There is one thing that always worries me after we have a really great H50 episode. I always worry that the follow up episode will be more of a breather type episode. Light on the action and, perhaps, not a very riveting story. I am thrilled to death that was not the case this week. To be perfectly honest, I really wasn’t expecting it to be anything but fantastic since we already knew it was going to be Steve centric with flashbacks to his SEAL days. How the hell could that not be fantastic? Also, with only this episode and one more to the end of the season, the odds that this episode would be fluff were extremely thin.
First off, we didn’t have a cold opening this week. Unlike most episodes, this one wasn’t about the team trying to solve a crime, it was about them trying to prevent one, so there was no crime or crime scene aftermath for us to see in a cold opening. I really love when they do this because it means we have no idea (even if we’ve read the synopsis beforehand) of what’s really going to happen next.
Ok…let’s get to it:
Flashbacks: I’m going to jump right in with this right off the bat because they were so damned good!
In these troubled times, it’s a good lesson to see that treating someone with kindness and respect is sometimes a much better way to achieve your objective than being hurtful and cruel. It’s obvious that Salaam has been tortured. Steve said he’d been water boarded and he was being denied both food and water as well as being physically attacked.
I was curious at first as to why Steve would walk into Salaam’s cell in a mask only to take it off right in front of him. But I soon realized the mask for was for the benefit of the guards outside. Steve wanted Salaam to know who the man was who was showing him compassion.
And, I loved how Steve stood up to the guy from the CIA who oversaw the interrogating of Salaam, loved how Steve got right up into his face about the way Salaam was being treated and his objections to Steve’s actions.
Originally in the Pilot script, there was a description of the McGarrett character. Here is the direct quote from that script:
“And now, a word about our hero: If you’d ask McGarrett’s Naval Instructors at Annapolis for a recommendation, they’d say he’s the best man for the job, only sometimes you don’t want the best man if he won’t listen to a word you say.”
Steve had a single mindedness about what he thought was the right way to do things, and a willingness to, within reason, buck authority when he felt it was wrong. The scene with the CIA guy perfectly illustrated this trait.
The CIA, overseeing that operation, technically, had authority over Steve. Steve was disobeying orders with what he was doing but didn’t care. He felt he was not only doing the right thing, but what would ultimately achieve their objective since it seemed going the traditional, harsh way wasn’t working that well.
We’ve gotten to see Steve as a SEAL a couple of times over the years and I think this will be one of my most favorite times. The scenes between Salaam, played by Omid Abtahi and Steve were incredible. Omid was a worthy screen mate for Alex. Each man a master at saying very little and yet conveying enormous amounts of story and emotion with just their eyes and facial expressions. They each spoke very little, but the understanding between them was strong. Steve’s open willingness to speak to Salaam, not as interrogator to prisoner, but man-to-man, wanting to show Salaam that not all men are hostile, not all men need to treat other men like animals. These scenes were beautiful to watch.
We, of course, know Steve has a heart as big as all outdoors. It’s nice to see that as a military man, he didn’t lose that or that it wasn’t something he found when he returned to Hawaii. It’s something he always had.
The Team: I liked how, even though we did have a minor secondary story this week, the entire team was working on this one case. I’m also really liking how they are using Jerry these days. Yeah, he still has the habit of throwing random conspiracy theories into conversations but he’s proving, over and over again, what a real asset he is to the team. I was never worried that getting a badge meant Jerry would be heading out to the field but it’s still nice to see he’s doing the things he does best for the team.
Figuring out that Salaam’s tip about “Cain Allah” wasn’t Islamic or Arabic but a mispronunciation of Hawaiian “Kane Ala” meaning “the way of the sky” (along with Steve’s help) was inspired.
Something that really caught my eye this week was the way the team reacted when Steve told them about his trip to Gitmo and the tip he’d gotten. Even without Danny there, the entire team gave Steve a hard time over the intel Salaam gave him.
They were all questioning his trust in what the man said, all questioning whether it was a real treat or a set up. I think this is the first time I’ve ever seen the entire team go up against Steve that way.
But then I remembered the way Steve went up against that CIA guy. The way that original McGarrett description was written over seven years ago and, I don’t know, maybe that’s one of the reasons why Steve doesn’t seem to have that big of a problem with Danny doing the same thing and with the team doing it here. Maybe that’s why, even if the delivery isn’t always ideal, Steve respects that they don’t just blindly follow orders but have the intelligence and trust in their own abilities to question things, to throw out their own opinions. Steve recognizes in Danny and the team, the same traits he himself displayed when needed.
Of course, Steve was right in this case. Well, he’s always right, but I liked that the rest of the team were ranged together, voicing their worries and their doubts even if ultimately, they followed Steve like always. Steve would have done the same thing. If the CIA guy had reported him to his superiors and Steve was ordered to back off of what he was doing with Salaam, he would have done so.
Crime of the week: Like I said before, we really didn’t have a crime of the week, because an actual crime hadn’t happened. But it was fascinating watching the team, and especially Steve, work through all the angles because, of course, this is H50 so nothing is ever straight forward.
Everyone had a hand in solving this one. We’ve already mentioned Jerry’s contribution and I always love it when Kono and Lou team up. Lou’s take down of the boss at the travel agency was classic.
It was also Lou who figured out the target was a plane whose flight path was over the suspected target building. Everyone is on shocked high alert when Chin identifies the plane as one carrying not only innocent civilians but the body of a fallen Marine and many members of his unit.
But the absolute best was, of course, Steve. Honestly, Alex absolutely owned this episode. Thanks to intel found by Lou and Kono at the travel agency, the team narrows its investigation to a man named Adnan Khalid, a naturalized citizen and Associate Professor at Oahu State. When they raid his house, they find a laptop with a recorded message intended to be viewed after he has carried out his terroristic plan.
I was absolutely riveted to the screen as I watched Steve’s eyes as he viewed the message. Listen, watch, concentrate, rewind. Listen, watch, concentrate, rewind. Listen, watch, rewind. Watch, rewind.
It was mesmerizing. Steve’s ability to ascertain that their terror suspect had been coerced into making that video showed what an astonishing detective he is and makes you wonder just how many of those types of videos he had to watch in his years as a SEAL and in Naval Intelligence.
The end of the episode proved to be the most chilling moment of all. We got an actual Joe White mention and the news that the terrorists Five-0 took out might have only been at the start of their Jihad. They also could be part of a faction of the US Government. I don’t really understand why the US Government would want to promote domestic terrorism but the idea is positively chilling.
Usually, everyone would be thrilled they were able to take out all the bad guys, but unfortunately, with all these terrorists dead there’s no way to flip them on what else could be down the line. Since we already know the finale next week is a continuation of the human trafficking story, I doubt we’re going to find out what’s going on with this. Unless, of course, they throw in something at the very last minute to tie this story into whatever’s going to happen in the Season 8 premiere. Either way, it all looks damn exciting.
Hirsch and Adam: I’m torn over this little story. On the one hand, it really wasn’t necessary and it would have been nice if the time spent on it could have been used on the main story. But, on the other hand, I kind of liked this little breather in what was otherwise a very intense episode. I also liked it because it didn’t interfere with the main story, meaning, no main character was pulled away to be part of it.
I like Hirsch and I love Adam so this story was kind of cute. But, I will admit that Hirsch really….really… needs to stop his Kono obsession now. It was cute, barely, in the beginning but to keep doing it, to keep talking about it and talking about it to Adam, of all people. Just.. guys… no! I have no problem with Adam helping the guy out and I know Kono views him as some sort of harmless puppy, but enough now. Time for adult conversation and to be done with the adolescent puppy love.
The story itself was sort of sweet and I really loved how Kamekona came to Hirsch’s financial rescue. I enjoyed the tie in with Kame’s own story and how he pulled himself out of the disgrace of being an ex-con to build himself a flourishing business. The concept of “paying it forward” was touching. It was also a nice tie in with the flashbacks. One man showing kindness to another when he really didn’t have to.
Stunts: After six and a half years of fantastic, Emmy nominated work on H50, stunt coordinator Jeff Cadiente recently moved on to other projects. I must admit, I was kind of worried that the fantastic stunts we’ve come to expect in our show would suffer in Jeff’s absence. That it just wouldn’t be the same. Well, they’re not the same, that’s for sure. Is it just me or are the stunts, car chases, fight scenes, etc. getting more brutal than ever? Our new Stunt Coordinator, Eric Norris, doesn’t do anything by halves, that’s for damn sure.
I’ve openly gasped several times over the last couple of episodes over things unfolding before me and this episode was no exception. Watching that guy flee on his motorcycle, only to crash into a car, flip over the hood and be brutally run over by another car left me shaking.
But I literally jumped out of my skin when Steve picked up that rocket launcher on the roof. I seriously said, out loud to the TV, “OH NO…. HE ISN’T” …. then…….. Dear God, I never expected that!
I really miss Jeff’s presence in BTS photos and the wonderful inside peeks he gave us of filming and life on set. His hard work, immense talent and dedication is a major reason why our show has experienced the success it has. But, as we all know, things in life change and people must eventually move on. But, I’m really glad we got Eric to take his place. His stunts may be a bit jarring and take a bit of getting used to but I can’t deny they sure do add a new and different level of excitement to the show. Not better… not worse…. just wonderfully different.
SuperSEAL: Of course you just know I have to mention the fact that Steve got the crap beat out of him again this week. But at least this time, when it was all over, he actually looked like he’d been in a fight. No sissy little cut over one eye this time. This time he looked really bad. Kudo’s to the make-up department this week.
And then there was that Spider-Man routine at the office building. Kono and Lou and taking care of the gunman down below but, unfortunately, those same gunmen are blocking access to the roof. Well, you know that’s not going to stop our SuperSEAL. I don’t think I’ve said “oh my God” more often in one episode as I did in this one. “Oh my God, what’s he going to do, scale the building?” Yes that is exactly what he’s going to do. All I kept hearing the entire time in my head was Danny’s voice “What the HELL is the matter with you?!?!” LOL
Will Chin move to San Francisco?: Ok…where the hell did that come from? Coughlin, who hired Abby to try to bring down Five-0 because he didn’t like their cowboy ways of doing things and because he had a vendetta against Chin, now decides that he wants a task force just like them for San Francisco. And he wants Chin to run it. It’s so bad there, the Triads have taken over the streets, they need a task force to handle all the crime but, hey, San Francisco is a great place to raise kids. Seriously?
But, of course, next week is the finale and everyone needs something “final” to dangle over the summer. The synopsis for the finale is that Abby and Chin have a decision to make. Maybe it’s not just one decision they’re talking about.
When Steve asked Chin how Abby felt about a possible move back to San Francisco, Chin said he hadn’t told her yet, that he was waiting to ask until he’d made things between them “official”. So, Chin is going to ask Abby to marry him. Will Abby decide to accept Chin’s proposal? If she does, will Chin decide he wants the San Francisco job? Will Abby want to go back to San Francisco? What if Chin decides he’d rather stay in Hawaii? Will Abby support that? What about Sarah? She’s just beginning to settle in to her new home, with her new family, with the entire Ohana. Will Chin want to uproot her, yet again? So yeah, there is more than just one decision to be made here.
Personally, I don’t think there is any way Chin is leaving Hawaii. I don’t know of course, but my gut feeling is that Abby will say yes, and they will decide together that, even though the job in San Francisco is a wonderful opportunity, they want to raise Sarah in Hawaii and stay surrounded by their friends and family. At least, I really hope that’s what happens.
Chin and Abby: I really like these two as a couple. First off because she makes Chin happy and no one deserves that more than Chin. He’s been alone for years, except for those few happy months he had with Malia and then with Lelani. I really want to see him finally happy and loved for the long haul. I also like Abby because we don’t really see her. You know me, I will always prefer when love interests on this show aren’t seen constantly. I wish we could see Abby (and Lynn and Melissa) a bit more but if the alternative is to have them in every episode, I’d rather it stay the way it is.
I know there will be a part of this fandom who are losing their minds over this couple. Those who will moan and groan that Abby is getting a free pass for her lies while Catherine does not. I will agree on one point. Both women lied about what they were doing. That’s as far as the similarities go.
Abby was tasked with bringing down an unknown group of people on a task force in Hawaii. She didn’t know a damn thing about these people except what Coughlin told her. But she knew her assignment and went into it determined to do her job and do it well. But, like Lori Weston before her, who was originally tasked to be a spy for Governor Denning, it didn’t take long for Abby to see that what Coughlin thought about Five-0 was wrong. Yes, they are unconventional, and yes, they not only bend rules but shatter them beyond recognition. But what they do is important and necessary.
Then she fell in love with Chin and, already knowing that her assignment was bogus, and after a few weeks of torment over the lie, came clean. She took a huge risk in doing that. She knew she’d lose her job but obviously, that wasn’t important to her. She knew she would probably lose Chin too. She had no way of knowing how he’d take the news. She could have lost everything but she did the right thing anyway. She loved him enough to run the risk of losing him. She told Chin the truth.
Compare that to Catherine. Catherine also lied but not for just a few weeks. Her lie encompasses years. And Steve is not some unknown person on some task force out in the middle of the ocean. Steve is the person she “says” she would have married. Steve and the entire Ohana were not a bunch of unknown people who didn’t matter. These were all people she intimately knew and supposedly loved. And while I agree a lie is a lie is a lie, Catherine’s lie, unlike Abby’s, was compounded by years of added layers.
After she found Najib she stayed to help the village (lie)… stayed to teach school (lie)…. was happy to stay among the people who needed her (lie)…. was going to Napal to help earthquake survivors (lie). Yes, Abby lied but Catherine lied, then lied again, then lied some more.
And she didn’t do the right thing like Abby did. She told Steve she would have married him if he’d asked. That’s all fine and well. I’ll take her at her word for that. But would she have told him then what she had been up to in the year between when she rode off into the sunset of Afghanistan and when she came back for Kono’s wedding? I’d like to think she would have. But he didn’t ask and she went on her merry way, destroying his heart in the process, without telling him the truth.
Ok…classified is classified, I get that. So, would Steve. She could have told him just enough for him to know she wasn’t leaving because he wasn’t good enough for her. She didn’t have to rip his heart out to do her duty. But beyond that, again, unlike Abby, she did not come clean of her own volition. She only told him the truth because she was forced into it.
She didn’t call him and come clean out of a sense of guilt or love (like Abby did). She wasn’t willing to risk losing her job for her love of him. She only did it because of Doris. If Doris hadn’t been exceedingly stupid as to try to break PapaFat out of a Black Ops site alone and get caught, Catherine would have stayed exactly where she was, doing whatever her new duties entail and Steve wouldn’t have heard a friggin’ peep from her.
To continue the comparison. Abby lied and came clean. Chin found it in his heart to forgive her. Catherine also lied, four years ago, the first time she lied for Doris. She came clean to Steve, although, again, only because she was forced to, but she did come clean. And Steve found it in his heart to forgive her. Each man knew the love they had for them was strong enough to overcome the lie and move on. These relationships are on an even footing at this point in their timelines.
But it’s the years….years… of compounded lies that makes Catherine completely different from Abby. I know there are plenty of people out there who disagree with this view and they have every right to do so. This is just my personal opinion only. And if Peter Lenkov and TPTB decide to override all logic and sense and bring Catherine back so she and Steve can be together, that is their right too. I don’t have to like it. After all, there are still people who complain about how much they hated the series finales of LOST, or Seinfeld, or The Sopranos. If this series ends with Steve and Catherine together, I’ll be able to add Hawaii Five-0 to the list of series I adored who fucked up their ending!
But that’s a long way off and hopefully TPTB will have the foresight to do the right thing when the time comes. This week’s episode was a really great one, one that had pretty much everything that a Five-0 episode needs. Emo Alex, great action, great stunts, a little humor and an Ohana ending, all wrapped up in a great story.
Well, that’s it for this week my friends. Next week is the Season 7 finale. I can’t believe another year has flown by. Season 7 has been one of the best seasons of the show ever. One more great episode to go and, judging by the BTS videos and photos we’ve seen along with the promo and the synopsis, this finale looks like one for the ages! As much as I don’t want this season to end, I really can’t wait to see how it all wraps up and sets us up for Season 8.
Have a wonderful week! Aloha. Malama Pono.
All screen caps are mine unless otherwise noted.