#H50 Review: 8.11 Oni Kalalea Ke Ku A Ka La’au Loa (A Tall Tree Stands Above the Others) – Christmas Episode

Courtesy of @Surfbelle2

Hi everyone! Still with me? I sure hope so because it’s time to get down to the review for the second episode of our December 15th Friday night double header.  Ho ho ho!!!  This review isn’t going to be as long as the previous one… lots going on around here this week before Christmas, but I couldn’t let this fun episode go by without a review!

Just as episode 8.09 dovetailed into 8.10 with the team in quarantine, 8.10 does the same with Danny.  Having survived his gun shot wound, he is now at home recuperating.  It’s Christmas Eve and Danny is settling Charlie down for bed with a Christmas bed time story.

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While all the traditional Christmas bedtime stories are great, Danny decides to “mix it up” by telling Charlie a story no one else has ever heard before, a story about a Christmas miracle, using a case Five-0 has just concluded.  So, this episode, much lighter fare than the previous one, is framed around Danny’s telling of this story.

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I loved the premise of this episode.  First off, it gave us another episode were Danny was pretty much in every scene.  That’s three episodes in a row where Danny has been front and center.  What an awesome Christmas present that has been.  And considering that the ratings are some of the highest we’ve had in years, it seems a vast majority of the viewing public love seeing Danny too.

But it also gave us a full episode of Danny and Charlie!  Daddy Danno time is always the best and I was really impressed with little Zach Sulzbach.  He handled all the dialog extremely well.  I sometimes have to remind myself just how young Zach is.  He’s only seven years old, which means he’s still a year younger than Teilor Grubbs was in the Pilot.   He’s really been improving with each episode he’s in and this one was his best yet.

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COTW:  If episode 8.10 knocked the breath out of you, then 8.11 was indeed a welcomed breath of fresh air.  The crime of the week was basically a good old-fashioned caper.  Cops and robbers.  What little kid hasn’t played cops and robbers?

I liked how they used the animated story book pages morphing into the live action to introduce each scene.  It was a cool way to remember, as the episode unfolded, that this was a story for Charlie.

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I also really enjoyed the way Danny sanitized the story for him.  The guy in the van gave Steve his gun because he wanted Steve to go after the bad guys, not because he was dead.  The car the bad Santas were in simply ran out of gas, it didn’t crash because Steve shot the windows out.  When Steve finally took down the last bad Santa, he didn’t kill him, Uncle Steve bored him into submission and the Santa simply fell asleep.  I know there are going to be those who will criticize and say Danny is a terrible father for telling Charlie this story, but he didn’t really tell Charlie the real story, after all.

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Danny using all of Charlie’s toys to tell the story was genius.  I had to laugh when he used a toy donkey to represent Steve.  Yeah, I know, a stuffed seal would have been more appropriate but that’s just not our Danny.  The baby donkey as hysterical, especially after Charlie had already figured out that the crazy policeman in the story is his Uncle Steve.

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It’s funny.  It kind of reminds me of my Uncle Tony.   When I was a kid, we all knew Uncle Tony was “crazy”.  He rode his motorcycle like a lunatic. He was the one who would climb on the highest roof to retrieve our balls when we hit them above the houses.  He once went down into the sewer when we lost our very last ball to get it for us.  He was always doing the craziest things and my parents, aunts and uncles would just shake their heads and remind us, whenever any of us said we wanted to “have fun” like Uncle Tony, that he was “crazy” and we should never do anything he did.  We all loved him like nobody’s business.  He was kind, gentle and just so much fun.  Like Charlie, if someone told me a story about the “crazy man” I would have known instantly they were talking about my Uncle Tony.  He was awesome.

Vets to the rescue:  Rob Hanning wrote a really fun story.  Like I said before, a good old-fashioned caper.  An armored truck robbery at Christmas time and the bad guys get away by dressing up like Santa and blending into the Christmas parade.  Genius really, except they didn’t count on Steve being on the scene.  (Note:  I was disappointed that Mary and Joanie were in Oahu but we never got to see them)

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The best part of the story was the arrival of the “good guys”.  Junior is accompanying a group of veterans to a local shelter where they’re all volunteering some of their time for the Christmas season.  When Junior finds out that Steve, Tani and Lou are at the local mall in pursuit of the thieves who blew up the armored truck, he and the vets head over to lend a hand.

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As we all know by now, these vets are played by real life veterans.  Every single one of them did a great job.  Thanks to Rob Hanning on Twitter… here are the names of them all.  Jason Redman (Frank)​, Kathryn Taylor Smith (Josie)​, Stephen Jackel (Henry)​, ​J. Eddie Martinez (Kekoa)​ and Zachary Perez-Rukavina (Reggie)​.  Each had their own special gifts to bring to the case and they all did a fantastic job.

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Charlie:  This kid was perfect through the entire episode.  He was awed in the right spots, scared in the right spots and he’s a damn smart kid to boot.  It was really cute, he always seemed to ask just the right questions in just the right moment to advance the story or even ask what the audience was wondering about.  Not to mention that he is absolutely adorable.  I loved every scene with him and Danny.  You can see how much Scott likes Zach. There’s a warmth in the way he interacts with him that’s more than just a seasoned actor working with a young kid.  They are awesome together.

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Adam:  It’s a little unexpected but I like the friendship that seems to have formed between Danny and Adam. It first showed in Danny’s hallucination of being with Adam at the nursery after the birth of Kono and Adam’s baby.  Here Uncle Adam is at Danny house making sure the chimney is in tip-top shape for the arrival of Santa. Ok, sure, we’ve never… ever… heard that Adam knows anything about chimneys but, whatever.  It’s was sweet that he went over to take care of it so that Danny didn’t try to do it himself when he’s supposed to be resting.

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I do hope we’re getting close to the point in the season where the writers are going to give Adam something permanent to do.  I mean, I have loved how they’ve worked him into stories so far but it’s about time for him to have a true purpose.  This week, he just “happens” to be at the mall when the bad Santas showed up and was pulled into the case.  “Just a guy who’s in the habit of being in the wrong place at the wrong time” is getting a little old.

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The Fun of Christmas:

How adorable is it that the mantle at Danny’s house is hung with stockings of all the important people in the house. Danno, Charlie, Grace and…….Uncle Steve!  Are we supposed to analyze what that means?? I know what I wish it would mean. 😊

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The best duet ever!  Jerry singing a duet with Cortina! Product placements are in no way anything new but this one was a hell of a lot of fun.  I love it whenever we get to hear Jerry sing and this one was unique and so cool.  Especially when Lou tried to tell Jerry that he was singing the “girl” part in the song.  Lou:  “The whole damn thing is ass backwards.  Then it’s like she’s trying to seduce you instead of the other way around.”  Jerry:  “Feels good to be desired sometimes.” Lou:  “By a machine?!” 😊😊

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Of course, one of the things we all love the most about H50 are the Ohana moments when the entire team gets together for after case relaxation and fun.  A Christmas party at Steve’s house is simply perfect.  Everyone is there.  Steve, Danny, Lou, Tani, Junior, Jerry, Kamekona, Flippa, Noelani, Duke, Adam, Dog, Eddie and, the best of all, Steve invited all the Vets who helped out on the case.  It was the perfect way to celebrate the holiday, to celebrate the resolution of the case, and to honor the Vets for not only their help with the case but their service and sacrifice to their country.

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The culmination of the party is when Steve presents Junior with his Five-0 badge.  Junior was floored, since he hasn’t yet completed the H50 Academy course Steve said was mandatory for him to join Five-0.  But Steve is right.  Junior has shown over and over again in the last few months just how worthy he is to be a member of Five-0.  I’m assuming Junior will finally complete the Academy course, but I wouldn’t be surprised if we don’t actually see it.  No matter.  It’s time for Junior to join the team and I’m thrilled we’ll start 2018 with our full team set and read to go.

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A Christmas Sleepover?  As Danny wraps up the Christmas story, Charlie has finally lost that battle against sleep.  Danny lovingly looks down on his sleeping son, turns out the light and heads out to the living room.  Danny said he eats the cookies left for Santa and leaves the crumbs behind to make to look like Santa enjoyed the snack.  But when he gets to the cookie dish, all the cookies are gone.

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Enter Steve from the kitchen.  Sleep pants and stocking feet, cold glass of milk and Santa’s cookies in hand.  Like the “Uncle Steve” stocking on the mantle, are we supposed to analyze the meaning of this too?  Steve shows up at Danny’s house, after bed time, on Christmas Eve because he was in desperate need of cookies and milk.  OMG… these two.  Do not tell me that Steve didn’t spend the night so he could be there in the morning when Charlie woke up.

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You guys know me.  I’m a McDanno shipper to my soul.  But I’ve never expected it in the show.  That’s what I have Fan Fiction for.  But these last three episodes have brought joy to this McDanno heart.  I know it’s all a tease, but I’ll take it.  It’s just so much fun!

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Well, that’s it.  I know this is not as in depth as usual, but I hope you all will enjoy it anyway.

And, that’s it for 2017.  So far, this first half of Season 8 has been fantastic. Better than I ever expected it to be.  I can’t wait to see what’s in store for us in 2018.

Have a Merry Christmas, my friends and the very best of New Years.  I hope you do everything you love with all the people you love.  See you next year!

Mele Kalikimaka me ka Hau’oli Makahiki Hou

Aloha.  Malama Pono

All screen caps are mine unless otherwise noted.

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20 thoughts on “#H50 Review: 8.11 Oni Kalalea Ke Ku A Ka La’au Loa (A Tall Tree Stands Above the Others) – Christmas Episode

  1. Another wonderful review, Linda! You called this one a good old fashion caper and you’re right! Such fun WRAPPED up in the Christmas spirit, right? Unlike my last comment sharing (where I got really carried away!), I honestly only have a couple of things to reiterate really. I am so impressed with little Zach. Totally agree with you that he has already shown improvement in his acting. This episode highlighted just how much. There were many times that he came across as so natural (i.e. right before he went to sleep, for instance) and I tend to think that Scott kinda brings that out of him. I also thought it was a hoot that Danny chose the donkey for Steve. Hmm, wasn’t it just earlier that, in his hallucination, Steve told Danny to blow it out his ass? Hmmm…donkey…ass. Yeah. lol Everybody else was great to watch as well, including the guest stars. Just such a sweet episode all the way around. Oh, and the ending? Utterly adorable! Even though I’m not a shipper it doesn’t mean I can’t see it. lol! I think it’s cool that the show makes it all work so well, no matter how you see it. According to the Greeks, there are eight different types of love…, personally, I think more than one of those could define Danny and Steve’s relationship. 🙂 But, at the end of the day, the only thing that really matters to me and what makes the show stand out…is how well these two characters know each other, how they would go to the ends of the earth for each other, and how much they care/love each other. Oh, and don’t forget how darn sexy, cute, and funny they are, too. Can’t leave that out, right?

    Liked by 1 person

    • No surprise…I’m going to agree with you 100%. The Steve and Danny partnership… friendship…. brotherhood….. relationship…whatever you want to call it is the heart and soul of this show. Has been from the beginning and, hopefully, as Danny dreams, will be long into the decades when these guys are old and gray. You’re also right. Everyone can read what they want into it. Those who see sexual tension to those who just see two buddies who enjoy handing out.. It does’t matter. Whatever each person takes away from it, as long as it gives everyone enjoyment, so be it. Merry Christmas my friend!


  2. Susan Schoppe says:

    Right on target again. I to absolutely loved both episodes. Especially the Christmas bedtime story episode. It was perfect how Danny told Charlie the story while we saw what really happened, I thought that was geniuses. And of course Steve was there to see what Santa left Charlie. Merry Christmas to you and your family ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    • I concur! I firmly believe Steve came over to spend the night so he could see Charlie open his gifts the next morning. I do wonder though, why they even bothered to mention Mary and Joanie because it’s obvious they aren’t there. They’re not at Steve’s for the Christmas party and what? Steve ditched them to go stay at Danny’s on Christmas eve?? Maybe it was a line of dialog that was intended to be a story point but it never materialized in the course of the writing and they just forgot to take it out of the script?? Who knows? It was the only real outstanding flaw I could find in an otherwise delightful episode!

      Merry Christmas to you and yours too! ♥


  3. Wendy says:

    This was a good, fun episode and a perfect Christmas present. I loved all the Danny/Charlie time, and that last scene with Steve and Danny was fantastic. No Grace again in the one, have we seen her at all this season?

    I’m sure I read somewhere that Steve will ask Adam to set up a major crime division within Five-0.

    Looking forward to reading more from you in 2018.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Teilor Grubbs was at SOTB in November so maybe.. just maybe.. she might be in the episode they were filming that week. I can’t recall which episode it was at the moment but Chosen was also at SOTB so maybe Grace and Will make an appearance in that episode. I don’t know for sure. Now that Teilor lives in LA and not Oahu, she’s become just like all the other recurring actors on the show. It makes me sad but if Teilor wants to further her career beyond Hawaii, LA is where she needs to be.


  4. JulieB716 says:

    I, too, loved this episode. My heart melted over Danny/Scott and Charlie/Zach together. Just plain adorable and sweet. They are both so natural.

    And Steve and Danny? What can I say to add anything to what’s been said? Not much. I think the writers did a fantastic job of subtly shipping our boys in both 8.10 and 8.11. It was very well done and not over the top, letting the viewers decide for themselves what it all means.

    To add to Wendy’s comment about Adam’s role, I read somewhere that he is going to head up international type crimes within 5-0.

    Your reviews are always so good, Linda. I look forward to them and actually get antsy if they’re a little late, thinking I didn’t get the notification and start searching for them. LOL! I’m almost as impatient about your reviews as I am for upcoming episodes! But no pressure… 🙂

    Thanks again for a great review. And Mele Kalikimaka and Hau’oli Makahiki Hou to you and yours!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Awwwwww that’s such a sweet thing to say! I really try my best to get reviews posted on Saturday but there are some weekends where “life” just gets in the way! LOL Thank you so much for being patient and sticking around to read them even when they are late! It means a lot to me! Merry Christmas to you and your loved ones! ♥♥


  5. Carole says:

    This was one big Christmas gift all wrapped up in a bow…..the whole thing was.just about perfect! Thrilled the season is going so well and can’t wait to see what comes next…….best bit had to be the ending, but Zach had so many lines and did a great job….. Scott too ‘cos working with kids can be a challenge – though these two are so believable just like he is with Grace. Hope to see some of the vets again. Merry Christmas Linda – thank you for taking the time to get this out. It is always very much appreciated. See you next year.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Not only does Scott look like he genuinely loves Zach but Zach looks at him like a hero. Yeah, he’s “acting” as a little boy who loves and looks at his daddy like a hero, but, to me anyway, it seems Zach looks at Scott the same way! ♥


  6. Maria says:

    I’m not sure where you get your ratings from but sadly this was the lowest rated episode of the season, if not the series. .9 demo and 7.7M viewers. That doesn’t matter as long as we get Danno front and center. The ratings mean nothing.


    • I was referring to the overall ratings for this season which have been consistently good. This episode was a 10pm time slot where many average viewers are not used to seeing H50. This is a fault of CBS who never seems to understand they need to TELL people when episodes are airing in unusual time slots. They are really bad at it and have always been.


      • Carole says:

        Too true – CBS is horrible when it comes to promoting the Friday night line-up….nowhere near the attention other nights get. Considering it was up against the opening of Star Wars and the holiday party scene I think they did really well. I expect once they add in the +3 etc. It will boost numbers.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. rhondagemini says:

    This was a fantastic episode and one of my favorites! It was a wonderful Christmas present to the fans! Loved how Danny told the story to Charlie while we saw what actually happened-that was cool! The vets were awesome and they so deserve our thanks for their service! Eddie really took to Dog The Bounty Hunter,much to Steve’s chagrin! I don’t think I’ve ever seen Dog with a real dog before,so it was really cute! So glad to see Junior get the H50 badge-he has truly shown that he deserved it! Tani was so happy for him-you could tell it by her smile! Have to admit that I was surprised to see Steve at Danny’s house,but like you said, he was probably there to see Charlie open his gifts. Zach was so great as Charlie-he has become a really good young actor. I just wish Gracie had been there-that would have made it perfect! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you, Linda! Looking forward to the first episode of 2018 on Jan 5th!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Brooklyngirl says:

    I absolutely loved and adored both episodes and reviews! 8.10 had me on the edge of my seat. I could barely breathe. The flood of emotions that I felt matched Steve’s face as he (we) watched everything unfold. Even though I knew Danny would be fine, I was so relieved to see Danny up and joking with team at the end!!

    8.11 just tugged at my heartstrings. Scott told that story with such flourish! And Zach hung on every word. I’m not a McDanno shipper in the romantic sense but I do love their “Grumpy Old Men” love for each other (as shown in Danny’s dream sequence in 8.10). The vets, the good guys winning (again!), Junior getting his badge, Jerry and Cortina singing. It was a perfect holiday episode made even better by Steve showing up at Danny’s because of his emergency need for cookies! All I can say is “be still my heart!”

    Mele Kalikimaka me ka Hau’oli Makahiki Hou to you and yours! Can’t wait for January and new episodes!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Amazing review, wonderful episode
    and no matter the critics …
    Children are intelligent, intuitive, sensitive little people, capable of a great understanding of things in life (much more than most adults) and Danny is a fantastic father who has told this story wonderfully.
    It’s a great Christmas story, perfect to finish this year 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I hope that those vets come back again. And really think that they need to. Really have some good acting skills and they were real vets which makes it better.
    And also Junior getting his badge. And really he proved it and proved Steve wrong.
    Danny and Charlie both have great chemistry. Charlie was a bit annoying but he was cute, intelligent, and asked all the right questions and Danny a great father
    Steve being the bad*ss SEAL we have come to know and love with a human touch
    And really love the McGrover episodes. And keep on with those episodes as well. Love the Ohana. Just miss Daniel and Grace!
    But give it 10/10. One of the best of the year!


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