On Wednesday, March 8th, the world celebrated International Women’s Day 2017. A “global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women”. Just two days later, H50 took it one step further, showcasing the intelligence, compassion, strength (both physical and emotional) and the utter resilience of the women portrayed in this episode by bringing awareness to the national issue of Sex Trafficking.
At a time where I can barely watch the evening news without being outraged by something going on in Washington and the rest of the country, I look to my entertainment shows to take me away to a happier place. This episode did not do that. But while it didn’t take me to a happy place, it did take me on a powerful, important journey.
I always find it fascinating when a show like this can tackle an important issue and do it extremely well while still managing to stay within the police procedural format. I love how they’re able to provide an excellent emotional story and still give us the action we love. The writing and acting in this episode was superb from the first moment.
As always, I’m not going to do a scene by scene, play by play. Just my random thoughts on what we saw this week.
Ho‘ola Na Pua: Before we get into the specifics of the episode, let’s pause to thank the wonderful people of this incredible organization. Their mission, as stated on their website is:
“…..the renewal of trafficked girls through health, education, advocacy, and reintegration. We are committed to meeting the unique needs of underage female sex trafficked victims through the utilization of individualized, comprehensive, and restorative therapies. These therapeutic interventions will be provided through Ho‘ōla Nā Pua’s outpatient mentorship program called Starfish and planned residential treatment program at Pearl Haven.”
The mere fact that an organization like this even needs to exist is appalling. I commend the powers that be at H50 for shining a light on this horrendous problem and on the wonderful organization who work so long and hard to give these girls back a life which was so cruelly taken from them.
It was a wonderful touch to have the stars of the show, Grace Park, Alex OʻLoughlin, Daniel Dae Kim, and Chi McBride in a Public Service Announcement right after the episode to help shed even more light on this very troubling issue. Please take the time to check out the Ho‘ola Na Pua website at http://hoolanapua.org to learn more about all the wonderful work they do to help these traumatized young girls.
Grace Park: Without a doubt this was one of the most powerful performances we’ve seen from Grace. She infused Kono with every emotion across the spectrum. Horror, disgust, anger, fury, empathy, compassion. She was simply amazing throughout the entire episode. There wasn’t one scene where she wasn’t riveting.
Clinging to the obviously traumatized Kelsey then coaxing her, with gentle professionalism, to reveal what happened to her. Tracking down the high school swimming coach who’d been one of Kelsey’s johns and seeing his happy family, enraged Kono in a way I don’t think we’ve ever seen before. She reduced the man down to a simpering mess. When she stepped out of her car to confront the jerk in the car behind her, I thought the guy would be a fool and come out of his car to challenge her face to face. I never expected her fury to boil over to such an extent that she’d literally put her fist through the guy’s car window.
But the final take down of Emilio was the pièce de résistance. This predator responsible for the plight of the girls, this vermin of society, who had the unmitigated balls to actually tattoo an elaborately crowned “E” on his victims, as if they were the property of he, the King….no one was asking for the beat down of all beat downs like this creep.
I loved how Kono told Emilio to pick up his knife, while she simultaneously unarmed herself, so she could take him on hand to hand. What followed was the beat down to end all beat downs with a painfully, superbly placed kick to the balls he more than had coming. It was exquisite.
All the women: Of course, this episode was a showcase for Kono and Grace Park but I have to give kudos to all the actresses in this episode. Madalyn Horcher, who played Kelsey and MacKenzie Aladjem, who played Moani were fantastic as the scared and brutalized young girls. I could feel their pain right through my screen. And, even though her part was very small, I loved the use of Kimee Balmilero’s Neolani as an old friend of the nurse, Anna (played by Betsy Beutler) who immediately recognized the injuries and frightened demeanor of Moani in the ER. Every one of the ladies in this episode were wonderful from start to finish.
Steve and Kono: I am the first to admit that I really hate it when Danny is not in an episode, even if I fully understand the reasons why. I think Danny would have been a great addition to this episode. As the father of a daughter not much younger than the girls being traumatized, it would have added another personal element to the storyline and I think Scotty would have rocked the material. But having said that, not having Danny in this one bothered me a lot less than I thought it would. Not because I didn’t miss him, because I did. But because I adore it when the writers team up Steve and Kono. I loved it in Season 1 when the tough Navy SEAL took the rookie under his wing and I love it now that Kono is more than totally capable of standing on her own two feet in any situation.
I loved the conversation between them in the car. Steve more than appalled to find these horrendous things are happening on his island and not a little confused as to how a young girl, coming from a good family, who looks to have it all, could get swept up in it. For those of us who can remember what fifteen felt like, hearing Kono explain to Steve the feelings of inadequacy and loneliness and the longing to fit in and be accepted was heartbreaking.
I also really loved how Steve let Kono take point on this one. When he asked her if she felt she wanted to sit this one out and she said, “no”, he was more than proud. He let her take the lead, didn’t stand in her way as she physically beat down the swim coach and verbally manipulated Emilio’s accomplice, Tori. And the look on his face, when he came upon Kono and the unconscious Emilio was 100% pride mixed with a good dose of “glad we’re on the same side”. He didn’t ask her what happened, didn’t need to, but her response of “he had a knife” was simply priceless.
Kono and Adam: I was very interested in the talk Steve and Kono had at Casa McG before they got the case. It’s sad to see Kono worried about Adam and the fact he’s having a hard time finding a job since he got out of prison. I guess being an ex-felon and the son of a notorious Yakuza boss is something that kinda stands out on a resume. I also thought it was interesting that once again, Kono brought up the idea of she and Adam starting a family. It’s obviously something they have been contemplating but Adam’s troubles with employment are throwing a monkey wrench into those plans for now. This scene, thrown in kind of randomly, really served no purpose other than to introduce the possibility of an upcoming story. Whether it’s about Adam or about Kono and a possible pregnancy, only time will tell. I was very touched by Steve telling Kono if she and Adam need anything, all they need do is ask. Steve, once again, there for his broken toys.
Chin and Lou and the secondary COTW: Meanwhile, a murder in a sober living house kept Chin and Lou busy. Honestly, I don’t really have a lot to say on this because I was so wrapped up in the sex trafficking story this one didn’t really grab me. I did enjoy the way Lou figured out the sober house was, in reality, a stash house. I thought that was a nifty little bit of deduction. But the drug dealer, Makoa, did nothing for me and Lou and Jerry attempt to explain the “cone of silence” seemed out of place, stuck as it was, right in the middle of such a serious episode. It would have been nice if they could have just included Chin, Lou and Jerry into the sex trafficking story and not split them off into this unnecessary secondary story. At least, they were able to wrap up the killer quickly enough so they were able to join Steve and Kono for the big finale of the primary story.
Uncle Steve and the Aloha Girls cookie sale: While the “cone of silence” levity seemed out of place right in the middle of the story, this scene, at the very beginning of the episode was simply perfect. Because, at this point, nothing horrific had happened yet, it was a great light hearted way to start. I know there are some who consider little Sara as the “cousin Oliver” of Five-0 but I simply adore this kid. (For those who are not of a particular generation… cousin Oliver was a character from the old sitcom The Brady Bunch. The precocious child was introduced in the last season of the show because the youngest of the Brady kids weren’t cute and cuddly anymore.)
Sara is absolutely adorable and is visibly thriving in her new permanent home with Chin. She must also be one hell of an Aloha Girl considering the number of badges she’s already earned on her uniform. Looks inevitable that she’ll be earning a “Salesmanship” badge pretty soon for selling massive amounts of cookies, with the help of Kamekona. Watching her sweet talk and pouty lip her way into Steve’s wallet was hysterical. Of course, Steve can’t possible allow Danny to win the “I bought more boxes of cookies than you” war and Sara makes out like a bandit. I loved the running gag throughout the episode of Steve over indulging on the sweet treats along with the number of boxes Sara has managed to get everyone to buy. It was a nice light respite amid all the deep drama of the episode because it wasn’t ever overdone.
MacGyver crossover: There were several references in this episode to the MacGyver crossover which aired immediately preceding it. Although it was only Chin and Kono (along with Kamekona) who were part of the crossover, it would have been stupid if it hadn’t been mentioned at all. After all, an over 7.0 earthquake on a neighboring island is hardly something they wouldn’t mention especially when two of their own were in the middle of it. The conversations between Steve and Kono and Chin and Chi were a very nicely done bridge between both episodes.
I really enjoyed the MacGyver episode and thought the chemistry between the Mac and Jack and Chin and Kono was delightful. It was fun watching Jack trying to explain Mac and his “talents” to Chin and Kono. Kono’s facial expressions were priceless each time Mac started on one of his “improvisations”. I was especially pleased that Chin and Kono weren’t just used sparingly (the way Chin and Danny were in the second half of the NCIS:LA crossover back in Season 2) but were a major part of the story.
I must admit, when MacGyver first began I wasn’t too sure I was going to like it. Unlike the original Five-O, which was not a favorite of mine, the original MacGyver occupies a very fond place in my heart. I wasn’t sure I was going to like the new Five-0 because I didn’t care for the original. I wasn’t sure I was going to like the new MacGyver because I loved the original. But I gave them both a fair shot and went in without preconceived notions and chose to judge them on their own merits.
Well, of course, I fell in love with Five-0 after about the first five minutes of the Pilot. It took a bit longer with MacGyver. While I won’t say I hold it as close to my heart as I do Five-0, it has greatly grown on me. I’ve come to really enjoy the stories and the comradery between the cast. It’s become a favorite and a more than enjoyable way to spend the hour before my favorite show comes on each Friday. I’m very happy for Peter Lenkov and the cast of MacGyver for the success they’ve had in their freshman season and I look forward to seeing what Season 2 will bring.
As to this crossover, well to me it really wasn’t a true crossover. To me, that means one story that overlaps into two episodes, one for each show, with characters from each show “crossing over” to the other show. This simply felt like Daniel Dae Kim, Grace Park and Taylor Wiley guest starring on a MacGyver episode rather than it being a full crossover event.
I was very happy to read in interviews released on Friday that Peter is planning another, more expanded crossover for next season. I know there are those who don’t care for these types of things. To each his own. I think they are a load of fun and I would love to see Bozer in the lab with Eric. Riley matching skills and dancing fingers on the smart table with Chin and Jerry. Danny and Jack trying like hell to tame the two “science guys” Steve and Mac. And of course, Jack and Steve rekindling their Delta Force vs SEAL rivalry and friendship. I’m not quite sure what Kono and Lou would do…possibly just sit back and enjoy the fun like I know I would. I hope Peter is able to fulfil his hope and make it happen next season.
Well, that’s it for this week. This will be the last new H50 until Friday, March 31st. College Basketball and March Madness is upon us. For those of you who have a rooting interest in a particular school, I hope your dreams come true. For the rest of us who have no interest in March Madness it’s going to be a long three weeks.
Take care my friends. See you then! Aloha. Malama Pono
All screencaps are mine unless otherwise noted.