Even though it lends to some tense storytelling, there are too many plot lines happening at once within this episode.
‘Cease to Resist’ actually entails some interest on Manson’s part. In recent episodes, all we’ve gotten to see is him and the Manson girls falling deeper down the spiral, with little that was noteworthy, other than witnessing them get high and do questionable things.
This episode however opens with a sadistic Manson on the trail for revenge against Hodiak. Manson has the brains to look for Hodiak’s address in a phone book, but it’s his old address from back when he lived with Ophelia. Luckily Manson is confronted with Cutler, who subsequently has no idea who he is. Cutler thinks that Manson is a homeless person, but Manson knows that Cutler isn’t Hodiak and both seem to be working with that situation. When Manson is by himself – and not surrounded by the family – he is much more captivating and believable, with the opening to this episode being a clear instance of this.
On the other side of the coin, Hodiak is still trying to figure out where his son has gone off to, and is getting his colleagues at the precinct to help him – no questions asked. He’s focused on this until a new case comes up, involving an actor murdered at Paramount Studios. Hodiak is sent to investigate ‘the business of show’, and said actor seems to have been killed in a religiously motivated attack. Hodiak enlists help from Father Mack of his old church, who takes this opportunity to convince Hodiak to come back to church, but to no avail.
Hodiak also lets Charmain in on the case, furthering his mentorship and attempts to shape her into the cop he knows she can be. Hodiak begins by teaching her about having a pokerface when looking at crime scene photographs, which he later mimes to her when Cutler blatantly points out that she isn’t the next Hodiak. Charmain seems hurt by the remark, but she gains her pokerface and smiles to Hodiak who’s lurking in the background.
Charmain is a great female character, but she still comes off as a little one-dimensional. She’s obviously the strongest female in the show, especially compared to the manipulated Manson girls. But her personality gives the show so many different paths to explore, like why she decided to become a cop and not a nurse or a dancer, especially in the midst of the 60s. There’s a great use of music as a narrative device again with Charmain, with ‘I Wanna Be Like You’ being played as she searches for a nail that may have been used in the murder. The whole song describes her motives perfectly, but it’s the line ‘Be like the other men’ that jumps out, due to her wanting to be the next Hodiak, and to stand out against the other men (like Cutler) in the precinct.
As temporary lieutenant, Cutler shuts down Shafe’s drug ring case, which frees the latter up to be a part of Hodiak’s murder investigation. Due to the nature of the case, Shafe conveys his conservative views about homosexuality. This is coming from the same man that gets agitated over Hodiak being too old to understand the new generation, and who made a point of bringing him to his home and introducing him to his mixed race marriage – with Hodiak already being fine with it anyway. Shafe is usually the one with a progressive point of view, so this stark transition came harder hitting than expected, especially given how extreme with it he is.
No one really seems to care about Emma much in this episode. She’s been put on the back burner in terms of Hodiak investigating her whereabouts. Instead, she’s been up to San Francisco to meet the first Manson girl – Mary Brunner. Mary has managed to live a post-Manson life up until now, and is pregnant with his – or as Emma later puts it – the family’s child. Here, Emma shows her true, spoiled rich-kid colours, when she realises that she isn’t as special as she thought she was in Manson’s eyes. Something which has confusingly taken her a long time to comprehend. Manson literally pimps all the girls out any chance he gets, including Emma.
A lot of plot points seem to get lost in this episode. Manson stalking Hodiak never seems to go anywhere after the first ten minutes, the case Hodiak is investigating is never actually solved, and Shafe’s drug investigation is suspended for the whole episode, just so that he can showcase his views on homosexuality. It not only results in too much plot, but also makes it easier for the audience to lose track of what’s actually important in the long run.
Aquarius airs on Sky Atlantic on Tuesdays at 9pm.