The timing of this episode couldn't have been more spot on.
A week after the landmark SCOTUS ruling, Aquarius Season 1 Episode 7 centered on the murder of a movie star who turns out to be gay. The case is eventually shut down by a studio that is afraid a public outing will impact the profitability of his last film.
Meanwhile, Shafe's drug case is (temporarily) shut down by (temporary) lieutenant Cutler, and apparently no one is concerned about Emma anymore. Which is too bad, since she's heading back to Manson's compound after a detour to San Francisco to pick up Mary Brunner with Sadie.
This case is the first for the series without a resolution, at least for now. I could totally see the cover-up instigated by the studio coming back to bite the department in the butt next season. My guess would be that Javier is a serial killer, and poor sweet Charles is the next in his string of victims.
Shafe and Hodiak switched their usual roles tonight as Shafe was the one with the more conservative point of view. I understand that always having Shafe be the progressive point of view is repetitive and lazy, but this seemed like the wrong issue to have him swing to the right on.
Seriously, the things he said about homosexuality are similar to things people said about mixed race marriages. In fact, anti-miscegenation laws weren't found unconstitutional until 1967 – the year in which Aquarius is set. I can see Shafe being uncomfortable with homosexuality on a personal level, but not to that extreme.
The senior detective had a much more laissez-faire attitude about the issue. While he wouldn't be showing up at any pride parades, Hodiak seems to be of the opinion that the morality laws of the time are a waste of his time.
I'd do it myself, but I'm burned...and apparently not...handsome or some -- I'm a grandma or something.Hodiak
Hodiak is proving to be rather progressive on women's issues as well, playing mentor to Charmain. I think some of that may come from trying to annoy Cutler, but at least he gives her a chance, which is more than anybody else does.
I'm mostly frustrated that she remains a pretty one-dimensional character. There's some serious meat to chew on there, and we've barely gotten a taste.
Not only did Charmain choose to have a career (not just a job), but she went outside of the usual feminine choices of nurse, teacher, or secretary. What was her motivation for that? What's going on with her outside of the office? Everyone else has interesting plots but her.
Talent Agent Stan: Why the hell would you become a cop?
Charmain Tully: Because I get to tell gentlemen like yourself that you're standing in a potential crime scene and so I'm going to need you to step away until further notice. And I enjoy that. Nice to meet you, Stan.
Grace may have been
thankfully absent, but Emma was back. However, she seemed less than thrilled with the assignment to retrieve Mary. She's finally going to realize that she isn't that special to Manson. Apparently, his pimping her out wasn't a big enough wake up call.
I'll forgive her stupidity as being organic to her character, though. At heart, she's just a spoiled little rich girl who wants to be noticed and loved. Combined with an incredible amount of drug use, it's easy to understand how she fell under his spell.
Emma's claiming Mary's baby as the family's is both spiteful revenge and a way to reclaim her importance. It's a surprisingly shrewd move on her part.
Charles Manson: Is it mine, Cherry Pop?
Emma: It's ours.
Charles Manson: Yes, and we'll raise it together.
Mary is an interesting arrival, in part because it's a step further into the real world Manson Family. I'm trying to figure out why she chose to return within the context of the show, since she had her life together post-Charlie, and she's with it enough to confront him about his abuse.
Manson continues to be his creepy self, introducing himself as Jesus Christ, pimping out the girls who follow him, and generally being an unapologetic asshole. His attempt to stalk and kill Hodiak should have brought a new level of urgency to the story, but it got lost over the course of the hour.
I may have
complained mentioned before that Aquarius sometimes bites off more than it can chew, but the writers may have stripped away too much tonight. I know, I'm never pleased.
Still, suspending the drug investigation for the duration of the hour just seemed dumb, and other plots were altogether ignored. The season is only 13 episodes, which equates to roughly nine hours of storytelling. It shortchanges the audience to suspend progress for even one of them.
Next week looks like everything will be back on track though, delving into Manson's aspiring music career and Karn's RNC connections. Watch Aquarius online and let us know what you thought of "Cease to Resist." Does anybody have thoughts on how the limited-time binge release turned out?
Elizabeth Harlow is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.