Hawaii Five-0 s7 ep 16

We start at a nightclub, where a thirtysomething dude’s appalling chat-up lines are getting much more attention than they deserve from a blonde babe in a revealing dress. They adjourn outside to make out, and next morning dude – Jeremy, a Palo Alto software developer – is found murdered, and the blonde is nowhere to be seen. Jeremy was on Oahu to attend a conference on The Method, a technique which is being pushed as a foolproof way of picking up women by its creepy originator Blake Stone.

The investigation is left to Kono, Chin, and Lou this week, because it’s Valentine’s Day and Steve has taken Lynn on a romantic break… to Hawaii. Yes, he’s gone a mile or so down the road and booked a suite at a well-known Honolulu resort hotel. And who should be in the next room? Danny, of course, with Melissa, so that the four of them can hang out. In fairness to the women, it’s courageous of them to attempt to compete with Steve and Danny’s true loves (each other); a task which becomes even more difficult when Danny becomes rather disturbingly fixated on a teenage boy at the resort, who might or might not have stolen his $20 sunglasses.

Meantime, in the Case of the Week, it turns out that Stone has been paying escorts to flirt with his students so that they will think his asinine methods are actually working, which means that the blonde in the revealing dress is now the main suspect in the murder of Jeremy. But is she the culprit? It’s about as traditional an episode of H50 as it’s possible to imagine, and it’s diverting, but no more than that.

This episode was brought to you by: well, the Hilton Hawaiian Village, of course, which gets more screen time than any of the characters.

Hawaii Five-0 s7 ep 15

The body of a woman in her thirties, Leia Rosen, is found floating offshore, with a number tattooed on her arm, akin to those inflicted on Nazi concentration camp prisoners. This enables the Five-0 to identify her as Leia Rosen, the granddaughter of a recently deceased Holocaust survivor. Leia had been working as a volunteer in Kalaupapa, a peninsula on the island of Molokai, which hosted what used to be called a leper colony until the end of the 1960s. For the second week in a row, a quick check on Wikipedia revealed to me that this wasn’t an invention by the writers: although it is now a national park, there are still a few elderly survivors of Hansen’s disease, ill at ease with outside life, living in Kalaupapa as part of the community. And, once again, Hawaii Five-0 deserves considerable credit for illuminating a hidden corner of the history of the islands.

Anyway, Leia’s journey to Molokai turns out to have been linked to her grandfather’s past, and specifically to an elderly Nazi who escaped Germany after the war and set up home there. I thought it to be a little better plotted than last week’s equally-worthwhile episode – perhaps every other viewer worked out who the killer was, but I certainly didn’t – and, once again, an excellent example of H50 providing education and entertainment at the same time.

There’s some filler elsewhere: a B-plot in which a reviled hunter of exotic animals is found hanging upside down having apparently been eviscerated by a shark. There isn’t much to it, but it introduced me to the practice of “finning”, which sounds ruder than it is. And there’s a flimsy C-plot in which Kamekona tries to get the Five-0 to intervene when his employees go on strike. Putting that aside, a strong episode.

Hawaii Five-0 s7 ep 14

A man is being chased through the jungle by the HPD, but just as they’re about to grab him he burrows under a wire mesh fence and into a compound. When the cops point guns at the people on the other side of the fence and demand that the suspect be handed over, guns are pointed back at them. The suspect is one Kanuha Noe (Kalani Queypo, a native Hawaiian) wanted for murder; and the compound is the property of – indeed, the territory of – the Nation of Hawai’i, which regards itself as a sovereign state, and entitled under international law to provide sanctuary to kanaka maoli.

Now, what I didn’t know – until I paused the episode at this point and did a bit of poking around the internet – is that the Nation of Hawai’i is a thing, and Bumpy Kanahele, the Nation’s spokesperson and negotiator, is a real life activist. And so, not for the first time by any means, H50 illuminates a corner of Hawaiian history and politics of which I was unaware, and does so – if I may say so – respectfully and sympathetically as well, with particular reference to the treatment of the indigenous population.

Bumpy has no particular problem with turning Noe over to the Five-0; provided, that is, that it can be proved he’s responsible for the murder they want to pin on him. Steve and Chin, in turn, are fine with that. However, the US Marshals – led by a narrow-eyed Lou Diamond Phillips – have other ideas: it’s a murder; he’s a fugitive; it’s a Federal matter; and the Five-0 has until sundown before they go in and take Noe by force. It’s not the best H50 ever, but it’s another one for the list of episodes in which the show, commendably, gives something back to the islands which host it, and teaches me something in the process.

This episode was brought to you by: Dillingham Blvd. Self Storage.

Hawaii Five-0 s7 ep 13

Five thousand cops are descending on Oahu for the Honolulu Police Expo, so probably not a time to be standing anywhere near the top of a flight of stairs. In the Case of the Week, one of them is found dead in the rubble after a building is destroyed by an explosion. It turns out, though, that Officer Redshirt was stabbed after the building came down, because while helping in the aftermath of the explosion he interrupted someone who… well. It’s one of these weeks in which three or four plots act as diversions until we get to the actual point, which is a sort of combination of blackmail and revenge, with a dubious interpretation of attorney-client privilege thrown in for good measure. It’s busy enough – even Mozzie turns up – but it felt as if no-one in the writers’ room was really committed to it. And the explosion wasn’t connected to last week’s missing uranium, which remains at large, prowling the streets of Honolulu.

That might be because the real action of the week was the show’s farewell to Max Bergman (Masi Oka) and, while there were one or two flashbacks, plenty of mahalos, and a few ‘ohanas, I don’t think I’m quite as invested in the character of Max as I’m supposed to be. So even though just about anything makes me cry these days, I remained dry-eyed throughout. Still, the ending, where he spelled out what each member of the Five-0 has meant to him, was quite sweet; so mahalo, Max, and good luck to Noelani (Hawaii native Kimee Balmilero), your replacement.

This episode was brought to you by: where can I get a malasada?

Hawaii Five-0 s7 ep 12

We left off last week with the Five-0 in Mexico, and Chin in the hands of a drug cartel intent on executing him by throwing him to a pack of hungry dogs. Adam turns up to help, although – as he acknowledges – that puts him in breach of parole. I suppose if I were ex-Yakuza and just out of prison after pleading guilty to homicide I wouldn’t be quite so blasé about my situation, but that’s Adam the OG for you. Anyway, I was expecting an episode filled with a race against time to find Chin, but no: he’s rescued before the opening credits, and he’s back in Hawaii with his niece before the first ad break.

So we need a Case of the Week, and it arrives when car salesman Mitch Lawson is beaten to death. It looks impulsive rather than planned, so Lou – who has some experience in the area – goes undercover at Mitch’s workplace, a situation which could probably have been mined for more humour, although Chi McBride is excellent throughout. Anyway, the culprit is found; it was a consequence of an argument over a car that Mitch wanted to sell, but a colleague had already punted to someone else. Once again, though, this happens at an unexpectedly early stage in the episode, giving Lou time to observe that there must be something else going on. Why would Mitch get so agitated over the sale of a car? Unless… the car had something in it? Indeed it did: Mitch is discovered to have had ties to drug smugglers, so the car will have been brimming with heroin? But no; it was nothing to do with drugs, in fact, and so an episode which starts with Chin wearing a metal collar in Mexico ends up with a dirty bomb in motion on Oahu. Entertaining for sure, but it all felt a little like side 2 of Abbey Road: a few half-developed ideas edited together in the hope of coming up with something coherent. Good news, though: H50 has been renewed for an eighth season. Mahalo.

Hawaii Five-0 s7 ep 11

It’s finally Chin’s Niece Week in Hawaii Five-0 and, in fairness, it comes reasonably close to justifying all of those annoying little snippets of Sara-related conversation in recent episodes. We start at Chin’s birthday party, but just as the cake enters the room Chin heads in the opposite direction: he’s had a phone call from Mexico telling him that Sara has been kidnapped.

To Juarez, Mexico, then, for the Five-0, where they meet up with Sara’s aunt and uncle. As with last week it seems a reasonable bet that at least one of them will be involved, and so it will turn out. In the meantime, though, they try to find Sara. First, Steve visits Mexico’s top kidnapper – yes, there does seem to be a league table, or at least a ranking system – but it wasn’t him. Then the kidnappers call – keep him on the line, ask for proof of life, the usual – and a ransom demand of *curls finger to lips* one million dollars is issued. Excellent, thinks Steve; Sara’s rich uncle can pay the kidnappers off, and we’ll all go home. Except Uncle doesn’t have any money, as he was robbed a few weeks ago by the police. So the Five-0 steal the money back.

Now in a position to trade cash for Sara, the Five-0 heads off to a rendezvous with the kidnappers. But it’s a trap: Sara was used as bait to lure the Five-0 to Mexico so they could be ambushed in retaliation for Kono jumping out of the bag and shooting the drug kingpin a few weeks ago. I don’t recall a single bullet being fired in last week’s terrific but atypical episode; this week everyone gets a chance to make up for that, as the Five-0 enters into a spectacular shootout with an equally well-armed Mexican drug cartel.

Steve and the boys emerge victorious, but as they quickly realise that makes Sara very expendable and so, without warning, Chin – who has been brooding about how everyone the Five-o knows is in constant danger, a point I’ve made about poor Grace more than once – disappears in order to surrender himself to the kidnappers in return for Sara’s release, and is driven away with a hood over his head, presumably to be executed in next week’s episode. Or, just maybe, rescued: the kidnappers hang out in a compound which not even the police or army dare to enter, and those are the kind of odds our Steve just can’t resist.

Hawaii Five-0 s7 ep 10

Although we occasionally rag on procedural dramas, in truth I’m full of admiration for them: week after week they need to come up with new crimes to be solved, new angles to take, and not frighten the core audience away while doing so. This episode is a very good example. Reese, a troubled teenage boy, is hypnotised by his therapist, and appears to have a hidden memory of witnessing a terrible crime. Sure enough, on investigation a skeleton is found; the remains of Maggie Reed, who disappeared ten years before, and now looks to have been murdered. Yang, the detective who originally handled the case, has always been convinced that the culprit was Maggie’s bad-boy boyfriend, and when he confesses it looks as if Yang’s been vindicated. It comes way too early in the episode for it to be convincing, though, and for experienced Five-0 viewers it’s no surprise that it’s one of Reese’s parents who actually did it. I thought it was REDACTED pretty much from the outset, and I was right, but I got motive and means completely wrong. It’s smartly plotted, mind you, and very satisfyingly put together.

It’s in the B-plot, though, that this episode really hits home. Danny’s sister Bridget (Missy Peregrym) is on Oahu for some sort of business jolly. Steve observes that she’s “cute” (accurately); and that one of her co-workers, Spencer, seems to have formed the same view. Danny is perturbed by this, as Bridget is married; particularly so when he sees Bridget and Spencer together, and notes that their affection appears to be mutual, so he confronts Bridget about it. Which obliges her to explain – because, frankly, Danny hasn’t begun to notice – that she’s overwhelmed with work and with caring responsibilities for her children and for her parents, and having to cope with almost no help from her husband. Or from Danny. So, frankly, when someone she likes notices her as a person, it’s hard for her not to reciprocate.

The storyline gives rise, in particular, to two exceptional pieces of writing: Bridget explaining to Danny how she has essentially become invisible at home; and Danny, in turn, telling Steve that on reflection he knows where Bridget is coming from, because there was a time that his marriage was in trouble and he started to look at his New Jersey cop partner “a little differently”. It’s poignant, perceptive, well-written, and way, way, way better than it needs to be. Significantly, I think, given the way in which Bridget’s feelings are so expertly unpacked, and her frustration so persuasively articulated, this episode was written by two women (Helen Shang and Zoe Robyn), getting their first H50 credits as lead writers. I hope they do more. This was excellent. (And a nod to 24’s Tony Almeida, who directed.)

Bromance Watch: “…I can come back.”