Hawaii Five-0 s9 ep 2

Jack Teague, regular guy, is on a plane to Hawaii with his family. But there’s an armed hijacker on board, who sedates regular guy Jack, blows a hole in the plane, then parachutes out taking regular guy Jack with him. Well, even if you’d never seen a moment of H50 before this, you’d probably have concluded that Jack isn’t so regular; and so it proves when the hijacker is found, very dead, in the jungle. And when Lou digs up footage of Agent Miller, Greer’s partner from last week, apparently waiting at the airport for Jack’s plane to land, it all suggests a link to China. Yes, Jack is a Chinese spy. Except that it isn’t quite so simple.

Meantime, Tani has embarked on the latest doomed attempt to prove that Adam Noshimuri is a baddie, by asking her old HPD instructor – the one she punched out, resulting in her dismissal from the Academy – to run tests on the gun she found in Adam’s house. He eventually agrees. My bet: it’ll be confirmed as the same gun that fired the bullets which killed Adam’s sister, but he’ll wriggle out again. Eddie the Dog has dug up the money Steve buried in his garden. Of course he has. Danny, unsurprisingly, is scathing: the Back Garden Bank is, he seethes at Steve, the “stupidest, most ignorant, dumbest idea you ever had in the nine years I’ve known you. Dumbest. Dumbdumbdumbdumbdumbdumbdumbdumbdumb”.

By the end of the episode Agent Miller has been REDACTED by the Chinese. Agent Greer – on the run from last week – has been captured, which is better news. But as Steve hands her over to the CIA she reminds him that something – apart from them sleeping together – happened in Marrakesh, and it’s the sort of something you probably don’t want a Chinese mole to be holding over you. I thought this was great. It’s also worth observing that the dialogue, last week and this, has had a welcome wit and lightness of touch.


Hawaii Five-0 s9 ep 1

We open with someone floating face-down in what looks like some sort of sensory deprivation tank, wearing a surprisingly old-school rubber suit. The someone is then removed and the suit cut open… by Wo Fat! And it’s Steve inside! And he’s dead! (And the rubber suit is indeed old-school, because this episode is a remake of the original show’s 1968 pilot episode.) Well, I thought, bringing Wo Fat back from the dead to kill Steve in a giant swimming pool probably wouldn’t be the most ridiculous thing H50 has ever done. But… wait. It isn’t Wo Fat. And Steve’s alive. I have no idea what’s going on, so can we please have an expository flashback?

Of course we can; because this is Hawaii Five-0, where in medias res is your, and my, friend. And back we go a couple of days, to Steve and Junior burying large sums of cash money in Steve’s garden. It turns out that this represents Kamekona’s investment in The Money Pit, Steve and Danny’s restaurant, and this act of complete idiocy is justified by Steve, somewhat unconvincingly, on the basis that he… doesn’t want to take it to a bank, because then he’d need a formal partnership agreement, or something? I mean, I can see why convicted criminal Kame might be happier keeping his financial affairs on a strictly greenbacks-only basis, but the head of the Five-0 Task Force…? 

Fortunately a corpse has been washed up on the beach, so we can skip to the actual plot. The DOA is Tom Hennessy, an old CIA bud of Steve’s. Agent Greer, leading the investigation, tells Steve that Hennessy seems to be one of a number of murdered Company operatives, and that there’s probably a mole giving them up. Isn’t there always? A little spice is added when it’s revealed that Greer is a former girlfriend of Steve’s, and Danny, for one, thinks that Steve should be looking to get down to some “grown folks’ business” with her once the case has been solved.

The investigation leads the Five-0 to a ship, where they find the sensory deprivation tank. So Steve decides that the best way of flushing out the mole is for him to allow himself to be captured and dangled in the tank, whereupon he will feed his captors false information. Danny thinks this is “really stupid”, which seems to be understating the position by a factor of about a billion. But Steve goes ahead and does it anyway, which is where we came in. It’s a delightfully demented episode with which to open a new season, while also nicely paying homage to the show’s original iteration, and giving us a potential new Big Bad into the bargain. Good work all round.

Public Service Announcement 47 of 2018: Hawaii Five-0, MacGyver, NCIS: LA, The Undiscovered Tony Hancock (etc.)

Sky Living’s all-American all-procedurals Sunday line-up is back in place as of tomorrow, with perennial Unpopcult favourite Hawaii Five-0 (9pm) joined by MacGyver (8pm) and NCIS: LA (10pm). I can’t comment on the other two, but H50 showed the strength of the format and its leads by surviving, quite comfortably, the loss of Grace Park and Daniel Dae Kim. Weekly reviews as usual.

And a word about The Undiscovered… Sky Arts’s Victor Lewis-Smith-produced short season of documentaries about British comedy actors Kenneth Williams, Peter Sellers, and Tony Hancock. All are available on catch-up until mid-January and something close to unmissable, marrying diligent research and crisp social commentary. The real shame is that they were tucked away on Sky Arts: any public service broadcaster worth its licence fee would be chucking shitloads of money at Lewis-Smith, a sui generis talent, and inviting him to make whatever the hell he wants.

Hawaii Five-0 s8 ep 25

It’s the season finale, for which Hawaii Five-0 likes to raise its game. Apart from some nonsense about the restaurant – to which we’ll come back – the action starts with a mysterious black shape looming into view just off the Honolulu beach. It’s quickly revealed to be a rogue Russian nuclear-powered submarine. Fantastic! In every sense of the word.

But what do they want? Steve, for one, is not willing to welcome his new Russian overlords, and after an (inadvertently comic?) interlude when he tries to communicate with the crew using semaphore, he commandeers a small boat and sails out to the submarine, demanding to speak to the Captain. As American warships surround the sub, and helicopters fly overhead, world peace rests on the appealingly broad shoulders of Commander McGarrett of the Five-0 Task Force.

Once on board, the officer in charge takes Steve to the captain; or, at any rate, the corpse of the Captain. There was, he is told, a mutiny on board, at the behest of submariners who wanted to defect to America. Although the uprising has been suppressed its leader, Petrov, waited until the submarine was close to Hawaii then escaped through a torpedo port and is now on Oahu. Grover’s response to being told this – “What?!” – is the only sensible one. But after the Russian consul is leveraged by Steve and Danny into providing a bit of information, the Petrov chase is on: he seems to be after a regular all-American couple who live on the island.

And at this point the show turns into The Americans, because the couple, who live as Lee and Nancy – someone’s research took them no further than well-known singing duos – are, in fact, GRU sleeper agents in deep cover. Or were GRU sleeper etc., because by the time the Five-0 gets to their house “Lee” and “Nancy” are very dead, having been tortured first; which presumably means that Petrov was after information on someone else. Where will this end? With a spectacular season-ender of a knockdown fight between Petrov and Steve, that’s where: they kick seven shades out of each other, occasionally making use of office equipment; then fall through a second-floor window onto a table and do it all over again. Wonderful.

Meantime, in return for $250,000 cash money stuffed into suitcases, Steve and Danny have taken on Kamekona and Flippa as partners in their restaurant. “I’m gonna go kill myself”, mutters Danny. Unsurprisingly, though, Kame knows more about the restaurant business than the two of them. Could they turn this money pit into a viable enterprise? Next season for that, presumably; and for further developments in respect of Adam, given that Tami has found the gun which killed his sister in his house. Assuming he’ll return. Hell, assuming any of them return: there’s no official word yet on contract renewals, but one would guess that certain undertakings were given before CBS decided to greenlight a ninth year. I thought this season was generally fine, if a little below the standard set by the unexpectedly excellent seventh. But the show coped well with the loss of two major characters and the integration of their replacements.

Hawaii Five-0 s8 ep 24

Steve and Junior are hanging at home, when the doorbell goes. Junior answers it, then disappears. Kidnapped? From his own doorstep?! Actually, and even less plausibly, he’s been recalled by the Navy SEALs for a mission which is so incredibly urgent he couldn’t be spared ten seconds or so to say goodbye. 

But there’s no time to ponder that, because Junior is being deployed to Nigeria to capture or kill a high value target. Who might or might not be holding Joe White as a hostage. Well, as soon as Steve hears that he insists on tagging along, which allows the show to fully indulge its military fetish, with everything from camouflage face paint to arcane jargon (“Center peel!”) and hand signals. It’s a complete suicide mission, of course, for anyone except the Big Kahuna, who fills in any available spare time by flashing back to a time when Joe rescued him from certain death.

And the other plot is just as good, in its own way. Gerard Hirsch (Willie Garson, forever Mozzie from White Collar) is cleaning a house after a murder, when he spots two artworks on the wall which he thinks were looted by Nazis during World War Two; and, as the victim’s husband’s grandfather was a German émigré, it all kind of fits. A magnificently grumpy Grover tries to keep Hirsch and Kamekona away from the case, sarcastically proposing to them that they should become police officers, while he and Tani serve prawns and clean crime scenes. (Cue quick dream sequence, in which Kame and Hirsch are in uniform taking part in a shootout.)

But Hirsch is determined to help. Could, he is asked, the paintings be fakes? “I was a master forger in a previous life”, he replies drolly, stopping just short of winking at the camera. (But provoking a squeal of glee in at least one viewer, who loves his meta and his White Collar.) He will in due course answer that question and solve the murder, just about walking off with the episode in doing so. I loved every single moment of this, so credit where due: the story was by Alex O’Loughlin; and the teleplay, of course, was by Zoe Robyn, who never lets the Five-0 viewers down.

Hawaii Five-0 s8 ep 23

Boston wiseguy Tommy Boyle is murdered in his house, which is witnessed by his acupuncturist – who is then killed herself – and her daughter Cammy, who escapes and goes on the run. When Steve and Danny head over to Cammy’s apartment they’re met, to their considerable surprise, by Junior; he is, he says, an old friend, although at least to start with he’s curiously reluctant to discuss that friendship in front of Tani. The suspect pool includes Boyle’s son and a retired German banker, caught on camera having a meeting on the day of Daddy Boyle’s funeral. It’s thinly plotted, but some of Danny’s dialogue is quite funny. As is the scene in which Danny and Steve try to get information out of elderly mobster Jin Leung, as a result of which Danny is required to throw a kung fu fight against Leung’s son, but incredibly resistant to the idea.

Hawaii Five-0 s8 ep 22

A long-term resident of a psychiatric hospital is found murdered, and staff are being reticent. So Jerry goes undercover at the hospital as an orderly – it was presumably a judgment call to soundtrack the cold open with Patsy Cline’s version of ‘Crazy’ – in order to make discreet enquiries with both staff and patients. 

Meantime Duke – the straightest straight arrow in the HPD – suddenly breaks bad, Tasing a fellow cop and stealing a key from the evidence vault. Say it ain’t so, Dook? Well, of course there’s a reason: his granddaughter has been abducted by masked men, and they’ve promised to kill her unless etc. etc. He uses the key to open a locker, which has a bag containing around $1m in cash money, but before he can pass it to the abductors he’s robbed by someone else.

Two potentially good plots; unfortunately, neither rises above the stolid. Meantime Tani’s idiot brother Koa has completed rehab and decided to work as a counsellor; and Adam is, presumably, still in the wind.