I’ve often wondered, after a hiatus of a couple of weeks, whether my appreciation for an episode is based on the merits of that particular episode or on the fact that I’m just so thrilled to have a new episode at all. But when an episode is this good, there is no doubt in my mind that it has nothing to do with the wait.
From what I gathered from the live Tweet on Friday night, this was the first episode written by Helen Shang & Zoe Robyn. Well, I sure hope they write a lot more because this episode was a truly great first offering. It was full of suspense and tension while simultaneously being fun and touching. It was also an episode where not a single gun was fired, there was no car chase and no explosions and it didn’t take a damn thing away from the episode. It goes to show, that when an episode is written well, directed well and acted well, we don’t need all the external noise to make it great. It was a nice change of pace that I enjoyed immensely but, of course, I’m looking forward to lots of action and gunfire next week.
I really liked the way the title of this episode “The Burden” tied in so well with practically everyone involved in both storylines and brought everything together under a central theme even though the two storylines weren’t remotely connected.
H50 has always been good at cold opening scenes that reach right out and grab my attention and this one was no exception. Starting right off with Reese Holland and his therapist, Reese leading HPD to the grave and his petrified exclamation of horror at the thought that he may have committed murder, all before the wave, continued the H50 tradition of really great openings.
It was so sad to see Reese, laboring with 10 years worth of PTSD, as he struggled to carry the burden of what he witnessed as an eight year old boy. The actor, Joey Luthman, did a fantastic job. It was fascinating watching him alternate between uncertainty, fright, anguish, anger, horror and back again with each subsequent hypnosis session. The writing was really great for these segments. Each session bringing out more and more of Reese’s memories, each little detail, from the yellow stripes on the pajamas he was wearing to the shave ice sign he saw on the side of the road, finally bringing closure, not only to the trauma he’s been living with all those years but to the case as well. It was truly well done.
While Reese, of course, suffered the most under his burden, so did others. Pearson Yang, the officer investigating the case of Maggie Reed, never gave up trying to find her killer. That burden of never being able to solve the case haunting him all those years. His chief suspect was always Travis Wilson, Maggie’s boyfriend, Yang believing the relationship between them had turned violent. But, until Max found a CD Travis had sent to Maggie the day she died, with her remains, Yang could never prove the two of them were even in a relationship. Yet he hounded Travis for ten years in an attempt to get him to confess.
But it seems Travis was laboring under a huge burden of his own. Yes, he loved Maggie and he’s lived for the last ten years not only being harassed by Yang over her disappearance but praying that she was still alive out there somewhere. When Steve and Danny showed him the picture of her remains he had the added burden of knowing that it was his CD, his asking her to meet him at “their place” that caused her death. If he hadn’t asked her to meet him, she probably never would have left her house that night.
This COTW had a very Season 1 vibe to me, in that I was sure from the moment I saw Reese’s parents that it was going to be his father who would end up being the bad guy. He was such a jerk and he raised such a fuss when Reese agreed to the last hypnosis session without his knowledge I was sure it was going to be him who was responsible for Maggie’s death. But, it turned out to be someone I never expected, Reese’s mother. Talk about a burden to bear. Drinking and driving and not only running down an innocent girl in the road but taking a rock, bashing her head in and burying her all with her eight-year-old son in the car. But then ten years of knowing that all her son’s emotional problems, all the PTSD and all the trauma he suffers through is due to what she did. Personally I have no idea how she was able to live with herself for so long.
And even though they were never seen in this episode, we can not forget the parents of Maggie Reed. Their burden may be the heaviest of all. Never knowing what happened to their little girl and, more than likely, leaving Hawaii for the mainland rather than face all the memories and grief Hawaii holds for them. As Steve said, after ten years, they deserve to know what happened to their daughter.
But the burdens didn’t stop with the story of the crime of the week. They carried over into the secondary story as well.
I have really loved meeting all the Williams family we have met over the years. Matty, Clara, Eddie, Eric and now Bridget. Of course, I just adore Eric but it only took this one episode to make Bridget a true favorite as well. So much so that, even though I know it will probably never happen, I wouldn’t mind seeing her in an episode again someday. Bridget, as played by Missy Peregrym was perfect as Danny’s sister, right down to their very similar hair game.
I loved the first meeting between Steve and Bridget. Of course, Bridget would know all about Steve from Danny but also through her mother, who has also met him. I loved the exchange between them upon meeting:
- Bridget: You know, I’ve heard a lot about you.
- Steve: And some of it was good?
- Bridget: Mostly.
- Steve: What’s that mean?
- Bridget: My mother called you a catch.
- Steve: I love your mother.
It’s actually kind of nice to think that the Williams family thinks of Steve as family too with Bridget baking cookies for Steve as well as Danny after their surgeries. It gives me all kinds of warm feelings!
But Bridget is living under a burden. Danny sees her as a perfect wife and mother and yet, with all the responsibilities of motherhood and an absentee husband, Bridget is finding it easier to feel happy at work where there is someone, her co-worker Spencer, who actually pays attention to her and gives her a shoulder to lean on when she feels overwhelmed at home. Steve notices their closeness immediately and eventually Danny sees it as well.
Finally, Danny confronts Bridget over her relationship with Spencer, being the over-protective big brother, as any of us would expect him to be. But you can see Bridget immediately become defensive. How dare he question her, tell her that he knows what’s going on with her, what’s going on in her life. Bridget is confused, she’s definitely hurting and she’s absolutely overwhelmed with her life. She’s carrying all the responsibility for her own family and doing it without any help from her husband. Whenever her parents need anything, they immediately rely on her. Matt is gone, Danny is gone, she doesn’t even bother to mention Stella. She feels totally alone and isolated.
I can totally understand how she feels. There was a time in my life when things weren’t going well and everyone in my family relied on me to be their rock. I was the strong one, the one who was handling everything for everybody. I can understand Bridget feeling like she’s “totally disappearing” because when you’re in a situation like that, you begin to feel like the people you love only see you as the person taking care of things, and really, that could essentially be anyone. You really do disappear. It is not a nice feeling. Take my word for it, I know.
In all the months I lived in that situation, the only time I cried was when someone (not in my family), out of the blue, simply said to me “but… how are you?”. It was the first time in months anyone… anyone gave one single thought to me. So when Bridget said she “walks into work and someone actually sees me”, my heart simply broke for her.
And in that moment, Danny really wasn’t being supportive because he was still in his over-protective big brother mode. It was only a matter of time before Bridget would lash out. She just spilled her heart out to him and his only answer was for her to seek therapy or separate from Ted for a while. Her remark that “unlike you I can’t just walk away from my children” was a low blow, a ridiculous blow because Danny has never done any such thing. But it was a blow, intended to hurt him because in that moment, his inability to understand and give her his support was hurting her and she wanted to give some of that back.
But, you see, I didn’t see it as Bridget being mean spirited. I saw it as a person in pain lashing out at the one person she knows loves her unconditionally, who will ultimately understand that what she is saying is not coming from vindictiveness or nastiness or hate but from true pain. He’s her big brother. He won’t hold it against her for baring her soul even if she did it, momentarily, at his expense. He will always love her and be there for her in the end. It’s exactly the way Danny treats Steve, and if you really think about that, it speaks volumes about the way Danny views Steve in his life.
And, of course, Danny does understand and doesn’t hold it against Bridget. Because Danny knows what it’s like to be unhappy in a marriage. He knows what it’s like to go to work and see your co-worker in a light that’s more than professional. Because Danny also lived with a burden in the years before he and Rachel broke up. He can understand what Bridget is feeling for Spencer because Danny had those same feelings about his partner Grace all those years ago. But he pushed those feelings away to work on his marriage and he hopes Bridget will do the same. Regardless, he is there for her, whenever she needs him, no matter what, forever. Watching the two of them bonding again over their favorite movie “Smoky and the Bandit” was the perfect way for this story to end. I simply loved every minute of it.
But, believe it or not, the burdens didn’t stop there. There was also Chin and Kono. Really? You may ask. Sure. Chin is used to talking to Sara every day and now he’s worried he hasn’t heard from her for over a week. He’s living under the burden of worry and uncertainty that Sara is safe with her new family. So much so, as we’ve seen, he’s gone to extraordinary lengths to investigate her relatives, delay the adoption and even setting little Sara to spy on her family. No wonder they are trying to distance her from Chin. Kono is thinking all these things, a burden she’s carrying instead of telling Chin her feelings. When she finally does, he’s forced to see that if he’s losing Sara, it may just be because he did it himself. Now there’s a burden he never wanted.
Last but definitely not least, let’s take a moment to talk about Steve and Danny. I know I’ve probably said this before, but Season 7 has so far been one of my favorites. The stories have been great, the writing, action and direction has been fantastic. But the one thing that has made this season so special for me so far is the return of the relationship between Steve and Danny to what I’ve always loved about them. Yes, they still bicker and banter but it’s no longer tinged with anger and bitterness as it was the last couple of seasons.
I know fans do not dictate story and tweeting suggestions, hopes and dreams to Peter and/or the writers isn’t going to change the course of the stories one bit. But part of me wonders if maybe, just maybe, they did hear us when we said we hoped Steve and Danny could return to their previous way of dealing with each other. Go back to good natured banter and leave the nasty bickering behind. I don’t know if it was us and, honestly, I really don’t care. I’m just happy it happened.
I could watch that “hand on the back” scene for the rest of eternity and never get tired of it, especially Kono’s reaction to it. She totally rolled with it, with a loveable indulgent smile and without blinking an eye. In my FanFiction heart it’s nothing she hasn’t seen before. LOL
There was also the line in the car, when Danny was telling Steve about how he used to feel about his partner Grace. “Every day I was with her, right? One day, I come to work, and I notice I’m looking at her a little differently. Know what I mean?”. It’s not hard for me to wish what Steve’s answer of “I do” could mean. But yes, that is what FanFiction is for.
I really loved this episode, from start to finish. I really can’t think of one thing that could have been done better. It was a great episode to come back to after a two Friday hiatus.
It looks like next week we return to our beloved black clad ninjas out to save little Sara in Mexico. It looks like it’s going to be some adventure and a midseason finale cliffhanger to boot (which we’ve never had before). Let’s hope that, as thrilling as I’m sure this is going to be, it’s the last kidnapping we have for a good stretch of time.
Hope you all have a wonderful week my friends. Aloha. Malama Pono.
Screencap Note: Another crazy weekend my friends. I’ve spent more time out of the house then in it this weekend. Many of the above caps are mine but there are also those that are not. What’s not mine, are mostly courtesy of CBS but I’ve also used some I’ve saved over the week from Twitter. I have no clue who these belong to, so if you notice one that is yours or belongs to someone you know, please let me know in the comments and I will edit the blog to give proper credit! Thanks!