#H50 Review: 9.14 Ikiiki i ka lā o Keawalua (Depressed with the Heat of Kealwalua)

Courtesy of @alohaspaceman1Photo Credit:  @alohaspaceman on Twitter and IG

Television.  We all see it differently.  We all see it from our different points of view.  Some watch it only to keep up with current events.  Others use it to relive their youth by tuning into old favorites.  Some go for comedy while others are strictly lovers of drama.  Whatever your personal tastes, TV is a smorgasbord of choice.  Yet, most people tend to gravitate to what they are the most comfortable with.  It’s only natural.

But sometimes, our favorites throw us a curveball.  It’s happened numerous times over the decades, usually when a situation comedy produces an episode with a much more dramatic story.  Or a hard-core drama decides to go with a more lighthearted, comical theme.  Usually, looking back on the long history of a series, those breakout episodes are usually some of the most memorable.

Television also has a long history of tackling social issues.  In my more than fifty years of watching TV, I can remember many instances where TV presented topics which were controversial, extremely hard to swallow and some that were down right terrifying.  Not everyone liked it, many were extremely critical and vocal, even in the days before social media, in their displeasure of what was shown.  But they were all shown none-the-less and pretty much all made a huge impact on how people viewed those issues from that point forward.

I found a great article, published by Variety back in 2017 that perfectly details the great importance TV has in highlighting social issues.  If you care to take a look, you can find it here:

https://variety.com/2017/tv/features/tv-social-issues-history-the-defenders-east-side-west-side-1202007945/

Of course, I’m not going to try and say that this episode of H50 is up there with the likes of “Friendly Fire”, “The Day After”, “The Burning Bed”, (the list goes on and on)  but this story, written by Paul Grellong, went a long way in highlighting some extremely important issues which many people in our country deal with every day, along with the threat we all face from those who seek to reshape our country into what they feel it should be.

You only need to look at the headlines to see how relevant this episode was.  The horrific attack on Empire star Jussie Smollett this past week shows the crushing reality of what it’s like to be a person of color or a person in the LGBT community in some parts of the country.  Being both can be positively lethal.

***** UPDATE 2/21/2019*****  I felt I needed to post this update due to the news coming from the Chicago Police Department that Jussie Smollett paid two brothers to stage the attack on him and that he’s been charged as a consequence.  Also, according to the police, Smollett himself wrote the racist letter that was sent to the “Empire” set and paid for the staged attack because he was “dissatisfied with his salary.”

This is a horrible development.  There is no way in hell to justify anyone…anyone… doing something like this for any reason.  He deserves any and all retribution that befalls him.  But the worse part of this is that, in the future, when true crimes are committed based on race, creed or sexual orientation, those true victims may be measured by the Smollett yardstick.  Are they telling the truth or are they after some other personal or political agenda?

That’s the true tragedy here.  Smollett has hurt the cause against racism and homophobia for his own selfish purposes.  I hope they throw the book at him.  And as for his motive being he was “dissatisfied with his salary”… well… I would hope that now, that point is mute!  ***** UPDATE 2/21/2019*****

But you don’t need to be a person of color or gay to be at risk these days.  You can be in a movie theater, a supermarket, a school, a church, it doesn’t even matter anymore, and some intolerant domestic terrorist can decide his narrow minded, racist agenda is more important than your life or the lives of your children.  Yes, I said terrorist.  Because it doesn’t matter if it’s a bomb or an assault rifle, it is a weapon of terror, a means of spreading terror.

How many innocent lives have been lost to the violence of hate?  I looked it up.  So far, in the month of January 2019 alone, there have been twenty-seven mass shootings.  Twenty-seven in thirty-one days!  This episode was not about a writer or an executive producer pushing a personal agenda.  It was a statement of fact, a hard reality check of important issues.  Issues people deal with every day in the real world. Issues that need to be explored and brought into the light.

We’re becoming anesthetized with the frequency of these events in the news.  Sometimes, we need to have it shown out of the context of that news.  We need to see it permeate something like our favorite TV show.  The fact that the episode has stirred up so many reactions, both positive and, unfortunately, negative, shows the impact it had on people’s consciousness.  It makes you think.

Paul Grellong wrote a beautiful episode that was heartbreaking, intense and exciting and ended in the most touching of ways.  It was extremely well done.  I have nothing but respect for the way this episode was handled by everyone involved in the making of it.

June 8, 1963…. President John F. Kennedy landed at Honolulu Airport along with the mayors of several U.S. cities to discuss equal rights for black Americans.  On the tarmac, during his arrival speech, he spoke of Hawaii.  “This island represents all that we are and all that we hope to be.”  His hope that Hawaii, with her culturally diverse population, made up of many different ethnic groups, could serve as a bellwether for the rest of the country.  This speech was highlighted at the end of Episode 7.09 (Elua Lā Ma Nowemapa – Two Days in November) if you remember.

Junior’s line that the last place he thought he’d see a Neo-Nazi would be Hawaii and Jerry’s response that, thanks to the internet, they’re everywhere now, shows just how far we have not come since 1963.

This episode was nerve rattling from the start.  The murder of Flippa’s friend and band mate Luka Palakiko hit very close to home.  Crimes which closely touch the Ohana are always the hardest to bear and watching Flippa’s emotional reaction to the death as well as Steve’s compassion for Flippa’s loss was heartbreaking.  Of course, having a crime hit so close to his family always makes the already committed McGarrett even more resolved to bring justice.

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This episode was extremely fast paced.  Usually, that’s because they’re trying to stuff a ton of story into a short period of time especially when it’s an episode with more than one story.  That was not the case here, though.  This episode centered around only one story, always my favorite type of episode.  The fast pace here wasn’t one of time management, it was one of intensity.

Peter Weller’s direction was magnificent.  Scenes not only rapidly jumped from one to the next, the characters themselves were extremely on edge throughout.  Everyone delivered their lines on what seemed like double speed.  Everyone moved around the scenes quickly and with urgency.  You could feel the tension leaping off the screen.  It was unnerving.  When you can sit on your sofa in the safety of your own home and literally feel the anxiety emanating from the screen, you know every single actor is playing it perfectly.

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And they all did.  Steve’s compassion and resolve with Flippa.  The anger from Lou and Tani when they inform Steve, they think Luka was having an inappropriate relationship with 15-year-old Annie Kehr.  The relief when they find out that Luka was helping Annie as a LGBT counsellor quickly transitioning over to disgust at her parents who want to send her way for “conversion therapy” because they feel she has her “wires crossed”.  “Conversion therapy” has been outlawed in Hawaii (and in many other states and municipalities around the country) and Steve and Lou have no intention of letting these parents essentially kidnap their daughter and subject her to such cruelty.

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Courtesy of @alohaspaceman4Photo Credit:  @alohaspaceman on Twitter and IG

Everything ratchets up when it’s discovered that Luka wasn’t murdered for only his van, but because he was a person of color, an innocent victim in the wrong place at the wrong time, in a sick terroristic plot to set off bombs in Honolulu and in 4 other U.S. cities to promote a Neo-Nazi decree.  “Racism, sexism and anti-Semitism.  Looks like the hate trifecta”.  Everyone is revolted by what they are seeing but Lou furiously reacts to the disgusting manifesto displayed on the overhead screen.  Chi’s understated portrayal of that fury, in his silently clenched fist and Steve’s recognition of it was exceptionally played.

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I do want to mention Jerry here for a moment.  I remember being so doubtful about the logic of adding Jerry to the team at the beginning.  I was quite content for him to remain a “consultant” in his basement office.  I was even more skeptical when they began to let him take part out in the field.  I have to say, I love it when I’m wrong.  Jerry has really come into his own.  He’s taken the assurance he’s gotten from Steve and the team and run with it.

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He’s no longer the loner living in his mother’s basement, leery of telephones and still using his manual typewriter.  He was awesome in this episode from beginning to end.  I just wish he didn’t seem to get hurt every time he ventures out of the office. He’s been injured a couple of times from crashing vans to take out perps, he broke his leg the last time, and now burns on his hands.  All in all, Jerry has become an indispensable asset to the team in every way possible.  I just hope they don’t give him a gun anytime soon.

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Courtesy of @alohaspaceman2Photo Credit:  @alohaspaceman on Twitter and IG

I really love that this was a one-story episode because it gives the writer the opportunity to really explore the story and all the characters emotions and reactions within the story when everyone has a hand in the investigation.  But my very favorite part was the teaming up of Steve and Lou as they headed over to Halawa to interrogate Roger Barton, the former cell mate of Conner Russell, identified as the potential bomber.  Of course, everyone knows my most favorite duo on this show is Steve and Danny but, on the occasion when Danny isn’t there, there is none better than Lou to team up with Steve.

The scenes between Steve, Lou and Barton were electrifying at the least and, at the most, more than deeply disturbing.  Listening to Barton not only spew his hateful beliefs but berating Steve for being “a disappointment” for not aligning himself to “his people” and having the detestable audacity to actually call Lou a “dog” and a savage to his face….. Oh my God, I wanted them both to rip that son of a bitch limb from limb!

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Courtesy of @alohaspaceman7Photo Credit:  @alohaspaceman on Twitter and IG

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Courtesy of @alohaspaceman6Photo Credit:  @alohaspaceman on Twitter and IG

“Let’s get one thing straight, all right?  You are not my people.  My grandfather… he died defending this country from pricks just like you.” God bless you, Steve McGarrett.

My heart literally stopped when I saw Russell pull that bomb laden van into a park in Waikiki and park it right beside a picnic table full of young people.  Of course, I knew Five-0 would get there in time but just the thought that anyone, even in a fictional TV show, could willingly do such a monstrous thing, well, I guess I just wasn’t born with the bone in my head that makes it possible to understand such evil.  I was more than thrilled it was Lou who blew the bastard away!

Courtesy of @alohaspacemanPhoto Credit:  @alohaspaceman on Twitter and IG

The theme of intolerance and the personal gut reactions to it ran through this entire episode and no one projected that more than Lou.  He was on the edge the entire time.  From the moment Steve noticed Lou’s balled fist in HQ, he knew there was more going on with his friend beside just the case.  When he tells Steve about the encounter he had with a couple of rednecks many years ago, you could literally see it all happening, his story was so powerful.  It’s a wonder he was able to control himself at all, especially with Barton.  I do wish they hadn’t written a real place into the script, however.  It’s my only complaint with this episode.  While I’m sure Elkhart, Illinois has its share of racists, I’m positive they have many good decent people there as well.  And, as this episode made abundantly clear, racism, hate and intolerance can happen anywhere.  I wish they would have made up a fictitious town to set Lou’s story in.

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The ending of this episode was extremely touching.  Everyone gathers to remember their friend Luka as Flippa and the band perform.  I’d never heard the song “Great Hawaiian Man” before but it was beautifully performed (Shawn Garrett is an amazing singer) and it was a fantastic choice for this celebration of Luka’s life.

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Annie taking the stage and asking the crowd to hold up their cellphone flashlights to say “thank you and we love you” to Luka was a beautiful moment.  As the camera pans back, we see the scope of the crowd, the number of people who tuned up and the many different ages, races and lifestyles represented in the crowd, well, I hope you had the tissues handy because I didn’t, and it wasn’t pretty.

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There may be all kinds of hateful people in this world, but we always have to remember there are many more good people out there.  We have to remember people like Annie’s parents, Russell and Barton are not the majority.  If we all shine that light on others in our daily lives, maybe someday, we can finally put an end to all that hate.

Courtesy of @alohaspaceman5Photo Credit:  @alohaspaceman on Twitter and IG

For blog

This was an episode which took a lot of guts and even more talent to pull off so incredibly well.  To the entire cast and crew, writer Paul Grellong, director Peter Weller and everyone else who brought this wonderful episode to us this week… thank you!

Well, that’s it my friends.  I hope you have a wonderful week ahead.

Aloha.  Malama Pono

No time for screen caps this week.  All photos courtesy of CBS unless otherwise noted. Mahalo @alohaspaceman!

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20 thoughts on “#H50 Review: 9.14 Ikiiki i ka lā o Keawalua (Depressed with the Heat of Kealwalua)

  1. Zia Diane says:

    Hi Linda,
    A little tearful just reading your review. I am so happy that H50 did this episode, and I hope each and every show does a show that raises this issue. We need this now more than ever. Our country is at a cross-roads. Sometimes the evil voices seem so loud and so many.

    I cringe each time I see someone who is a racist or homophobic state “your kind”. I was raised to see people as all God;s children and I expect my children to believe the same. I know Hawaii is very diverse, but so are a lot of places in this country, yet there are always hateful people everywhere. I truly believe that there are more people who honor human life, and know the fact that our diversity is our strength.

    I just saw a clip of Jussie Smollett, says he will always believe in love rather than hate, even after everything that happened with him,

    I loved this episode.

    Liked by 2 people

    • There are so many people who are in horrible relationships or in no relationships at all. If someone can find love with a good, honest, loving person who treats them like the sun wouldn’t shine without them, I’m thrilled they found each other & wish them nothing but happiness!

      As to the racists of the world, they have their own crosses to bear. They will never know true happiness and love because their hearts are shut off and shuttered. Let them live in their hidey holes of intolerance with only their own around them. They all truly deserve each other.

      I sometimes think Christ must cry bitter tears at the atrocities perpetuated in his name…

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Linda, I haven’t always agreed with your posts, Mainly because we sail different “Ships” but this was a beautiful review and I agree with every word I am a white English woman. My husband is Mexican-American My daughter in Law is Filipina. My godsons are gay. We ARE the All American family we are all meant to be . Thank you from my whole heart for this loving piece of writing. GOOD JOB!!!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thank you so much. It’s nice to know that even though we don’t always agree with our different ships, our disagreement is over something totally fictional and really, completely unimportant. Knowing that we do agree on the things that are important, well, that feels pretty good.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. rhondagemini says:

    Awesome review, Linda! I’m glad H50 chose to do an episode like this,because we need to be reminded that hatred is no good for anyone. While I do not personally agree with the LGBT lifestyle, I love & respect those who have chosen it for themselves. Christ loves us unconditionally, so why can’t we love each other the same way? I was glad to see Steve respond to the girl’s parents the way he did and I know his future children will be loved just as he said they would be-for who they are. Loved seeing Jerry back with the team, but did not like seeing him hurt-seems that happens every time he leaves the office to work with the team. To be honest, I was surprised that Steve didn’t tear Barton limb from limb-what kept him from it I do not know. It was obvious that this case triggered that memory in Lou about tangling with those men in that eaterie. When he & Steve said I love you to each other, they clearly meant it. Their relationship has come a long way from the first time they met when Lou couldn’t stand him! The celebration of life for Luka was lovely-the cell phone flashlights reminded me of a movie I saw last year called Let There Be Light. I think the real message in that was to let the light of love within each of us shine outward and cover the world!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. jlopie1 says:

    Wow! What a beautifully worded review, Linda. I can tell by your remarks just how important an episode this was for you – and for many of us viewers, myself included.

    I won’t go into all my thoughts about this one, because if I do, I might very well unintentionally make some enemies for myself, and possibly for your blog.

    I will say when the episode finished on Friday night, I was so proud of the show for going where it went. I DID NOT feel insulted by any aspect of the story lines. I thought current events were simply well represented and addressed by the writing, directing and acting of our veteran team.

    Then I went on social media and was totally shocked to see so many viewers who were angry that their favorite show dared to ruin their Friday night by “pushing Hollywood’s agenda” down their throats. They were done. They had loved the show from the 1st season on but now they were turning H50 off and NEVER watching it again.

    Of course, in this country it is everyone’s right to have different opinions and values and to be able to express them freely. I’m not going to tell such viewers how bigoted and wrong some of those comments are in my eyes, because they have the right to see things differently — as long as no one is hurt by it. Unfortunately, more often than not these days, innocent victims ARE hurt by these ideologies, and THAT is what this episode of H50 was trying to showcase. This episode gave viewers facts and scenes that have played out in real life all across this country for YEARS. They didn’t ram it down my throat or tell me how I was supposed to think, politically or religiously, they just showed me that this behavior is still frightenly present . I think they did a marvelous job of it, too. I’m sorry some viewers were disappointed. I hope they will reconsider their decision to quit watching.

    But in the long run, it’ll only be their loss, not mine. And certainly not the show’s. H50 and CBS will have stayed true to their responsibility of presenting impactful storylines.

    Oh, and BTW, all the cast did a superb job on this one – even the actors portraying Annie, her parents and Barton the Neo Nazi.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thank you Lynnette! Yes, this episode touched me very deeply. I’m sure there will be those who will come on here and tell me how wrong I am, how they don’t read reviews, like they don’t watch TV, to be preached to. How I’m pushing my values down their throats. But just like the show, no one is tying them to a chair and forcing them to watch an episode they disagree with nor to read a blog who’s values they do not share. C’est la vie.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Mary Tomshack says:

    This was a very powerful episode. I’m glad I only read your reviews these days and don’t go on social media to read all the hate. Except that I really missed Danny, I thought this was a very good episode. I agree with everything you said. Thank you for the great review.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Susan Schoppe says:

    I have Aways loved your reviews but this one couldn’t have been more perfectly stated. I loved the show and thought it represented today’s issues that we all face very accurately. I saw Nothing wrong with the episode. I thought the characters were true to form as always, so imagine my shock (like you) when I read comments of people saying things that were just awful. Some reminded me of things said in the episode of the actors only theirs were not scripted, that alone was scary! Like you, I do believe there are more good people that do the right things than bad and that love & kindness will surly prevail. Everyone hit the mark with their character and delivered it perfectly. The ending was just amazing, coming together. I’ve already watched it several times and this will be one that I watch frequently! Thank you for this review in particular!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes, I was horrified by many of the comments I saw on Twitter and, more specifically, on the H50 Facebook page. I truly feel sorry for those people. I believe their reckoning will surely come one day when they will have to explain their hateful lives to the person they believe they act for. Somehow they must have been absent the day he taught the “love thy neighbor” lesson!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Brooklyngirl says:

    I’m a 9/11 survivor and anything that deals with hatred in way, shape or form upsets me.

    I simply loved this episode. It was well written and very well acted with a powerful message – good will overcome evil. And our good guys certainly proved that. Sadly, it is scary that so many people really haven’t come very far at all in their thinking. Sometimes I feel we’ve reverted back. Intolerance, bigotry, homophobia, how sad and small-minded that many can’t see the forest for the trees.

    Ray Stevens wrote “Everything is Beautiful” in 2009. Maybe it’s time for everyone to listen to those words again. This episode proves that as long as we have people willing to fight, fictional characters or real people, good will always win. And when the good guys win, I’m ecstatic.

    I’m thrilled and so very proud that my favorite show and favorite actors tackled such tough, provocative subjects with such empathy, caring and understanding.

    Thanks Linda for writing this – a subject so close to my heart. Everything and everyone IS beautiful in their own ways ….

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thank you Karen! I can’t imagine the scars both physical and emotional that were left on the people of NYC after 9/11. To be someone who came through that horrible day and not be a person full of hate is truly wonderful. It would be so easy to fall into the easy trap of hate, but you are the perfect example of how a good heart, a heart full of love can overcome that. I do truly believe there are more people like you then there are horrible people. “We Shall Overcome” ♥

      Liked by 2 people

  8. Robin Jane Bridges says:

    Thank you, Linda. I loved the episode. Because people they can say anything or doing any without someone calling them on it and if when they do get called on it, they call people snowflakes. Roaches need to go back under the rocks and when they come out, they land in the Roach hotel, they check in but don’t check out. The episode was, to me, is to stand up to the roaches and let them know they have no power.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Lori Silvano says:

    Absolutely, perfectly said. I agree 100%..the episode was stellar..the writing..the direction and the acting..it all gelled into a special, memorable episode. I felt the intensity cone off the screen as well…and found my pulse racing…it was just well done..and I too saw all the negative comments on Twitter and just didnt understand what those people were watching..I thought the episode was handled with class, honesty and grace and in the end the positive prevailed over the negative…was just fantastic from start to finish….and I just have to say all the acting was amazing..esp. Steve and Lou..really really powerful episode

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Lori Silvano says:

    I just want to add one thing..I forgot to mention..I was a little disappointed Ksmakoba wasnt there..esp that last scene…I mean he and Flippa are so close…and it’s weird he wasnt there IMHO…that was the ONLY thing I found to be off..😉

    Liked by 1 person

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