I can unequivocally say, I had been looking forward to this episode for weeks. From the very first moment I heard that 1) this was a Danny centric episode and 2) it would center around the last case of Danny’s before he joined (or was hijacked into) Five-0, I was excited.
It’s no secret that I really love Danny and I adore Scott Caan and his ability as an actor. This episode was, and I know there are those who are going to roll their eyes at this, pure perfection. I cannot find one single thing to complain about. I adored every single minute of it from start to finish.
I suppose that could be my review right there…but, as you know, that’s just not me! LOL So let’s get to it!
Danny, Danny and more Danny: And I couldn’t have been more thrilled. I’ve always believed that the relationship between Steve and Danny is not only the cornerstone of this show but the glue. From the first moment they met, it was lightening in a bottle. When Steve picked up the phone to call Governor Jamison to tell her he’d take the “task force” job because he’d found something to change his mind, I firmly believe it was because he found Danny. Some may argue it was because he found the Champ box and while that was a very strong motivating factor, you’ll notice he didn’t immediately hole up somewhere to pour over that box. No, the first thing he did was go to HPD to find out how to locate and commandeer Danny as his partner.
Of course, those of us who’ve been watching from the beginning (and new viewers who’ve gone back to binge watch from the Pilot forward) already know this. But seeing it unfold, the days leading up to that faithful day, from Danny’s point of view was really fun.
I love it when H50 gives us flashbacks. We’ve seen Steve in BUDs and Korea with Freddie. We’ve seen Chin as a young cop and meeting Malia. We’ve seen Kono grow up and we saw Danny on 9/11. There have been numerous other flashbacks as well. But, all of these were to times well before the formation of Five-0 and the story we all know so well. We’ve never had a flashback to show us something we’ve already seen but from a different perspective. Well, we did get the alternative universe flashback when Steve was drugged in episode #100 but that’s not really the same.
This flashback was a hell of a lot of fun. And I have to commend writers Zoe Robyn and Helen Shang for their extraordinary ability to keep the continuity extremely on point. We’ve often wondered if writers in the latter years of the show actually go back and watch early episodes when they write. There are times when there are glaring inaccuracies in what we consider canon. Of course, even if the writers do go back and re-watch older episodes, they’re not watching them a hundred times like we do.
But is seems more than obvious that Zoe and Helen really did their homework here. They put Danny back into the gray Ford Mustang he drove in the Pilot. They had him, not only back in a tie, but his favorite tie. The one Grace gave him for Father’s Day. He even had the big pink bunny rabbit in the back seat of the car he was going to give to Grace for the Animal Show and Tell, before Step Stan bought her Mr. Hoppy!
The attention to detail was incredible. From the Psycho ringtone on Danny’s phone, to the flood lights in the McGarrett house being on when Danny walked in (in the Pilot, Steve had turned them on when he entered the darkened house before he made his way into the garage) to Danny’s hair which was back in all its Season 1 glory. Honestly, all the writers should sit down for a mandatory in-service with Zoe and Helen on “How to Maintain Continuity by Actually Watching and Paying Close Attention to Previous Episodes”.
The story they gave Danny was right on point as well. It really showed the sad state of Danny’s life when he first arrived in Hawaii. A successful cop in Jersey (80+ homicide cases under his belt), he finds himself alone in Hawaii, being mocked by his colleagues, ridiculed by his boss and in constant battles with Rachel. But he’s doing it, making the best of it, as best he can, just to squeak out a few precious hours with his daughter. HPD didn’t even bother to make sure they got the name on is business cards right.
It also showed the prejudice Danny endured. Captain Tanaka said he was “forced” to hire Danny and, if you remember, even Chin wasn’t impressed some haole was assigned to John McGarrett’s case. As far as Tanaka was concerned, I took that to mean he didn’t want to hire any haole mainlander, not when there were dozens of Hawaiian cops waiting to make detective. Not that he didn’t want to specifically hire Danny. The same goes for Chin. He wasn’t against Danny being assigned to John’s murder, he was doubtful that any haole mainlander would understand how the island worked and be as effective as a local detective would be. It had nothing to do with Danny personally.
Of course, we know the instant Chin met Danny he knew how wrong he was about a mainland detective not being up to snuff. As for Tanaka, he assigned Danny to the high-profile murder of John McGarrett. A well-liked and respected former police officer and a personal friend of the Governor’s. You don’t do that if you think the detective sitting in front of you is a loser. The scene had already been processed but Tanaka sends Danny over to see if anything was missed. You only do that when you recognize the skills, even if you’re loath to admit it out loud because you’re still clinging to that old prejudice.
It was such fun to finally meet Danny’s original partner, Meka Hanamoa. Of course, Meka was murdered way back in Season 1 and we only ever saw him in a photograph with Danny. But it was really nice to see that, while other cops were razzing Danny with bottles of sun tanning lotion, Meka treated him like a true partner who also recognized his skill. Back in the Season 1 episode when Meka died, his wife, Amy told Danny how much Meka liked working with him because he had “fresh eyes and good instincts”. I think, in the long run, Captain Tanaka realized this too. I also really got a kick out of Detective Kauai. He “compliments” Danny on his tie (which gets a condesending chuckle out of Tanaka) but then not only tries to console Danny by telling him Tanaka treats all haoles that way but by also giving him a bit of advise. Maybe Danny should “think Magnum PI” and ease up on the mainland detective dress code. After all “everyone loved that haole”.
I really enjoyed the way the investigation of the original crime of seven years ago jived so smoothly with the events in the current day. I’m not going to recount everything that happened because we all obviously watched the entire thing (probably at this point more than once). Let’s just hit a couple of highlights.
Danny’s fighting off the Ninja Nurse: Danny and Tanaka had only confirmed that the comatose man was, in actuality Makino, Danny’s almost-informant from seven years ago, about two seconds before alarms started sounding which put the facility on lockdown. A moment later, when the nurse walked in and said she needed to check on “Mr. Makino”, a patient everyone only knew as “John Doe”, Danny sprang to action. The fight between them was awesome. And just like the battle Steve had last week, it was looking for a moment like she really had the upper hand. Thank goodness for that syringe full of whatever she was going to use to kill Makino!
Lori Petty: I’ve never watched “Orange is the New Black” so seeing Lori Petty’s name in the credits didn’t ring a bell with me. From the promo pictures we got, I honestly didn’t recognize her either. But it only took a second for me realize who she was the moment I heard her voice. Kit Keller, younger sister of Geena Davis’s character Dottie Hinson, in one of my all-time favorite movies “A League of Their Own”.
I loved the character she played here. Nurse Jenny has taken care of Makino for six years and she’s damned if anyone is going to take him out of there without medical personnel to help. She feels responsible for Makino and she’s going, damn it. I loved that!
More throwbacks to Season 1: I adored how, seven years ago, Danny accurately called out the fact that there was a mole in HPD. At the time, Tanaka got all bent out of shape over it, as any Captain would, but, as we know, Danny was 100% right. Detective Kaleo had been selling out his fellow officers for months when Meka got too close and was murdered by the Ochoa Cartel. The same Ochoa Cartel who today is out to kill Makino as he shows signs of coming out of the coma.
Captain Tanaka apology: I thought it was very admirable of Tanaka to apologize to Danny for the way he treated him back then. Tanaka admitted that he was wrong to take Danny off the Makino case, that he didn’t do it because of Danny. He all but admitted his own personal prejudice colored his judgement with regard to the way Danny was handling the case. I’m willing to bet that a Hawaiian cop would have gotten a lot more leeway than Danny was allotted.
But what was even more admirable was Danny telling him he didn’t need to hear Tanaka’s apology because Danny does blame himself for what happened to Makino. One of the best things about Danny is his ability to recognize his mistakes and his readiness to always face the consequences of those mistakes. Tanaka can tell Danny what happened to Makino wasn’t his fault and Danny could blame it all on Rachel and her never ending quest to cut down on Danny and Grace time but Danny won’t buy that. He definitely feels the guilt of not picking up that phone in time to talk to Makino seven years ago.
It was also really funny the way he told Danny that the one thing he should never do if he decides to retire is open a restaurant. So that’s the second retired cop Danny’s come in contact with since he first voiced his thoughts about retirement to tell him it’s not all it’s cracked up to be. Hopefully Danny is paying attention because we need him to stay right where he is. At Steve’s side.
Crazy driving: Finally Danny gets to drive in an episode but it’s not his Camaro but an ambulance, driving like a bat out of hell, trying to get away from assassins. He might bitch at Steve about his driving most days but he’s just as good at the crazy driving as Steve is. It was hysterical when Danny told Steve to please ignore everything he ever told him about driving like a sane person and just get to Danny as fast as he could.
Danny visits Makino: Danny’s visit to Makino was very sweet. He knows Makino can’t really hear him but he needs to go to him, to apologize for not being there for him when he called all those years ago. There is no way of knowing if Danny missing that call really contributed to what happened to Makino but Danny doesn’t care. He still feels responsible and gives Makino his heartfelt regrets.
He also wanted to take the opportunity to thank Makino for trying to do the right thing. That wasn’t an easy thing to do and Makino paid the price for it. But Danny also wanted to thank him because if it hadn’t been for Makino, Danny never would have met Steve and the others. Danny wouldn’t have met his family.
I thought the way Danny was describing the team to Makino very telling. I really enjoyed how he described each member of his family. I laughed, remembering how he wouldn’t let go of Kono’s hand the first time he met her, when he said he had a huge crush on her. And Steve? Oh Danny, you are so transparent. You can call him a putz, you can say he’s a pain in your ass, but your body language, your demeanor and the hitch in your voice say the exact opposite. Someday you’re going to have to stop hiding behind the snark and the pretend hostility. You’re going to allow a crack in that hard shell of yours and just learn how to say what you really want to say. You love the guy. Go ahead, say it babe. Everybody already knows.
Not enough Steve: I know I said I have nothing to complain about in this episode and well, that’s actually very true, because this is not a complaint. Yes, there wasn’t much Steve in this episode but what there was of him was fantastic. Well, of course, he’s Steve. Is there nothing this man can’t do? I mean, we already know he’s SuperSEAL with all his military fortitude and abilities but now we find he’s also a home improvement whiz as well.
Well, that shouldn’t really be a surprise. He did rebuild Casa McG way back in Season 1 after it was shot to hell in the General Pak episode. I loved the opening scene. Steve and Danny working together to re-decorate Charlie’s room was perfection and I would have absolutely no problem paying premium cable prices to watch them decorate houses. Talk about the ultimate “Property Brothers”!
It reminded me so much of every time my husband and I work on a project. I always end up putting the furniture together because he simply can’t seem to follow the directions. Just like Danny, he’s stubborn as hell and thinks he can do it all without instruction. And just like Danny, he ends up frustrated and ready to throw the whole thing out the window! This scene was hysterical. I was laughing the entire time. It was perfect that once Steve was left to his own devices he got the entire job done in no time. Again, just like my house. Most times I just put the damn things together by myself while my husband is at work. Cuts down on the aggravation! LOL
Steve pretty much spent the rest of the episode in his truck trying to get to Danny. I saw a couple of people on Twitter after the episode say something like “geez… just how long does it take to get to the hospital? Steve’s been in the truck for like 30 minutes!”. Well, yeah! First off, Danny wasn’t at Queen’s Hospital, he was at an Assisted Living Facility on the North Shore. It can take anywhere from 45 minutes to well over an hour (and more if there is heavy traffic) to get to the North Shore. Then Danny, Tanaka and Jenny are forced to bug out from the facility with Makino and Steve needed to change direction to get to their new destination. So, the fact that Steve was in the truck for 30 minutes is not a huge shock!
The reason why the lack of Steve in his episode is not a complaint is simply this. Regardless of what this episode was about, the fact is Alex works his ass off on this show. Physically and mentally this man puts himself out there in every single episode. We are two episodes from the end of the season and not only was the last episode one of the most physically demanding for Alex to film, the next two don’t look to be any easier.
Look, I love Alex as SuperSEAL as much as the next girl but, Jesus… let’s give the guy a break. Alex got to spend this entire episode sitting in Steve’s truck, decorating Charlie’s room and tucking Charlie into bed and still managed to save the day for the crime of the week. All without breaking a sweat. I’m thrilled Alex got this little respite and a chance to, literally, catch his breath and reenergize a bit before having to film the last two episodes, which look to be heavily action packed, again!
Lastly, on the topic of Steve…. If you didn’t melt over that last scene at the house with Uncle Steve and little Charlie there is something seriously wrong with you! Watching Steve “teach” Charlie how to “win races” by constantly “shifting up” and his imitation of the “crowd goes wild” when Charlie wins the race, was just too adorable.
I was very impressed with the writers here. They could have easily had Charlie playing a video driving game with some big ass TV on the wall but they didn’t. They chose to have Charlie be a child who can win all the races in the world with nothing but his wonderful imagination. In this world when kids can’t seem to do a damn thing without some electronic device in their hands, this was extremely refreshing.
I loved how Steve told Charlie that his daddy had built the bed just for him. As the son of a cop, Steve knows better than anyone what it’s like when your dad has work related responsibilities that keeps him away from home at bedtime. Yeah, Steve finished building the bed but he’s not petty enough to tell Charlie that. Makes me wonder how many times Doris (when she was still a good mother) did the same for Steve when John was stuck at work.
When they solidified their belief that Danno is the greatest with an awesome fist bump, my heart simply melted. Top that all off with Charlie’s “good night Uncle Steve” and Steve’s “I love you” and I died.. right there… I simply died!
I love the idea that Danny called Steve to help redecorate Charlie’s room but what I love even more is that Steve was there to babysit Charlie. These are the times where I wish there was a “bridge” scene, one that would explain the course of events that get us to a subsequent scene. When we don’t have one, it’s necessary to try to fill in the blanks ourselves.
Here’s my little scenario: Once everyone was safe at the house (and oh my God…those poor people when then get home from work!!) I’m sure Steve and Danny went back to HQ to work on the paperwork. When they were done and ready to head home, Danny decided he wanted to go see Makino so asked Steve to head back to his house because Rachel was dropping Charlie off to see his new bedroom and spend the night at Danno’s. Steve, of course, had no problem with that, and went to babysit Charlie until Danny could get home. A perfectly normal thing for one good friend to do for another, especially when Steve already considers Charlie his nephew, just like Grace is his niece.
Charlie was born in episode 2.14 so that makes him a little older than five-years-old. That makes him about a year older than Alex’s son Lion, who was born in October of 2012. And, I think Malia’s son Spike might have been just about this age when they first got together. Can’t you just picture Alex doing the exact same things at home with his sons! What we saw in that scene was 100% pure Daddy Alex. Be still my melting heart!
September 20, 2010: Finally, the very last scene of the episode. We see Danny entering Casa McG. We see the blood spatter on the wall and the bloody footprints on the floor. Danny walks around and envisions what happened there. The murder of John McGarrett. As I mentioned above, the flood lights are lit because Steve has already been through the house and turned them on as he headed to the garage.
The garage where Danny hears a sound. Knowing no one is supposed to be in the house, he heads for the garage, where a few seconds later the meeting that changed everyone’s lives takes place. I was curious if we’d actually get to see that meeting again. I was also curious that if we did, would they re-film it or use the footage from the Pilot? I’m thrilled they chose to use the Pilot. I mean, really. Why mess with perfection??
That’s it my friends. I think this episode may just make it into my top 10 most favorite episodes of the series. I hope I did it justice here. Have a great week, everyone!
Aloha. Malama Pono.
All screencaps are mine unless otherwise noted.