane Stewart), another one involved in the hideous deaths at Cielo. We see him in the flashes forward to the murders, as well. The family is coming together, and Manson’s terrifying power of persuasion gets clearer each episode. He’s defeated that old influence in his life, and now the triumph over Ralph Church has made him seemingly invincible. In his head, anyway. In a season filled with episodes named for Beatles songs, we can be sure that the Helter Skelter of Manson’s wild dreams is surely coming, closer, closer.
Will this season end with those savage killings? We’re on the road to finding out.
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Back 16 months earlier, slowly edging our way towards those fateful events, Detective Sam Hodiak (David Duchovny) and Officer Brian Shafe (Grey Damon) have received another picture in an envelope – a new woman, tied up. So the duo sets about making calls trying to suss out a lead or two.
Ole Charlie’s busy over at the house owned by Dennis Wilson (Andy Favreau). You can see the stars in his eyes already, as Wilson shows up. “I am everyone and everyone is me,” Charlie starts with his craziness, which kind of impresses Dennis. But he makes a mistake, and tells the madman to make himself at home. Little does he know how long that will come to last.
Sam comes across a bloodied woman on a rooftop after heading to a scene where someone was heard yelling loudly. She’s in terrible shape and succumbs to her injuries. This sets fire to Hodiak. He checks with some witnesses that heard the screams and does the normal routine, though things are looking darker than ever. Later he tails Ron Kellaher (Tim Griffin), more to make a point than do anything sinister. A funny situation sees Kellaher’s wife come out to talk. Turns out she knows Sam, too. Hilarious. But Ron gets the point, no doubt. Back at the office there are more pictures, a ton, waiting for Sam. The plot keeps on thickening.
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Interesting stuff comes from Kristin Shafe (Milauna Jackson), involved with the Black Panthers, and her cop husband Brian. She wants him to quit, to do something else. He isn’t exactly willing. There’s a huge contradiction and conflict lying between them, though. Not an unbeatable one, just a wide one.
Mr. Manson is playing guitar for Wilson, handing down prophecy about the music business. He doesn’t exactly play much guitar. He holds one, then makes excuses for not playing and singing anything. In other news, Sadie (Ambyr Childers) and Tex Watson (Cameron Deane Stewart) start to get to know one another. Y’know, now that they’re in a cult together. She starts introducing him to a bit of LSD. Ah, the tool of the Manson Family. “Youre seeing the world through a dirty window,” Sadie tells Tex; Charlie’s words coming out of her mouth. This is where we begin to see further how the brainwashing of Charlie works on his followers. Tragic, how the lost and lonely come together and become hypnotised by a character like him. Then in turn it’s worse how those hypnotised go on to do the same to others. A perpetual cycle, similar to the emotional, mental abuse children suffer in families, and some of them go on to do the same when they have a family of their own. Manson’s clan was merely a large family of broken souls that worked like any other, only dark and devious.
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Out on the trail Detective Hodiak is doing more of his typical bad cop shtick. Works, though. And honestly, with some of these criminals it’s probably warranted. You can argue all you want about the moral line. Certain criminals know no line. Either way, Sam gets shit done right now in the name of young girls going missing, dying, and who knows what else. He and Shafe are checking things out. Sam interrogates Ben Healy (Morgan McClellan), estranged husband to one of the missing women in the pictures. Meanwhile, Shafe interrogates a suspect (Carlos Pratts), or does so casually without being too suspicious. He manages to get the guy to talk, seeing as how his father turned him in. Not too hard for Shafe to spin it all into working for them. At the same time in Sam’s life things are spiralling on the personal side. He and Grace (Michaela McManus) are headed in different directions.
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Wilson just wants to hear Charlie play some tunes. He thinks there’s a bit of nervousness, apprehension on Manson’s part. “Just rise above it, rise,” Dennis says. Prophetic, as that very word ends up written in blood at the LaBianca murders later on. We get flashes to the fateful night at Cielo Drive down the road. We cut from a normal Tex to one filled with Charlie Manson madness: “Im the devil and Im here to do the devils business,” he speaks while initiating the sequence of murder on the unsuspecting victims at Sharon Tate’s home. A chilling finish to this episode.
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Enjoyed the first season. Loving this one. They’ve improved greatly, as well as pumped the action and intensity. Look forward to the next episode “Revolution 1” – it ties into Martin Luther King Jr’s assassination and puts Sam Hodiak in the racial line of fire. Should be interesting!

Aquarius – Season 2, Episode 2: “Happiness is a Warm Gun”

NBC’s Aquarius
Season 2, Episode 2: “Happiness is a Warm Gun”
Directed by Jonas Pate
Written by John McNamara

* For a review of the Season 2 premiere, “I’m So Tired” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “Why Don’t We Do It in the Road” – click here
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There’s a lot going on these days.
At the family ranch, the women have got their hands on a load of guns. We get a cut over to the murders 18 months later, edited together with Ralph Church (Omar J. Dorsey) showing up at the ranch once more. “Helter Skelter,” Charlie Manson (Gethin Anthony) tells Emma Karn (Emma Dumont), explaining his idea of a coming race war. We see the night of the murders. The dead, bloody, pregnant woman on the floor in the near future.
All at once there’s the women confronting Ralph with their guns. A really great sequence; tense, exciting, wild.
In ’69 flashing forward again, we see the night of the murders, as Sharon Tate (Amanda Brooks) and Jay Sebring (Mark Famiglietti) discover Sadie in the bedroom doorway, waiting with a knife. Cut back to 18 months before, Ralph is confronting the women, asking for Charlie. And Sadie (Ambyr Childers) leads the charge with her gun drawn, pointed for the kill. The two old jail pals try striking up a deal. But can there be one? This is headed for something more dangerous.
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And ol Hal (Spencer Garrett) wakes up, calling for the police. This is going to get tricky for Ken Karn (Brian F. O’Byrne).
Former-and-still-Mrs. Karn (Michaela McMaus) is across town with Sam Hodiak (David Duchovny). She gets a call from her father – he’s trying to sweep things up, getting Ken and his daughter together for a bit of triage. Big election coming up, so they’ve got to keep things together; no divorce, no slipping. There’s all kinds of things floating around the situation. A complex shitstorm.
Ken later goes to the hospital to see his onetime friend. He lets him know about the police not coming. Nobody’s coming. Hal is all alone, especially with the knowledge that he’s already somehow made a statement. Yikes. It’s all used to help Nixon claim the “radical left” are dangerous maniacs.
Sadie isn’t happy up at the ranch. She wants Charlie to stop praying and do something real. “Our plan is to open our hearts and feed those in need,” he assures. He does nothing but talk, and some of those around him, Sadie most of all, are starting to find themselves disillusioned with Charlie’s rhetoric and lack of action.
At home, Brian Shafe (Grey Damon) and his wife Kristin (Milauna Jackson) watch tv. He says he doesn’t want a child growing up in a country that loses wars. Kristin remarks it wasn’t so great growing up in a country that won them, either. An excellent, poignant moment of writing. Over at Roy’s place things are more dangerous and clandestine for Charmain; she’s still trying to get one over on the biker. I keep hoping this situation will have a proper end. Although I worry more and more for Charmain’s safety. She’s playing a dangerous game that she isn’t quite yet prepared for, but more power to her. She does have a good head on her shoulders and an eye(/heart) for justice.
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And at the ranch Charlie is trying to keep Ralph happy, while also bringing a new girl into the fold, Patty (Madisen Beaty) – she’s trying to help the girls get away from the toxic environment Ralph has brought in after seeing the influence, the sexism, how they’re not even slightly in control anymore.
How? Well, she knows Dennis Wilson (Andy Favreau), and he’s always willing to have more people over to stay.
Sam and Grace receive ex-wife Opal (Jodi Harris). She isn’t too pleased to see them at the house together. Taking the time to verbally tear the both of them down before she and her ex-husband have to head out and see their son Walt (Chris Sheffield). No more treason charges, though he’s still on the hook for a deal of trouble. Salazar quit the New York Times after the paper refused to run the story; lots of Pentagon pressure. You can be sure Sam’s not impressed with the results. He’s ready to help his son. He loves Walt, and is going to do anything necessary.
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More developments with Manson. The food he had cooked for Ralph and his boys? Poisoned. No wonder Charlie was adamant not to have the white and black food mixed. That, and he’s a racist. Still, the jailhouse deviousness in Manson pays off. Ralph and his crew are all fading fast, as Charlie relishes in their collective death. In the meantime, Patty’s been conned into the family, convinced to murder and convinced it’s all fine. Right at the same time we cut back and forth between Charlie with Patty, and the Manson family at Cielo Drive, committing the murders. See, this is Patty – one of the Manson Girls – who infamously aided in the Tate killing. A powerhouse ending to Episode 2.
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Stick around for “Why Don’t We Do It in the Road” and we’ll see where Hodiak and the rest of the characters wind up. Is there more danger to come? You betcha.

Aquarius – Season 2, Episode 1: “I’m So Tired”

NBC’s Aquarius
Season 2, Episode 1: “I’m So Tired”
Directed by Jonas Pate
Written by John McNamara

* For a review of the Season 1 finale, click here.
* For a review of the next episode, “Happiness is a Warm Gun” – click here
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I’ve watched the first season, and decided to get into the second now with recaps/reviews. Join me, as we vibe along through this NBC period piece. The first season was good, though flawed. Let’s see if Aquarius can get better!
Season 2’s opener starts on Cielo Drive, August 9th in 1969. It’s 4 AM. Inside a nearby house there’s carnage. Blood on the walls and a song plays in the background. PIG is smeared on a wall in blood. Charles Manson (Gethin Anthony) is trying to calm down Emma Karn (Emma Dumont) after the massacre. “No sense makes sense,” he tells her cryptically; another view behind the mask that shows us exactly what kind of psychotic with which we’re dealing. She’s on the verge of having a baby and obviously conflicted while Charlie insists “there can be no birth without death.”
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Jump back to 18 months earlier.
Detective Sam Hodiak (David Duchovny) is receiving the Medal of Valour. Outstanding service, all that. Only things aren’t exactly peachy for him despite the supposed fame. Worse than that he receives a strange picture of an unknown woman that’s sure to cause trouble. Meanwhile, he and Brian Shafe (Grey Damon) are still kicking around together, the older of the two trying to leave an impression on his hippy-ish younger counterpart.
And we can’t forget Mr. Ken Karn (Brian F. O’Byrne) with all his unsettling issues, the ties to Manson, the problems with his daughter. He’s been hooked up with a lot of bad business. No reason to think that’ll stop any time soon. Things aren’t going so well for him and his plans either. Chasing down Hal Banyin (Spencer Garrett) with a gun, he ends up losing the edge. Fallout is on its way, no doubt.
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Charmain Tully (Claire Holt) is doing her best to get close to biker bad ass Roy Kovic (David Meunier). At the same time back at the Manson Family hideout, there’s always something going on. He’s got a visitor, Ralph Church (Omar J. Dorsey), whose presence affects Charlie. He seems intimidated. But Charmain, she isn’t too intimidated by Roy. Or at least she doesn’t let on. She plays things cool, swallowing pill after pill. At the ranch, Sadie (Ambyr Childers) gets smacked around a bit by Ralph while Charlie does nothing but sit there and let it happen. Then Brian arrives, insisting Ralph backs down. What I dig is the illusion of power. When a stronger alpha male shows up, Manson’s power wilts and he is no longer that big, tough ruler that he acts for the women. Very evident.
Out on the street, Hodiak is working. He’s searching for Kovic, shaking down a biker gang. He and a local Sergeant put the screws to a pretty little biker, one that might not last so long in jail with his manhood in tact, and they get a slice of info.
Late in the night Ken calls his estranged wife Grace (Michaela McManus). He makes a veiled reference about doing something terrible to a young woman; is it that dead woman, or does he mean his daughter? Or both? The next morning while preparing to shoot himself, Ken hears news about Hal being shot. He may die. Yeah – “news” to him. That at least takes the gun out of his mouth. Only to later see Hal pull through just fine.

Kovic is finally tracked down by Hodiak. He barges into the biker’s house, also finding Charmain in a state of undress. Whoa. Talk about going undercover. The two cops speak silently, as they keep Roy in the dark. “Yeah, she is just what you need,” Hodiak smirks before leaving. At the office, Sam gets more pictures. This one now shows a woman in distress, tied in the photo. Same woman as the last picture, only much scarier. This is leading to a new case for Hodiak.
Over at the ranch Charlie and Ralph are up against one another. They were in jail together. Ralph helped protect him, now he wants something in return. Is there more than that? Did Charlie offer something up for protection? There’s no telling what’s happened. Regardless, Ralph is starting to take over. And Charlie feels his hold on those women, his people, slipping with every moment. He tires to get Kovic to help out, though the biker boss doesn’t exactly look all that concerned. He’s dealing with Brian and their deals; Brian is more concerned with Charmain and her charging in head-on through dangerous territory.
Already starting in on the pictures, Hodiak tries to locate clues about the girl in them. Simultaneously, he’s meeting with Ron Kellaher (Tim Griffin), a guy that doesn’t particularly admire Sam’s career or his way of doing things. He’s dissatisfied with Hodiak and his brand of police work. “Yknow I thought getting a medal was going to be a lot more fun,” Sam says casually.

Sam finds out there was a cop witness that Kellaher is using against him. What’s interesting about this is seeing the guy behind all the bravado. We’ve seen bits and pieces so far of his not exactly by-the-book detective work. All the same, it’s been endearing mostly, as he does it usually to push towards the greater good. Here, he’s only serving himself, and there’s less and less need for a guy like him in the police force that’s gradually, slowly changing. I always love a conflicting character. Hodiak absolutely is conflicting, though he still has likeable elements that keep you hooked.
The biker gang situation is getting worse. Charmain warns Brian about a big, dangerous night ahead, and Roy is beginning to get more suspicious of Charmain, too. A bunch of dudes involved with Kovic’s gang are laid out in a building’s basement. Executed. Military style. And Brian was almost one of them.
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Stay with me for the next episode titled “Happiness Is A Warm Gun” – a lovely title ripped from another Beatles song I really dig.