Well, Friday night March Madness is finally over. Yes, I know, the championship has yet to be decided as I write this but for us, the loyal and frustrated fans of Five-0, March Madness is over. We can now look forward to the months of April and early May and the last 6 episodes of our favorite show and what is sure to bring a type of madness all its own.
After 3 weeks (2 Fridays) away I’m ready for anything. The first episode back could be one of those “breather” weeks where the story is lighter and more fun to ease us back in. Or it could be a car chasing, action packed, gun and explosion filled heart stopper. Or it could be this….. an episode full of suspense and intrigue.
I knew going in that it was a Chi McBride/Lou Grover centric episode so, of course, I expected him to be on screen much more than usual. And we got a case that was both heartbreaking and extremely compelling as well as well-acted throughout. Chi brought his A game and nailed every single scene perfectly.
We’ve all had those times when we’re faced with a situation where something just doesn’t feel right. When all the facts point to one conclusion and in your head, you know it’s probably exactly as it seems but in your heart, or more specifically, in your gut, you just know it’s not. It could be something as every day as leaving home for a vacation and being absolutely certain you forgot to turn off the coffee pot even though everyone else in the car says they saw you do it. You just cannot rest until you turn the car around and go check.
But to have a gut instinct that your best friend of 25 years is a cold blooded murderer? I can’t imagine how Lou was even able to bring himself to think it, let alone go to such lengths to prove it. That Lou Grover is a man of honor and duty was never a question but he showed in this episode that nothing will get in his way to finding the truth, no matter how painful that truth may be.
I have loved Lou Grover from the first moment we saw him coming out of that SWAT vehicle back in the Season 4 premiere but I was dead set against him joining Five-0. I loved his interactions with “McGarrett and his merry band of do whatever the hell you want” and his animosity turned friendship with Steve. I thought he was absolutely wonderful as the SWAT commander and with the track record we’ve had in the attempts to add a 5th team member being pretty dismal, I was worried that adding Lou to the team would destroy the character. I have never been so enormously happy to be wrong. Lou proved yet again that he is a perfect fit for this team in every conceivable way.
I really liked the way writers Moira Kirland and Eric Guggenheim weaved this story. The boisterous celebratory dinner, as Lou and Renee enjoy the company of Clay and Diane, in Hawaii to celebrate their 20th wedding anniversary, showed the four of them relaxed and basking in their shared memories and friendship. You could easily picture them doing this many times over the years back in Chicago. It was as easy and comfortable as it should be when old friends gather again. It was obvious Lou in particular enjoyed himself immensely considering he could barely get himself up off the bed the next morning.
But he was fully awake and on point the moment his phone rang and Clay called, hysterical that Diane was hurt. Lou, the good friend he is, goes to Clay, to calm him, to comfort him, to assure him that accidents happen and it wasn’t his fault. But the moment Clay interacted with Renee, that feeling….. that gut feeling that something wasn’t right just kicked in. It really is incredible to have a cast full of such extraordinary actors where dialog isn’t always necessary. They all do it, Alex being the best at it, of course. And like Alex, Chi has the ability to say pages of dialog with just a look. The look he gave Clay when he realized this may not be what it seemed was chilling.
At first I thought that Lou was just a bit obsessed, heartbroken over the death of his friend, of course, and grabbing at straws trying to make her death make some sort of sense. First with Steve alone on the hiking trail, trying to fit the improbably pieces together and then with Steve, Chin and Kono as they try to investigate Clay and find nothing to indicate there was any reason to think this was anything but an accident, Lou dug in even harder. The story he told, of when they were young trainee cops out at a baseball game, and the easy, effortless way Clay had lied their way out of trouble brought a realization to the others that Lou really may have been on to something. I especially focused on Kono’s face. The look on her face as she attempted to swallow the lump in her throat spoke volumes.
I loved the way Lou broke down Clay’s story, bit by bit starting with the 911 call he made after Diane “fell” and the fact that he couldn’t hear the sounds of Clay’s alleged frantic rapid decent down the cliff to her side. Then there was the witness who heard Diane’s scream as she fell but then nothing else. As Lou was saying how he’d have been screaming Renee’s name had it been her who fell, my mind leaped back 5 years to the day Danny and Steve were hiking to the petroglyphs and Steve fell down that cliff. Danny must have called Steve’s name a dozen times before Steve came to. When Clay said he’d been screaming Diane’s name over and over, Lou knew he had him!
I also really loved the fact that we got to see so much of Renee Grover…played by Michelle Hurd. It’s so great that at least one of our team members has a good, loving, stable relationship to go home to. Renee was there for Lou every step of the way, even when she, like the others, had a hard time believing Clay could do such a thing. But she stood by Lou, fully trusting the instincts that have not only made Lou a great cop but that brought him home to her night after night.
It was chilling right to the end when Lou arrested Clay and had him in the blue room. Clay just sat there, smug look on his face, shaking his head the entire time like Lou had it all wrong. I don’t know how Lou was able to hold off from punching his lights out, especially when Clay said there was no way for Lou to prove anything. And you know what, he’s actually right. All the evidence is circumstantial. But you could literally feel the anger in Lou, the hurt at being used by someone he considered his best friend. Circumstantial or not, Lou would never let this go. Diane was his friend too. And while it’s true there isn’t much that would hold up in court, Clay’s reputation, his trustworthiness, his entire life would be called into question and even if he would be acquitted, his life as he knew it would be over because no one would ever look at him or treat him the same way.
I have to say, at first I was a bit disappointed the writers went with that tired old excuse….he killed his wife because he wanted to be with his pretty younger girlfriend…how original. But then, when I really thought about it, it really was the perfect way for this to end. You see, if Carl had done it for money, if he had been having financial problems or was just greedy for a huge life insurance policy that would have shown up when the team checked up on his life, when they ran his financials. This story, this case, was based 100% on the gut instinct of Lou so there couldn’t be anything as substantial as any kind of money trail for the team to find. Everything had to be circumstantial for the premise of the episode to make sense. I think it was a brilliant stroke to fall back on the old cliché for this story.
A couple of things though. For the love of God, why would you leave your wife alone in the house with a man you’re positive murdered his own wife? I understand you don’t want him to think you suspect him so you’re trying to keep things looking as normal as possible but really? I was scared to death for Renee especially when Lou asked her to bring him Clay’s phone. I was sure Clay would have overheard them talking. Why didn’t they go outside? And then when Clay almost caught her taking the phone….my heart just stopped. I thought for sure Renee was going to be forced to use that kitchen knife when Clay realized his phone was gone. It added a lot of tension to the story, which I suppose was the point, and it sure scared me to death.
And speaking of Clay’s phone….can’t Chin just dump the phone’s contents without actually having the phone? I think I’ve seen him do that numerous times before. Again, having Renee get the phone upped the tension level but I don’t think it was really necessary.
Ok…on to the 2nd part of this episode…the fun part. Danny and Mindy stuck in an elevator. I actually really liked this little detour but I really wish it had been spliced into a different episode. And I say “spliced” because that’s what it felt like to me. This could have been, and very well may have been, filmed at any time over the last few months. It had nothing to do with the main story and was so completely separate it felt like maybe someone grabbed the wrong reel of tape (if they still used tape, that is) and stuck it in the wrong episode.
When we first heard of Danny’s claustrophobia back in early Season 4, I figured it was a one off remark to set up something in the future. As it turned out, it was a setup for Steve and Danny being trapped under the collapsed parking garage. Once that episode was over, I figured we’d be asked to conveniently forget Danny’s claustrophobia because it wasn’t a needed plot devise any longer. I’m very glad the writers haven’t done that and we keep getting references to it since it’s not the type of thing a person just “gets over”.
Even though I didn’t feel like it fit into this episode, I really did enjoy the interaction between Danny and Dr. Shaw. It’s always great to see Scott get to do something emotional, even if it’s unreasonable fear that a perfectly safe elevator is choking off his air supply. I liked how Dr. Shaw managed to calm him down and helped him regain composure. I don’t know what the writers have planned for these two but there is no denying they have great onscreen chemistry.
I really liked this episode a lot. I like it when the writers mix things up a bit and we don’t always have to have the entire team working on a case. I also like that Steve doesn’t always have to be the center of everything and the linchpin to every investigation. There is also the fact that this season is an extremely long one for everyone but especially for Alex. Being #1 on the call sheet and having to be in 90% of every episode is a lot to contend with over a long season. And the material he’s been given this season hasn’t been a walk in the park by a long shot. He must be exhausted.
So maybe this one was an opportunity to give Alex a bit of a rest before the sprint to the end of the season as well as a wonderful showcase for Chi. And Chi nailed it…every step of the way. The gamut of dramatic emotion, from grief to anger to betrayal was physically palpable from start to finish. When Lou crumbled into his wife’s arms in tears at the end, I could literally feel his pain in losing not one but two people he truly loved.
So there it is. Another really good episode and one that was a welcome return to our show after the spring basketball break. I’m not looking forward to the end of the season coming in just 5 more episodes but I can honestly say I can’t wait to see what April and May madness the writers have in store for us.
I hope everyone is having a wonderful holiday weekend. Whatever holiday you’re holidaying….I hope it’s full of love, family, friendship, good food, good drink and laughter. ‘Till next week my friends!