Now that the online episodes of “Aquarius” are no longer online for binge-viewing, the sixth installment in the David Duchovny-led period drama kicked off with a little bit of action and ended with a little bit of sadness.
After a mobster gifted Manson (Gethin Anthony) a gun last week, the episode opened with him making good on his promise to get revenge on the cop that beat him half to death, Sam Hodiak (Duchovny). Unfortunately for Charlie Manson, Hodiak is divorced and he showed up to his ex-wife’s place… and she happens to be sleeping with a new LAPD police lieutenant, and Hodiak’s ex-partner, Ed Cutler (Chance Kelly).
Cutler spots the intruder, who he never recognizes as Manson, in the bushes from a mile away. However, Manson still manages to get the drop on him. He makes him strip down to his boxers before Cutler is able to fight back and snag Manson’s gun. He escapes and Cutler spends the rest of the episode taking his frustration out on Charmain (Claire Holt) and Shafe (Grey Damon). He takes the latter off of his beloved undercover detail and continues to belittle the former for her gender.
The day after the attack, Hodiak finds himself investigating a murder at a movie studio. Someone murdered a man named Raymond Novo in a very ritualistic fashion. He interviews the actor’s “fiancee” to learn that their relationship is just a show that the studio is paying them to put on. It turns out the victim was a homosexual, which in 1967 was information that could totally kill a movie if it was made public. He learns that he used to frequent a local gay bar and bring guys back to the studio in order to impress them -- not to mention get kickbacks from the studio heads to make sure it all stayed a secret.
Hodiak goes undercover in plain clothes hoping to pick up the murderer and arrest him. Unfortunately, the bartender remembers Hodiak from an undercover job back in the day, where he apparently kissed him in order to maintain his cover, and immediately outs him as a cop.
As is the formula for “Aquarius” thus far, when in doubt, Hodiak visits his unofficial partner Shafe. He asks the long-haired heartthrob to visit the bar, which the open-minded, hippie culture-loving Shafe seemed to have a gigantic problem with. That’s right, in a show about good guys constantly being good, for the first time the audience got to see a dark side. Brian Shafe is a staunch homophobe that believes gay culture purposely aims to be contrarian to what is natural. However, he’s a cop first and a closed-minded gay hater second, so he agrees to go.
Meanwhile, Manson is desperate for money so that he can get his hands on more weapons for protection. He sends Emma Karn (Emma Dumont), who recently returned to his service after escaping her parent’s house for the second time, with another one of his girls to go find Mother Mary. In the story of Manson’s life, after he got out of jail, Mother Mary was the first girl he met that took him in and bought into his lifestyle and rhetoric. Manson wants the girls to reconnect with her so that she’ll return to him and fill the void she left in his heart.… It also helps that she’s sitting on a stock bond worth thousands of dollars. The girls find her living a comfortable life on her own and pregnant with Manson’s baby. They convince her to go back with them to see Charlie and raise the kid as one of them.
Cut back to Shafe making progress at the gay bar -- just when it seems like he has found his man. He is about to be asked home and potentially murdered when he gets a call from Hodiak. Apparently they underestimated the lengths that the studio would go to hide the fact that their movie’s star was a homosexual. He tells Shafe that they made a call to the right people in the L.A. city government to get the case buried. Shafe leaves in a huff because, just like the audience, he was frustrated that all this time was spent on something with no closure.
The episode ends with Cutler finding Hodiak’s watch from his little sexual relapse with his ex from last week. He confronts him in the police station without saying a word. They have an intense staring match as Cutler hands it back to Hodiak and he calmly puts it back on.
“Aquarius” will air its seventh episode next Thursday at 9 p.m. EDT.