Review: Aquarius (Season 1, Episode 4)

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80%
80
Witty

David Duchovny steals the show with a hilarious yet frightful exchange between Hodiak and a suspected murderer.

  • 8.0

‘Home is Where You’re Happy’ is the title of this week’s episode; but both Emma Karn (Emma Dumont) and Brian Shafe (Grey Damon) are certainly not happy within theirs. With one being dragged from her haven, and the other one’s family being targeted in their’s.

Art Gladner’s (Shaun Duke) murder investigation continues throughout this episode, with Shafe trying his hardest to get Mikey out of his situation. Mikey is now seen as a prime suspect after people saw him running from the scene screaming. Shafe knows Mikey didn’t do it, but Mikey would rather go to prison than actually reveal where he was at the time of the murder. He’s scared of being crushed by Gladner’s unseen supplier – Guapo.

Through this murder, we get our first introduction to the burlesque theatre that is the ‘Peach Pussycat’. Gladner owned the theatre, so Hodiak (David Duchovny) ventures over to take statements from his wife and the dancers in the vicinity. The Peach Pussycat becomes an integral location in uncovering more than just Gladner’s murder, as Hodiak is soon to find out.

Manson (Gethin Anthony) and Hodiak finally come face to face in the fourth installment of the series, with Hodiak having no idea as to what Manson is really capable of – other than what he’s read from police files. But in all honesty, neither does Manson at this point in time. Neither of them could ever fathom what sort of man he is going to become.

Manson treats Hodiak with ignorance as he questions him about Emma’s suspected whereabouts, and treats Hodiak like he is one of his girls. Hodiak knows his game, and in response states to Manson that he’s “not a 16 year old girl”. Sam eventually comes back to the commune with Grace, and they finally find Emma.

Not at the most opportune time however, as Emma is high on LSD, which subsequently begins to manipulate her emotions. One minute she’s ecstatic that her mother is there, the next she’s being dragged by Hodiak, kicking and screaming after threatening him and Grace with a loaded shotgun.

As if Grace didn’t have to deal with enough problems with Emma, Hodiak finds out more about his son’s disappearance. Opal (Jodi Harris) has a drunken change of heart and now considers Hodiak a good guy, wanting him to do everything he can to find their son. She divulges that she overheard Walt on the phone to a friend, suggesting that through this friend, Hodiak can find information of Walt’s whereabouts. Hodiak eventually finds said friend, who has recently turned into a seminarian to cleverly dodge being drafted for the war. This doesn’t sit well for Hodiak, who is himself a veteran.

Hodiak tells Shafe about Walt’s disappearance for the first time in this episode, and Shafe wants to help. Since the beginning of the series, it’s seemed as though Hodiak treats Shafe like an adopted son. Not only because Walt was in the war then deemed missing, but he can also teach Shafe to be a better cop and person through his experience in the field himself. And it’s clear that Hodiak cares for Shafe, as is shown in the interlude at Shafe’s house as he’s covering up graffiti on his garage door about him and his family, with Hodiak being as outraged as he is over the situation.

David Duchovny completely steals this episode, with the confrontation with Gladner’s suspected murderer being the strongest point. Duchovny’s ability to combine wit and annoyance makes this scene hilarious yet intensely brutal. It’s through Marvin that we learn both how and why Gladner was killed, which involved Hodiak subliminally giving Marvin the idea to kill Gladner. Hodiak doesn’t seemed to phased by this however. Whatever gets the killer nailed, he couldn’t care less about.

The problem with this episode (and in some parts the previous episodes), is that Aquarius is far more compelling when it focuses more on Hodiak and Shafe. The show could easily just be the two of them traversing Los Angeles solving crimes, with little cutbacks here and there to Manson. Sometimes though it lends itself too much on the Manson hook, and ends up feeling pretentious.

Aquarius airs on Sky Atlantic on Tuesdays at 9pm.

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A film student stuck in a 90s timewarp of FBI agents, UFOs, conspiracy theories, alternative rock and grunge.

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