NBC’s “Aquarius” had a strong showing last week on its first premiere after the big move to Saturday nights. On its return episode it ended up being pretty light on the intrigue and heavy on the melodrama. 

The episode opened after last weeks’ cliffhanger that saw a newly enlightened Charles Manson (Gethin Anthony) decide not to kill Sam Hodiak (David Duchovny) and to try to open his mind instead. To do so, he had one of his girls slip some LSD into one of Hodiak’s drinks. The detective, who clearly never has been this drugged up, found his way into the middle of a busy road. Just when it looked like our hero would meet his end, he’s rescued by fellow Detective Joe Moran (Alex Quijano). Moran needs some help but Hodiak is too far gone to give it. 

Hodiak wanders to Grace Karns’ (Michaela McManus) place while she’s having a party for then-Congressman Regan, and Shafe (Grey Damon) rescues him and sobers him up by morning. Once he’s got a good head on his shoulders, Hodiak is able to listen to what Moran wants. It turns out the city has been getting pressure to stop a robber who is targeting Latin-Americans on public transportation. 

It turns out Joe has been pretending to be a good red-blooded, Irish-American detective to mask the fact that he’s truly Mexican-American. He hadn’t even told his wife and kids. He tells Hodiak unless he can convince the local Latino-American constituent who is behind the protests not to out Moran, he’ll lose everything. This is 1967 after all. 

Hodiak agrees but insists that there’s not too much he can do. Meanwhile, Shafe is getting ready to make a bust on the undercover drug case on which he’s been working. He and Roy (David Meunier) finally meet the drug kingpin Guapo (Lobo Sebastian). He sends them on a pickup with one of his guys and the higher ups in the department see this as a golden opportunity finally to make the bust. Shafe agrees but with the caveat he can light a cigarette at any time and abort the bust if things start to feel fishy. When the big day comes, sure enough, he manages to abort the entire operation. His superiors were upset, but it turned out there was nothing illegal in the package, and it was all an elaborate test from Guapo to see if he could be trusted. Whoops! 

From there, the episode returns to Manson’s compound where Emma (Emma Dumont) has returned with a new man who has some pretty deep pockets. Manson welcomes her back but with the stipulation she can’t leave him or the group again. He knows if he wants to keep Emma, he’s got to make her abandon her family, which includes her loyal mother. Manson gets one of his girls, Sadie (Ambyr Childers), to convince Emma to let them rob her mother’s place while she’s asleep.

The episode returns to Hodiak’s dilemma to find his talks with the Latino-American group didn’t go well and Moran has been outed. His wife kicked him out, he’ll never see his children again and he’s lost the respect of his colleagues in the department. He gets drunk and wanders into the precinct holding a gun and threatening suicide. Hodiak manages to talk him down by revealing that his father was Jewish and killed himself because of it when he was young. Although Moran doesn’t quite believe him, he gives up the gun and walks out of the department with his head held high. 

The episode ends on a bit of a twist as the man who has been giving Hodiak updates on the anti-war underworld, and his son Walt (Chris Sheffield), shows him a picture of some new players in town. Hodiak demands an older gentleman be arrested and brought in for questioning. Hodiak enters the interrogation room and greets the man as his father. 

Now that NBC has removed all 13 episodes from video on demand, fans can catch the final few episodes of “Aquarius” live on NBC Saturdays at 9 p.m. EDT.