From David Meunier

Aquarius – Season 2, Episode 11: “Can You Take Me Back?”

NBC’s Aquarius
Season 2, Episode 11: “Can You Take Me Back?”
Directed by Timothy A. Good
Written by David Reed

* For a review of the previous episode, “Blackbird” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “Mother Nature’s Son” – click here
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On August 9th, 1969, Emma Karn (Emma Dumont), Tex Watson (Cameron Deane Stewart), and Sadie (Ambyr Childers) take charge of their victims. Mostly, Tex and Sadie do the dirty business. They blast one away while they setup the noose from a beam on the ceiling.
Cut to awhile before. Four months since the last episode. Charles Manson (Gethin Anthony) and Ken Karns (Brian F. O’Byrne) laze around at Spahn Ranch in a perpetual orgy of bodies. In other news, Detective Brian Shafe (Grey Damon) and his wife Kristin (Milauna Jackson) aren’t doing any better. She’s not coming back any time soon it looks like. At the same time he’s slipping back towards using drugs again.
And then there’s Dt. Sam Hodiak (David Duchovny) – his car’s stolen, but the precinct holds bigger issues. The police commissioner recently resigned because of corruption and such under his watch, partly due to Hodiak and his slippery detective work, his… issues. Now, Sam is suspended for the foreseeable future. Hmm. That won’t sit right with him, you can be sure.
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Up at Spahn, Ken and Emma are entering a new era of their father-daughter relationship. He’s doing his thing, leaving behind all the time he wasted in his life. Doubtful he’ll be finding any comfort there. We start hearing more about Charlie’s madness. First there’s him digging holes to hide food and anything else they have on hand. Secondly, the plan for hiding in a “hole” out in the desert. What that refers to is the fact Manson actually believed the Family would hide under the Grand Canyon in the City of Gold. Bigger problems arise when the Manson baby gets taken by the police after a couple of the women encounter some officers. All because Ken’s card wouldn’t work at the store. So, naturally, Charlie blames him. Things are tense.
Hodiak kicks around the station and tries helping his fellow officers. Yeah, that’ll go well. He hops in on an interrogation; an Asian man was attacked, then killed a man in defence. He says it was prejudice, Sam feels differently. Of course he can’t do much more, being suspended and all.
As expected, Brian – with the help of his buddy from the clinic, Mike Vickery (Jason Ralph) – falls back into the arms of heroin. While up at Spahn, Charlie is putting the pressure on Ken to start pumping money into the Family. I can see a hard, brutal fallout coming a mile away. Just depends at what point that happens.
Grace Karns (Michaela McManus) doesn’t know where her husband is, so she’s trying to move on with parts of her life. She has options, although her father is footing the bill while she and her husband are separated. I feel bad for her, yet not totally for how she treated Emma.
At home, Shafe and Vickery trip hard. Possible the heroin was cut with something because Brian takes a hard trip down the rabbit hole, hallucinating wildly. No wonder he’s headed for a bit of self-destruction, as we’ve seen glimpses of where he ends up on the nights of the Manson Family murders.
Charlie and the Family are working towards their big plan. By the minute, Ken starts to see how his old buddy is dangerous, more criminal than he ever thought. Speaking of old buddies, Vickery starts overdosing at Shafe’s place. Being a cop, he doesn’t want to call an ambulance. Instead he tries to handle things himself. In the middle of it all, Roy Kovic (David Meunier) comes through the door with a sawed-off shotgun pointed at Brian. Ah, great!

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When Sam gets talking to the Japanese man whom he interrogated earlier. He talks about being at war, as the Japanese man tells him of being in an interment camp on U.S. soil. What we discover is that Hodiak found out that who this man killed used to be a guard in the same internment camp where he was locked away. Very curious.
Terry Melcher (Chase Coleman) has agreed to record Charlie, to get him off Wilson’s back. All is well, I guess. Ken sees more and more the strange brainwashing that happens with the Manson Family, as once Charlie leaves the table the women are allowed to eat. Tragic, all those young lives wrapped up in his mania.
The sexism Charmain Tully (Claire Holt) experiences is always present. She reels off a story about even her own father’s misogyny. One of the upper-ups gives her a shot to turn things around. Only if she helps him “fix” a problem of his own. Does that involve double-crossing her mentor?
Oh, things are getting worse for Shafe, and for everybody. Roy isn’t pleased with all the undercover bullshit. Will it wash out as a “drug deal gone wrong“? When Kristin comes in during the whole confrontation everything becomes scarier.
Now Charmain’s being summoned by Brian, as he and his wife sit at the end of Roy’s shotty. Kovic talks about some of the Manson ramblings, the “wheel of karma” that crushes those in its way.
That addiction of Hodiak’s, the need for mystery in his police life, it won’t stop. He figures out that the man the Japanese gentleman accidentally killed had a wife; she had an affair with the Japanese man in the camp where she taught. This produced a child, and then the man wanted revenge. Still, it’s “justifiable homicide” and lets the man go. You can tell he didn’t take any pleasure in killing the other guy, he didn’t even know he had a son. All that will weigh on him, forever.
Roy is bearing down on Charmain and the Shafes. Things are not looking good. Until the half-overdosed Vickery plants a heroin needle in Kobvic, starting a brutal fight between the biker and Charmain. All ending with a knife right in Roy’s heart. That just leaves them with a mess. At least nobody’s dead. The Shafes marriage? This did it no favours, either.

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After getting the Manson baby back to the Family, Ken wonders why anybody sticks around anymore. Everything at the ranch is getting dire. Emma then reveals to her father she’s with child. Not exactly a jump for joy bit of news, but news nonetheless. Charlie’s got the recording finished, and Ken did up a contract. To please the master. Melcher doesn’t want to sign anything. Then he goes on a tirade against Manson, insulting him terribly. Yet another incident to drive Charlie crazy. Also serves to drive Ken off from the ranch.
With everything happening, Charmain tears into Sam about the way he conducts himself. “I dont your permission to tell the truth,” she says. “Sometimes I wonder, did I create the monster, or did I just drag it back from the swamp?” Sam replies.
Hodiak hands in his resignation to Cutler then heads out. He says he’s done. Not sure how Charmain feels in the end, though she looks surprised. Everything is falling apart, for everybody, from Sam to the Shafes to Charlie and Ken.
Cut to August 9th of ’69 again. With a baby inside her, Emma watches as Sharon Tate, with child, is murdered savagely by the Manson Family. A too late and horrific awakening.
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What a wild episode. This show gets better with each passing chapter in Season 2. Up next is “Mother Nature’s Son” and it brings us to the penultimate finisher. I know NBC hasn’t really treated this series with the respect it deserves. It will likely never see Season 3. I do, however, feel it deserves one. After the decent Season 1, Aquarius stepped up its game hugely, in writing, directing, editing, all aspects. So I do hope NBC gives it a swan song third season to explore the last bits of the Manson days.

Aquarius – Season 2, Episode 10: “Blackbird”

NBC’s Aquarius
Season 2, Episode 10: “Blackbird”
Directed by Michael Zinberg
Written by Rafael Yglesias

* For a review of the previous episode, “Sexy Sadie” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “Can You Take Me Back?” – click here
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On August 8th, 1969, Tex Watson (Cameron Deane Stewart) gets his marching orders from Papa Charlie Manson (Gethin Anthony). Tex and Sadie (Ambyr Childers) are to go to the designated home in the hills, tie people up, knife them to death and “paint the walls with their blood.”
But 7 months earlier, Ken Karns (Brian F. O’Byrne) has hauled his daughter Emma (Emma Dumont) out of that snake pit of a psychiatric ward. Only problem is the ECT has her scrambled for a while. Now Ken is trying to make amends. Or is he? Blaming his wife Grace (Michaela McManus) for most of it, he asks Emma for forgiveness. When she mentions his homosexuality, though, Ken is a bit taken aback. He isn’t ready to be true to himself. He’s on the Nixon team.
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In another part of town, poor Kristin Shafe (Milauna Jackson) has seen Bunchy Carter (Gaius Charles) shot up. Her husband Dt. Brian Shafe (Grey Damon) and Dt. Sam Hodiak (David Duchovny) are there to offer comfort. And because of all his personal connections to the case, Sam insists he’s the one to take charge.
Mr. Manson is not at all happy with Dennis Wilson (Andy Favreau) for changing his song to fit the Beach Boys mould. He threatens one of Wilson’s housekeepers, frightening her badly. What else is he willing to do?
Kristin’s sure the shooting was done by United Africa (UA). She believes the FBI are working through the police and other groups outside of the Black Panther Party to tear them apart. She wants the UA all taken in, so she can identify them. However, Hodiak can’t just bring them all to jail. Then he assures her there will be justice. Maybe not from the department; from him. Meanwhile, Brian is still doing work over at the clinic with Sam’s friend Billie Gunderson (Olivia Taylor Dudley) to get himself, and keep himself, clean. He’s pretty conflicted over the death of Bunchy. The jury on Brian is still out. Not sure if he’s a good guy, or a shitty man.
The FBI are swooping in on the Carter case. That’s not about to stop Hodiak, though. He doesn’t care what Ed Cutler (Chance Kelly) tells him. Then there’s Officer Charmain Tully (Claire Holt), she’s heard information about UA trying to get at the Black Panthers. The upper-ups do not care: “Thats what we wanted to happen,” her commanding officer explains. But Hodiak, he’s the one she can go to with these situations. Let’s see what ole Sam gets up to.
In a bar where Charlie searches for Wilson, he winds up running into a still kickin’ Ralph Church (Omar J. Dorsey). They almost kill each other before the police arrive.

Emma is still attached to Charlie, or the idea of him. She longs to be with him and the family. For now, she and her father smoke a joint together and relax. Across the city, Hal Banyin (Spencer Garrett) is tripping out and needs something to calm him. Apparently the solution is mescaline. So his hippy friends are tracking some down.
Stuck in a cell together, Charlie rambles about “when Helter Skelter starts” to Ralph. The bigger of the two doesn’t care. He has a “slow and ugly” plan for Charlie’s death. But Manson only cares about the big race war he believes is happening. Finally, Ralph understands how crazy the man across from him is truly. A frightening scene.
Brian has to bail his wife out of jail when the Black Panthers get arrested. At home, Sam is waiting for them. He wants to jump in before the FBI gets swinging. Moreover, he surprises Kristin, and Brian, after wanting to borrow a book called The Souls of Black Folk by W.E.B. Du Bois. Here, we see how Sam is more in tune with the black experience than ever Kristin’s own husband. Sort of a jarring moment for her, as the man she’d never have expected to understand actually seems to start doing exactly that.
Oh, and we find out Hodiak had the Panthers rounded up after Charmain alerted him to UA’s plan. Smart move. Except Charmain has guilt about what happened to Bunchy, and things slightly fall apart between her and Sam when he grills her on it.
A face we haven’t seen in awhile, Roy Kovic (David Meunier), has figured out that Dt. Shafe is in fact a cop, after one of Brian’s old buddies runs into him at the clinic Billie runs. Uh oh. There’s some nasty trouble ahead for the Shafes.

Brian: “Doesnt everyone feel that way sometimes?”
Sam: “Well sometimes aint all the time
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Spahn Ranch is now on the Manson Family radar. Hal babbles about it while getting fingered in the ass by Sadie. She seems intent on it being their new destination, just by the look in her eyes. For those of us who know Manson history, we know that is indeed where they’ll go soon enough. Where things will get darker, dirtier than ever before.
Back to Ken, whose life is in shambles even if he won’t fully admit it to himself. He’s losing friends, losing business acquaintances, so on. He discovers “no one” in all of California will be hiring him. Likely ever again. Seems his father-in-law has shut him down all over the place.
Hodiak follows Charmain to her meet with the CI from United Africa. He further discovers the links to the FBI. Yet Sam forges on anyway. He puts a line-up together for Kristin and she makes an identification. Cutler’s mostly concerned with credibility, although Sam has his plan in place, and he makes clear there won’t be any further help, or interference, from him. Either way, Mrs. Shafe is convinced she knows who shot Bunchy. And I believe her.
She and Brian aren’t exactly on the best terms. He still doesn’t fully support her, though he pretends. It’s so obvious he has slight problems with the Black Panthers. “Your people impoverish a generation of negroes and you dont expect that theyre gonna end up in prison or gangs,” Kristin questions her husband. There is a huge issue between them and that wedge will only drive in further.
More and more, Ken sees that his daughter isn’t made for a normal life. She wants so badly to find the family once more. Well, the family’s out taking care of business, as Charlie leaves the police station while Tex and Sadie kill Ralph waiting outside. Took them long enough to get him finished off.

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At the station, Sam finds his case being swept up by the FBI. Simultaneously, Charmain is being kicked around for helping Hodiak. Again she’s back to being treated like the little girl around the precinct, back to getting coffee refills probably. Very sad.
So with Ralph dead, Charlie fearing reprisal by the Black Panthers if they find out who killed a “blackbird” – as he calls them – Sadie suggests they all head out to Spahn Ranch. Where Papa Charlie says they’ll play “cowboys and Indians.” Jesus. What a delusional bit of madness. And more is coming.
You, Sam, are addicted to being a detective,” Billie tells the detective while they lie in bed. She makes a great point. He’s addicted to “solving mysteries” that keep him from working on himself. Perhaps the reason he and many cops find themselves lost in the work, forgetting everything else around them.
The Shafes are separating, at least for the time being. Kristin doesn’t like that he’s a part of a terrible organisation. She’s pretty right, that he works for “the enemy.” Only makes sense she can’t stick around. Especially in the late ’60s, couldn’t be an easy time for a white cop and a female Black Panther to be together.
Out at their new digs, Charlie receives Emma back in his arms, as well as her father Ken; been quite a long time. They both get taken back into the fold.
We jump to quickly to August 8th in ’69. Ken confronts Charlie telling him to stop whatever is about to happen. Tex and Sadie are ready to go, but Ken begs for his daughter not to be involved. Too late.
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Another solid episode getting deeper into the bit of Season 2. I love this god damn show. I don’t care about the liberties they take with facts concerning Manson or otherwise. They get the spirit of the 1960s, the danger of Manson, all of it, and they put it together nicely with a lot of intrigue for us to hang on. Excited to see “Can You Take Me Back?” next.

Aquarius – Season 2, Episode 4: “Revolution 1”

NBC’s Aquarius
Season 2, Episode 4: “Revolution 1”
Directed by Timothy Busfield
Written by Rafael Yglesias

* For a review of the previous episode, “Why Don’t We Do It in the Road” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “Everybody’s Got Something to Hide Except Me & My Monkey” – click here
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At the scene of the Cielo Drive killings in ’69, a more clean cut Brian Shafe (Grey Damon) does a stutter step by finding the little medallion we’ve seen before from under a couch, then settling in to do some heroin. Really? Mysterious, cryptic. Incredibly interesting.
16 months earlier. Detective Shafe is worried about Officer Charmain Tully (Claire Holt) still being undercover, and unofficially. Well there are troubles elsewhere: Martin Luther King Jr. has bee assassinated. Everyone is watching. Especially the Black Panthers and Bunchy Carter (Gaius Charles).
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Cutler: “He dies, Watts is gonna burn.”
Hodiak: “He dies, America is gonna burn.”

Everyone at the Wilson place hears the news, too. Charlie Manson (Gethin Anthony) doesn’t have the same reaction as the others. He looks almost thrilled: “Thats far out,” he exclaims before running to the television. At the police station, Hodiak and Cutler (Chance Kelly) are receiving their marching orders for what’s about to happen. They have to try and keep “a lid” on the whole racial boiling pot out there. What’s intriguing is the link Shafe has to the Panthers, due to his wife Kristin (Milauna Jackson) being involved with the party. For all Hodiak’s lawlessness as a lawman, he doesn’t seem prejudiced like some of the others, which we saw lots of in Season 1.
Naturally, the streets are all but on fire. The African American community is raging. There’s a dead black woman that Hodiak is trying to look into, and there’s a riot brewing outside. Hodiak keeps the white uniforms out to try and assuage people. Not sure how long it’ll last.

Meanwhile, Charmain is still playing Roy Kovic (David Meunier). It’s only a matter of time before something slips. Spend too long being undercover, things might get crazy. There is only so long a rookie can handle themselves. Or maybe Charmain will surprise us all. She cons her way into going to a meeting with Roy, that gets her closer to whatever business he’s dealing in. Then there’s Shafe, he’s down at the Black Panther Party HQ to see his wife. Everything gets a little heated, as she’s not exactly thrilled the police commissioner knows about her involvement with the party. Still, Bunchy isn’t a reactionary; he’s a revolutionary. I like his level head, though cool heads can’t always prevail. He isn’t exactly willing to work with the police. Also, he doesn’t want rioting. Not because of the cops, because he knows it will harm the black community and their credibility. At the very same time things aren’t so hot between Kristin and Brian.
Wilson isn’t so thrilled about Manson and his raving. Nobody’s too into it and the party has a dying buzz. All except for Charlie. He is frightening, watching the television and relishing the cities all but burning to the ground.
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Opal (Jodi Harris) shows up at Sam’s place, worried to death about their son Walt (Chris Sheffield). He does his best to calm her down, though it’s understandable her worry. In the meantime, Brian has troubles, as well. Not only his wife, but with the commissioner. He’s torn in all directions. He doesn’t want to fail at his job, nor does he want to fail with his wife. Except Kristin comes home, raging about MLK, how Brian treated her at the BPP HQ, and throws him out: “You think Im your nigga to boss around? You think Im your nigga? Im not your nigga. I am your wife, the mother of your child.” He begs her not to go. She agrees – sleep on the couch and maybe tomorrow things won’t be so bad. Maybe.
Well over at the Wilson place, Charlie is ready to head for the desert. The Manson Family members are so brainwashed. Poor Dennis is caught up in the midst of it and starts seeing how strange, dangerous, devilish Manson is behind the hippy-ish exterior when one of the girls rambles on about the supposed coming race war.
Hodiak is still taking care of business with the Watts madness. He tracks down Snyder, the man they were looking for, and finds him hiding with the aunt of his dead girlfriend, the dead black girl. There are a few issues that Sam sorts out. Seems the cousin Steve has been hiding things of his own. An accidental death, but a murder nonetheless.
Trying to get things settled with the BPP, and his wife, Shafe is trying to do things “the righteous way” for it all to go smooth. Bunchy makes sure things pass right at the station and gets Sam to ensure African Americans in the city get a day off due to King’s death. All sewn up. That doesn’t bode well for Manson, whose ideas of a race war are foiled. This is great writing and helps us begin to understand how Charlie’s moving towards spurring on the race war himself.

In the undercover world of cops, Charmain introduces Brian to the man she met earlier through Kovic. Brian does a nice job playing himself up, talking about his service in the war and so on. Problem being this guy wants Brian to get high, to prove himself. Gotta try it if you wanna sell it, right? Well, the young cop shoots up, heading to the sky. Uh oh. At least they can get further into the case. But at what cost?
People march the streets in solidarity, black and white, all for Martin Luther King Jr. Even ole Charlie heads down to walk, holding his hands together praying; not for the deceased King, but for a race war. An eerie moment. Everyone sings “Amazing Grace” and it is simply chilling. Across town, Roy is about to be murdered and Charmain finally pulls out her badge. The biker gets a bullet anyway, threatening to kill Charmain. For now, it’s all over.

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Skip to August 10th, 1969 – a bloody, high Shafe calls his partner: “Were in trouble, Sam.”
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Whoa. Great finisher.
I’m really excited to see where Shafe plays into this and how his trajectory ends up taking him to that point we saw at the beginning and end of this episode. Next one is titled “Everybody’s Got Something to Hide Except Me and My Monkey” and I want you to stick with me, and with Aquarius. This season is a big improvement on an already decent show.

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.