The LAPD Manson Squad, though they don’t know that yet, are off on a case of the week case. Routed to the scene by Sgt. Hodiak, there’s no real reason for the detour except for character density. Not exactly character development, like other network shows like The Following, Aquarius adds unnecessarily chaotic backstories in place of complexity or depth. It’s like they’re telling us, he’s not a deep thinker, he was hit upside the head with a baseball bat on a daily basis when he was a beat cop.
“The Hunter Gets Captured By The Game” also gives a little more historical setting to the series. In the opening episode their cameramen took us into the heart of the Sunset Strip Riots. The narc, Brian Shafe (Grey Damon), got tossed and thrown into a paddy wagon with his This week they explain their racial surroundings. The LAPD hasn’t had the warmest relationship with the African-American community. They weren’t too hot on the hippies either, but they had a special place in their hearts for charismatic Nation of Islam activists.
David Duchovny wouldn’t let his Sam Hodiak character be a full-blown racist. He’s got a code. It is a tough guy code but it has some soft edges. Duchovny is playing a man in the midst of a transition in history. He’s not seeing the bigger picture yet. He’s just doing his daily duty. He’s being tested though. His own partner, Ed Cutler (Chance Kelly), is keeping secrets, but Hodiak’s no rat. He just wants to play it safe. At work anyway. Otherwise he’s pretty much a loose fuse looking for a light.
Duchovny is keeping Hodiak buttoned down, but not quite repressed. He knows his way around a six string and you don’t learn that at the Academy. But don’t let Hodiak’s intimate milk shake knowledge fool you. He can throw down on a tightlipped front until he’s squealing like a rat or gently caress a confession through a wife killer’s lips while his attorney gets the runaround. Charmain Tully (Claire Holt) played the bad-cop enabler.
Ken Karn (Brian F. O’Byrne) is more than just a mouthpiece for Manson (Gethin Anthony). Karn is learning to get his groove on and flower under the liberated love child who’d been abandoned in a bar by his mom when he was a kid to pay off a debt. That’s not just character development, that is history as recorded by Vincent Bugliosi. Charlie got thrown out when he was a kid and he’s a real conservationist now, especially with what he sees as fellow cast-offs. He’s also a good conversationalist, he can talk anyone into anything. I guess that makes him a castaway conservationalist.
Charlie’s talking Emma Karn (Emma Dumont) into being part of his dream, a daydream believer as the song goes, even as he’s playing Dr. Frank N. Furter to her old man. Charlie’s also playing Clyde to her Bonnie, taking out the defenseless underground who can go to the cops as easily as the people in the neighborhood Hodiak is canvassing. Charlie walks Los Angeles like he’s Kiefer Sutherland in Lost Boys.
“Subtle,” Hodiak says when he meets his ad hoc partner’s wife. He might as well be talking about Aquarius. All the shadows are well-lit.
“The Hunter Gets Captured By The Game” was written by John McNamara and directed by Jonas Pate.