Aquarius Season 1 Episode 8 Review: “Sick City”


We’re well past the halfway mark of the first season of NBC’s Aquarius, and the show has been incredibly enjoyable so far, even during its occasional dull moments. The renewal for a second season has ensured that we don’t have to completely worry about all loose ends getting tied up nicely during this second half of the season, and that allows for us to be much more accepting of new developments than we would perhaps be otherwise. Let’s see how the story continues in “Sick City.” As per usual, I’ll keep the review somewhat spoiler-lite.

The episode begins with Ken Karn getting the news that he will be more directly helping the Nixon campaign. While this initially seems like great news, he realizes that this position means that the campaign will be looking deep into the law firm’s history — specifically, into the information concerning Charles Manson. Unfortunately for Ken, Sam has begun looking into that missing persons case, and Brian is busy doing some undercover work on the same track.

Much of the casework in Aquarius so far has been mostly disconnected from Manson and his commune, but the case in “Sick City” allows for things to naturally begin including the Manson “family” in a more direct way. As nice as it’s been to get to see all of the characters sort of doing their own thing, it’s also nice (now that we’re almost to the end of the season) to see the overall story being moved into the forefront once again.

Additionally in “Sick City,” the priest friend of Sam’s from the previous episode shows up at the precinct to ask for Sam’s help. It seems that one of the other priests at the church is taking money for himself, and Sam agrees to look into it for him. Charlie, meanwhile, is trying to impress a music producer that shows up at the commune, but he is too distracted by Sam to completely be himself. Blaming Emma for this, he orders her to make the music man happy (through any means necessary) so that he’ll stay. Unfortunately, things don’t go the way she planned.

The case with the priest ended up being pretty interesting, and it doesn’t exactly follow through in the way that I initially expected when it was introduced. As interesting as it was, though, the episode was reinforced by how deeply it jumped back into the Manson storyline. I’ve talked before about how I’ve enjoyed the separation of that story with the things that Sam has been working on, so I’m as surprised as I could be that I liked this reincorporation so much. The scenes at the commune still seem to be the dullest on the show to me, but the story itself seems to be getting a bit stronger. As always, the acting in Aquarius saves the show whenever necessary, and it’s remaining as enjoyable as always. It isn’t that often that my expectations for a new show are actually lived up to, but Aquarius has so far managed to defy the odds.

What did you think of “Sick City?” What are your hopes for the remaining episodes of season 1? Let us know in the comments below!

[Photo credit: Vivian Zink/NBC]

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