#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.

H50_S9_MadePrisoner_SG_10_FULL           Photo Credit:  CBS

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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.

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 narrowminded, 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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#H50 Review: 9.13 Ke iho mai nei ko luna (Those Above are Descending)

Hello everyone!  I hope you all had a wonderful week.  Welcome to this week’s KoolAid review!

I’m going to do something I don’t usually do, and jump right in with what was, in my opinion, the best part of this entire episode.  The opening scene of domesticity with Danny, Grace and Steve.  In what was a very enjoyable episode overall, this was the icing on the cake by far.

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No one in their right mind would think that Danny would be acting any differently then we see him here; in full Jewish Grandmother hen mode with a recovering Grace.  Who could blame him? No matter how old she is now, Grace is still his baby girl, his “monkey”, and he came ohhhh so very close to losing her forever.  If he’s going a bit over the top in taking care of her, so be it.  As a parent, I totally understand where he’s coming from.  I pity the children of anyone who doesn’t.

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But I have to tell you, thinking back on an experience of my own when I was about Gracie’s age, I can soooooo relate to her in that scene too.  When I was 20 years old, I got a pretty advanced case of mono and was housebound for almost the entire summer.  For the first couple of weeks, I was really sick.  I needed someone there to take care of me and make sure I got up and moved around and, most important, that I ate something, because I didn’t do too much of anything except sleep.  My mom was wonderful.

After three weeks or so, as I started to get better, I really didn’t need someone there 24/7.  I wasn’t sleeping as much, and I could get up and make food for myself.  But by this point, my mother was in full “Daddy Danno” mode and there was no stopping her.  It was excruciating.

We had a family vacation planned at the Jersey Shore in early August and by that time, other than still being housebound, I was totally able to take care of myself. Remember, I was 20 years old, not a child!  I begged my father to please take my mother and go down the shore.  It was only five days and the shore was only a couple of hours away if I needed them.

Of course, my mother wouldn’t hear of it.  She’s wasn’t leaving her “sick child” alone. It was another month before I was allowed to get the hell out of there.  I literally thought I was going to lose my mind!  God, I wish I’d have had an “Uncle Steve” to rescue me!

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I loved how Steve did come to Gracie’s rescue, but I also liked how he made sure she understood why Danny was acting the way he was.  The panic and helplessness he felt while waiting around the hospital not knowing if she’d pull through, making him go overboard now that he has the chance to take care of her.  The fact that Grace totally gets that and loves her Danno for it was very touching.

It’s also very touching that Grace is so comfortable with her bickering “dads” throughout this entire scene.  Steve and Danny may not be a “couple” in that sense but it’s clear to everyone with a millimeter of a brain that both these men look on Grace with fatherly adoration and Grace is totally ok with that.  I hope this isn’t the last time we get to see Grace as she goes off to college but if it is, it was a fantastic scene for us to look back on someday!

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All in all an absolutely adorable scene full of love.  And adding more butter to those pancakes is finding out that Steve’s line was as total Alex ad-lib!  How perfect is that???

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alex's ad-lib

I do wish the writers would stop angling nonsense about the love lives of our heroes, though.  As long as I live, I will never understand this.  I don’t understand it when it comes to Catherine and I don’t understand it when it comes to Rachel.  I just don’t get what TPTB get out of it except to keep everyone on edge.  Is it some sort of mind game to keep everyone engaged in the show?  (FYI.. don’t need it… been fully engaged over here for nine years, thank you!)

Is it to keep those who love the ships waiting for reconciliation?  Keep those who dislike the ships agitated and waiting for, hopefully, final breakups?  While TPTB sit back and watch the havoc they cause?  If that’s the intention, it’s working.  Personally, as I’ve said before, and quoting my mother once again, I wish they’d just shit or get off the pot because this is more than just a lot annoying.

I suppose, if I wanted to really squint, I could look on that scene as Steve just trying to understand this new dynamic between Danny and Rachel.  Danny’s response to Steve’s question about what’s going on says a lot.  “Nothing’s going on.  I mean, we don’t want to kill each other for the first time in a long time”.  Personally, I find it a bit of a stretch to go from not wanting to kill someone to full reconciliation but maybe that’s just me.

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So perhaps Danny’s “free-styling relationship jazz” is a mature way of them both sitting back and just letting things happen at their own pace.  That could just as easily lead to a mutual decision to remain loving friends and co-parents as it could lead to anything else.  I’m hoping to God they both realize the third time is not the charm and leave things just as they are.  I’m also hoping to God that Steve sees it and decides to follow their example.

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The rest of the episode was given over to the crime of the week.  I enjoyed this story but maybe not for the reasons writers Rob Hanning and Sean O’Reilly may have envisioned.  I was less interested in the particulars of the victim and the crime than I was in the interactions and adventures of the team as they worked the case.

I loved the set design of the Neptune One SeaLab.  It’s was fun to see a case that was totally different than any other we’ve seen before.  We’ve seen bodies pulled from the sea and we’ve seen evidence and dead bodies wash up on shore a zillion times.  We’ve even had dead bodies tethered to the ocean floor, but we’ve never had a murder and the investigation take place  hundreds of feet below the surface.  That was pretty cool.

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I also really loved that Steve gave Junior the lead on the investigation.  It makes sense that with two fully trained SEALs on the team, one would stay on dry land as a backup in case of emergency and it was cool that Steve felt it was time to give Junior a command of his own.  It also makes sense that it would be Tani and Adam who rounded out the dive team. We all know how Danny feels about the water and I can’t see Lou getting himself wetsuited for this op.  I thought the Junior/Tani/Adam team did an awesome job.  I loved the little bit of levity added to the mission brief too!  🤣🤣

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708b1d29e0d8d71f01c7ba40657da240Photo Credit:  CBS

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What made this story interesting for me was how great Junior was in leading the team and what happened after the killer escaped in the submersible the team had used.  She not only took the sub, she sabotaged the lab so it would lose oxygen and threw all the oxygen tanks on the lab overboard.

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Did you see the way Junior, without the slightest hesitation, leaped into the water after that sub?  What did he think he was going to do? Pull it back by himself with brute force?

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With the submersible gone, the team can’t communicate with the surface and they are rapidly running out of breathable air.  Junior had schooled the others in what physically happens to the body after long exposure in deep water and they soon learn for themselves as they begin to feel the effects.

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Junior knows his stuff.  He knew there must be an emergency communication buoy on board and with only minutes of oxygen left, Junior finds it and records an SOS “hail Mary”.  He then takes to the water again, this time to make sure the buoy reaches the surface.

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Just like when he jumped in after the sub, it was such a “Steve” thing to do, such a SEAL thing to do.  Tani volunteers to do it but Junior is in command here.  He’s not going to let Tani do anything he feels he should be the one to do.

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Unfortunately, he uses up all his strength and air trying to deploy the buoy to the surface.  Thank God Tani jumped in to save him after he becomes disoriented.  Of course, this saps them both of all their remaining reserves and they both begin to lapse into unconsciousness.

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Naturally, Steve staying behind, was exactly what was needed to save the day.  It’s always so fantastic to see our SuperSEAL in action.  That dive was really something else.  I loved how worried Danny was for Steve’s safety doing such a dangerous dive and how relieved he was when Steve resurfaced.

I have to say that I was really impressed with the amount of time we got with Steve and Danny.  At Danny’s house, at HQ and out on the boat.  Since they were not front and center in the investigation on the Neptune One, I thought we’d get precious little of them overall in the episode.  I’m so glad I was wrong.  It was really great that Alex and Scott got to have a bit of a breather with this episode while we still got a great amount of them together on screen.  It was really very well done!

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I’m also glad the scene was written so that Steve didn’t just pop out of the water as if it was no big deal.  He was totally exhausted with labored breathing.  He has a hard time even forcing out a few words. He resorts to hand signals as he tries to catch his breath.  Alex played it perfectly, as usual.  It was totally realistic.

And, speaking of realistic, there was much vitriol on Twitter and especially on Facebook about Steve’s deep water dive.  I, myself, tweeted and asked, during the episode, how Steve would be able to make that dive and not get the bends on the way up.

And, you know what?  There’s this wonderful thing called social media and the internet in general, where information is readily available to answer such questions.  I’m the first to admit I don’t know every damn thing in the world and learning something new is always exciting.

First off, there were tweets from writer Rob Hanning himself explaining the science of Steve’s deep water dive:

courtesy of @alohaspaceman and @robhanningPhoto Credit: Compilation courtesy of @alohaspaceman from tweets of @RobHanning

And his gratitude to “super-researcher Taylor Amsler” for doing the equations Steve used to calculate how long the two oxygen tanks would last for the people on the Neptune One.

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Then there are the great fans of the show who go out of their way to do the research when they see something they want to better understand and share it with the rest of us.

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I know this show has taken some pretty large liberties in the past.  Sometimes it’s like watching a James Bond movie and suspension of belief helps a great deal.  But I love it when the writers and the research staff really do their homework and teach us that not everything we think as unbelievable or unrealistic is.

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It really is too bad more people don’t avail themselves of the wonderful bounty of information that’s available on line.  A two second Google search isn’t all that hard to do, really.

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Maybe if more people would give it a try they wouldn’t find the need to go on social media and complain about the ridiculousness of something that is not ridiculous at all.

*** An alien from another planet, landing on Earth asks what the internet is.  The helpful human explains, “The internet is a vast resource, available at the fingertips of everyone, holding all the knowledge of the world.  We use it to argue with people we don’t know and watch videos of cats.” ***

One of the reasons it was so cool that Junior got to be the leader on this mission was the excruciating way his day had started.  We’ve heard about Junior’s dad before, and the contentious relationship between them.  Hearing about it and actually seeing it is another story.  This was downright unpleasant.

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We already know that Junior’s dad, Natano, didn’t want Junior to join the Navy.  We know it’s been a bone of contention between them but that first scene hints at more underlying difficulties between them.  Natano seems to fall quite easily into criticizing Junior for everything.

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Oh, he starts with using the wrong wood to fix the deck but his “never sticking around” and “always finding an excuse to leave” speaks to much more than just Junior’s decision to join the Navy.  It’s obviously an argument they’ve had many times before as Junior doesn’t even try to engage.  He doesn’t need to make up an excuse to leave this time.  “You’re enough” speaks volumes.

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It makes me think of what we already know about Junior’s past.  We know his sister died and we heard the heartbreaking voicemail Junior still has on his phone from when his mother called to tell him his sister had been killed.  I need to go back and re-watch that episode.  Was Junior deployed when that happened, which is why it was a voicemail?  I don’t remember.  If he was deployed, does that mean Junior didn’t make it back for the funeral either?

Then there is that rather horrendous scar that runs down the right side of Natano’s face.  What caused that?  Is that yet another tragic accident that happened while Junior was away.

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Does Natano feel Junior should have been there for his family instead of with a Navy he never wanted him to join?  Does Natano feel, perhaps, if Junior had been there, his sister wouldn’t have died or that whatever happened to cause that scar on his face could have been avoided?  There is more to this story, that’s for sure.  I wonder if it’s part of the “long story” we still haven’t heard as to why Junior left the SEALs so young.

I enjoyed the scene at the end of the episode when Junior goes back to his parents house to find his dad working on the deck himself.  I liked how there was no dialog here, just his dad handing Junior a hammer so they could work together on the deck.

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Does Natano read about Five-0’s work in the paper, or perhaps, see the good work they do on the news?  Does he recognize that what Junior does is important and necessary?  I hope we get to find out more about him but for now, at least, he seems to be minutely moving toward trying to repair their relationship.

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I really liked that this was a one story line episode.  Other than the fantastic opening scene with Grace and the two with Junior and his dad, it enabled the writers to fully explore the main story and have room for some great McDanno moments on the boat and wonderfully amusing moments like Tani’s exasperation at Anime vs Cartoon arguments in the “hyper-barbaric” chamber! 🤣🤣  You know me, whenever we get a one story line episode, I’m in heaven!

courtesy of @alohaspaceman1Photo Credit:  @alohaspaceman

Tani dear?  I can think of any number of people who would jump at the chance to help you out there.  Over two weeks in isolation with Steve, Danny and Junior.  And now another sixteen hours alone with Junior and Adam.  Damn girl! 😍😍😍  Oh, and by the way….. cartoons!

Well, that’s it for this week my friends.  Hope you all have a fantastic week to come.  No new KoolAid next week since it’s a re-run, damn it all!

As always, all screen caps are mine unless otherwise noted.  Aloha.  Malama Pono

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#H50 Review: 9.12 Ka Hauli O Ka Mea Hewa ‘Ole, He Nalowale Koke (A Bruise Inflicted on an Innocent Person Vanishes Quickly)

courtesy of @alohaspaceman2Courtesy of @alohaspaceman in IG and Twitter

Where, oh where, does the time go?  You’re curled up on the sofa watching a movie with the family and you glance over at your darling baby girl.  But your baby girl isn’t sitting there.  Instead, there is this young woman, tall and beautiful, a glass of wine in her hand, watching the movie with rapt attention.  She turns her head to glance back at you and you’re floored to realize, well damn, that is your baby girl.  When the hell did that happen?

Wasn’t it just last year when you held her in your arms the first time?  Wasn’t it just last month when you were cheering her on as she took a first step across this very room?  Wasn’t it just last week when you held her little hand as you crossed a street?  Wasn’t it just yesterday when you were patching her first skinned knee? Where on earth did this grown up person come from?

Watching the start of this episode, a special “previously on Hawaii Five-0”, we could ask ourselves very similar questions as we were treated to clips of “little Gracie Williams” through the years.  My how our little monkey has grown before our very eyes.

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It was easy to get misty eyed as we watched Gracie grow up before our eyes once again but that warm feeling didn’t last very long as we are immediately thrown into every parent’s worst nightmare.

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This was a really great episode.  No, it wasn’t perfect.  Very few episodes are.  But writer Zoe Robyn crafted a truly wonderful script.  Yes, it was a two storyline episode, never a favorite of mine, but Zoe was able to write two very captivating stories.  While both stories could have easily been expanded to encompass an entire episode, neither one diminished the other by having to share the allotted time.  It’s not easy to write a script that does that.  Zoe did a fantastic job.

Her script was emotionally brilliant.  It had all the feels that have made people love this show from the beginning.  There was the fantastic (and frightening) stunt of Gracie’s car going over that embankment.  There was laughter, anger, angst, determination, disbelief, fear and, the most important thing of all….. the overwhelming feeling of Ohana throughout both stories.

My personal highlight:

The incredible acting from Mr. Scott Caan.  Of course, this is no surprise to any of us.  We already know this man is an extraordinary actor and, given the right material, simply knocks it out of the park.  This episode proved, once again, just how talented he is.  Whether he’s demonstratively showing his anger and frustration at Katie’s understandably distraught father, or saying very little, his facial expressions and mannerisms speak volumes.

Danny’s hurt and angry that Rachel saw fit to keep yet another fact about his children from him.  That Stan bought Grace a car.  But I loved how, even though he allowed his resentment a moments free reign and called Rachel out on the fact that this isn’t the first thing she’s ever kept from him, he pulled it back.  This wasn’t the time.  Gracie’s life was in the balance.  That’s all that mattered now.  Scott played it beautifully.

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It was heartbreaking to watch his face crumble when the surgeon came to tell him and Rachel there was a complication during Gracie’s surgery.  It was equally heartbreaking to watch him crumble once more as he watched the video Rachel had put together for Gracie’s graduation.  And the quaver in his voice throughout all the hospital scenes was literally painful to hear.  His terror at the possibility of losing Grace was palpable.

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It’s something that has always affected me ever since I was a kid watching soap operas with my mom.  I can hold it together through the saddest of scenes but have a strong man begin to crumble and I just lose it.  Scott had me losing it.

And, of course, there is Claire van der Boom.  I have always loved her and I defy anyone to say that she and Scott are not wonderful on screen together.  From the first moment we met Rachel back in Season 1, I have loved these two together.  Scott and Claire, like Chi McBride and Michelle Hurd (as Lou and Renee) are so believable as a couple on screen someone not familiar with the show could easily believe they are a couple in real life.  Even if they should never be a couple in the show again.  More on that later!

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“Yeah, I’m a cop but worse for you, I’m an uncle”

Scott and Claire were incredible in this episode, but so, of course, was Alex.  Of course, there was never any doubt Steve would be there for Danny.  He loves Gracie as if she were his own child and the thought of losing her himself, as well as what it would do to Danny would be devastating for Steve to even think about.  He was an incredible combination of supportive, protective and driven to find the truth about how this happened to her.

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I loved how the moment Katie’s dad started to move toward becoming combative with Danny, Steve placed himself right there between them.  Not only protecting Danny but also protecting Katie’s dad from what he fears Danny could do in his state of mind.

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He went into full investigative mode the moment Duke told him HPD was starting an investigation of the accident because of the rate of speed Gracie was traveling.  Of course, it was Duke who breaks this news.  Who else would it be?  Duke is Ohana and there isn’t any way he’d allow anyone else to handle this duty.  A regular cop would have followed protocol and went to Danny and Rachel as Gracie’s parents.  Duke wouldn’t have allowed that to happen because that would have been heartless.  He even apologized to Steve, there was no way he was going to burden Danny.  It’s also no surprise that Steve doesn’t believe Gracie was recklessly driving for one moment.  “You know this girl.  It’s not her.  Something’s wrong here.”  Time for Uncle Steve to get to the bottom of this.

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I love the scene between Steve, Lou and the mean girl, Cameron.  I enjoyed watching Steve standing back and letting Lou fill in Cameron’s dad on exactly what went on at the party she and Gracie were attending.  It was very satisfying to see the mean girl called on her bull.  I hate people like her. People who get pleasure out of hurting other people.  I loved the unwavering look on Steve’s face as he stared the little bitch down.  But, at least, she managed to give the guys a timeline of exactly when Gracie and Katie left the party.

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Gracie’s uncles were so proud of her.  The way she stood up for Katie at the party.  How she got Katie out of there when she was feeling alone and humiliated.  How she took her out for something to eat, to make her feel better.  How she stood up to a creepy dude in Zippy’s who wouldn’t leave the girls alone.

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Having already determined at the accident site that there was another car involved which forced Gracie off the road, it’s an easy task to track down the license plate number off the creep’s car from the CCTV footage.  The next scene was pure gold.

My husband was watching the episode with me and when Steve asked Keith the Creep to go for a test drive, he turned to me and said, “Ohhhhh this should be good…” 🤣🤣 And it sure as hell was.  Watching Steve scare the crap out of the creep was a hell of a lot of fun.  I think Keith may need to do some heavy duty cleaning of the passenger seat upholstery if he intends to sell that car after he gets out of jail.

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With Keith the Creep taken off to HPD, Steve heads back to the hospital to check in on Danny.  The scene in the hallway as they wait for word was fantastic.  Danny tells Steve about the graduation video Rachel made for Grace and he jokes that Steve is in it more than he is, even though from the photos we saw that’s not really true.  Makes me hope there is a fuller video somewhere that might show up as a DVD extra someday.  But Danny says there is more Steve and it’s funny how Danny is perfectly OK with this as well as the influence Steve has on Grace.

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I saw this tweet the night of the episode but I forgot to note who said it.  If you recognize it, please let me know so I can give the proper credit.  But for the purpose of this review, it’s too perfect not to include.

“Steve’s excitement about having Grace’s graduation party at his house, getting a big screen & inviting the neighborhood was such an excited father move, it was beyond adorable. And the fact that Danny didn’t really protest – again co-parenting at its finest. #H50

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The absolute best moment of the entire scene is the three person embrace between Danny, Rachel and Steve.  After bringing them the wonderful news that Grace is out of surgery and all went well, she and Danny fall into an embrace of overwhelming relief.  Steve, overcome with relief himself, braces himself against the wall, staying back and letting Grace’s parents have their moment.

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But Danny isn’t having that.  Danny needs to show Steve that he’s part of this, that he is just as much Grace’s family as they are.  He reaches out and draws Steve into their embrace.  One of the best gestures between them ever!

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The Graduation Video

I don’t know who chose the photos to use for that video but whoever it was deserves a huge raise.  Besides being wonderful to see even more pictures of Gracie over the years it was the emotional reactions from Danny and Rachel that made it so heartbreaking.  And the pictures themselves tell an even more personal tale.

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Most of the pictures used in that video are not pictures of Gracie and Danny or Steve.  No, they are pictures of Teilor Grubbs (and, more then likely, her little sister as a toddler) with Scott and Alex.  Tell me this.  What does it say about the closeness and affection between your cast members when you can use behind-the-scenes photos of the actors as a montage for the love between fictional characters?? We’ve all watched Teilor grow up on screen but those guys, have been her on set loving uncles from the start.

Gracie’s car doesn’t have a license plate:

I saw a lot of people wringing their hands over this on Twitter the other night.  Gracie’s car didn’t have a plate, so why was she allowed to drive it?  A brand new car won’t have plates immediately since there was no previous registration (like from an already owned car) to transfer over.  The dealer will register the new car with the state and give a temporary paper registration.  You are permitted to drive the car with these until your permanent plates come in the mail, usually within a month.

The secondary story:

I really enjoyed this story a lot.  Unlike last weeks secondary offering, this one didn’t feel like it was just giving the actors something to do.  It was a good story and it highlighted the relationship between Tani and Koa, which is one of my most favorite dynamics in the show these days.  I just love the relationship between these two.

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I really enjoyed watching them work together, along with Adam, in trying to prove a woman Koa had in drug counseling didn’t die from an overdose but was murdered.  I love it when Tani goes all hard ass on suspects even if this time it really was a bit over the top.  But like Steve and Danny, when it involves someone they love, restraint isn’t their strong suit.

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It was fun watching Tani and Adam working this case on their own.  I like how the writers are working Adam into cases as if he’s always been there.  His presence hasn’t been as jarring as I feared it would be at the beginning.  And he and Tani work extremely well together especially with the special bond they share ever since Adam saved Koa’s life.

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I enjoyed watching Koa play detective in his determination to find the truth.  I know it wasn’t realistic.  Tani would have known to look in the toilet tank for a stash.  Koa was touching everything without wearing gloves. Major no-no.  But, I didn’t care really.  It was still fun watching him work the scene.  Who knows? Maybe someday we’ll hear that Koa has decided to join the Academy.  It would be a nice throw back to the beginning of the series.  Kono followed Chin to HPD.  Maybe, someday, Koa will follow Tani.

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The elephant in the room:

Last week, I wrote in my review, that I felt the episode had been hijacked from what should have been a full episode revolving around nothing but the avenging of Joe White, into the Steve and Catherine road to redemption.  Unfortunately, I get a similar feel about this episode as well.

Just like I had no problem with Catherine being part of the operation last week, I obviously have no problem with Rachel being there this week.  Just like there was a very valid reason for Catherine to be there last week, (she is highly trained, very good at her job and had a long standing relationship with both Joe and Steve), Rachel is Gracie’s mother and, obviously, there was no place she should have been except by Danny’s side in that hospital.

But both episodes used the last few minutes of the episodes to point everyone toward the most ridiculous of roads.  Just as there should never be a reconciliation between Steve and Catherine, so should there never be one between Danny and Rachel.  I will never understand why TPTB on this show seem to want to force our heroes back into the arms of two women who have lied to them in the most hurtful of ways.

Unlike Steve and Catherine, at least there’s a legitimate reason for Danny and Rachel to be in each other’s lives.  They are the parents of children.  They will always be in each other’s life.  Being able to get past their past differences, Danny being able to forgive Rachel for the hurtful things she’s done to him, is necessary for them to have a civil and friendly relationship for the sake of the kids.

Forgiving is admirable and to be commended. But forgetting is a totally different matter. There is no doubt there is still love there between them. Danny will always have a soft spot for Rachel, just as Steve will for Catherine.  But on both counts, the trust has been severely damaged.  That can’t just be swept under the rug, in either case.  

We find out in this episode that Rachel knew before they ever left New Jersey that she wasn’t happy with Stan.  And yet she still moved Grace all the way to Hawaii away from her father.  She tried to sue Danny for full custody of Grace after the shooting at the football game.  She tried to sue again so she could move with Stan (the man it seems she was never happy with) to Las Vegas.  And, the Mount Everest of lies, she lied, with full knowledge, about the fact that Charlie was Danny’s son.  So in essence, she tried to steal both of Danny’s children away from him.  If that poor child hadn’t gotten sick, she’d have never told Danny about Charlie.  Or Stan for that matter.  She’s betrayed both her husbands.

It really is a god-damn shame.  Just like I always liked Catherine until TPTB turned her into a selfish, hurtful liar, I always liked Rachel.  But again, TPTB chose to totally destroy her character.  Even with the move to Hawaii and the custody battles, I could have been on board with a reconciliation until she confessed about Charlie.  That was so unnecessary.  It would have been just as devastating to Danny to learn about Charlie and the years he’d missed if Rachel had not known Charlie’s true paternity.  It could have been written that she always believed Charlie was Stan’s son and it was only after he got sick and they needed DNA testing for donors that they found out the truth.

But they chose to make Rachel fully aware from the very beginning that Charlie was Danny’s.  That means she not only deprived him of those early years, she allowed him to assist in the delivery of his own son without knowing it was his son.  That is unforgivable, plain and simple.

Yes, it’s a god-damn shame because Scott and Claire absolutely sizzle on screen together.  You can feel the friendship that exists between them.  It tangibly radiates from the screen.  Their chemistry is off the charts.  But, in my view at least, that should not translate into a reconciliation between Danny and Rachel.  Just like Steve and Catherine, they should remain good and loving friends, but that’s all it should ever be.  Both Steve and Danny deserve someone who will unconditionally love them and be unconditionally loyal and trustworthy.  Neither Catherine nor Rachel fit that description any longer.

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Welcome home Gracie:

A week after the accident, Gracie comes home to a full blown Ohana celebration.  I don’t know anything about head trauma or brain surgery but one week doesn’t seem like a very long time to make such a recovery.  Her cuts and bruises are far on the road to healing and except for a hat which is probably hiding the turban of bandages on the top of her head, you’d never know she’d been hurt.  But, details…. details….

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It was so awesome to see the entire Ohana there to welcome her home.  Lou even mention how Will wishes he could be there for her, but will be home tomorrow to see her.  Nice to know the kids are still together.  And it was wonderful to hear Steve say, as if Grace didn’t already know it, that no matter where she goes in her life, they’ll always all be there for her.

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Lots of love, laughter and food.  Oh yeah, the food.  Seems we finally have an official name for the restaurant.  Kamekona’s Ohana Style Italian Restaurant.  I suppose an “ohana style” Italian Restaurant means traditional Italian dishes with a Hawaiian flair?  All I know is, if Danny walks in there and finds pineapple on pizza he’ll blow a blood vessel! 🤣🤣  And yeah, I still prefer “Steve’s” too!

As always it is the feeling of Ohana which permeates this entire series.  I can only be grateful that we’ve been able to share in it all these years.  In the show, and in the fandom, where I’ve met so many wonderful people who share my love of this show.  Thank you H50.  As Koa so perfectly put it…. “I appreciate being part of this big weird family you brought into my life”.

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That’s it for this week my friends.  As always, all screen caps are mine unless otherwise noted.  But before I go, a little something in honor of this fantastic episode…… a throwback to a little video I made waaaaay back when!  Aloha.  Malama Pono.

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#H50 Review: 9.11 Hala i ke ala o’i’ole mai (Gone on the Road from Which There Is No Returning)

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Happy New Year my friends!  Welcome back for another new year of H50.  I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season doing all the things you love with all the people you love in your life.

I had a fantastic holiday.  My daughter came home from Australia for over two weeks.  It was so incredibly wonderful to have her home.  She’s getting married in the fall so we spent most of our time between holiday dinners and parties doing all kinds of wedding planning.  We visited the historic Inn where the ceremony will take place, we visited the spa/salon that will do our hair and make-up and we bought her wedding gown.  We went shopping and out to lunches and spent hours sitting on our beds just talking face to face instead of over a computer screen.  It was all simply perfect.

I was, understandably, very sad to put her on the plane back home, knowing I won’t see her again until a week before the wedding.  That’s ten months that will feel like years.  Having a new H50 to take my mind off the sadness was a blessing.  As has been the case over the last nine years, H50 is there to bring in a much-needed diversion from real life.

As you all probably already know, I was not overly excited about this episode because of the yearly dead horse we seem destined to always be beating but as I sat down to watch, I took a deep breath and was determined to try my best (try being the operative word) to be open minded.

After all, I was sure Alex would be incredible in his portrayal of Steve’s grief and determination after Joe’s death.  Danny would be there for Steve the way he’s been there for every trauma Steve’s experienced.  Junior would be there as a tangible connection to the SEALs.  There would be Wade and Harry, both personal favorites of mine.  All of that promised to make this a wonderful episode regardless of a secondary story line and any other presence I’d prefer not be there.  But I came away from it very conflicted because while I was somewhat understanding, I was also, at the same time, totally annoyed.  I was going to re-watch it, in an attempt to wrap my head around my conflicted feelings but I couldn’t bring myself to watch it again.

Of course, I am talking about the presence of Catherine Rollins.  I was sure I was going to despise this episode simply because she was there, but I have to admit, she didn’t bother me as much as I thought she would.  I am not a fan of this character by any stretch of the imagination and I’d prefer she drop off the face of the earth rather than ever see her again, but in this case, I do understand the reasons why she was there.

I’ve said all along that just because I don’t like her as a partner for Steve doesn’t mean I don’t think she’s a very capable operative.  She has to be in order to survive in the profession and the life she has chosen to follow.  Her connections and skill brought Gregers Thompson, the lawyer Hassan hired, to Steve and that, in turn, got Steve the information he needed to go after Hassan and ultimately, Greer.  I also understand the connection she and Steve have, their mutual affection for Joe White and their long personal history.  They are good friends.  For all those reasons, it didn’t bother me that she was there because there were valid reasons for her to be there.

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The episode itself, started off looking pretty great.  Danny showing up after Steve’s been in Montana mourning for a month.  Danny being there for Steve, the way Steve was there for Danny after Matty died (and wasn’t that a great confirmation of what we always suspected but never, unfortunately, got to see?)  Danny being there for Steve just like he’s always been there, whether Steve feels he should be or not.  That first scene gave me such a warm feeling about where this episode was headed.

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But, unfortunately, that’s not where the episode headed.  I’m sorry but this episode was such a wasted opportunity and a huge disappointment.  9.10 was such a wonderful, heart breaking set up for what should have been a 2.10 type of episode.  The entire team should have been involved in some capacity, even if half the team was still in Hawaii.  The secondary story line was nothing more than giving Lou, Tani and Adam something to do. The best thing about the secondary story line was the banter between Tani and Adam and the fact that it chewed up screen time that cut the other story short.  I usually hate when that happens but, in this case, it was a blessing.

I’m sorry, and I hope to God I am wrong about this, but this episode gave me the impression that Joe White died for one reason only.  To facilitate the reunion of Steve and Catherine.  What a totally pitiful reason for killing off an exasperating yet wonderful character.

I can’t help but think TPTB are doing with these two the same thing they did with the restaurant story.  Write the episodes one way but have a multitude of people around giving subtle and not so subtle warnings/advise in the opposite direction.  For almost two years Danny and Steve worked toward making their restaurant a reality while at the same time, how many different people told them it was a horrible idea, until finally, they came to realize it themselves?

Here we have Steve and Catherine who have mutually decided they should not have been together and agree to just be good friends, while multiple people keep telling Steve it’s time for him to settle down and find someone.  Foreshadowing just like with the restaurant.  We all know who that someone will ultimately be, whether we want to believe it or not, whether we like it or not.

Alex, as always, was phenomenal in portraying every one of Steve’s emotions exquisitely.  The look of devastation on his face when we first see him at the ranch was heartbreaking.  His interaction and interrogation of Thompson was, quite frankly, terrifying.  He was literally making my skin crawl with fear at the murderous look in his eyes.  My heart broke again as he sat in the plane and remembered his affair with Greer.  He looked so happy in that flashback.  Why, oh why, do people continue to betray this wonderful man?

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But, they totally screwed up with Catherine being there.  Not for the op.  Like I said, it was completely valid for her to be there for this operation, but the writers pushed it too hard.  They were so desperate to make her as relevant as possible, she got a lot more screen time than she deserved.  I repeat…. not for the op.  I had no problem with her being there.  I had no problem with her going undercover with Steve at the casino, although there was absolutely zero reason they needed to be “married” to pull it off.  That was nothing but extremely transparent fan service to McRoll shippers.  But, ok, let them have their crumb.  It didn’t bother me that she was the one who went with Steve to go after Greer and although I would have preferred for Steve to take Greer out, the fact that Catherine killed her is neither here nor there for me.

However, when not directly connected with the operation, there was just too much of her.  Every scene that should have been a Steve/Danny scene was sacrificed to her.  She sat next to him on the plane, and she comforted Steve over his guilt with regard to Joe’s death.  It should have been Danny. It should have been Danny telling Steve it wasn’t his fault Joe died, just the same way Steve helped Danny realize there wasn’t anything he could have done to save Matt. It should have been Danny because it has always been Danny.

It was Danny who Steve chose to help him form Five-0 and, in doing so, helped him recover from his father’s death.  It was Danny who pulled Steve off the back of that truck in North Korea.  It was Danny who was at Steve’s bedside after his ordeal at the hands of the Taliban in Afghanistan.  It was Danny who was the first one Steve laid eyes on in that miserable torture chamber after WoFat.    It was Danny who landed a crippled plane on the beach with Steve bleeding out in the pilot’s seat and it was Danny who gave a piece of himself to literally save his life.  It was Danny who’s been by his side as he dealt with radiation poisoning.

It’s always been Danny for all the years Catherine has been gone, and for many years before.  This notion that “when Steve is hurting, Catherine knows and is there” is nothing but pure fiction within fiction and utter nonsense.  She’s never been there when he’s needed someone to have his back (other than when she went with him to recover Freddie. I won’t pretend that wasn’t important, because it was). Danny has always been there.

Unfortunately, in order to make her more important than she really is, Danny had to be shunted aside to make room for her in this episode.  Danny showed up in Montana not because Steve called him there but because he wanted to be there for Steve.  But Catherine was already there.  How?

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Did she hear about Joe and through her contacts, get her hands on Thompson and simply show up in Montana?  Or did Steve call her?  Logistically, it would be logical that she would hear about Joe’s death but not that she would know the details of how it happened or who was involved or responsible.  Steve said right from the start it all had to be off the books and it was Tani, Junior and Lou who established the connection to Thompson.  So, yeah, it’s more than likely that Steve called her in. But he didn’t call and tell Danny.

When Steve filled Danny in on what they were planning, he told him they wouldn’t be alone.  Then Wade showed up.  And Junior showed up.  Steve called them in.  But he didn’t call and tell Danny.  Later when they meet up with Harry, he’s full of intel and plans so, obviously, Steve called him in.  But he didn’t call and tell Danny.  So what conclusion are we supposed to take from that?  If Danny hadn’t showed up in Montana when he did, Steve, Catherine, Wade and Junior would have just taken off to meet up with Harry on this mission and Danny would have been home in Hawaii in the dark?  Tani and Lou seemed to know what was going on.  Did Danny call them and fill them in after he got to Montana?  Did Junior fill them in before he left?  This was all over the place and I’m more than a little bit peeved at the way the writing was very dismissive of Danny.  Not only of his abilities but his right to be included from the start.

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I now understand why the CBS synopsis for this episode was written the way it was.  This was Steve and Catherine’s op and the others were simply tagging along.  I mean, what did any of them actually do, except for Harry who was full of intel and “backup”? Wade rode his bike and neutralized goons at front doors.  Junior had a cute moment struggling to fit into the waiter’s pants to add a nice bit of levity.  For once the guy stealing another guys clothes isn’t conveniently the exact same size.  And other then at the end when everyone geared up to take down Hassan at the hotel, all Danny seemed to do was stand behind Harry while he maneuvered Steve and Catherine through the casino.

The end of this episode would have been the perfect spot for a Steve and Danny moment where the fallout from 9.10 could have been fully explored.  Here’s the spot where Steve could have voiced his guilt over Joe’s death and Danny could have talked him down and been a real brother to him, just like always.

But no, we had to revert back to the Steve and Catherine show with a flashback to the flashback of Joe basically ordering Steve to ask Catherine out and then a new flashback of him doing just that.  I can understand Steve’s reasons for telling Catherine it was Joe who facilitated their first date.  After all, people tend to reminisce about things that happened with loved ones who have died.  And it was a sweet moment between the two of them, both being thankful to Joe for bringing them together. They may not be lovers anymore, but they are still good friends and they can be thankful to Joe for that as well as for all the good times they did have over the years.

But what did any of it accomplish?  Did we learn anything new about them?  Does the fact that we actually see Steve call her for the date make it any different from just hearing about it last season?  As a friend of mine said to me, “they continue to avoid addressing her actions and the lack of trust that would result from those actions, so we’re back to the same old status.  They are friends who were in a failed romantic relationship but now she can show up to help when her skill set is required”.

Nothing we saw last night wipes out what has happened between them.  Off she goes again, back to the life she has chosen, leaving him again, with a broken heart and a life to put back together.  And, regardless of the huge open door the writers left there for her to come back, yet again, it will be Danny who will be there, once again, to help Steve pick up the pieces.  It’s really a god-damned shame we’ll probably never get to actually see it on screen.

I will say this about Danny though. Well, about Scott, actually.  He may not have been given much to do in this episode but what he was given he played extremely well.  He played Danny’s discomfort with the events taking place very well.  He was subtle and quiet, for the most part, giving Steve space to do what he needed to do even when Danny was extremely uncomfortable with it.  I just really wish we could have had some quite moments between Steve and Danny, just so they could talk things out a bit.  I’m very disappointed we were denied that.

Well, that’s it for this week friends.  No screen caps from me this week.  All photos are courtesy of CBS because I just couldn’t bring myself to re-watch the episode to grab any of my own.

Now on to next week and a very Danny centric episode which looks to give Scott some powerful material to work with.  Now that will be something awesome to see.  Have a great week everyone!

Aloha.  Malama pono.

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#H50 Review: 9.10 Pio ke kukui, po’ele ka hale (When the Light Goes Out, the House is Dark)

 

 

Oh my God!

Once again, I spent the entire day on Saturday and pretty much most of Sunday on family obligations.  But every time I let my mind wonder back to Friday night’s H50, those were the only words that kept coming to mind.

Oh my God!

Of course, we could talk about any number of things in this episode.  It was pretty much perfection from beginning to end. We could talk about the action sequences.  The knife fight between Steve and the assassin in his kitchen was not only one of the most brutal and bloody fights we’ve seen in a long time, it was masterfully choreographed and executed.  That knife flip of Steve’s before he runs his attacker through was a thing of beauty.

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The battle between Steve, Joe and Cole and the assassins sent to take them all out was also superb.  Watching the three of them arming for the attack was incredible.  The booby-traps and the arsenal of weapons they had at their disposal was impressive to say the least.  After over 16 years they all still worked together as a well-coordinated and well-oiled machine.  Their easy banter and comradery a nice juxtaposition to the deadliness of battle they knew was coming.  And, ohhhh, what a battle it was!

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We could talk about Lou Grover and his voicing what everyone already knew.  There was no need for Steve to ask for help.  His team was there for him no matter what he needed.  His certain knowledge that Steve wasn’t just going to go to ground and stay safe but to confront this head on. Lou’s single-minded determination to crack the assassin sent to kill Steve was, as Lou always is in these intense situations, just a bit frightening. He can seem so calm and composed when he’s skillfully manipulating the suspect by hitting all his vulnerable spots.  Using his son as leverage and a promise of time served in Germany was cold, calculating and, most importantly, effective!

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We could talk about the rest of the team being totally relentless in tracking down who was responsible for the contract put out on Steve and the rest of the SEALs.  It’s not anything they haven’t all done in the course of investigations before but this one is more than just a little bit personal.  They worked at a fevered pitch in their determination to give Steve all the information he might need to find out who is responsible.

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We could talk about Junior. Junior berating himself for not being there when Steve was attacked.  His determination to be part of the operation to take down those responsible because it’s SEALs who have been assassinated and Junior wants in on the retribution to avenge his brothers.  How he wanted in on that OP more than anything, but he’ll follow Steve’s orders, SEAL Commander to SEAL.  But you could see he was not happy about it one bit from the thunderously murderous look in his eyes.

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We could talk about the fact that Steve was alone in the house when the assassin came to call.  We could wonder where Eddie was, why wasn’t he out in the ocean with Steve for his morning swim.  Or we can thank the Hawaiian gods that Eddie wasn’t there.  I mean, do you think that assassin would have wasted an instant in putting Eddie down to get to Steve.  Personally, I don’t think I could live through seeing Eddie shot again!

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We could talk about Greer and her betrayal of Steve and the SEALS.  We can talk about whether she is intended to be the new “big bad” or if she’s just going to be seen as a bridge to who may or may not be the new “big bad” on the radar, Omar Hassan.  A small boy who watched as Steve’s SEAL team killed his father in that long-ago raid.  Now a 26-year-old businessman with an impeccable record and a hell of a lot of money.  But, he’s no terrorist.  He’s a son out to avenge his father, not a completely foreign concept for this show.

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We could talk about the similarity in the names of Omar Hassan and Umar Hassan, the Taliban terrorist who, back in 4.21 kidnapped young Najib and other Afghan children, who captured and tortured Steve and was killed in the Navy SEAL raid that rescued Steve.  We can put to rest any notion that the writers are trying to manufacture a “planned coincidence” between 4.21 and 9.11 because Umar Hassan was a) a terrorist, which Omar is not; b) Umar was Afghani while Omar is Moroccan; c) Umar was at least 10 to 15 years older than Omar; and, most importantly, d) Umar Hassan died in that miserable hole in Afghanistan at the hands of the SEALS.

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Yes, we could talk about all of that but, of course, there really is only one thing to really talk about in this episode.

Oh my God!

There was nothing here we didn’t already know, of course.  We are all fully aware of the powerful relationship between Steve and Joe.  But it was fascinating to watch as every aspect of that relationship was played out on the screen.

We even got a bit of conformation of a theory many have harbored for years.  Joe did indeed know Doris was alive from the very beginning and Doris also knew from the very beginning that John had sent Steve and Mary away from Hawaii.

Doris had people watching 16-year-old Steve and knew he’d stolen a car in a futile attempt to get back to Hawaii any way he could.  She called Joe and he managed to get Steve out of trouble with no mark on his permanent record.  Because of that, Steve was able to later go to Annapolis, serve in the Navy, be a SEAL and Five-0 and become the extraordinary person he is today.

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It was more than obvious from the beginning that Joe thought this could very well be his last mission.  Sitting in the car with Steve, waxing poetic about ponderosa pines with a wistful look on his face, you could see he was resigning himself to the belief this could be the end.  Steve could see it too even if he didn’t realize it at that moment.  That’s why he told Joe to “go into the wind” like Cole and let Steve handle the situation alone.  Joe, being Joe, naturally wouldn’t allow that to happen.  Wouldn’t let Steve have “all the fun”.

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When Steve finds a picture of Joe with a young woman Joe, once again, gets reflective, telling Steve not to make the same mistakes he’s made, not to wait too long to find someone to share his life with.  This is the moment Steve realizes what’s going through Joe’s head.  You could see it on Steve’s face, how concerned he looked that Joe felt the need to pass this advise along at that moment.

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Personally, I wish Joe would have knocked it off with the relationship advice.  His four wives should prove to anyone he’s hardly in a position to tell anyone the best way to sort out their love life.  But I will give him this much.  He did manage to find love with his new lady.  He’s not pining over a lost love or trying to rekindle something long over.  In this regard I agree with Joe.  Steve needs to find someone new, just like Joe did. Someone totally devoted to him, who makes him her top priority, just as he makes her, his.  In all his 41 years, Steve has never met a woman like that.

The final scenes of this episode will go down as some of the best written and best acted scenes ever on this show.  Both Alex and Terry hit major homeruns with material that went above and beyond.  Emotional, gut-wrenching, dramatic.  All terms that don’t even come close to what these last scenes were like.  I was totally gutted by the time the end credits rolled and I know I’m not the only one.

All their best laid plans turn out to be not enough.  They lose Cole in the gun battle.  I was forcibly reminded of watching Steve as he looked on as Freddie was gunned down all those years ago.  Unfortunately, Joe is hit as well.  I think we’ve all been watching this show long enough to know those abdominal wounds, those where the bullet has not exited, are never a good thing.  Joe, tries to downplay it, telling Steve he’s seen worse, but he knows that’s not the case and he knows where he wants to be when the end comes.

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That lone ponderosa pine is calling him one last time.  As they both ride off to what Steve believes is medical help, Joe admits to Steve that he cancelled the medevac that was headed their way.  Steve is furious.  “If you’re not going to fight, I’ll fight for you”.  Of course, we saw the way Steve fought to save Joe not too long ago.  Steve is not ready to give up on him now.  But Joe is ready.  He wants to get to his favorite spot on the ranch, to that magnificent tree one last time.

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Steve cradles Joe as they sit at the base of the tree and Joe begins to lose his hold on life.  Steve thanks him for that long ago save after he stole that car.  Thanks him for giving him the opportunity to have the life he’s lead.  Joe looks at him like he’s lost his mind.  Doesn’t Steve realize that he thanks Joe every single day just by being the man he’s become?  Doesn’t he realize Joe couldn’t be more proud of the way Steve looks out for the people he loves in his life the same way Joe always looked out for him?

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It’s been two days and I’m still gutted.  Gutted by the story, by the loss of Joe and by the stellar acting by both Alex and Terry.  We’ve always said that Alex can portray a dozen pages of dialog with just his eyes and it was gut wrenching in that moment when Steve realized what was going to happen.

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“Have you ever in your life seen a sunset like that?”  No Joe, we haven’t.  Your death is a sunset we never, along with Steve, thought we’d see.  “Old soldiers never die, they just fade away”.  And as you faded away into that sunset, with Steve hugging you close, we cried along with him.

Cried for the man who, while infuriating at times, was a good man.  A man who helped teach, guide and shape Steve into the man he is today.  And cried for Steve as well.  Just like the day he had to listen to John die while there was nothing he could do to stop it, Steve sits, cradling the man who became, from the age of 16 on, the only father he really had and we all wept for him and this incredible loss.

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Well, I don’t know what else to say.  This is the last episode of 2018 and as far removed from a Christmas episode as you can possibly get.  We have a little under a month of Christmas hiatus to pull ourselves together before the ramifications of this episode play out in 9.11.  It will be interesting to see how Steve comes through this huge loss.  A loss so much more devastating than any he’s suffered since John was murdered 9 years ago.  I look forward to seeing Alex hit another homerun to start off the new year.

That’s it for 2018 my friends!  Whatever holiday you celebrate, here’s hoping it’s a joyful one filled with everything you love and all the people you love.  See you all in the new year!

Aloha.  Malama Pono

All screen caps are mine unless otherwise noted.

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#H50 Review: 9.09 Mai ka po mai ka ‘oia’i’o (Truth Comes from the Night)

Hey everyone!  I hope you all had a fantastic weekend.  Me?  Well, mine was less than fantastic and full of what seemed like never ending family drama.  Everything is fine, don’t worry, but it’s been several exhausting days.  Unfortunately, that means, I won’t be doing a full review this week.  Just a few quick observations then I’m going to throw it to you guys to expand on in the comments section, if you so choose.

Adam and the gun:  Like the restaurant story line, this story came to a rather abrupt end.  I’m 50-50 on this one.  First, there was all the worry from Tani over what Steve’s reaction would be if she accused Adam and she was wrong or worse, if she was right.  There was all the fandom discussion over Tani and Adam keeping it all away from Steve and how he’d react when he found out.

All unnecessary talk and worry, it seems, since we never got to see anything even remotely like that.  I’m disappointed because I would have loved to see Steve drag them both on the carpet for acting alone and keeping it from him (even though we all know he’d get over it quickly and understandingly).  I would have liked one of those heart to hearts between Steve and Adam after the arrest, at the very least.

But, of course, we’ll probably never hear about it again.  Next week is Steve and Joe’s SEAL story, then hiatus, then the “expendables episode”.  By the time we’re back to an Oahu based crime of the week, it will be mid-January and this gun story will be buried and forgotten.  But, let’s be honest.  It was such a ridiculous story anyway and no one believed for one blessed minute Adam killed Noriko.  Maybe it’s better they just did a cut and run on it.

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Comic-con:   I loved this story.  I loved all the parallels it had.  The superhero parallel of a child who watched his parents killed in front of him, who’s determined to find out the reasons behind it and chooses to try to make the world a better place by trying to stop the bad guys.  Classic Batman!

But there was also the parallel of our own superhero, our SuperSEAL.  Listening to Steve describe why Batman was his favorite, how he was just a human being with no extraordinary ability who had to work and train his whole life to reach his peak so he could go out there and do what he needed to do, you couldn’t help but realize Steve was describing himself, whether he realized it or not.

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

I liked that the story gave Jerry some “police” work to do as well as using his nerd-credentials at the magic table.  It’s nice the way Steve is bringing Jerry into cases more and more, making him feel more like a member of the team instead of just the tech guy.  I don’t want to see Jerry leaping after perps (crashing into them with motor vehicles is fine, of course 😉😉) and I really don’t think we ever need to see him packing a gun, but watching him in rendition was a blast.

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And of course, I adored the ending with Steve and Danny as comic book super heroes.  That was inspired.  Jerry finishing off The Night Sentinel’s comic book with the Adventures of Steve and Danny was great but actually seeing it on screen as the comic book came to life was awesome.  Jerry may have written it as a fantasy ending, but we all know we’ve seen Steve pull off that helicopter maneuver ourselves first hand, and have known for a very long time, he’s our super SEAL hero!

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Courtesy of @alohaspaceman2Photo credit: Copied these from Twitter but forgot to label who posted them.  If you know, please let me know in the comments and I’ll update the post to reflect proper credit.

So many players, so little time:  I did enjoy this episode, even if it was a bit ….what’s a good word……choppy?  There were extended absences of more than one member of the team throughout the episode.  Don’t get me wrong, the ebb and flow of the story was good, with the usual twists and turns that always makes H50 enjoyable, even if it wasn’t as fast paced as usual.

The disappearances of team members felt disjointed.  We’ve become used to seeing Danny in a couple of scenes, then having him disappear for a period of time, only to reappear at some later point.  But this time it happened with several others as well.  Steve doesn’t appear at all until over eight minutes in,  then Danny is off screen for a while, then Grover, then Adam and so on.  It seemed like the only person who was consistently there was Jerry.  I suppose, considering the comic book/nerdy subject matter, that made sense, but it was still a bit jarring to have so many of the others appear, disappear then reappear again.

But, I’m thinking this is something we’ll just need to get used to.  There are now seven full time members of Five-0 to be utilized in the same 42-43 minutes we’ve always had.  There is also the fact that it seems the writers are giving Alex a few more breaks in episodes.  Add that to the already reduced schedule Scott’s had for years and there’s going to be times when others fill that void only to be moved aside when Alex and Scott come back on screen.  This is probably the new normal.  Personally, I’m ok with that.  I just have to get a bit more used to it.  But, as long as I still get my mandatory McDanno time, I’ll take it anyway I can get it.

I really enjoyed the fact that there was only one story line in this episode even if it seemed a bit sluggish to me.  Most of the time, episodes fly by, jumping from one story to the next, there being so much going on.  I’m not going to complain though because I prefer one story episodes over multiple ones any day.  And, of course, I was a bit distracted with everything going on so it could be a failing on my part more than the episode’s.

And there was Eddie helping on a raid!  Yay!  I’ve missed seeing Eddie!  And I adored Jerry’s Batgirl story. Yet another parallel since Jerry, like Batgirl, needed to prove himself to the team before being fully accepted.  His addition making both himself and the team stronger, just like Batgirl and the Dynamic Duo!

And the ending, in the comic book shop was golden because we got a fantastic Steve/Danny/Charlie scene.  I always love it when we get to see these three together.  Steve’s new “Mini D” nickname for Charlie is friggin’ adorable.  They could not have cast a better kid than Zach to play Charlie. He really does look like a “Mini D”!

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Courtesy of @alohaspaceman3Photo credit: @alohaspaceman on Twitter and Instagram

Well, that’s it folks.  Sorry this is so short and incomplete but life.. you know!

Have a great rest of your week.  Next weekend doesn’t look to be too much better than this one for me.  I’ll do my best to give a better review of what looks to be an awesome episode revolving around Steve and Joe and the SEALS.  That always makes for a great Friday night!

Aloha.  Malama Pono

Screencaps:  I’ve been so overwhelmed over the last week or so, I didn’t even get a chance to re-watch the episode, which is another reason why this review is so unusually concise! 😉😉 I did grab just a couple of quick shots that I needed but other than that, I relied on CBS and the wonderful @alohaspaceman for photos for this review.  Thanks Lisa! 😃😃

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