Hawaii Five-0 s10 ep 4

A teenage girl is seen being dragged into a van. A few hours later, the van is found, sans girl but with a mountain of dead kidnappers, professionally assassinated. The Five-0 is a little perturbed that no-one has reported the girl missing, and deduces that she must be from a wealthy family, who got some hired killers involved instead of the police. The girl, Yumi, is traced to a tony private school and then to an apartment, where she’s alone and tremulous. Her parents are away. Quinn – showing signs this week of both a “general vibe of hopeful ambition” (Danny) and a Secret Pain (me) – gently interrogates the girl, in order to get her to reveal what happened to her.

But… here’s the thing. There’s no sign of anyone else having been in the van apart from Yumi and the kidnappers. Which means that the person who professionally took out the baddies is… well. Yumi might not be an ordinary schoolgirl after all. And after administering a sound, yet spectacular, beating to Quinn and Tani she takes off, leaving a bundle of passports, guns, and cash money in her apartment.

So who is Yumi, really? She’s not a teenager, nor is she legitimately in an upscale Hawaiian school; instead, she’s an international mega-criminal and North Korean spy with an Interpol Red Notice against her name, and she’s trying to track down a defector. Before the end of the episode she will, while wearing a presumably non-coincidental Kill Bill-yellow shirt, have kicked her way through a couple of hundred Feds, and abducted the defector, and demanded a plane to take them to North Korea, failing which she’ll release online a deluge of confidential information about US interests. Fighting fire with fire, the Five-0 recruits its old friend and ours, Halawa Correctional Facility’s very own Aaron Wright, to try and stop her.

Meantime, Steve has to take Eddie the Dog to the vet, and endure the indignity of having Danny play wingman – the vet is hot – and then Eddie the Dog playing, well, wingdog I suppose. This is much better than it should be, because H50’s star of the writers’ room, Zoe Robyn, is in charge this week. It’s a terrific episode, in fact. I mean, obviously ridiculous. But terrific.

Hawaii Five-0 s10 ep 3

We open this enjoyable episode in the 1980s, with Hungry Like The Wolf – banger! – on the soundtrack, and a plane crashing into the Pacific just off Hawaii. Present day, and a salvage team which is poking around the submerged wreck of the plane is astonished to discover the corpse of a recently-murdered scuba diver, name of Jay Kahale. So the questions pile up: why did the plane crash in the first place; what was Kahale looking for; why was he killed? 

Even without Jerry there to help, the Five-0 bats around a few of the murky theories which have attended the plane’s crash, including the possibility that the it was brought down by an misfiring iteration of the US Government’s SDI programme. They even find an online conspiracy theorist, Delphi Son, and try to get some sense out of him.  It’s probably just as well that Daniel Dae Kim, Jorge Garcia, and Terry O’Quinn are no longer on this show. Plane crash. Hawaii. People wanting answers. Online theories… all kind of reminding me of something else. Anyway, the Five-0 manages to find out what the diver was looking for and the identity of his killer. However, when the black box is recovered from the plane it’s been wiped, leaving open all of those lovely conspiracy theories. 

Meantime, Eddie the Dog has the week off – as does Danny, as it happens – so Steve and Quinn try to find out who planted the bomb in Steve’s garage. Actually, they kind of know it was Fleischman from Northern Exposure, but they need to prove it. This ends with Fleischman’s house blowing up – with him in it, I think – and with Quinn, inevitably, being invited to join the Five-0. She’s arrested almost immediately afterwards, but I would imagine that’ll just burnish her bad-girl credentials.

Hawaii Five-0 s10 ep 2

Eddie the Dog finds the bomb hidden in Steve’s house. That’s by no means Eddie the Dog’s last involvement this week. 

Or, for that matter, the last bomb either. Because, as in the last episode, Tani and Junior happen to be in the vicinity when something kicks off. This week, a road tunnel collapses – to start with, it looks like one of those things that, I dunno, happens when you build a tunnel? But when they find an empty prisoner transport van they realise that it might have been deliberate. And, sure enough, when they catch up with the escaped prisoner and his henchmen a second bomb is detonated, allowing the baddies to get away but trapping Tani, Junes, and half-a-dozen civilians.

The escapee is one Jackson Wilcox, a big-time drug dealer previously reported dead, but who the FBI has been keeping in a black site and using to build a case against others. Which is all well and good, but hardly helps the people trapped in the tunnel, who can’t get a signal to let those on the outside know how they are. There’s a narrow passage which might allow access, but it’s too small to allow a human through. So step forward, willingly or otherwise, Eddie the Dog. He could, someone advises Steve, be trapped himself. “I understand the risks”, snaps Steve, although the question of whether Eddie the Dog – who will actually be doing the grunt work – also understands them is tantalisingly left unanswered. Still, he – Eddie the Dog, that is, not Steve – goes scampering away happily enough, and is indeed able to give Tani a walkie-talkie with which she can speak to Steve.

Everyone is rescued through a ventilation shaft, although there’s a hairy moment when the rope bringing Junior up snaps, and he falls back into the tunnel. Tani, of course, descends to rescue him, and I’m thinking that it really is about time those two kids got to make out. Even Lou is unashamedly shipping it. Wilcox gets away, probably, but as things stand we don’t really have a sense of what his deal is, so I suppose he might not return in a future episode. And Steve is convinced that the bomb in his house was left by Fleischman from Northern Exposure, and he’s not in a mood to let that go. It all hangs together well enough.

Hawaii Five-0 s10 ep 1

Spoilers

The cliffhanger from the end of season 9 is resolved within seconds: it was, as expected, Jerry who took a bullet. He survives, I’m pleased to say, but inevitably spends most of the episode hors de combat.

There’s plenty else going on, though. While Steve is on a first date with Brooke, a newly-divorced friend of Danny’s, Junior and Tani are at the opera. Also in the audience is a Triad boss, Billy Sato, who is assassinated, presumably not just so that he can get out of watching an opera. Although the rest of the Five-0 is there quickly, the shooter escapes into a getaway car which turns out to have been stolen from Joel Fleischman out of Northern Exposure. (Sidebar: Whither the revival? I loved that show.) 

As the Five-0 chases the assassin, they keep running into Sergeant Quinn Liu (Katrina Law), a military police officer, who is trying to find two veterans who have gone missing. One, it transpires, is their shooter, who kills himself rather than be arrested. But Missing Vet #2 is still out there, and he tries to assassinate Masuda, the high-ranking Yakuza and father of Adam’s “close friend” Tamiko, at the precise moment when Adam is meeting him and other Yakuza. Again with the gangsters, Adam. Funny that. Vet #2 escapes in a monster truck and crushes half of downtown Honolulu as he gets away.

So who’s behind the two hitmen? There’s no big mystery there; generally, one can be sure that the big guest star (in this case Fleischman) isn’t just there for one scene. However, there isn’t enough evidence tying him to the murders and he’s not charged. Presumably he will be back, and he might even be connected to the mysterious figure planting a bomb in Steve’s garage at the end of the episode. 

There are some big changes, though. Jerry decides that he’s had enough of being shot at, and leaves the Five-0 in order to write a book about one of his conspiracy theories. As for Quinn – during the investigation she joins the rest of the Five-0 around the increasingly-crowded iTable, and although she’s not been asked to join the team yet it can’t be far away: on the evidence of this episode she’s got the necessary skill-set (by which I mean she shoots people); she was demoted within the Military Police for insubordination and deception; and Katrina Law’s name is in the opening credits. She’s here to stay, I think, and I’m fine with that.

What happened offscreen – whether Jorge Garcia actually wanted to leave or not, for example –  I have no idea, and no-one’s saying. The door has in any event been left open for his occasional return. It may, of course, be budgetary: although the running, chasing, shooting, and monster- truck-driving scenes this week won’t have come cheap, nor will the dramatic alterations atop the heads of the two leads. Steve’s hair is now thick and lustrously brown, as opposed to cropped and salt-and-pepper. And Danny’s… well, honestly, I don’t know what the hell is going on there.

But if that’s what’s needed to keep the show fresh, then fair enough. This week there’s a surfeit of action, an impressively high body count, and a couple of developments to be picked up in the next few weeks. Ten seasons in, this show still isn’t showing any signs of fatigue,

Public Service Announcement 70 of 2019: Hawaii Five-0, Magnum P.I., NCIS:LA

Sky One’s Sunday evening American procedural triple-bill is back for another year, starting tomorrow (Sunday) evening. Top of this particular bill, as ever, is the return of perennial Unpopcult favourite Hawaii Five-0 for its tenth season. It turned lemons into lemonade a couple of seasons ago by using the loss of two key cast members to refresh and reboot itself, and although I think another regular might be saying mahalo and goodbye to the Five-0 pretty near the start of this season (I’ve tried, unsuccessfully, to avoid spoilers) I have no doubt that this won’t have any real impact on the quality of the show, which – given its longevity – was remarkably high in season 9 (9pm).

It’s preceded by the start of season 2 of sister show Magnum P.I., another CBS reboot, and another show about which I had some reservations at the start of its run. I should know better by now: these Peter Lenkov revivals are built to last, and I stuck quite happily with it throughout its first season, with the addition of The Mentalist’s Cho (Unpopcult royalty Tim Kang), essentially playing Cho in Hawaii, being particularly welcome. I’m particularly pleased that the much-hoped-for H50/MPI crossover episodes are going to happen this time round, because I really do want to see Steve and Thomas compare package size (8pm).

And the line-up is completed by NCIS:LA, not a show I watch, but as this is its eleventh season I’d venture to suggest that it must be doing quite a lot right (10pm).

Hawaii Five-0 s9 ep 25

Season finale time, and it’s a cleverly-constructed episode which draws together quite a few of the show’s ongoing plots. H50 isn’t always the best at multi-episode arcs, but I think it gets it just about right here. 

Anyway, star attraction is still psycho-nerd Aaron Wright, now at large and with NSA cyber-weapons for sale. Junior’s father has gone missing after his daughter’s killer was released on parole, following Joons’s intervention at the hearing last week. Adam is sleeping over – platonically, everyone, platonically – at the house of old friend Tamiko, who was left at the altar a few weeks ago by her undercover FBI agent boyfriend. And the wife of Omar Hassan, the man responsible for the death of Joe White, wants to visit Steve, with her young son, in order to sort out their differences and apologise. This doesn’t raise any red flags. Not a one.

It all shakes out pretty well, and – given that H50 is generally all about the action – with a few possible romances as well. Wright, finally cornered, engineers a false alert of a missile attack – not the first time that’s happened on Oahu – in order to sow confusion, but is eventually captured. His parting shot is a boast that he’ll probably be freed again because the CIA needs his skills. I wouldn’t put that past the writers. Adam visits Tamiko, having told her that he’s ready to “move on”.  Whether he “moves on” Tamiko we don’t yet know, because the door closes on the viewers, leaving ex-Yakuza Adam in the company of his possible new love interest, the daughter of a Yakuza oyabun. Way to leave that old life behind, Adam. Junior, disowned by his father and a little bit emotional, drops in on Tami. The door closes on that one as well. Even Danny seems to be getting closer to Rachel again, which Steve seems to be a bit sniffy about. Wonder why? 

And in the final scene, at Five-0 HQ, the Widow Hassan pulls out a gun and shoots… someone. Not Danny. Maybe Steve. Possibly her son. But probably Jerry. I’m slightly concerned that, as far as I can tell, there’s no word on whether Jorge Garcia is returning for season 10. Because at the moment this show, I’d say, is working very well. It now seems odd that it was on the bubble a few seasons ago: with ratings holding up nicely, and the new cast members all properly integrated, H50 now feels kind of indestructible; assuming, that is, Alex O’Loughlin stays interested, and it doesn’t get too expensive to make.

Hawaii Five-0 s9 ep 24

Tani’s at home, minding her own business – all right, offering moral support via the phone to Junior, for reasons to which we’ll come back – when all of a sudden there’s a man pointing a gun at her. And the man is our old friend Aaron Wright, last seen killing H50’s go-to hacker friend Toast and disappearing into the wind. This time, though, Aaron wants the Five-0’s help: in return for immunity, he’s been working for the NSA in a covert black ops site on Oahu, from which he’s been waging cyber warfare on America’s enemies. Unfortunately some baddies came in that morning and killed four of his colleagues; he and the branch chief (Senator Morejon from Madam Secretary) are the only survivors, and the chief might well be up to no good himself. So can they protect him, please?

Well. The Five-0 is, of course, enormously sanctimonious about this… this criminal helping the forces of law and order. (Double killer and “former” Yakuza member Adam is actually in the room, but that doesn’t stop anyone, of course. Yes, I realise I’m the only person who cares.) But Aaron’s story all checks out, so what are you going to do? Jerry punches him for killing his friend, but the rest of the Five-0 decides that pragmatism is in order, and work with him. It turns out that a gang of Euro-assassins is behind the hit, and that it has to do with blackmail and killer anaesthesia machines rather than national security. With Aaron still a target, Steve decides to use Junior and Tani as bait for the shooters (“Like gazelles at a watering-hole…”, muses Tani poetically) while Jerry and Aaron team up to bring down Big Anaesthesia. This story, however, isn’t over.

Meantime, and against my expectations, both of the subplots land. Lou’s outstandingly annoying brother Percy, who really shouldn’t have escaped with his life from his first appearance, is whining because someone seems to have stolen his kouign-amann recipe. Is this really a matter for the Five-0? Well, Lou intervenes, and much to everyone’s surprise – including mine – the trail leads to an act of industrial espionage carried out by a generously-built Hawaiian gentleman already familiar to the viewers. It seemed to me at least that Lou and Percy were very ready to accept his explanation, perhaps unreasonably so. 

And Tani accompanies Junior to the parole hearing of the man who knocked down and killed his sister. H50’s approach to issues of crime and punishment is generally somewhat Old Testamentary, so I really wasn’t prepared for Junior deciding that, rather than demanding that the parole application be refused, a bit of forgiveness might be in order. Outstanding.