From NBC

Aquarius – Season 2, Episode 13: “I Will”

NBC’s Aquarius
Season 2, Episode 13: “I Will”
Directed by Jonas Pate
Written by Mike Moore

* For a review of the penultimate Season 2 episode, “Mother Nature’s Son” – click here
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Season 2 finale, we’re here! I hope there’ll be more. Although because of NBC not treating the show with proper respect it deserves I’m not holding my breath on Season 3.
This possible series finale begins on August 7th of ’69 in the early morning hours. Former detective Sam Hodiak (David Duchovny) is start off retirement by trying to track the killer of women who recently rang him up at home. Sam heard a fire engine going, so he tries to track down any calls in that area to narrow things down. Alongside is Officer Charmain Tully (Claire Holt) doing her best to help. He soon comes up with where he believes the perp to be, the neighbourhood he seems to remember from some time ago. He follows the man into a diner; his name is Gerald Dunn, they shake hands. Sam begins an uneasy conversation with Dunn. Neither willing to openly say anything about why they’re there. Except Hodiak makes clear he’s eager for retirement: “Kinda looking forward to doing whatever I want. To whoever I want. Ill see youround, Gerald.”
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Ken Karn (Brian F. O’Byrne) has the money from his wife, and I assume Hal Banyin (Spencer Garrett), as well. He’s brought some for Charlie Manson (Gethin Anthony). Brought a bit of lovin’, too. Yowzahs. Doesn’t help him or his daughter being involved with Mr. Manson. Especially after he starts hearing more about Charlie’s “Helter Skelter” prophecy.
Over at the precinct, Ed Cutler (Chance Kelly) isn’t happy about Charmain or Detective Brian Shafe (Grey Damon) doing their respective things. He’s funny, though, and that’s all right. Poor junkie Shafe is suffering through his addiction AND not having his wife Kristin (Milauna Jackson) around anymore.
For the time being, Sam enjoys a little respite from murders, dead women and such. He and Billie (Olivia Taylor Dudley) have a bit of breakfast. She isn’t too thrilled about his addiction to chasing down suspects. I guess she’s right about him, and at the same time he only wants to do good. Speaking of which, he’s got Dt. Shafe knocking on Mr. Dunn’s door, hauling him down to the station while Sam Goes for a look inside the house.
And what does he find? A secret, nasty little dark room. Photographs everywhere. At the station, Gerald prints #1 DETECTIVE and SAMSON BENEDICT HODIAK, over and over on a pad of paper. Oh, he is a creepy man.

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With everything going on, Grace Karn (Michaela McManus) is trying to keep her head straight. She finally reveals to her political lady friend the truth about her daughter Emma (Emma Dumont). Where’s Emma, exactly? Heading out on a “creepy crawly” and trying to calm her father down. He’s worried for his daughter. His sad, brainwashed, pregnant daughter. Charlie’s sending Tex (Cameron Deane Stewart) off on a mission. To do some terrifying things; painting the walls with blood, using knives. It’s August 8th, after all. Soon enough, Sharon Tate, among others, will be bleeding to death tragically. Because Charlie’s reading to “make history.”
Meanwhile, Shafe has to let Gerald go. He and Hodiak know this is the killer, but alas – the law. Charmain helps the fellas figure out an important piece to Gerald’s story; he was married to a pin-up girl who wound up dead, just like the women he murders and poses.
Out on their mission, Tex, Sadie (Ambyr Childers) and the others start Helter Skelter into motion, as Tex murders a man in his car up the driveway to their destination.
Hodiak finds pictures of him in the developed rolls of Gerald. He then rushes to a crime scene where Billie lies murdered viciously. Now, we see where this is all leading.
Charlie rambles on to Ken about his race war plan and hiding beneath the Grand Canyon, as his “children” head inside the Tate house. Tex continues his murderous rampage: “Im the devil, and Im here to do the devils business,” he eerily explains to one of his victims. Watching on, the pregnant Emma is horrified by what comes next. One by one, people are dispatched violently.

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At home, Gerald is gathering up some things. Problem is that Sam Hodiak has come to pay him a visit, gun in hand. Seems that Billie got a vicious beating, no typical M.O. from Dunn. And so Sam starts in on the guy: “Im gonna hurt you, Gerald. Im gonna hurt you until you tell me everything.” The whole thing comes down to Dunn being put in jail by Sam, not being there to protect his wife when she was killed. But Gerald taunts, wanting to get shot. Shafe turns up to convince Sam otherwise. We discover the dead woman was in fact Billie’s sister; still awful. At least she wasn’t also brutally killed.
The Tate house is being absolutely torn apart. Tex puts a knife in Emma’s hand and commands her to go finish off anybody that’s left. She only warns a man staying in the guest house not to come outside, or make a peep. The Manson Family starts to leave, as Emma witnesses the last of the killings take place, a horrified look in her eyes. Once it’s all over they write “something witchy” on the wall for their master. Simultaneously, Ken and Charlie have an intense confrontation leading to Karn’s death.
When everyone shows up again, Manson flips because none of his little plans turned out appropriately. No witchy words other than PIG, knives left behind. He throws a tantrum, deciding he and Emma are headed back to the Tate house.
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So does Sam kill Gerald?
Mans a sick animal,” Hodiak explains to Billie, as she pleads for him not to shoot Dunn. It takes every ounce of will power in him not to, but Sam doesn’t shoot after all. He relinquishes the gun and hugs Billie with all his strength.
Over at the crime scene, Charlie orders Emma to get things done. They fix the place up a bit to his liking, although it’s still an absolutely horrific thing to see. For a second time, Emma leaves the house, nearly 6 in the morning on August 9th. Tex clears Ken’s body out back at Spahn Ranch. Everything’s in (dis)order.
At the station, everybody hears about the murder concerning Sharon Tate and her friends. Big time news, as Cutler takes the call. He even opts to tell Hodiak “you just unquit.” Things are about to get serious for the whole of Los Angeles. The Hollywood Divison station is gone mad.
Over at the Tate house, Shafe is covered in blood and holding the medallion Emma left behind. You know, the one Sam gave to Emma awhile back. Ah, the deeper connection for Hidoak to this case has come out.
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What a fucking fantastic episode! Gruesome, intense, gritty. All sorts of aspects that makes this series excellent. Again, I can only hope they’ll renew the show. If not, we’re left with a lot of interesting things that could have and SHOULD HAVE been.
Please, NBC: do the right thing. At least give them a Season 3 to clue up on a proper note. I want to see Hodiak on the hot trail looking for the Manson Family, all the while junkie Shafe trying to piece together his life and do his job, PLUS WE NEED MORE CHARMAIN TULLY! Please and thank you.

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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 9: “Sexy Sadie”

NBC’s Aquarius
Season 2, Episode 9: “Sexy Sadie”
Directed by David Boyd
Written by John McNamara

* For a review of the previous episode, “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “Blackbird” – click here
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Last episode, Dennis Wilson (Andy Favreau) talked on the phone with Detective Sam Hodiak (David Duchovny) who was going to tell him everything about ole Charlie Manson (Gethin Anthony).
So what will be the fallout?
We start once more on August 9th, 1969: Sadie (Ambyr Childers) walks back through the bloody house of their victims with things from a child’s crib. Cut back 11 months earlier, she’s with Charlie and telling him how wonderful he is for getting them into a recording studio. “Let us love you,” she tells the enigmatic family leader; her and her pregnant belly. Then Manson listens to the Beach Boys singing a tune he wrote. Although you can tell in his eyes there’s a hatred bubbling. The song’s been changed, drastically. And he is not taking it well whatsoever. The Wilson house has been cleared out, nobody home. Everything is packed up. Things are really falling apart for the Manson clan.
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Hodiak is worried for Emma Karn (Emma Dumont). Her father Ken (Brian F. O’Byrne) is a piece of shit, but Grace (Michaela McManus) is still a good person, deserving of knowing where he daughter’s gone. Except she knows where her daughter is, she’s the one who put her daughter there. Sam finds her in a psychiatric ward. “Im an embarrassment, right?” she asks him, knowing the answer – to her parents – is yes.
But duty calls, and Sam is back at the station. He gets more copycat photographs of the pictures he’s received in the past, though the original perpetrator hasn’t come calling in awhile. Hmm. Aside from that Dt. Brian Shafe (Grey Damon) continues struggling with his addiction; he’s a tad better looking than the last time we saw him. All the same, Sam knows there are problems. “Heroinyou were a better cop when you were shootinit into your veins,” he scolds a worn out Shafe. The only thing the older detective of the two wants is his partner to be doing good work. Regardless of how it gets done. He’s got a way, though. Sam takes his partner over to a place he’s been before, where CIs go to clean up and go straight. Basically the 1960s equivalent of a methadone clinic. Well, the nice thing is that Sam cares about Brian. Enough to take him there and see him into a better way of life, hopefully.
That altruistic side of Sam comes out further, as he goes back to see Emma more. All the while we’re only four days away from the 9th of August when all that horror begins at the hands of the Manson Family. Sam goes to see Grace after visiting Emma, wondering if after the election is over they’ll let their daughter out of that hospital. But those Karns, they’re a terribly egotistical, selfish couple. I guess Grace isn’t so awesome a person after all.


Sam: “I think thats what beina parent is, Grace. You love them, and eat a lifetime of pain in return.”
Grace: “Tell me how to be a parentyou raised a traitor and put his mother in the ground.”
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When Kristin Shafe (Milauna Jackson) shows up to the station looking for her husband, she gets talking to Sam. Turns out Bunchy Carter (Gaius Charles) assaulted a cop. She doesn’t think it’s true. At the same time, Brian is going through the motions of his treatment, getting better all the time. Only the woman helping him has to give hard news: “Relapse happens more often than not.” He can’t just go out and pretend things will be fine. You have to accept addiction is not always a straight, finite line. It can go on and on forever.
Hodiak goes over to see Bunchy in his cell. He claims his security personnel were illegally searched, et cetera. Problem is the Black Panther Party has a strict code of ethics. Bunchy’s sure there were no drugs because of that, and so the police must have planted what they found. “We got history, Hodiak. Im callinit in. You want riots? Just leave me here,” Bunchy tells him plainly.
We get see more Charmain Tully (Claire Holt)! Went too long. She’s an awesome character. Now, her undercover skills are getting put back to work. Meanwhile, Kristin isn’t happy being gawked at, that nobody at the office knew she was black. Certainly it has nothing to do with her husband not being proud of her, he loves her to death. Anyway, Hodiak has some awesomely Hodiak-ish wisdom: “Yknow, Im not positive, but I dont think Id get married again if it cured cancer.”
Who has bigger problems? Ken Karn. His homosexuality’s been discovered by the Nixon team. They’re not happy. Grace’s father delivers the news. Neither of them are safe, as she knows about what her husband likes. This later sends Ken off to find Hal Banyin (Spencer Garrett), only to find him in a similar state of sexual enjoyment. He’s the one who told people about Ken and his predilections. Worse for Ken is the fact Charlie is kicking around, needing a new place to stay and all, washing Hal’s feet (literally). Man alive.

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Charmain finds more sexism in the police department, as even asking a question about operations gets her bitched at. I suppose doing Hodiak’s bidding doesn’t exactly put her in the best position. Speaking of Hodiak, he has Shafe back working, doing his best. They dive into the LSD supposedly found on the Black Panthers and Bunchy.
Now Officer Tully is pushing her luck, peeking into envelopes she’s not meant to peek inside. Then she starts worrying about the people with whom she’s involved with undercover. You can see her good heart pushing up against the duties of a police officer; specifically, a female undercover officer. Not an easy thing to be at any time, especially not in the late ’60s.
The Karn household is tearing apart, even if Grace wants to keep it together. Ken knows things are gone to hell. However, his wife thinks her father is just pissed off, that the Republicans are only giving them a warning shot, essentially. “We make them need us,” Grace tells her husband fiercely. They decide being discrete privately, together publicly is the best way forward, as well as to let go of their daughter for good. Nasty, nasty people.
Later on, Sam gets a call from none other than Ken. He wants to find his daughter, as he originally did so long ago. Hodiak meets him at the hospital and also informs him that someone authorised Emma to have electroshock therapy; she can barely remember herself, let alone anyone else. Well, father seems determined to take his daughter back home. An interesting turn of events, to say the least.


With the help of Hodiak and Shafe, Bunchy is released. Faulty police work after all. Free at last, free at last! He gives a speech at the Black Panthers HQ: “The Man is armed, we are armed. The Man kills, we kill. This is the only relationship respected by the Man because it is the only form of relationship understood by the Man.”
Right then and there men with guns walk through the doors. They blast Bunchy several times in the chest and arm.
Charlie is out looking for Dennis Wilson. He’s latched onto the Beatles White Album already. His madness is getting much deeper now, as if it weren’t before. Then it’s like Manson can see the coming murders in his mind. A terrifying barrage of images.
They’re coming. Soon.
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Another whopper of an episode. Really loved these latest two that came on in succession tonight. They built up so much tension and excitement. Really looking forward to the next one titled “Blackbird” – stay tuned with me!

Aquarius – Season 2, Episode 8: “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”

NBC’s Aquarius
Season 2, Episode 8: “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”
Directed by Nelson McCormick
Written by Alexandra Cunningham

* For a review of the previous episode, “Piggies” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “Sexy Sadie” – click here
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Last we left the characters of Aquarius, Detective Brian Shafe (Grey Damon) is a junkie, Emma Karn (Emma Dumont) was being taken away in a black car, and of course Detective Sam Hodiak (David Duchovny) was caught in the middle.
We open in 1969, the night of August 10th. Shafe is full of blood. He makes a call, but it’s clear he is strung out. He paces through the scene, as his voice narrates in voice-over while he takes a look at all the bodies. He lies on the couch looking awful.
Switch back to 12 months prior. He’s going through the motions of withdrawal, sweating hard in bed and sick from the smell of coffee. “You dont have a fever,” his wife Kristin (Milauna Jackson) clearly knows there’s something other than a flu at hand.
And Hodiak, he’s got his own crutch: a little liquor in the coffee. But at least he’s not waking up sweating and crawling out of his skin. He has other things to which he must tend. He got a call last episode that’s kept him intrigued, although nothing else is turning up to help.
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Out of nowhere, Charles Manson (Gethin Anthony) shows up to see Hodiak outside the precinct. He’s looking for Emma, who hasn’t returned yet since being whisked away in that black car. Oh, he ain’t  happy. One of his women have wandered off; not good for a misogynist like Charlie. “Ever know somethinbut you don’t know how you know it?” he asks Sam cryptically. There is lots of tension here. Whereas Manson is worried for Emma, he isn’t worried for the right reasons. What I’m excited to see now is more of the intersection between Charlie and Hodiak, how that will play out further in the back end of this season.
Ken Karn (Brian F. O’Byrne) is off taking care of some business. He has Nixon sneakiness to be done concerning Vietnam. He meets with a diplomat from their government (François Chau of Lost fame). A little bit of iced coffee can’t exactly smooth over Karn’s message. He wants to make a deal, one to do with the ceasefire and waiting for Tricky Dick to slip into the White House. Love the political intrigue mixed in with the other various subplots.
At the precinct, Hodiak is looking into a hit and run incident. He visits the ME. Turns out the incident was just a drunk man being run over while passed out in an alley. Two older women show up back at the station to claim the body, which leads Sam into a conversation about his last name’s Ukrainian origin, as the women are from there. He comes to believe they “might be murderers.” Can’t wait to see more of this. For now, Hodiak gets a visit from an old female friend; she’s brought him food, dressed up nicely, and isn’t there just to see him casually. It’s Ed Cutler’s (Chance Kelly) wife, upset about the affair her husband had with Sam’s now deceased ex-wife Opal. So Sam does some lying and promises the lady Ed is taking her on a trip soon. Yeah, right.
But the most trouble is when Sam gets home to find Charlie Manson digging around in his things. That does not sit well with the detective, obviously. He’s not happy to be pressed so hard by a dirty hippy. Charlie just wants to find Emma: “I dont like to wonder, I like to know.” They talk over the loaf Cutler’s wife made, as Charlie eats and Sam susses out more information.

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Shafe continues sweating through his withdrawals. His wife Kristin tries to help him by giving him some milk of magnesia, grapefruit juice, a peanut butter sandwich. She is a loving woman, even if he is slowly becoming less likeable and harder to deal with, and I’m not sure how long they’ll last. Kristin worries, she wants her husband to get better. Brian’s secrets don’t help, either.
The loaf conversation continues between Sam and Charlie. Most of it goes the way of the latter’s persuasion. While he spouts off, it’s clear Hodiak reads his every move, his every sentence and phrasing, the way he responds, and so on. Furthermore, the psychology of Manson comes out. Sam knows that Charlie only serves to “use people” and makes the women in his clan feel as if they were the ones who chose the life, not him. We all know the truth, too. They later end up jamming together on the guitar, some “Run Around Sue” and other tunes. Except Charlie keeps spying the gun on top of the fridge. Uh oh. Hodiak gets his new sleazy pal out without any violence, but it’s the air of impending violence that hangs thick over them.
In other news, Mr. Karns heads back to the diplomat’s office later, after hours. Yes – you know why. Ken has that sexual prowess going for him.


The withdrawals are getting better for Brian, only there’s no assurance his marriage will get better. For now, Kristin talks about her brother being at war, and how people over there used drugs to take away the pain of they’d done. We find out Shafe knew her brother, they were soldiers and that’s how he got introduced to Kristin. There’s an empathetic nature about her. She knew when they met he had a darkness in him, so this has all come part and parcel with their love. “Im sorry, baby,” he moans to her in the throes of his terrible addiction.
Sam is trying to figure out if those two Ukrainian women are in fact killers. He’s got his buddy Joe Wilson (Brian Goodman) hoping to get back into the detective work again, doing his best to help. In league with Sam’s uncle Don Hodiak (David Proval), they have the Ukrainian women together, starting a fight, which helps Don come up with a translation. Good job, fellas! The old ladies know more than they let on.
Later, Hodiak calls father Ken looking for his daughter Emma. Of course he doesn’t know and eggs Sam on saying “ask my wife” and none of it leads anywhere. Sam also gets a call from Dennis Wilson – he spills the beans to the Beach Boy about Charlie and his truest intentions. That’s going to make for an interesting situation all around.
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Finally, we cut back to Shafe at the murder scene during ’69. His mind is breaking, he sees terrifying images. Then Charlie appears next to him: “Rise,” he whispers.
That is one of the words left scrawled in blood at the same murder scene, in real life when the murders occurred. Spooky.
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What a fabulous episode! A great return after the Olympics coverage. Aquarius doesn’t get enough love, but that’s fine. Those who love it, we dig it hard.
Next episode is “Sexy Sadie” and I’m excited to see where Dt. Hodiak, Dt. Shafe, Charlie, and the rest of the gang end up.

Aquarius – Season 2, Episode 7: “Piggies”

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.

Aquarius – Season 2, Episode 6: “Revolution 9”

NBC’s Aquarius
Season 2, Episode 6: “Revolution 9”
Directed by Jonas Pate
Written by Rafael Yglesias

* For a review of the previous episode, “Everybody’s Got Something to Hide Except Me & My Monkey” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “Piggies” – click here
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At 10050 Cielo Drive on August 9th of 1969, a maid makes her way up to the house. First, she finds the wires on the gate speaker cut. On the door is scrawled PIG in red. Further inside waits unimaginable horror.
We jump back 16 months previous. The same maid finds herself the subject of nasty racism at the hands of none other than Charles Manson (Gethin Anthony). No surprise there. Meanwhile, Charlie’s not happy with much that’s going on at the home of Dennis Wilson (Andy Favreau). He orders his girls around, mostly pimping them out.
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In other news, Detectives Brian Shafe (Grey Damon) and Sam Hodiak (David Duchovny) are finding out what they can about the missing girl they’ve found, now dead and rotted away in a makeshift grave. At the same time, Ken Karn (Brian F. O’Byrne) is getting information on Bobby Kennedy, likely up to no good behind the scenes. He’s glued to the television and obviously worried about the threat of this Kennedy for his man Richard Nixon. Ah, political intrigue! I’ve always dug this Karn plot. Not only is O’Byrne a great actor, the character itself is well written and full of good threads to follow.
Back with Hodiak and Shafe, they’re trying to interrogate Ben Healy (Morgan McClellan) a bit. What we see here, above all else, is the fact Shafe is already starting to become that guy he never wanted to become, the one his wife Kristin (Milauna Jackson) fears he’ll be with that detective shield on.


Producer Terry Melcher (Chase Coleman) is getting pulled further into the world of Manson, as the latter works his devious ways to get what he wants, and to con others into thinking they’re getting what they desire. Greasy, slick bastard.
In jail, Healy’s talking a bit. But there’s more going on with Shafe than his job. He’s still sweating, his whole demeanour is shaky. He is not himself. And we’ve already seen the foreshadowing of his nasty addiction. We’re going to have to watch his downward spiral, which sort of pains me. I like this guy. I’d like to see him kick the demons, though clearly there’s only more trouble in his future. Even worse, if Hodiak figures everything out he won’t be happy.
Speaking of Sam, he’s over chatting with some union cats. They’re big fans of Kennedy, by the way. Well one of Hodiak’s buddies is being blackmailed by a prostitute. He worries, obviously, for his children, his wife, the integrity of the union and all kinds of things. Reluctantly, Sam agrees to do the job. Only thing is I’m not sure his morality is so free as it was before. He doesn’t look too pleased with having to track down a woman and… do who knows what to keep her silent.
Shafe is still grilling Healy trying to get more out of him. He’s following more rules of the non-official police handbook from Dt. Hodiak, too. Maybe, just maybe, it works.

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Manson gets a little of what he wants from Melcher with the promise of more. But you can be sure that either he’ll sabotage things unwillingly himself, or it won’t pan out how he envisions it.
Back to the politics, Grace Karn (Michaela McManus) is starting to dip her feet in. She’s asked to introduce Mrs. Nixon before a luncheon for the National Federation of Republican Women due to her husband Ken “working” for Nixon. When she’s courted afterwards to possibly take a more active role, Grace is presented with either lying or telling the truth about where her daughter Emma (Emma Dumont) is currently. She’s over being slapped around by Charlie Manson, told what to do, where to go, all that sort of thing; even her name Grace is no more, she’s Cherry.
Finally, Hodiak looks like he’s cluing in to what is going on with Shafe when the younger of the two mumbles: “This aint the flu.” In the meantime, Sam keeps at Healy, and starts trying to work more out of the guy. Nothing comes, except his lawyer. Now there’s more complaints headed Hodiak’s way, but he’s still convinced there is some guilt kicking around. And instead of going home, Shafe simply goes for another shot of horse, getting high as a kite in a dirty little room by himself.

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Ken meets an Agent Bill Copley (Joe Williamson) at a hotel bar. Lots of undercover talk about Nixon, Hoover, dirt of Bobby Kennedy, and all that. Very clandestine, Deep Throat-type stuff. But there’s more than that at hand. Is there some type of relationship between these two? Ken says he looks “fit” and laments not getting a call after Copley came to town. Yowzahs. No wonder he thought Kennedy was a handsome fella.
At home, Brian and Kristin are at odds. She continually finds the change in him disruptive, disappointing above anything. Hodiak calls to let Shafe know the story on Healy. Mostly, we see how Brian is alienating his wife, he’s beginning to slip up slightly in his job. Everything is crumbling. He’s the only one that doesn’t seem to notice. Because not long after Kristin discovers her husband’s secret junkie kit.
Out on his moonlighting gig, Hodiak brings an old buddy a lunch, Detective Blumenthal (Matthew Arkin). He gets a bit of low down on the prostitutes which he seeks out: they’ve got the same pimp, a guy named Martin O’Reilly (Ryan Caldwell). During the whole debacle Sam meets Bobby Kennedy (Scott Bailey), who asks about race relations involving the African-American community: “Its my job to keep the bad away from the good. Thats all I can do,” Hodiak tells him.
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Eventually Hodiak tracks down O’Reilly. For his part the pimp denies any blackmail. Because why would he ruin a good client? Either way, Hodiak cracks his nose open on the steering wheel: “Youre still a pimp,” he says before getting out and letting a couple other detectives take the guy in – or are they someone else? So Hodiak goes back to his buddy, asking for more info. He ends up sitting for a hot beverage with the wife. She seems to let on that there’s more to her husband than appears at first, and she is the one that’s putting the screws to her husband. Good woman. Fuck that cheating slime.
Awhile later Sam discovers O’Reilly is now a missing person. Uh oh. Hodiak doesn’t like that his old buddy he tried helping basically used him to find the pimp, then did something… intense. Being an army pal from long ago doesn’t ensure Hodiak’s undying loyalty.
At the Wilson mansion, Charlie plays a new song for the Beach Boy. Over this we watch a montage of various scenes, including Brian and his destroyed living room along with Kristin’s disapproving look, Grace quietly worrying for her daughter, and Hodiak receives another envelope with RFK’S #1 DETECTIVE written across it, a new picture inside. And after Charlie finishes playing there’s a look behind Dennis’ eyes that speaks wonders. He finds it amazing, which pleases Manson plenty.
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Hodiak winds up doing his part to help get Bobby Kennedy out of the hotel where he made an appearance. Out through the doors they go and you know what’s coming, don’t you?
A man walks from out of the crowd, pulls a gun, then….
Cut to August 9th of ’69 again. The maid comes barrelling out of the house on Cielo Drive, trying to scream “murder” but barely with a voice.
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What a CRAZY, amazing episode! I love this show. I don’t care what the ratings say, or what other internet sites are saying: it’s awesome. While it takes liberties with Manson and other events, there’s a really fun, exciting, and fresh feel to Aquarius coupled with great performances from the cast. Excited for the next episode titled “Piggies” and I can’t wait to see what comes from the fallout of Bobby Kennedy’s assassination, particularly see as how Hodiak was right there at the scene. Stay tuned, fellow fans.

Aquarius – Season 2, Episode 5: “Everybody’s Got Something to Hide Except Me and My Monkey”

NBC’s Aquarius
Season 2, Episode 5: “Everybody’s Got Something to Hide Except Me & My Monkey”
Directed by James L. Conway
Written by David Reed

* For a review of the previous episode, “Revolution 1” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “Revolution 9” – click here
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August 9th, 1969 – the LaBianca murders. Tex Watson (Cameron Deane Stewart) murders someone as Emma Karn (Emma Dumont) watches on. In the present day, Charles Manson (Gethin Anthony) is still trying to impress Dennis Wilson (Andy Favreau), though Mr. Wilson is more interested in other things.
Back to new detective Brian Shafe (Grey Damon). He’s kicking the heroin and doing his best to hold onto the relationship he has with his wife Kristin (Milauna Jackson); she’s not at all happy with him, with their marriage. At the station, everyone is pleased with his promotion. Boss man Ed Cutler (Chance Kelly) isn’t completely sold yet.
Good ole Dt. Sam Hodiak (David Duchovny) and his ex Opal (Jodi Harris) are trying to do what they can for their son Walt (Chris Sheffield), now accused of starting a riot, which he claims was a sit-in. Sam, for his part, seems resigned to letting his son take his punishment. Opal? Not so much.
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A freshly shaved Dt. Shafe, along with his new haircut, hits the job title head on. He and Hodiak go out on a murder. Problem is Brian’s experiencing the side effects of withdrawal from heroin. In other news, Wilson takes Emma out to a nice restaurant where they end up running into her mother, Grace (Michaela McManus). Awkward, though it helps us see the degree to which she’s changed into someone else by the time August 8th and 9th of ’69 eventually roll around. Grim.
There are other things happening, once again, for Hodiak. He’s still got the whole Internal Affairs business going on. Except he’s still got plenty of aces up his sleeve, involving a slight bit of extortion. All the same, the Commissioner himself wants everything looked at. Meanwhile, Officer Charmain Tully (Claire Holt) receives a visit from Captain Perry. He’s interested in her professionally, as well as the fact Lieutenant Cutler called him up. At least a bit of character development on his part. Well, Perry lays out the concept of her upcoming undercover operation to infiltrate the SDS – Students for a Democratic Society. Apparently dangerous stuff.

 


Charmain: “I think, I dont wanna be a female cop. I just wanna be a cop, sir.”

 


Into the fray goes Charmain. She plays the sister of a dead soldier that fought in Vietnam. Great little introduction to make herself susceptible to the SDS. In other California places, Emma and Charlie are beginning to grow apart. She moves closer to Wilson, as Manson simply gets jealous. He talks about the “familys ends” and parades Emma in front of everyone, berating her, cutting the dress right off her back, or starting to before she hauls off the clothes and walks away. Uh oh. This does not bode well for the mental state of Charles. Wilson senses things are not fine, so he invites Manson along to play guitar while Emma sings for some friends of his. That should play out proper, sure.
While Charmain and her new SDS friend end up at a Boeing convention with a suitcase full of weapons and spray enamel to beat the place to pieces (little does she know soon there’ll be sticks of dynamite involved), Charlie, Emma and Dennis head to the home of music producer Terry Melcher (Chase Coleman). Things get tense when Charlie realises himself to be the odd man out. When he has to play for Emma they stare at one another, the look in his eyes devilish, and then she runs out, too nervous. Manson goes on to play a song called “Garbage Dump” that can be found, for real, right here.
All the while Hodiak dodges bullets from Ron Kellaher (Tim Griffin) and his Internal Affairs bulldozer. Luckily, Sam has a bulletproof exterior. In many ways. Then he gets a call about Opal. She’s committed suicide. This rocks him, obviously, despite their being estranged. When Shafe finds out it rocks Lieutenant Cutler, too. As if Sam wasn’t dealing with enough, now this deep loss.
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Cutler and Hodiak drink together, they chat about Opal, whether one thing or another was the cause. Then Sam opens up, the rare moment. His veil of masculinity is lowered. “I am ashamed to say how long it took me to realise I was the thing making her unhappy,” Sam says about his deceased wife. Now, he only worries for his son. And poor Shafe, he’s still shaking off the heroin, sweating it out hard. Although he gets the job done in his new detective position. Not sure home life is going that well, unfortunately. Furthermore, Brian does himself wrong by getting himself more heroin, kit included.
In jail, Sam goes to Walt and sees his son is bruised, beaten. He wonders if there are some guys like him behind the prison walls looking after the inmates. Things are escalating, not to mention now Walt’s mother is dead. Worse, Sam doesn’t have an immediate plan to get him out.

 

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The end of the episode sees Emma discover Dennis with another woman, as Charlie and Patty (Madisen Beaty) are alone together. Now Emma feels totally alone.
Flash to August 9th again. Pregnant Emma barges into a home with knife in hand. She brandishes it with deadly, hideous intent. The massacre continues.
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Another excellent chapter in this second season. The emotion went up like crazy and all the characters developed so much within the space of a single episode. Can’t wait for the next one titled “Revolution 9” in which I’m sure we’ll see a lot more madness from Manson, as well as the further struggles of Detectives Shafe and Hodiak. Stay with me, folks!

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 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.