#H50 Review – 9.04 A’ohe Kio Pohaku Nalo i Ke Alo Pali (On the Slope of the Cliff, Not One Jutting Rock Is Hidden From Sight)

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We all watch Hawaii Five-0 for our own reasons.  Many watch because of the love they have for one particular character or actor.  Others watch for the over the top stunts, the action sequences and the explosions.  Others watch for the police procedural crime of the week, while others enjoy the interplay between the characters and the Ohana moments.  Some of us watch for all of the above.

And all are extremely valid reasons.  But there are times, and this week is one of those times, when the show gives us so much more.  This week’s episode gave us a gruesome yet intriguing crime of the week, with all the twists and turns we’d expect from H50 but it also gave us an education on two topics many of us were completely unaware of.  Add to that a touching, heartfelt, emotional story of honor, duty and self-sacrifice which also gave us insight into two of our Ohana which we’ve never had before.   All in all, it was an extremely well balance episode from start to finish.

Crime of the Week:  Black market sand and Mahu.  Two things I’d never heard of in my life.  Leave it to H50 to find something totally unique as the center piece for a crime of the week and to delve once again into wonderful Hawaiian culture.

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Sand.  At first, like Lou, I thought, seriously?  Who on earth needs to steal sand?

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Well, as a matter of fact, a whole lot of people.  If you have time, check out this article.  It goes into great detail about the $70 billion industry of black market sand and the people who make a living and sometimes die because of it.

The Deadly Global War for Sand


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But, of course, the sand ends up not really being the center piece after all.  Writers Talia Gonzalez & Bisanne Masoud weaved a wonderful story which, ultimately, turned out to be a routine tale of a man who hires a killer to dispose of his wife so he can run off with another woman.  But the convoluted way they come to that conclusion is pure H50.

Seabed dredgers inadvertently pull up a dead body, sans feet, with the sand.  Steve and Danny, while looking for the feet left behind on the sea floor, find a second set of feet.  After Noelani identifies both victims, everyone is puzzled because both victims have the same name.  Kaimi Alana.

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And here we come to our second educational element of this episode.  One Kaimi is female and the other is male.  But, in actuality, he is not male.  She is Mahu.  Like Lou, my first thought was, “ok, so Kaimi was transgender and this was probably a hate crime”.  I really enjoyed learning how wrong I was about that.

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I was very touched by the explanation Tani supplied about how the Mahu, people who identify as both male and female are honored within Hawaiian culture.  Honestly, I have to tell you.  Every time I learn more about the culture of Hawaii, the more I fall in love with it.  What a beautiful way to view others.  If only the rest of the country could learn to be as beautiful as the Hawaiian people.

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So, in a case of mistaken identity, Kaimi is murdered by mistake by the inept hired killer.  After weighing down her body and dumping her in the ocean, the idiot then manages to kill the correct Kaimi.  We never really see how Steve and Danny finally knew it was Mr. Alana who hired the killer but that’s ok.  I didn’t see the conclusion of the story as being the important element.  It was learning about the Mahu that grabbed my attention.

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I’m not going to even try to go into any detail about the Mahu.  As a haole mainlander I’d probably get it all wrong anyway.  Besides, my friend Wendie Burbridge (@WendieJoy) a true daughter of Hawaii will, undoubtedly, go into more detail in her wonderful weekly Five0Redux blog. Please, do yourself a favor and make sure you check it out.  As a matter of fact, it’s a blog you should be reading every single week because she is awesome!

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In the meantime, my friend Jeffrey Allen on Twitter (@JeffreyAlan1) found this gem on YouTube.  “If you are intrigued by the Mahu story line, a history lesson and a contemporary story:  PBS Hawaii Presents:  A Place in the Middle – The True Meaning of Aloha”.  It is truly a beautiful video!


Sgt. Duke Lukela:  I absolutely loved both scenes with Duke and Steve.  It was wonderful to see Laura Mellow as Nalani Lukela again and even better that this time, she actually had lines.

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And Cidni Romias as little Akela is absolutely adorable.

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I will never, ever, get tired of watching kids excitedly running into the arms of their “Uncle Steve”.  I keep thinking back to the guy at the beginning of Season 1 who had no clue how to act around kids.  It didn’t take long for his soft marshmallow middle to come forward and even by the end of Season 1 he was an entirely different guy around kids.  Now, he’s everyone’s honorary uncle.  Oh… my heart! ♥♥

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Dennis Chun was absolutely marvelous in these scenes.  Of course, I simply love the guy so it’s hard for me to ever see him as anything less than marvelous!  I was a bit concerned when Duke said he wasn’t going to go to his reinstatement hearing.  I just can’t imagine Five-0 rolling up to a crime scene and not seeing Duke there in uniform commanding HPD.  He did make a very compelling argument for early retirement though.  Hell, I’m counting the days until I can retire so I’m totally on board with his thinking.  Personally, I wouldn’t give a damn about “going out on my own terms” but I can certainly see why a man like Duke, a man who has given his entire life to the job, would ultimately decide to fight to get his good name back.

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I really liked how it was little Akela who changed his mind.  Taking money from her mother’s wallet to buy a new backpack for a classmate; doing the wrong thing for the right reason, just like her Grandfather had done.  Duke doesn’t want Akela to grow up knowing he was driven off the force.  He wants his legacy to be one of honor.  A legacy she will be proud to live up to.  I’m just thrilled we’ll get Duke back in uniform where he belongs.

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Steve and Danny:  In the last three episodes, I’ve found myself saying over and over how much I’m enjoying the return of the wonderfulness between Steve and Danny. Now, here we are on Episode 4 and I’m going to say it yet again.  I must admit, I was getting a bit worried when 14 minutes of the episode had gone by and we hadn’t seen Danny yet but the rest of the episode more than made up for it.  They were positively golden.  Once again, except for the first 14 minutes, they worked the entire COTW week together.  Honestly, I haven’t enjoyed these two so much since Seasons 1 & 2 when they were exclusively partnered together.

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The give and take between them has also gone back to the wonderfulness of the early years. Yes, they still snipe at each other, but the animosity is completely gone.  They are back to bickering like the loving brothers they are without the sharp-edged knife that cut for a few seasons.  I am loving every moment of the two of them together these days.

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There were so many great scenes with them throughout the entire episode.  Watching the two of them chasing the sand thief on foot was fun as was Danny’s reaction when Steve jumped into the sand after the thief.  “If you die, I got three bodies and no partner”.

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And he was hysterical as Steve began to dig around in the recovered feet for the orthopedic pin needed to identify the victim.  “You’re just gonna dig in there like an animal?  Disgusting.  Just getting all in there, huh?”….. “Winner, winner, chicken dinner. One surgical pin.”….. “Only you could refer to food after doing what you just did.” 🤣 🤣

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But the best part was when Danny decided the best time to continue their earlier conversation about Duke, as well as, the type face (or is it a font? 🤣) for the restaurant menus was while Steve was diving and couldn’t talk back.  Leave it to Danny to choose such a moment and Steve’s underwater reactions were simply priceless.  We’ve always said Alex can act dozens of lines of dialog with only his eyes.  Well, now we can add underwater reactions as well.  You could literally “hear” every word in his movements.

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Danny made a very valid point about not putting one’s self into Duke’s shoes with unsolicited advice.  Duke is a grown man who can, obviously, make his own decisions.  I have always believed if Danny had never brought it up, retirement would have never entered Steve’s mind.  Like… ever!  I think he’s always believed he’d just keep on keeping on until he either physically couldn’t do it any longer or he was “killed in action”.  Perhaps he’s projecting that mindset onto the decision Duke is making.  You don’t just walk away.

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Danny, on the other hand, looks at things entirely differently.  “There’s something to be said for knowing when your time is up and not fighting it anymore”.  That says a lot about Danny’s mindset.  He’s the one who contemplated retirement at his 20 years.  He’s the one who proposed opening a restaurant, so they could have something together when they retire.  Danny doesn’t think Steve should make Duke’s decision about himself but, subconsciously, he’s thinking about when the day comes when he too, will decide enough is enough.

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The Return of a Fallen Hero:  One of the best things about this show is the way they have, from the very beginning, taken great pains to not only accurately portray the military but to honor them.  Alex has trained with SEALs from the moment he was cast in the Pilot because he wanted to be as true to them as he possibly could.  They have military personnel on hand to advise and train whenever needed for an episode.  The show has paid tribute to those who perished at Pearl Harbor and to those who are still serving and/or rehabilitating after tours overseas.  We’ve seen flag draped coffins given the upmost respect upon returning to American soil numerous times.  This episode went one step farther by having Junior, in the company of Jerry, selected to accompany a fallen serviceman home to Hawaii.

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This was, without question, the best part of this episode and Beulah and Jorge were incredible throughout.  Peter Lenkov said we were going to need tissues for this one and he sure was right.  By the time the episode came to an end, I was a sniffling mess.

Junior, accompanied by Jerry, is tasked with bringing Staff Sgt. Christopher Kaliko home to Oahu.  While greatly honored to do this duty, Junior can’t help by ask himself why Kaliko requested him for the honor.  Everything that follows in this story was extremely heartfelt and touching.

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Over the course of their trip from Dover AFB back to Hawaii, Junior and Jerry really open up to each other.  Junior recalls when he needed to name who would accompany his body home should the worse happen. How he’d chosen his cousin, a Marine.

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Jerry told Junior how, after 9/11, he and his friend, Mika had wanted to enlist because they wanted to do their part to help the country.  But Jerry didn’t make the cut, due to anxiety, while Mika went on to serve and die in combat.

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Once they get back home, Junior opens up even further, telling Jerry that he’d really wanted his dad to bring him home but that he’d turned him down.  He never wanted him to serve and actually told Junior that if he died over there, he wouldn’t even attend his funeral.  It was so touching the way Jerry tried to soothe that hurt by telling Junior that sometimes people just say hurtful things and encouraged Junior to try to make things right.  It’s something we’ve seen Junior struggle with for quite some time.  I hope he does reconnect with his dad someday.  It’s something that obvious still weighs on him.

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The best part, or the most heartbreaking part, was when Junior and Jerry pull up to the cemetery and Junior sees the Kukui High School bumper sticker on the car of Kaliko’s parents.

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He suddenly remembers the teenaged Kaliko, in the audience when Junior gave a recruitment speech at the school.  How Kaliko had come up to him afterwards and told him how much he’d enjoyed the speech.  Junior realizes, the same way Jerry convinced Mika to join up, that he’d been the reason Kaliko enlisted, why Kaliko is now dead.

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It’s Jerry who convinces him that he must meet with Kaliko’s parents, to finish the job he was sent to do.  I loved the better insight we get of Jerry in this episode and the view of his huge heart and compassion.  He wanted to accompany Junior because, while he was deemed unsuitable for the military, his friend Mika went overseas and was killed in action.  Jerry has blamed himself all these years for that death since he was the one who convinced Mika to join up with him.  He never even attended the funeral.  He is here with Junior trying to make up for that just a little bit.

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It was amazing to see this friendship form between Junior and Jerry.  Two co-workers who always liked each other have now formed an incredible bond over what turned out to be many shared experiences, not just this dignified transfer.  I really hope the writers continue to show us this new friendship in the future because it’s always wonderful to see the Ohana solidify even more.

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The letter Kaliko left for Junior was both heartbreaking and joyous.  When Junior first opened the folder with Kaliko’s service record, we got to see all the honors he’d received for his service.

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But, that’s not what he wanted to point out to Junior.  He wanted him to know that the day he heard Junior’s speech was the day he “found his life’s purpose” and he wanted to tell him about his proudest moment.  It wasn’t a ribbon, medal or award, but the day he and his unit liberated a village from Taliban control and the look of gratitude on the faces of all those villagers. “Serving my country was the greatest privilege of my life”.

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That did it.  Thank goodness I had those tissues close at hand.  H50 once again did what it has always done so incredibly well.  Honoring those who make the ultimate sacrifice for us all.

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Thank you to writers Talia Gonzalez and Bisanne Masoud and especially to Beulah and Jorge for giving us this incredibly touching story.  It was absolutely wonderful.

Well, that’s it for this week my friends.  I hope you all have a wonderful week.  Aloha.  Malama Pono

All screencaps are mine.


13 thoughts on “#H50 Review – 9.04 A’ohe Kio Pohaku Nalo i Ke Alo Pali (On the Slope of the Cliff, Not One Jutting Rock Is Hidden From Sight)

  1. Mcdanno says:

    Hi Linda! You did a great job capturing all the ups and downs of the episode. I loved the dynamic between Junior and Jerry, but my favorite part has to lie with “my boys” on the ocean. I loved Danny’s quick salute he gave Steve as a joke🙂. Of course Danny would wait until Steve couldn’t talk back to talk about Duke since he’s learned Steve will ALWAYS but into his speech. Even in the second episode ever, Steve didn’t let Danny finish, even after being told to zip it for a second. Steve is constantly talking about chicken, so Danny shouldn’t have been so surprised. Wings, salad, dinner, etc. When Tani asked if Danny hated puns, he should’ve mentioned the “Jack in the Box” comment he made 9 years ago when dealing with a severed head in a box. I also thought it was funny seeing a big man like Jerry reading a chic flick book. Then again, Danny loves the chic flic Pitch Perfect movies, so I can’t really say that. All in all, a fabulous episode , and I can’t wait for the Halloween episode that Alex will be working on with their stunt double’s daughter.

    PS. I was so bummed when they didn’t show Steve taking off his wetsuit, but last year they waited until the 6th episode to show us beautiful, shirtless Steve.😘

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This was a very powerful episode but it did make me very sad and a little apprehensive about my son. He is deployed right now and I kept thinking how I would feel if it was him. We have only one child and I hate him being so far away from home. Luckily, he is in a place where there is no fighting but it’s still far away and in the past there has been war. He is an analyst so not really in any danger, I hope. But, yes, it was a real tearjerker and Junior and Jerry were great together. I loved the way they bonded in this episode. Jerry really is such a special person. And Junior is also very special. They gave each other encouragement and it was very heartwarming. Steve and Danny were great too. I love their interaction when they are together. But it did scare me too when Steve jumped into that sand. I live for these moments when they are together. Thank you, Linda, for giving your time for this great review. Once again, you were spot on.

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    • Thank you so much Mary and be sure to always thank your son on our behalf for his service. My daughter is not in the military but is currently living in Australia. And, she is my only child too so while I do not pretend to understand the fear of a mother with a child in the military, I do understand what it feels like to have your only child so extremely far from home. No, it is not easy by any means! ♥


  3. Very powerful and great. And such a moving episode with wit and charm. You took the words out of my mouth.
    Danny and Steve not bickering. Usually I am always onto Steve as sometimes he needs to not take risks but that is just him or he would not be that way.
    Junior and Jerry time really they bonded over the trip. And that Ohana is family.
    Junior and Tani were both broken kids. But now both of them have a family to go to
    For in the Duke and that he gave a reason for fighting was his granddaughter. Brass does not understand but Five 0 and H.P.D. has his back.


  4. jlopie1 says:

    Thanks for a great review! I truly loved this episode, and so happy that everywhere I look, everyone likes it, too. I think we have a new set of writers on board, and they’re definitely in sync with our characters! They’ve brought back the boys we loved from the first seasons. They brought us some emotional backstories for some characters we haven’t learned much about. I hope this writing pair stays around and writes a lot more episodes!

    The COTW was a good, twisty storyline – one that I really enjoyed. Who would have known that black sand was such a black market item! Not much of any kind of sand in Montana! The introduction of the Mahu tradition in Hawaiian culture was something completely new to me. I’d like to know more!

    Of course, the big highlight of the episode was Jerry and Junior’s story. Wow! So powerful! Anyone who says they were not moved to tears, or at least sniffles at the end of that story is just not being very honest. Insightful writing coupled with superb acting made for a memorable story and a top episode!

    Loved it all! Looking forward to next week’s Halloween ep – more Jerry!

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    • I really loved the advancement of Jerry’s character. He’s gone from out go-to for comedy relief to a respected member of the team and how we see even more depth of character from our lovable conspiracy theorist. I’m just loving every moment of it. I can’t wait for next weeks Halloween episode. I always love the nonsensical stories we get for Halloween episodes. They are honestly just so much fun! ♥♥


  5. rhondagemini says:

    Great review,as usual! As much as I love the banter between Danny & Steve over Steve jumping into the sand and Steve’s conversation with Duke about the hearing, my favorite part of this episode was Junior & Jerry’s story! It is a high honor to escort a fallen soldier’s body home to his family and one that is taken very seriously, by both the soldier making the request and the soldier selected for the task. Once Junior realized why he was chosen, he felt some guilt as it was his speech that inspired the young man to join the military. Leave it to Jerry to put it in proper perspective by telling his own story of wanting to join after 9/11,along with his friend Mika. Jerry was turned down after a panic attack,but Mika went ahead and joined. When he died,Jerry was so broken up about it that he couldn’t even go to the funeral and he was supposed to be a pallbearer. Being with Junior here was Jerry’s way of making up for not going to his friend’s funeral and honoring the sacrifice Mika had made. The letter Kaliko left for Junior summed it up so well and I believe that all soldiers feel that serving their country is the greatest privilege of their lives. H50 has always honored those who served and sacrificed and this story was no exception!

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  6. Carole says:

    One thing you can never say about this show is that it’s predictable. ….they change mode from one week to the next and you never know what you’re gonna get. (accept that it’s sure to entertain) After last week’s heatwave we were back to mystery with a couple of interesting, unusual twists, a touching salute to our miltary with jerry. & Junior sharing nice bonding moments along the way and an update on Duke’s future. Even though the stories were unrelated they were tied together nicely. The new writers are doing a really nice job so far and have obviously taken the time to research the characters. Did anyone else hear the bit about Danny’s ex mother-in-law being a writer? Setting up something……..poor Danny – the resturant, kids, trying to keep crazy ass partner in one piece and ………sounds like another stressful encounter coming his way. Looks like a Dannyless episode next week and Steve gets in trouble – oh boy!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Danny did mention his MIL way back in Season 1 but the romance writer angle is all new information. As anyone who has ever spent any time in their life watching soap opera knows, there is only one reason why a random person is mentioned totally out of the blue. And that’s because, sooner rather than later, that person is going to be appearing on our screens.

      I head that Joan Collins is headed to Hawaii too to film an episode. This older, very British actress can’t be anyone but Rachel’s mother. Joan Collins is always a hoot so its should be fun to see Danny’s reaction to her showing up. There’s probably very little love lost between them. Way back in Season 1, the only mention ever of her was when Danny told Steve she’d come to visit he and Rachel once and after something like 3 days he moved her into a hotel. “It was her or me, babe” were the words he used!

      I’m not only looking forward to how Danny deals with her arrival but how Steve reacts to Danny! He couldn’t get away fast enough when Danny’s mother Clara showed up so this should be even funnier! LOL

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Bonnie Pierce says:

    I LOVE H50 as you do and apparently for the same reasons. I love reading your blog after each episode – they are never too long. This episode was such a tear-jerker and I cried so much over the dignified return of the heroes casket. What an excellent episode and I think it enlightened a lot of people about how precious that cargo is and how specially it is handled. Thanks for another GREAt review.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much Bonnie for reading this blog each week. That means a lot to me. You’re right. I do adore this show and I find great pleasure in pointing out all the great moments it has to offer. No, it’s not perfect. Nothing in this life ever is. But when we embrace what IS good, it makes the less than desirable so much easier to take! I’m glad you found us!


  8. Brooklyngirl says:

    A little late to the party but had to add my thoughts. I loved the episode. I’m a 9/11 survivor and still, after so many years, how just the mention of 9/11 reduces me to a blubbering baby. So watching and listening to Junior and Jerry relate their stories made me both happy and very sad. It was well done and powerful, and both Beulah and Jorge knocked it out of the park.

    The boys are back!! This has been the best season so far watching the fun, friendship and chemistry between Alex and Scott!

    I love this show, the actors and how they’re not afraid to tackle any subject and do it perfectly.

    It was well written, well acted and had all the right feels! I can’t wait to see what else they have in store for us!


  9. AlexOloughlinlover says:

    I love your review as always you put a lot of thought into it each week and I loved the episode as always and Alex is amazing as always love him lots he’s the best


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