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AquariusMainPhotoIt’s week five of David Duchovny’s Aquarius and last week left Detective Sam Hodiak in a pretty dark place. Grace Karn blamed him for her daughter Emma’s second disappearance as well as just about everything else that was wrong in her life. His son Walt left after threatening to take what he knows about misdeeds in the Vietnam War to the press. His attempts to solve two murder cases were being stonewalled by higher-ups at the police department. All of this led to a night of heavy drinking which ended with Hodiak beating Charles Manson severely. Only Brian Shafe’s interference kept him from doing more damage.  Will Hodiak pick himself up or is this the start of a downward spiral?

Find out what unfolds in this week’s episode “A Whiter Shade of Pale” after the jump.





AQU6Pic1Hodiak is at home, trying to wash Manson’s blood from his hands. Shafe shows up to help. The detective sits with his hand in a bucket of ice while Shafe pours them both a drink. He’s angry with Hodiak and tells him to get his story straight. Hodiak doesn’t have much to say but Shafe points out that Manson owes him now, for saving him from Hodiak’s beating. He says he can use that to get to dealers, and to Manson himself if Hodiak still wants that.  Shafe leaves and Hodiak pours himself another drink.

Two of the girls from the Manson compound seduce a pharmacy truck driver to get supplies to help Manson with his injuries. A badly injured Manson refuses the pills and screams at the girls to leave him. His right hand, Roy Kovic, asks Manson what they want to do if the “pig comes sniffing around” again. Manson says simply that he was looking for Cherry, as he calls Emma Karn, and Cherry isn’t there. She and Sadie took off at his instruction. Then Manson asks what he knows about Brian Shafe.

Grace Karn is watching her husband who is passed out on the couch. Ken Karn wakes and the two proceed to argue about what to say about Emma being gone. Grace says Hodiak will find her but Ken says maybe he shouldn’t bother. Grace demands to know what Manson knows about Ken, why is he targeting them. Ken finally says that Manson knows things about how the Republican party works, knows about him, and that if Manson speaks to the wrong people they could lose the firm, the house, everything.

Shafe’s wife Kristin takes a phone message for him. A sleepy Shafe stumbles out and takes their daughter Bernadette from her arms. The caller was Jimmy Too and apparently he needs to see “Charlie” right away. Shafe says he has to go even though it’s his day off. Kristin protests, saying her mother is coming over. Shafe relents and stays to visit with his mother-in-law. As Kristin moves into the kitchen a rock is thrown through the window. Shafe chases the attacker but doesn’t catch them. Their landlord promises to fix the window and says there hasn’t been any other trouble in the neighborhood. He asks if the Shafes want out of their lease. Shafe says no but his wife leaves the room in frustration.

AQU6Pic2Hodiak is sleeping off the alcohol on the couch when Grace walks in. She makes coffee and apologizes for the evening before. Hodiak tells her that he went back to Manson’s but Emma wasn’t there. He says he won’t give up and Grace says “You never do.”  Hodiak says he wishes that was true. They reminisce about a happy shared summer years before, and the song “Time After Time” by Frank Sinatra. Hodiak tries to kiss her but Grace moves away. She asks Hodiak to look into her husband so she can leave him.  Hodiak tells her that he knows her husband helped keep Manson from being charged in a girl’s disappearance and that Manson was known for running a prostitution ring. Grace is furious, accusing Hodiak of lying just like her husband. Hodiak tries to explain that he didn’t think it would make a difference. Grace screams “my child is missing do you have any idea what that feels like?”  Wrong question, as Hodiak furiously points out. His son is missing too. Grace leaves in a huff.

At the Hollywood Police Station, Hodiak is on the phone asking about case files for a hooker who disappeared in 1959. A uniformed officer gives him the case file of a cheerleader who was beaten. Hodiak recruits Officer Charmain Tully to question the woman. Shafe comes in and asks to talk to Hodiak. In the locker room he tells Hodiak about what happened at home and that his wife wants to move. He wants Hodiak to help convince her they’re safe and to investigate his neighbor Howard, who he believes is the culprit. Shafe also shares that he heard from Jimmy Too and is going to meet up with him. Hodiak promises to help but asks Shafe for a favor of his own. He asks Shafe to get a message to Walt, that he will pay for a lawyer before his son does anything.

Charmain is at the hospital questioning the young woman who was assaulted, Lori Price. She says a stranger pulled her into the alley as she was leaving and attacked her. She says she was choked and when she fought back was punched in the face.  Price also said her boyfriend had already left. Charmaine points out that the bruising on her neck looks a few days old already.

Jimmy Too jumps in Shafe’s car in a big rush to get to Manson’s. Shafe asks him why he’s in such a rush and he simply responds that he didn’t get what he’d come for the night before and he has a present for Charlie.

Hodiak pulls up to Shafe’s neighborhood and questions Howard. The man isn’t exactly forthcoming until Hodiak keys a scratch in his shiny new car. Howard says he doesn’t hate “colored people” but says he and the other neighbors were angry about their home values dropping just because black families were moving into the neighborhood.

Shafe and Jimmy Too arrive at the Manson house, and as Shafe gets out of the car you can see his gun tucked into the waistband of his pants. Jimmy Too talks with Manson, who spent time in jail with his father. Jimmy asks him what he did to piss off Hodiak. Manson then asks Shafe how he was able to get the detective to stop. Shafe compared Hodiak to an animal and says that when you’ve got cops outnumbered they’re easy to handle. Jimmy Too tries to give Manson a gun and is promptly tackled by Kovic. Manson enjoys the misunderstanding and eventually accepts the pistol. Jimmy says he just wants Manson prepared the next time the cops come around. Manson sends his girls to “thank” the men. One of the girls is clearly uncomfortable and hanging to the side. Shafe asks if she wants to thank him and Manson sends her to be with him. Once inside Shafe tries to get the girl to talk to him. He stops her from “thanking” him. She says Charlie will be mad if she doesn’t do a good a job. Shafe tells her to tell Manson whatever she wants and lets her go.

Charmain is trying to make her case to Detective Cutler that Lori Price’s story doesn’t add up and that she’s covering for her boyfriend, football player Jason Elkins. Cutler blows her off saying a guy like that wouldn’t beat on women. She asks to question Elkins but Cutler tells her to drop it, then orders her to wash out his coffee mug. She pauses for a minute but takes the mug and walks away. At this point I’m hoping she drops it on the way out.

AQU6Pic3Hodiak is driving through a neighborhood when he sees a white man hurriedly helping two black women and a baby get into a station wagon. He follows them into an alley When the cars stop Hodiak approaches the man and asks if he has a minute. The guy takes off running so Hodiak looks through his car. He gets on a bullhorn and announces the man’s name and address and says if he keeps running he’ll meet him at that home address. The man comes back to the car and says “what are you charging me with?” Hodiak replies, still using the bullhorn “nothing you idiot. I said hello to you and you ran away.”  My favorite moment of the episode so far.  He asks the man why is he picking up black women from Watts and “parading them” around the valley. Hodiak further questions the man and asks why he threw the rock through Shafe’s window. He says he didn’t want anyone to get hurt but that his cousin would give him a cut.  “A cut of what?” Hodiak asks.

Shafe and Jimmy Too are leaving the Manson house. Jimmy has it out for Roy Kovic and wants to take him out. He says he’s got someone who could take out Hodiak as well. The men get into the car and Manson is waving at them from the balcony, gun in hand. The look on Shafe’s face makes me think he’s wondering what the heck he’s gotten himself into.

At a police phone box, Hodiak takes a swig from a bottle labeled “please replace after last belt.”  He’s called Charmain, who wants to know what he knows about Jason Elkins. Hodiak says he’s a fan so Charmain proposes they meet Elkins to ask about what he did to his girlfriend. Hodiak tells Charmain she has no case if it’s “he said she said and she’s not talking” and hangs up. Charmain finds herself at another dead end.

Grace is entertaining her mother, and tells her Emma is staying with Ken’s mother, who is ill.  She asks her mother if there’s any way to get the money back that her parents invested in Ken’s law firm. At first her mother wants to know why, but then says it’s not possible. She wants to know if Ken is having an affair, which Grace denies.

AQU6Pic4Hodiak is sitting at Shafe’s house when he gets back. The landlord is also waiting, as is Kristin. As Hodiak gleefully points out, the landlord has a scheme going where he rents to one black family which then scares the white people away. So then he buys the houses cheap and sells them at a huge markup to other black families for his own profit. Shafe tries to hit the man who claims he’s only giving racist white neighbors what they deserve. Hodiak holds Shafe back but does not do the same when Kristin takes a few swings at the man. All four are sitting in the living room, where Hodiak explains the rent will be free if they decide to say. Kristin approves and then tells Hodiak to “kick this racists out”. Hodiak does so with pleasure. Kristin then orders him to stay for dinner, so he does.

Charmain makes a quick phone call to Lori Price but the action moves back to Hodiak before we learn why she’s calling. Hodiak is head down on a countertop, contemplating the glass of alcohol sitting next to him. He gets up to answer a knock at the door. It’s a friend of Walt’s, who explains to Hodiak that he can no longer get a message to Walt. Walt apparently got word the MP’s were looking for him with the group so he left in a hurry. The friend also tells Hodiak that in a way he’s glad he doesn’t know where Walt went. He says the young man had a gun with him and that he’s no longer right in the head.  Hodiak looks crushed as the news sinks in.

Now we know why Charmain’s phone call to Lori Price went nowhere. She walks into a hospital room where Price is unconscious in a hospital bed, her face badly beaten. Outside the hospital Jason Elkins is signing autographs.

Hodiak shows up at his ex-wife Opal’s door with a “peace offering” of two bottles of bourbon. The two end up in bed together. When Hodiak wakes up he asks Opal why she let him in. He asks her if she loves Cutler and says he’d be happy if the answer was yes. Opal says she can stand to see Cutler. Hodiak asks when she realized she couldn’t stand seeing him. She said it was different things, every day. He asks if Walt told Opal anything about the war. When she says no, Hodiak tells her what Walt said about being in Cambodia, despite the fact that the U.S. isn’t supposed to be there. Opal says their son was never a liar.  Hodiak tells her that Walt wants to go to the newspapers. Opal says Walt will be ok, that he needs to be ok.

At the Manson house Charlie is telling one of the women about a day his mother left him for a while. He explains that was the day he learned that “you can be afraid, or you can be the thing that makes people afraid.”

AQU6Pic5Charmain walks through the police station dressed up in a short red dress, heels, and heavy makeup. Hodiak spots her and asks if Cutler has her working vice. Charmain says “you think I look like a hooker?” to which Hodiak replies that he’d like to retreat from that comment.  She says she’s headed for a friend’s party. Hodiak points out she’s on the clock until 10 but Charmain leaves anyway. She’s sitting in a car outside when Hodiak slides into the passenger seat. Hodiak tells her not to do it. He figured out that her plan was to go to the bar Elkins normally hangs out in and essentially see if she can make her own case against him. Charmain tells Hodiak Lori Price is now in a coma, and she needs to stop him. Hodiak says “best case you’re fired, worst case you’re dead.” Charmain says she just wants what they do to mean something. Hodiak tells her that they need to pick their battles because nothing lasts.

The episode ends with a montage to the song "Time After Time" by Frank Sinatra. Opal drinking, Hodiak boxing, Manson using watermelons for target practice with his newly acquired gun and Grace holding a picture of her missing daughter. 


In some ways, this episode feels like a little bit of a lull in the season. Compared to earlier episodes it felt quiet, and that not as much happened. The previous episode felt much more tense to me, so that could be why this one seems slow in comparison. But I think the slightly slower pace gave us a little more insight into the characters, and this was definitely another enjoyable hour of television.

Hodiak really seems to be Jekyll and Hyde this episode. He wasn’t kidding when he said in an earlier episode that he’s not such a great person when he drinks. His drinking led him to severely beat Manson and later end up in bed with his ex-wife. And he employs some pretty shady police work when he scratches Howard’s car to get answers out of him. But we see a lot of his caring side this episode his well. His defense of the Shafe family when they’re harassed is brilliant, and watching him help Charmain at the end of the episode was rather sweet as well.  I feel like either Hodiak is a decent father or he feels guilty over his parenting skills with Walt and that leads him to be more understanding with the younger officers. At the start of the series I got the impression he really didn’t want to like Shafe, and I love that he mentors the younger cop perhaps in spite of his initial misgivings. Hodiak continues to have some of the funniest lines in the series, the scene with the bullhorn had me choking on my coffee laughing.  The more I see of Hodiak the more I’ve really come to like him, even if he’s not a great person all of the time.

We’ve talked before about the racial themes the show addresses, but I’m also glad to see them shining a light on the sexism of the era. Charmain is fighting to be recognized as a fellow officer. She does a good job identifying that Lori Price is the victim of domestic abuse even though her male co-workers to continue to blow her off. I love that she keeps trying to find a way to go after that football player even though she hits so many walls. I also hope that conversation in the car with Hodiak isn’t the end of trying to find justice for Lori Price. I think if there’s a way Charmain will find it.

I also wonder what Grace Karn hopes to find in her investigation into her husband Ken. She told Hodiak she wants to know so she can leave her husband, but somehow I feel like she just told him that to guarantee Hodiak’s help. I think she does care about him, but the misplaced anger over Emma’s disappearance is frustrating. We got little glimpses of their backstory that I’d like to see more of. I want to understand more about why Grace has such a hold on Hodiak and what ended their relationship.

I sometimes feel like I’d fast forward through the Manson scenes if I was watching this just for my own entertainment. Since we know how his story ends I’m not as interested in watching him be crazy on camera. But the one scene of his I found really well done this week was when he was telling the story about his mom. From being a scared little boy when she left, to then choosing to hide and scare her when she returned was an interesting look at how his mind works. He chooses to be something people are afraid of.

What the Shafe family was facing this week is painful to watch. I loved seeing Hodiak come to their defense, but that it was even necessary is heartbreaking.  Watching Brian Shafe try to balance work and family, especially while trying to work undercover, is really interesting. I was happy that he ended up staying to visit with Kristin’s mother, even if leaving Jimmy Too hanging for a bit might not have been the best idea. I am worried that the undercover work is going to catch up with him. Shafe has saved Hodiak a few times now, I only hope Hodiak will help keep Shafe safe too.

Overall I think this was another solid episode. I’d love to know more about Walt, and what he saw in the war. I’m wondering how many secrets of Ken Karn’s Hodiak will be able to dig up. I’m hoping Charmain finds a way around her sexist road-blocking boss. I hope Grace gets her act together to help her daughter instead of wasting the time being mad at Hodiak.  And Thursday we learned that not only do we have 8 more episodes this season so explore these questions, but NBC has renewed the series for a second season!

You can follow Sam Hodiak’s adventures in Aquarius on Thursdays at 9 p.m. on NBC. Or if you can’t wait that long there’s always On Demand, iTunes or NBC.com.