We made it!!!!! We survived hiatus hell and a new season of Hawaii Five-0 has begun! Who else is beside themselves with excitement besides me??? Yup… that’s what I figured! 😀 And what a fantastic way to start! I think this might just be my 2nd favorite premiere ever. Of course, nothing will ever compare to the series premiere in 2010, but this came damn close. So, let’s get to it.
When I first heard H50 was going to be retelling the original 1968 Pilot story of Hawaii Five-O, I was excited mostly because I absolutely loved their previous effort with S3E15 “Hookman”, and not because I remembered the original episode. I was eight years old when the original H5O debuted and, as you all know, it was not a show I cared for, throughout its 12-year run. So, the same way I went back and watched the original “Hookman” back in Season 3, I went to CBS All Access to check out the original “Cocoon”.
I have to say, just like with “Hookman”, I liked the current iteration of this episode so much more than the original. The original was a two hour/double episode and with the number of commercials in 1968 being significantly less than they are today, that left a lot of time to fill. So, there’s a lot in the 1968 version which, while great for 1968, just wasn’t needed in 2018. I think Peter Lenkov did a fantastic job of taking Leonard Freeman’s original story and pruning out what was unnecessary for 2018 while keeping the essence of the story totally and lovingly intact. You can feel the reverence Peter has for the original story in all the ways this version mirrors the original. The way Steve kneels over the body of the victim at the beach, the reconstruction of the cocoon with its adjacent lab, the burned pieces of paper containing the clues, much verbatim dialog, and on and on.
I also love how he updated the story and to allow the entire team to be fully involved in the investigation of the murder of CIA Agent Tom Hennessey, an old friend of Steve’s. Danny, Tani, Junior, Lou and Jerry are front and center in numerous scenes at HQ and around the magic table. As I noted in a previous blog, the original “Cocoon” was pretty much the “Jack Lord” show. Danny, Chin and Kono were in the episode, of course, and were part of the investigation but the vast portion of screen time was centered around only McGarrett.
For example, after the body of Hennessey is found at Hanauma Bay, Steve and Danny head off to Hennessey’s apartment to check for clues. While in the 1968 version, McGarrett alone went to Hennessey’s, here we have our dynamic duo of Steve and Danny doing the honors.
And even though, like the original, it’s Steve who ultimately takes down the Chinese spy who attacks them, we get one of the best fight scenes we’ve ever had as Steve and Danny take him on together.
I have to say, it’s a damn good thing there were two of them because that guy was fierce! It really did take both of them to bring him down. It was a fun fight to watch. Between each of them yelling to the other to “shoot him”, the long awaited “Book ’em Danno” (the best throwback to the original series ever!) and Danny’s cheeky reply “I’d like to do that, but he’s clearly dead.” and this scene is pure gold.
But let’s not get too ahead of ourselves here. We have to talk about the scene before the wave before we go any farther. An almost perfect recreation of that same scene from 1968. Because it was WoFat who was Hennessey’s and Steve’s tormentor back then we, of course, needed to have WoFat here too. Obviously, we all know that WoFat was killed at the end of the 100th episode back in Season 5, so it was wonderful to see him again in all his despicable evilness, even if it was just a hallucination of Steve’s.
I’m sad we didn’t get to see more of him since his appearance was so short. But it was still fantastic to see Mark Dacascos on my screen again. I love how Peter wrote this hallucination. How in Steve’s mind, he removed the scars from the left side of WoFat’s face; his brain making an amalgam between WoFat and Kang, the man who is, in reality, his tormentor. Kang is bald and unscarred, and Steve’s mind made WoFat the same. It’s also very telling that in Steve’s sensory deprived mind, WoFat had finally done what he’d been trying to do for years and actually kill Steve. WoFat may be dead, but it seems he isn’t done tormenting Steve.
I give Alex and his double, Paul a lot of credit for all those scenes. We might all chuckle a bit at that silly red rubber suit, a leftover from 1968, but being in that tank could not have been a lot of fun for the guys. It takes hours and dozens of takes to get scenes just right so they both probably spent a hell of a lot of time in that suit and mask in that tank. And that gutta percha over Alex’s eyes and shoved up his nose? That was more than a little creepy. Damn, Alex is a good sport for his art! I am glad they didn’t make Steve scream when the mask was removed the way Hennessey did in the original. I don’t think my heart would have been able to take it.
It was so wonderful to see Eddie immediately after the wave. It was so cute that he was upset because Steve and Junior weren’t letting him dig with them. I loved Tani teasing the guys about “working for Pablo Escabar” and how she had time on her hands to watch “sweaty men dig”. Who can blame her? These particular sweaty guys are unbelievably hot in more ways than one! And I loved her indignation at not being considered for digging duty. #Offended #WomenCanDigToo. Have I told you lately how much I love Tani! 🤣🤣
But, seriously Steve? Burying money in the back yard? On a beach which can (as we’ve seen in real life) flood during particularly bad storms? I understand Steve’s desire not to have to pay a lawyer to draw up a formal partnership agreement but didn’t Kamekona already have a formal agreement in hand when he gave the guys the money? Regardless, Steve does have somewhere else that’s safe to keep that money. There’s that loose floor board in the dining room where Doris hid her micro-film and her diary for over 20 years without a soul knowing it was there. I think that might be a teeny bit more secure, hidden under the house that has a full alarm system, than a hole on the beach. Especially since they’re digging that hole in broad daylight with huge open bags of money in plain sight. What, Steve doesn’t have neighbors? 🤣🤣
The best part of this cute scene for me was, for now at least, it looks like Junior is still living at Steve’s. I know that will probably change in the future but I’m going to enjoy it while I can. I just love these two as housemates.
I am very sad about one thing we learned in this episode though. Steve and Lynn broke up. While I totally enjoyed Danny busting Steve’s chops about “living like a monk” since the breakup and Steve locking the car door on him like a pissed off school girl, I’m very sad about the breakup. I really loved them as a couple.
But it’s not a surprise, of course. Peter said a little while back that Lynn was not long term and with Sarah Carter only just beginning to get back to work after the birth of her baby, it wasn’t totally unexpected. I get a feeling this may have been more a logistical decision than a story driven one. I wouldn’t be surprised if Sarah, when she first got pregnant, told Peter she didn’t want to go back and forth to Hawaii for only limited work after her baby was born. That may have prompted his “not long term” statement at that time. I don’t know that for sure, of course, just a feeling.
I got a kick out of Danny picking up on the subtle flirting Greer was doing with Steve in Hennessey’s apartment and him thinking Steve and Greer could pick up where they left off after the case is settled and get down to some “grown folk’s business”. It was also really cool that Peter wrote in a great throwback line from the original series. When Steve gives Greer and her partner Miller his patented attitude, Greer informs Miller, “Everybody knows that Steve McGarrett only takes orders from the governor and God. And occasionally, even they have trouble.” The look on Danny’s face when she said it was priceless. But, it’s actually not the first time we’ve heard those words. Way back in S1E21 “Ho’opa’i”, Steve also informed Agent Allison Marsh, when she insisted that she speak to his boss; “Lady, I answer to God and to the Governor. Neither of whom are going to help you out right now. So, take a seat!”
If I wasn’t someone who loves spoilers, I could have liked Greer when we first saw her. The fact that she and Steve had a thing many years ago, would have made me think that maybe Danny was right, and she and Steve could rekindle whatever it was between them, now that Lynn is out of the picture. But, no, of course not.
I will never understand why Steve doesn’t find himself a wonderful island woman to be with. We’ve said this for years. How can he be home for going on nine years and never run into anyone he ever went to school with? There is no way in hell the Captain and star quarterback didn’t have all kinds of girls all over him. Junior was back home less than 8 months and he’d already reconnected with his ex-girlfriend and another good friend. But Steve? Nope!
No, the only people from his past Steve ever encounters are former SEALs and former flames who all seem to work for alphabet agencies. And what happens? These people Steve believes he knows, people he cares about and trusts, inevitably turn around and betray him. It’s so unfair. Steve never hesitates to be there for his friends. No matter what, no matter what danger it puts him in, he does whatever he can to help those he cares about. Well, I say enough! No more “grown folk’s business” with CIA agents or operatives. They are not acceptable as love interests or girlfriends. Just like Doris, they are all nothing but trouble and heartache. Steve deserves so much better!
The story woven around the murder of Tom Hennessey, like it was in 1968, is an intriguing one. The “accidental deaths” of five top agents in three months, obviously, is no coincidence. When Greer plants the seed in Steve’s head that there’s a mole in the CIA, the team knows they can’t trust anyone but themselves to solve not only Hennessey’s murder but of the other four agents as well.
When Jerry pieces together the burnt fragments of Hennessey’s journal, he’s able to identify the name SS Arcturus. This along with the only full fragment Steve and Danny found with the word “cocoon”, they have their first lead.
Steve and Danny set out in the dead of night to surveil the ship and Steve decides the best way to get on board to check it out is not to “SEAL his way aboard”, but to pose as a kind of pipe fitter on the ship. He quickly discovers what the word “cocoon” was referring to. Some sort of tank, hidden in the hold of the ship.
Of course they don’t know what that tank signifies at first. Only when Steve and Danny meet with Jonathan Kray, Chief of Pacific Operations and Counter Intelligence, do they find out what’s been going on. Kray informs Steve that he has the “enemy running scared”. After Five-0 took down the Russian spy ring (in the Season 8 finale), the Chinese have been “circling the wagons”. It’s believed that Hennessey and the others were identified by the mole which Greer told Steve about. They were then interrogated and murdered for CIA intel.
Of course, Steve being Steve, he immediately feels like the deaths of these agents is his fault. I’m so happy that Kray put an end to that line of thinking immediately. Kray tells the guys how the same gutta percha was found in all the other victims and the SS Arcturus was in port at the time of all the deaths. Kray speculates that the tank Steve found on the ship is some sort of sensory deprivation tank being used to weaken the minds of the agents in order to cull valuable intel from them without resistance. Once they have given all they can give, they were disposed of.
The scenes that follow were some of the best HQ moments we’ve ever had. Kray will leak out that Steve found a bunch of evidence at Hennessey’s and then he’s going to use himself as bait. Memorize a bunch of bad intel and allow himself to be captured. He’s voluntarily allowing himself to be subjected to the cocoon in the hope that the bad intel will be the only secrets his sensory deprived brain will reveal. Then they can follow that bad intel, determine who the CIA mole is and find who’s truly responsible for everything that’s happened and to potentially keep other agents safe.
This is one of those team moments I love so much. The entire six-member team is around the magic table and everyone pretty much thinks this is not the best idea. Tani is the most vehement protester but everyone else is dismayed over this decision as well. I’m losing count over the years of how many times Danny has told Steve that whatever his current plan is, it’s the “stupidest” thing ever! 🤣 But no one knows better than Danny, Steve’s determination to go ahead with a plan he’s sure is his only choice. But I just loved how the entire team was beside itself with worry for Steve’s well-being.
So, with the entire team on the scene, Steve sets out toward the Arcturus. His plan works perfectly, when he is set upon and injected with something that knocks him out. But not before he looks up and recognizes Greer. After we get some pretty chilling exposition from Kang on how the cocoon works on the mind he places Steve in the tank.
Outside the entire team is stressing out. Hours go by with no movement and, of course, no one is more stressed out than Danny. As the hours tick by, Danny gets more and more agitated. You know, we always joke about Steve and his “spidey” senses, but it was plain to see Danny was feeling something quite similar. He just knew Steve was in trouble. Lou could see it too. Telling Danny, he understood because “that’s my brother in there too”.
After over six hours, Steve begins to hallucinate, the scene we saw at the beginning of the episode and Kang has him brought out of the tank. It looks like it worked. Steve is answering Kang’s questions, giving him the false intel he memorized. Greer, getting what she wanted, takes off to a waiting car outside but not before she senses movement from the team. She calls for backup from Kang’s men and that’s when all hell breaks loose.
While the original 1968 “Cocoon” was jam packed with intrigue, the team, along with HPD storming the ship was the only truly exciting scene in the episode. The kind of scene you’d expect from our Five-0 and they do not disappoint. It is a high-octane fire fight with all hands on deck. The best part was Junior slicing through the hydraulics holding up some sort of crane so it crashes into the top of the ship and Tani using it to traverse on high to take out the bad guys! It was awesome.
The other fantastic moment was Jerry. Jerry has become the king of using moving vehicles as weapons! Even after he’s told to stay put, he used his SUV to plow through the bad guys to give the team a better advantage. Lou even tells him he owes him “sushi for a month” for his contribution to the fight.
Meanwhile, Steve, even after spending all that time in the tank, musters the strength to go after everyone left in the lab. He manages to take out everyone except Kang who proves to be as formidable as the Chinese spy he and Danny fought earlier. Finally, the two of them fly through the glass wall separating the lab from the cocoon and they both end up in the water.
Just as in the original, (in this case) Kang gets the upper hand and, wrapping air tubing around Steve’s neck, begins to drown him. But, this is not the original and our Steve is not alone, he has backup.
Of course, it is Danny who comes. Danny, who is always there when Steve needs him. Danny, who has pulled Steve out of the back of a truck in North Korea, who alerted SEALs he was in trouble in Afghanistan, who pulled him from a drug induced stupor in a basement torture chamber.
And he is there for Steve yet again. Danny shoots Kang just as Steve is about to lose his battle and pulls Steve to safety out of the tank.
The Steve/Danny dynamic was incredible this entire episode. From the moment they found Hennessey on the beach, Danny was fantastic. He explained to Tani and Junior who Victor Hess was so Steve didn’t have to do it. He was awesome in that fight with Steve against the spy in Hennessey’s apartment. I loved his good-natured ribbing with regard to Greer and his almost uncontrollable worry from the moment Steve came up with his crazy plan. I also loved how he was ready to go after Greer the moment he saw her walk off that ship. His “Steve trusted her” had the unspoken words of “how dare she hurt him” and “oh God, not again” screaming to be said. If it wasn’t for Lou reminding him that letting her go was the plan, I think Danny would have bolted after that car to rip her to shreds. He was perfection start to finish.
But before the episode ended, we got a scene very reminiscent of what happened in that dry cleaners basement almost 4 years ago. As Steve settles down to sit, Danny worriedly asks him if he’s alright, asks him “What’s my name?”. Steve’s eyes were glazed and confused and after a few confused moments questions “Danny?”.
Still worried Danny asks “How long have we known each other?”. It’s here where Steve’s brain comes back online and he jokingly responds, “fifty years”. Yes, one version or the other of Steve McGarrett and Danny Williams have known each other from September 1968 to September 2018. Happy 50th Anniversary Hawaii Five-0.
I loved the banter between the guys in this scene. Back to their old selves, pushing and pulling at each other. Each one not willing to give an inch to the other. A tankument, filled with humor, playful snarkiness and pure love. I’m not sure I didn’t hear Steve say to Danny “come on, I love you”….again! And I’m willing to bet my last dollar that Danny telling Steve he looked ridiculous, was an ad-lib from Scott! 🤣 These two were pure joy this entire episode.
And there you have it. A perfect season premiere containing everything we love about this show. Peter wrote a fantastic script, taking all the best elements of the original and making it ever better by utilizing every member of the team to their best advantage. He also set up stories to move forward into the season.
Not only are we left to wonder if Steve’s plan will work and what Greer will do with the false intel she got from Steve, there is also the story of the gun Tani found at Adam’s house. She still hasn’t told Steve about it because she hasn’t verified if it’s the murder weapon or not. Even though it’s pretty obvious how it will turn out, I’m looking forward to seeing how Steve reacts when he finds out about the gun, how they’ll clear Adam and how Adam fits into Five-0. 🤣
Peter: You did Mr. Freeman proud! Cocoon was awesome! What a great job you did getting two hours down to one and the team involvement was perfect. And thank you for all the Steve and Danny time! Always the best part of H50. Great start to what’s sure to be a great season!
Have a great week my friends. Aloha. Malama pono.
All screen caps are mine unless otherwise noted or watermarked.