Each week I try to come up with a great opening paragraph to set up my newest review. This week, I’m not even going to try because this episode was so incredibly good, no set up is required. Of course, I think every H50 episode is good but this one just blew me away.
We’ve never had a mid-season cliffhanger before and, damn, if Writer Matt Wheeler and Director Jennifer Lynch didn’t give us one hell of an episode for our first one. There wasn’t a wasted moment. Wheeler’s story expertly weaved thorough lighthearted, frightening, unexpected, disgustingly humorous (that morgue scene.. oh my God!), heart pounding and so heartbreaking I regretted not having a box of tissues nearby.
There is no way I can ever do justice to this episode, it was perfect from beginning to end. So just bear with me while I simply gush for a while.
As the last episode of the year, it would be customary for it to be a Christmas episode and while we did get to see Flippa in the most ridiculous elf costume ever known to man (Lou: “One word for you: Union”) and a few Christmas decorations and trees here and there, you’d never know it was Christmas time. Instead, we get to attend a really fun party to celebrate Chin’s birthday.
I loved the video tribute, especially the pictures of Daniel Dae Kim (and his son) as Chin growing up. The cameo appearances by Sang Min, Chin’s Uncle Choi and Dog were really funny. It’s always great to see the entire Ohana gathered together for a fun occasion. I especially loved seeing Gracie and Charlie there with Danny to help celebrate Uncle Chin’s birthday too. Unfortunately, this is H50 so, of course, that means someone’s damn phone is going to ring five minutes in and ruin everyone’s good time.
There were many twists, turns and surprises in this episode but the way the team immediately rallied around Chin the moment they found out Sara had been taken was not one of them. No surprise there. If there’s one thing that’s been an unflappable constant from the very first day it’s that these people will do anything for each other and their Ohana. It’s also plainly obvious that in the short time she’s been with Chin, Sara is very much included in the Ohana. There was no way in hell any of them were going to allow Chin to go off half cocked to Mexico. They were going to do this together and you know damn well they were going to do it fully cocked!
From the very first moment we heard of the existence of Jorge and Maria Morales it’s been played that there’s something shady going on with them. So much so that Chin tried his damnedest to find something on them to prevent Sara from going to Mexico at all. Then Sara is taken and everyone immediately thinks it’s because of Jorge’s connection to a known drug dealer, a dealer whose number Jerry had previously found on his phone. Never mind that he’s an attorney and the drug dealer is merely a client, it’s easy to think Jorge is involved in this.
And once again… again…. we have a kidnapping. I had really hoped we’d seen the last of these for a good while but this one had such an unexpected turn it really felt like something new. For a moment, when everyone realized it wasn’t Jorge, all suspicion immediately went to Maria. After all, wasn’t it just last week when it looked like the father but ended up being the mother who was the bad guy? But lo and behold, it turns out they are just as much victims as little Sara. She wasn’t taken because of Jorge or his law firm, she was taken because of Five-0.
I must admit, when the Diego cartel came up as those who took Sara I had to stop and think for a second. Thank goodness for that little flashback of Kono popping out of that duffle bag so I could quickly make the connection. This was inspired, in my opinion. The original appearance of the cartel came in Episode 7.03 (He Moho Hou “New Player”). In that episode, we met Kono’s old surfing competitor Rosie and learned her story. We also met Dr. Madison Grey and moved along in the story of the Chess Piece Killer. The third story in that episode revolved around the cartel.
In my review of that episode, I wrote: “Of the three stories in this episode this was the least interesting. That’s not saying it wasn’t a good story or that I didn’t enjoy it, because I did but I was more wrapped up in Kono and Rosie and in our ongoing serial killer arc.”
It’s why I think the return of the cartel in this episode was so inspired. I had filed away the cartel storyline as a not truly memorable portion of a very enjoyable episode, something done and gone. To have Carlos Diego kidnap Sara as revenge for Five-0 killing his brother… yes, inspired and something I never saw coming. It was a fantastic twist and it gave the title of 7.03 a whole new meaning. It wasn’t just Dr. Gray who was the “new player” in that episode, it was (at the time, unknown) Carlos Diego as well.
It also perfectly fits into what Peter Lenkov called a season revolving around “legacy” and how our team was going to be reflecting on how what they do affects their lives away from work. To have it revealed that the actual threat to Sara was not her aunt and uncle but Five-0 was simply heartbreaking for Chin.
“It was because of our dealings with Diego that Sara was taken.” “The biggest threat to Sara wasn’t the Morales’s… it was me.” “Why is it that we’re always putting the ones we love most in harm’s way?”
It also makes me wonder how, or even if, Chin really will ever get Sara back. I mean, Jorge and Maria didn’t do anything wrong, they were as much victims as Sara was. How will Chin get Sara back if, as it seems, Jorge and Maria really are good people. It’s obvious they really love Sara too. Maria was more than distraught. How will Chin ever be able to convince a judge that Sara would be better off with him when it was because of Five-0 that she was taken in the first place? For the first time, I’m really beginning to think that Chin may never get Sara back full time. That’s the most heartbreaking part of this entire situation. I have never wanted to be wrong more.
There wasn’t anything in this episode I didn’t love. McGarrett was perfection from beginning to end. I adored his scenes with the drug lord Ramirez. I loved how, against all good advice, Steve just strolled into the Ramirez compound to get the answers he needed. Of course, Steve’s confidence really doesn’t need much of a boost, but it does help when you have Kono and her trusty sniper rifle on your side!
His “cowboy” swagger was quite impressive, so much so that even Ramirez was impressed. He even offers to give Steve the million dollars they need to ransom Sara just to get him out of the country. Steve is way too intelligent for that, of course, knowing that money would only be an IOU for a future favor Ramirez will want that Steve won’t be able to give. It shows the type of respect Steve demands that Ramirez gives Steve the name of the dirty cop who stole Jorge’s money anyway.
The action in this episode was top notch as well. For a scene that didn’t last very long, the team breaking into the police station, masked to appear as mere robbers, was really cool. I loved how Steve threw the dirty cop into the lockup so his own prisoners could get him to cooperate. That was just awesome.
Of course, Chin ripping off his mask kind of destroyed the allusion that they were robbers but I loved watching him go all Steve and Danny on the guy to get him to give up those tapes of Jorge’s phone calls to his clients. Those tapes were instrumental in finding out that Jorge wasn’t the bad guy in this and that it was Five-0 the kidnappers were truly after.
The second action sequence of this episode was incredible. Lured into a trap, our team is completely surrounded. How the hell they managed to survive that ambush when the vehicles of the cartel were literally driving around them in circles, guns blazing, I have no idea. But our team always seems to triumph under the most harrowing of circumstances, thank God! My heart was pounding the entire time.
Can I just jump in here for a second and say, thank goodness for the wonderful comedic chemistry of Danny and Lou? These two, in the middle of all this turmoil and angst were a refreshing breath of fresh air. From the moment they tried to bribe the guard outside the morgue (Lou: “Turn your nose up at Mr. Franklin and you end up with Mr. Heckler and Mr. Koch. Those German guys can be pretty persuasive”) to every single moment inside the morgue, these two were golden. Add Max into this mix and you have something truly wonderful.
We don’t often get to see Danny and Lou alone together. They are usually always paired with Steve or with Kono but, I have to say, I hope to God we get these two alone together a lot more. They are incredible and added some needed levity into an episode that could have been crushed under the overall heavy nature of the story.
The writing for the morgue scene was pure perfection. I loved them comparing the teeny bit of Spanish they both know. Danny is so proud he knows an entire sentence even if it’s totally a pick up line! And Max’s recitation of all the education Danny would need in order to perform a proper autopsy was hysterical.
It was fun watching Max making a bit fun at them as he walked them through the steps to try to find a tattoo on the badly burned body of one of the kidnappers. Listening to Lou describe the condition of the body as “CBR” and resembling Will’s barbecue technique while also seeing Danny slowly and disgustingly pealing back the perps charred skin, it amazed me that I could be so disgusted and laughing at the same time. Lou’s line about never eating meat again was icing on the very disgusting cake!
I have the feeling that Scott and Chi had a ball filming those scenes. Between the funny dialog and the physical comedy of Danny and Lou trying to protect themselves from the smell while trying not to loose their lunches, I have a feeling there is some great stuff that could end up on the DVD gag (pun intended) reel.
Ultimately though, it all came down to Sara and what Chin was willing to do to save her. The team finds out that Diego is holding Sara at his compound which is guarded by “100 military-grade henchmen”. It’s a suicide mission but, as always, Chin and Sara are Ohana which means the team will do anything. But they never get the chance.
Chin knows what his friends are willing to do for him but he comes to realize he’s not willing to allow them to do it. He loves Steve and Kono like siblings. And, now that he understands what being a father is like, he won’t run the risk of Danny and Lou not making it home to their own children. He surrenders himself to the cartel in the hopes that if they have him, they will not only let Sara go but will also leave the rest of Five-0 alone.
I swear to God, between DDK and little Londyn Silzer I was finding it really hard to keep from bawling like a baby. When Chin called Kono to tell her where he was, where Sara was going to be, I knew I was sunk. When he told her he needed to make it right, that he was proud of her and that he loved them all…oh my God! I was as scared for him as Kono was.
The relief and utter joy Chin displayed when he finally laid eyes on a safe Sara was palpable. It was really difficult watching Chin try so hard to keep a brave face for Sara. My heart simply melted when she told him, “I knew you would come, Uncle Chin, because you promised.” Her sweet question of “Will you be there?” when Chin told her that Uncle Steve and Auntie Kono were going to take her somewhere safe was so incredibly hopeful and sad at the same time. “I will always be there,” he told her, even if, at that moment he knows it’s going to be one promise he won’t be able to keep. Leaving his badge behind shows Chin has accepted he’s not coming back, that he won’t be needing that badge anymore.
But, just as the team wouldn’t let Chin go to Mexico alone, we know they will never give up their fight to get him back in one piece. Just as the title “Snatchback” signifies the teams attempt to snatch Sara back from the grip of kidnappers, the title of 7.12 “The Deal” probably signifies what the team will end up doing to get Chin back. I just wish we didn’t have to wait three weeks to see it even though I know, without a shadow of a doubt, it will be more than worth the wait.
So far, this season has been a wonderful delight. It just gets better and better every week and there is no reason to think the second half of the season won’t be just as fantastic. I can’t wait to see where the writers will take us next.
That’s it for this week my friends and to this year as well. To every one of my readers, to your friends and your families, I send my most heartfelt wishes for you all to have a beautiful and wonderful Holiday season. I hope you all get to spend the holidays doing all the things you love with all the people you love. Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year!
Aloha. Malama Pono.
All screen caps are mine unless otherwise noted!
Mele Kalikimaka me ka Hau’oli Makahiki Hou
20 thoughts on “#H50 Review – 7.11 – Ka’ili aku (Snatchback)”
You’re right Linda -this season just keeps rolling along giving us one great episode after another. The writing has paid attention to detail and been some of the best we’ve seen in a while. DDK was awesome throughout and yes – i’m counting days to the conclusion. Steve played it just right dealing with the drug lord who I think was impressed by how ballsy he was to walk right into his compound. Having Kono man the snipper rifle was a nice touch. Then there was Danny & Lou…….pretty sure i’ve said before how much I love when they pair these two together. They are hilarious! ! Comedy is hard…..timing is really key. Scott & Chi are better than some who are actually in comedies. I hope we see more. Hard to believe another year is almost over – here’s hoping you have a great first Christmas in your new home. Will be back in the New Year. Happy Holidays to al………..l
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You are so right. I’ve seen interviews with established drama actors who say that comedy is so much harder to do than drama because, as you say, in comedy the timing is everything. There’s also the need to totally trust the other actor and his/her timing as well so the comedy just plays perfectly as it rolls from one to the other.
Scott and Chi make a perfect combination. They both have fabulous timing as well as the wonderful ability to roll with the dialog, add to it (as I am positive they did) and make it their own. Not only is this an episode I will enjoy watching over and over, I’ll probably watch just that morgue scene even more!
What a great review Linda. You’ve covered everything. I loved all the twists as I was wondering why there was another kidnapping. Although gruesome I found the autopsy scene with Danny Lou and Max funny. I sure am going to miss Max and hoping Danny and Lou are paired together again soon. Loved Steve being fearless walking into the drug lord’s estate and into the police station. Thought he was really cool. I know it was more of a Chin centred episode but this is what is sticking in my mind. I did love Chin and Sara and when they met at the end it was very emotional. Cannot wait for January to return to see the outcome. I truly love the stories Matt Wheeler writes. Going back to watch again.
Have a Merry Christmas and peaceful New Year. See you next year.
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As you say, this was a Chin centric episode and Daniel Dae Kim hit it out of the park in every one of his scenes. But, even so, every single person in this episode brought their A game. The entire team was part of this, they all had their roles to play and every one of them did a great job. Little Londyn Silzer tore my heart out.
This is what I love about this show so much. Even when an episode is centered around one particular character, it’s the team, the Ohana and the incredible acting from the entire cast that makes the show so strong. It’s why, 7 years in, we’re still going so strong! I just can’t wait for more!
I loved this ep for the ohana aspect. I love how Steve never even considers not going to Mexico to help Chin. They all jump right in to help one of their 5-0 family.
I enjoyed the Danny/Lou scenes. The morgue portions were very funny (and somewhat nauseating!) I loved the scene of them all in the car with the ski masks — also funny and very bonding. It was as if they were joking around to alleviate the nervousness of what they were about to do.
Love how Ramirez called Steve “crazy white boy” and then “chaos.” What a compliment to Steve — he is a man who doesn’t hesitate to stir the pot, rock the boat, upend the apple cart (and whatever other idiom fits) to get the job done and make things right. I also like the respect that Steve earns from Ramirez by not taking the money.
It’s a good cliffhanger, and I’m sure part 2 will be action-filled and I hope interspersed with more of the great ohana moments we’ve been getting this season.
Just throwing this out there — could be way off base, but I’m wondering if Coughlin is behind this whole thing? I don’t trust him. Once Chin confided in him about Sara and her uncle possibly being connected to drug dealers, Coughlin could have seen this as a perfect opportunity to get payback and let the blame fall on Diego. Just a thought — would make for a wild twist.
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That is an interesting thought. I remember thinking at the time that Chin went to Coughlin “why should Chin trust him?” and then Coughlin didn’t make another appearance. But maybe, just maybe, you’re right.
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It IS an interesting thought. I remember also thinking that Coughlin agreed to help Chin pretty quickly. At the time, I just attributed it to convenience from the writers standpoint but having him be in on this would be intriguing.
Hmmmmmmmm Coughlin? I never even considered that. That would be a very interesting twist. It did seem he had a rather quick turn around from the guy who sent Abby to spy on Five-0 to bring them down to a good guy helping Chin. Having him involved in this wouldn’t be that far fetched. What a great thought. Hmmmmmmm
I’m looking forward to the conclusion of this too and I know you’re right, the Ohana moments will come once they get Chin back. I’m just really concerned about what will happen to Chin before they can get him out of there. Diego is out for blood and we both know that Chin will be giving up plenty of blood before this is over.
As much as I was hoping we were done with kidnappings for awhile, I’m more then ready not to see one of our team being tortured again too. But I’m willing to bet Chin will be in some rough shape once the team finally gets to him.
Chin’s family tree is getting more and more confusing. I remember back several seasons ago, someone asked him “how many uncles do you have?” And now Uncle Choi says Chin is his only nephew. Even though it appeared that Chin had a couple of sisters when we saw his father’s funeral, he called Kono “the sister I never had.”
Yeah, the continuity of Chin and Kono’s family has always been very fluid, ever since Season 1. It seems to be one of the things that is randomly used to support whatever a particular writer is putting on paper this week. For people like you who are very into order and chronological “lists”, it must be maddening when they do this. I totally sympathize. Me…. it’s just one of the many things I let slide out of love for everything else. But, you’re right. It can be very confusing 🙂
No time for my usual bookish comment today, just know that I loved every aspect of this episode. Chin and Sara together – award worthy! Danny, Max and Grover? Well, I don’t usually laugh out loud while watching tv, but this one had me guffawing! Steve, Kono, well, what can I say that you haven’t said already, Linda! Perfection. Awesome writing, beautiful acting, superb direction, mind boggling stunts (that shootout – reminded me of circling the wagons with the Indians riding around shooting away, and how do they get Oahu to look so Mexican, anyway?)
Thanks for another great review! Now you get 3 weeks off! Enjoy your holidays!
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ROFL As much as I hate a long hiatus and will miss my favorite show for the next three weeks, I would be lying if I said the idea of 3 weeks off isn’t appealing. But all things being equal… I’d rather have new episodes! LOL
Thanks for the great review. I really enjoyed this episode and I’m looking forward to the conclusion in January. This episode leads me to believe that Sara will stay in Mexico. As everyone else, I just loved the morgue scene, and even my husband laughed at Danny’s and Lou’s antics. The beginning birthday party was great, seeing all the extended Ohana. But where was Abby? I don’t remember see her, though I haven’t watched it again yet. Hope you have a happy holidays and an even happier new year.
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As has happened more times than I can count, Julie Benz is on another show so her availability for H50 is limited. She’s in the picture just not on our screens. Oh well, since I prefer love interests to be seen rarely it’s not a big deal to me, but it would be nice to see her at least once a couple times a season.
I agree… as I said… I’m thinking Sara is going to remain in Mexico too which is really a shame because Chin loves her so dearly. Like everything else, it’s a wait and see what happens next.
Well, I was both dreading and excited for this episode. I knew it was going to be a cliffhanger and we would have to wait a few weeks to see what happened. That was the part I was dreading. But, you’re right, Linda, 50 leaves no man behind and they will rescue Chin. Steve walking into the drug lord’s place was just awesome. That man has no fear and even the bad guys have to respect him. I did also love the scene with Danny and Lou. Those two are hilarious together. And Max always knows how to get a rise out of those two. I am really going to miss Max. I like the new gal that is the ME but I wish we could have both of them together. Have a happy holiday and we can look forward to more 50. You’re right, it keeps getting better.
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I am also going to miss Max tremendously because of scenes like that morgue scene. I like the new ME too and when it comes to crime scenes and the Honolulu morgue scenes there probably won’t be a huge difference. But it’s Max’s personality and the way he interacts with the team that makes him so special and this episode is a prime example. We’ll have to wait and see how our new ME is written but I can’t believe she could ever match Max for his quirky comical charm. Well, who knows, maybe she can. Again…another wait and see.
Like I said above, I imagine Scott and Lou and a ball filming those scenes and I’m willing to bet that a lot of that retching and little side comments were ad-libbed. I don’t know that for sure but it was the kind of scene that would easily lend itself to Scott’s and Chi’s ad-libs.
Great review,Linda! This episode proves that the team are more than working partners,they are a family in the truest sense of the word and would do anything for each other! I didn’ t want to laugh at the morgue scenes with Danny & Lou,but I couldn’t help it, they were so funny,albeit gross at the same time! DDK was awesome in this episode-he played Chin’s conflicting emotions beautifully! I was not surprised that Chin chose to give himself up in exchange for Sara-that’s how much he loves her. Like you,I don’t really think Chin will be able to bring her back to Hawaii after this,since Jorge & Maria really didn’t do anything wrong and were as much victums as Sara was. One thing does bother me,though:How did the cartel know Sara was in Mexico? Some of the other replies to your review mentioned Coughlin-could he have given them the info? Wouldn’t put it past him,because he seemed too eager to help Chin when he asked him to check out Jorge & Maria anyway. I know the team will find a way to rescue Chin,but it will be interesting to see how they do it. These three weeks can’t go by fast enough for me! Merry Christmas & Happy New Year to you,Linda,and thanks for your great reviews so far this season!
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You know…the more I think of Coughlin being involved in this the more I like the idea. All you guys are right. He agreed to help Chin too quickly and Chin was too quick to trust him too. But one other thing occurred to me after reading all the comments here.
There were many instances in previous episodes where Chin questioned Jorge and Maria’s trustworthiness and ability to take care of Sara. There were scenes with Steve and just last week the scene with Kono. But, when choosing a scene to show Chin’s worry about the Morales’s, they didn’t choose a scene with Steve or Kono but with Coughlin. Why? Could it be a hint that he IS involved in this???
The more I think about it, the more I like it.
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Now that you mention it, I thought it was odd that Chin went to Coughlin to ask for help in checking Jorge and Maria out. I just hope we aren’t proven wrong in our theory about him.
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Wonderfull review about our show and ohana. Wish it was already january for the conclusion !! I am sure the team will try to get Chin out safe. And I guess Sara will stay in Mexico. Thanks for this well written review, I have no more text to add to it. Happy Holidays to you and your family.
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