A few weeks ago, Sam Hodiak was in the kitchen of a seedy bar, whipping up some scrambled eggs for a guy whose head he’d later hold over the stove… and now he’s leading Robert F. Kennedy into the kitchen of The Ambassador Hotel. That only looks like an upgrade. Unless Aquarius plans on significantly altering history — and it doesn’t, because Charlie’s still here — we all know how this story ends. But the tense cliffhanger works anyway, and not only because the assassination is sure to send Sam to a somehow-even-darker place. It also raises questions about Ken, who probably had a hand in the murder.
As the Nixon campaign scrambles to deal with Bobby Kennedy’s late bid for the presidency, Ken is torn. On the one hand, he wants his candidate to win, and Kennedy poses the most serious threat. On the other, Ken is into him. He watches Kennedy on TV all day and calls him “a beauty.” He sympathizes with the family’s loss. In the minutes before Kennedy is shot, Ken shakes his hand and wishes him good luck, then lights up when Kennedy thanks him. Ken is definitely attracted to Robert Kennedy, a development I personally am very excited to compartmentalize. But he’s also meeting in secret with an FBI agent (he’s into him, too) who’s more than willing to “hurt Bobby.” The evidence doesn’t lie.
And it all intersects with Sam, who’s called in when the rain uncovers a body that might be Tina Greenwood’s. A positive ID is going to take a while (ah, ‘60s forensics), but Sam hauls in prime suspect Ben Healey for questioning anyway. He sets Shafe on the kid, instructing the new detective to mess with Ben’s head by eating his doughnut (“Get your nasty cooties all over it”) and pretending to be on his side. Ben admits he and a friend went to two football games after graduation, where they could have met then-cheerleader Tina, but the “friend” whose info Ben gives Shafe is actually his lawyer — who is also his uncle. No one this crafty can be innocent.
Ben might be smarter than Shafe, whose drug problem is getting worse. He’s feverish and pale at the precinct; he told Kristin it was the flu, but he almost comes clean with Sam. In the face of Shafe’s muttered, “This ain’t the flu,” Sam seems concerned, but he looks the other way (come on, Sam) and tells his partner to go get some sleep before the whole department catches his cold. Shafe shoots up in a cinderblock room instead. Back home, he does a terrible job at acting anything other than high in front of Kristin, who checks his bag the next morning while he sleeps and finds his needle. There had better be a call to Sam in her future.
Meanwhile, Sam is out doing favors for an old army buddy, Sean Boyle, who’s being blackmailed for seeing prostitutes. Sam looks into the prostitutes and their pimp, but no one has motive — Boyle gives them so much of his money already. When he visits Boyle’s home to break the news that the blackmailer must be someone else, Sam gets a moment alone with Boyle’s wife, Mary, and figures it out: She knows, and she wrote the letters not to get money, but to watch her husband suffer through his panic and guilt. He has no idea.
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Boyle’s been too busy with his own agenda; he wants Sam to join Kennedy’s security team. Sam shoots down the offer, insisting he can’t moonlight, but Boyle corners him into a meeting with the senator anyway. In the glare of cameras and reporters, Kennedy asks Sam what can be done “on both sides” to improve relations between the black community and the cops. Sam deflects, giving a non-answer when Kennedy insists. “Nothing can be done,” Sam says. “People don’t change. There are good ones and bad ones. It’s my job to keep the bad away from the good. That’s all I can do.” That’s a pretty apt summary of Sam’s worldview, but the man did just help the community avoid riots a few weeks ago. He probably has a few thoughts — just none he feels he should share with reporters in the room.
NEXT: History hits home