Aquarius has moved to Saturdays so we had an extra long wait for episode 9 called "Why?". You'll find yourself asking that a lot over the course of the hour. Sam Hodiak had a pretty rough go of things last week. He lost a longtime friend in Father Mack and only got a few small leads in the case of the missing prostitute Caroline Beecher. There was no word from his missing son Walt. And he found himself in an awkward situation with on-again-off-again love Grace Karn. This week Hodiak is wrapped up in an investigation that will shake the entire department. Does Hodiak crack the case? Find out after the jump!
It's Christmas time on Aquarius! Sam Hodiak sits at his desk while Christmas decorations are going up around the station. He pulls his own tiny decorated tree out of a desk drawer. But the merry doesn't last long. A blood-covered Brian Shafe stands outside a holding room looking in on Mikey the Snitch. Hodiak meets him at the window, along with Detective Cutler who is dressed like Santa. Orphanage Christmas party, Cutler explains. Shafe has just come from the shooting last week, where Jimmy Too was killed by Roy Kovic at the command of Lucille Gladner. Shafe wants justice but Hodiak points out the dilemma. Jimmy was Shafe's road to a bigger dealer, Guapo. With Jimmy dead, Lucille is now that path, but that won't happen if they arrest her. Cutler tells Shafe it's his call, but the charges likely won't stick. He calls Jimmy's death "one less name on my naughty list."
Shafe is trying to convince Mikey to stay close to Lucille Gladner. Mikey is really unhappy about it, let's just say Lucille hasn't exactly been playing nice in the bedroom. Shafe mentions a little about his personal life, telling Mikey he has a wife and child. Mikey says he'd like to have kids someday. Shafe explains he wants to get Mikey to someday.
At the Manson house Ken Karn has come back to see Manson. Karn tells him in not so many words he was out at the site where they buried a woman, the missing Caroline Beecher. He says all the evidence of the woman being buried there is gone so there's nothing Manson can do to him anymore. Manson asks if Emma leaving was Karn's doing. Karn is shocked his daughter is no longer there. He sits down looking weary, and says he doesn't know what to do sometimes. Manson says Karn is just there looking for love, and that's ok. He sits next to Karn saying "I love you" over and over. Then he asks Karn if he loves him too.
Hodiak with his feet up on his desk is my spirit animal. He's on the phone with a friend of Martha, or Nurse Kendal as she also calls herself. The woman was a roommate of Louise Mitchell, the prostitute who reported Caroline Beecher missing. At the end of the conversation we learn the roommate's name is Mandy, and that the only thing she could share about Louise is that she has a son named Gregory. Hodiak takes notes with a candy cane-shaped pen. He gets up for coffee and while filling the mug he overhears two young uniformed officers making vulgar comments about Officer Charmain Tully. He chastises one, saying "That's my daughter". The young man, Savovitch, looks startled and Hodiak continues "she's somebody's daughter. And if you can't be decent human males, at least be funnier. Right now you're just being what a cop-hating world expects." He then calls the man a "dumb pollock" as he walks away. I'm not sure if that was Hodiak's attempt at irony or not, but Officer Savovitch looks like he received the message. Charmain approaches Hodiak at his desk to tell him she's doing a ride along with Watts. Hodiak doesn't look as happy about it as she is. Tully says the guys seem nice, but Hodiak warns her that "they're guys" and she should keep her eyes and ears sharp.
Shafe has front row for the festivities at the Peach Pussycat, while poor Mikey is in the back room being attacked by an overly enthusiastic Lucille.
Charmain is on her ride along and walks into a Bob's Big Boy diner with two other officers, Markham and Savovitch. As they're walking, a car with a sticker reading "Proud Descendant of a Confederate Soldier" pulls into the parking lot. As the officers sit down to eat Markham keeps asking Charmain why she doesn't have a boyfriend. Charmain is not amused. Back in the parking lot the figure in the car is loading a gun. He walks into the diner and approaches the officers. They don't notice him and he fires multiple shots.
Back at the Peach Pussycat, Mikey walks back to Shafe looking much happier than the last time we saw him. He tells Shafe "Consider your target softened". Shafe asks Lucille if she minds talking business. She says it's excellent timing, as we see Roy Kovic has just walked in. In the back room, Shafe wants to know if he fits into the business venture. If I were Shafe I'd be shaking in my boots right now but he doesn't back off. Lucille tells him to go see Guapo and if Guapo likes him he's in. A dancer walks in with a message. Shafe's sister has been in a car accident.
Of course there was no accident, it was Hodiak trying to reach Shafe about the shooting. He tells Shafe to meet him at the scene, a Bob's Big Boy in Watts.
Hodiak walks through the scene as they're loading Savovitch into an ambulance. Markham is dead. Hodiak finds Charmain in shock sitting in the back of another ambulance. He takes her inside and tries to get her to talk but she's too shaken. Hodiak asks Charmain "Do you trust me?" and when she says so he slaps her across the face. It startles her into crying and he wraps her up in a fierce hug. He tells her to let it out, that this is the worst thing that could happen but she can make it right. He then holds her face and tells her to stop crying, to remember her training. Charmain is able to walk through what happened. The masked man first shot Markham, then Savovitch as he got up to stop him. He fell back and Charmain's gun ended up underneath him. She took the gun from his holster and pursued the shooter. She was too far behind but did see him pull out of the parking lot, hitting another car on his way out. Charmain was also able to remember that the shooter was white, she saw his uncovered hand, the rest of him was hidden.
The phones are ringing off the hook at the Hollywood station, and the press is crowded around the door. Charmain still looks shocked as Hodiak leads her into the room. Cutler silences the officers then tells everyone to focus and that if they waste time on tears to "fire themselves". The officers go through the evidence they have so far, like the type of car. Cutler doesn't believe the shooter could be white and tries to discredit Charmain as a "hysterical female". Hodiak ignores that. They also know the weapon type. Cutler says they've got SWAT on standby but Hodiak very loudly expresses that he thinks that's a bad idea for that neighborhood. Shafe comes in to tell Hodiak he's picked someone up.
The man Shafe brought in is Bunchy, the Black Panther Hodiak has had run-ins with before. Bunchy is clearly angry and isn't interested in talking with the detective. Hodiak explains that SWAT is about to turn the Watts neighborhood upside down. Bunchy says the Panthers are ready to fight back. Hodiak says it would turn into a never ending war, especially because they will never find the shooter. He tells Bunchy that while the bosses are looking for a "colored" man, the shooter is white. Bunchy is surprised and looks more interested in helping.
Ken Karn looks like he's had an interesting day. He's at the Manson house with "Charlie" draped across his lap. He asks Manson who hurt him. Manson says "you should know, it was your idea". So Ken knows it was Hodiak. He advises Manson not to go after the detective. Karn tells Manson that if he really cares about him, he won't go after Hodiak. Karn promises that if Manson leaves Hodiak alone, Karn will make sure the detective doesn't bother Manson. Manson kisses Karn and seems to accept the idea.
Charmain is still at the station and calls her dad, but her dad is preoccupied so she ends the call quickly. Another officer also ends a phone call. He tells the station that Savovitch died on the operating table. Sal Dunphy, a detective, slams his fist down in frustration then takes it out on Charmain. He tells her that's she not needed, not a real officer and throws various other insults at her. Charmain tells him to go to hell and to get away from her. Shafe tries to get Dunphy to stop, and when he doesn't, starts hitting him. Hodiak pulls Shafe off Dunphy but gets in a shove of his own. An officer interrupts the fray to say two more officers have been shot and killed. Hodiak asks "one colored, one white, right?". In the earlier shooting Officer Markham was black and Savovitch was white. The silence seems to acknowledge that Hodiak is right.
Police descend on the crime scene. The officers were shot in their car. And behind the car we see Bunchy questioning a woman about what she might have seen. Hodiak, Shafe and Cutler are going to homes that have cars matching the description of the shooter's. At the home of Glen Lesick, Shafe finds an oil stain on the driveway. The getaway car has a bad oil leak. Shafe knocks on the door and tell's Lesick's wife Nancy a story about owing them money. Lesick comes to the door, a gun looking similar to the murder weapon tucked into the back of his pants. Shafe drops the money and makes eye contact with Hodiak, who is in a car across the street. He convinces Lesick to let him in the house. Hodiak meanwhile gets his own gun ready. Hodiak walks around the back of the house and finds the getaway car in the driveway covered with a sheet. The red paint scratch tells all.
Shafe is at the table with Lesick, looking at his ID. He wants to be sure before he gives Lesick the money, he says. Shafe hands him back his wallet then reaches around. Just then Nancy walks back and yells that Shafe has a gun. Lesick pulls his weapon and instructs Nancy to grab Shafe's. Both guns are now trained at Shafe when Hodiak grabs Nancy and points his own weapon at her. Both officers eventually convince Lesick to put the gun down and they arrest him.
They get Lesick to the station but what seems like an open and shut case quickly falls apart. Lesick is claiming that his car had been stolen earlier in the day and he recovered it a few blocks away. He tested negative for gunpowder and his weapon was not the one used at the crime scene. They don't have the boots or gloves that the shooter was wearing. There is also some question as to whether the search was legal. Hodiak is admonished for not turning in a report yet. He grabs Charmain and says he needs to have a word with her. He pulls her into the very busy men's locker room. She looks uncomfortable and Hodiak says, "you think you don't belong here- maybe you don't," which brings her focus right back. Hodiak asks her to describe the man in a file, who is Lesick. When she does he says, "that's exactly what I wrote down in my notebook when you described him to me at the scene." When Charmain protests, Hodiak makes her look around the locker room and asks, "are you going to keep trying to be one of us, or be one of us," saying that the other men would not hesitate in lying. She insists she is one of them. Hodiak tells her to prove it.
Charmain apparently does as Hodiak asks because the prosecutor tell him Lesick will be arraigned for the four murders. The prosecutor also says Charmain isn't as good a liar as Hodiak is.
Hodiak once again has his feet on his desk. He's on the phone with Bunchy and tells him he couldn't have done it without "your guy tagging that partial for us at the second scene". Bunchy is happy to leave his assistance out of it and when Hodiak wishes him a Merry Christmas he simply tells the detective to blow it out his ass.
As Charmain leaves the department Hodiak is waiting for her. He thanks her for what she did, and then asks if she wants to say anything. She tells him her father is an "unreliable, morally ambiguous, charming drunk. So you know what you smell like to me? Home cooking." Which I think is the best "screw you" uttered so far this series.
Hodiak is celebrating his holiday at a Mexican restaurant alone. A waitress delivers a margarita to his table. A margarita we just saw a woman drop a hit of acid in. As he takes a sip we see Manson and the woman sitting a few tables away. And there we leave Sam Hodiak for another week.
This episode really knocked me for a loop. I believe it was the strongest by far of the series. The tension was almost too much at parts, which is the way it should be. If you saw the promo after last week's episode you knew the officers with Charmain were going to be shot. Which made the anticipation of it so nerve-wracking. I think those who didn't know it was coming may have been the lucky ones. The entire scene where Hodiak and Shafe were with Lesick cranked the anxiety up as well. I kept waiting for Lesick to bust out the back door and find Hodiak with his car, but the standoff between the three men was more frightening than what I'd been anticipating. And again at the end, when you know Hodiak is about to take a drink of the laced margarita, seeing Manson there waiting for him. I groaned when the credits rolled because you cannot leave my new favorite detective in peril like that and just end the episode! Tension tension tension, and I loved every minute of it.
Let's talk about what else worked well in this episode. Hodiak and Shafe teaming up always makes me happy. They work so well together and I'm more invested in that partnership than most of Shafe's undercover work. It was interesting to see them turn to Bunchy for help, even if they had to go about it in an underhanded way. It sounds like Bunchy's help got them the only piece of evidence that will actually hold up.
And can we take a minute for Charmain Tully? Take an actual minute of silence for how awesome she is. I really have to hand it to Claire Holt, who brings Charmain to life. Her acting was simply outstanding. Charmain went through so many emotions this episode and witnessed something truly terrifying. Walking through the shooting with her step by step as she described it to Hodiak was a much more interesting way to tell the story than us just witnessing it as the shooting happened. The flashes between the present and the incident were so well done, and experiencing those moments with Charmain really drew me in. Despite the horror she witnessed she held her own when Dunphry was attacking her and I loved how she put Hodiak in his place at the end. She puts up with an unbelievable amount of crap and it's great watching her fight back. But I also appreciate that as a character she has many dimensions and has many different feelings and ways of dealing with things. She seems much more human to me than some of the other characters who seem more like stereotypes than people.
Sam Hodiak continues to surprise me. It seems like we get just enough of the "good cop", the Hodiak who is helping Charmain and shooting down sexism and is understanding of what a SWAT presence would do in Watts, to forget about the "bad cop" side of him. Bad cop was back tonight. I understand why he would pressure Charmain to lie about the description but I worry that's going to come back to bite him. I'm wondering what he thought when Charmain compared him to her father. I'm curious to see if that mentoring relationship will end now or if it's just a bump in the road.
I was a little surprised they solved the police officer murders as quickly as they did, to the point where I'm pretty convinced this isn't the end. It sure looks like they got the right guy as far as the car is concerned but so many other things don't add up. I'm really hoping they show the trial in the next few episodes. If they did get the right guy I want to know more about his motive. And if they didn't, I really want to see that come out, and see how Hodiak will deal with not only being wrong, but convincing Charmain to lie too.
Though after what's hinted at at the end of the episode, will Hodiak be in any shape to help with the trial? Manson obviously didn't listen to Ken Karn and I'm more than a little worried about what's in store for Hodiak. I chose not to binge watch the episodes, instead wanting to watch the story unfold week by week. This was the first episode where I regretted that decision. I want to know what happens next NOW darn it!
Overall I think this has been my favorite episode so far. With only 4 episodes left, there are a lot of loose ends to tie up. Will we hear more about Lesick? What about Caroline Beecher and Ken Karn's involvement? And where is Walt Hodiak? What about Emma, did she make it home safely or will she return to Manson again? Lots of questions and only so much time. I'm glad to know this show is coming back for another season, just in case we don't get answers over the next 4 weeks! This is the first week Aquarius airs on Saturdays, where it will remain on NBC at 9 p.m. for the rest of the season. You can also catch up on NBC.com, On Demand, or on iTunes.