{TB Talks TV} Aquarius Review: “A Whiter Shade of Pale”


aquarius nbcTweetable Takeaway: Charlie Manson’s twist on politeness; when someone does you a solid, send a Thank You Girl.

Airtime: Thursday at 9pm on NBC

By: , Contributor

Aquarius uncovers at the real estate scams of a racist neighborhood in A Whiter Shade of Pale. Hodiak shows more layers to his character making him one of the most interesting detective characters on television. There is nothing overly clever about the crimes on this show, no need for a specially gifted genius or technology driven teams to solve cases. The crimes, and the difficulties solving them, are rooted in social ills. Hodiak carries his share. He’s an alcoholic, but mostly sober because he realizes how toxic it is. He’s also a racist, but does his best to be equitable. Like the alcoholism, no matter what strides he makes, in his own mind, he’s still a racist underneath; and a sexist, and probably some other things we haven’t seen yet. Hodiak realizes he’s full of poison, but he’s also self motivated to change.

Shafe isn’t safe in his own home.

Shafe is eager to meet with Jimmy Too Butano and go back out to the Manson compound when his lovely wife, Kristen, announces her mother is on the way over for a visit. She’s a pleasant woman experiencing the joy of being a grandmother. There is a lot of love in their home but wickedness lurks just outside.

A rock flies through their kitchen window, striking Kristen. Shafe spots the car and chases on foot, but the coward gets away. The sympathetic landlord responds quickly. He offers to rent them a different unit at some other location, and he has the window fixed immediately. Shafe assumes it’s his nasty neighbor, Howard, but Hodiak volunteers to find out for sure. Howard claims he doesn’t hate colored people, but he insists property values have plummeted since the neighborhood diversified, many of the neighbors are angry and blame the Shafes.

Hodiak patrols the neighborhood and follows a suspicious vehicle from one end of town to another. When the car parks, Drew, the driver, takes off on foot. Hodiak catches up with him and he’s quick to confess his part. Drew didn’t know or want to hurt anyone. He is just part of a scam with his cousin who promised him a cut of their profits. The cousin has a sick little plan in motion.

Gene, Shafe’s landlord, is using the colored family to drive down the property values in the neighborhood, then he buys the homes the white people sell at a loss on their way somewhere more white and sells them to the colored families moving in, at an inflated cost. He is a real piece of work. However, Hodiak gets Gene to agree to give the Shafe’s free rent should they decide to stay.

Shafe gains better access to the Manson compound.

Shafe and Jimmy Too visit the Manson compound. Manson is still recovering from the vicious beating Hodiak gave him but also wants Roy to find out more information about Brian Shafe. He is thankful Shafe saved his life and Roy is curious how Shafe got Hodiak to quit the assault.


Jimmy Too, the son of a famous gangster brings Manson a revolver as a present, to defend himself next time. When he pulls it from his jacket to show Manson, Roy aggressively disarms him, which pisses off the spoiled, and slightly psychotic, Jimmy Too. Manson shows his deep appreciation to both men by offering them his women. Jimmy Too is more than happy to accept this gratuity, but Shafe sneaks out of doing anything with the girl he picked. More and more, Manson taps the women in his life like most people would use a checking account. It’s a sinister twist on human resources by a master manipulator.

When they finish, Jimmy Too tells Shafe that he has people that will kill Roy just to show their loyalty to Jimmy and that he has someone who will kill Hodiak as well. Manson likes the gun and he fires off some target practice. Charlie Manson with a gun? He’s plenty dangerous with his mouth.

Hodiak and Grace Karn really have their hooks into each other.

You ever have one of those relationships that felt good on one level and was completely toxic in every other way? Grace goes to comfort Hodiak, they reminisce, but it ends up with her yelling at, and blaming him, for Emma’s issues. She also wants him to look into Ken’s connection to Manson. Hodiak thinks it has something to do with old case, a woman who went missing right around the time Ken first started to represent Charlie.

While Hodiak is busy with the cold case, he hands some detective duty to Charmain. A young woman, Loris Price, was brought in after a physical assault. Charmain takes her interview but finds the story hinky and the bruises inconsistent with the time line. She thinks Lori, a cheerleader, is covering for her boyfriend, a local football hero named Jason Elkins. Charlene takes the theory to Cutler and Hodiak. They both tell her to drop it. There is nothing they can do if Lori doesn’t identify her boyfriend as the attacker.

Charmain takes matters in her own hands when Lori ends up in a coma. She dresses up for a party and targets Jason Elkins. Hodiak arrives just in time to see her and talk her down. She wants the to mean something. He gives her some of his hard earned cop wisdom, there is only so much they can do. Of course, Hodiak is a dude with a lot on his plate.

Hodiak meets with the underground movement contact that Walt was staying with. The man tells him Walt is on the run, he doesn’t know where, but there is some serious heat from the military looking for him. They also think Walt is a little off in the head and dangerous. Walt picked up a gun from somewhere before disappearing. Hodiak drops in on his Ex, Opal, and brings a bottle of booze. That’s just what both of them need. Compared to his love life, Los Angeles homicide is fairly tame.

Charlie has a philosophy for life and it goes a little something like this…

You can go through life being afraid, or be the thing that makes other people afraid.


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.

Twitter: @etom2012

Keep up with all of Eric’s Aquarius reviews here.
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