Archetypes: Television: ‘Aquarius’ Gets Its Neptune On

NBC

NBC

It’s a cosmic no-no to mount a television program set during the Summer of Love, in 1967, without a generous dose of atmosphere. In the case of the new drama, “Aquarius,” that backdrop is courtesy of generational Neptune in Libra.

The combo’s vibe – Neptunian idealization of Libra’s ruler Venus – is iconic and expansive: Neptune and her drug-fueled haze – and connection with the Divine, psychedelia, idealism, seduction, music, vision, deception, surrender, victimhood and absence of boundaries – cozies up to Venus, whose domain is love, values, relationship and desire.

Neptune entered Libra in 1943, where it stayed until 1956. The younger, hippie characters who populate “Aquarius” are the gentle flower children who epitomized the 1960s. Except when they don’t. As LAPD detective Sam Hodiak (David Duchovny) comments, amused at his own observation, “The love generation plays rough.” It’s an understatement.

In the show’s two-hour premiere, Hodiak’s ex-girlfriend Grace (Michaela McManus) calls him, after her daughter Emma (Emma Dumont), who has sneaked out on a date, never returned home. Ken (Brían F. O’Byrne), Emma’s attorney father who has political ties, wants to keep the search for his daughter under the radar. Sam, who may as well have “I’m a cop!” written on his forehead, figures he’ll get farther in his investigation with a more inconspicuous partner, and brings on undercover law enforcement agent Brian Shafe (Grey Damon), as well as policewoman Charmain (Claire Holt).

Emma’s fate is unfortunate. She’s fallen into the clutches of the pre-Sharon-Tate Charles Manson. Emma’s not thrilled with her own parents and her captor’s keen on welcoming her into his own growing family. But Manson seems to know quite a lot about Emma. And, in short order, it’s revealed that Ken knows more about Manson than one might expect.

The plot is linear but the archetypes ooze, Neptunian fashion, from all directions and orifices. Emma is the seducible, Neptunian innocent, joining in with a group of Manson acolytes who seem to have surrendered – the mantra is “Let go of everything” – their egos to him, as he pursues music, a Neptune-related activity. As one of his followers says, “He has a vision” – another Neptunian concept – “and we’re going to help him get there.”

Neptunian drugs, deceit, physical seductions and booze – Sam is a recovering alcoholic – abound. The planet also rules disappearances, and Sam’s son, who’s serving in Vietnam, has gone AWOL. Venus, tied to the Feminine, love and affection, is frequently demeaned, with “free love” devolving into manipulative and forced sex.

Another point of interest in 1967 was the interplay, in the heavens, between Pluto and Uranus, which spoke to rebellion (Uranus) against the prevailing power (Pluto) structure. “Aquarius” – the Zodiac sign ruled by Uranus – isn’t shy about including scenes involving Black Power activism, anti-Vietnam protests, and individual self-expression pitting itself against powerful corporate forces, which parallels Sam and Brian’s moves against Ken’s powerful law firm.

In perhaps the most subtle but far-reaching consequence of Neptunian blurring of identities and hazy perceptions, neither Sam nor Brian has the foresight to see Manson as the dark, murderous force he truly is.

If, through the series’ duration, lackluster cases are thrown onto Sam and his crew’s path, there’s enough archetypal bounty, so illustrative of the era, to make up for the shortfall.

Archetype: Idealist. Addict. Seducer. Deceiver. God.

Astrology Archetype: ♀ ♆ (Venus, Neptune)

 

 

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