What is it about Halloween? What is it that even when we’re long past being kids we can still have a ton of fun with it? Is it because it’s really the only holiday where we’re allowed to act like the kids we no longer are? We can go to parties, dress up and act silly. Put our pets in silly outfits. If we stay at home and man the front door, we enjoy watching the kids having fun even as we sneak some of the candy for ourselves before we give it all away. And, most of all, there is the yearly Halloween treat that is just as sweet… the annual H50 Halloween episode.
I have to admit I was just as nervous about this yearly offering as I was excited. In past years we’ve had high points (the wonderful Lee Meriwether) and low points (Danny desecrating a Heiau and seeing dead people) in Halloween episodes so I sat down ready to watch this year’s episode with a nice tall pitcher of KoolAid at the ready. Fortunately, I didn’t need a single drop of it because this Halloween episode was, by far, the best Halloween episode ever!
Even though the episode was a little scattered with three different stories all going at the same time, new writer Matt Wheeler did a fantastic job with it. While some episodes with so much going on can be very disjointed and distracting, Matt managed the flow of each story extremely well. Instead of our team just being split into their own stories, these stories flowed from each other. Everyone was working the original case until Kono got a call from Jerry at the blood bank. Only then did she and Chin peel off to handle that situation. Danny was very much by Steve’s side, also working the original case, before he got a call from Rachel about Grace. Only then did he peel off. So while it ended up being three separate stories, they all originated from the same place, the team began the day together. It kept the episode from feeling like I was watching three separate stories just being sewn together to add up to 43 minutes.
I sure hope Matt Wheeler is slated to write more episodes. As a first time H50 writer he managed to get the character’s personalities and their interactions down better than some past writers who had been with the show for years. And that throwback to the murder of Max’s mother was inspired and a perfect addition to the story about a serial killer. We’ve often wondered if new writers go back and watch previous seasons to get a feel for the characters. Sure looks like someone pointed Matt to that previous episode. He did a really great job and I’m looking forward to more wonderful episodes from him in the future.
I loved how the episode started. I sat there thinking “wow…way to jump right into it” … as I watched those kids fleeing their zombie attackers. I had to laugh when one of them fell down. It’s such a cliché but it works every time. No matter what you’re watching, whenever anyone is fleeing anything someone always trips and falls. Without fail. Must be written in Chapter 1 of “How to Write a Movie/TV Escape Scene”. It was a great use of the cliché, however, as a way for them to find our “victims” for this episode. Oh and yes, by all means, open the suitcase full of pieces of a dead body with your bare hands. Great idea! And, honestly, I could have done without the maggots, thank you very much! Perfectly disgusting! LOL! I also had to laugh when Kono said the kids were on a “horror camp out”. I couldn’t help but think about that Geico commercial “When you’re in a horror movie, you might make poor decisions.” A horror camp out? Seriously? I’d rather cuddle on the sofa and watch “Child’s Play” and I hate that movie. Of course, if I could cuddle on Steve’s sofa…… but I digress.
COTW: This week’s crime of the week was one of the best we’ve had in a while and it was simply perfect for a Halloween episode. I loved the use of the legend of Frankenstein and his bride as a basis for what the serial killer was doing. It was appropriately creepy and horrifying for Halloween. I also thought the choice of the killer was wonderful. He looked just so….ordinary. As Max said, easy to hide in plain sight.
And speaking of Max, as I said at the beginning, the throwback to episode 2.20 (Ha’alele) was inspired. What fantastic continuity since they were dealing with a serial killer. I loved Steve’s reaction to how affected Max was by the case and how it dug up those old memories of his mother’s murder and his in depth research into serial killers in his attempt to prove Richard Branch wasn’t the infamous Trashman. Steve offered Max an out, told him he didn’t have to work the case if it made him uncomfortable. Max was genuinely touched that Steve was worried about him but just as determined to do all he could, to use all his collected expertise to help, so that this serial killer wasn’t getting away.
And I simply adored the scene between Steve and Max at the end when Steve said Max wouldn’t find his mother in the case files because she’s not there but in his heart. It shows the depth of the friendship they have forged over the years and was a wonderfully touching moment. And I thought I couldn’t love Steve more.
DADDY DANNO: I felt a little bad for Danny at the beginning of the episode. As a parent I can remember the excitement of the first time I took my daughter out for Halloween and how sad I was when she got to the age where she was, as Danny put it, “lost to me as far as Halloween is concerned”. Add to that the disappointment at the possibility of missing his first Halloween with Charlie had me feeling really bad for Danny considering how much he’s already missed with the “little guy”.
I loved the scene in the car when Danny was rehearsing his speech to Grace on his way to the North Shore. I could so relate because I did plenty of that when my daughter was a teenager. I had many infuriating discussions with her in the car when she wasn’t there. The way Danny see-sawed between being angry, being hurt and being scared was perfect. All the emotions any parent would understand. Angry that your child broke the rules. Hurt at being lied to. Scared for their safety. When you find them, you don’t know if you want to hug them or ring their necks.
I do wonder about the time frame however, I mean, how long did it take for Danny to drive the 35 miles to the North Shore? He must have run into a ton of traffic (not unheard of on Oahu, of course) because he left HQ just as the sun was beginning to set and it looked like the dead of night before he got to the house party where Grace was. But, I have to admit, arriving in the dark did add the proper atmosphere. Then after they left the party and got into the crash, it was morning before the tow truck pulled up outside Shriner’s Hospital. What did they do? Walk all night?
Grace was being such a typical teenager both at the party and in the car after they left. I don’t think we’ve ever seen Danny as angry as he was with Grace when he found her at the party. She was trying to hold her ground and not moving, telling him he was embarrassing her, when he bent down and furiously whispered in her ear… “I’m not going to ask you again”, grabbed her arm and pulled her away “Let’s go” he hissed.
In the car, Grace was rolling her eyes and giving her father looks as he lectured her on telling lies and jeopardizing her safety by thinking she was old enough to make her own decisions. Even after the crash, when they were walking, she was still being petulant and not walking with her father. As much as the mother in me hated to see Grace acting that way, the fan of the show in me loved every minute of it. It’s about time the writers allowed Grace to move past being Danno’s little monkey and into the teenager she is. It was wonderful to see her character finally develop.
But she soon realized that the world really still is a scary place, even if it’s just some old creepy scarecrow and having Danno there to take her hand and guide her through really isn’t so bad after all.
I did find it quite ironic that Danny is always bitching at Steve over his driving and when he finally gets to drive he crashes the car. I know we won’t get one but I would love a Steve rant over that. “You see? You see Danno? This is why I should always drive!” LOL
I kind of wish Grace had gone into the hospital with Danny and spent some time with Charlie for Halloween. I guess it was done to give Danny and Charlie some quality time and, don’t get me wrong, I absolutely loved it, but it would have been really nice to see the three of them together especially Grace and Charlie in the costumes.
It’s a shame we couldn’t see Rachel when she picked up Gracie but having Gracie saying “sorry” to her as she get into the car at least established that she was there even if we didn’t see her.
JERRY AT THE BLOOD BANK: At first I thought this was a part of the episode we really didn’t need but as it went on I really liked it. I’ll bet my bottom dollar Jorge Garcia had a blast spending the episode in his Dracula guise considering there probably isn’t anyone around who gets into the holiday more than Jorge. If you haven’t checked out his Instagram account for the past month you’re missing something. I got a real kick out of the phlebotomist (what a cool word) and her total lack of interest in Jerry’s performance.
“I’ll need to check your iron level and your blood pressure to make sure you’re safe to donate”. “Is that because I’m a heavy guy?” “No…. it’s because you’re a vampire”.
The story was a nice one for Chin and Kono to work together. I was a little disappointed they chose to use a Pet Clinic again because we’ve already done that but it was an easy disappointment to overlook. When the receptionist attempted to tell Chin and Kono everything was fine in the clinic while one of the bad guys was standing right behind her with a gun to her back, they saw right through the ruse. Nothing gets past the Wonder Twins. The story also provided us with our requisite gun battle of the week. And Kono had a great line when, after she took out her attacker by stabbing him in the heart she told Chin, “That’s the way you take care of a vampire.” Nope, sorry babe! Stabbing a vampire in the heart doesn’t kill him, it only paralyzes him. Just ask Alex 😉
RANDOM THOUGHTS (no particular order)
The music choices for this episode were absolutely perfect. As always Keith Powers and Brian Tyler choose the perfect music to set every scene. Rockwell’s “Somebody’s Watching Me” and two versions of “Monster Mash” were a lot of fun but all the background music helped set the tone for every scene, whether touching, creepy, jolting and all emotions in between. You know, we always say that Hawaii is the 5th character in this show. Well, the music is the 6th!
I have to start this by saying, I am a huge fan of Charlie Fong. I really love him and his Geek God status with the team. But, like Claire Van der Boom and Rachel, if Brian Yang isn’t available, I can certainly live with Eric Russo. First of all, I love the family connection with Danny and second, I really just love Eric. Yes, he needs to tone it down while on the job, but I find his exuberant enthusiasm for his work refreshing especially considering where he was in his life just a couple of years ago. And, personality aside, he’s actually really great at his job. Besides, he’s a lot of fun, not only with his personality but how Danny and Steve react to him. Their scenes together are golden.
The entire set of scenes when Steve and Lou go to the house where the killer took his victims was intense and downright terrifying. Of course the light’s don’t work, it’s Halloween after all. And I always thought houses in Hawaii didn’t have basements. But they always seem to have basements on Halloween and Steve continues to go down into them alone. But this time even Steve was feeling the anxiety. When the coms went silent for a few minutes, Steve was muttering “talk to me Lou….talk to me Lou” and “come on Lou”. I’ve never seen Steve so nervous. And when the lights came on and he saw the body? I know I’ve said it a million times but Alex has the most expressive facial expressions of any actor I’ve seen in a very long time. That look of horror spoke an entire page of dialog without saying a single word. He’s amazing.
When the killer leaped out of the darkness and attacked Steve, attempting to repeatedly stab him, oh my God, I literally jumped out of my skin. And poor Steve. Injured on the left side of his face…again. Honestly, it’s a wonder he’s not permantely disfigured by now.
The scene at the hospital with Danny and Charlie reverse trick or treating was so adorable I didn’t know what to do with myself. I loved that Charlie was dressed as a cop, albeit a cowboy/sheriff. Still friggin’ adorable. It was also a wonderful scene because all the kids in the scene were real patients in the hospital. Hopefully they all made full recoveries and were home in time for Halloween this weekend.
After the emotional scene in Max’s lab with the bodies, the little scene directly after between Steve, Danny and Max was a nice breather. Max was a bit “perplexed” that the guys didn’t make any comment on (or even seem to notice) this year’s Keanu Reeves tribute costume. “You’re wearing a costume?” “Ah…there it is! A pithy retort laced with just a hint of condescension. Order is restored” LOL. And Max is probably 100% right that Steve’s not knowing who Le Chevalier Raphael Danceny from “Dangerous Liaisons” is can be chalked up to him not ever seeing that movie because of it’s “lack of car chases and explosions.” Have I told you lately how much I truly love Max?
When Steve and Danny were approaching the house of Mark Sheppard their “red herring” suspect, Danny was looking through the window when there was a sound. Turns out it was the sound of the chair Sheppard was standing on being kicked out from under him as he attempted to hang himself. But the moment Danny said “did you hear that” I thought for sure we were going to get another scene with Steve and Danny doing their “thing” with regard to probable cause. It didn’t happen but it sure was fun to think about for a moment.
But the next scene really did me in when Danny discovered Sheppard hanging from the ceiling fan. Hangings in movies and TV shows always freak me out. I really liked how the first thing Danny did was try to take the guys weight off his neck before Steve had the chance to cut him down and do CPR to revive him. Too bad he ended up in the blue room instead of a hospital.
The song playing at the house party where Grace was is “I Know We Can Get Higher” by Nick Jonas aka Ian Wright. Nice touch! LOL
Interesting how Steve’s not as ok with “cute little ninjas” when they are screeching past him in Dr. Frankenstein’s house! LOL I guess that cat didn’t get the Mr. Pickles memo! LOL
So, there we have it. Another Halloween episode is in the books and I put away my pitcher of KoolAid for another week. So happy I didn’t need any of it this week. I give this episode an A++ for hitting every note perfectly.
Now I’m really looking forward to next week’s episode when Steve finally meets Lynn and they set off on their little adventure. Who knows where it will lead or how long it will last. I’m just looking forward to seeing laid back, happy Steve and SuperSEAL ninja Steve in the same episode. Well, actually, I’m really looking forward to hearing Alex say my name all night but…I digress again.
Have a great week my friends! Aloha. Malama pono.
All photos are mine. Screencaps from iTunes.