Tweetable Takeaway: Aquarius probes corruption in LAPD testing Hodiak’s loyalties in A Change is Gonna Come. Tweet
Airtime: Thursday at 9pm on NBC
By: Eric Rodriguez, Contributor
Hodiak suffers the painful side effects of change.
If real change were easy, everyone would be doing it. We all deal with the stress of transformation in different ways, if at all. If there’s a more destructive way to deal with change, Hodiak is looking for it. For now, drinking, driving, and beatings will have to do.
Crime, criminals, murder – Dirty Cops and Black Panthers.
South Central is the scene of the crime. Hodiak responds to an arson murder call. Cassius Thomas, an old friend of his that owned and operated a hair salon, is murdered and left in his burning building. Officer Tolson, first on the scene, thinks Cass walked in on a robbery and was gunned down, but that doesn’t explain the arson. Bunchy Carter, the leader of the local Black Panthers, protests from across the street.
Bunchy, and his vigilant crew, are riled up over the murder of Michael Younger, three days earlier. Hodiak asks Bunchy who Michael Younger was, but they tell him to ask Officer Tolson. Tolson knew Younger, he said he was a good kid who liked cops and used to help him out from time to time. He thinks that alone was enough to get him killed and tells Hodiak that his prime suspect should be Bunchy Carter. Hodiak promises Bunchy he’ll look into the Younger murder hoping to rate some cooperation in Cass’s investigation.
Hodiak thinks he has friends in the South Central community, but when he questions one of them, a restaurant owner, the man clarifies; he likes Hodiak, but they are not friends. He won’t talk to Hodiak about Cass’s murder, but he points out an elderly woman, Hanna, who will.
Hanna saw someone run from the crime scene, but at first, she identifies the wrong man. In the end, his nephew, a junkie, killed Cass for the seventeen dollars fix-money in the cash register. His nephew didn’t set the fire, that is linked to the Younger murder.
Charlie and the girls miss Emma, and Emma wants to return to the compound.
This girl is hell bent on hanging with the bad boys. On the other hand, she really doesn’t have any good guys in her life. Sadie and the other girls miss her in a big way and wonder what Charlie’s doing to get her back. Charlie doesn’t always tell them everything he has in the fire, he has a plan, but he always convinces them he is the one making choices and doing the right thing.
Grace Karn thanks and credits Ken for the return of their daughter. She also lays down the law about how convincing they are going to be as a couple while maintaining a convenient relationship. Happiness would be impossible in this house and the only one who isn’t in complete denial about that fact is Emma; she wants out.
Grace knows Emma wants to run and asks her boy-toy Hodiak for help. He calls on friend, retired cop Joe Wilson, to babysit her. Wilson catches her the first time she tries to run from school, but Sadie infiltrates the house as one of Emma’s school friends and the two of them get away quietly. Grace is pissed when she finds out and blames Ken for being Ken and Hodiak for no-follow through. The only person really vested in Emma is Charlie.
Walt Hodiak returns for a brief moment before heading back to his crusade.
Walt Hodiak is a deserter with a purpose. He has evidence that the United States, under order of its liar President, is conducting illegal bombing operations in Cambodia. Walt is part of a movement set on exposing the truth and supplying the press with hard evidence. Sam is glad to see his son, but doesn’t entirely agree with his assessment. He’s torn because he can see Walt really believes he is doing the right thing, but Sam knows that isn’t always enough. Corruption and disloyalty are always gray area and he has his own “Cambodia” unfolding at the LAPD.
Who killed Michael Younger and will there be justice?
Shafe digs into the Younger investigation and determines he died from injuries received from a chokehold or “cop hold” as referred to in South Central. The ridiculous detective assigned to the case, Len “Lead Butt” Burns, is notorious for drawing cases the department doesn’t want solved. Shafe and Hodiak both see Officer Tolson as the prime suspect, but acting Lieutenant Ed Cutler wants them to drop the inquiry. Hodiak argues that holding Tolson accountable will go a long way in bridging cooperation with the South Central community, but Cutler debates the LAPD won’t publicly acknowledge a cop killed a black youth. He cements Bunchy’s dispute that there is no justice in South Central.
Hodiak resigns himself to the reality of his times and crawls back to the bottle, and the bottle forgives him. It’s a touching scene that begins with a tumbler, leads to a drive through the narrow hillside roads, and ends at the Manson compound.
Charlie doesn’t resist as Hodiak nearly beats him to death in front of several witnesses. Shafe steps in and saves both their lives. There’s some fantastic irony; the man with the best moral compass saves Charlie Manson’s life. That’s good television.
Eric lives in a world where the television is great, the smiles are warm, the pizza is hot, the puppies are playful, and the zombies are slow and meander while he reloads.