“Where were you when…..?” has always been a generational question. Whether it’s the “greatest generation” and the attack on Pearl Harbor or a younger generation who lived thorough 9/11. For those of us who lived through the 60’s the assassination of President John F. Kennedy is ours. Of course, there are those who have, unfortunately, lived through them all and plenty more.
I was three-years-old on that November day in 1963 when JFK was shot. My mother used to tell the story that we were in line at JC Penney about to get my Christmas pictures taken when an announcement came over the store’s PA system. All the mothers quickly grabbed their children and tearfully and fearfully headed home to their TVs. Being only three, I don’t really remember much about that day. What I do seem to remember was how I couldn’t watch my cartoons for days and days because there was nothing on TV (remember, those were the days when there were only three channels) except coverage of the assignation and then the funeral. I also remember my mother and all the other women in the family spending days and days crying.
In the years that followed, the establishment of the Warren Commission and the endless conspiracy theories that followed, the memory of that day, of that entire week, remain vivid and horrifying for an entire generation. I’m not a huge proponent of conspiracy theories although I do enjoy listening to them. The “what if’s” are always intriguing but I really don’t understand people like Jerry and his friend Susie who just can’t seem to let things go, who spend their entire lives in the quest for “the truth”. But, while I may not understand it, I must admire their tenacity.
Ok…let’s get to it. As always… my ramblings in no specific order:
Flashback to 1963: I always love when H50 takes us back in time. Like the Pearl Harbor episode, the flashbacks in this episode were exceptional. The atmosphere, the clothing, the cars, the phone booth, all were done with perfection. I was honestly amazed at just how perfect everything looked. Of course, using the historic Royal Hawaiian Hotel as the back drop was inspired with all it’s beautiful pink iconic presence on Waikiki Beach. Just like the Pearl Harbor episode, it felt like I was watching something actually filmed in that era and not a recreation. H50 does this better than just about any other show. I do think they could have found someone who resembled Don Ho a bit more but having him singing at Duke’s was a great touch. I know the song “Tiny Bubbles” was released a few years after 1963 but I’m willing to overlook the minor time discrepancy because it added so much to the over atmosphere of the scenes and made them even more perfect.
The “Conspiracy”: I know there are those who were upset that H50 would even touch on a topic like this. People full of righteous indignation over a preconceived notion that TPTB would accuse real, albeit long dead, people of conspiring to murder the President. To honestly believe the writers would do such a thing is very shortsighted and rather insulting, in my opinion. It was pretty obvious that no matter how this episode would eventually play out there was no way the writers would actually point an accusatory finger at any real person with any finality. It’s not like the descendants of those long dead people haven’t heard a million conspiracy theories before or the fact that those theories have been debunked over and over again. I’m also willing to bet they are intelligent people who know the difference between fact and fiction when it comes to a story in a TV show or a movie.
Like the Five-0 team, I didn’t know about Kennedy’s top cabinet members being in Hawaii in the days before the assassination. Of course, in “the good old days” things like secret trips to Asia could be kept on the down low from the general public. A good friend of mine (love you Lynnette) did a bit of research before the episode aired about the historical facts regarding this trip to Asia. There really is a conspiracy theory floating around, but of course, no evidence based in actual fact. Here’s a couple of paragraphs she copied off the Internet:
JFK conspiracy – Allen Dulles and the CIA were behind the assassination.
—THE MISSING CABINET: Six of the ten members of Kennedy’s Cabinet were sent out of the country before the assassination, on a flight to Japan that only one of them had to make, Secretary of State Dean Rusk. Who made the flight arrangements is unknown, but the White House staff routinely handles all scheduling, and the scheduling office surely had its own allocation of Dulles infiltrators. Flying with them, for no reason, was Kennedy’s press secretary, Pierre Salinger – an expert on motorcade security. Only two important Cabinet members were in Washington, D.C. when Lyndon Johnson became the President of the United States: Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara and the Attorney General, Kennedy’s brother Robert. Everyone else with authority to run a Department of the federal government was stranded over the Pacific Ocean in a presidential aircraft – with the code book to communicate with the White House missing! They learned about the assassination from an old-fashioned telex – and with no code book, only Johnson could run their Departments. Meanwhile, McNamara, attending a budget meeting at the Pentagon, was never told by anyone there that Kennedy died. He only learned about it 90 minutes later, when he received a personal phone call from Robert Kennedy. Someone cleared a path for Johnson to run almost the entire federal government himself, without any impediment, for the first 24 hours after the assassination.
Half of the Kennedy Administration’s cabinet was in Hawaii the day prior to JFK’s assassination. According to the Honolulu Civil Beat, “they stopped in Hawaii for high-level talks with Admiral Harry Felt, Commander in Chief Pacific, before flying on to Asia on a fact-finding mission. On the morning of the assassination, the plane left Hickam at 7:03 a.m., ahead of the scheduled 8:30 a.m. departure. First words of the shots fired in Dallas reached the plane at 8:37 a.m., but the Cabinet members were even further from the mainland… No one is quite sure about what this means, but there are several who believe that it is more than just a coincidence.
Personally, I love it when the writers take a story from history or one from Hawaiian folklore and integrate it into an episode that not only entertains but educates. No, the Kennedy cabinet did not conspire to murder the President but now I know more of the facts that I didn’t know before, and even at my age, it is still a hell of a lot of fun to learn something new.
Jerry: I have loved Jerry from the moment we first met him. Of course, my initial excitement was because I adored Jorge Garcia from LOST and was looking forward to seeing him and Daniel Dae Kim on my screen together again. It didn’t talk long for me to fall in love with Jerry in his own right and my affection for him has only grown as he, himself, has grown from cellar dweller to our go-to tech guy at Five-0. Yes, I know, it doesn’t make sense that in two years our resident conspiracy theorist has gone from the guy who didn’t trust phones to tech whiz but it’s just another discrepancy I’m willing to overlook in my general love and enjoyment of the show.
Jorge was fantastic in this episode from beginning to end. I loved the scene at the beginning when he and Susie finally meet face to face. It reminded me of the day I landed in Oahu and met face to face, for the first time, my best buddy Lynnette. We’d met on line thorough H50, of course, and have become besties over the years. There was no “nice to meet you” handshake between us either. We squealed and clung to each other like long lost sisters. Who says you can’t meet fantastic people on the internet??
Jerry’s heartbreak over losing Susie just as they had properly met and his determination to not only find her killer but prove her theory about the JFK assassination ran the gamut of emotions. His reaction at finding out that not only was Susie wrong about the assassination plot (it concerned taking out Castro, not Kennedy) was twofold. Relief at finding her killer but also disappointment that he couldn’t finish her work and prove her theory. It was almost anticlimactic to find out that she was killed because of an investigation into a chemical plant. Watching Jerry throughout this episode reminded me of what an outstanding actor Jorge is. He’s not just our comic relief.
The team: There is no way around it, this episode belonged to Jerry but the entire team was involved in the case. I especially enjoyed watching the concern they all, particularly Steve and Chin, showed toward an obviously broken hearted Jerry. I thought it was great that it was Chin who went around with Jerry as they questioned some local folks who had worked at the Royal Hawaiian in the day. Chin is Jerry’s oldest friend, having them work this case together was a really nice touch.
The amount of Steve and Danny in this episode was a case of quality over quantity. Their interactions with FBI Agent Ward were fantastic. Watching Ward and McGarrett having a nose to nose confrontation with Steve being told Five-0 needed to “stand down” was a great scene. “You handled that with the utmost maturity and professionalism. I was very, very surprised. We’re not going to stand down, are we?” “Nope!” Awesome! Then later, seeing Steve haul off and deck Ward because he had stood back and watched as Susie was murdered was wonderful. It reminded me of that punch he landed on Captain Fryer way back in Season 2. “Nobody messes with my team”.
Lou and Danny: This scene was the comedy relief in this episode. These two dads seem to have morphed into compete opposites of their usual personalities. It’s usually Danny who’s freaking out over his “little girl” while Lou is much more laid back. However, this week, it is Lou who all of a sudden is worried that having a girlfriend, any girlfriend, is going to be too distracting. Danny, on the other hand, was calm and has no problem with the kids dating. What happened in a week to bring about these changes?
Well, there is the fact that it’s not uncommon for things in this show to happen off screen and/or for scenes to be left on the cutting room floor that would have helped explain other scenes which were included in episode. Perhaps there is a scene on the floor somewhere that shows Lou seeing Will spending a great deal of time on the phone or on video chat with Grace when he’s supposed to be doing homework or studying for a test. Or perhaps Lou had to call out to Will that he’s going to be late for baseball practice and finds that he’s chatting with Grace rather than getting ready? It could be something like this would make him begin to feel like maybe having a girlfriend is too distracting, feelings he wouldn’t have had last week when he’s only just found out about them.
We also need to remember that Grace only lives with Danny half of the time so Danny doesn’t know everything that goes on in her life every minute of every day. It could be that Rachel is noticing these same things but it hasn’t worried her enough to inform Danny about it yet. It could be he might feel the exact same way as Lou if she did.
Of course, this is just speculation on my part, trying to find a logical reason for Lou to all of a sudden have a problem with it when he didn’t have one the week before. But, how funny is it that Danny, of all people is the calm rational one?
The ending scene: What an absolutely wonderful way to end this episode. First the way Steve was there for Jerry. Steve felt so bad for Jerry, for the deep feeling of loss he was feeling over Susie’s death and losing the only person he could ever really talk to about stuff the rest of the world thought was crazy. Steve, showing once again he has a heart as big as all of outdoors, tells Jerry if he ever needs someone to talk to, Steve is there. He might not believe everything he says but he’ll never think of him as crazy. Once again, just like he did all those years ago when Chin was alone and grieving, Steve is there with steady presence, good hot coffee and solid support and friendship. God, I just love that man!
Lastly, adding an actually “appearance” of President Kennedy was a wonderful touch as well. I never knew he was the first President to ever visit the Arizona. There’s something else I learned from this episode. I also really loved the use of a speech he gave in Oahu months before he died. I looked it up as I was writing this. Kennedy had gone to Hawaii to speak on equal rights, to speak on how blacks in America deserved all the rights of whites.
Listening to that speech and hearing him praise Hawaii for its peaceful diversity and how he hoped the rest of the country could be the same was extremely touching. I know this episode was written and filmed way before our most recent Presidential election but I couldn’t help but think about the current outcome and be saddened to think that dream of over 50 years ago has still not been realized and seems even more unreachable than ever before.
Well, that’s it for this week. I’m sorry if this review isn’t up to par. I’ve been super busy this weekend and have actually spent very little time at home. I haven’t even re-watched the episode yet so all this was written from memory of one viewing. Please attribute any errors to that. Also, because of lack of time and not re-watching the episode, none of the screen grabs on this review are mine. All screen caps are courtesy of CBS except for the shots I got off twitter courtesy of @cbrill2012, @alohaspaceman and @Surfbell2. If you recognize any photo as your own or, if it doesn’t belong to one of the ladies mentioned, and you know who it does belong to, please let me know in the comments section and I will make the correction.
There’s no new H50 for the next couple of weeks. The next new episode will be on Friday December 9th. We’ve had a great run since the premiere with new episodes every week. I’ll miss my favorite show the next two weeks but I hope it means the cast and crew are getting a nice little break for Thanksgiving. I hope everyone in the U.S. has a wonderful Thanksgiving too. I hope you all spend it with family and friends, eating too much, drinking too much, laughing too much, loving too much and enjoying all the things in life we all should be truly thankful for.
Aloha my friends. Malama Pono
10 thoughts on “#H50 Review – 7.09 Elua lā ma Nowemapa (Two Days in November)”
Jerry was fantastic in this episode. I found it interesting but not fast paced enough. We’re so used to lots of action, this one didn’t really have any. Loved the Steve and Danny moments, they’re back to how they used to be. Great review even if you didn’t watch the episode again.
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I actually enjoyed the change of pace with no big gun fights or car chases. It’s not the show I’d want to see every week but it was a nice. It also gave Alex a chance to rest up a bit. No crazy stunts or tons of running and jumping. I’m glad he and the rest of the cast got a bit of a break in this one. When the story is really good I don’t miss the action as much. But, of course, I’ll love it when it’s back too! LOL
Linda, I thought you gave a great review. You put so much thought into it. We all appreciate it so much. This was a very interesting episode. There was a little less Steve but I am glad he’s getting a much needed break on these last two episodes. After reading about his back problems I think it may be what he needs. Sure, we all miss him. But his health comes first. Jerry has really grown on me over the years. I love him when he is doing what he does best and think he is a great asset to the team. It was sad that he couldn’t prove his friends theory but I think that’s the way it had to be. I was wondering how the writers were going to fix this. And I agree, Linda, they wouldn’t point the finger at any real people. I loved the Steve and Danny moments too. They’re always great. It was a great episode, different from last week, but still great. Oh about Lou and Danny. Maybe Lou got to thinking about things a little too much and started having some concerns. He sounds pretty caught up in Will’s athletics. You know how some Dads can be about that. Nice to see Steve being the boss and reminding Lou and Danny that they have a case. I like when Steve shows that he is the leader sometimes. Lol I look forward to more scenes like this between Lou and Danny.
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Yeah it was sad Jerry couldn’t prove Susie’s theory but then, there really wasn’t any way he could. It’s just a shame it looked like he felt she had died in vein but she really didn’t. Exposing that chemical company was the more important achievement
Great review,Linda! This episode was awesome-the flashbacks were very well done,as you said. It was interesting that H50 would tackle a subject like this,but I think they did it with finesse and respect. Loved the conversation between Lou & Danny and I,too, wonder about the change in Lou’s attitude about the dating situation. Nice that Danny is loosening the reins on Grace a bit. The discovery that the plot was not to kill Kennedy,but to kill Castro hit Jerry very hard,because he knew he could not prove Susan’s theory and that her death was needless. Had to applaud Steve for decking that FBI agent-in my mind,he deserved it,even though in real life, I would think an H50 officer would probably get arrested for doing that. I know there will be reruns the next couple of weeks,I am looking forward to the next new episode in December!
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LOL You’re right Rhonda. There is plenty that happens on this show that would land them in jail in real life. Thank goodness this is nowhere near real life! LOL
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Thanks for taking time from your busy world to give us another weekly glass od cool-aid. This was another nice addition to what may be their best season ever. I always enjoy these looks at retro Hawaii – love seeing the old images of how it used to look and learning about little known historical stories. You’re right – they do this very well. Everyone did a great job……they really do seem to be back in sinc. Will miss not seeing new episodes until next month, but guess we’ve been lucky having no gaps like last year.
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I totally agree. This season has been wonderful from the first episode. It makes me incredibly happy to see them doing so well in the ratings. 10 million people seeing what we’ve always known. This show rocks!
Raiderdan checking in ….. I watched with great fascination as this episode unfolded; the cast did a great job with sensitive material — where any slip-ups at all would have shot credibility in the butt (and lost me immediately) I don’t like any television that too closely parallels what is going on in the headlines today Case in point: I watched maybe 7-8 minutes of “Madame Secretary” before pulling the plug — their storylines are just TOO damn close to what we read every day.
The pluses here? It was a tour-de-force for Jerry, from the moment he lost his just-met cohort until the final climactic scenes with Steve . I had pictured Jerry as a distant secondary character since day one, but after this hour I have to give it up for him (but only if he’s giving technical assistance, and NOT showing his annoying slapstick side}. Steve showed the highest level of leadership when he defied (right or not) the FBI stiffs — the acting skills of Alex have been so much more obvious …. perhaps even starting the moment when he went upstairs to get Aunt Deb to join them for breakfast.. Chin Ho has proved slowly but surely that he IS the glue that anchors the team.
The minuses? I can’t compare the flashbacks to those we saw in the “Pearl Harbor” episode — easily the best of the 150 produced so far. When the Japanese gentleman told Steve as they stood mere feet from the Arizona Memorial — having put all the McGarrett family pieces together — “You have his Heart…” Steve, Alex, millions of viewers, and I freely tear up whenever we go back to that moment, No way the flashbacks on Friday night entered such an intimate momemt … Also, I could have done without the Lou-Danny continued exchanges about their teenagers — advancing this storyline can take place down the road.
And YES, MR. DOUBLE D, Grace was as beautiful and fantastic as usual !!
Sorry, I’m late to the party. Again.
I was in the 2nd grade when word came through that the President was assassinated. I remember Sr. Lucien crying and the next moment, my older sister coming to get me and we went home. Living in a predominately Italian/Irish Catholic neighborhood, this news was beyond devastating. Everyone was crying and school was closed until after the funeral. Practically every store in the neighborhood was closed in mourning on the day of the funeral. Many years later I had the good fortune to meet JFK, Jr. He was sweet, funny and very kind. And, let me tell you that all those photos of him did him no justice whatsoever. That’s how beyond handsome he was.
I really enjoyed this episode, maybe all the more because of the connection to the Kennedy’s or, maybe just because it was very well done. The writers did an excellent job of seamlessly mixing fact and fiction. People feigning indignation over it really need to sit back, take a chill pill and get a reality check. It’s known as poetic license. The writers put a great spin on it and 53 years later any person associated with it is so far removed from it that they no longer care.
Jerry is cute and quirky and usually more of the comic relief but he was very good in this episode. I really felt for him. This is the 2nd time he lost the girl, poor guy.
When the entire team works together it’s such a treat and this episode was an excellent treat. Ohana at its best. Steve, like JFK, is quite the man, and really is the glue that holds the team together. Like Danny said, he’s a fixer of broken toys and a big, testosterone-filled marshmallow!
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