Aquarius recap: Never Say Never to Always
Hodiak plays Holmes, and Charlie uses a barn as a recording studio.
NBC has made all 13 episodes of Aquarius available online after the May 28 premiere, because everything is helter skelter and we have to live for the now, man. The show will still be airing Thursday nights at 9 p.m. ET; if you’re watching live each week, come back here after “Never Say Never to Always” airs on June 4. If you’re watching online, read on—or view the entire episode here in all its glory.
Sam Hodiak might operate on a slightly outdated morality system, but he’s no anti-hero—which just makes the big revelation that opens this episode even harder to take. Hodiak once punched his wife in the face when he was drunk. I liked him. Obviously he’s trying to change, and he’s quit drinking. But our main character is the reason a woman needed four stitches. That’s bigger than the average flaw.
The truth comes out when Hodiak breaks into Opal’s house to try to figure out where Walt has gone. He doesn’t find his son, but he does find Ed Cutler, his longtime partner on the force. Cutler and Opal have been hooking up for a while now; his wife doesn’t know. Hodiak tells Cutler that they’re done: “I don’t work with liars. It’s not a moral thing—it’s a safety issue.” Opal intervenes to suggest that he’s not in a position to take the high road on anything. Fair point. The show then has the nerve to let Hodiak mournfully play the guitar in a tank top, which does not help my conflicting feelings.
Hodiak and Cutler clash again on the job, where Cutler takes important time out of his day to harass Charmain for coffee. Doesn’t institutional sexism give him enough of a rush as it is? A call comes in that diner owner/ drug dealer Art Gladner has been killed; Shafe wants to help, but he’s still technically undercover as one of Gladner’s clients, so Hodiak goes it alone. (“We’re trying to take it slow.”)
Witnesses caught Shafe’s stoner contact, Mike, running from the scene. Cutler already has him in the back seat of a cruiser, but Hodiak doesn’t think he did it. He can tell from the wounds that the killer was right handed and taller than Gladner. Mike is too short—and, as indicated by his “crappy guitar,” too left handed. Is Sam Hodiak actually Sherlock Holmes? Cutler scoffs at his theatrics. What a Lestrade.
While Hodiak tries to exonerate Mike, Shafe looks into the Manson case. That requires getting back in Kovic’s good graces after tripping him down a flight of stairs. Kovic’s knee is busted. He “can’t ball, like at all.” Tragic. Still, he’s willing to let bygones be bygones after Shafe clues him in to the fact that someone’s been posing as a member of his biker gang. With that relationship mended, Shafe reintroduces Charmain, who’s ready to try this again. She just wants to believe that being a female police officer is more than making coffee and getting her head bashed into a desk.
And Charmain is good at this. When Charlie doesn’t recognize her, she spins a detailed lie about a night they spent together in a canyon, then seals it by launching into a long wolf howl. Charlie joins in, followed by everyone else in the room. This is next-level hippie sh–. Kovic still expects his reward—and he can’t put any weight on his knee, so he’s got other ideas. Shafe looks ready to call it all off, but Charmain is “serious about being a great cop”—as serious as he is. It’s her decision. She doesn’t want to be rescued.
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Still, the fact that Charmain has to make this decision in the first place is a sign of how messed up sex is in Charlie’s circle. The power is in the men’s hands, and all of the girls are objectified. When the deed is done, Kovic comments that Charmain “could learn a thing or two from Sadie.” Is Sadie even older than 18? To top it off, Charlie had sex with Ken last night. When Emma asks what her father was doing at the compound, Charlie lies: “He asked me how much I wanted for you, like you were a used car.” He’s out to guarantee her loyalty and then use it how he pleases.
Today, that means furthering The Dream, also known as Charlie’s ambition to be bigger than The Beatles. He’s mastered the basic definition of a demo—the next step is to record one, and Ken’s money makes that possible. The producer puts Charlie in touch with Rue Fisher, a sound engineer, who meets them in an open barn. While the girls, Emma included, celebrate the beautiful day, Fisher just looks baffled by all of the hay bales. (“It’s just that we’re gonna pick up a lot of ambient sound…”)
Shafe tells Hodiak that he spotted Emma at the compound, so Hodiak heads out there with Grace. But the girls are off singing in a barn, and no one is giving them up. While Hodiak hits Kovic on the mustache with Emma’s photo, Grace asks a girl if her parents know she’s here. The girl says that her mom gave her permission and then wraps Grace in an unwanted hug. Everything about 1967 is suddenly too much for Grace, which is how Hodiak feels every day. The two commiserate over their missing kids and then have sex. I’m glad we didn’t waste any time acting like that wasn’t going to happen.
Hodiak’s search for Walt isn’t going well, even after Opal shows up at the precinct with a letter from their son. Opal admits to using her diabetes to get Walt out of Vietnam, but she claims not to know where he’s gone. Hodiak still believes that he’d fight if he were Walt’s age. “What do you think is over there?” Opal asks. “The sequel to World War II, your glory days?” Hodiak might not be convinced, but when the military comes calling, he tells them that he and Opal don’t talk.
Word of Hodiak and Grace’s visit to the compound gets back to Charlie, who deals with the threat by—what else?—pimping out Emma and Sadie. He brings the girls to Fisher’s house and tells the sound engineer that they’re his for as long as he wants them. Emma and Sadie reluctantly take Fisher’s hands and lead him upstairs. Then, just to rub it all in, Charlie calls Ken. He wants him to hear the demo. Grace takes the phone and listens as Charlie holds the phone to his tape player, taunting her. It isn’t even a good song.
Bits and pieces:
- Sam turns into a hand-kissing softie after sleeping with Grace, and I’m here for it.
- “You remember me, right? No? All right, you probably remember, but you don’t like me.”
- “Those pants—do they make them for men, too? Because I’ll tell you, you should go back to whatever store you bought them at and tell them you are a police officer in a position of authority that is very hard to maintain in a pair of felonious ball huggers.”
- “Maybe you should try a costume of some kind, like ghost or sexy nurse.”