“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