#H50 Review – 8.13 O ka mea ua hala, ua hala ia (What is Gone is Gone)

Hawaii Five-0 is, of course, a police procedural.  A task force run by a Navy SEAL, whose command includes two seasoned detectives with decades of police experience, a second Navy SEAL and an, albeit rookie cop, who’s as bad ass as they come.  There are shoot outs, car chases, explosions, hand-to-hand combat and take downs that would make American Sniper proud.  It’s a show full of action, suspense, and excitement.

Then there are episodes like this one.  And, that’s not a bad thing.  Pretty much all shows which have a tried and true formula like to shake that formula up occasionally.  Take for example a situation comedy where the writers decide, for one episode, to tell a very serious story.  These types of episodes are usually a showcase for whichever actor is designated to take the lead.  Sometimes they go down as fan favorites and other times they don’t.  What they do manage to do, is show a different perspective on the familiar formula for a show and usually teach us something about a character we either didn’t already know or was never fully explored before.

Of course, we know Lou Grover and we’ve already heard this story.  Seven years ago, when Lou was heading up SWAT in Chicago, he was the lead negotiator in a hostage situation.  A man named Jorge Molina, had taken his two-year-old son, Christian, hostage in a custody dispute with his ex-wife and was threatening to kill not only himself but the boy as well.  Lou had known Jorge, believing he’d earned his trust after several calls to his parent’s house for domestic disputes over the years when Lou was in uniform.  Because of this, Lou felt certain Jorge would listen to him over the customary hostage negotiator.

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Things looked to be working out.  Lou felt he had Jorge ready to give himself up and let the boy go but something went wrong.  Something set Jorge off.  As the situation rapidly deteriorated, SWAT kept informing Lou they had “the shot”, all they needed was the “green light”.  They could have taken him down and rescued the boy.  But Lou held them back, determined and convinced he could get Jorge out of there peacefully.  Unfortunately, he waited too long.  A shot rang out, followed by a second.  Finding Jorge and, worse, finding that little boy dead affected Lou so profoundly he just couldn’t let it go or, to be more precise, it wouldn’t let go of him.

Lou couldn’t stop feeling that he should have done something more.  The official investigation cleared him of wrong doing but no matter how many times he tried to tell himself there wasn’t anything else he could have done, he just couldn’t get past it.  I went back and re-watched the scene in Episode 4.15 (Pale ‘la – Buried Secrets) where Lou told Steve the story.  I wanted to make sure I got Lou’s own words down correctly:

“And I’m fighting with my wife and I’m yelling at my kids.  The best friend I had in the world, I get into a little argument with him and I end up punching the guy.  And I spent so many nights, late at night, pacing the floor in my living room, on my eighth beer, my ninth beer, my tenth beer, and I’m angry and I’m trying to…. I’m counting all the people that pissed me off that day.  And I’m asking, “What the hell is wrong with everybody?”  Well, eventually, I figured out what the problem was.  And it was me.  And unless I wanted to ruin my career and wreck my marriage, I had to get the hell out of Chicago, man.  Because driving down those streets, every little kid I saw, was Christian Molina.”

 It was a riveting scene, and at the time, we believed a scene being used to setup the start of a PTSD story line for Steve.  The PTSD story line didn’t pan out and that was the end of that.  It never occurred to me we would be seeing the story of little Christian Molina resurface all these years later and in such a profound way.

Now, let me get this off my chest before I go any further.  I love Lou Grover.  I bless the day Peter Lenkov and whoever else was in on the casting, decided to add this character to the team and Chi McBride to the cast.  For as much as I love Lou, I love Chi even more.  This man is one hell of an actor.  He can scare the living crap out of me with his intensity, he can make me laugh with one liners thrown out as casually as you toss socks in the laundry and he can make me cry.  Oh, my Lord.  How that man can make me cry.

Having said that, I also have to say, I am not a fan of the Chicago/Clay Maxwell story line.  I loved the first episode, when Clay killed Diane and Lou was so sure he’d done it.  It was a great episode and Chi really shined.  But after that, it’s left me cold.  I didn’t like the “house destroyer” episode at all and the one where Lou and Will traveled to Chicago was kind of unnecessary.  I mean, what did we learn? Chicago PD is pissed off at Lou?  We already knew that.  The death row guy was mildly interesting until they flipped the switch and then it was just incredibly horrifying.

So, even though Chi was absolutely incredible in every single one of the Clay Maxwell themed episodes, I was trilled beyond measure to see this episode, while still having a  “Chicago” connection, had nothing to do with Clay Maxwell.  I truly hope we’re finally done with that story.

And while we thought we were also done with what seemed like a throw away story about the reason Lou left Chicago, here we are.  I have to admit, I wasn’t all that excited about this episode.  Like I said, I’m not overly fond of most of the Lou-centric episodes in the past (again, not due to any failing on Chi’s part) and I thought this one was going to be similar.  Boy was I wrong.  This story, written by Sean O’Reilly, directed by Roderick Davis and showcasing the amazing talent of not only Chi McBride but Devon Sawa, as Brad Woodward was riveting.

The episode starts off light enough.  It’s a beautiful day and a welcomed day off for Five-0.  Steve and Tani are enjoying a morning of stand-up paddle boarding.  This scene was fun for a number of reasons.  First off, it’s great to see Steve connecting with Tani on a level outside of work.  This is how Ohana is built and, with it, the strength of the team.

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I loved their discussion of how “no matter how far away we go, this island always draws us back home.” Personally, I could have done without the Chin Ho reference (yes.. I admit.. I’m still bitter) but the sentiment was very sweet.  I’ve only vacationed in Hawaii, and I always feel like it’s calling me back.  I can only imagine how people who truly call it home must feel when they leave.

It was also a hoot to remember Chin being locked out of his hotel room in nothing but a towel and hearing how Duke’s wife, Nalani, having been treated to the sight of Chin’s stellar abs, bought Duke a gym membership!  What a great fun update to what was a really funny scene from the past.

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I also got a real kick out of Tani asking Steve if the reason he felt Danny would never leave Hawaii is because Danny doesn’t want to leave or because Steve wouldn’t let him.  “Brothers from another mother”.  HA! It’s not the first time we’ve heard them described like that and it’s always been dead on accurate!

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But, I got my biggest laugh out of Steve telling Tani he’s not the competitive one between he and Danny.  Oh yeah…right!  And obviously, not between himself and Tani either considering the way he had nooooo problem with her trying to beat him into shore (insert good humored sarcasm here! LOL) Um… yeah Steve. You’re not competitive at all (as images of a wheel chair race down hospital corridors springs to mind! LOL).

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Lou is enjoying his day off by spending some time with Will.  Seems Will and Gracie are having a little bit of a tiff because Will was foolish enough to try to give her some unwanted advice.  Lou gives Will some advice of his own; some very prophetic advice at that, about the art of listening.  An art that Lou will demonstrate he is quite proficient in very shortly.

That’s pretty much all the lightheartedness we’re going to get out of this episode.  From the moment Will and Lou came upon the wreck of the car HPD has been looking for in connection with a murder case and Lou approached that car to find Brad Woodward behind the wheel with a gun to his head, it became a tour de force performance piece for both Devon Sawa and, of course, Chi McBride.

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The story of Brad Woodward very much reminded me of the case from Season 1 (1.07 Ho’apono – Accept) where ex-SEAL Graham Wilson took hostages on board the USS Missouri when he was accused of killing his wife.  Just like back then, when Five-0 was able to unravel the case and prove Graham innocent, they’re able to do the same here.  Brad did not kill his wife any more than Graham had.

But the “case” was a minor plot point in this story.  Only the catalyst that set up the meat of what this episode was all about.  This episode was about despair.  When events in a person’s life become so overwhelming, so crushing and feel so incredibly daunting, the only way a person feels they can escape the devastating pain is to take their own life.  Pretty heavy stuff for a shoot-em-up police procedural.

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But this episode was also about life and hope.  Hope that there is always help out there.  That all is not lost.  There are people out there to help you. You are not alone.  Life can go on.

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The performances from both Devon and Chi were incredible.  The range of emotions from them both spellbinding to watch.  Fear, anger, desperation, hopelessness, resignation, determination, acceptance.  All played out within the confines of the front seat of a car and I found it hard to breath through most of it.

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Despite numerous domestic disturbance calls to the couple’s apartment, it turns out Brad didn’t push his wife, Tracy, off a 15th story balcony to her death.  Tani and Junior were able to prove, by use of an ATM camera across the street, that Brad had left the building before she fell.  She had jumped.

But Brad is still crushed by a heavy burden.  It seems no one ever knew that Tracy had battled severe depression for most of their marriage.  Brad had always tried to protect her, especially from herself.  The day she died, she threatened to kill herself by taking a bunch of pills.  The defensive bruising she sustained as well as the (DNA matched to Brad) skin under her fingernails was from the struggle when Brad tried to stop her and took the pills away.

Finally reaching a breaking point himself, Brad left.  I can only imagine what dealing with that type of situation can be like, let alone doing it for years with no breaks and no backup.  He’d had enough and just needed some space.  Unfortunately, without Brad there to stop her and with the pills taken away, she jumped.

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Brad blames himself. If he’d just stayed. If he’d just done more.  If he’d gotten her help.  If he’d asked for help himself.  If… if… if … if.  Devon was incredible with every line of dialog and every moment of Brad’s devastation.  His pain was palatable. It reached out from beyond the screen to grab and break your heart.

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And Brad’s pain grabbed at Lou’s heart as well.  Brought him and all of us back all those years ago, to the death of little Christian Molina.  We always knew, from the day he told the story to Steve how horribly effected he was by the death of that child.  How he always blamed himself, just like Brad. Always questioned every step he’d taken and always thought he should have done more.  So much so, he had to get out of Chicago to escape the pain.  But we never knew just how desperate Lou had become.

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Brad’s story resonated with Lou because Lou had been there himself.  When the scenes shifted back to seven years ago, back to Chicago, back to Lou’s darkest moments, it was mesmerizing.  Watching Lou slowly fall apart, how his anguish and his turmoil brought him to a moment when he took a gun, put the barrel to his heart and almost pulled the trigger, was scary as shit (sorry!).

Another thing that made those scenes so powerful was the performance of Michelle Hurd as Renee Grover.

I was thrilled she was included in the episode because not only do I love Michelle and adore Renee, having her there made Lou’s actions in the flashbacks all the more heart wrenching.  Listening to Lou’s sobs from behind a locked door while Renee is frantically trying to get him to open the door was incredible to watch.

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As was the ultimate moment.  Lou, with that gun to his heart, having laid all the family photos flat as if to protect his family from seeing what he’s about to do, is about to pull the trigger when he hears a crash from the kitchen.  Immediately entering into “cop mode” he moves out into the house to confront the intruder.  Only to find nine-year-old Will in the kitchen, broken bowl at his feet.  Chi is such a spectacular actor you can see several realizations play across is face almost simultaneously.

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Fear that he had a gun trained on his own son.   Shock at the fact Will was in the house at all when he was supposed to be at school and finally, horror in the knowledge that if Will hadn’t dropped that bowl, he’d have heard the shot, he’d have been the one to find his dead father.

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Even though he’ll never know it for as long as he lives, Will saved his father’s life that day.  He’ll also never know how the memory of that day helped his father draw on those memories to gather the strength needed to help Brad.

The fact that Lou was able to use his story to desperately try to help Brad was what was truly wonderful about all of this.  That he was able to reach back and pull forward the most painful moments of his life to help another person.  To try, once again, to talk someone out of doing something there is no coming back from. To try, this time, not to fail, as he felt he did the first time.

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The rest of the team were, obviously not as involved as they would usually be, but everyone contributed something important.  Tani and Junior, of course, were the ones who found the evidence to clear Brad of Tracy’s murder.  In the only light-hearted moment in the heart of the episode, they call Steve from HQ to report their evidence.  Steve looks down at his phone, sees its from either Tani or Junior, and knowing they are together says to Danny, “It’s the kids”.  It was an adorable moment amid all the high tension and I can’t tell you how much I loved it.

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It was also great to see that Duke was leading the HPD officers who were on scene.  He filled in the Five-0 team on the history of all the domestic disturbance calls made to Brad and Tracy’s home and the inability of HPD to make an arrest.  During the standoff, Duke kept Steve up-to-date on sniper positions just in case it became necessary for Steve to use them.

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Please, refresh my memory.  Have we ever seen Duke pull his gun and shoot someone before?  If we have, I can’t remember.

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It was really kind of sad that the one time I can remember him taking someone down, it’s Tracy’s grieving father, John, who, believing Brad did indeed kill his daughter attempts to take justice into his own hands.  While it was sad that a grieving father had to be taken down like that it was good to see Duke take control of the situation, as Five-0 was pretty preoccupied at that moment with Steve approaching the car and Danny keeping a watchful eye.

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The only problem I had with this wonderful episode was the limited amount of screen time Danny had.  It didn’t make the episode any less enjoyable for me, and I was very happy that Danny was there pretty much by Steve side the entire time but there were lines of dialog that were given to others that I thought could have very easily been given to Danny.  It didn’t bother me enough to diminish my enjoyment of the episode at all, just that I wish they’d given Danny more to do.

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But he was there to help calm down John when he showed up hell bent to take his revenge on Brad for killing his daughter.  Daddy Danno always comes in handy in situations with grieving parents, especially fathers grieving over their little girls.  It’s unfortunate his calming words didn’t resonate deep enough to keep John calm long term.

The faith they all had, especially Steve, in Lou’s ability to handle the situation was wonderful to see. Especially because Steve knows the story of Christian Molina and how it affected Lou.  He shows great faith in allowing Lou to handle the situation, even though Detective Keegan, the Official HPD Hostage Negotiator insists it’s a bad idea and knowing it was that same scenario in Chicago that went so wrong.

It shows how much he respects Lou and his judgement.  It couldn’t have been easy for Steve to basically stand by while someone else was in control of the situation.  When Lou entered the car to deal face to face with Brad, I thought Steve was going to have a stroke.

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It was also an interesting parallel to what happened back in Chicago all those years ago.  Duke informs Steve that the snipers have the shot, can take Brad out and end the standoff.  But Steve doesn’t give that order, the same way Lou didn’t give the order back then, convinced Lou wouldn’t let the outcome be the same this time.  Thank God it was not the same this time.

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All in all, I thought this entire episode was extremely well crafted.  The subject matter was handled very sensitively and in no way dismissively.  I really liked how they didn’t try to portray any of this as something a person can just “get over”.  Lou came to Hawaii four and a half years go.  The Christian Molina death was seven years ago.  So, Lou struggled with his demons for a very long time before he left Chicago and, as we can see here, it’s still something that affects him deeply.  And at no time do they ever portray that Brad will simply hand over his gun and all will be well.  No, Brad has a long recovery ahead of him before he can even remotely begin to recover from this.  The addition of the PSA from Chi after the episode ended about the Suicide Prevention Hotline was an extremely nice and much needed touch.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org

(800) 273-8255 (TALK)

For an episode that I wasn’t overly excited about, an episode I wasn’t sure I was going to enjoy as much as most and an episode I was concerned about because I knew there would be little Steve and Danny time, it was an exceptional episode.  Well written, extremely well-acted and one that will go down as one of the best of the series, in my opinion.

That’s it for this week my friends. I hope you all have a fantastic week to come.  Aloha.  Malama Pono.

All screen caps are mine.

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#H50 Review – 8.12 Ka Hopu Nui ‘Ana (The Round Up)

Welcome to 2018 and the start of the second half of Season 8 of Hawaii Five-0.  And, damn, what a way to start off the new year.  I’m honestly sitting here, typing this, and trying to figure out what the hell I’m supposed to say about this episode.  And the one word that keeps playing over in my head is, “intense”.  Every blessed minute of this episode was intense.  Intense action.  Intense sadness.  Intense grief.  Intense loyalty.  Pretty much intense everything.

Courtely of @SurfBelle2

Let’s start off with one of the most horrible crimes we’ve had in a while. The murder of FBI Agent Douglas Fischer, his wife and their beautiful six-year-old daughter.  You knew it was going to happen.  The moment you saw that box sitting on the front steps, the moment you saw the “delivery man” coldly look over his shoulder, you just knew that box was going to explode and explode big.  But, the entire family?  No, that I did not expect.

In one of the most heartbreaking scenes we’ve had on this show in a long time, Steve stands over the bodies of the Fischer family in the morgue.  But it’s the tiny, draped body of the little girl, her stuffed rabbit in tatters by her side, that makes this scene so wrenching.  We’ve seen kids hurt, taken, orphaned.  We’ve “known” that children have died.  But to actually see her on that table was horrendously powerful.

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Children have always touched a deep cord in Steve’s heart and this?  This absolutely brings out the fury in him. Looking at that small body, an innocent child who will never grow up, who will never hold her beloved “Albert” again.  A fury to find who the hell did this and bring them down…. now.  He is so absorbed in the moment, he doesn’t even hear a major portion of Noelani’s report.  I loved how her words were muffled so we had a hard time hearing her as well.  It brought us right into exactly what Steve was feeling in that moment.

Of course, all those feelings, all those thoughts, Steve doesn’t say any of it.  There is not a single word of dialog for Steve in the entire morgue scene.  He doesn’t need to say anything.  Once again, as has happened more times than I can count, Alex’s acting was superb.  He didn’t need to say a thing.

His body language, the tightly folded arms, as if he’s struggling to contain his anger, his lock-jawed facial expression and the sadness combined with fire in his eyes, once again, delivered pages of dialog without him having to utter a single word.  That look in his eyes set the tone for the entire episode flawlessly.  As always, Alex was remarkable!

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COTW:  There seems to be a new crime boss in town and even after everything that happened in this episode we, and Five-0 still have no idea who it is?  But, whoever it is, is positively diabolical.  They have orchestrated a series of events within the organized crime element on the island in an elaborate attempt to cease control.  They have some how pitted all the major gangs against each other in order to “thin the herd” and have murdered the FBI agent (and his innocent family) brought in to try to crush the gang violence on the island.

But this plan was in effect long before the FBI became involved.  They also executed the  murder of Michelle Shioma in prison and made it look like Brandon Kenzo, the acting Yakuza boss, was making a play to take over.  But he’d backed off, hiding somewhere safe while the ongoing turf war between the gangs raged on.  That only served to make him look guiltier.

In an attempt to find out who killed Fischer and his family, Five-0, with the help of HPD and the National Guard round up pretty much every gang member on the island and herd them all into a makeshift holding facility.

Whoever this new player is, there’s no way he could have known Five-0 would do this, but he still had the ability to pull together a small group of foreign mercenaries out of Toyko to attack the facility.  Killing several cops, removing all the bosses of all the major gangs from the cells, lining them all up and executing them.

This new player; he’s played everyone perfectly.  The gangs, the Yakuza, HPD, the FBI and Five-0.  I can’t wait to see how this all plays out.  We haven’t had a legitimate Big Bad since Gabriel (and some would say, we haven’t had one since WoFat).  This, obviously, is going to be our big story for the rest of the season.  I can’t wait to see how this one plays out.  It looks to be a really great story for everyone.

Adam:  Finally, we have found something for Adam besides being the guy “always in the wrong place at the wrong time”.  He played a major part in this episode and will be playing an even bigger part in episodes to come.

As I said above, whoever this new player is, he’s set up the chess pieces perfectly, including the fact that he didn’t start any of his coordinated efforts until six weeks ago.  Coincidentally, the exact same time Adam returned to the island.  Naturally, with Adam’s background, the FBI zeroed in on that coincidence and hauled Adam in for questioning.

Of course, the fact they had a picture of Adam visiting Michelle Shioma in prison on the day she was murdered didn’t look very good for Adam.  My first thought when I saw that picture was “Oh Adam…what were you thinking?!?!?”  I can see why the FBI would think what they did.  It turns out that Michelle’s intentions were basically good, if she can ever be considered even remotely good.  She just wanted to know where her children were.  As a mother, I can understand just wanting to know they are alright.

Of course, Adam shouldn’t have gone to see her.  Shouldn’t have let his curiosity get the best of him.  It is to his credit that he didn’t do as Michelle asked.  He wouldn’t put those children at risk by bringing their mother back into their lives.  Not even for her promise to give him his money back nor learning some supposed secret that “could change his life.”

But, he seriously should have, at the very least, informed Steve about it right way.  That way Steve wouldn’t have been blindsided when he was handed that file with the picture inside.

But Adam was invaluable in tracking down and bringing in Kenzo at great personal risk, I might add.  It’s very lucky that Adam was able to talk his way into and then out of there and bring Kenzo out safely.  I didn’t like watching Adam sitting there surrounded by Yakuza with their guns in his face.

By the end of the episode, it’s more than obvious to Steve that whoever this new player is, he’s a major threat and Five-0 is going to need all the help it can get in their quest to find him and take him down.  It has Steve reaching out to the one person he knows and trusts with an intimate knowledge of that world.  Adam.

I loved how Adam didn’t hesitate for even a second before he said, “I’m in” to Steve’s offer to head up his own task force under the offices of Five-0 to help track down this new threat.  Let’s face it.  Adam’s been adrift ever since he got out of prison.  First it was bouncing from job to job trying to get past his record.  Then it was following Kono all across the mainland.   We have no idea what he’s been doing with himself since he came back to Oahu besides cleaning out chimneys and Christmas shopping at the mall.

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This is just what Adam needs, what he’s been looking for, even if he, himself, doesn’t realize it.  A way to prove to everyone, maybe even to himself, that he is a good man.  That he can make a difference. That he can do something to help people and be productive.  To fight the good fight for a good cause.  To have a purpose.  He is now part of Five-0.  You can’t get much better than that.

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Tani:  I’m beginning to sound like a bit of a broken record, but I loved Tani in this episode.  First off, I loved how she didn’t hesitate for one moment to go to Steve and tell him that the FBI approached her.  Of course, I wouldn’t expect her to do anything else.  After what happened with Wright and the incident with getting her brother out of a raid, there was no way in hell she’d do anything less than keep Steve 100% in the loop.

I was a little leery when Steve allowed her to go after Damien Bautista alone.  I mean, this guy was a high-level target and she went in without any back up at all, not even at a distance.  It was obvious by her reaction when she saw his picture on her phone that the two of them had some sort of history.

I assumed it had something to do with Koa.  Well, it did, but it turns out they had also been in a relationship.  Makes me extremely interested in learning more about her past before she entered the Academy.  Damien taunted her over being kicked out of “cop school” with the barb, “I guess you can’t fight your upbringing”.  It seems it wasn’t only Koa who ran with a bad crowd.

Anyway, Damien has heard about the sweep of every bad guy on the island and he did call for backup.  In a move that was 100% McGarrett, she shoves Damien over the balcony railing into the pool below before following him into the drink to escape his gun toting friends.  She is so awesome.

Junior:  What a hell of a first day on the job Junior had, no?  It’s no surprise what-so-ever that Junior handled himself very well for his first day.  I have to admit though, I’m still a bit confused as to why Steve seems to be holding him back.  I mean, I understand why he wanted Junior to go to the Academy.  To get a feel of whether his skills could translate from soldier to cop.   But he’s seen first hand what Junior can do on more than one occasion now.

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Also, he had no hesitation to throw Tani into the mix right off the bat.  Sure, she’s Academy trained but now, so is Junior.  But, Academy or no, Junior is a SEAL.  At this point, why does he need to take “baby steps” when Tani never did?  It doesn’t make sense at all.

Regardless, Junior once again proved he has what it takes to be Five-0.  Sent to pick up a lower-level suspect, as back-up to HPD, Junior saves the life of an officer after the suspect killed his partner.  Armed with only his gun against a thug with an automatic weapon spraying fire everywhere, Junior goes full on McGarrett to take the the guy down.

He was so much like Steve in that scene is was really fun to watch.  He pulls the injured cop to safety and calls for back up (ok, so maybe the calling for backup part isn’t 100% like Steve 😉).  He then rips the mirror off the side of the car to see where their perp was shooting from.  Making his way into the house, he’s immediately greeted by a barrage of bullets flying all around him.

Managing to evade being shot, he uses a flash bang grenade he just happened to have with him (sooooo like Steve) to concuss the shooter and, in a brutal brawl, manages to get the guy’s gun away from him and shoots him center mass.  Ummmmm, Steve?  I really don’t think you need to worry about Junior needing to take “baby steps”.

And, of course, just like Steve, he plays down the fact that he actually didn’t dodge every bullet flying in that house but got winged during the gunfire.  He only asks for EMTs to check him out after he’s sure the wounded cop has been taken care of.  You can see he’s not thinking about himself or the fact that he’s injured.  He’s disappointed because he feels he failed in his mission to bring in the perp alive and more than anything, he’s grieving for the officer he was unable to save.

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The scene at the morgue between Tani and Junior was very touching.  Tani is there to retrieve Damien’s personal affects as she feels, since she knows her personally, she should be the one to inform Damien’s mother of his death.  In the next room is Junior, heartbroken, standing over the body of the fallen officer.

These two have developed a special bond in the few months they’ve known each other.  Will it further develop into a relationship, who knows? For now, it is a warm, comforting friendship.  In this moment they are both upset over the deaths they each feel responsible for.  Tani, for hauling Damien into a situation where he really had no guilt, which lead to him being killed.  Junior for not doing more to protect the fallen officer.

Of course, neither are to blame for what happened but they are both feeling distress over what they see as failure in themselves.  Although it was Tani who was comforting Junior, telling him it was not his fault, that there wasn’t anything more he could have done, she is saying the exact same thing to herself.

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That they could be there for each other in that moment is the essence of what has always made this show so fantastic.  Our team, no matter which members are being highlighted at any particular moment, is always there for each other. Period.

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Eddie:  Last week, in my New Year’s post, I wrote that I really hoped the writers would find a way to write Eddie into more episodes.  And not just having him following Steve around Casa McG but into actual cases.  I can’t say how thrilled I am to see him used in the case this week.

First off, the scene with Lou and Steve in the Silverado was golden.  Eddie’s stink eye at Lou was perfection, as was Eddie’s little “grumpft” and growl at Lou when Steve told him Eddie was miffed because Lou was in his seat.  This little bit of levity in the middle such an (there’s that word again) intense episode was a much needed and welcome breather.

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But it was watching Eddie do what he was trained to do that was the most fun for me.  I loved how he never took his eyes off Steve while getting his “instructions” and following him into the house.  I loved Steve’s “Eddie… on me!” Perfect!

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While Steve and Lou cleared the rooms on the first floor, Eddie headed upstairs on his own to clear the upper floors.  It was Eddie who found the secret crawl space Hector escaped through and it was Eddie who followed him and took him down…. hard!

Seeing Eddie as part of the team, with his own “Five-0” Kevlar and being a major contributor in a raid was fantastic.  Like I said in my last blog, Eddie is Military and DEA trained and those skills should be utilized as much as possible.  It makes him an extremely important member of the team.  I’m happy it looks like we’ll see him as such more often.

Steve:  I am absolutely loving the additional development of Steve’s character this season.  Of course, we all know Steve pretty damn well but it’s the way the character is being written this season that has me totally intrigued.  It’s becoming clear that he is coming to terms with the fact that he really is what Danny has accused him of not being for years.  A real human being, one that is not indestructible and not always in control.

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Oh, he is still our SuperSEAL.  Still leaping into the storm raged sea, still taking risks, still being the steadfast, heroic leader, he’s always been.  His loyalty to his friends and his team always at the top of his priority list.

I loved how he went to Fischer’s office when he found out that Fischer had approached Tani to spy on the team to get information on Adam.  How he defended Adam’s reputation and calmly, yet without any doubt as to his meaning, told Fischer what would happen if he ever approached a member of his team again.

Then later when he literally stormed into that same office to pull Adam out of there.   Oh yes, he is still our Steve through and through.

But he’s also now in a position that he’s totally unfamiliar with.  This season, Steve’s story is an emotional one.  He is no longer in complete control of everything.  Think about it.  Toast’s killer is still out there.  Wright slipped through their fingers.  He has no idea why Danny was targeted nor why he still may be a target. Now there’s this new organized crime threat to deal with.

Add into that “mentoring” the newbies, the restaurant, his illness and the day to day running of Five-0 beyond these new threats and Steve has a hell of a lot on his plate.

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It’s almost as if, entering into his 8th year as team leader, the Steve McGarrett of “Five-0” is becoming an amalgam with the Steve McGarrett of “Five-O”.  The McGarrett of the original series was an older, less active leader than our Steve.  He didn’t get his hands dirty all that often.  Of course, it was a different era of TV so the action was on an entirely different level but that McGarrett was more like a Head Coach, moving his players around to the best advantage.

While still our intrepid SuperSEAL, Steve is also now a man in his forties, more mature, more weathered and more open to delegating to other members of his team, just as the McGarrett of old once did.

Now, don’t get me wrong.  He’s nowhere near ready for a desk, not by a very long shot but that doesn’t mean he needs to be the one always front and center, always getting hurt, always being and doing all.  In this episode for instance, it was Junior who had the big physical take down and the injury as a result.  In the past, Steve wouldn’t have hesitated for a second to head down into that tunnel.  Now he has a “better idea” and sends in Eddie instead.

That’s why I see him as, perhaps, evolving into a McGarrett amalgam.  More mature, more willing to delegate, more willing to let the younger members of the team do some of the heavy lifting but still our fearless warrior out there in the middle of the fight, with his fists, with his guns, with his courage.

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He has re-forged his team, to make them strong in a time when it looked as if it would be diminished.  He’s front and center in practically every story.  In the space of one week, he saved the lives of this team on the yacht by leaping into the storm churned ocean while deathly ill, and saved Danny’s life with an impromptu emergency surgery.  He is as important as he’s ever been.  He is the rock in everyone’s life and along with Danny and Lou, is taking on and teaching the new generation.  Those who will, eventually, take over their spots in the Five-0 of the future.  What better way to ensure the legacy of them all?

This episode was a fantastic way to start the new year and kick off the second half of the season.  We have our big story arc moving forward and we now have our entire team in place to take on whatever the bad guys throw at them.  This season has been one of the best of the entire run and I see no reason why it shouldn’t continue to thrill and entertain right up to the end.  Right up to when we get our official announcement of a 9th season.

Before I posted this I went on Twitter and saw the ratings for this episode.  OMG…. They are positively awesome.  This is the best we’ve had all season.  It seems the strong episodes at the end of 2017 have propelled us into even higher ratings entering 2018.  No surprise for us, of course.  We already knew our show was fantastic.  Each and every week, it seems more and more viewers are seeing what we’ve been seeing for years.  H50 is awesome!  So happy to see these kinds of numbers to start the new year!

That’s it for this week my friends.  I hope you all have a wonderful week.  See ya next week!

Aloha. Malama Pono.

All screen caps are mine unless otherwise noted.

NOTE:  It is with a heavy heart that I add this to the end of this review.  For anyone who hasn’t heard, retired U.S. Army Sgt. Steven Jackel, a double-amputee who survived an IED blast in Afghanistan and who played munitions expert Henry in Episode 8.11 (Christmas Episode) tragically took his own life this past week.

It’s so horrible to think of the demons he may have been battling as we watched him basically play himself in a lighthearted and warm Christmas episode. He took his life only a few weeks after that episode was filmed. My heart just breaks for what he must have been going through and for his family. I’m not even going to try to imagine what they must have gone through for years and what they are going through now.

A GoFundMe account has been set up in an effort to help his family.  As I type this, they are very close to their goal.  The H50 Ohana, as well as many people who knew Sgt. Jackel, and I’m sure many who did not know him but still wanted to honor his memory and help his family, have been very generous.  But, there is no rule that says we can’t push the number above their goal.

Please donate what you can in support of a man who gave absolutely everything he could in the service of his country.  If you have already donated, mahalo.  If you have not, or are unable to for whatever reason, please spread the word to others.  Let’s give back to this family who have given their heart and soul to us.  The link to the GoFundMe page is below. Mahalo nui loa

Sgt Stephen Jackel Family Fund:  

https://www.gofundme.com/sgt-stephen-jackel-family-fund

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#H50 – Happy New Year – Welcome 2018

AlohaHawaiianNewYear

Happy New Year my friends!  As we begin the New Year of 2018 and enter into the second half of Season 8 of Hawaii Five-0, I wanted to express my gratitude to you all for your continued support of this blog.  I know we all come from a similar place of love and support for this show and I’m so happy you found your way here to happily discuss a show that gives us all so much pleasure.  We don’t always agree… well, to be honest, we agree more than we disagree… but either way, we do it with love and respect and joy for a show we all love.

I want to thank Peter Lenkov and all the fantastic writers at H50 for continuing to bring us all the wonderful things that make H50 the show we love.  2017 presented the production with a lot of challenges.  Some challenges they may have known were coming (even if we, the fans, did not) and some challenges that may have been more surprising.  There were many who believed the changes would bring about the demise of our great show.  That there was no way it could ever survive the losses it sustained.  I know you share my happiness that nothing could have been further from the truth.

The show has not suffered from the loss of several beloved characters during and after Season 7.  As a matter of fact, the promotion of Kimee Balmilero, as Medical Examiner Dr. Noelani Cunha, and the additions of Meaghan Rath as Tani Rey and Beulah Koale as Junior Reigns have done the absolute opposite.  We, of course, will never forget Max, Kono and Chin.  They were and always will be important characters and beloved members of the Five-0 Ohana.

But the addition of Meaghan and Beulah, as well as the promotions of Kimee, Ian Anthony Dale, Dennis Chun, and Taylor Wily have provided H50 with what everyone is calling a “breath of fresh air”.  That phase has been getting quite a work out since the beginning of the season, but it still is the best description for what we’ve been witnessing in the first half of Season 8.

Fresh faces, new friendships, new back stories to learn, coupled with Alex, Scott, Chi and Jorge, is making H50 feel like a brand new show.  It’s like falling in love all over again.  It’s such fun to watch a new rookie develop and week after week, we’re watching Tani become every bit as bad ass as Kono and after numerous tries, we seem to finally have our “female McGarrett”.

As for Junior, well, there is still a lot we don’t know about him.  We don’t know why he left the Navy so young.  We don’t know why, on his return to Oahu, he chose to live in a shelter instead of taking advantage of the resources available to him as a SEAL Team member.  He himself said it’s a “long story” and one I can’t wait to hear.  In the meantime, he’s proved himself again and again that he has definitely earned that Five-0 badge.

The writers have continued to bring us compelling stories, great crimes each week, action, adventure, shoot outs, car chases, all the things that make H50 the show we love.  But more than anything, it’s been the feeling of Ohana that has, for me at least, permeated the first half of Season 8.  Kono and Chin didn’t just fall off the face of the earth. They are remembered and honored by the feelings of loss displayed by Steve and Danny.  Kono especially, due to the fact that Adam is home in Oahu, has remained a part of the story even though she is far away on the mainland.  They are, as always, Ohana.

Tani and Junior have quickly become Ohana as well.  Perhaps not on the level of the others, just yet, but well on their way.   After all, it’s only been a few months, not seven years, but they have fit in so flawlessly that, unlike Steve and Danny, I haven’t missed Chin and Kono at all.

The promotions of Ian, Kimee, Dennis and Taylor also open up avenues for more stories.  Granted, we haven’t seen a lot of it yet, although we have seen a very dramatic Kamekona centered story, as well as, Adam being our resident someone “in the wrong place at the wrong time” a couple of times.  However, it looks like Adam will be getting more responsibility with regard to work with Five-0 in the near future and I look forward, hopefully, to a Duke Lukela centered story sometime in the future as well.

And, then there’s Eddie!  Ahhhhhh Eddie!  There wasn’t anyway I could forget about him.  What a joy he’s been from the moment we first saw him.  I can’t tell you how much I love that dog and how happy I am that TPTB took Alex’s suggestion and added a dog to the cast.  Eddie is simply perfect and I really hope the writers find a way to write him into more episodes.  And not just him following Steve around the house and beach at Casa McG but working cases as well.  Eddie is a Military and DEA trained Canine Officer.  Personally, I think Steve should be bringing him to the office every day since you never know when his skills could be needed.  Oh hell…. I just want to see him all time!

But most of all, I have loved the renewed brotherhood between Steve and Danny.  I don’t know if writers actually recognize the wishes of fans or whether they just come to the same conclusions we do.  Regardless of how it happened, I am thrilled Steve and Danny have gone back to bickering and bantering like “an old married couple” instead of bitching and snipping at each other like two guys forced to spend time with someone they’d rather not be with.  This is the brotherhood I fell in love with 7+ years ago and I am thrilled the writers have gone back that way.

The last three episodes of 2017 were filled with Steve and Danny wonderfulness that I hope will continue throughout 2018 and beyond.  I’m already in love with the idea of their restaurant being a rousing success, just like Danny envisioned it.  I hope to God H50 lasts many more years and Danny’s dreams, for himself, for Steve and for the entire Ohana really happen.  I loved all of it.

But what I loved the most was that in Danny’s mind, his happiness is completely wrapped around the happiness of his Ohana.  His children, his friends and, most of all, Steve.  There is nothing that would make me happier than for all of Danny’s dreams to come true.

So, onward to 2018.  My hopes and wishes for H50 aren’t all that complicated.

  • Continued emphasis on the Steve and Danny partnership and loving friendship.  As always, this is the glue that holds this entire show together.  As we’ve seen, others can come and go but the constant love and bond between these two is forever solid and what keeps it all together.  Thank you Peter and the writers for always making sure these two are front and center.
  • Let’s find out more about Junior and his time in the Navy.  Why did he leave so young?  Why didn’t he feel he could take advantage of the Naval resources at his disposal when he came home? What is “the streak” that the Academy Officer saw in him that reminded him of Steve?
  • Continue to explore Tani’s backstory and the relationship with her brother, Koa. There is a lot more there and it will be fun to learn it all.
  • At the end of Season 7, the team found out that the bomb (which exposed Steve to radiation poisoning) was possibly an attempted first strike on a much bigger political agenda.  Steve reached out to Joe White and he told him there was “mounting evidence of a rouge faction within the US government” that are in on a domestic terrorism operation.  It would be really awesome to get more of that story and to possibly see Joe White again.
  • You know me, I’m not big on a ton of romantic stuff but I’d really love if it were possible to see Lynn and Melissa again.  I miss them.  I know Sarah Carter is home having a blast with her new baby girl and the odds that she’ll make an appearance are low, but one can still hope for maybe just one episode. Maybe Valentine’s Day again.  But I’m not counting on it but it’s nice to dream.
  • Speaking of couples, I do like that it looks like Tani and Junior are getting closer.  It’s not something I need to see a lot, of course.  I don’t want to see them snuggling or kissing at the office, which is totally inappropriate but if they eventually do end up a couple and can have some sweet down time after work together, I would be very OK with that.  #ReyRei are honestly adorable together.

So, what would you like to see, or not see, in 2018?  Above all else, I want to see H50 continue to rock the Friday night ratings, continue to showcase the incredible acting of all the cast, especially Alex who has been, unsurprisingly, phenomenal this season and keep giving us the high quality entertainment we’ve come to expect and love from our favorite show.

And, of course, I want to see our show renewed for it’s 9th season.  A season that would bridge the decades from the original Hawaii Five-O, which began on September 20, 1968.  September 2018 will mark the FIVE-0th Anniversary of the original show and Episode 9.7 (if S8 has 25 episodes) or 9.6 (if S8 has 24 episodes) will mark the milestone Episode #200!  I can’t wait to see what fantastic story Peter and the writers will come up with for that!

I hope everyone has a wonderful, happy, healthy and prosperous 2018.  Thank you all for being my blog friends and thank you for all the support over the years.  Thank you to Peter Lenkov, the entire cast and crew of H50 for bringing us together and continuing to provide wonderful fun and entertainment every Friday night!  Mahalo nui loa!

Aloha.  Malama Pono

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#H50 Review: 8.11 Oni Kalalea Ke Ku A Ka La’au Loa (A Tall Tree Stands Above the Others) – Christmas Episode

Courtesy of @Surfbelle2

Hi everyone! Still with me? I sure hope so because it’s time to get down to the review for the second episode of our December 15th Friday night double header.  Ho ho ho!!!  This review isn’t going to be as long as the previous one… lots going on around here this week before Christmas, but I couldn’t let this fun episode go by without a review!

Just as episode 8.09 dovetailed into 8.10 with the team in quarantine, 8.10 does the same with Danny.  Having survived his gun shot wound, he is now at home recuperating.  It’s Christmas Eve and Danny is settling Charlie down for bed with a Christmas bed time story.

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While all the traditional Christmas bedtime stories are great, Danny decides to “mix it up” by telling Charlie a story no one else has ever heard before, a story about a Christmas miracle, using a case Five-0 has just concluded.  So, this episode, much lighter fare than the previous one, is framed around Danny’s telling of this story.

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I loved the premise of this episode.  First off, it gave us another episode were Danny was pretty much in every scene.  That’s three episodes in a row where Danny has been front and center.  What an awesome Christmas present that has been.  And considering that the ratings are some of the highest we’ve had in years, it seems a vast majority of the viewing public love seeing Danny too.

But it also gave us a full episode of Danny and Charlie!  Daddy Danno time is always the best and I was really impressed with little Zach Sulzbach.  He handled all the dialog extremely well.  I sometimes have to remind myself just how young Zach is.  He’s only seven years old, which means he’s still a year younger than Teilor Grubbs was in the Pilot.   He’s really been improving with each episode he’s in and this one was his best yet.

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COTW:  If episode 8.10 knocked the breath out of you, then 8.11 was indeed a welcomed breath of fresh air.  The crime of the week was basically a good old-fashioned caper.  Cops and robbers.  What little kid hasn’t played cops and robbers?

I liked how they used the animated story book pages morphing into the live action to introduce each scene.  It was a cool way to remember, as the episode unfolded, that this was a story for Charlie.

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I also really enjoyed the way Danny sanitized the story for him.  The guy in the van gave Steve his gun because he wanted Steve to go after the bad guys, not because he was dead.  The car the bad Santas were in simply ran out of gas, it didn’t crash because Steve shot the windows out.  When Steve finally took down the last bad Santa, he didn’t kill him, Uncle Steve bored him into submission and the Santa simply fell asleep.  I know there are going to be those who will criticize and say Danny is a terrible father for telling Charlie this story, but he didn’t really tell Charlie the real story, after all.

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Danny using all of Charlie’s toys to tell the story was genius.  I had to laugh when he used a toy donkey to represent Steve.  Yeah, I know, a stuffed seal would have been more appropriate but that’s just not our Danny.  The baby donkey as hysterical, especially after Charlie had already figured out that the crazy policeman in the story is his Uncle Steve.

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It’s funny.  It kind of reminds me of my Uncle Tony.   When I was a kid, we all knew Uncle Tony was “crazy”.  He rode his motorcycle like a lunatic. He was the one who would climb on the highest roof to retrieve our balls when we hit them above the houses.  He once went down into the sewer when we lost our very last ball to get it for us.  He was always doing the craziest things and my parents, aunts and uncles would just shake their heads and remind us, whenever any of us said we wanted to “have fun” like Uncle Tony, that he was “crazy” and we should never do anything he did.  We all loved him like nobody’s business.  He was kind, gentle and just so much fun.  Like Charlie, if someone told me a story about the “crazy man” I would have known instantly they were talking about my Uncle Tony.  He was awesome.

Vets to the rescue:  Rob Hanning wrote a really fun story.  Like I said before, a good old-fashioned caper.  An armored truck robbery at Christmas time and the bad guys get away by dressing up like Santa and blending into the Christmas parade.  Genius really, except they didn’t count on Steve being on the scene.  (Note:  I was disappointed that Mary and Joanie were in Oahu but we never got to see them)

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The best part of the story was the arrival of the “good guys”.  Junior is accompanying a group of veterans to a local shelter where they’re all volunteering some of their time for the Christmas season.  When Junior finds out that Steve, Tani and Lou are at the local mall in pursuit of the thieves who blew up the armored truck, he and the vets head over to lend a hand.

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As we all know by now, these vets are played by real life veterans.  Every single one of them did a great job.  Thanks to Rob Hanning on Twitter… here are the names of them all.  Jason Redman (Frank)​, Kathryn Taylor Smith (Josie)​, Stephen Jackel (Henry)​, ​J. Eddie Martinez (Kekoa)​ and Zachary Perez-Rukavina (Reggie)​.  Each had their own special gifts to bring to the case and they all did a fantastic job.

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Charlie:  This kid was perfect through the entire episode.  He was awed in the right spots, scared in the right spots and he’s a damn smart kid to boot.  It was really cute, he always seemed to ask just the right questions in just the right moment to advance the story or even ask what the audience was wondering about.  Not to mention that he is absolutely adorable.  I loved every scene with him and Danny.  You can see how much Scott likes Zach. There’s a warmth in the way he interacts with him that’s more than just a seasoned actor working with a young kid.  They are awesome together.

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Adam:  It’s a little unexpected but I like the friendship that seems to have formed between Danny and Adam. It first showed in Danny’s hallucination of being with Adam at the nursery after the birth of Kono and Adam’s baby.  Here Uncle Adam is at Danny house making sure the chimney is in tip-top shape for the arrival of Santa. Ok, sure, we’ve never… ever… heard that Adam knows anything about chimneys but, whatever.  It’s was sweet that he went over to take care of it so that Danny didn’t try to do it himself when he’s supposed to be resting.

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I do hope we’re getting close to the point in the season where the writers are going to give Adam something permanent to do.  I mean, I have loved how they’ve worked him into stories so far but it’s about time for him to have a true purpose.  This week, he just “happens” to be at the mall when the bad Santas showed up and was pulled into the case.  “Just a guy who’s in the habit of being in the wrong place at the wrong time” is getting a little old.

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The Fun of Christmas:

How adorable is it that the mantle at Danny’s house is hung with stockings of all the important people in the house. Danno, Charlie, Grace and…….Uncle Steve!  Are we supposed to analyze what that means?? I know what I wish it would mean. 😊

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The best duet ever!  Jerry singing a duet with Cortina! Product placements are in no way anything new but this one was a hell of a lot of fun.  I love it whenever we get to hear Jerry sing and this one was unique and so cool.  Especially when Lou tried to tell Jerry that he was singing the “girl” part in the song.  Lou:  “The whole damn thing is ass backwards.  Then it’s like she’s trying to seduce you instead of the other way around.”  Jerry:  “Feels good to be desired sometimes.” Lou:  “By a machine?!” 😊😊

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Of course, one of the things we all love the most about H50 are the Ohana moments when the entire team gets together for after case relaxation and fun.  A Christmas party at Steve’s house is simply perfect.  Everyone is there.  Steve, Danny, Lou, Tani, Junior, Jerry, Kamekona, Flippa, Noelani, Duke, Adam, Dog, Eddie and, the best of all, Steve invited all the Vets who helped out on the case.  It was the perfect way to celebrate the holiday, to celebrate the resolution of the case, and to honor the Vets for not only their help with the case but their service and sacrifice to their country.

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The culmination of the party is when Steve presents Junior with his Five-0 badge.  Junior was floored, since he hasn’t yet completed the H50 Academy course Steve said was mandatory for him to join Five-0.  But Steve is right.  Junior has shown over and over again in the last few months just how worthy he is to be a member of Five-0.  I’m assuming Junior will finally complete the Academy course, but I wouldn’t be surprised if we don’t actually see it.  No matter.  It’s time for Junior to join the team and I’m thrilled we’ll start 2018 with our full team set and read to go.

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A Christmas Sleepover?  As Danny wraps up the Christmas story, Charlie has finally lost that battle against sleep.  Danny lovingly looks down on his sleeping son, turns out the light and heads out to the living room.  Danny said he eats the cookies left for Santa and leaves the crumbs behind to make to look like Santa enjoyed the snack.  But when he gets to the cookie dish, all the cookies are gone.

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Enter Steve from the kitchen.  Sleep pants and stocking feet, cold glass of milk and Santa’s cookies in hand.  Like the “Uncle Steve” stocking on the mantle, are we supposed to analyze the meaning of this too?  Steve shows up at Danny’s house, after bed time, on Christmas Eve because he was in desperate need of cookies and milk.  OMG… these two.  Do not tell me that Steve didn’t spend the night so he could be there in the morning when Charlie woke up.

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You guys know me.  I’m a McDanno shipper to my soul.  But I’ve never expected it in the show.  That’s what I have Fan Fiction for.  But these last three episodes have brought joy to this McDanno heart.  I know it’s all a tease, but I’ll take it.  It’s just so much fun!

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Well, that’s it.  I know this is not as in depth as usual, but I hope you all will enjoy it anyway.

And, that’s it for 2017.  So far, this first half of Season 8 has been fantastic. Better than I ever expected it to be.  I can’t wait to see what’s in store for us in 2018.

Have a Merry Christmas, my friends and the very best of New Years.  I hope you do everything you love with all the people you love.  See you next year!

Mele Kalikimaka me ka Hau’oli Makahiki Hou

Aloha.  Malama Pono

All screen caps are mine unless otherwise noted.

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#H50 Review: 8.10 I ka wā mamua, I ka wā mahope (In the time in front, the time in back)

Courtesy of @Surfbelle2

It’s not something that happens very often; a Friday night H50 double header.  It’s only happened two times before.  The last night of Season 5 and the last night of Season 6.  Each time, I decided on one long review to cover both episodes instead of doing two individual reviews.  But those nights were the season finale nights of their respective seasons.  I had the entire summer to get the extra long double review done if I needed to.  And even though I didn’t take the whole summer, I did take my time to get it right.

But this is not summer. This is Christmas time.  Cooking, baking, shopping, wrapping, decorating, house cleaning, Christmas festivals, it just goes on and on.  So, this time, I decided to do two normal single reviews as if the episodes weren’t on the same night.  Hopefully, they will only be a day or so apart.  I’ll do my best.

This episode, like Episode #100 with Steve’s alternate reality, will go down as one of my most favorite episodes ever.  I loved that we got to see Danny’s idea of a future reality.  This is also the second of three end of year episodes where Danny is front and center.  For me, that is always a bonus.  The more we get of Danny Williams, the happier I am.  So, let’s get on with the review.

And let’s start with…..

Quarantine:   This is not a group of people who take “down time” very well and spending six days stuck in that one room would be enough to drive anyone insane.  Playing “go fish”?  It’s like they’ve run through every game they can think of and have resorted to the most mindless childhood card game imaginable because they just can’t think of anything else to do.

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And no one is more bored than caged lion, Steve. I was having a conversation with a couple of friends last week talking about why Jerry cut his hair in the previous episode.  We agreed that joining a dating service seemed like a valid reason.  We were then speculating on what the reason could be for Steve to go into quarantine with hair and end up buzzed in the very next episode.  I said to them… “Who knows?  Maybe he just gets so totally bored out of his mind, he takes it out on his hair!”  I love it when I’m right about something even if I was only joking when I said it! LOL

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There was also a totally adorable moment between Tani and Junior when she asks him if he’s serious about growing out an Afro.  When he says he was only kidding, she tells him he should, that he’d be really cute with one.  They laugh back and forth with each other only to notice Steve and Danny looking at them with the funniest facial expressions ever. “What?” Junior asks, to which Steve and Danny jointly respond “Nothing”.  But the looks on their faces, especially Danny as he looks at Junior, are unmistakably saying, “You do realize she’s flirting with you… right?? Whatcha gonna do about it??” So friggin’ adorable.

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I also totally believe that Danny calling Steve “ghetto Vin Diesel” was 100% a Scott ad-lib.  Of course, I have no way of knowing that for sure but based on the hysterical reactions from the other three it sure looked that way to me.  And what on earth was Steve thinking to go anywhere near Danny’s hair with that razor anyway?!? ROFL

Of course, this happy little scene quickly collapses into one of horror when an unknown assailant, masquerading as a doctor (in full hazmat gear) enters the quarantine and, point blank, shoots Danny in the chest!  If that wasn’t jarring enough, he then puts the gun to his own head and pulls the trigger.

Later, after Lou and Jerry find out who this guy is, and Five-0 raids his motel room, they find a photograph of Danny on a table with the words “He deserved to die” written across the top.  Now I have about a million questions.

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Who was this guy?  He asked Danny if he recognized him and Danny said no.  So, not someone Danny previously arrested.  Or, at least, not someone he arrested who was memorable enough for Danny to remember.

Was he acting alone?  Is this just some random guy with an imagined grudge against Danny or was he sent by someone else?  Who do we know who might have it out for Danny?  Could it be retribution for Marco Reyes perhaps?  Even though it wasn’t the Colombians who arrested Danny and threw him in that Colombian prison, they were more than thrilled to get him there and exact their retribution.  But Danny made it out of there fairly quickly.  He was not meant to ever leave that place alive.

Or could it be an old case that reaches all the way back to Jersey?  It would be reasonable that Danny doesn’t remember the face of every person he put away all those years ago or those also affected by those arrests.  There were those 87 successful homicide investigations he had under his belt before he came to Hawaii.

Or could it be much more personal?   Rick Peterson is still in jail somewhere, isn’t he? Or has he gotten out?  Escaped?  This is a puzzle that looks to be a story arc for the future. It’s exciting but I so hate the idea that someone else might be out there gunning for our Jersey Boy!

Steve, Tani and Junior mobilizing to save Danny was incredible to watch.  Steve was terrified… again!  This is the second time in two weeks he’s come *this close* to losing Danny.  Except, unlike last week when he, for the most part, had to sit around helplessly and wait for help, here he could actually do something to save Danny as he reaches back into his experiences on the battlefield and uses techniques he’s seen utilized by medics in the field.  With Junior at his side, who has also seen his fair share of battlefield trauma and was an invaluable assistant to Steve throughout, they’re able to stabilize Danny but not by much.

A cardiothoracic surgeon arrives a short time later and, communicating through the rooms speaker system, helps talk Dr. Andy… sorry… Steve through a delicate procedure to help relieve the pressure in Danny’s chest which is constricting his heart.  This is one of those episodes where, even though you already know that everything is going to be alright, you still finding yourself holding your breath through entire scenes.

I also really liked how level headed and resourcefulness Tani was.  Unlike last week, there was no minor freak out here.  She had no time for that.  With Steve’s very commanding “figure it out, figure it out. GO figure it out!!!” ringing in her ears she did the first thing she could think of.  Throwing a chair at the unbreakable glass wall was exactly something I could see Steve do in that situation. Initially resort to brute force but then figure out a more logical solution.  Flooding the bathroom as genius!

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The writing of Zoe Robyn and the direction of Peter Weller were stellar in this episode.  The dialog was dead on perfect.  One of my favorite moments was when Lou confronts the guy from the bomb squad.  He tells Lou he doesn’t understand how risky it is to try to talk anyone through defusing the bomb.  Lou totally loses his shit (because we already know what Lou is like when his friends are in danger).

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“Let me tell you about risky.  You see him?  That’s Steve McGarrett.  You leave Steve McGarrett in a room without a plan, and you know what he’s gonna do then?  He’s gonna come up with one of his own.  And it ain’t gonna be risky.  It’s only gonna be the most certifiably insane thing you or I could ever think of.  So, for God’s sake, tell me there’s another option.”  No truer words were ever spoken!

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Unfortunately, the best solution the bomb squad can come up with its setting off another blast to bring down a wall.  When the opening caused by the blast is only a small hole, Lou takes matters into his own hands.  Taking a sledge hammer to the wall to bring it down the rest of the way. Luckily, Lou has experience with demolishing walls after his little excursion to Clay Maxwell’s house in Chicago! 😉

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Peter Weller has turned into one of my favorite directors.  I just love how he puts together a scene.  The camera zooming in on Danny’s chest as Steve “operates”, the close-ups on the faces of the characters, especially Steve’s, to show the raw emotions.  And I particularly loved how he handled Danny’s ……

Hallucinations:  I often wonder what the average H50 viewer thinks when an episode first begins.  We, of course, have seen press releases, behind the scenes and promo photos, sneak peaks. But, they are going into the “cold opening” completely cold.  They have no way of knowing, in those first few minutes, that the hustling and bustling restaurant isn’t really happening.  But I wonder if they were able to notice the subtle touch of Peter Weller throughout.

Steve and Danny’s Restaurant:  Steve is working the room.  Schmoozing the customers and expertly maneuvering the staff.  (Personal note:  Alex/Steve speaking Italian is positively orgasmic).  Danny, meanwhile, is expertly working the kitchen, including a new creation from their master chef (“polenta crostini, a little porcini” which looks absolutely incredible).  Danny feeding Steve the polenta so he can taste the new recipe and Steve’s perfect “Serve ‘em Danno” did all kinds of funny things to my heart, but then, a lot of things in this episode did that.

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Peter Weller’s masterful touch in this scene was incredibly subtle.  The edges of the scene, as if your peripheral vision was slightly out of whack, were slightly blurred.  As the scene progressed, the blurriness became more noticeable, as the edges of clarity slowly moved inward.  It was a wonderful way to show this is not real… this is imagination.  It was extremely well done.

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I liked how Zoe implemented Danny’s idea from the last episode for a waiting room for people who are waiting to be seated at their table.  You can see people milling about just beyond the front desk of the restaurant.  I thought the addition of photographs of the Ohana on the walls was an extremely nice touch. It warmed my heart they included Aunt Deb!  But I was just a little disappointed the name of the restaurant wasn’t spoken or even printed on the front of the menus.  I guess, even in Danny’s comatose dreams, that’s still up in the air.

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I know this is not a view of the actual future.  It’s only a hallucination in Danny’s mind but I can’t help but hope that this is exactly how the restaurant endeavor will play out.  Steve dancing around a happy room full of patrons, Danny commanding a kitchen that would make Grandma Williams proud. They both looked so happy.

But, of course, for now, this is not happening.  I loved how the news report of the TV of the “veteran detective shot and killed inside King’s Medical Center” dovetails us back to what’s going on in quarantine and leap frogs us into our story of the week.  The gun-shot wound bleeding out on Danny’s pristine white shirt as Steve says “that’s you, Buddy” was simply perfect.

Gracie’s wedding day:  I can’t decide what I loved the most about this dream of Danny’s.  Gracie getting married.  She’s marrying Will Grover.  Danny comforts her when she gets cold feet about whether she and Will have what it takes to make a marriage succeed and assuring her they have exactly what it takes.  After all the years that have passed, he is still her Danno and she, still his Monkey.  Danny and Lou talking about wedding costs and how they each raised such fine kids.  The wedding is taking place at Casa McG.  Oh snap… there goes another one of those funny things in my heart.  Nope, can’t decide what I loved most because I loved every moment of it.

HPD’s latest graduate: I don’t know who was responsible for the casting of grown up Grace and grown up Charlie, but they sure as hell hit a home run.  Both were perfect, but grown up Charlie was so realistic it would be easy to pass him off as Scott’s son.

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It was another perfect scene.  Charlie sitting on stage with the rest of his graduation class while Duke gives the commencement speech.  Who better than Duke? I absolutely loved his speech. It was absolutely perfect.

Danny, Steve, Kamekona, Flippa, Junior and Tani are all there to support Charlie on his big day.  It’s a toss up as to who’s prouder, Danny or Steve.  The father or the role model.  Personally, I think, at this point, those terms may be totally interchangeable in how Charlie views Steve and Danny.

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Steve and Danny are retired and “Captain” Tani is now head of Five-0 and married to Junior.  I love how Danny’s mind totally ships ReiRey!  And as cute as they are as flirty Five-0 rookies they are striking as a married couple.  And Danny’s mind has dreams that Charlie will not only follow in his footsteps and be a cop, but he will be Five-0.  My selfish heart wants this show to last long enough to see this dream become a reality too.

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Kodam baby:  My personal feelings about departures aside, I like how they are keeping Kono’s name in the episodes.  Of course, with Adam there all the time now, it would be silly to pretend like the woman doesn’t exist.  It’s very sweet how Danny views Adam as a friend and, since he’s always loved Kono like a sister, it’s nice that his hallucinating mind pictures them together, happy and new parents.  The scene reminded me just a bit of the one after Charlie was born, of Steve and Danny gazing at the newborn in the nursery.  And just like Danny was able to assure Grace she will be a wonderful wife, he does the same here for Adam.  He’s a great uncle to Charlie… he will be an awesome father to his own little girl.  I do wonder if there is any chance we’ll ever see Kono again and if this dream could come true.  Even if it’s not in Hawaii.

Grumpy old men:  This might just be my favorite scene in the entire episode and it seems perfectly appropriate that in Danny’s dying moment (his heart had just stopped beating) his thoughts would go to the most important person in his life.  And there they are, Steve and Danny side by side, far in the future, in their golden years.  They’re still sitting in their favorite chairs on Steve’s beach and they’re still good naturedly sniping at each other.

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The makeup department really outdid themselves on this scene.  Alex and Scott look incredible.  I keep thinking how funny it would have been if they wore that makeup home to give Malia and Kacy a taste of what’s in their future! LOL  And the way they modulated their voices to make them sound older was awesome.  If someone just walked into the room, not knowing the show, and saw these two on the screen, they’d be hard pressed not to believe they weren’t actually old men.

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My favorite part was when Danny tells Steve that his granddaughter Clara, who’s going to be the third generation of Williamses to go to the Police Academy, asked him about his life.  If there was anything he’d change about it.  He told her no, he’d wouldn’t change a thing.  Of course, being typical Danny, he couldn’t resist a rib at Steve by saying “I would have changed my partner”.  As always, Steve knows he doesn’t mean it, but I had to laugh, that all those years later, Steve tells Danny to “blow it out your ass!”

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OMG… These two….in Danny’s mind… All is right in the world.  They’re going to grow old together.  They’re going to see the kids grow up and be successful.  They’re going to retire and run their successful restaurant together.  Five-0 will continue and thrive.  Of course, these are all allusions in Danny’s dying mind, but it sure feels great to think it could all really happen this way.

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The hospital waiting room:  Once again, the entire Ohana has gathered outside an operating room worried about a member of their family. It was a nice touch to have Kamekona tease Steve about his new buzz cut. A bit of humor to alleviate the heavy tension while Danny is in surgery.  It was a needed diversion because it was Eric who finally caused me to shed a few tears.

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The tremble in his voice and the tears in his eyes as he’s speaking to his mother, Danny’s sister Stella, was heartbreaking.  As was his conversation with Adam about what it was like for the family when Danny moved away and how it was Danny who set him straight and how much Danny means to him.  It was a very heartwarming conversation and it definitely brought a tear to the eye. I was also very touched by the supportive hug Steve gave to a weepy Eric when he entered the waiting area.  If I hadn’t been teary by then, that would have done it right there.

Of course, Danny pulls through and everyone gathers around his bed for an Ohana visit.  There is good natured banter about whether Steve washed his hands before the “finger thoracostomy”.  Steve:  “You’re such a baby.  You gonna be a baby about this?  Let me tell you something.  The fact is, if I didn’t put my finger inside of you, we wouldn’t be having this conversation right now.”  Eric:  “Wow… thanks for that image!”. ROFLMAO…. Ohhhhhhh the McDanno slash lover in me loved that exchange soooooo much!

The episode ends with that raid at the motel room of “Joshua Hollister”, the man who shot Danny and the discovery of that photo with the cryptic “He deserved to die” scrawled across the top.  I wonder when we’re going to find out who this guy was and why he tried to kill Danny.  Just like 8.09 dovetailed into 8.10,  it seems this story is also not any where near over. Something to definitely look forward to in 2018!

Let’s talk about Steve:  As always Alex was phenomenal in this episode.  In all the of Danny’s dreams, Steve was perfection.  The bustling restaurant owner, Charlie’s proud “favorite uncle”, as old Steve, still loving Danny, still there, just like always, until death do they part.

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But it was Steve, and the way Alex played him in quarantine that was the most incredible.  Like I said before, Steve was terrified… again… at the prospect of losing Danny.  This time he, literally, had the “hands-on” opportunity to do everything in his power to save him.

It was very touching yet totally unsurprising how Steve refused to leave Danny’s side for one second.   He sent Tani off to figure out a way to contact the outside and try to get them out.  Usually it’s Steve who’s coming up with, as Lou said, the “most certifiably insane” way to get out of a particular situation but not this time. There was no way in hell he was stepping a millimeter away from Danny.

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Alex, as always, was superb.  Watching Steve’s emotions play out was fascinating.  He was stunned when the shot rang out and he saw Danny go down and totally thrown when the shooter then killed himself.  He went frantic as they all struggled to cut their ties and mobilized to help Danny.  His voice shook.  His eyes were glassy with tears he refused to shed, lest them impede his ability to help Danny.  He was steadfast and courageous as he performed emergency surgery.

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But the worst (or best from an acting perspective) was when Danny was finally being wheeled out of isolation and headed toward surgery and Steve was forced to stay behind. The look on Steve’s face was pure torture. It went against every instinct in Steve not to stay glued to Danny’s side.  Alex played it beautifully.

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And finally, the look of determination on his face when he picked up that photo of Danny in Hollister’s motel room.  This is not over.  The fear for Danny is palatable as is the determination that no one will hurt Danny again.

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Finally let’s talk about Danny:  I just want to say something about the Danny that Danny envisions in his future.  This Danny is a happy man.  His daughter has grown up to be a beautiful, intelligent young woman and she’s marrying a good, decent, wonderful young man.  The son of one of his long time best friends.  His son has also grown into a wonderful young man, a man who has chosen to follow in his father’s footsteps.  Danny, always the loving and proud father, envisions nothing but happiness for his children.

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And, like Steve’s alternate reality in Episode #100, in Danny’s mind he is a happy man because everyone around him is in a happy place.  This is Danny’s true everyday reality.  Behind all the bluster and beneath all the snarky comments, this man loves these people, all of these people, with his full heart. When he’s at his most vulnerable, when he can’t control where his mind goes, when his mouth doesn’t get in the way 😉 this is how he truly feels about each and every one of them.  His uninhibited mind tells the true story of his heart.

As for Steve, well, that’s always been a given.  Even as old men, these two still can’t sit on a beach without the bickering that makes them who they are.  Danny’s mind doesn’t change them into what they have never been.  Decades in the future they will still be Steve and Danny, bickering like “an old married couple” and loving each other just like always.  In Danny’s mind, they are already perfect.  Oh yeah… there goes my heart again.

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Well, that’s it for this episode review.  Now off to work on the next one!  Thanks for reading my friends.

Aloha.  Malama pono.

All screen caps are mine unless otherwise noted.

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#H50 Review: 8.09 Make Me Kai (Death at Sea)

Hi everyone!  So sorry this is so late this week.  A ton of Christmas prep and festivities going on around here this weekend.  But, finally, I got this done.  At least it’s still the weekend, eh? LOL

Every week I look forward to the first few minutes of the new H50 because I know, no show does a cold open like this show does.  It introduces us to some of our players of the week, usually by giving us an opening picture of whatever our crime of the week is going to be.  This week was no different except that this opening was probably the shortest cold open we’ve ever had.  My first thought was “damn…. this must be a jam-packed episode if this opening is so short… they must need every second they can get!” I wasn’t wrong.

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This opening was just perfect.  It was an economy of time (45 seconds to be exact).  Just enough to give us the sense that something awful happened but not chewing up valuable seconds because, yes, we needed every available second for this awesome episode.  David Wolkove and Matt Wheeler, two of my most favorite writers, really crafted another great one!

I don’t want to recap the entire story here.  We all watched it. Most of us have watched it several times by now.  We all know the story of the crime of the week.  There’s no need for a point by point repeat of it all.  So, let’s talk about what made this episode so great besides an interesting crime of the week.  And that would be every single character in this episode.

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For the second week in a row, we had an episode where the entire team worked on one case. Yes, our team was split up but they all were still working together toward one goal. And never has there been a more important goal.  Working to save half of their team, dying slow, horrible deaths.  Every character was perfection, so let’s use this review to discuss them, one by one.

Monique Simms: It’s no secret the story lines on this show pretty much always have a red herring.  Someone who looks innocent and ends up being our bad guy of the week.  Well, meet Monique.  I’m not going to say I knew she was part of the crime the first time I saw her but once she told that story to Adam and Lou about fleeing the yacht because there was a robbery happening, my first thought was “yeah, sure!”

Monique did have an innocent look about her.  More’s the better to hide her true self.  But for a very high price, she was the one who got “Marco” on the yacht.  She had taken the antidote before the virus was released so, of course, she didn’t get sick like everyone else.  But she wasn’t a good person who “just got in over her head”.  She murdered a nurse to get out of the hospital and was about to draw her gun and shoot at Lou and HPD.

Tell me something. Why is it every time I yell at my TV “don’t shoot him/her” they always shoot him/her? Monique hit the dirt and all I could think of was.. “Oh God.. now what the hell are they going to do??”

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Adam:  So far, I’m really enjoying how they’re utilizing Adam.  This time Lou calls in Adam because he was an acquaintance of Monique.  They were both on a Board of Trustees at one point in time.  He goes with Lou to the hospital to talk to her when she regains consciousness.  It was Adam who pointed out the discrepancy in Monique’s story.  She didn’t leave before the virus was released but after. She knows where the antidote is.

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Adam also had contacts with the bank in Geneva from his days of running a multi-national company and was able to get them to release the info Jerry needed to find out who was Monique’s buyer for the virus.  We still don’t know what Adam is doing for work in between the times Five-0 calls him in for help.  Hopefully we’ll learn that soon. But for now, I am really enjoying the way they are working him into stories.

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Lou:  Poor Lou.  He basically spent this entire episode in an extremely high state of anxiety.  From the moment Steve called him from the yacht, Lou was beside himself with worry.  Lou, with the help of Adam and Jerry, worked like a madman to find the antidote.  As always, Chi McBride was superb this entire episode.

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As we’ve seen in the past, Lou is not the calmest of people when people he loves are in danger.  When they finally manage to catch up with Monique, Adam tries to reason with her but it’s Lou being Lou which finally gets Monique to tell them where the antidote is.  I know there are those who will probably not like the fact that Lou threatened to let Monique die unless she told him where it was but with the lives of his best friends on the line, I can’t see Lou doing anything else in that situation.

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Jerry:  Ok.. a bit of humor for a moment here.  Having taken over as Captain of the Magic Table, Jerry has been awesome this season.  But I want to talk about Jerry’s hair! OMG  I can’t get over how fantastic he looks with his hair cut.  It’s amazing how much younger he looks with it styled so nicely.  But I think Jerry might out do Danny in the use of products department to keep that look tamed.  Half way through the episode his hair was fighting to assert itself again. 

Noelani:  We didn’t get to see a lot of Noelani in this episode but what we did see was great.  As a matter of fact, the entire chopper scene of the flight out to the Serenity was fantastic.  Starting off with Steve giving the pilot the side eye.  You could practically read his mind that he wanted to be flying that chopper and that he felt he could do it better.

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But the best part was poor Noelani. She was simply terrified.  It was so cute of Danny to try to comfort her considering the way Danny has always felt about flying.  Of course, it’s usually Steve’s flying that terrifies Danny and since this flight is in the capable hands of a Coast Guard pilot, he tells Noelani how he used to be afraid too but statistically flying is safer than driving.

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But after Noelani tells Danny that, according to Google, choppers are 85 times more dangerous than cars, Danny wants to know why Steve never told him that.  Check out Danny’s face.  He reverts to the same facial expression Noelani was wearing.  Coincidentally the same facial expression he himself wore way back in 5.25 “A Make Kaua” (Until We Die) when the nuclear bomb he dropped from a chopper exploded.

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But Noelani overcomes her fears when it comes to helping the team once they are on the yacht.  She’s practically hanging out of the chopper as she looks back in concern at the team left behind as she flies off with the tissue samples and other evidence she hopes will help save them.

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