Thursday, 23 July 2015

TV Review | Aquarius | Sick City

I’m finally back from my break, and Aquarius has been moved from its Thursday night slot to Saturday nights. So, prepare yourselves for a double review this Sunday, as 'Why?' and 'It’s Alright Ma. (I’m Only Bleeding)' lend themselves to be paired together.   

As usual, we’ve got three story-lines running through the eighth episode of the series, entitled ‘Sick City’. Hodiak is faced with trying to locate a hooker - Caroline - that is tied to Manson for unknown reasons (at the moment), whilst at the same time investigating Father Mac’s accusations that a pastor of the church has been using $500 from the collection plates for something sinful. Shafe’s traveling deeper and deeper into his drug ring investigation, with the Peach Pussycat becoming more prominent within the seedy LA undergrowth each passing episode. Then there’s trials and tribulations of Manson’s former attorney Ken, who has now been nominated as Richard Nixon’s California campaign manager – which means he has a lot of digging up and subsequent hiding to do.

Hodiak’s investigation into the disappearance of Caroline isn’t being taken lightly by Ken and his firm, as they’ve gotten wind that Hodiak requested the file on her to be given to him. Since Ken has been nominated as the campaign manager, Nixon’s people are going to have to look deep into the firm. Which will ultimately lead them to their ties with Manson, and their ties to the missing (presumed dead) girl, Caroline. 

And if Ken and Grace’s relationship couldn’t be toxic enough already, Ken’s new title and ambitions have cemented that description even further. Ken has regained control over his wife, in turn making sure that all his demands in tying loose ends of the firm and their family are only answered with two words, “Yes, dear.” 

Grace comes to her senses with her relationship with Hodiak. She’s realized that she said some hurtful words towards Hodiak, so herself and Hodiak meet on familiar ground – the LAPD station. They converse about what Hodiak knows about Manson, his pimping and his involvement in her husband’s law firm. 

Even though the law firm is closely watching Hodiak as he maneuvers his way around Caroline’s disappearance, he pays a visit to the hospital. There Hodiak encounters a familiar face in the form of a nurse – Martha Kendall (Gillian Alexy) – and asks if she’s ever had a patient under the name of the missing girl. The pair seems to have had a past together; before she started working in the hospital but whilst Hodiak was still a cop. ‘Seem’ is a light statement, especially in the…position, we find them in towards the end of the episode.

In the meantime, Father Mac (Eddie Jones) makes a second appearance at the station, this time asking Hodiak for a favor after Hodiak asking for his help on a case in the previous episode. Father Mac is afraid that another pastor has been using the money that he’s been setting aside for him for something he doesn’t know about. It eventually comes to light that the pastor – Father Roe (Chris Paul Davis) – is indeed taking said money and investing it into gambling. High stakes poker, to be exact. Although, Hodiak doesn’t investigate this himself, but rather gives it to the cop that oversaw Emma when she disappeared for the second time. This time, however, he gets the case right. 

Within the LAPD station, relationships between the officers are strained to say the least. Especially with Cutler and Hodiak at this moment in time, as Cutler found out Hodiak slept with his estranged wife Opal right under Cutler’s nose. Cutler has been holding a grudge against Hodiak, with Hodiak getting more and more fed up with Cutler’s childish antics as the grudge goes on. That is until Cutler’s wife phones and Cutler does a poor job at explaining where he was, with Hodiak coming to the rescue. Their buddy relationship prevails, although Cutler still seems cold with Hodiak, which isn’t exactly new in their relationship. 

‘Sick City’ is named after a Manson song, which fits perfectly into where Manson’s head is at in this episode. Los Angeles is obviously the reference to the ‘Sick City’, as Manson is consistently getting pushed around repeatedly by the city that produced him and eventually destroyed him.

He still wants to play his music, but is he beginning to become frantic. He has more anger than usual boiling up inside of him, which is a direct result of Hodiak occupying his head because of Emma. Which in turn, leads to him beginning to manipulate Emma even more than he usually does. This couldn’t have come at a worse time, as Ken makes his way down to the commune to see his daughter, only to give her notice that she is officially emancipated. Which is obviously to clean up the family name, but to also free his daughter from the rebellion that she sought out in the first place. This along with the terrifying manipulative LSD group trip on Manson’s part messes with Emma. She doesn’t know whether to stay or to go, in which she ultimately goes. For the time being, anyway. As Manson always predicts, they come back eventually.

All in all, ‘Sick City’ moves the story along, but not at a fast pace. The presence of three different story-lines, especially in this episode, leads to an extremely convoluting and confusing plot. Too much happens at once. Especially with Shafe’s drug ring investigation, there are too many characters to focus on in terms of who’s important and who isn’t. The show is much simpler with Manson being a foreboding figure over the LAPD, with Hodiak and Shafe working their investigations as the main focal point.  
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