‘Aquarius’ S2: E10 ‘Blackbird’ and E11 ‘Can You Take me Back’ Review

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Emma (Emma Dumont) and her father (Brian F. O’Byrne) reconcile, though as Emma recovers from her stay in the institution, she wants to find Charlie (Gethin Anthony). Hodiak (David Duchovny) investigates the Black Panther shooting, though it might come at Charmaine’s (Claire Holt) expense. Shafe (Grey Damon) also finds an old friend at rehab.


**Spoiler Alert**

This review contains spoilers for S2E10 and S2E11 of Aquarius. If you haven’t yet watched, read at your own risk.


The Good

Emma and Ken bond. While Emma being a normal teenage girl and recovering her memories is actually slightly disconcerting, it’s nice to see her understanding her father and bonding with him. Ken isn’t the best guy. We know he’s killed people, or tried to kill people, or buried the bodies other people have killed, and he and Emma have never really see eye to eye. As Emma starts to recover her pre-shock-treatment memories though, Ken is acting more and more like her father. Of course, most fathers and daughters don’t relax together with drugs, but it seems to work for them.

Hodiak takes over Bunchy’s case. Thanks to Kristin’s convictions and Charmaine’s tip, Hodiak knows that Bunchy being gunned down during a Panthers meeting isn’t just a random attack. While other detectives clearly give Kristine the runaround as she gives them information, Hodiak dives right in, believing that he can catch the people responsible, even if it puts him up against the FBI. You have to admire his tenacity, even if we know a lesser cop would be off the squad if they pulled half of the things Hodiak does.

Sadie and Tex prove their loyalty. Sadie has done some tough things for Charlie in the past, but last we saw of Tex, he was a relatively gentle guy who was afraid of getting out of control on drugs. Apparently Sadie and Charlie have rubbed off on him as he and Sadie ruthlessly stab one of Charlie’s perceived enemies. For Sadie, this seems like a natural progression. But for Tex, this seems very sudden.

Hodiak is addicted to mysteries. What an excellent assessment of his character, and really a great assessment of most of the detectives you see in primetime dramas.

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Ken is revealed in the flashforwards. Up to this point, we’ve had glimpses of nearly every main character during the night of the Manson family murder spree, but like most of the audience, I didn’t really consider that either of Emma’s parents might have had anything to do with that night. Ken though seems to know just what Charlie is up to since he asks Charlie to stop and not involve Emma in what’s happening. Of course, now that we know Ken has no job and is trying to find himself by living with Charlie and his girls, it does make a little more sense.

Roy has Shafe, his CI, and Kristin at his mercy. We all knew that Roy would come back into play at some point. He’s not the kind of guy who takes kindly to being fooled by undercover cops. The fact that he can’t find a way to get to Charmaine right away though speaks volumes about just how good she is at covering her tracks. He has to go through Vic to get to Shafe, use Shafe’s wife against him, to get to Charmaine. It’s a long and twisty path, but it provides for a tense standoff. And it finally allows Charmaine to take on Roy.

Charmaine and Hodiak face off. Charmaine proves that she’s outgrown him as he tells her to take whatever deal is offered her from Internal Affairs, and she tells him she doesn’t need to. When she told him that she’d learned from the best, she wasn’t wrong. Hodiak taught her how to see what everyone else might have missed. She knows that everything that Hodiak has done has to catch up with him.

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The Bad

The first hour is incredibly choppy. I’m not sure if scenes were cut or if the writers simply expected the audience to be able to make leaps between scenes for themselves, but it felt like there were whole sections of story missing.

Charlie in jail with Ralph. The crux of the “Blackbird” episode is simply Charlie quoting the song to Ralph while they’re both handcuffed in a cell. We get a little bit of Emma having lost her way and her father realizing she wasn’t ready to fly on her own, so to speak. And we get Kristin leaving Shafe because she realizes that they aren’t on the same page when it comes to racial conflict. Those are better ways of interpreting the song than simply having Charlie taunt Ralph with the lyrics.

There is a four month jump between episodes. I can’t help but feel, since we’ve seen similar jumps in the last few episodes, that the writers were rushing through events to get to the big finale. It’s almost like they were worried that the writing was on the wall and that they won’t be getting a season three, so they wanted to speed through as much storyline as possible to get to the night that most people have at least heard about.

Where’s the concern for Sadie’s baby? Everyone is incredibly concerned for Mary’s little boy (the one that Sadie actually stole from a hospital last season) when he’s taken away from her and they want him back, but we only get one mention of the fact that Sadie had a baby when she has to change a diaper. That’s it.

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The Questions

Does Emma participate in the murders? From the flashforwards, it looks like she’s brought along for the ride, but that she freezes up and watches everything unfold as she cries. But is that really all that happens?

Is Hodiak really retiring? I have a hard time believing that he can just walk away, even with Internal Affairs out for blood. And what happened with his serial killer case in the months that IA has been investigating him and we jumped ahead in the timeline?

Will Charmaine ever become a detective? Everyone wants her to work on cases for them, but everyone also wants to blame her when the cases go badly. She keeps getting put in tough spots and ending up back at the station, serving coffee, and fetching files.


Grading the episode: A much better one-two punch than last week’s episodes, these were stronger, faster paced, and had more interesting stories to watch unfold. B