Aquarius season 1 episode 12, “(Please Let Me Love You and) It Won’t Be Wrong,” is being broadcast on the actual anniversary of the first of the infamous “Helter Skelter” killings.
On August 8, 1969, 46 years ago tonight, Tex Watson, on the orders of Charles Manson, led Susan Atkins, Linda Kasabian and Patricia Krenwinkel into a house that had once been owned by record producer Terry Melcher and killed actress Sharon Tate, Jay Sebring, Wojciech Frykowski, Abigail Folger and the 18-year-old Steven Parent, who showed up at the house by accident. Tate, the wife of director Roman Polanski and the hypnotic witch in the under-appreciated conspiracy horror thriller Eye of the Devil, was pregnant. She was stabbed 16 times. Frykowski was stabbed 51 times.
I don’t know who did the math on the episode calendar when Aquarius first aired, but there is a certain subversive genius at play in the timing. Tonight’s episode is the first time the family admits that they think Charlie Manson is Jesus Christ, the guy in the book who walked on the water, as a matter of fact, that’s one of the things the hippie disciple saw.
This is also the first episode where it becomes apparent that Charlie is going to have something against the producer who heard the Manson demo tapes. I thought the character Jack Hillman was based on Universal Studios producer Gary Stromberg. But it looks like Hillman is probably based on producer Terry Melcher, who recorded the Byrds, Paul Revere & the Raiders and The Beach Boys and is credited for creating the California Sound. Dennis Wilson, the drummer for the Beach Boys, is remembered as they guy who passed around Manson’s demo. Melcher was Doris Day’s son. The Beatles used to crash near his place when they hit the west coast on their U.S. tours. It was Melcher’s house where the first murders occurred.
Manson always scared the shit out of me when I was a kid. Part of that was because of all the ties he had to so many worlds. If there wasn’t a “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon” game, there could be a “six degrees of Charlie Manson” and all the odd coincidences that were sucked into that world. Sharon Tate was eight and a half months pregnant when she was killed. Tate’s husband, Roman Polanski, recently directed the horror masterpiece Rosemary’s Baby. He was falsely rumored to have recruited Anton LaVey, the head of the Church of Satan, to advise on the film. Susan Atkins did a performance for the Church of Satan before she joined with the Manson family and was rechristened Sadie Mae Glutz. Rosemary’s Baby was filmed at The Dakota, the exclusive Manhattan apartment building where John Lennon lived and was shot. Beatle songs like “Sexy Sadie” and “Revolution” unhinged Charles Manson, who killed Sharon Tate at a house where the Beatles were rumored to have stayed when not at their usual rented mansion in Beverly Hills.
And that’s just the Beatle connection. The Beach Boy connection is even scarier.
Manson reportedly pored over “Revelations 9” in the Bible to find clues that tied him further to what he perceived as his destiny after interpreting “Revolution 9” as a personal message to him, the son of man. Well, the son of man doesn’t turn any cheeks when it comes to Sadie in this episode. Cherry Pop is missing and the former Susan Atkins is being as obscurely cagey as Charlie. First Manson shuts her voice from the documentary that is being filmed on the family. Then he beats the shit out of her as she professes her love for him. The creepy way she did it made it feel like she offed Cherry Pie.
Samson Hodiak (David Duchovny) is helping his junior detectives in police procedures like coaching Charmain Tully (Claire Holt ) on false testimony. Charmain is like a happy puppy who is given its first treat after being whapped on the snout too many times. She is tasked with the declassified case of decalcifying the coffeemaker, which hasn’t been cleaned since coffeemakers were invented. The narc Brian Shafe asks her to think of who might use the chemical formaldehyde for the Guapo case. He’s looking to connect the dealer to the murders of Raymond Novo and Chris Wagner. The first thing she thinks of is the obvious, undertakers which, of course, turns out to be the right answer.
Hodiak is putting together his crack team of castoffs. Shafe and Charmaine are his two students, one unruly, the other a teacher’s pet. This shows that Hodiak has an eye for talent, because of his years as a maverick detective. David Duchovny is the TV poster child for maverick detectives.
Duchovny is back to doing his Captain Kirk-girl-in-every-port bit. Poor Hodiak didn’t get laid last week, but burlesque dancer Rachel is more than happy to pay him back for not dropping dime on her for a nickel bag of pot. Rachel already solved the formaldehyde mystery when she told Hodiak she saw Roy load Jimmy Tu’s body into a hearse.
Hodiak makes an undercover deal with Ken. Sam won’t investigate the missing hooker Louise Mitchell, if he’ll help him fix it so his son doesn’t go to jail for going AWOL with classified papers proving the Cambodian bombings. Ken makes the deal just in time for another cover-up as his partner Hal closes out the episode by bringing his dirty laundry.
The conspiracies and coincidences tighten up in this the penultimate episode of Aquarius season 1.
“(Please Let Me Love You and) It Won’t Be Wrong” was written by Alexandra Cunningham & Sera Gamble and directed by Lukas Ettlin.