Aquarius: Never Say Never To Always Review

Charlie Manson makes a demo. Here is our review of Aquarius season 1, episode 3

Aquarius, season 1, episode 3, “Never Say Never To Always,” explores the seedier side of the indie rock scene. That is when the budding rock star is the inimitable but much imitated Charles Manson. Charlie got the money for his first demo by hooking himself, and he tips the engineer with the young hippie delights in his care. Meanwhile, the triangulation around the budding cult songwriter is getting tighter.

Sam Hodiak (David Duchovny) goes solo on his monster of the week quest, getting a snitch out of lockup. Hodiak has the prerequisite gallows humor. Seeing a fellow cop with a gun sticking out of a sock holster he says “what are you gonna do with that thing? Pistol whip a midget?” Guns do have a way of raising testosterone levels and Duchovny is basically advising that wannabes put a sock in it. He also tackles and roughhouses his old partner, just to keep him on his feet. The two have a history and care about each other, well, at least Ed Cutler (Chance Kelly) cares about Hodiak. The rough-housing agent is more than a little self-involved.

The two former partners spar over collars while the former narc, Brian Shafe (Grey Damon), chases Charlie with his newest recruit, officer Charmain Tully (Claire Holt). Stuck making coffee in the office while “real” cops handle the paperwork, the patrol cop goes several extra miles past the ball-sacks in blue. She passes up a candy treat from the ranch of nods to go down on the biker guy as part of the entrance fee. He doesn’t give her that good a review, saying she could learn a lot from Sadie. I don’t know if this Sadie will soon be Sexy Sadie, because the song won’t be out for another year and how would she be pre-baptized to an as-yet unreleased song? But history is just background in Aquarius.

Aquarius is taking tips from The X-Files, which defined the 90s for a lot of people. The shows have a similar structure beyond the main-case-monster-of-the-week-plot. There is also personal history to deal with. Hodiak’s son is going to take the place of Fox Mulder’s sister, a subplot that might add to what we know about the man inside the cop, but is an unnecessary diversion to the show as a whole. The son’s a Vietnam War deserter and his old man is a hard ass rule-follower. Sure, it puts the agent further in the time frame of the sixties. Hodiak is the generation gap, but the gap is looked at with the hindsight of a generation, two if you do the math. That’s probably why Hodiak can fingerpick, while Duchovny can only strum. If this were made during the time period it is trying to recreate, cops wouldn’t play something that might fit so well into the laid back Southern California sound. I mean look at Spock jamming with the space hippies on Star Trek and he had the ears for it.

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Is there no song The Who won’t sell? “The Seeker” won’t even be recorded for another three years and Pete Townshend won’t even like it, comparing it to a bad tooth or Kit Lambert or both. Why don’t they fade into the lawyer’s deflowering with “Pictures of Lily”? Later we hear a version of the Byrds’ eight miles high that sounds like a Who cover.

Charlie and the chirping crickets record their first demo outdoors with all the ambient noise of the woods around him. We actually do get a Charlie Manson original, “True Love You Will Find.”  A pretty number that’s sung a little too Peter, Paul and Mary without Paul and Mary for me, but a Manson original nonetheless. Love is in the air as Manson inspires Hodiak and the Emma’s mother to have their own afternoon delight.

The narc eyeballs Emma Karn (Emma Dumont) at the house Charlie lives in. The house has a dark history, according to the future cult figure. It used to be owned by socialite devil worshippers. Blood drinkers who hide their fetishes behind a veneer of debauched sophistication. The house is full of fear and shame and that’s a buzz kill. Charlie tells Emma that her old man was there to buy her, like a cow or a whore, but he wasn’t selling. There are bigger things howling at Charlie.

“Never Say Never To Always” was written by Alexandra Cunningham and directed by Nelson McCormick.


3.5 out of 5