Aquarius season 1 episode 11, “Your Mother Should Know,” smothers with us with family love. Charles Manson has always been all about the family. Not getting enough from birth, he started his own and named it the Manson Family, and it’s become a national cult on par with the other big M franchise, McDonald’s. Charlie gets reacquainted with his mother, who abandoned him when he was a kid. The leader of the Black Panthers, a more positive and effective family unit, loses his younger brother and Sam Hodiak Samson Hodiak (David Duchovny) gets to yell at his old man and his son at the same time.
You’re not going to see Charlie Manson cave under his mother’s crushing bosom. His eyes may do cartwheels and his fingers may spasm at the mere whiff of her perfume, but he’s Charlie fucking Manson, not some Midwestern mama’s boy like Anthony Perkins played in Psycho. Norman Bates buried all his urges to keep his mother as alive as his memory of her. Charles Manson dumps all his urges inside his mother to keep her as lifeless as he remembers her.
Charlie still hasn’t forgiven his mother for sticking him with his hillbilly grandparents when she was a young teen mom. Charlie lets loose with this mommy issues, from being beaten up at school, to being beaten off in detention. He’s got a soft spot for his grandfather who, he learns from his mother, died, leaving him a parcel of hillbilly farm land. The land, after closing costs and taxes, could net about $1,500 for Charlie and his mom, a paltry amount it seems.
The LAPD precinct gets an order from the FBI to increase their surveillance of the Black Panthers. They are tasked with destroying them from within. J. Edgar Hoover decided that the Black Panther Movement is a threat to national security. His agents endeavor to Hoover them, which means to legally and illegally harass, bust, frame, plant evidence, start rumors and disrupt all their day to day activities. The squad all make fun of the federal agents, at Hodiak’s urging.
Hodiak has been getting close to the leader of the Black Panthers already. He hasn’t so much infiltrated, as he is being drawn in by their charismatic leader. Bunchy is very human and made more so after he asks Detective Hodiak, the only cop he remotely trusts, to investigate the murder of his brother and bodyguard Arthur. Bunchy has his own family guilt. He’s ridden his brother and declared him unworthy to uphold the righteous banner of the Black Panthers. Hodiak takes some glee in being able to turn over a black FBI informant from within the organization to the mourning Bunchy. The informant will be dealt much more harshly by the Black Panthers than he would be by the government who he was ratting to.
We’ve come to know Hodiak as a man who goes by his own inner code and compass. He kicks ass and busts chops in his systematic search for truth, if not justice, kind of like a certain FBI agent we used to see weekly on The X-Files, only hardened. Crack open his hard-boiled shell and you get his egghead father, a radical professor who is guiding Hodiak’s son through desertion and possible treason. Samson’s old man thinks his son lost his soul in the war and his son thinks pop’s a self-righteous prick. The fig doesn’t fall too far from the Newton. Walt, Hodiak’s son, crumbles under the weight of his mother Opal.
Walt went AWOL and ultimately deserts from the army after the secret bombing of Cambodia. Sam tries to pass it off to the LA Times reporter Salazar, who outed a cop as Latino, but Salazar refuses to publish it.
Operation Menu was the codename of the covert bombing in eastern Cambodia and Laos from March 8 March 1969 until May 26, 1970, by the United States Strategic Air Command during the Vietnam War. According to the official United States Air Force record of U.S. bombing activity over Indochina from 1964 to 1973, which was declassified by President Clinton in 2000, the Air Force began bombing rural Cambodia in 1965 under the Johnson administration. The Menu bombings were an escalation of the attacks. Nixon authorized the B-52 carpet bombing of Cambodia, which continued until August 1973. The bombing was exposed by the New York Times on May 9, 1969, by military reporter William M. Beecher. Nixon called in J. Edgar to Hoover it.
Brian Shafe (Grey Damon) gains the trust of the Mexican gang heroin dealer Guapo by taking pictures of the corpses of crime victims to prove himself a bad ass. In a case of cosmic forces coming together under the full moon, this is reminiscent of recent charges in the Sandra Bland death. The #Blacklivesmatter activist who died in her jail cell from a reported suicide has become this generation’s JFK assassination and the film footage is its Zapruder film. According to a growing conspiracy, the police took her mugshot after she was already dead.
A sad coincidence in the age of Aquarius.
“Your Mother Should Know” was written by David Reed and directed by Roxann Dawson.