Hawaii Five-0 s9 ep 11

It’s Avenge Joe White week on H50. Danny travels to Joe’s ranch, where Steve – rocking, it should be said, a somewhat unconvincing beard; I was half expecting Danny to reach out and give it a sharp tug – has been hiding out for over a month. With Catherine.

Danny thinks they’ve been playing house, but if so it’s a specifically McGarrett-esque form of mummies and daddies: also on the premises is the Danish lawyer of Omar Hassan, the man behind Joe’s death. The lawyer has been beaten to a pulp in an attempt to find out where Hassan is. Which, y’know, credit where due: I mean, I too am a lawyer, and I’d totally give my clients up at the first polite enquiry from the Big Kahuna. Maybe they breed their legal professionals tougher in Denmark.

Anyway, Steve finds out that Hassan is in Laos, and puts his squad together: Catherine and Danny, of course, plus Junior (“Teams! Hooyah!”). And a couple of old friends: Wade “Gutch” Gutches, who we’ve seen once or twice before; and, meeting them in Laos, Harry Langford, the Lidl James Bond himself. You know how this goes: a looped security feed, guns, a stand-off, and so on. Steve gets to Hassan, but doesn’t kill him: what he really wants is the whereabouts of Agent Greer, former squeeze and current traitor. And he gets it, meaning that Catherine can shoot her predecessor in Steve’s bed, a task which she undertakes with ill-disguised relish. Which of us hasn’t, at some point, wanted…? I’ll leave that thought there.

There’s a B-plot in which two bros successfully bid for the contents of a storage locker, and discover themselves to be the proud owners of a human skeleton. (I think I’ve seen this in another show before, but can’t place it.) The bros are themselves killed, and the bones taken, before Noelani can get there to examine the scene. It’s really only intended as an occasional distraction from the main event, but it helps to round out a very good episode.

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Hawaii Five-0 s9 ep 10

Within the first couple of minutes of this blistering episode we’ve had an “oorah!”, a go-bag, and Joe White. Hey-ho, I thought, I’m going to like this one. And I did. Hired assassins are taking out the six-man SEAL team which did the thing in Marrakesh to which Agent Greer alluded a few episodes ago. Three are already down, leaving Steve, Joe, and a dude named Cole. The thing in Marrakesh, incidentally, was the taking out of a high-value target, on the orders of Greer. It might not even have been legal, apparently. Huh. Steve does at least ten illegal things before breakfast most days, because that’s how the Big K rolls, bitches. 

Anyway, Steve is attacked at home – bizarrely, they only send one assassin; haven’t they heard of Steve? – and survives, chasing his badly-wounded assailant off. Grover starts to track him down. Steve and Joe, realising that this needs to be ended, hatch a plan, and in furtherance of it Steve visits Greer, who seems to be quarterbacking the whole thing from prison. According to her, the people behind Operation Get The SEALS are “rich, motivated, and ruthless”. Ooh! (It’s the son of the high-value target, now himself a wealthy shipping magnate in Denmark, who is funding the revenge operation.) Steve drops a couple of indiscreet hints, hoping to draw the assassins out, and he and Joe then retreat to Joe’s rather gorgeous Montana ranch. Cole turns up for the lolz. 

Although Steve has made it clear that the rest of the Five-0 has to stay away from the Last Battle itself, they help a little. Grover captures the guy, half-dead through blood loss, who tried to kill Steve. You must help me, he says. You’re police. Only thing I must do, replies Grover magnificently, is “stay black and die”. And I’m not police; I’m Five-0. (Once again I have to reflect on the fact that people from all over the word are supposed to know about the existence and legal powers of this local police force.) Adam’s contribution is, of course, to talk to an old Yakuza contact.

So Steve, Joe, Cole, and a shit-ton of guns settle in at Joe’s ranch, and wait for the baddies, who duly appear. Inevitably, a huge battle ensues. The assassins are all killed, but at a price. Cole dies. Joe is hit. There’s a surgeon on the next ranch, he says to Steve; can you take me there? The only means of transport is equine, so Steve and Joe saddle up, leaving behind a ranch whose market value has just dropped considerably. But on the way to the surgeon, Joe calls a halt; there is no surgeon. He’s dying and he knows it.

And he’s right: before a beautiful Montanan sunset, Joe White breathes his last, in the arms of his most successful, uh, “tadpole”. It’s quite a big deal; Terry O’Quinn has been around this show for years, and now there’s no-one left to call Steve “son”. I thought this was the best episode of the season so far, and I fully expect Steve to go apeshit next week.

Hawaii Five-0 s9 ep 9

Urban vigilante Gene Wahale, who styles himself ‘The Night Sentinel’, takes down a drug dealer, all the while filming his heroics for his YouTube channel. Unfortunately, he is then killed. Perhaps by one of the 37 people he had subjected to a citizens’ arrest? Nope, nor at the hand of his younger rival in vigilanteism, ‘Guardian’.

At this point, one viewer at least was wondering whether the death of one of these idiots was an entirely bad thing; a view, perhaps, tacitly shared by Lieutenant Daniel Williams. “Something’s wrong with you”, he observes, if you want to “put on tights and fight crime”. This leads to an impassioned debate with Steve about superheroes, during which Danny is very much on the side of comic book characters with superhuman powers, as opposed to Batman who “inherit(ed) money and bought a bunch of Batmobiles”.

When their investigation brings them into contact with Honolulu’s comic book community, I feared the worst. However, against my expectations the episode turned out to be ridiculous but goofy fun, and I enjoyed it a lot. I still think ‘Guardian’ needs to get laid stat, mind you.

And meantime, another long-running plot arc is brought to the most abrupt of ends, when Yakuza banker Kimura is dragged before a room full of oyubun; it was he who organised the hit on Noriko and then tried to frame Adam. In recognition of his long service, Kimura is offered “Yakuza justice or Five-0 justice”, and when he opts for the latter – and who can blame him? – Adam steps out of the shadows to effect the arrest. Once again working with the Yakuza, Adam?

Hawaii Five-0 s9 ep 8

A will-this-do? of a Thanksgiving episode commences with the traditional Five-0 and friends game of touchdown football, with Tani deputising for Danny as one of the team captains. Obviously the Big Kahuna is in charge of their opponents. Before it can get too insanely competitive, though, there’s been a death: a housebreaker has been found crushed to death under the safe he was trying to expropriate. But another thief, inevitably ignoring a house full of valuables, then drilled the safe in order to try and find something specific. Just once, I’d like TV procedural housebreakers to empty the whole damn house, rather than stealing to order. The something specific is a valuable baseball card, and the thief’s motives are interesting, but perhaps not quite explored enough.

Because the other half of the episode is given over to Lou and his extended family, all staying with him for Thanksgiving. His parents (Gladys Knight and Louis Gosset, Jr.,) are an absolute delight. His brother Percy (Clifton Powell), on the other hand, is provocative to the point of being sociopathic, and would be none the worse for a particularly vicious punishment beating. Which Grover is finally about to administer, until he realises that their parents are watching. This being H50, it obviously ends with both hugging and learning, but by that point Percy had got under my skin to the point where I was willing Grover to change his mind and smack his brother into a coma, if necessary with Gladys and Louis witnessing the whole thing. Our old friend Tony Almeida directs, incidentally, and the episode’s shortcomings aren’t his fault.

Hawaii Five-0 s9 ep 7

At the soft opening of Steve and Danny’s restaurant, The Money Pit, Steve meets Milton Cooper, retired HPD detective and buddy of his grandfather, who was killed during the Pearl Harbor attack. Milton hands over a briefcase which belonged to Steve’s grandfather, and which contains papers relating to an unsolved crime – the disappearance of plantation girl Lila Kekoa, in 1932 – which not even the legendary detective Chang Apana could solve.

Steve reads over the material, then dozes off and finds himself back in the Oahu of December 5, 1941 as his grandfather, with Danny as Milton, and the two of them set about solving the crime. As ever with these episodes, the main cast members all get their moment with the clothes and technology of the time; I particularly liked Jerry using a magic lantern as a stand-in for the iTable. Adam, needless to say, is a villain. It’s not the fastest-moving H50 episode ever, it has to be said, but its main purpose is to transfer the cast back to the hats and gats of the Jazz Age, just before Pearl Harbor changed everything forever, and that it does with a certain amount of charm. Some of the characters even smoke, which isn’t the sort of thing you really see on US network dramas these days, and the big-band rearrangement of the famous Five-0 theme is something of a banger.

There’s an odd little coda, though, when the Steve and Danny restaurant plot, which has run for nearly two seasons, is wrapped up in about a minute. Neither of them really wants to be a restaurateur, you see, so they sell out to Kamekona. Huh.

Hawaii Five-0 s9 ep 6

Nine seasons in, H50 can still pull together a very effective cold open when it’s in the mood. Thus we start with the pilot of a civilian plane asking, in what sounds like considerable desperation, for permission to land on an US Navy aircraft carrier, and the commander of the carrier threatening to shoot him down if he comes any closer. The plane keeps descending, though, and is allowed to land; when the doors are opened, the pilot has died of a gunshot wound, and there’s a (live) baby in the back seat.

Steve is then visited by NCIS Agent Emma Warren (Nazneen Contractor), who informs him that the deceased is his old Navy SEAL buddy Carson Rodes, who became a gun-for-hire after leaving the armed forces. (And who Steve was drinking with no more than a couple of days previously.) Agent Warren warns Steve not to get in her way as she investigates the case. Obviously Steve will very much get in the way, to the point where – to Danny’s visible glee – Warren orders Steve to be arrested and cuffed.

The baby will be identified, as will its mother, who is missing. And its father, played by Gabriel Mann, who was, of course, the delectable Nolan in Revenge. There’s a happy ending, unless you’re Carson. Steve and Emma even go for a drink. Actually, Emma fits in with the Five-0 quite well, and I’d be happy to see her back.

Meantime Tani is back at Adam’s house to do a bit more snooping or something. But who should appear but… well, Adam, it being his house and all. He’s back, but he’s evidently not in a good way: unshaven, drinking whisky from the bottle, and rocking a rather unpleasant vest. For why, Adam? “Kono left me”, he tells Tani, and although there’s a certain amount of blather about how they’d changed, I like to think that Kono finally got fed up with marriage to a gangster. While she decides what to do, Danny invites Adam to join the Five-0. Yes, that’s the Adam who “used to be” a Yakuza, has a recent conviction for a double homicide, and – although Steve and Danny don’t yet know this – might well have shot his sister. Should maybe have spoken up before now about the whole gun business, Tani? Anyway, he confronts her at the end of the episode and says the gun was planted. I’m sure it was, Mr Double Killer. A more-than-satisfactory episode.

Hawaii Five-0 s9 ep 5

The Hallowe’en episode. These can go either way, but this one (co-authored by H50’s writers’ room MVP Zoe Robyn) is pretty good. In the first of two plots, it’s revealed in flashback that, in 1982, Jerry witnessed the aftermath of a murder while at summer camp. No-one believes him, then or now, so he revisits the scene with his fellow campers (including Chloe O’Brian from 24) in order to dig for evidence. There’s a big old spooky house, a thunderstorm, a mysterious recluse, and lots of good dumb fun.

The second plot is a highly effective chiller: Katie, the young daughter of a suburban couple, appears to have predicted, in a drawing, the murder of a woman in her 20s. Katie ascribes the drawing to her imaginary friend Molly. Except Molly isn’t so imaginary. And Tani has it confirmed that the gun she found in Adam’s house was used to shoot Noriko, his sister. This, of course, makes it even more likely that, in due course, we will be presented with “proof” that it wasn’t Adam who pulled the trigger, and the Yakuza’s main man will walk yet again.