#H50 Reviews: 9.16 Hapai ke kuko, hanau ka hewa (When Covetousness is Conceived, Sin is Born) AND 9.17 E’ao lu’au a kualima (Offer Young Taro Leaves to the Gods Five Times) – Directed by Alex O’Loughlin

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Ohana!  I’ve never gone back to check, but it feels like I’ve started more reviews with that one word than I could ever count.  Because, from the very beginning, from the moment we first saw Steve in the back of that armored vehicle listening to the murder of his father, this show has been about Ohana and we’ve visited and re-visited that theme over and over again in the last nine years.  Honestly, it’s not really something that needs “re-visiting” because it’s not something that ever really leaves.  Ohana simply envelops the entire series like a soft blanket that warms and protects against the cold of the outside world.  Friday night’s wonderful H50 double header is an excellent example.

Both episodes had the requisite “crimes-of-the-week”, of course, the “main” story, and they were both really great stories.  Full of twists, drama and action.  But it was the secondary stories, instead of feeling like fillers, only there to give the others something to do while the team solves the COTW, that encircled the main stories with love, compassion and Ohana which, in my opinion, is what gave both episodes their strength.

In 9.16, there were actually two secondary stories.  One tied directly with the COTW and one not.  Tani’s story revolved around her love of mermaids and was tied to the COTW by the fact that the episode’s murder victim, Gwendoline Baker, died while participating in a “Mermaid Adventure” where women don beautiful crafted mermaid tails and swim around living out a childhood dream.

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Meaghan Rath was wonderful in all her scenes which revolved around the mermaids.  I got a kick out of Danny telling Tani to focus as they walked up to the murder scene when she was totally diverted by memories of being a make-believe mermaid as a kid.

Courtesy of @alohaspaceman3Photo Credit:  @alohaspaceman on Twitter and IG

I loved the story she told Junior about her fear of the ocean when she was a little girl and how her father, knowing her love of mermaids, convinced her they were real.  The flashback scenes were so cute, of little Tani, repeatedly diving under the water to try to find the mermaids.

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But the best part was at the end when Junior springs for Tani to take part in a “Fantastic Mermaid Adventure” of her own, compete with her very own new mermaid tail.  Tani was positively incandescent with joy over finally living her dream and completely touched that Junior did this for her.

Courtesy of @surfbelle2Photo Credit:  @SurfBelle2 on Twitter

Junior’s thoughtfulness and Tani’s over-the-top excitement made what could have been really silly story a really touching one.  These two have known each other for less than two years and yet their closeness and friendship between them has very much grown into …. Ohana!

H50_S9_SinIsBorn_SG7_FULLPhoto Credit:  CBS

H50_S9_SinIsBorn_SG8_FULLPhoto Credit:  CBS

The COTW, a story of pyramid schemes and money laundering, also played with the theme.  Now, I know this isn’t story related, of course, but it was such fun to see Matthew Lawrence playing the part as the husband of Gwendoline Baker, our murder victim.  Seems like H50 can’t escape the Ohana vibe even with its guest stars.  Matt, in case you didn’t know, is brother to Joey Lawrence and Andy Lawrence.  We have our own little Lawrence brother trifecta since Joey played Aaron Wright in Season 8 (who, by the way, is still in the wind as we speak) and Andy is a recurring member of the H50 cast as Danny’s nephew and our beloved crime lab tech Eric Russo.

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Our killer this week ends up being Jocelyn Greene, the CEO of Plum and Rose, the “health and beauty” company fronting for the pyramid scheme and being used to launder money for crime bosses out of Detroit.  Seems Gwen found out and was about to quit the company, but not before she blew the whistle on Jocelyn.  For this, Gwen needed to die.

Our team, naturally, figures all this out and head to Jocelyn’s house to arrest her.  Funny thing is, those bad guys from Detroit still wanted their money.  The team arrives at the house to find Jocelyn’s husband dead and her kids taken as leverage to get her to cooperate and return their money.

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This is H50, after all, so while our team arrest Jocelyn for murder, they still rescue the kids and allow her to have a joyful reunion.  Certain things are always more important than just the job……. Ohana!

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Our other secondary story, and the most important story of the episode, in my opinion, was Adam’s.  Still reeling from his breakup with Kono, Adam has finally gotten around to unpacking the boxes in his new apartment.  He’s also struck up a friendship with a deaf, homeless man named Hal.  It wasn’t really explained how this friendship came about since the first time we see them together it’s pretty clear the friendship is well established.  Who knows?  Perhaps Adam, a bit untethered since the breakup, met Hal while out walking and contemplating his lot in life.

H50_S9_SinIsBorn_SG14_FULLPhoto Credit:  CBS

Bob Hiltermann, the actor portraying Hal did an excellent job.  According to the actor himself, the part was not initially supposed to be a deaf man but TPTB re-wrote the character especially for him.  How awesome is that?  As well as the fact that Ian Anthony Dale learned some sign language in order for Adam to communicate with Hal. Although he does speak, it was cool to see the two men converse in both speech and sign language.

H50_S9_SinIsBorn_SG15_FULLPhoto Credit:  CBS

Like I said, this story was the highlight of this episode for me.  I really loved seeing this side of Adam.  It was wonderful to see him reaching out to someone less fortunate than himself, especially given how desperately low his own life seemed not so long ago.  He’s reinvented himself so many times; has come through so many different ordeals and came through to the other side, that when Hal asked him to go into a store to buy a birthday gift for his granddaughter, Adam realized he had the opportunity to pay it forward.

Hal has the money, but he doesn’t want to go into a store looking like he does.  Adam buys the toy but also gifts Hal with much more.  He gets him cleaned up, shaved and a haircut and gets him some new clothes.  But when Adam tells Hal he also bought him an airline ticket to visit his granddaughter in person, Hal gets spooked.

H50_S9_SinIsBorn_SG16_FULLPhoto Credit:  CBS

After some wise words from Kamekona about how people need to make their own choices in their own time, he questions Adam about whether he’s doing this for Hal or for himself.

H50_S9_SinIsBorn_SG18_FULLPhoto Credit:  CBS

When Adam finds him, Hal explains about how ashamed he feels because it was his drinking that drove his daughter away and now he doesn’t know if he can face her.

But Adam isn’t doing it for himself.  Adam truly feels that “everyone deserves a second chance”. He knows because when he hit rock-bottom there were people there to throw him a “lifeline”, one he didn’t hesitate to grab on to and it was the best thing he ever did.  He knows what it feels like to have someone there to have your back and he wants to be that for Hal.

H50_S9_SinIsBorn_SG19_FULLPhoto Credit:  CBS

Later, as everyone gathers to celebrate Adam’s new digs, Hal calls Adam and via video chat, puts his granddaughter on the screen to thank Adam for “sending my Pop-Pop home”.  Honestly, Adam wasn’t the only one fighting tears, I can tell you.

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His heartfelt thank you to everyone gathered around his table for making him “feel like a part of something.  Made me realize I’m not alone.  I do have family” was perfect.  It was sweet and it was completely from the heart and it was the perfect way to end this great episode.  The kind of moment this show has been known for since the beginning….. Ohana!

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

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9.17:  The second half of our Friday night double-header was just as awesome as the first.   Better in my mind because while we did have two storylines, they dove-tailed into each other and were, essentially, the same story.  When we have an episode with two stories, this is the way I like it.  Not two separate stories but, basically, two halves of the same story.  This episode was also directed by Alex O’Loughlin.  It’s his second turn in the director’s chair and, as much as I loved the episode he directed last year, he knocked this one out of the ball park.

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

And once again, we’re presented with the theme of Ohana.  This time it’s a study in not only Ohana we currently have but also the Ohana we could have had if circumstances had been different, as well as, the tragedy of an Ohana lost.

It was last season when we first met Layla, Junior’s ex-girlfriend, when she almost hit him with her car while he was out running.  Pregnant with her first child, she told Junior how “Tory” was already child-proofing the house for their new arrival.  She was happy and excited and wanted to get together with him to catch up.  We could see, even then, that Junior’s feelings for Layla were still very much there.  She may have moved on, but it was clear he hadn’t.  He even still had the video of their prom saved on his laptop.  It looks like, all these months later, Junior and Layla never did get together to catch up.

Just like in our first episode, the COTW really wasn’t the main focus of this episode.  In this episode, the COTW is the catalyst that forces Junior into some hard choices and uncomfortable soul-searching.

After bank robbers kill an armored car driver and a bank manager, one of the employees (another acquaintance of Junior’s) at the bank tells Junior and Tani that she recognized one of the thieves as someone she knows.  Tory, the father of Layla’s child.

114253_0163b_FULLPhoto Credit:  CBS

114253_0402b_FULLPhoto Credit:  CBS

This crew of thieves have hit banks before and now have graduated to murder.  Tani tells Junior he must tell Steve that they have the name of one of the suspects.  Junior however, wants to talk to Layla first, find out what she knows about Tory and who he’s been hanging out with lately.  It’s really a shame he and Layla never did find time to get together because the first time they’re seeing each other again is when he shows up at her doorstep to question her about Tory.  Layla is not pleased with his accusatory tone.  “People change! You more than anyone should know that.”

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I wasn’t real happy with the fact that Junior went off on his own with this and I was glad Tani called him on it.  But I also really liked how Junior reminded her that he was there for her when she found the gun at Adam’s house and she wanted to find the truth before she brought it to Steve’s attention.  Junior was simply trying to do the same thing.

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But, of course, Steve is always the understanding mentor.  When Junior apologizes for not looping him in sooner, that there isn’t anything he wouldn’t do to protect Layla,  Steve tells him, “We all have our blind spots. The trick is to identify them and don’t let them cloud your decision-making process”.

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Steve’s been there and done that.  It was only just in Episode 9.11 when he basically spoke those exact words with regard to Greer.  Intelligent people learn from their mistakes.  Here’s hoping Junior and Steve take those words to heart.  You can’t let old feelings blind you to what a person is.  You can’t let who they “were” blind you from seeing who they have become.  And you can’t let your determination to protect them or help them lead you down a path to bad decisions.  Thank God Junior took that advice and brought along backup to the meeting with “Layla” which was an obvious trap.

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Junior tries to convince Tory to give himself up, promises him he can help him if he does but Tory just takes off.  The final confrontation between them was an incredible scene.  A testament to the acting talents of Beulah Koale, J.J. Soria, who played Tory and the magnificent direction of Alex.  Every moment of it was “edge-of-your-seat” heart stopping.  They were incredible.

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I loved Alex’s direction throughout the episode.  I really enjoyed the way he played with time throughout.  I liked how the story went back and forth in time, so we could see the way things transpired in a very different way.

But the final confrontation was the icing on the cake.  Tory is distraught.  He knows what he has done.  He may have done it because he was trying to provide for his young family.  Heaven knows the cost of living in Hawaii is through the roof and we learned early on in the episode that Layla stopped working to stay how with their baby.  But regardless of his reasons, he knows he’s going back to jail and he can’t bear the thought of his son, Kai, seeing him in a cage.

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Junior tries to convince him that Layla will understand.  That she and Kai will forgive him, and he can still have a life with them.  But you can see it in his eyes. The desperation, the realization that his life, the life he wants is over.  J.J. was so incredible at that moment.  You could literally feel the resolve he’d come to that he was not going back to jail. That Layla and Kai would be better off without him.

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So incredibly tragic that Tory chose suicide by cop and even more horrendously tragic that it had to be Junior who pulled the trigger.  Alex’s choice of camera angles for this scene was superb as was the shot of the bullet leaving Junior’s gun and traveling across the room to hit Tory.  It was a fantastic use of flashbacks as the bullet travels through the air. Tory’s last thoughts, as he waits for the death he knows is coming, resting on Layla and their son.

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When Junior dropped to his knees to cradle the dying Tory in his arms, desperately begging him to hold on, I felt totally kicked in the gut.  For the second time of the evening I was cursing my stupidity for not having a box of tissues handy.

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This seemed to be a night for Junior and Tani to tell each other stories from their pasts.  Tani told Junior about the mermaids and Junior, heartbreakingly, tells Tani about why he and Layla broke up.  We saw in that prom video last season how excited Layla was for Junior to go off to the Navy and how excited she was in both of their assumptions that when he got home they would get married.

But Junior didn’t come home.  When it came time to decide to go home or re-enlist, Junior chose the Navy over Layla, leaving her thousands of miles away and alone.  He picked the Navy, he wanted the Navy more than he wanted her and she moved on.  That didn’t mean he stopped caring about her or wanting to protect her.

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So, yeah, this episode very much had the Ohana theme running through it.  The Ohana that could have been, had Junior returned to Oahu after his first tour and he and Layla could have gotten married like they’d planned.  The Ohana that exists for Junior now.  Like Adam in the first episode, an Ohana that has his back and is there for him whenever he needs them, both professionally and personally.  And the tragedy of an Ohana lost.  Layla now forced to raise her son alone and never forgiving Junior for taking (as she sees it) her life away from her twice.

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So, there you have it.  Both of these episodes were fantastic.  Both were brilliantly written and directed, especially by Alex.  There was the action we crave from H50 but there was also an abundance of raw emotion to be had in both episodes.  Ian and Beulah especially did a phenomenal job.  And, once again, as is always the case when it comes to this show, when it comes to these characters, what we have all come to love about this show….. Ohana!

 Have a great week everyone.  Aloha.  Malama Pono

All screencaps are mine unless otherwise noted

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13 thoughts on “#H50 Reviews: 9.16 Hapai ke kuko, hanau ka hewa (When Covetousness is Conceived, Sin is Born) AND 9.17 E’ao lu’au a kualima (Offer Young Taro Leaves to the Gods Five Times) – Directed by Alex O’Loughlin

  1. rhondagemini says:

    Great review of both episodes! You nailed everything that I loved about them! In the first one, I loved seeing Ian using sign language,something I have always loved and have tried to learn. Bob was wonderful as Hal and I agree with you-Adam & Hal must have known each other for a while before we saw them together. As for the first COTW,The team showed that family is important, no matter what,so even though Jocelyn did wrong and had to face the music for it, they made sure she got to see her children. I thought it was so cute of Junior to make Tani’s mermaid dream come true and when she kissed him, albeit on the cheek, that was so sweet.Adam’s thank you to the team was wonderful and very heartfelt. The second episode was so heartwrenching and Alex did an awesome job directing it. Had to feel for Junior,being torn between his H50 duties and his feelings for Layla,wanting to protect her and her son, Kai. It seemed to me,though,that Layla had a bit of a blind spot herself,not wanting to even think that Tory could do what he did. That scene where Junior was forced to shoot Tory was incredible,especially seeing Tory think about Layla & their son as the bullet drew closer to his body. I wanted to cry as I watched Junior hold Tory in his arms,begging him to live and,in his heart, apologizing for what he had done-Beulah gave an awesome performance all the way around. From what he said to Tani, I get the feeling that Junior will carry some guilt about all of this with him for a long time,even though he really doesn’t deserve to.

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    • I totally agree Rhonda! I can see why Junior would feel like it was his fault. When he went into the Navy he had a firm plan. Do his tour and go home, collect his GI benefits and settle down with Layla. But there’s no way he could have known what the Navy would mean to him until he got there. His feelings for Layla didn’t change, but his feelings for the Navy did. What started off as a means to an end, became a calling. Just like it did for Steve, the Navy became his life. It’s only natural for him to think that if he’d done what he’d intended to do, and just go home, everyone’s life would have been different.

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  2. Robin Jane Bridges says:

    I really enjoyed the episodes. In the last one, I keep thinking that the wife knew something about the robberies. Poor Jr. No matter what happen it was going to end badly. I loved the mermaids, I’m horrible swimmer, but that looked fun.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Janno says:

    Brava Linda, well said, all of it, thank you. But for me, the 2nd one was the winner, hands down. Alex is just an inspired and awesome director! From the opening scenes to the end, he captured all of the feels!! His talented eye shown through. I loved it so much.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Michael Asher says:

    This show just keeps getting better. These two episodes were powerful and full of emotions. Everyone associated with H5O are the best and I love this show because it is and has always been about Ohana. Mahalo for another outstanding review.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Brooklyngirl says:

    Great review Linda! Both episodes were well done but the second episode was the stronger, grittier, more intense one.

    Tani’s sweet excitement and Junior’s pride watching his friend being able to fulfill a childhood dream was perfect. The COTW was a necessary evil, nothing extraordinary, been there, done that, seen it before. I would have loved it if Adam’s backstory was the star. The story was very touching, bittersweet, sweet and full of love and hope. I really hope we get to see Hal again and learn more about their friendship. Ian was excellent.

    Alex’s second directorial episode was perfect. He really has quite an eye for directing. His vision is inspiring and flawless. That scene with the bullet flying out of Junior’s gun in slo mo was fantastic. Selfishly I want him in front of the camera for much longer but really hope he’ll get to direct more than 1 episode next season. Beulah knocked it out of the park – his pain was raw and palpable.

    Ohana. There is no other show that even comes close to encompassing this feel, led by Steve, our testerone filled marshmallow, who has a knack for fixing all the misfit toys. I’m happy to be a part of it!

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  6. First episode in the double episode as the first one with the Lawrence brothers wow. Something else there. And really all three brothers were on there. Adam knows how to relate to losing everything. And glad he found someone that can know what he went through. Adam founds his Ohana there.
    Second episode was Junior centric as well as Tani and he both I shipped from day one. Junior had no choice but to shoot Tory even though he had a baby with Junior’s ex-girlfriend. Wished he shot Tory in the arm or leg. But then again the baby at least has a chance to get out of poverty when the child grows up. As well as a life of crime.
    Grover rocks. And really less scenes with him lately. But when Chi is on, he really rocks.
    9.16 I give 7/10
    9.17 I give 8/10.

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  7. Mary Tomshack says:

    What’s better than an episode of H50 on Friday night? I’ll tell you, two episodes. They were both great episodes. I can totally relate to Tani. When I was younger, I thought they were real too. I wanted to grow up and be a mermaid. I loved that Tani got to see her fantasy come true. She made a great mermaid. And the second episode was also great. Alex knows how to direct his actors and brings out the best in them. You could see and feel Junior’s anguish. But I did miss Steve and Danny’s little arguments. They didn’t have one in either episode. Well, I understand. There was less humor this week. They have to change it up once in awhile. They were heartwarming and heartwrenching. I really felt for Junior when his ex slapped him. Well, evidently no new H50 next week. What will I do? I need my sunny beaches of Hawaii on these cold winter nights in Minnesota. I guess I’ll get my dvds out and have my own H50 marathon. Thanks for the great review.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Carole says:

    I enjoyed both episodes. Nice to see Danny and Tani out and about on a case. Early in the season I thought we might see more of that, but I guess with the bigger cast the logistics just get harder…..not that I’d want anything to interrupt Steve & Danny time. I agree with Mary – overall not enough of the boys, but at least Scott was in both and Alex did a terrific job directing.- he has a great feel for it. I liked that Adam, Tani & Junior got some well deserved screen time. .Does anyone know which episode they’re filming and how many we get? …..I keep seeing different things.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree with everyone who’s said they would love to see more Steve and Danny time and I could not agree more. Steve and Danny are the reason why I fell in love with this show at the very beginning and they are still, in my opinion, the glue that holds this show together. But, after a great start this season, it seems that glue is being spread thinner. It’s still there.. it’s still strong… but it’s not as abundant as any of use would like.

      But, it is what it is. It seems that Alex has gotten a schedule with more built in down time, which I can’t bring myself to begrudge. With the “5 episodes less” schedule Scott’s had for several years now, plus a much fuller cast filled with wonderful actors who all deserve screen time, the one-on-one Steve/Danny time gets shortened. I wish that weren’t the case but since there’s nothing I can do about it, I’m going to sit back and enjoy whatever I’m lucky enough to get.

      As for the number of episodes… I think as of today (2/26/19) they are filming 9.22 and I’ve “heard” we’re getting 25 but that is NOT official.

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      • Carole says:

        Thanks Linda…..fingers crossed for 25. We share the same core feelings about why we’ve stayed loyal for nine seasons. The show has evolved and things change, but the thing that keeps me coming back every week is a chance to see AOL & SC work……can’t ever get too much of their magic!

        Liked by 1 person

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