Hello my friends. I am so sorry this review is so late this week. You see, Mother Nature decided to give us an actual beautiful weekend and I just couldn’t bear to spend any more time indoors than I possibly had to. Yard work, setting up the deck, sitting and soaking up the sun… ahhhhhh Summer (well, almost) I missed you.
There was also the fact that I was finding it a bit hard to find the enthusiasm to tear myself away from the sunshine in order to write. You guys know me, if it’s Hawaii Five-0, I’m always going to love it. But there are times, there are episodes, that just don’t quite make it into the “great” category. I’m afraid this one is one of them.
Let’s start with the fact that we were once again treated to an episode split into two separate stories. I have said this before, of course, but I always prefer when the entire team is working on one case but more times than not, these split episodes are the norm.
I did enjoy this episode but, honestly, it’s not going to go down as a favorite. I think I would have enjoyed it a lot more if it hadn’t been a split episode. I don’t know why they decided to do it this way because while I really enjoyed Lou and Will in Chicago, the amount of time taken away from the main story really diminished it, in my opinion.
Anyway, let’s get into the review and I look forward to hearing all your varying opinions in the comments section.
Lou and Will in Chicago: I admit, I’m torn over this half of the episode. When I first saw the synopsis, I was worried that the Chicago portion would be a fluff piece and take valuable time away from the main “team in danger” story. Well, I was kind of right. It did take a lot of time from the main story but it definitely wasn’t fluff.
It’s not a huge surprise that Lou got the coldest of shoulders when he returned to Chicago to testify against his ex-partner Clay Maxwell. I’m surprised Lou was so shocked. The first time he went back (5.21 – Ua Helele’i Ka Hoku – Fallen Star) he was met by the blue line of the CPD’s “cone of silence”. He told Steve “these are guys I worked with side by side for years, man, now they’re all treating me like I’m Internal Affairs”. I can’t understand why he thought he could just go back, walk into his old haunts, places he once enjoyed with those same guys, and expect things to be as they once were.
Of course, the extent of the animosity coming from pretty much everyone was crushing. I mean, when the guy who owns the pizza joint is telling you his restaurant isn’t a place you should be, that’s bad.
Just notice the look on the face of the officer sent to keep an eye on Lou as he makes his way around Chicago. This young man, who has never met Lou, who is going strictly on what he hears or is told at the precinct, looks at Lou with pure loathing. That fact that his Captain sent him to look out for Lou says that maybe the Captain has a modicum of understanding for why Lou has taken the stand he has, but not all that much. He did send this officer, who looks young enough to be a rookie. Probably because none of the seasoned officers wanted the assignment.
This story would have been better suited as the second half of a different episode. An episode that wasn’t shown to be (in the first real promo we’ve gotten in weeks) and hyped as one where our team was in “mortal” danger. The amount of time this story took could have been better utilized in the main story.
What did this story give us, really? What did we learn that we didn’t know before? That Lou is a great father? Nope…knew that already. That Lou is a stand-up guy? Yeah…knew that already too. That the CPD might be pissed that he not only ratted out a fellow cop but literally went way out of line by destroyed the man’s house trying to find evidence? Yup… knew that too.
So, what was the purpose of this storyline? And why now? It seems to me that, for whatever reason, the writers didn’t think Lou was a good fit for the main story so rather than just have Lou off in Chicago testifying, they came up with something for him to actually do. Digging up the Clay Maxwell story gave them an excuse for Lou to be away from the team in their hour of need. But, really, it wasn’t necessary because we’ve had Danny off testifying in Jersey already, not to mention how many times he’s gone home to visit his family. If they didn’t want Lou traipsing around in the jungle with the rest of the team, they really didn’t have to have an entirely separate story for him. And that time could have been used to make the main story much better.
Having said all that, I was floored by Chi McBride’s performance. This man is one fantastic actor. His ability to transition between light hearted to dramatic, from laughter to heartbreak is incredible. His scenes with Will were wonderful and the way he handled that young cop was actually scary. It’s a toss-up whether, in the end, he won the kid over or just scared the crap out of him. My heart went out to Lou when he broke down after returning from court, realizing that his friends, his memories and his home in Chicago is truly gone. It amazes me how easily Chi can turn on the tears.
So, you see, that’s why I’m torn. On the one hand, I could have easily done without this storyline and would have preferred the extra time be added to the main story. But, on the other hand, without it we would have missed out on this fabulous performance from Chi. As a matter of fact, even though it was intended to be the B plot, it was actually the stronger story.
Another great cold opening: Just like I said last week, no one does cold openings like H50. This one was no exception. Watching that boat being thrown around in the sea I was wondering what our crime was going to be. Maybe a ship would come along, it would look like a rescue but bad guys would gun down the poor couple instead? So, when a ship appeared in the distance I figured, “ok, here we go”. I never expected for the couple to climb aboard that ship only to find our crime of the week, the murder of the entire crew. I love how this show always finds ways to surprise me.
Just another day in the jungle: Ok… you know I love this show. You know I love it when our guys get into hot water and find a great way to get themselves out. There was so much potential in this storyline and I’m sorry to say, it fell short. Maybe it’s because Chi’s performance was so powerful and was intended to be the B plot, I expected the A plot to be even more powerful. I was disappointed it didn’t live up to the tag line CBS provided… “McGarrett and Five-0 are captured and face certain death”. The potential was surly there. Again, maybe if it had been the sole storyline it could have been expanded and been much more satisfying.
Ok…so the last thing our murdered seamen on the cutter did was report a suspicious trawler entering U.S. waters. Since they reported the cutter as Japanese, Five-0 goes with the assumption that it may be Yakuza. There supposition is confirmed when ballistics come back and the bullets are linked to the Shioma family, headed Michelle Shioma. In the promo, they showed the scene where Shioma says “you look like you’ve seen a ghost” so I assumed that was going to be the first time we’d see her, the “ghost” remark suggesting that the first time Five-0 lays eyes on her it would be totally unexpected. I figured they’d confirm the killers were Yakuza but that’s all, at that point. I was a bit surprised they IDed Shioma so early.
When Jerry tracks the trawler to Lānaʻi, the team heads off to try to locate Shioma’s base camp. Jerry stays behind to do what he does best, keep an electronic eye on their every move and an ear for their every word because Steve has made the decision to go in without backup from HPD. Well, as Danny has been saying for seven years, not a smart idea, babe!
Even though I do understand his reasoning, if he’s concerned about a mole in HPD, it’s not like they haven’t dealt with Shioma before. There is no way in hell she’s going to be anywhere without a small army at her disposal. Going in, only the four of them and with only Jerry knowing where they were, wasn’t Steve’s best decision. And speaking of the possibility of a HPD mole; Steve should know better than anyone else there is one cop on the force they are positive they can always trust. More on that later.
Once the team gets onto Lānaʻi, they come across a bunch of dead bodies, “gutted” bodies, hanging from the trees. They are so taken back by this find, they get waylaid by a gang of Yakuza henchmen. For some reason, after cutting down the bodies, they have the team, arms tied behind their backs, dragging the bodies through the jungle. At this point I’m getting a bit concerned for our team, added to what we saw in the promo, I’m getting both very worried and very excited about what’s to come. Unfortunately, I really didn’t need to worry much.
Our team gets thrown into a cage where it’s discovered that picking locks isn’t a skill they teach in SEAL school. That seemed a bit strange to me since I clearly remember Steve picking the lock on the door to the Governor’s mansion way back in Season 1. Of course, he had a lock pick set with him on that occasion.
Locked in the cage with no way out, Steve decides to have a little conversation with the head bad guy who informs him that Michelle Shioma is dead. As a matter of fact, her body is one of the bodies from the trees. When Steve tries to bribe the guy with the money they confiscated from Shioma, the lady herself arrives to inform her minions that Steve is lying to them.
Ok, a couple of questions here:
1) Who were these people who were gutted and strung up in the trees? Did we ever find out? I guess the purpose was to ratchet up the “fear factor”. Ohhhh these are bad men, look what they did! I’m sorry to say…. didn’t work.
2) So then, what was the purpose of having the team dragging the bodies? According to Neolani, they’d been there for at least six months. Why cut them down now? Seemed rather pointless to me. They were preparing to leave the island anyway, why not just leave the bodies where they were? It’s not Lānaʻi is so densely populated someone would stumble upon them. They’d already been there six months undiscovered.
And 3) What was the point of lying to Steve about Shioma being dead? I’m assuming they weren’t intending to let Five-0 off Lānaʻi alive, or at least, they were just going lock them in that cage, leave and let them rot like the hanging corpses. So, what was the point of the lie? To throw them off the idea of trying to find her? No point in that, if they’re intending to kill them anyway. So the writers could use that “ghost” line? That could have been accomplished just by not IDing her at HQ so soon.
I’m surprised Steve even fell for it. Even without Neolani, it was clear those dead bodies had been in the trees for a very long time. Steve knew the ballistics from the murdered seamen on the cutter were linked to Shioma and they were only killed within the last couple of days. So, there is no way Shioma could have been dead and hanging from the trees for months.
Of course, it’s entirely possible that just because the guns used in the murder tie back to the Shioma family, it doesn’t mean Michelle was actually on that cutter. So I guess I’ll give them the benefit of a little doubt. But it would be kind of dumb for the writers to go through the trouble of bringing back such a formidable opponent only to kill her before she’s even on the screen. And, of course, there is also the little fact that we’d already seen her in the promo alive and well.
Anyway, Steve goes into attack mode on the Yakuza goons, gets a good beat down for his trouble but manages to snare a bullet from one of them. This is a scene I did enjoy. I always love watching Steve in hand to hand. He also seems to have taken a page out of Kono’s book because he targeted not one, but two guys right in the balls. Unfortunately, he was badly outnumbered.
Actually, he was even more outnumbered. The entire time Steve is fighting with those guys, a whole bunch of other guys, with very large guns, are standing in the background watching, like so many tourists on a Waikiki street during filming. What? They were so taken aback at the audacity of a prisoner taking on his captors they were stunned into immobility? Of course, there was no chance for Steve to win that fight so I guess, like those Waikiki tourists, they just stood back to enjoy the show.
Steve gets thrown back into the cage where he uses the gunpowder in the bullet to blow off the lock. That actually was pretty cool and I was really afraid Steve was going to get hurt, detonating that bullet by hand with a rock. But, he’s SuperSEAL so I shouldn’t have worried. The team escapes, manage to commandeer weapons and begin to fight their way out. Unfortunately, they have no spare ammo and soon are all firing on empty.
While all of this is happening on Lānaʻi, Jerry is back at HQ having kittens because he’s lost all contact with the team. Steve told Jerry to keep HPD out of this operation but Jerry is scared to death something is really wrong and the team, his friends, are in trouble.
While he’s at the ME’s office showing Neolani the pictures Steve sent him of the bodies, he takes her into his confidence and reveals his fears. She suggests the one thing Jerry should have already known, what McGarrett should have counted on from the very beginning. Mole or no mole in HPD, the man they can always trust is Duke Lukela because he’s “Ohana first, HPD second”. (By the way, just as a side note, we never did find out if there is a Shioma mole in HPD).
DUKE: I absolutely adored every moment Duke was on the screen. From the moment he first walked into HQ and heard Jerry’s concerns, to his “let’s go get our friends”, to his appearance in the chopper during the rescue. I think this may be the most we’ve ever seen of Duke in an episode and it was just perfect. Of course, I simply adore Dennis Chun so the more I see of him on my screen the better I like it.
I also loved how HPD came swooping down to the rescue like so many ninjas. I thought it was a nice touch to have HPD get Five-0 out of a jam for once. I think we all shared Jerry’s fist pump of excitement and utter relief when everyone was finally safe. I also got a big kick out of Jerry’s Star Trek reference. Huge Trek fan that I am, I always love when he throws them in there.
Michelle Shioma: I’ve loved Michelle Shioma from the first moment we met her back in Season 6 (6.21 Ka Pono Ku’oko’a – The Cost of Freedom). It looked, at the time, like she was a formidable woman who would be the new big bad after the death of Gabriel Weincroft. When she went into the wind at the end of Season 6, I was upset that wasn’t going to be the case.
I was more than thrilled to see her coming back for this episode. But, after really watching the episode a second time (live Tweeting is so distracting) I can say she didn’t do much for me here. Even when she shot one of her men for daring to hesitate to carry out an order, she didn’t evoke any fear in me. Just like the rest of this story, there was so much unrealized potential there. Perhaps if all the Chicago time has been available, this could have been fleshed out more.
Even the Rendition room scene wasn’t that satisfying. Steve was … well, Steve so he was fantastic but am I the only one who doesn’t think there’s enough maternal instinct in this woman to spend the rest of her life behind bars just to try to protect her daughters? The entire time she sat there, she looked more bored than menacing. Oh, and by the way, just another side note here… we also didn’t hear any evidence that Shioma was behind the dirty bomb that was intended for Five-0 a few episodes ago, other than Steve saying “you came after us and you came after our families”. There was no mention of the dirty bomb at all.
Jerry’s badge: Three years ago, when Jerry first started moaning about wanting a badge, I didn’t think he should ever have one. At the time, our lovable recluse lived in his mother’s basement, saw conspiracies around every turn, didn’t have a computer, didn’t trust phones and hated to leave the house. By the time he became a special consultant to Five-0 with an office of his own, he’d somehow acquired all the computer skills required to work the Smart Table with the best of them. These days, Jerry is an integral part of Five-0. His fingers now fly across the Smart Table as often as Chin’s do. Truly, an amazing transformation.
I know, this is a huge continuity hole. But it really doesn’t bother me. I mean, it’s something that happens a lot in TV. A character is written to be a one shot and because of that, their biography is very limited. Then, lo and behold, the character really clicks with the audience and the rest of the cast as is added as a regular. Then the limited bio becomes a liability.
It becomes necessary to “rewrite history” a bit, to make that character fit in better as a regular. TPTB on shows trust in the intelligence of their audience to understand why this is done even though it would never happen in reality. They trust people are smart enough to understand this is fiction and in fiction, anything can happen. Jerry could hardly be a regular member of the team and never do anything besides hide in his mother’s basement and cringe at the sight of phones.
Three years ago, I agreed that the thought of that basement dweller getting a Five-0 badge was ridiculous. But now, all these years later, with all Jerry has accomplished and with all the ways he’s not only helped Five-0 with cases but, now, actually saved their lives, I have no qualms at all at his having a badge. It doesn’t change a thing. He’ll still dwell in his basement office. He’ll still do all the things he does now in the same way he’s always done them. He’s just earned the right to be an official member of the team. He’s not going to be strapping on guns and going on raids. I highly doubt Jerry would ever even want to touch a gun let alone fire one. The badge is simply recognition of a job well done.
Steve and Danny at the Doctor’s office: Hands down, this was my most favorite scene in this entire episode. I just loved the fact that Danny went with Steve for his checkup as if he wanted to make sure, with his own eyes, that Steve was doing well with his recovery. After all, Danny has seen all the ways Steve has not been following his transplant protocols so I’m sure he’s thinking, if something really was off, Steve might not tell him.
Even though it was played off as light comedy, it is a valid concern. You’ll notice Steve wasn’t going to mention the little incident with the uranium a few weeks ago. Danny asking if there were any ill effects is something Steve should have asked but, of course, it was no big deal to him so he wasn’t going to say a thing. It was so funny to hear the doctor tell Steve he could “slowly start normal physical activity”. Poor man would have a stroke if he knew Steve did this about 2 minutes after he was discharged from the hospital and there was no “slowly” about it. Danny’s giggle was priceless!
The banter between during this scene was, as usual, perfection. “No, I will not bend over and cough… with your cold hands.” “It’s not that kind of a test.” Oh my God! My sides were splitting! It’s also more than obvious that Alex and Scott were having a ball during this scene. It looks like they were barely able to keep from laughing. I hope to God there are outtakes of this scene on the DVD when it comes out!
I also really loved the look on Steve face when Danny asked the doc about “radiation poisoning”. It was the exact same look Danny had on his face last week when Steve was rambling his entire life story to Harry. I loved the fact that I’m not the only one who saw this. Obviously, my friend @alohaspaceman noticed it too and made this wonderful collage. I LOVE it!
As a person who works in a doctor’s office, I know there is no rule about having a friend in the exam room with a patient as long as the patient approves. If Steve had stood his ground and demanded that Danny not be in the room, Danny would have had to leave. But, obviously, Steve didn’t have a problem with him being there or he wouldn’t have been there in the first place. The idea that a Navy SEAL couldn’t stop someone from entering a room if he really didn’t want him there is ludicrous.
Steve may have huffed and puffed a bit but it’s obvious he was totally ok with Danny being there, so much so that he let him “play doctor” to make him happy. And, again, this is not reality. The same way as this is not a documentary of the inner workings of a real police force, it’s also not a medical documentary on proper medical office procedures. It’s a TV show meant to be entertaining and fun. If you want precise representation you’re watching the wrong show. I hear there are plenty of TV stations that run real-life documentaries 24/7.
Well, there you have it. Like I said above, this episode won’t go down as a favorite. There was a ton of potential here but splitting it into two stories diminished the “team in danger” plot too much. The story was much too rushed. Captured, one good fight, escape, rescue. All in about 20 total minutes. We only got to see Michelle Shioma in three short bursts; when she emerged from the jungle, on the ship and in the blue room, where she only uttered three words.
But there was also plenty to love. Really enjoyed Chi’s performance in the Chicago plot line, loved seeing so much of Duke, got the warm fuzzies watching Jerry finally get his badge and adored the Steve & Danny at the doctor’s scene. So, while this episode won’t be a favorite, it is Hawaii Five-0 and, that, as always good enough for me.
Have a wonderful week my friends. Aloha. Malama Pono.
All screencaps are mine, unless otherwise noted.