‘Aquarius’ S2: E04 ‘Revolution 1’ Review

‘Aquarius’ S2: E04 ‘Revolution 1’ Review

By Amanda Joyce June 24, 2016 01:45PM EDT
90% Review Score: 9 / 10
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NBC Universal Television
Aquarius (TV Series) (2015)

As Martin Luther King Jr. is assassinated, Hodiak (David Duchovny) is tasked with working a case in a black neighborhood while trying to prevent a riot. Shafe (Grey Damon) begins to experience marital problems as his wife becomes more involved with the Black Panthers. Charmaine (Claire Holt) discovers how much undercover work can cost her after spending last week’s triple episode premiere investigating drug dealers from the inside.


**Spoiler Alert**

This review contains spoilers for S2E04 of Aquarius. If you haven’t yet watched, read at your own risk.


The Good

Shafe gets a flashforward. We see a few marital problems for Shafe in the present storyline as the Black Panthers take up a larger presence in his family, but it looks like that might just be the tip of the iceberg. While we saw Emma and the rest of Charlie’s family in last week’s flashforward, tonight’s focuses on Shafe and his, surprisingly, drug use. Of course, by the time we get to the end of the episode, we find out he does heroin to keep his cover and to help Charmaine on her drug case, but it’s clear that’s not going to go well for him in the future. We also see that Shafe might have also done something very, very, bad since he’s covered in blood and he’s also got a necklace that looks like a similar saint’s pendant to the one Emma had last week.

Framing the episodes with the flashforward. Now, because of the way the premiere was aired, I don’t know if the first three episodes were structured the same way and I just didn’t notice it, but I love that the decision was made to tease the future at the opening and closing of the episode. Just giving the audience a taste without bouncing back and forth between the future and the present storyline too much makes me even more curious about the path Shafe is on.

Bunchy returns. I wish Gaius Charles wasn’t quite such an in demand actor. Because then he could be a series regular on the show. I love Charles and his addition to the show as a Black Panther party leader. Given that Shafe’s wife Kristen is so involved with the local branch, I hope we’ll see more of him this season.

Charmaine is a careful sidestepper. She’s intelligent and quick on her feet as usual, but Roy almost catches Charmain in a lie about her father. It’s got to get harder and harder to keep your cover story straight when you’re making it up as you go along, and it’s amazing that Charmaine has stayed safe with Roy as long as she has.

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Shafe and Kristin’s big blow up. Kristin, upset with Shafe for telling her to go home in the middle of Black Panther headquarters, accuses him of treating her as less than he would treat a white woman. She reminds him that she’s his wife. Shafe, not realizing that he treated her badly, was trying to do his job, and he apologizes, wanting to prevent her from kicking him out. It’s a moment where neither of them are able to see the other side of the argument, neither of them are completely in the wrong, but neither of them are right either. I have a feeling things will get much worse for them based on the flashforward we saw, but I can’t help but hope the two of them work it out.

Hodiak always looks beyond the obvious. In the 1960s, especially in the wake of Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination, the idea of a black family sheltering a young white man that others suspected of killing a young black girl would not have occurred to 90% of detectives. The 60s were a racist and close minded time on one end of the spectrum, and as much as Hodiak is stuck in the past in some ways, as we saw in season one, when it comes to race, he’s progressive for his time. He’s always able to see the bigger picture and look beyond the first step that the other officers working with him would see.


The Bad

Hodiak’s wife interrupts the episode to bring the family drama. The storyline about Hodiak’s son was the storyline that bored me the most in season one. I understand it’s a reflection of the time in which the show is set, but it already does such a good job with the racial conflicts and the Manson storyline that we don’t need the Walt storyline pulling from the screen time for the other two. If the show did one or two of these at a time instead of trying to throw them all in the same episode, it would work better.


The Questions

Will Emma ever see her parents again? We didn’t see them this week, and Emma is firmly entrenched in Charlie’s family now. So much so that she’s able to calm him down just before he goes off while everyone else looks on in horror. I can’t help but wonder if she’ll cross paths with them before the fateful murder spree.

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What does Shafe do? Does he kill someone? Does he deliver Emma’s baby? Was he somehow connected to whatever’s ahead for Charlie and his family? Or does what happens to Shafe in the future connect to his relationship with his wife?

Will Roy survive his gunshot? Charmaine, to prevent excess death (and because she’s somehow started to care about Roy), decides to reveal she’s an undercover cop and arrest both men instead of allowing Roy to be killed and getting deeper into the drug ring. Roy ends up hit by a bullet anyway though, and repeatedly tells Charmaine he’s going to kill her. If he survives, she better watch out.


Grading the episode: I enjoyed this episode even more than all three of the episodes that made up the season premiere combined, and it barely even touched on the Manson family aspect of the show. I very much enjoy the show exploring other aspects of the 60s and allowing the audience to see how it connects to Charlie’s future plans. B+

Tags: Aquarius (TV Series) (2015), David Duchovny, Claire Holt, Grey Damon, Emma Dumont
About the Author
Having graduated with a BS in Psychology in 2008, Amanda opted not to pursue a scientific field, but freelance writing instead. A bit of a pop culture junkie, ...
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