#H50 Review: 9.21 He kama na ka pueo (Offspring of an Owl)

H50_S9_Offspring_SG3_FULLPhoto Credit:  CBS

Puzzle of the day:

50 down…. 6 letters…. “a thing put in a space or container to fill it”……. F I L L E R

50 across … 8 letters…. “inspiring great affection; delightful; charming” … A D O R A B L E

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Yes, as is often the case as the season begins to wind down and move toward a climatic end just 4 episodes from now, there will inevitably be a filler episode.  What is not inevitable, is that the episode will be as charming and enjoyable as this one was, the gruesomeness of the crime of the week notwithstanding.

What else but filler, do you call it when 50% of the episode is the quest to re-home a cat? I was totally thrilled when we saw the promo pictures for this episode and saw that the adorable Mr. Pickles was going to be making another appearance but I never expected his story to take up so much of the episode.  Nor did I expect that I’d enjoy it so much.  I can’t remember the last time I laughed so much throughout an entire episode.

Of course, we first met Mr. Pickles, along with Ricky Schiff in Episode 5.17 Kuka’awale (Stakeout).  I always enjoy it when the writers (in this case David Wolkove & Matt Wheeler) bring back a story or a character from the past. I don’t know about anyone else, but it always makes me feel more connected to the show when I instantly recognize a reference from the past. It’s even better when it’s a character or a continuation of a story.

“Stakeout” was a fan favorite episode because it was chock full of wonderful McDanno moments, something we haven’t gotten a great deal of lately.  So, to have the opportunity to harken back to that great episode and to have great McDanno moments in this one as well was wonderful.

Now let’s be honest.  If any one of us got a phone call from a lawyer saying we’re unexpectedly named in someone’s will, who wouldn’t immediately dream of a windfall?  We all do it every time we buy a lottery ticket.  “Ohhhhhhh if I win, I’m going to……” It’s only natural.  I loved that Danny’s first thought was retirement if his share was anywhere “north of $250,000”.  I’m totally with you there Danny.  That would be my first order of business if I came into that kind of money especially since I’m 16 years older than you!

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Steve, of course, is the more realistic one.  When Agnes Miller bequeaths the bulk of her estate to the Humane Society, Danny is adorably disappointed so much so that Steve whips out his phone to save “the moment when all your dreams crashed down around you” for posterity.

Courtesy of @alohaspaceman6Photo Credit:  @alohaspaceman on Twitter and IG

Courtesy of @alohaspaceman1Photo Credit:  @alohaspaceman on Twitter and IG

It really was very sweet that Agnes left Steve and Danny her beloved collection of cat miniatures.  After all, she’d never actually met the guys, only knew about them because, obviously, someone (probably Ruth Tennenbaum (Cloris Leachman) told her, after the fact, about the stakeout in her apartment.  She would, of course, immediately notice one of her precious figurines was damaged and lovingly repaired.  So, who better to leave the set to then the people who cared enough to take care of them when they belonged to a total stranger?  Technically she should have really left them to Steve alone but, of course, she wouldn’t have known which one of them had made the repair.

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It’s totally fitting that Steve be able to cash in on their collectability some day “fifteen or twenty years” from now when he’s ready to retire!  I love the sound of that time frame.

Courtesy of @alohaspaceman3Photo Credit:  @alohaspaceman on Twitter and IG

And who better than Ricky to leave Mr. Pickles with?  He, after all, took care of Mr. Pickles whenever Agnes was away so she knew he’d be the perfect choice.  Of course, Agnes didn’t know about the large pillow size bag of weed he kept stashed in her kitchen cabinet or his other illegal side businesses which would make him ill suited to keep Mr. Pickles.

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I loved the entire scene with Steve, Danny, Ricky and Mr. Pickles in the car and adored all the wonderful Steve and Danny, perfect McDanno time, throughout the episode.  The bantering between them was perfect, both guys being totally true to character.  I love that Danny got his comeuppance with regard to the cat figurines and that he took it extremely gracefully.

H50_S9_Offspring_SG8_FULLPhoto Credit:  CBS

All the “let’s find Mr. Pickles a new home” scenes were wonderful.  The Steve and Danny banter, as well as, the lame excuses the others came up with for not being able to take him.  Adam’s “allergies”, Junior’s “monogamous” relationship with Eddie and, my personal favorite, Tani’s fear of eventually turning into a crazy cat lady stuck at home watching Lifetime movies and wondering what happened to her life!

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And when Jerry said how cats can land on their feet from great heights, I loved how Steve covered Mr. Pickles’s ears and said not to give Danny any ideas! 🤣🤣 Of course Danny would never do something like that but his line about the windows not opening anyway was hysterical.

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Courtesy of @alohaspaceman5Photo Credit:  @alohaspaceman on Twitter and IG

Check out the way he lovingly stroked Mr. Pickles after he thought he found him a home.  Cooing about how he doesn’t want to take him to the pound because bad things happen at the pound!  Ricky is totally right.  Danny is totally a closet cat lover!!

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This story was full on delightful from beginning to end except for the obligatory 30 second Rachel mention that seems to be standard operation procedure these days.  Steve’s face when Danny said he couldn’t take the cat because Rachel is allergic was priceless and I’m sure pretty much all the rest of us had the exact same expression along with a hugely pronounced eye roll.

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So, Danny had to get rid of his cat when he married Rachel.  Rachel’s move to Hawaii not only took Gracie away from him, causing him to have to leave the only home he’d ever known and his entire family, but he also lost his elderly dog to the quarantine process because of that move. Add custody battles, threats to deny him visitation and again, to take Grace away, having his child and lying about his paternity for years, not only denying Danny his son but taking a son away from Stan, etc. etc. etc.  Oh yes, this woman is definitely a keeper.

The one thing the Rachel mention did show was that Steve isn’t completely in the dark that something more is going on with Danny and Rachel.  I highly doubt they’re living together again, but it’s obvious she’s spending a great deal of time at Danny’s if Mr. Pickles presence would cause a problem.

Personally, I don’t think Danny is out and out lying to Steve but he’s keeping things close to the vest because maybe he, himself, isn’t really sure what’s going on, isn’t really sure what he’s feeling or what his next steps will be.  Maybe he’s just trying to figure it all out and, eventually, he’ll go to Steve with a “Hey buddy… you got a minute?  I really need your advice on something important.”  Kind of like when Steve called Danny into his office because he didn’t know what he could do for Aunt Deb when he first found out she was sick.

Anyway, powers that be… yes…. yes…. we get it….. we get where you’re trying to lead us.  You really don’t need to throw in a reference every single solitary week.  You know where you could throw in a reference every now and then?  How about when the entire team has been working a case and the entire team is gearing up for the big take down and Danny simply disappears?  How about a reference in there somewhere, huh?

D21vfzlX4AAnFrVPhoto Credit:  CBS

There is also this idea that leaped into my mind and, of course, this is complete speculation on my part.  Maybe this Rachel thing is like the restaurant story.  It seems pretty obvious now that the restaurant story was manufactured to give TPTB an out if Alex and/or Scott decided Season 8 was going to be their last. When both signed on for Season 9, the restaurant was scrapped.  We haven’t seen it or even heard about it since Thanksgiving.  It could be this Rachel/Danny reunion is exactly the same. It could be it’s being written as an out option in case Scott decides he’s had enough.  But if he decides to come back for Season 10, it’s possible this story ends up on the scrap heap just like the restaurant did.  There’s no way to know until it happens, one way or the other, of course.

Anyway, I’m not letting that 30 second detour deter me from the fantastic enjoyment this episode provided, especially at the end.  Watching Steve and Danny in Casa McG with Mr. Pickles and Eddie was golden. Of course, I wish there had been more Eddie because I never feel like we see him enough.  But the comparison between Steve (as a dog) and Danny (as a cat) was hysterical.  “And yet we somehow manage to get along”.  At least, unlike Mr. Pickles, Danny has learned not to try to steal Steve’s food!

Courtesy of @alohaspaceman2Photo Credit:  @alohaspaceman on Twitter and IG

Courtesy of @alohaspacemanPhoto Credit:  @alohaspaceman on Twitter and IG

Another wonderful scene was the one between Lou and Adam.  I really liked how Lou felt he needed to check up on Adam after the tough time he’s had the last couple of years.  I have to admit I felt this talk was a bit out of place since it didn’t correspond to anything else happening in the episode.  But I loved the bonding moment between these two.  My only guess about why this scene was included here is the need for us to be reminded that Adam is ok and that he’s found happiness with his new job and with his Ohana.  But, we all know that happiness can’t be allowed to last very long on this show so it seems pretty obvious that there will probably be a change in the direction of Adam’s life coming sometime soon.

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And the final layer of delightfulness?  Just how adorable was Tani asking Junior to be her “not” date at her friends wedding.  I just can’t with these two.  They are the epitome of cute!  If we are destined to end this season with a coupling, please let it be these two.  In this show, which reeks of dysfunctional relationships between the breakup of Adam and Kono, to Steve and Danny and their respective awful exes, Lou and Renee are the only ray of relationship sunshine.  Please let #ReiRay be another ray!  They are just too adorable to believe.

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Oh yeah, there was a crime of the week too.  One which was book-ended in gruesomeness.  The “before the wave” murder one of the most horrendous we’ve ever had on this show.  Being burned alive in a crematorium.  It was horrifying.  Having the perpetrator blow his brains out rather than be taken in was grisly as well.

The story in between was a bit uneven, but it was enjoyable enough.  I didn’t really like the ending all that much and not just because of the way the bad guy killed himself.  I thought we could have done without the brutal beat down or at least it didn’t need to be as brutal as it was.  Normally that doesn’t bother me but this one seemed to go on just a bit too long.  I also thought the way the dad smiled at his long-lost daughter and her little almost smile back was odd.  She has no clue who this man is and the only father she’s ever known just killed himself in a standoff.  I think it would have played better if they would have shown how traumatic that would be for her.  But that’s just me.

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But it could very well be that I was enjoying all the Mr. Pickles fun too much to pay enough attention to the crime of the week.  What can I say?  I’m a sucker for a cuddly, purring lump of fur!

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Well, that’s it for this week friends.  No new episode next week so I’ll see you in a couple.  If you celebrate Easter, I hope you have a wonderful one.  Until next time… Aloha. Malama Pono

Screen caps are mine unless otherwise noted and once again this week, huge thanks to @alohaspaceman.  I seem to be stealing her wonderful creations more and more these days.  I’m just thankful for how fantastic they are.  Thanks Lisa!  You rock!

 

 

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#H50 Review: 9.20 Ke ala o ka pu (Way of the Gun)

It started off with the “core four”.  A wonderful team of four fantastic characters and stories which, for the most part, always involved all team members solving one interesting case each week.  After season one, several attempts were made to add a fifth member to the team, with very little success, until the wonderful presence of Chi McBride and the introduction of Lou Grover.

The “core five” became six and then seven with Jerry and Adam joining the team in recent years.  Do we really need seven full time team members?  I know many of you asked that question because I did as well.  It’s true that having such a big ensemble cast means less screen time for each individual character and, of course, that includes my beloved McDanno scenes, unfortunately.  While I fully support the reasons behind the larger cast and the flexibility it affords regarding lighter and less physically challenging work schedules for the more senior members of the cast, story wise, it doesn’t always work as well as it should.  Then there are episodes like this one.  Which was absolutely fantastic.

FULL SEVEN MAN TEAMPhoto Credit:  CBS

I admit, there was a major eyeroll from me when I first read the synopsis for this episode. “Augh!  Another multiple story episode!” And it did have five ….. yes…. five stories.  But, the main character wasn’t any one person or persons in different stories, but a .38 caliber “community” handgun that played an integral part in every story.  Paul Grellong crafted an excellent script which blended those five stories into a wonderful single-story crime of the week revolving (pun intended) around that gun! He was able to give every member of the team something important to contribute so no one was left by the wayside and no silly secondary story was needed just to give everyone something to do.  All energy and talent was focused on one case while still telling multiple stories.  It wasn’t until the very end when Danny and Tani and Steve and Duke paired off chasing the culprits of their individual past stories.  Grellong’s script was masterful.

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As was the direction of David Straiton.  It was inventive and extremely well executed.  The way he seamlessly moved between the stories, and the editing of those scenes, was flawless.  By not having the scenes simply stop and start, timeline to timeline, in the way we’re used to seeing but having them superimposed on each other was highly effective.  It not only smoothly moved the stories along, it made them all feel even more connected when several times characters from different timelines were on the screen simultaneously.  It was so well done it was extremely easy to follow which, considering the number of stories happening all at the same time, is a remarkable accomplishment.  This episode will go down as one of my all-time favorites of the series.

Courtesy of @alohaspaceman4Photo Credit:  @alohaspaceman on Twitter and IG

The provenance of the .38 was beautifully intertwined with the destiny of all those involved.  Junior, in a call back to the time he was living in the homeless shelter before Steve took him into Casa McG.  Tani and her relationship with Damien, the evidence she supplied to HPD, her desire to keep Koa away from that life and her ultimate decision to join HPD herself.  Danny and the convenience store holdup on the night he arrived in Hawaii, before he even had his first day at HPD.  And, of course, Steve, John and Duke, the most unexpected and meaningful story of them all.

Courtesy of @ernsand2Photo Credit: @ernsand2 on Twitter

I really enjoyed all the flashbacks in this episode.  When I first read the episode synopsis, I was surprised they were going with flashbacks yet again.  I feel like we’ve had one or more in like every other episode this season. But these were absolutely wonderful.  It made the crime of the week seem secondary to the  history we learned about the gun and how it touched the lives of our team.

I’m really enjoying how we’re getting to know more about Junior and Tani this season, starting with Junior and his dad and in this episode, more about what lead Tani to join HPD.  Of course, we knew about Tani’s relationship with Damien from Episode 8.12 (Ka Hopu Nui ‘Ana – The Round Up).  It makes you wonder why, in 2015, Tani would have gotten involved with Damien in the first place because we can see she not only wanted Koa far away from Damien’s business, she clearly had a well-established sense of right and wrong when she turns Damien’s henchman Maleko over to HPD for murder.  A murder committed by that community .38.

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H50_S9_EP120_SG_5b_FULLPhoto Credits:  CBS

Five years earlier, in 2010, on his very first night in Hawaii, Danny heads into a convenience store looking for a bite to eat.  I had to laugh at his reaction to the spam musubi and his desire to find something that “comes from a cow, maybe?”  I agree with Danny about the spam musubi.  Having tried it myself it’s not one of my favorite things either. It was great to see Danny in “Pilot mode” again.  I loved that, in usual Danny fashion, we see him on the phone with Gracie, looking forward to seeing her the next day and sending his love to his precious “monkey”.  And ohhhhhhh,  I do so miss the tie!!

Courtesy of @alohaspaceman1Photo Credit:  @alohaspaceman on Twitter and IG

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It seems Danny has a lot of nerve calling Steve a “danger magnet” considering on his very first night on the island, he’s involved in a holdup which resulted in a murder.  A murder committed by that community .38.

Courtesy of @alohaspaceman5Photo Credit:  @alohaspaceman on Twitter and IG

Twenty-seven years earlier, in 1983, John McGarrett receives a mysterious phone call, taking him away from his pregnant wife Doris and six-year-old Stevie.  Scott Hester, a man John helped put away ten years previously and who blames him for ruining his life has lured John to a remote area in order to exact his revenge by killing him.  He’s done so by also luring HPD to the area by killing a boar and leaving it in the road.  When HPD arrives, Hester kills one officer (a murder committed, once again, by that community .38, which incidentally Hester also used in the murder ten years prior).  He then forces the other officer to make that phone call to John.

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Who else’s heart literally stopped when Hester pulled the trigger on both John and the officer?  Thankfully, John had the foresight to wear a vest, but the fallen officer wasn’t as lucky.  It was a genuine “Oh my God” moment when John came to the officer’s aid to find that it was our own beloved Duke Lukela.  Now that was a twist I never expected!

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I was so happy they got Ryan Bittle to play John McGarrett again.  He did a fantastic job in Episode 8.19 (Aohe Mea Make I Ka Hewa; Make No I Ka Mihi Ole – No one Has Ever Died for the Mistakes He Has Made; Only Because He Didn’t Repent), which incidentally was shown almost exactly one year ago to the day on April 6, 2018.

It was great they got him to play John again and that we had the chance to see the McGarrett household fully intact.  In the past we’ve seen John or Doris with Steve at various ages, but we’ve never seen them all together.  It was a charming and yet simultaneously heartbreaking glimpse of the family that would one day be ripped apart by betrayal and lies.

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Courtesy of @alohaspaceman3Photo Credit:  @alohaspaceman on Twitter and IG

And how fantastic was it to see Dennis Chun get such meaty scenes from this story.  The scene between Steve and Duke in Steve’s office talking about the night John saved Duke’s life was fantastic.  You would think after all this time, Duke might have mentioned to Steve that his father saved Duke’s life but Duke did say that he and John never spoke of it after it happened so perhaps Duke just never thought to bring it up.  It’s not really the kind of thing that comes up in casual conversation, after all.

Courtesy of @alohaspaceman2Photo Credit:  @alohaspaceman on Twitter and IG

I loved when Duke and Steve took off to track down Hester in California.  Watching the two of them together was absolutely golden.

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I also really enjoyed that Duke took Hester down with a shot to the leg, instead of killing him outright.  It gave us a fantastic face to face showdown between the two men, again with the wonderful direction of David Straiton flashing the camera from current Hester to current Duke, to young Hester to young Duke and back again.

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And that little headshake from Steve which literally silently yelled “Duke… don’t do it!”.  When Duke introduced Hester to “John McGarrett’s son” then asked him if he remembered him… it was chilling!  It was all masterfully done!

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Of course, no episode is 100% perfect even if this one came pretty damn close.  Lest I be accused of seeing only the good through my rose-colored glasses, I’ll point out this teeeeny flaw.  There was an error in Danny’s time line.  In the Pilot of the series, Steve goes to Danny’s apartment to conscript him into being his partner in his quest for Victor Hess.  Steve mentions that Danny’s captain told him that Danny transferred to HPD “6 months ago”.  However, the incident report from what Danny called his first night on the island is dated August 22, 2010.  As we all know, John McGarrett was murdered by Victor Hess on September 20, 2010, which is obviously, not 6 months after August 22nd.

But, you know what?  Who really cares? In the full scheme of things, this episode was incredible from start to finish.  It gave us one great crime of the week that managed to weave four additional stories into the whole without diminishing a damn thing.  And it gave the entire seven-member team great scene time.  And we managed to learn more about each of the characters involved in the stories.  Yes, indeed.  This one will go down as one of my favorites of the entire series.

That’s it for this week my friends!  Looks like the weather here on the East Coast is finally going to let Spring have her way.  I hope you all have a wonderful week full of sunshine and warmth!  Aloha.  Malama Pono.

Screen caps are mine unless otherwise noted!

FULL SEVEN MAN TEAMPhoto Credit:  CBS

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#H50 Review: 9.19 – Pupuhi ka he’e o kai uli (The Octopus of the Deep Spews Its Ink)

I hate to say it, but this episode didn’t really do much for me.  First off, it was a “triple” episode, my least favorite kind.  With two crimes being worked on it kept two sets of team members totally separated the entire time.  The third story being the Reign’s family saga, which was actually my favorite part of the episode.  Unfortunately, those scenes were only a total of about ten minutes, five at the beginning and five at the end of the episode.

The two crimes of the week were both a bit odd, but still enjoyable.  I guess I was just expecting more.  Especially since I already knew there wouldn’t be any “McDanno” time in this one, as this was a scheduled “Danny-less” episode.  I’ve gotten used to these episodes being very Steve heavy.  It’s something that bugs the hell out of me because these episodes usually have great Steve action or heavy Steve emotion I’m always disappointed Danny wasn’t there for.

So, having this episode be “Danny-less” and “Steve-light” made it seem really off.  Look, I fully understand the logistics we find ourselves in these days.  Scott’s “5 episodes a season less than Alex” is long standing. At least five years now.  And, we also know Alex’s new contract calls for more down time.  I am full on board with both these things.  As much as I love Steve and Danny and want them together on my screen as much as possible, I love Alex and Scott just as much.  These schedules make them happy.  Obviously so, since they both chose to return to the show for more seasons.  Alex and Scott happy….. more seasons of the show with them both …. WIN-WIN.  Consequently, I suppose we’re going to get episodes like this one every once in a while where there’s no Danny at all and they give Steve a bit of a breather at the same time.

You know me, of course, so even when there’s an episode that’s not up to par in my eyes, there is still plenty to love because, well, it’s me and this is H50!

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Hirsch:  I’ve liked Hirsch from the first moment we met him.  I know there are some who dislike the way he always acted toward Kono (and now seems to be projecting onto Tani) but it’s never been a big issue for me.  Both Kono and Tani are strong women who have absolutely no problem dealing with his personality.  It never bothered Kono enough to actually do anything about it and it was quite obvious she had a soft spot for him regardless.  Considering it was Tani who called Hirsch into this case and put his name in as a possible person to run a foundation to assist dissident artists, I think it’s safe to say she doesn’t have a problem with him either.

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I always liked that TPTB gave Hirsch his crime scene clean-up business because it gave him something legitimate to do that would keep him out of jail and could keep him on the H50 canvas (pun intended) even when there wasn’t an art related case.  But it’s fun when they do have a case that involves art so Hirsch’s true talents can be utilized.  The old masterpieces stolen by the Nazi’s in WW2 for instance and, of course this episode.

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I really loved the “street art” element of this case.  I’m from Philadelphia and I’ve spent my whole adult life admiring a program in the city called “Mural Arts Philadelphia”.  “The program was founded in 1986 under the direction of a local artist, Jane Golden, as part of the Philadelphia Anti-Graffiti Network, with the goal of facilitating collaboration between professional artists and prosecuted graffiti writers to create new murals in the city.”

In the over 30 years since the program began, hundreds of murals have gone up all over the city and I have to tell you, having seen many of them in person, they are magnificent.  It’s helped turn many neighborhoods, once utterly defaced with graffiti into living works of art. Living… because many of the murals are painted on the sides of homes where the adjacent home has been torn down.  Without the murals these “empty walls” would invite vandalism.  Now they are works of art. Being a Philadelphia Phillies fan, this is my all time favorite.  If you’re interested in seeing more of the beautiful murals, check out their site.

2010-014_Phillies_01Photo Credit:  Mural Arts Philadelphia     https://www.muralarts.org

So, having a story about street art and being able to include Hirsch in the investigation was pretty cool.  Of course, this being H50, it couldn’t just be a straight forward case of a “window washer” falling to his death.  Turns out the window washer was actually a street artist going by the name “Brikz” whose art has been defaced all over the island.  Hirsch thinks his death could be linked to that and by using his considerable skill as an art forger, paints a piece in Brikz style to draw out the vandals.  There is also Brikz manager who could have killed him knowing that his death would cause the value of his art to skyrocket.  They need to shift gears when they find the manager not only dead but tortured for information.

By the way, have we ever seen Steve get a bit nauseous over the dead body before?  We’ve seen him react to the horrible smell of decomp a couple of times, but I don’t think we’ve ever seen him literally doing the nausea thing.  It was pretty funny.

Eventually the team finds out that Brikz was working with another street artist, going by the name “Phoenix”, using her art to speak out against her government in Nicaragua who she blames for her son’s death.  She was with Brikz when he was killed as her government attempted to capture her and make a public example by executing her.

Naturally, the team rescue her in time, but I have to admit, the rescue was a bit jarring.  I actually thought for a moment that I maybe fell asleep and missed a crucial scene. One moment they’re all doing exposition around the magic table and the next second, Steve’s face appears on the video camera and Tani is pulling Phoenix to safety.  It was a tad abrupt to say the least.

Lou and Adam:  Vintage aloha shirts?  Who’d have ever thought they could write an entire story around vintage aloha shirts?  I did like this story but mostly because I was getting such a kick out of watching Lou and Adam working together.  I was a little concerned when the season started, and Adam was made a member of Five-0.  I just couldn’t figure out where he’d fit in.  Well, it turns out, he fits in just perfectly… everywhere.

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Adam has been teamed up with every member of the team at various times throughout the season and he’s been great with them all.  Ian’s warm personality and his chemistry with every member of the cast is extraordinary.  The more I see of Adam on the team, the more I like him.  But then, I’ve always liked Adam, right from the very beginning.

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Of course, this story pretty much existed only to give Adam and Lou something to do since the other story really didn’t have enough meat on it to support the entire team, even with Danny missing.  But any opportunity to visit to a real local Oahu attraction (in this case Bailey’s Antiques and Aloha Shirts) and getting a bunch of Lou Grover one-liners is wonderful in my book.  Watching Lou pretend to be an antique aloha shirt appraiser was hysterical.

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Jerry:  I know I probably say this every week, but he continues to amaze me.  Not only was it pretty cool the way he mapped out all the footprints on the rooftop with that drone but seeing him in the lab manufacturing fingerprints to crack Bricks computer was awesome.  I kept waiting for Eric to walk up to him and give him grief for doing his job.  That would have been pretty funny.

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Tani and Junior in the car:  This wasn’t a very long scene, but it was one that really stood out for me.  First off, I loved Tani calling out Junior for being just as tight-lipped as his dad when it comes to discussing emotional concerns.  Her line about “a man who shares the same DNA” and her asking to be fanned so she didn’t faint while driving was really funny.

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I was talking to a friend of mine yesterday and she and I both agreed that scene had us both feeling a bit nostalgic because it was so reminiscent of Steve and Danny car scenes from the early seasons.  I really miss those scenes.  Even when they were having those classic “carguments”, there was usually something “non-argumentative” to go along with it.  Looks like Tani and Junior are really great at creating those very same vibes.

Reign’s Family Saga: This was by far the best part of the episode.  Eric Scanlan, who plays Junior’s dad, Natano, is awesome.  He’s able to convey so much with just his facial expressions and body language.  His grief is so palpable, you can literally feel it flowing from the TV screen.

Of course, we know that Junior’s sister, Maya, was killed in a car accident before he enlisted in the Navy and we also know that Natano did not approve of Junior’s decision.  He had already lost one child and didn’t want to lose another.  It’s so unfortunate the two of them couldn’t have communicated about their shared grief at the time. It didn’t have to be something that drove them apart.  They hadn’t spoken since, not until very recently and even then, the relationship has been extremely contentious.

But the two of them, in their own pig-headed way, are trying to work things out between them.  The rebuilding of the deck being the perfect metaphor to the rebuilding of their relationship.  Little by little.  Plank by plank.

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We learn something new every time we see these guys together and each revelation brings us closer to understanding them both, especially Natano.  For instance, this time we learned that Natano loves musical theater because Junior’s mom has always loved it.  We learned that he joined the chorus in high school so he could connect with her.  It was a very charming memory and one it was obvious Junior never knew about.

Finding the bracelet Maya lost many years ago is an extremely disarming moment.  Junior recognized the significance right away, remembering when she lost it.  I can picture he and Maya looking everywhere for it at the time.  But Natano simply picks it up and puts it into his pocket without any fanfare.  Unfortunately, Junior is called away for a case before he can press his dad on it.

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Later, Junior returns to find his father drunk, in Maya’s old room.  In his whiskey infused haze, Natano can see it right in front of him…. the day he gave Maya the bracelet.  The love he felt for her and the way she loved him right back.  It was heartbreaking and incredibly poignant.  Finally, after all these years, Natano allows himself to show his grief to his son.  The embrace they share as Natano weeps on Junior’s shoulder was heart wrenching.  It’s a grief they should have shared a very long time ago.  Hopefully this is a real breakthrough for them.  I don’t think it’s going to all of a sudden make them into people who share all their feelings openly all the time, but it certainly looks like a promising start.

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Then there is that prosthetic leg.  Now that was a huge surprise.  Of course, we always knew that Natano was afraid to lose another child when he disapproved of Junior joining the Navy but as soon as I saw that leg, my first thought was “Wow… Junior’s dad lost a leg! Becoming a bit clearer why he didn’t want Junior to join the military!”  Having noticed the pretty significant scar along the side of his face before, I jumped to the conclusion that Natano didn’t want Junior in the military because he held a grudge because something happened to him while serving.

But then a friend of mine on Twitter, Lori Silvano (@Witchy0268) said something that made a lot more sense.  Perhaps Maya wasn’t alone in that car the night she died.  We know she was driving (Junior having mentioned it in a previous episode) but maybe Natano was in the passenger seat.  Maybe his drinking in this episode isn’t a new thing.  Maybe he called Maya to pick him up after a bit too much to drink that night.  Maybe it’s not only grief over her death but guilt that if he hadn’t called her, she wouldn’t have died.  That leg and that scar would be an every moment reminder, not that he would need it, of course, of what happened, what was lost and his guilt thinking it was his fault.

It kind of makes sense.  His grief is still so all consuming, even after all these years, it’s possible there could be more to it that we just don’t know about yet.  As he and Junior continue to “build that deck”, perhaps we’ll learn even more about what happened that night and how these two can continue to heal.

I’m looking forward to that a lot because both these actors, Eric Scanlon and Beulah Koale, are totally rocking these scenes and I can’t wait to see even more.

Well, that’s it for this week my friends!  I hope you all have a wonderful next couple of weeks.  If you’re a basketball lover, you’ll be in March Madness heaven while the rest of us suffer through hiatus hell.  See ya all in April!

Aloha.  Malama Pono

Sorry gang.. no time for screen caps this week.  Other than the Mural Arts photo, all photos are courtesy of CBS

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#H50 Review: 9.18 Ai no I ka ‘ape he mane ‘o no ko ka nuku’ (He who eats ‘ape is bound to have his mouth itch)

Monday, December 6, 2010 – Hawaii Five-0 Season 1, Episode 11 “Palekaiko” (Paradise)

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Danny:  Ahhhhh, mother-in-laws.

Steve:  I take it you didn’t have a good relationship with yours.

Danny:  No, not really.  She lives in Manchester.  She came to visit once.  It was the longest and worst 48 hours of my life.

Steve:  Your mother-in-law came all the way from England and stayed for two days?

Danny:  No, no, no…..I checked her into the Holiday Inn after two days.  It was me or her, babe.

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“Some kind of happiness is measured out in miles” – “Hey Bulldog” – The Beatles

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I absolutely loved all the Steve, Danny and Amanda time.  Dame Joan Collins was absolutely perfect as Amanda. It was so easy to think back to Danny’s words from over eight years ago and see exactly why he felt the need to ship her off to the Holiday Inn because, if this is Amanda more than a decade after the breakup, who hasn’t seen or had contact with Danny in all those years, I don’t even want to think about what she was like in the thick of things.

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Starting off with Steve and Danny all decked out in their best to be Amanda’s bodyguards for the day was awesome.  Anytime we get to see these guys looking so handsome is a blessing.  Damn but our guys sure clean up well.  Not that we didn’t already know that but it’s always fantastic to be reminded every so often.

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It was obvious that Steve was enjoying the hell out of the protection detail.  Well, maybe not all the shopping, but he got a real kick out of Amanda.  I loved how, because he’d promised Danny that he’d just be there, looking handsome, and not say anything, Steve looked to Danny for permission to speak when Amanda was talking to him at the hotel.

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As a matter of fact, it was a battle between who had the best facial expressions in all the scenes between these three, Steve or Danny.  I swear, half the dialog they had was facial.  It was hysterical and they were both brilliant.

Courtesy of @alohaspaceman2Photo Credit:  @alohaspaceman on Twitter and Instagram

Steve was even enjoying the barbs and snipes Amanda was taking at Danny at the beginning. Every time he looked over at him, Danny had this “see… you didn’t believe me” look on his face and Danny seemed to be just rolling with it himself.  It’s not like he wasn’t used to it or expecting it.  But it rapidly wore thin.  No matter what Danny said, Amanda either disagreed with him or totally ignored him.  She was dismissive, cold, rude and downright bitchy.

Courtesy of @alohaspacemanPhoto Credit:  @alohaspaceman on Twitter and Instagram

Personally, I don’t understand why Danny even tried.  There’s was no reason why he needed to agree to provide protection.  She’s not his mother-in-law anymore and even if she were, the way she treats him is enough reason to say no.  If he felt an obligation because she’s the grandmother to his children, he could have used his influence as Five-0 to contract a reputable security company to handle it.  It would have fulfilled what he felt was his obligation to keep her safe without putting himself in the line of fire.

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But, try he did.  Over and over again.  Knowing she’d reject any idea he had about places to eat, he makes reservations at three of the best and most expensive restaurants on the island so she can choose.  But, of course, she won’t even deign to hear what they are and turns to Steve for a recommendation.  When he takes her to Kamekona’s and she raves about his culinary choice while point blank admitting that if Danny had suggested it, she’s have hated it on principle, Danny reaches his limit.  I give the guy a ton of credit.  I would have thrown in the towel and told her exactly what she could do with it, a hell of a lot sooner than that.

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But I am bit torn over Steve’s handling of all of this.  Yeah, he was enjoying himself at the beginning, getting a real kick out of Amanda and her not-so-subtle flirting and compliments.  It was good to hear Steve, when Danny said Amanda had always made him feel that he wasn’t good enough, say he feels that Danny was more than good enough.  And I liked how Steve defended Danny to Amanda at Kamekona’s.  But, considering the amount of abuse Danny was receiving, there really should have been more of a counterbalance coming from Steve.

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I know being polite to persons of age and gender has been drilled into Steve practically since infancy, but as Danny was subjected to more and more as the episode went on, it became uncomfortable watching Steve say nothing to her.  Even when Steve finally begins to defend Danny at Kamekona’s, Amanda cuts him off after only a couple of sentences.  I wish he hadn’t allowed her to do that and would have pushed a bit harder in his defense of his friend.  Why the writers didn’t see this as necessary escapes me.

There also seemed to be an entire scene missing.  I refuse to believe that Steve allowed Amanda to borrow his phone and pretend to be him in order to meet Danny at that bar.  The only way Steve would have been a part of that would be if he and Amanda had a heart-to-heart after Danny walked off.  If Steve was able to finish what he wanted to say in Danny’s defense, before she cut him off.  If Steve would have laid it out for her in black and white, the type of man Danny is, as a friend, as a cop, and, most importantly, as a father.  For him to get up in her face a bit and have her look at him and, finally…. simply say.. “I know”.  The scene could have ended right there, with an astonished look on Steve’s face at her revelation.  The scene at the bar could have picked up right there.  I would have loved to see it played out that way.

Courtesy of @alohaspaceman1Photo Credit:  @alohaspaceman on Twitter and Instagram

The Amanda Savage security detail gave Alex and Scott an opportunity to have a light hearted and slow-paced episode which I am totally fine with.  These guys handle comedy extremely well and it’s a lot of fun to watch them having fun with a story. And it’s obvious that Dame Joan was having a total blast!

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Even if it does mean a 2-story episode where our team is completely cut off from each story.  The rest of the team, back at HQ, never mention the fact that Steve and Danny are not there, ask where they are or even joke around that they’re on “mother-in-law” duty.  And Steve and Danny give no indication they know about any case the rest of the team is working on.  Not the kind of episode that ranks up there as a favorite for me, as you know but, I’m giving this one a pass simply because I enjoyed the “mother-in-law” duty so much.

This week’ crime of the week was pretty good.  In usual H50 form, it was convoluted, had lots of twists and turns and gave everyone a chance to shine.  The best performance of this story was from the father of the murder victim, Brad Chen.  I don’t know who the actor is, and he only had one short scene, but the way he both fell apart and held it together when learning his son was murdered was unbelievable. As a parent, my stomach literally flipped at his devastated reaction. He was incredible.

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This story line, like the Amanda story, had some wonderfully amusing moments.  Remember when Steve sent Tani and Junior out for “street” duty last season to gain experience?  Part of me thinks they should also go to “undercover 101”, or at least maybe Junior should.  It may not be the smartest thing to do, on your very first day at a new gym, to chat up every dude in the place looking for “juice”.  It reminded me of when they went undercover at that private school last season and spent the entire time at the garden party asking every single couple they met the exact same question about the missing headmaster.

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It’s not hard to see why the guys at the gym began to think that, maybe, Junior was gay! Worse was being ambushed by three hulk types in the parking garage.  He might be our “junior” SEAL but there’s nothing junior about how he gave those knuckleheads a proper “beat down”.  Junior totally rocks!

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And Tani?  Well, she might just have a future as an aerobics instructor considering she had no blessed idea what the hell she was doing but her “Booty Boost” class was a clear winner.  She not only had all the moves but the women in the class were obviously enjoying it quite a lot.  Considering the amount of heavy lifting Junior had to do undercover, Tani’s assignment was a hoot!

H50_S9_HeWhoEatsApe_SG_D0012_FULLPhoto Credit:  CBS

Even with all the lighthearted elements there still managed to be drama.  When Tani chases down the unethical doctor selling “blood for youth” and he plunges a syringe of the deadly steroid compound into her neck, it was scary.  Of course, we know she’s gonna be alright, but it was still a little heart thumping to watch her convulse and go unconscious.  Watching Junior and Adam frantically trying to save her added to the frantic vibe of the scene.

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Yeah, it was pretty convenient that Adam not only knew exactly where the supply closet was but was able to rapidly lay his hands on a portable defibrillator and know how to use it but also find adrenalin and know exactly how to inject it and exactly how much.  But, what the hell…. that’s what I love about this show.  It’s not a medical drama, or a documentary.  It’s fiction for fun.  Pure and simple.

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This episode was a lot of fun. I thoroughly enjoyed the entire thing until the last 5 minutes. It’s almost as if the writers think “ok… we gave them a good 37 minutes of fun…. time to piss off the majority of the fandom now just in case all the fun doesn’t give them enough to talk about.”

I will say it was nice to hear Amanda tell Danny the truth about why she’s hated him all these years.  She was both disappointed and jealous when Rachel married Danny.  Disappointed because she had come from nothing and wanted Rachel to “marry up” and being married to a Jersey cop was definitely not anywhere near a step up in her book!  But she was also jealous because she had spent her whole adult life trying to find a man as good as her own father.  Danny may have been a man of limited means, but he’s a good man, a man who tells his children he loves them every day, just like her father used to tell her and her siblings.  For all those years, she unfairly took her disappointment and her jealously out on him.

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It was refreshing to know that telling the truth isn’t a totally unknown concept for the women in that family. But just like with Rachel, Amanda doesn’t come clean; she doesn’t tell the truth, until she feels she has no choice.  Rachel has been talking about Danny a lot lately and Amanda is worried she and Danny are moving toward a reconciliation.  Oh Amanda…. you’re not the only one, babe.  But because of this worry, now she feels the need to let Danny in on why she acts like she does.  God forbid, these women ever do the right thing without their backs being up against some kind of wall.

At first, I jumped right into angry.  How dare she?  How dare she ask Danny to “do right by” Rachel?  Is she serious?  When in the name of all that is holy has Danny ever not done right by Rachel?  Ever!!!

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But then I stopped and thought about it for a second.  Rachel is not big on inconvenient truths.  And, as is always the case, there are two sides to every story and it’s not inconceivable to believe that Amanda has only ever heard Rachel’s point of view.

It is more than probable that Amanda has only every heard Rachel’s side of things.  When Danny didn’t show up at the airport to return to Jersey with Rachel and Grace, Amanda probably never heard that Danny didn’t just not show up but stayed behind to help save Steve from a murder charge, for example.  When Rachel was stopped from taking Gracie to Las Vegas, I’m sure all Amanda heard was how horrible Danny was for standing in the way of Rachel and Stan’s happiness. I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if Danny was blamed for the breakdown of their marriage too because if he hadn’t stood in the way of them taking Gracie to Vegas, then they wouldn’t have had to have long separations which hurt their marriage.

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I’m sure Amanda has heard all of Rachel’s “reasons” for what she’s done over the years.  I’m sure Rachel had a very plausible reason for why she kept Charlie away from Danny for three years, reasons Amanda was more than willing to accept without question since she didn’t like Danny anyway. I wouldn’t put it past Rachel one bit to portray Danny as the villain in every one of their encounters.  Of course, Amanda would then feel that it was Danny who’s hurt Rachel over and over and everything Rachel did was to protect herself.  It is very possible that Amanda doesn’t know the full extent of how Rachel has emotionally abused Danny over the years and how she’s used both their kids as pawns.  Her telling Danny to “do right by her” only makes sense if she’s under the impression that all the heartache that’s come before is Danny’s fault. Which we all know is 100% untrue!

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But now, fortunes seem to have turned.  Now, it seems, Rachel is talking a lot about Danny to her mother and by the way Amanda has gone into protective mommy mode, it sounds like Rachel’s tune has significantly changed.  Danny is no longer the villain but someone Rachel is talking about quite fondly, or perhaps even something more.  My point is, all of Amanda’s perceptions of Danny filter through Rachel.  Considering how trustworthy Rachel can be and taking into account how flighty she can be with her emotions (she wants Danny; she wants Stan; has an affair with Danny; goes back to Stan; breaks up with Stan; now is sniffing around Danny), it’s understandable that Amanda’s reactions are completely off the mark.

So, I’m trying (emphasis on trying) to look at this from an angle that doesn’t look totally obvious.  What looks obvious is this unrelenting obsession TPTB seem to have to make our heroes look like imbecilic doormats.  Whether it’s Rachel or Catherine, it’s become so incredibly boring to rinse and repeat the undeniable illogic of their stories.

But, I’m hoping that what Danny hears when Amanda says “do right by her”, is that Rachel is getting the wrong idea here.  But Amanda also has the wrong idea here.  She asks him if he cares about Rachel.  Of course he does!  He always will.  They have history and she is the mother of his children. They are getting along great now and things are working between them as they co-parent their kids and cultivate a warm friendship.

But Amanda doesn’t stop there.  She also tells him not to “toy with her affections” and how she “doesn’t want to see her hurt again”.  Now why would she add that if Rachel hasn’t been feeding her ideas that things are moving in that direction and reiterating that she feels it’s been Danny hurting Rachel, not the other way around?  Again, Amanda is only reacting to what Rachel is telling her.

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Things are good and the best way to keep them good is not to venture into a relationship that has already failed twice.  Danny can do right by Rachel by making sure she isn’t, once again, hanging her happiness on him and trying to rekindle a romance that does not exist any longer.  It’s not fair to Rachel, it’s not fair to Danny and it’s not fair to the kids.  And, hasn’t the well being of his kids always been Danny’s first priority?

I’m hoping against hope that’s the way this will play out and not the way it looks to be headed. Otherwise…

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Well, that’s it this week my friends.  I hope you all have a wonderful rest of your week.  Aloha. Malama Pono.

Courtesy of @ernsand2Photo Credit:  @ernsand2 on Twitter

Screencaps are mine unless otherwise noted.

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#H50 Reviews: 9.16 Hapai ke kuko, hanau ka hewa (When Covetousness is Conceived, Sin is Born) AND 9.17 E’ao lu’au a kualima (Offer Young Taro Leaves to the Gods Five Times) – Directed by Alex O’Loughlin

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Ohana!  I’ve never gone back to check, but it feels like I’ve started more reviews with that one word than I could ever count.  Because, from the very beginning, from the moment we first saw Steve in the back of that armored vehicle listening to the murder of his father, this show has been about Ohana and we’ve visited and re-visited that theme over and over again in the last nine years.  Honestly, it’s not really something that needs “re-visiting” because it’s not something that ever really leaves.  Ohana simply envelops the entire series like a soft blanket that warms and protects against the cold of the outside world.  Friday night’s wonderful H50 double header is an excellent example.

Both episodes had the requisite “crimes-of-the-week”, of course, the “main” story, and they were both really great stories.  Full of twists, drama and action.  But it was the secondary stories, instead of feeling like fillers, only there to give the others something to do while the team solves the COTW, that encircled the main stories with love, compassion and Ohana which, in my opinion, is what gave both episodes their strength.

In 9.16, there were actually two secondary stories.  One tied directly with the COTW and one not.  Tani’s story revolved around her love of mermaids and was tied to the COTW by the fact that the episode’s murder victim, Gwendoline Baker, died while participating in a “Mermaid Adventure” where women don beautiful crafted mermaid tails and swim around living out a childhood dream.

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Meaghan Rath was wonderful in all her scenes which revolved around the mermaids.  I got a kick out of Danny telling Tani to focus as they walked up to the murder scene when she was totally diverted by memories of being a make-believe mermaid as a kid.

Courtesy of @alohaspaceman3Photo Credit:  @alohaspaceman on Twitter and IG

I loved the story she told Junior about her fear of the ocean when she was a little girl and how her father, knowing her love of mermaids, convinced her they were real.  The flashback scenes were so cute, of little Tani, repeatedly diving under the water to try to find the mermaids.

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But the best part was at the end when Junior springs for Tani to take part in a “Fantastic Mermaid Adventure” of her own, compete with her very own new mermaid tail.  Tani was positively incandescent with joy over finally living her dream and completely touched that Junior did this for her.

Courtesy of @surfbelle2Photo Credit:  @SurfBelle2 on Twitter

Junior’s thoughtfulness and Tani’s over-the-top excitement made what could have been really silly story a really touching one.  These two have known each other for less than two years and yet their closeness and friendship between them has very much grown into …. Ohana!

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The COTW, a story of pyramid schemes and money laundering, also played with the theme.  Now, I know this isn’t story related, of course, but it was such fun to see Matthew Lawrence playing the part as the husband of Gwendoline Baker, our murder victim.  Seems like H50 can’t escape the Ohana vibe even with its guest stars.  Matt, in case you didn’t know, is brother to Joey Lawrence and Andy Lawrence.  We have our own little Lawrence brother trifecta since Joey played Aaron Wright in Season 8 (who, by the way, is still in the wind as we speak) and Andy is a recurring member of the H50 cast as Danny’s nephew and our beloved crime lab tech Eric Russo.

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Our killer this week ends up being Jocelyn Greene, the CEO of Plum and Rose, the “health and beauty” company fronting for the pyramid scheme and being used to launder money for crime bosses out of Detroit.  Seems Gwen found out and was about to quit the company, but not before she blew the whistle on Jocelyn.  For this, Gwen needed to die.

Our team, naturally, figures all this out and head to Jocelyn’s house to arrest her.  Funny thing is, those bad guys from Detroit still wanted their money.  The team arrives at the house to find Jocelyn’s husband dead and her kids taken as leverage to get her to cooperate and return their money.

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This is H50, after all, so while our team arrest Jocelyn for murder, they still rescue the kids and allow her to have a joyful reunion.  Certain things are always more important than just the job……. Ohana!

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Our other secondary story, and the most important story of the episode, in my opinion, was Adam’s.  Still reeling from his breakup with Kono, Adam has finally gotten around to unpacking the boxes in his new apartment.  He’s also struck up a friendship with a deaf, homeless man named Hal.  It wasn’t really explained how this friendship came about since the first time we see them together it’s pretty clear the friendship is well established.  Who knows?  Perhaps Adam, a bit untethered since the breakup, met Hal while out walking and contemplating his lot in life.

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Bob Hiltermann, the actor portraying Hal did an excellent job.  According to the actor himself, the part was not initially supposed to be a deaf man but TPTB re-wrote the character especially for him.  How awesome is that?  As well as the fact that Ian Anthony Dale learned some sign language in order for Adam to communicate with Hal. Although he does speak, it was cool to see the two men converse in both speech and sign language.

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Like I said, this story was the highlight of this episode for me.  I really loved seeing this side of Adam.  It was wonderful to see him reaching out to someone less fortunate than himself, especially given how desperately low his own life seemed not so long ago.  He’s reinvented himself so many times; has come through so many different ordeals and came through to the other side, that when Hal asked him to go into a store to buy a birthday gift for his granddaughter, Adam realized he had the opportunity to pay it forward.

Hal has the money, but he doesn’t want to go into a store looking like he does.  Adam buys the toy but also gifts Hal with much more.  He gets him cleaned up, shaved and a haircut and gets him some new clothes.  But when Adam tells Hal he also bought him an airline ticket to visit his granddaughter in person, Hal gets spooked.

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After some wise words from Kamekona about how people need to make their own choices in their own time, he questions Adam about whether he’s doing this for Hal or for himself.

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When Adam finds him, Hal explains about how ashamed he feels because it was his drinking that drove his daughter away and now he doesn’t know if he can face her.

But Adam isn’t doing it for himself.  Adam truly feels that “everyone deserves a second chance”. He knows because when he hit rock-bottom there were people there to throw him a “lifeline”, one he didn’t hesitate to grab on to and it was the best thing he ever did.  He knows what it feels like to have someone there to have your back and he wants to be that for Hal.

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Later, as everyone gathers to celebrate Adam’s new digs, Hal calls Adam and via video chat, puts his granddaughter on the screen to thank Adam for “sending my Pop-Pop home”.  Honestly, Adam wasn’t the only one fighting tears, I can tell you.

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His heartfelt thank you to everyone gathered around his table for making him “feel like a part of something.  Made me realize I’m not alone.  I do have family” was perfect.  It was sweet and it was completely from the heart and it was the perfect way to end this great episode.  The kind of moment this show has been known for since the beginning….. Ohana!

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Courtesy of @alohaspaceman2Photo Credit:  @alohaspaceman on Twitter and IG

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9.17:  The second half of our Friday night double-header was just as awesome as the first.   Better in my mind because while we did have two storylines, they dove-tailed into each other and were, essentially, the same story.  When we have an episode with two stories, this is the way I like it.  Not two separate stories but, basically, two halves of the same story.  This episode was also directed by Alex O’Loughlin.  It’s his second turn in the director’s chair and, as much as I loved the episode he directed last year, he knocked this one out of the ball park.

Courtesy of @alohaspacemanPhoto Credit:  @alohaspaceman on Twitter and IG/CBS

And once again, we’re presented with the theme of Ohana.  This time it’s a study in not only Ohana we currently have but also the Ohana we could have had if circumstances had been different, as well as, the tragedy of an Ohana lost.

It was last season when we first met Layla, Junior’s ex-girlfriend, when she almost hit him with her car while he was out running.  Pregnant with her first child, she told Junior how “Tory” was already child-proofing the house for their new arrival.  She was happy and excited and wanted to get together with him to catch up.  We could see, even then, that Junior’s feelings for Layla were still very much there.  She may have moved on, but it was clear he hadn’t.  He even still had the video of their prom saved on his laptop.  It looks like, all these months later, Junior and Layla never did get together to catch up.

Just like in our first episode, the COTW really wasn’t the main focus of this episode.  In this episode, the COTW is the catalyst that forces Junior into some hard choices and uncomfortable soul-searching.

After bank robbers kill an armored car driver and a bank manager, one of the employees (another acquaintance of Junior’s) at the bank tells Junior and Tani that she recognized one of the thieves as someone she knows.  Tory, the father of Layla’s child.

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This crew of thieves have hit banks before and now have graduated to murder.  Tani tells Junior he must tell Steve that they have the name of one of the suspects.  Junior however, wants to talk to Layla first, find out what she knows about Tory and who he’s been hanging out with lately.  It’s really a shame he and Layla never did find time to get together because the first time they’re seeing each other again is when he shows up at her doorstep to question her about Tory.  Layla is not pleased with his accusatory tone.  “People change! You more than anyone should know that.”

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I wasn’t real happy with the fact that Junior went off on his own with this and I was glad Tani called him on it.  But I also really liked how Junior reminded her that he was there for her when she found the gun at Adam’s house and she wanted to find the truth before she brought it to Steve’s attention.  Junior was simply trying to do the same thing.

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But, of course, Steve is always the understanding mentor.  When Junior apologizes for not looping him in sooner, that there isn’t anything he wouldn’t do to protect Layla,  Steve tells him, “We all have our blind spots. The trick is to identify them and don’t let them cloud your decision-making process”.

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Steve’s been there and done that.  It was only just in Episode 9.11 when he basically spoke those exact words with regard to Greer.  Intelligent people learn from their mistakes.  Here’s hoping Junior and Steve take those words to heart.  You can’t let old feelings blind you to what a person is.  You can’t let who they “were” blind you from seeing who they have become.  And you can’t let your determination to protect them or help them lead you down a path to bad decisions.  Thank God Junior took that advice and brought along backup to the meeting with “Layla” which was an obvious trap.

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Junior tries to convince Tory to give himself up, promises him he can help him if he does but Tory just takes off.  The final confrontation between them was an incredible scene.  A testament to the acting talents of Beulah Koale, J.J. Soria, who played Tory and the magnificent direction of Alex.  Every moment of it was “edge-of-your-seat” heart stopping.  They were incredible.

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I loved Alex’s direction throughout the episode.  I really enjoyed the way he played with time throughout.  I liked how the story went back and forth in time, so we could see the way things transpired in a very different way.

But the final confrontation was the icing on the cake.  Tory is distraught.  He knows what he has done.  He may have done it because he was trying to provide for his young family.  Heaven knows the cost of living in Hawaii is through the roof and we learned early on in the episode that Layla stopped working to stay how with their baby.  But regardless of his reasons, he knows he’s going back to jail and he can’t bear the thought of his son, Kai, seeing him in a cage.

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Junior tries to convince him that Layla will understand.  That she and Kai will forgive him, and he can still have a life with them.  But you can see it in his eyes. The desperation, the realization that his life, the life he wants is over.  J.J. was so incredible at that moment.  You could literally feel the resolve he’d come to that he was not going back to jail. That Layla and Kai would be better off without him.

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So incredibly tragic that Tory chose suicide by cop and even more horrendously tragic that it had to be Junior who pulled the trigger.  Alex’s choice of camera angles for this scene was superb as was the shot of the bullet leaving Junior’s gun and traveling across the room to hit Tory.  It was a fantastic use of flashbacks as the bullet travels through the air. Tory’s last thoughts, as he waits for the death he knows is coming, resting on Layla and their son.

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When Junior dropped to his knees to cradle the dying Tory in his arms, desperately begging him to hold on, I felt totally kicked in the gut.  For the second time of the evening I was cursing my stupidity for not having a box of tissues handy.

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This seemed to be a night for Junior and Tani to tell each other stories from their pasts.  Tani told Junior about the mermaids and Junior, heartbreakingly, tells Tani about why he and Layla broke up.  We saw in that prom video last season how excited Layla was for Junior to go off to the Navy and how excited she was in both of their assumptions that when he got home they would get married.

But Junior didn’t come home.  When it came time to decide to go home or re-enlist, Junior chose the Navy over Layla, leaving her thousands of miles away and alone.  He picked the Navy, he wanted the Navy more than he wanted her and she moved on.  That didn’t mean he stopped caring about her or wanting to protect her.

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So, yeah, this episode very much had the Ohana theme running through it.  The Ohana that could have been, had Junior returned to Oahu after his first tour and he and Layla could have gotten married like they’d planned.  The Ohana that exists for Junior now.  Like Adam in the first episode, an Ohana that has his back and is there for him whenever he needs them, both professionally and personally.  And the tragedy of an Ohana lost.  Layla now forced to raise her son alone and never forgiving Junior for taking (as she sees it) her life away from her twice.

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So, there you have it.  Both of these episodes were fantastic.  Both were brilliantly written and directed, especially by Alex.  There was the action we crave from H50 but there was also an abundance of raw emotion to be had in both episodes.  Ian and Beulah especially did a phenomenal job.  And, once again, as is always the case when it comes to this show, when it comes to these characters, what we have all come to love about this show….. Ohana!

 Have a great week everyone.  Aloha.  Malama Pono

All screencaps are mine unless otherwise noted

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#H50 Review: 9.15 Ho’opio ‘ia e ka noho ali’I a Ka ua (Made Prisoner by the Reign of the Rain)

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“Hawaii Storm Might Have Set the State’s All-Time Record Low; Snow Fell on Maui, Too”

No, that’s not the tag line for this episode of H50 but it very well could have been.  That is a real headline from weather.com from this past week, as a powerful storm raked Hawaii with damaging winds (gusting as high as 200 mph), historically low temperatures and snow…. yes…. snow at the lowest elevation ever on Maui.  Maui!!  Anyone who argues there’s no such thing as climate change has been guzzling from a much larger pitcher of KoolAid than anything I’ve ever served here, that’s for sure!

Of course, there was no way for writer Rob Hanning to know that the real time Hawaii weather would so easily coincide with his episode when he wrote it (nor when it was filmed weeks ago) but the timing couldn’t have been better.  No way could anyone complain that the writing was unrealistic or “over-the-top” when the weather on the news was a lot worse.  Did anyone else see those humongous 100-year-old trees that were uprooted in Kapiolani Park?  Incredible!

http://www.hawaiinewsnow.com/2019/02/11/destructive-winds-uproot-nearly-century-old-trees-kapiolani-park/

You have to give director Karen Gaviola and especially the crew, a ton of kudos here for the way they manufactured that storm outside HQ.  The wind and rain lashing at the windows of Steve’s office were so incredibly realistic it was chilling.  Of course, we already know the crew on this show is phenomenal, but it’s still amazing every time they prove it once again.

Ok… who besides me found Alejandro “El Diablo” Vega (Raoul Trujillo) totally creepy?  Why, oh why, can’t we have a “big bad” like him stick around for a while?  He’d be one hell of a formidable opponent to Five-0, the likes of which we haven’t seen since WoFat and Gabriel.  The look in his eyes, the eerie way he smiled and the unnerving way he stared into the rendition room camera, it was easy to see why Jerry said some people believed he had some sort of “mind control” ability.

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Of course, this guy gets dumped into Five-0’s lap, with like 10 minutes notice.  Yeah, it was needed as a basis for the story but come on…. how many military bases are there on that island?  Military bases which I am certain have containment facilities available for when crimes are committed on base which are not under local jurisdiction.  Military bases which are armed to the teeth.  But the Palace, rapidly filling with civilian evacuees, who could easily become collateral damage, is the only secure place to take one of the worlds most notorious villains? 🤣🤣

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I liked this episode because it was really entertaining even though it was clearly intended to be a bit of a breather for the cast after the previous very emotional and high-octane episode.  Other than Steve’s fight with the assassin, which was totally bad ass awesome, everything else was relatively low key.  Moving Jerry’s stuff from his basement office; Lou and Jerry taking care of the critically injured sheriff’s deputy; Junior driving around the island; Tani tied to a chair; a lot of running back and forth to rendition to check on Vega and/or pull him out of a CO2 death chamber.  But nothing exploded, there were no car chases and the shoot-out in HQ was mostly just the assassin picking off FBI agents.  Again, all very entertaining but still kind of low key.  Steve’s fight and Tani’s back and forth with the bad guys at the stash house the only real action.

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Even so, Rob Hanning crafted an episode which was both exciting and unique due to the main Vega story being confined strictly to HQ.  It made the action feel very claustrophobic with the team and FBI trying to keep Vega both confined and safe.  Restricting the action in HQ, surrounded by the raging storm, really ratcheted up the stress level.  It was really well done.

I also enjoyed the scene between Lou, Jerry and the injured sheriff’s deputy.  We’ve talked before about the evolution of Jerry from that guy living in his mom’s basement who was basically scared of his own shadow to this new confident and self-assured Jerry who’s become a valuable asset to the team.  Not only was he, as he seems to always be now, invaluable in identifying the assassin, but in his cool-headed approach to treating the injured deputy.  Who’d have ever thought the Jerry of old could have handled that situation so well.

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And Lou?  Well, he’s just a font of apropos stories for every situation isn’t he?  His very amusing story serving its purpose in keeping the deputy conscious and responding until medical help could get there was golden!  And Chi is just sooooo good at scenes like these.

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As much as I enjoyed this episode… and here we go again…. it was an episode with three different stories going on and you all know I’m not thrilled with these types of episodes.  This one isn’t an exception.  I enjoyed Tani’s story, I did.  I love Tani and I always think she’s awesome.  I especially like it when she’s in scenes with kids because Meaghan always nails these and Tani’s interactions with little six-year-old Emmy, calming the frightened little girl and earning her trust, were wonderful.

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But this is a story we really didn’t need.  I know, they wanted to give everyone on the team something to do, and that’s great, but I think that could have easily been accomplished with Tani at HQ helping out with the Vega situation.  She really didn’t need to be pulled away for her own little side adventure.  But at least she had more to do than Junior who, other than killing the last bad guy (who Tani could have totally handled on her own, thank you) was relegated to just driving around Honolulu all day.  They could have both stayed at HQ and it would have been fine.

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And then there’s Danny.  Now, you know I don’t like it when Danny is segregated away from Steve and the team during any episode.  And here he is, not at HQ during a crisis, but at home, riding out the storm with Rachel and Charlie.  My gut instinct when these things happen is to be really annoyed.  But then I need to step back and think about it without my visceral emotions getting in the way.

First off, as a friend of mine pointed out to me, it’s obvious those scenes were filmed while Claire was still on Oahu back when they filmed 9.12.  Since this episode is not one of Scott’s “five less a year” episodes, having it written this way made it possible for Scott to be in the episode but still get an extra week off at the same time.  An extra week not meaning a “sixth” week but being able to get off two consecutive weeks.

And, as much as I don’t care for it, when I think about it that way, I have less of a problem with it.  Yeah, I wish Scott was in every single episode, in practically every single scene, but I know this schedule is keeping him happy and that’s keeping him on the show.  So, I don’t need to like it, I only need to understand it and since I adore Scott and Danny, I’m ok with anything that keeps him happy and, therefore, on this show.

As much as I loved Rob Hanning’s script, I do wish there had been just a couple more lines.  Some indication, even if it was a small one, that being at work was not out of the realm of possibility.  Maybe just a line from Rachel saying something like “Thanks Danny, I hope we’re not holding you from work” and Danny responding with something like “Don’t worry.  I called Steve and told him you guys were being evacuated.  He told me, since it’s already my day off anyway, to stay here but he’d call me if he needed more hands on deck”.  Just a couple of lines would have gone a long way to help it look less like Danny just wasn’t at work and more like Steve approved of him staying with his family.

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As for the interaction between Danny and Rachel…… what can I say that I haven’t already said before?  Look, we know Danny has a heart as big as all outdoors and a capacity for love that is off the charts.  His capacity for forgiveness is obviously just as huge.  That is a wonderful trait in anyone.  But this story upsets me on a couple of levels.  Not only because of all the reasons we’ve discussed ad nauseam as to why these two don’t belong together but because I love Scott and Claire together.  Their on-screen chemistry is, as always, phenomenal.

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So, I watch these scenes and it bugs the hell out of me that I sit there, thoroughly enjoying the acting of Scott and Claire, and being angry, at the same time, that these two awesome actors were handed this awful story.  I get angry at the unnecessary assignation of Rachel’s character and I get angry over what “could have been” if they would have written their story better.  If it had been written that Rachel didn’t know about Charlie’s paternity until after he got sick, instead of knowing from the very beginning.  That was the straw that broke my back in that relationship.

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And I get angry that the current writing is giving the impression that Danny’s heart of gold and capacity for forgiveness is going to conveniently forget everything that has happened over more than a decade between these two, from before we ever met them 8+ years ago.  That he’s going to conveniently forget the effects on Grace from the collapse of their marriage, their subsequent, unsuccessful reunion and the destruction of her marriage to Stan because of the Charlie revelation.  That he’d knowingly and willingly run the risk of hurting Charlie the same way.  That is not the Danny we know.  The Danny we know would move the earth and stars to protect his kids from getting hurt.

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My fervent hope is that all this good feeling between them will resonate with them and fully show them that they’re now in a really good place between them.  They are both happy, civil, working together for their kids….. friends. Co-parenting with love and good will.  That it’s just not worth risking what they have now in an ill-conceived attempt to recapture something they haven’t had in decades. To attempt to pretend all the nastiness that came before never happened.  That way, I can sit back and go back to enjoying Scott and Claire’s chemistry and acting skills without dread.

Going back to what I said earlier about wishing there was a line or two thrown in there about Danny going to work, I loved that the first place Steve went once everything calmed down was Danny’s.  So, even without the lines in the earlier scenes, Steve checking in on Danny, Rachel and Charlie and the way he greeted Rachel made it clear he did know Danny was staying home with them and he approved.  There was no surprise in his greeting that suggested he didn’t know Rachel was there.

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I also loved the subtle (or not-so-subtle) implication that Steve looks at a possible hook-up between Danny and Rachel as an impending disaster.  Yes Steve… we couldn’t agree more!

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The ending was funny and classic McDanno.  Yeah, I wish there had been a ton more of that but even this little glimpse of it was sweet and fun.  And…. Steve finally gets his pancakes.  I wonder if Danny buttered them for him?? 🤣🤣

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That’s it for this week my friends.  Something to really look forward to next week. A two-episode Friday night.  Have we ever had one of those before?  Except for a couple of season ending Fridays?  I don’t think we have so this will be a real treat especially since the second episode was directed by Alex.  That promises to be fantastic!

Have a great week everyone.  I don’t know when next weeks reviews will get done.  I have a weekend full of plans and obligations and now two episodes to review.  Hopefully I’ll get them done in a timely manner.

Aloha.  Malama Pono

All screencaps are mine unless otherwise noted

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#H50 Review: 9.14 Ikiiki i ka lā o Keawalua (Depressed with the Heat of Kealwalua)

Courtesy of @alohaspaceman1Photo Credit:  @alohaspaceman on Twitter and IG

Television.  We all see it differently.  We all see it from our different points of view.  Some watch it only to keep up with current events.  Others use it to relive their youth by tuning into old favorites.  Some go for comedy while others are strictly lovers of drama.  Whatever your personal tastes, TV is a smorgasbord of choice.  Yet, most people tend to gravitate to what they are the most comfortable with.  It’s only natural.

But sometimes, our favorites throw us a curveball.  It’s happened numerous times over the decades, usually when a situation comedy produces an episode with a much more dramatic story.  Or a hard-core drama decides to go with a more lighthearted, comical theme.  Usually, looking back on the long history of a series, those breakout episodes are usually some of the most memorable.

Television also has a long history of tackling social issues.  In my more than fifty years of watching TV, I can remember many instances where TV presented topics which were controversial, extremely hard to swallow and some that were down right terrifying.  Not everyone liked it, many were extremely critical and vocal, even in the days before social media, in their displeasure of what was shown.  But they were all shown none-the-less and pretty much all made a huge impact on how people viewed those issues from that point forward.

I found a great article, published by Variety back in 2017 that perfectly details the great importance TV has in highlighting social issues.  If you care to take a look, you can find it here:

https://variety.com/2017/tv/features/tv-social-issues-history-the-defenders-east-side-west-side-1202007945/

Of course, I’m not going to try and say that this episode of H50 is up there with the likes of “Friendly Fire”, “The Day After”, “The Burning Bed”, (the list goes on and on)  but this story, written by Paul Grellong, went a long way in highlighting some extremely important issues which many people in our country deal with every day, along with the threat we all face from those who seek to reshape our country into what they feel it should be.

You only need to look at the headlines to see how relevant this episode was.  The horrific attack on Empire star Jussie Smollett this past week shows the crushing reality of what it’s like to be a person of color or a person in the LGBT community in some parts of the country.  Being both can be positively lethal.

***** UPDATE 2/21/2019*****  I felt I needed to post this update due to the news coming from the Chicago Police Department that Jussie Smollett paid two brothers to stage the attack on him and that he’s been charged as a consequence.  Also, according to the police, Smollett himself wrote the racist letter that was sent to the “Empire” set and paid for the staged attack because he was “dissatisfied with his salary.”

This is a horrible development.  There is no way in hell to justify anyone…anyone… doing something like this for any reason.  He deserves any and all retribution that befalls him.  But the worse part of this is that, in the future, when true crimes are committed based on race, creed or sexual orientation, those true victims may be measured by the Smollett yardstick.  Are they telling the truth or are they after some other personal or political agenda?

That’s the true tragedy here.  Smollett has hurt the cause against racism and homophobia for his own selfish purposes.  I hope they throw the book at him.  And as for his motive being he was “dissatisfied with his salary”… well… I would hope that now, that point is mute!  ***** UPDATE 2/21/2019*****

But you don’t need to be a person of color or gay to be at risk these days.  You can be in a movie theater, a supermarket, a school, a church, it doesn’t even matter anymore, and some intolerant domestic terrorist can decide his narrow minded, racist agenda is more important than your life or the lives of your children.  Yes, I said terrorist.  Because it doesn’t matter if it’s a bomb or an assault rifle, it is a weapon of terror, a means of spreading terror.

How many innocent lives have been lost to the violence of hate?  I looked it up.  So far, in the month of January 2019 alone, there have been twenty-seven mass shootings.  Twenty-seven in thirty-one days!  This episode was not about a writer or an executive producer pushing a personal agenda.  It was a statement of fact, a hard reality check of important issues.  Issues people deal with every day in the real world. Issues that need to be explored and brought into the light.

We’re becoming anesthetized with the frequency of these events in the news.  Sometimes, we need to have it shown out of the context of that news.  We need to see it permeate something like our favorite TV show.  The fact that the episode has stirred up so many reactions, both positive and, unfortunately, negative, shows the impact it had on people’s consciousness.  It makes you think.

Paul Grellong wrote a beautiful episode that was heartbreaking, intense and exciting and ended in the most touching of ways.  It was extremely well done.  I have nothing but respect for the way this episode was handled by everyone involved in the making of it.

June 8, 1963…. President John F. Kennedy landed at Honolulu Airport along with the mayors of several U.S. cities to discuss equal rights for black Americans.  On the tarmac, during his arrival speech, he spoke of Hawaii.  “This island represents all that we are and all that we hope to be.”  His hope that Hawaii, with her culturally diverse population, made up of many different ethnic groups, could serve as a bellwether for the rest of the country.  This speech was highlighted at the end of Episode 7.09 (Elua Lā Ma Nowemapa – Two Days in November) if you remember.

Junior’s line that the last place he thought he’d see a Neo-Nazi would be Hawaii and Jerry’s response that, thanks to the internet, they’re everywhere now, shows just how far we have not come since 1963.

This episode was nerve rattling from the start.  The murder of Flippa’s friend and band mate Luka Palakiko hit very close to home.  Crimes which closely touch the Ohana are always the hardest to bear and watching Flippa’s emotional reaction to the death as well as Steve’s compassion for Flippa’s loss was heartbreaking.  Of course, having a crime hit so close to his family always makes the already committed McGarrett even more resolved to bring justice.

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This episode was extremely fast paced.  Usually, that’s because they’re trying to stuff a ton of story into a short period of time especially when it’s an episode with more than one story.  That was not the case here, though.  This episode centered around only one story, always my favorite type of episode.  The fast pace here wasn’t one of time management, it was one of intensity.

Peter Weller’s direction was magnificent.  Scenes not only rapidly jumped from one to the next, the characters themselves were extremely on edge throughout.  Everyone delivered their lines on what seemed like double speed.  Everyone moved around the scenes quickly and with urgency.  You could feel the tension leaping off the screen.  It was unnerving.  When you can sit on your sofa in the safety of your own home and literally feel the anxiety emanating from the screen, you know every single actor is playing it perfectly.

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And they all did.  Steve’s compassion and resolve with Flippa.  The anger from Lou and Tani when they inform Steve, they think Luka was having an inappropriate relationship with 15-year-old Annie Kehr.  The relief when they find out that Luka was helping Annie as a LGBT counsellor quickly transitioning over to disgust at her parents who want to send her way for “conversion therapy” because they feel she has her “wires crossed”.  “Conversion therapy” has been outlawed in Hawaii (and in many other states and municipalities around the country) and Steve and Lou have no intention of letting these parents essentially kidnap their daughter and subject her to such cruelty.

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Courtesy of @alohaspaceman4Photo Credit:  @alohaspaceman on Twitter and IG

Everything ratchets up when it’s discovered that Luka wasn’t murdered for only his van, but because he was a person of color, an innocent victim in the wrong place at the wrong time, in a sick terroristic plot to set off bombs in Honolulu and in 4 other U.S. cities to promote a Neo-Nazi decree.  “Racism, sexism and anti-Semitism.  Looks like the hate trifecta”.  Everyone is revolted by what they are seeing but Lou furiously reacts to the disgusting manifesto displayed on the overhead screen.  Chi’s understated portrayal of that fury, in his silently clenched fist and Steve’s recognition of it was exceptionally played.

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I do want to mention Jerry here for a moment.  I remember being so doubtful about the logic of adding Jerry to the team at the beginning.  I was quite content for him to remain a “consultant” in his basement office.  I was even more skeptical when they began to let him take part out in the field.  I have to say, I love it when I’m wrong.  Jerry has really come into his own.  He’s taken the assurance he’s gotten from Steve and the team and run with it.

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He’s no longer the loner living in his mother’s basement, leery of telephones and still using his manual typewriter.  He was awesome in this episode from beginning to end.  I just wish he didn’t seem to get hurt every time he ventures out of the office. He’s been injured a couple of times from crashing vans to take out perps, he broke his leg the last time, and now burns on his hands.  All in all, Jerry has become an indispensable asset to the team in every way possible.  I just hope they don’t give him a gun anytime soon.

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Courtesy of @alohaspaceman2Photo Credit:  @alohaspaceman on Twitter and IG

I really love that this was a one-story episode because it gives the writer the opportunity to really explore the story and all the characters emotions and reactions within the story when everyone has a hand in the investigation.  But my very favorite part was the teaming up of Steve and Lou as they headed over to Halawa to interrogate Roger Barton, the former cell mate of Conner Russell, identified as the potential bomber.  Of course, everyone knows my most favorite duo on this show is Steve and Danny but, on the occasion when Danny isn’t there, there is none better than Lou to team up with Steve.

The scenes between Steve, Lou and Barton were electrifying at the least and, at the most, more than deeply disturbing.  Listening to Barton not only spew his hateful beliefs but berating Steve for being “a disappointment” for not aligning himself to “his people” and having the detestable audacity to actually call Lou a “dog” and a savage to his face….. Oh my God, I wanted them both to rip that son of a bitch limb from limb!

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Courtesy of @alohaspaceman7Photo Credit:  @alohaspaceman on Twitter and IG

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Courtesy of @alohaspaceman6Photo Credit:  @alohaspaceman on Twitter and IG

“Let’s get one thing straight, all right?  You are not my people.  My grandfather… he died defending this country from pricks just like you.” God bless you, Steve McGarrett.

My heart literally stopped when I saw Russell pull that bomb laden van into a park in Waikiki and park it right beside a picnic table full of young people.  Of course, I knew Five-0 would get there in time but just the thought that anyone, even in a fictional TV show, could willingly do such a monstrous thing, well, I guess I just wasn’t born with the bone in my head that makes it possible to understand such evil.  I was more than thrilled it was Lou who blew the bastard away!

Courtesy of @alohaspacemanPhoto Credit:  @alohaspaceman on Twitter and IG

The theme of intolerance and the personal gut reactions to it ran through this entire episode and no one projected that more than Lou.  He was on the edge the entire time.  From the moment Steve noticed Lou’s balled fist in HQ, he knew there was more going on with his friend beside just the case.  When he tells Steve about the encounter he had with a couple of rednecks many years ago, you could literally see it all happening, his story was so powerful.  It’s a wonder he was able to control himself at all, especially with Barton.  I do wish they hadn’t written a real place into the script, however.  It’s my only complaint with this episode.  While I’m sure Elkhart, Illinois has its share of racists, I’m positive they have many good decent people there as well.  And, as this episode made abundantly clear, racism, hate and intolerance can happen anywhere.  I wish they would have made up a fictitious town to set Lou’s story in.

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The ending of this episode was extremely touching.  Everyone gathers to remember their friend Luka as Flippa and the band perform.  I’d never heard the song “Great Hawaiian Man” before but it was beautifully performed (Shawn Garrett is an amazing singer) and it was a fantastic choice for this celebration of Luka’s life.

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Annie taking the stage and asking the crowd to hold up their cellphone flashlights to say “thank you and we love you” to Luka was a beautiful moment.  As the camera pans back, we see the scope of the crowd, the number of people who tuned up and the many different ages, races and lifestyles represented in the crowd, well, I hope you had the tissues handy because I didn’t, and it wasn’t pretty.

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There may be all kinds of hateful people in this world, but we always have to remember there are many more good people out there.  We have to remember people like Annie’s parents, Russell and Barton are not the majority.  If we all shine that light on others in our daily lives, maybe someday, we can finally put an end to all that hate.

Courtesy of @alohaspaceman5Photo Credit:  @alohaspaceman on Twitter and IG

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This was an episode which took a lot of guts and even more talent to pull off so incredibly well.  To the entire cast and crew, writer Paul Grellong, director Peter Weller and everyone else who brought this wonderful episode to us this week… thank you!

Well, that’s it my friends.  I hope you have a wonderful week ahead.

Aloha.  Malama Pono

No time for screen caps this week.  All photos courtesy of CBS unless otherwise noted. Mahalo @alohaspaceman!

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