Back in 2010, when asked why he wanted to re-boot Hawaii Five-O, Peter Lenkov recalled how much his father had loved the original and how much he enjoyed sitting with his dad week after week to watch the show. He also commented on how, in the original, they never really touched on the personal lives of the Five-0 team all that much. Those guys just went to work every day and, for the most part, the episodes ended at the office too. He wanted his new Hawaii Five-0 to be more than just a procedural. He wanted it to show life outside of work too. He wanted it to have heart and emotion and deal with the personal lives of his characters as well.
It is, in my opinion, what has made this show so successful for the last ten years. It has something for everyone. It’s a good old-fashioned procedural, with gun fights and explosions, and car chases galore. But it also has very compelling characters with real life triumphs and tragedies and an Ohana that ties it all together with compassion, togetherness and, yes, love. It’s all those elements that keeps me tuning in week after week.
Needless to say, I was both looking forward to this episode and apprehensive about it at the same time. The press release promised an episode full of anxiety, angst and worry. The sneak peeks showed us a harrowing car accident involving Danny and an almost fatal encounter with cars involving Steve and Eddie. This was going to be either a “keep a tissue box close by” episode or an “I’m gonna need a full bottle of wine for this one” episode. Naturally, it wasn’t a perfect episode, but it was a damn good one none the less.
Once again, we have a two-story episode where the stories are completely separate from each other but this time, I’m not really sure which story was supposed to be the A side, and which was supposed to be the B side. I didn’t put a stopwatch to it or anything, but I think the time was split pretty evenly between them. And, damn, if they didn’t both pull on the heart strings. It was a very different type of H50 episode without a crime of the week, gun fights or car chases. It was actually pretty depressing come to think about it. What made this episode so good was the acting of the principle players in each story. Kate Siegel, Scott and Alex and, of course, Eddie.
Danny and Leslie: Something else Peter said many years ago, was “a happy Danny is a boring Danny” but ohhhhhh how I do love to see a happy Danny. Like back when he used to go out with Gaby. I can remember Kono saying she liked Gaby because she made Danny happy and she liked to see him happy. I could not agree more.
Leslie was wonderful. I immediately loved her and her flirting with Danny in the bar. The way Danny looked at her and the way his smile reached all the way to his eyes and lit up his entire face was beautiful to see.
Photo Credits: CBS
Their “bathroom encounter” was unexpected but totally hot.
Their attraction was instantaneous, and their banter was easy going and totally natural. The chemistry between them was off the charts. In just those few short hours, it was obvious these two had all the makings of a great couple. Tragically, they weren’t destined to have anywhere near the kind of time to find out.
I do want to address a couple of things I saw people discussing on Twitter. The first thing is a complete error which a close viewing of the scene will show. Some people were bemoaning the fact that Danny pulled out the piece of metal which was impaling Leslie in her back. Please, go back and watch the scene closely. He did no such thing. She leaned forward in her seat and when she did, Danny saw the piece of metal, protruding through the back of the passenger’s seat. Leslie “removed” the metal herself when she leaned forward. Danny seeing this, pulled the metal out of the seat so she could comfortably (or as comfortably as possible) sit back without impaling herself again. He did not pull the metal from her body.
The second thing is how Danny couldn’t call for help because there was no cell service in the area and that the kid who drove them off the road was texting while driving. That second part is open to individual interpretation. It could definitely be seen as a continuity error. How come the kid had service, but Danny didn’t? Or, it could just as easily be that the kid didn’t have service either. The way he was holding the phone, away from him and holding it up, is the way a person holds a phone when they are searching for a signal, not how one holds a phone to text. I think that’s what he was doing. Holding his phone up and moving it around trying to find a signal. Since there was no service in the area, as seen on both Danny’s and Leslie’s phones, I choose to go with option #2.
As for those who keep saying you don’t need service to send a 911 call, that is also not correct. If there is no service in an area, there is no service in the area period. It’s like if you have a land line telephone in your house but there are no phone wires physically attached to your house, the phone won’t work because there’s no dial tone. In other words, you have no service. The phone is nothing more than a paperweight.
You don’t need to have an account with a cell provider to send a 911 call. That’s why shelters for battered women give out cell phones for emergencies. They don’t need to have Verizon or AT&T or Sprint, etc., the phones will dial 911 without it. But there still needs to be service in the area. I do agree, though, with those who say that after ten years and all the situations pretty much everyone on this team has found themselves in, Five-0 really do need to think about carrying SAT phones everywhere they go.
The acting of Scott and Kate in the crash scenes was fantastic. Kate’s ability to act out such a traumatic injury, with pure emotion and facial expressions and little to no physical movement was amazing. Most of the dialog went to Danny but I loved Leslie’s spirit and her ability to keep a sliver of her sense of humor in a horrible situation.
When Leslie’s heart stopped beating, when all the life and light left her eyes, all the breath was knocked out of me. Kate was awesome. I’m so very sorry we won’t get to enjoy her marvelous acting in the future.
It was almost as hard to watch Danny’s struggle as it was to watch Leslie’s physical pain. He was so powerless to save her, but he tried so hard to stay strong and give her hope in such a hopeless situation. He kept trying to make her smile and, more importantly, to stay awake until help could get there. Watching him desperately yelling for help and blaring the car horn in an attempt to keep Leslie awake was so hard to watch and seeing him break down when she lost her battle truly broke my heart. I didn’t cry enough to warrant the box of tissues at my side, but I did shed a tear for what could have been.
Watching Danny as he walked away down that long desolate road was heart breaking, walking without a thought to what he’s doing or where he’s going. The man was simply dazed and numb. Scott totally rocked these scenes.
Leslie told Danny she saw three digits of the license plate on the car that ran them off the road. I hope the inclusion of that one line means we will see some follow through on this. That kid deserves to pay for the life he took. I don’t expect to see a long drawn out story, but I do expect to hear at least a line stating the kid was found and arrested.
But, honestly, what was the purpose of Danny finding the “woman of his dreams” if they were just going to immediately kill her off any way? I personally see only one reason for this story to even be told. After several subtle references to Danny’s relationship with Rachel this season showing that things were not moving in a good direction, this episode was, in my opinion, designed solely to show that Danny has finally gotten to a point in his life where he’s emotionally ready to move on from Rachel. It’s tragic Leslie died but the fact that she existed in his universe at all shows he’s ready to move on, he’s ready to have a great connection and build a future with someone other than Rachel.
Dear Lord, it’s about friggin’ time! I’m thrilled they’re still friends. The chemistry between Scott and Claire is marvelous and I hope we get to see Rachel again from time to time. I like that they’re lovingly co-parenting their children with no bitterness or animosity. But as a couple, I’m equally thrilled Danny has finally come to his senses. There is way too much deceitful water under that bridge.
Steve and Eddie: It’s something I’ve always found fascinating. You can sit down and watch a TV show or movie with a bunch of people; a movie with all kinds of violence, injuries and death, and most of those people will take it in stride and just sit and watch and enjoy the film. But put an animal in the mix, especially if that animal is a dog, and have that dog be injured or, God forbid, killed and most of those people will totally dissolve into an inconsolable puddle. Naturally, I’m one of those people.
When my husband and I first moved into our new home a couple of years ago, someone left the gate open and our dog got out. In a neighborhood he was not familiar with he, naturally ran right for the street. I was screaming his name and crying and running. I was terrified. Luckily he turned and ran back into the yard and wasn’t hurt but I think it took an hour for my heart to stop pounding. And that was a residential street with very little traffic. Not a street with four lanes of horrendously busy traffic. Having a disoriented and terrified Eddie running loose in that traffic with an equally terrified Steve dodging cars trying to get him out of there was an incredibly nerve-wracking way to begin an episode.
Photo Credits: CBS
Luckily, it seemed to be an off day for everyone on the team. Danny was having a couple of personal days, Lou was away with Renee moving Will off campus at college and Tani and Quinn were, well, I don’t know, just together, I guess. And Steve was totally consumed with Eddie and trying to figure out what was causing this sudden change in his personality.
I adored how everyone was truly concerned about Eddie. Danny’s “tell Eddie I love him” touched my heart as did Lou making arrangements from afar for Eddie to see a canine PTSD specialist because “I love that dog!”. Tani and Quinn left no stone unturned in trying to help Eddie too. I know we always say it, how the Ohana on this show is truly amazing and while we already knew Eddie was special to them all, it was still wonderful to see them rally around him the way they did.
Watching Eddie laying on the floor and/or in Steve’s lap looking so despondent was bad enough but every time he sadly whimpered, he tore my heart out. Seeing his back story in Afghanistan, how the handler he loved so much was killed was also incredibly sad. When you think about it, Eddie has lived through that trauma twice. His handler in Afghanistan and his DEA handler in Hawaii both died in his presence. Is it any wonder Eddie snuck out of the house to lay on the grave of his friend the last time?
Photo Credits: CBS
Tani and Quinn tracked down a member of the military unit in which Eddie served in Afghanistan. Listening to him tell the story of Eddie’s time there was so sad, and it showed the loyalty Eddie had for his handler and his unit and the love and respect they gave him in return.
It was a pretty quick leap from listening to that story with only a fleeting mention of flowers to the discovery of those very same flowers being grown in Steve’s neighbor’s yard but the fact that it was the flowers that triggered Eddie was a fascinating twist. I really loved Steve’s neighbor too. She was so bubbly and enthusiastic about her love of plants and yet so instantaneously willing to remove the plants which triggered Eddie from her garden. She mentioned she has a son. I wonder if she has a husband too? Anyway, I never considered that military dogs could suffer the same way as humans because of the traumas suffered on the battlefield. I’m glad the show tackled a story like this.
But there was more to it. Just like Leslie was a conduit for us to see Danny finally ready to move on with his life, Eddie’s bout with PTSD was a conduit for us to see Steve finally be comfortable with voicing his own feelings about what’s been going on in his life in the last year. It might not be full blown PTSD for Steve, but he’s been through a horrendous stretch and he’s finally able to admit the effects it’s had on him. I like the continuity of Dr. Emma coming over to take care of Eddie and Steve explaining to her why he didn’t call her again after their first date. Although I personally don’t remember one single time when Steve has ever let his personal life suffer because of his job, he did go out with Emma before Doris died so I can see how that would put someone off pretty much anything, especially casual dating for a while.
Steve has never been one to open up about his inner feelings much so the times when he has done it are always pretty memorable. Telling Lou about Freddie. Telling Danny about his stage fright and the way “McGarrett” men are built, is another. So it was a really beautiful moment when Steve admits that Eddie has pretty much been his emotional support for the last year and how without Eddie and his entire Ohana, he couldn’t have gotten through it all. Considering the losses both Steve and Eddie have endured, is it any wonder they are such kindred spirits?
Video courtesy of @alohaspaceman on Twitter and Instagram
It’s also ties in with the short scene where Tani admits to Quinn how worried she is for Junior on his SEAL mission. Quinn and Tani have really become good friends and I loved how she tried to reassure Tani that Junior will be ok. It’s totally understandable for Tani, seeing the way service has affected Eddie and Steve to be worried about Junior. I’m sure she’s not only worried about the physical danger he may be in but also if what he experiences will affect him emotionally as well. Like Tani, I can’t wait for him to get home and be safe.
And then there’s Adam. Did you see the way they all looked at him when he showed up on the other side of Steve’s front door? Not one of them gave any sign of relief or happiness that he’d come back. Both Tani and Quinn looked like they were just waiting for Steve to give them any indication as to how they should react.
These are the kind of small moments where Alex simply shines. His face was a hard mask when he first saw Adam, then as they moved close for a “welcome home” hug, Steve’s expression was more open. But that hug? That was not a typical “envelop your friend closely and fully with both arms, hand behind the head” McGarrett bear hug. It was stiff and it was distant, and Steve’s expression was angry and distrustful. All in the span of about 30 seconds. Alex is a truly remarkable actor, but then, we already knew that.
I really don’t like this Adam storyline but that hug and that expression on Steve’s face gives me hope for some great acting between these two coming down the line. That and the fact that Ian has said he really likes the material he’s been given is the only thing getting me through this story.
I really liked this episode. The acting from everyone was top notch and the emotional impact was strong. I’m not saying I want a slew of episodes like this one, but it was a good change of pace. I’m very curious to see what comes next. The writers have been doing a really good job this season with continuity between episodes. I have confidence there will be references to what happened to Leslie in next week’s episode and that Steve will be there for Danny, just like Danny was there for Steve after Doris died. I’m looking forward to seeing them deal with this together. There are those promo pictures of Steve and Danny having what looks like a rather intense exchange in Steve’s kitchen in the next episode. I can’t wait to see what’s going on between them there.
So, until next week my friends! Aloha. Malama Pono
All screencaps are mine unless otherwise noted.