I hate to say it, but this episode didn’t really do much for me. First off, it was a “triple” episode, my least favorite kind. With two crimes being worked on it kept two sets of team members totally separated the entire time. The third story being the Reign’s family saga, which was actually my favorite part of the episode. Unfortunately, those scenes were only a total of about ten minutes, five at the beginning and five at the end of the episode.
The two crimes of the week were both a bit odd, but still enjoyable. I guess I was just expecting more. Especially since I already knew there wouldn’t be any “McDanno” time in this one, as this was a scheduled “Danny-less” episode. I’ve gotten used to these episodes being very Steve heavy. It’s something that bugs the hell out of me because these episodes usually have great Steve action or heavy Steve emotion I’m always disappointed Danny wasn’t there for.
So, having this episode be “Danny-less” and “Steve-light” made it seem really off. Look, I fully understand the logistics we find ourselves in these days. Scott’s “5 episodes a season less than Alex” is long standing. At least five years now. And, we also know Alex’s new contract calls for more down time. I am full on board with both these things. As much as I love Steve and Danny and want them together on my screen as much as possible, I love Alex and Scott just as much. These schedules make them happy. Obviously so, since they both chose to return to the show for more seasons. Alex and Scott happy….. more seasons of the show with them both …. WIN-WIN. Consequently, I suppose we’re going to get episodes like this one every once in a while where there’s no Danny at all and they give Steve a bit of a breather at the same time.
You know me, of course, so even when there’s an episode that’s not up to par in my eyes, there is still plenty to love because, well, it’s me and this is H50!
Hirsch: I’ve liked Hirsch from the first moment we met him. I know there are some who dislike the way he always acted toward Kono (and now seems to be projecting onto Tani) but it’s never been a big issue for me. Both Kono and Tani are strong women who have absolutely no problem dealing with his personality. It never bothered Kono enough to actually do anything about it and it was quite obvious she had a soft spot for him regardless. Considering it was Tani who called Hirsch into this case and put his name in as a possible person to run a foundation to assist dissident artists, I think it’s safe to say she doesn’t have a problem with him either.
I always liked that TPTB gave Hirsch his crime scene clean-up business because it gave him something legitimate to do that would keep him out of jail and could keep him on the H50 canvas (pun intended) even when there wasn’t an art related case. But it’s fun when they do have a case that involves art so Hirsch’s true talents can be utilized. The old masterpieces stolen by the Nazi’s in WW2 for instance and, of course this episode.
I really loved the “street art” element of this case. I’m from Philadelphia and I’ve spent my whole adult life admiring a program in the city called “Mural Arts Philadelphia”. “The program was founded in 1986 under the direction of a local artist, Jane Golden, as part of the Philadelphia Anti-Graffiti Network, with the goal of facilitating collaboration between professional artists and prosecuted graffiti writers to create new murals in the city.”
In the over 30 years since the program began, hundreds of murals have gone up all over the city and I have to tell you, having seen many of them in person, they are magnificent. It’s helped turn many neighborhoods, once utterly defaced with graffiti into living works of art. Living… because many of the murals are painted on the sides of homes where the adjacent home has been torn down. Without the murals these “empty walls” would invite vandalism. Now they are works of art. Being a Philadelphia Phillies fan, this is my all time favorite. If you’re interested in seeing more of the beautiful murals, check out their site.
Photo Credit: Mural Arts Philadelphia https://www.muralarts.org
So, having a story about street art and being able to include Hirsch in the investigation was pretty cool. Of course, this being H50, it couldn’t just be a straight forward case of a “window washer” falling to his death. Turns out the window washer was actually a street artist going by the name “Brikz” whose art has been defaced all over the island. Hirsch thinks his death could be linked to that and by using his considerable skill as an art forger, paints a piece in Brikz style to draw out the vandals. There is also Brikz manager who could have killed him knowing that his death would cause the value of his art to skyrocket. They need to shift gears when they find the manager not only dead but tortured for information.
By the way, have we ever seen Steve get a bit nauseous over the dead body before? We’ve seen him react to the horrible smell of decomp a couple of times, but I don’t think we’ve ever seen him literally doing the nausea thing. It was pretty funny.
Eventually the team finds out that Brikz was working with another street artist, going by the name “Phoenix”, using her art to speak out against her government in Nicaragua who she blames for her son’s death. She was with Brikz when he was killed as her government attempted to capture her and make a public example by executing her.
Naturally, the team rescue her in time, but I have to admit, the rescue was a bit jarring. I actually thought for a moment that I maybe fell asleep and missed a crucial scene. One moment they’re all doing exposition around the magic table and the next second, Steve’s face appears on the video camera and Tani is pulling Phoenix to safety. It was a tad abrupt to say the least.
Lou and Adam: Vintage aloha shirts? Who’d have ever thought they could write an entire story around vintage aloha shirts? I did like this story but mostly because I was getting such a kick out of watching Lou and Adam working together. I was a little concerned when the season started, and Adam was made a member of Five-0. I just couldn’t figure out where he’d fit in. Well, it turns out, he fits in just perfectly… everywhere.
Adam has been teamed up with every member of the team at various times throughout the season and he’s been great with them all. Ian’s warm personality and his chemistry with every member of the cast is extraordinary. The more I see of Adam on the team, the more I like him. But then, I’ve always liked Adam, right from the very beginning.
Of course, this story pretty much existed only to give Adam and Lou something to do since the other story really didn’t have enough meat on it to support the entire team, even with Danny missing. But any opportunity to visit to a real local Oahu attraction (in this case Bailey’s Antiques and Aloha Shirts) and getting a bunch of Lou Grover one-liners is wonderful in my book. Watching Lou pretend to be an antique aloha shirt appraiser was hysterical.
Jerry: I know I probably say this every week, but he continues to amaze me. Not only was it pretty cool the way he mapped out all the footprints on the rooftop with that drone but seeing him in the lab manufacturing fingerprints to crack Bricks computer was awesome. I kept waiting for Eric to walk up to him and give him grief for doing his job. That would have been pretty funny.
Tani and Junior in the car: This wasn’t a very long scene, but it was one that really stood out for me. First off, I loved Tani calling out Junior for being just as tight-lipped as his dad when it comes to discussing emotional concerns. Her line about “a man who shares the same DNA” and her asking to be fanned so she didn’t faint while driving was really funny.
I was talking to a friend of mine yesterday and she and I both agreed that scene had us both feeling a bit nostalgic because it was so reminiscent of Steve and Danny car scenes from the early seasons. I really miss those scenes. Even when they were having those classic “carguments”, there was usually something “non-argumentative” to go along with it. Looks like Tani and Junior are really great at creating those very same vibes.
Reign’s Family Saga: This was by far the best part of the episode. Eric Scanlan, who plays Junior’s dad, Natano, is awesome. He’s able to convey so much with just his facial expressions and body language. His grief is so palpable, you can literally feel it flowing from the TV screen.
Of course, we know that Junior’s sister, Maya, was killed in a car accident before he enlisted in the Navy and we also know that Natano did not approve of Junior’s decision. He had already lost one child and didn’t want to lose another. It’s so unfortunate the two of them couldn’t have communicated about their shared grief at the time. It didn’t have to be something that drove them apart. They hadn’t spoken since, not until very recently and even then, the relationship has been extremely contentious.
But the two of them, in their own pig-headed way, are trying to work things out between them. The rebuilding of the deck being the perfect metaphor to the rebuilding of their relationship. Little by little. Plank by plank.
We learn something new every time we see these guys together and each revelation brings us closer to understanding them both, especially Natano. For instance, this time we learned that Natano loves musical theater because Junior’s mom has always loved it. We learned that he joined the chorus in high school so he could connect with her. It was a very charming memory and one it was obvious Junior never knew about.
Finding the bracelet Maya lost many years ago is an extremely disarming moment. Junior recognized the significance right away, remembering when she lost it. I can picture he and Maya looking everywhere for it at the time. But Natano simply picks it up and puts it into his pocket without any fanfare. Unfortunately, Junior is called away for a case before he can press his dad on it.
Later, Junior returns to find his father drunk, in Maya’s old room. In his whiskey infused haze, Natano can see it right in front of him…. the day he gave Maya the bracelet. The love he felt for her and the way she loved him right back. It was heartbreaking and incredibly poignant. Finally, after all these years, Natano allows himself to show his grief to his son. The embrace they share as Natano weeps on Junior’s shoulder was heart wrenching. It’s a grief they should have shared a very long time ago. Hopefully this is a real breakthrough for them. I don’t think it’s going to all of a sudden make them into people who share all their feelings openly all the time, but it certainly looks like a promising start.
Then there is that prosthetic leg. Now that was a huge surprise. Of course, we always knew that Natano was afraid to lose another child when he disapproved of Junior joining the Navy but as soon as I saw that leg, my first thought was “Wow… Junior’s dad lost a leg! Becoming a bit clearer why he didn’t want Junior to join the military!” Having noticed the pretty significant scar along the side of his face before, I jumped to the conclusion that Natano didn’t want Junior in the military because he held a grudge because something happened to him while serving.
But then a friend of mine on Twitter, Lori Silvano (@Witchy0268) said something that made a lot more sense. Perhaps Maya wasn’t alone in that car the night she died. We know she was driving (Junior having mentioned it in a previous episode) but maybe Natano was in the passenger seat. Maybe his drinking in this episode isn’t a new thing. Maybe he called Maya to pick him up after a bit too much to drink that night. Maybe it’s not only grief over her death but guilt that if he hadn’t called her, she wouldn’t have died. That leg and that scar would be an every moment reminder, not that he would need it, of course, of what happened, what was lost and his guilt thinking it was his fault.
It kind of makes sense. His grief is still so all consuming, even after all these years, it’s possible there could be more to it that we just don’t know about yet. As he and Junior continue to “build that deck”, perhaps we’ll learn even more about what happened that night and how these two can continue to heal.
I’m looking forward to that a lot because both these actors, Eric Scanlon and Beulah Koale, are totally rocking these scenes and I can’t wait to see even more.
Well, that’s it for this week my friends! I hope you all have a wonderful next couple of weeks. If you’re a basketball lover, you’ll be in March Madness heaven while the rest of us suffer through hiatus hell. See ya all in April!
Aloha. Malama Pono
Sorry gang.. no time for screen caps this week. Other than the Mural Arts photo, all photos are courtesy of CBS