AQUARIUS SEASON 2 “HELTER SKELTER” Review
by Walt Frasier for Duchovniacs.com @waltfrasier
“THERE CAN BE NO BIRTH WITHOUT…. DEATH!”
Get ready David Duchovny fans, NBC’s Aquarius is back with a bang – or a slash – in season 2. While Season 1 seemed more of a hippie parade down 1967 memory lane, Season 2 becomes the horror story you expect from a show about “Helter Skelter” and the Manson family.
Thursday June 16 9pm (8pm central) on NBC
David will be live Tweeting tonight @davidduchovny
You can also follow @duchovniacs on twitter as we will be live tweeting tonight. Tag us and we will retweet you (only positive, constructive or funny comments retweeted) Let’s try to get it trending!
POSTING EPISODE RECAPS TONIGHT
Don’t read any further till you have seen episodes 1-2
At first glance you get the sense NBC needed to create some urgency behind this project. While many of us loved Season 1, many wanted more of the actual Manson story. The cop procedural that just happened to have the Manson Family origin story on the side did not capture all.
So Season 2 jumps right into Helter Skelter itself, and around in time. Before even getting to the opening slate, (DAVID DUCHOVNY in….) we are thrown into a whole new tone – More intense, a little darker, a lot bloodier.
It’s 4:22am on August 9, 1969 on Cielo Drive. A pregnant Sharon Tate is dead on the floor. Throughout the episode we bounce back to that night and events leading up to the most famous of the Manson Family endeavors.
Immediately we jump back to Sam Hodiak (David Duchovny) contemplating who the witness could have been ratting him out to IA while – to the jubilee of the female fans – in the shower. While toweling off he gets a photo of a girl. Shafe reports in on progress finding Charmain.
And then we get some resolution – in a quite intense dramatic moment (love Brian) – from Ken and Hal’s cliffhanger.
And this is all before the first…
Pay attention. The show skips around in time a lot. There are some clever tone shifts in the cinematography. 1969 looks like a nightmarish dream sequence, as the actual historical events seem now.
We are introduced to some new historical characters. There are a few fan faves noticeably missing in the first few episodes. But over all, I like it. Nay, love it…
There is a faster pace, with b-roll flashes of past dramas, until the show very deliberately slows to stretch out a moment to reveal a characters inner workings.
And, like season 1, the real star of the show might be the 1960s sound track. And with introduction of a certain new character, we are getting even more civil right rebellious rock.
If you have not seen Season 1, you can jump in tonight fresh, however I would binge this weekend on Netflix. I have seen Season 1 three times now. My wife and I binged when NBC released the full season last year. We live tweeted when the show aired, and once again on the #aquariusrewatch the past two months Saturdays 8pm. I love this show. The writing, direction and acting all capture the times, the history and the original material with artistic flair.
And with recent events – Ferguson, Baltimore, Charleston, Donald Trump etc – the race and culture clashes of today make this exploration of 1967 relevant now. There are a many splashes of controversy – racism, corrupt cops and bad politicians/political hacks. What was old is definitely feeling new again.
So far in Season 2 (watched first three episodes twice now), the story focuses more on the Manson Family Murders and our journey to Helter Skelter. Before that was an excuse for a period cop drama. Now the police procedural – and Nixon campaign – are even more secondary plots.