Hawaii Five-0 (2010) -- Season 2 Reviews

INCLUDING ODDITIES, GOOFS AND TRIVIA

Copyright ©2011-2014 by Mike Quigley. No reproduction of any kind without permission.


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OUR RATINGS:
= One of the very best episodes, a must-see.
= Better than average, worthy of attention.
= Average, perhaps with a few moments of interest.
= One of the very worst, a show to avoid.
1. Ha'i'ole (Unbreakable) ½  BOOK 'EM, DANNO 
Original air date: 9/19/11 -- Opening Credits -- End Credits

For the season two premiere, the show's creators deserve a special prize for jamming what seemed like more roller coaster-like action into 42 or so minutes than in any other episode so far.

At the beginning of the show, McGarrett escapes from jail thanks to his nemesis Victor Hesse, who stabs him in the prison yard, getting McGarrett transported out of jail by ambulance. Prior to getting knifed, the two of them carry on their kung fu fighting from their previous encounters. Victor wants McGarrett to escape and go after Wo Fat because he figures that Wo will come gunning for him once he cleans up a lot of loose ends locally. On the way to the hospital, McGarrett punches out the two ambulance attendants and leaps out of the moving vehicle, almost getting run over, a pretty improbable move considering how badly McGarrett is bleeding.

Terry O'Quinn made the first of what are supposed to be several appearances as McGarrett's SEAL mentor and trainer Lt. Commander Joe White, who also knew McGarrett's father for 34 years. O'Quinn and O'Loughlin played well off each other, and this seemed to be much more of a "family" episode with the Five-0 team than many in the first season. Masi Oka as coroner Max Bergman got promoted to a star character who will be seen more often, as did Taylor Wily as Kamekona, who talks about expanding his operation from the shave ice stand to a shrimp truck. Danno's ranting was less offensive than normal, mainly because he was being the "voice of reason" most of the time when he was yelling and not just carrying on like a ninny.

While "some conditions apply" from Lieutenant-Governor Sam Denning (Richard T. Jones), the team ends up back together as it was before McGarrett got jailed over the assassination of Governor Jameson, though Kono is still suspended from the police force.

There are some major plot twists -- McGarrett's father being pals with Wo Fat then and Jenna Kaye being pals with him now. I am skeptical that Jenna is really Wo's pal, though. Her glance at him at the end looked like he had something on her ... maybe the whereabouts of her supposedly dead fiancée?

The high seas chase at the end was very reminiscent of the end of Murder -- Eyes Only in the earlier show where Five-O pursued Wo Fat on a hydrofoil trying to escape into international waters, only to discover when they boarded the ship that Wo Fat was not there. The new ship even had a silvery "hydrofoil" look about it.

There were a few things in this show that didn't totally add up:

The photography was above-average in this show, particularly when viewed on a higher resolution TV, which I think may be part of the problem with those shows last season which looked kind of crappy. (I had watched several of those in 480p; there may also be some issues with how the shows are broadcast.) Some reports from people who have watched the Blu-Ray discs of the first season suggest that the higher resolution makes a huge difference in both the quality of the image and the color compared to a standard TV. Unfortunately, the music rehashed a lot of familiar "themes."

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2. Ua Lawe Wale (Taken without right) ½
Original air date: 9/26/11 -- Opening Credits -- End Credits

I actually had to watch this show while it was on, a painful experience not only because it was late, but because I had to endure the awful sound mix and mumbling actors without any opportunity to "rewind." While the script was sort of logical, it was the usual slam-bam-thank-you-ma'am experience with dizzying photography (very nice to look at, though) and mediocre music.

This episode introduced Lori Weston (Lauren German), a skinny blonde FBI profiler who is foisted on the Five-0 team by the Lieutenant-Governor to keep an eye on them and make sure they avoid some of the excesses of the previous season. I didn't like Weston much at all. Is she a friend of the Lieutenant-Governor's or something? Was she on a short list of candidates applying to work with Five-0 or what? On the other hand, Jenna Kaye, who I wasn't too crazy about originally, leaves because she receives news that her fiancé is still alive (she says he "must" be alive, not "might" be alive), but as I suggested in my review of last week's episode, this is probably something to do with Wo Fat, not her boss at the CIA, who she says told her this. I was actually sad when Jenna left, and had a good laugh at the line she gave McGarrett when he was hassling her about getting information on the case they were investigating, something like ""OhmigawdIamalreadystressedtothemaxandyourhasslingmedoesn'tmakemeworkfaster!"

The story was about Jen Hassley, a fifteen-year-old champeen paddleboard surfer who was kidnapped just at her moment of triumph at the end of a race from Molokai to Oahu. Turns out that Jen was born to Ria, the daughter of Steven Carver, the "Jim Jones"-like leader of a cult with its headquarters on the island of Lanai. Because of a heart condition which meant that the no-doctors attitude of the cult would have doomed her daughter, Ria faked Jen's death and gave the kid up for adoption. Even after watching the show a couple more times, I still had a lot of difficulty figuring this scenario out.

First, Carver's cult believes -- at least based on what Carter says to the kidnapped Jen when he tries to give her some herbal tea -- that "medicine makes us weak." So would there even have been a doctor in attendance at Jen's birth? Without a doctor, how would they have been able to diagnose her heart condition to the extent that she needed emergency surgery? And how would her mother have faked Jen's death? This would require the co-operation of Jen and any medical personnel (if they were even present), plus it would all have to be kept secret from the other members of the cult, especially Ria's father, Carver. Way back then, Ria contacted Matt Porter, an "extractor" who professionally helped people escape from cults, to help with the adoption process. How would she know him and how would she get in touch with him? Wouldn't Porter be total anathema to the cult? It's not like they had his phone number in their Rolodexes or something. Porter, with Ria's knowledge, took care of the adoption process with Jen winding up with her current parents. But would Porter have legally been allowed to do this? One of Porter's aliases, James Westerfield, was on the adoption papers for Jen, but -- despite what Jenna says -- not on the paper that she showed McGarrett dated July 17, 1996 (15 years before) which was seen very briefly in the show. The only signatures on that paper were those of the Hassleys, Jen's adoptive mother and father.

At the end of the show, Ria speculates that when her father was in Honolulu recently, he saw Jen's interview in a magazine where the kid mentioned her heart condition and somehow made the connection with his supposedly dead granddaughter. Finding out about her father's plans, Ria called Porter to warn him that her father was coming to get Jen, using some secret phone number which was only given out to people Porter dealt with, the ones needing help escaping from cults. But would Ria have this number after so many years? (If it was a newer number, again -- how would she get it?) Does Porter live in Hawaii? The fact that he had a bunch of bogus drivers' licenses for various states suggests he is always travelling around. Or was he in Hawaii just to help Julie, the girl from a mainland cult, trying to go underground? (Chin Ho located her via voice mail that Porter left -- love them all-encompassing powers!) Carver would have to figure out where the secretive Porter was staying, kill him, dump his body and then use his car to kidnap Jen after contacting her via a pseudonymous character on a Facebook-like site, sending her a letter with a picture of Ria, her birth mother which told Jen to meet behind the changing room at the paddleboard race finale for more information. All of which is fraught with the possibility of something going wrong. And then, why would Carver steal Porter's car? To make people think it was Porter who kidnapped Jen? Don't forget, Max Bergman determined that Porter was killed on Saturday. The race was held on Sunday, proving that Porter did not kidnap Jen. It's not as if Carver could not afford to rent a car -- the guy owns his own plane!

Questions, questions, questions -- all because of very, very bad writing!

In the show we get to see McGarrett, Danno and Lori ride horses to the cult's Lanai ranch. I'm surprised that Danno didn't spend a lot of time bitching about having to ride a horse -- after all, he is from NEW JERSEY. When McGarrett and Danno are having a "horse-argument," Lori gets off a zinger: "How long have you been married," which is pretty lame, considering in season one's show Ho'apono, Robert Loggia's character made a similar remark. The big shootout at the cult headquarters was ridiculous and brought suggestions of the ATF attack on the David Koresh compound. I like the way every time someone shot at the Five-0 threesome, they were either behind sheet metal or oil drums. I was also surprised that in the next show, McGarrett didn't get get another good-sized ass-chewing from the Lieutenant-Governor for violating 57 varieties of civil rights.

Of course, any show that has Grace Park looking sad can't be bad, and this one had several teary-eyed moments as she had to prepare for her review by Internal Affairs, with Tom Sizemore being the VERY nasty boss of IA. Having him show up in her house reading her school yearbook was a particulary creepy moment. Surely Kono could have launched a complaint about this. Note that the name of Sizemore's character, Fryer, is the same as that of the Internal Affairs bigshot in the original show's tenth season episode The Friends of Joey Kalima, who hassles the title character of that show, also a rookie cop, in a very aggressive fashion.

The ending, with its cloying song telling us again what to think, was nauseating.

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3. Kame'e (The Hero)
Original air date: 10/3/11 -- Opening Credits -- End Credits

This was actually a pretty good "don't think about it too hard" episode.

Clay Garcia, a Navy SEAL who is having marital problems, is found dead in an Oahu forest in the middle of nowhere, apparently the victim of suicide. McGarrett's mentor and trainer, Joe White (Terry O'Quinn), who has decided to relocate to Pearl Harbor, doesn't believe for a moment that the guy killed himself and asks McGarrett to investigate. McGarrett gets Max Bergman to reopen the case, which he does with reluctance, and after Max does a more thorough job, he finds evidence that points to a homicide. Subsequently, another SEAL is killed under suspicious circumstances. Later, Chin Ho, McGarrett and Martin find a pot plantation close to the place where Garcia's body was found. Using footage from the dope growers' elaborate security system, Five-0 figures out that a hitman hired by a Mexican drug cartel which was recently targeted by SEALS Team 9 on their home turf is going after members of this elite force, who are training in Hawaii. In the nick of time, Five-0 manages to prevent yet another SEAL murder, and the show ends with Five-0 watching a live feed of Team 9 taking down the Mexican drug lords one more time, for good.

There were several things about this show that were above average, aside from the photography which was exceptional, the constantly rotating camera notwithstanding. One was the opening sequence where a young couple (an actual twosome in real life) finds Garcia's body in the forest. This part of the show was worthy of five stars, for reasons which I won't get into.

Then there were two stunts. The first was when the drug dealers were trying to catch Five-0 and White, and their vehicle hit a tree which McGarrett conveniently let fall in front of them. (I was surprised that Husqvarna wasn't added as a new sponsor ... how did he manage to do this in such a short time?) The three guys go flying out of their jeep which was totalled.

But this was nothing compared to the mind-bending stunt at the end of the show, which will be hard to top -- ever. Hector Ruiz (Simon Ebling), the nasty hitman hired by the cartel, poses as the pilot for a plane which is taking SEAL Commander Bradley Jacks skydiving, drugs him, then puts the plane on auto pilot and throws Jacks out from several thousand feet up after cutting his parachute ropes. Suddenly out of nowhere, McGarrett appears, skydiving, and in an incredible free fall sequence, grabs on to the falling SEAL, then lets go of him and catches up with him again, fastens on to him and then they fall together to earth. There was some serious time compression going on here, as McGarrett not only managed to get to the airport after realizing at Ruiz' hideout that Jacks was next to be knocked off, but then commandeered a plane and managed to fly exactly above the place where Jacks got dumped. The hitman was totally oblivious to McGarrett's presence as he did this, even though the sky was totally clear and there were no other planes or skydivers to be seen anywhere.

Grace Park as Kono got to wear a slinky skirt and boots as she started hanging out with a group of sleazy cops, including William Baldwin in his first appearance as Frank Delano. Whatever Kono is up to, it screams "setup," either because she wants to get brownie points with HPD on her own, or she is working in cahoots with Fryer from Internal Affairs. I'm surprised that Delano and the other cops can't figure this out, especially since Kono was previously kind of a goody-goody.

On the negative side, we had to endure more of Lori Weston's "babysitting" Five-0, even having a "cargument" with Danno over his relationship with his wife. At least this produced a good line from Danno: "'Close' is no good unless you're playing horseshoes or hand grenades." At the end of the show, her agreeing that it was a good thing that McGarrett was on "our side" was totally unnecessary, like some know-it-all who joins a company suddenly opening their mouth after working there for only a few days. McGarrett and Danno also got to have a discussion while driving, and in both cases we were back to the usual awful projected backdrops.

The "long arm of U.S. justice" attack on the Mexican cartel at the end, witnessed by Five-0 via a live feed, had lots of contemporary relevance, with obvious echoes of the Navy SEAL raid which killed Osama Bin Laden. It was either rah-rah-gung-ho or repugant, depending on your viewpoint. One person who contacted me about this, whose identify I cannot disclose for obvious reasons, had this to say about the ending: "At the end when they were showing the 5-0 team the SEAL takedown live as it was happening, that was TOTALLY unbelievable for me. I have had a Top Secret clearance for over 22 yrs now and you NEVER NEVER invite people WITHOUT a security clearance into a TOP SECRET environment, much less show them a live video feed. I am pretty sure none of the 5-0 people have a TOP SECRET clearance in the show (maybe Steve does??) as there would be no need for it in the storyline. There is a special kind of law enforcement classification called "law enforcement sensitive" which is a MUCH lower level of classification than TOP SECRET. However, with all the blatant security present at the location where they watched the takedown, it was pretty obvious that it was a TOP SECRET environment."

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4. Mea Makamae (Treasure) ½
Original air date: 10/10/11 -- Opening Credits -- End Credits

Although this show had three high profile guest stars (Patty Duke, Peter Fonda and Don Stroud, the latter mentioned only in the end credits) and, as we have seen recently, superb photography, the resolution of the crime of the week turned out to be pretty boring.

The plot, to do with Blake Spencer, a salvage diver getting murdered while trying to recover the remains of his grandfather which were lost during World War II, was overly complicated almost to the point of being illogical. Then I realized that this show was about "RELATIONSHIPS."

The show begins (and ends) with McGarrett wanting to know from his "Uncle" Joe White what is happening with the video footage of his father meeting the now-deceased Governor and Wo Fat which Joe supposedly submitted to the Department of Defense for anal-ysis. The line that White gives him, like "you don't want to know what this is about" is highly reminiscent of what Wo Fat told McGarrett during their meeting in the Chinese restaurant. It turns out that Joe didn't bother to send the footage to the DoD at all, as McGarrett's girl friend Catherine discovers.

McGarrett's relationship with Catherine seems to be on the skids -- like they don't want to get too close to each other. When they meet in the park while McGarrett is working the case, she is chilly towards him, and near the end when she tells him that she is being shipped out to the Middle East on an assignment, they can barely manage a hug.

Kono continues her "relationship" with Frank Delano, the William Baldwin character. Is she "doing it" with this creep as part of her undercover work? Hopefully not! He is hanging out with her in her house, as is some other disgraced cop who was kicked off the force. Chin Ho comes to visit her twice during the show, once because he finds out from Charlie Fong that Kono has been using his account in the HPD database. Chin explains this by saying he was at her house and wanted to check his account from there and presumably left the connection open -- a very lame plot contrivance. Kono rolls her eyes at Chin both times, trying to look annoyed.

This is the show where Danno starts his relationship with Dr. Gabrielle Asano from the Bishop Museum (Autumn Reeser). McGarrett and he consult her over some coins from a shipwreck which they find in Spencer's room above the bar run by Ed (Stroud). The cargument that the two of them have over Danno's ineptness in asking her out is pretty funny, actually.

And finally, there is the relationship between diver Spencer and his mother Sylvia (Duke), who has Alzheimer's disease. She thinks her son is still in the sixth grade. Lori's attempts to talk to the woman about her son are awkward.

I had a good laugh at the music accompanying the scene at the beginning where the kid who finds Spencer's disconnected hand, which kick-starts the whole case, is pretending to be a shark. It had echoes of John Williams' score to "Jaws" ... in other words REAL MUSIC!

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5. Ma’ema’e (Clean) ½
Original air date: 10/17/11 -- Opening Credits -- End Credits

This was a very good episode, which resolved the "Kono goes over to the dark side" arc.

At the beginning of the show, Brian Scartelli (Joe Toro), the coach of the University of Hawaii Rainbow Wahine girls' volleyball team, is brutally murdered. It turns out that he was having an affair with Trisha (Meredith Monroe), wife of Carl Joyner, local money launderer who lives in a fancy house in Kahala. This location gives Danno and McGarrett plenty to talk about during the obligatory "cargument." When she left her husband, Trisha cleaned out her husband's bank account, including money that belonged to sleazebag ex-cop Frank Delano (William Baldwin). Delano personally knocked off Scartelli, presumably so he could get Scartelli's cel phone to send messages to Trisha who Scartelli had shacked up in the Blue Lagoon Motel. Delano's idea was to force Trisha out of hiding, pretending to be her boyfriend. How Delano could connect the dots between Scartelli and Joyner's wife is a good question ... as is how could one of Delano's associates, Dwight Murphy (Gary Price), find the motel where she was hiding out. And there is another big question: why was Scartelli living in Carl and Trisha's guest house in the first place? Was this a charitable gesture considering all the work that coach did for the local community or something? Prior to his death, Scartelli leaves a message on the answering machine in the motel for Trisha saying that her husband "knows [she's] left, he's flipping out." When Danno and McGarrett arrive at Joyner's house to check out Brian's room, Carl seems shocked that his former tenant is dead.

In the coach's residence, Danno and McGarrett find suggestive pictures of Melanie Ayres (Tania Raymonde, formerly of "Lost"), a star player from the volleyball team. This is a red herring, because when Danno and McGarrett interview Melanie, it turns out some athletic footwear company took the pictures, after which she was benched for getting involved with a commercial product endorsement. When Danno and McGarrett return to Joyner's place, Carl is trying to escape, but is shot dead by a professional hitman taking aim from a neighbor's roof over 600 feet away. There is no mention of how this guy got up on the roof (or McGarrett and Danno later, for that matter). Following a scene where Malia, Chin's girl friend, tries to be chummy with Kono and Kono acts like a total bitch, Chin and Lori go to the motel where Trisha is supposedly hanging out. Lori is just annoying in this sequence, especially when she makes small talk with Chin, who looks like he is trying to catch up on his sleep. Lori tries to get Chin to talk about male sexual problems as well as McGarrett and his "daddy issues," but Chin just blows her off. Hitman Dwight soon shows up, and as he escapes after being surprised by the two Five-0 members (and is fatally wounded by Lori), Chin sees Kono driving the getaway car.

After Kono is tracked down by her cel phone signal, she is busted by Five-0. She is taken back to Five-0 headquarters for the blue-lit interrogation room treatment. From this point on, things get interesting. McGarrett yells at Kono, then Chin tries to butter her up with the "family" angle. Finally, Captain Fryer (Tom Sizemore) arrives and he and McGarrett have a screaming match because Kono is working undercover for him (DUH!!) and he needs her desperately to get back on the job. Kono is released in due course and when grilled by Ray Mapes, one of Delano's dirty cop friends (Billy Ray Gallion) as to what she has been doing, she says that she was busy cleaning up Delano's mess. (Kono looks very hot during this sequence, like she went home and put on some mascara and got her hair done.) Delano and his three associates buy this explanation without hardly any questions. Considering they are all-knowing, what did they think Kono was doing while she was away, and for quite a while? Did they really think that she was dumping Dwight's body off a bridge as Delano requested?

Delano then pulls out Scartelli's cel phone to show that he is arranging a meeting with Trisha, who he has checked in to a posh hotel, pretending to be the volleyball coach. When Trisha arrives at the hotel, she is shocked to see news of Scartelli's murder on TV, and as soon as she opens the hotel room door to leave, Baldwin and his pals, including Kono, walk in. During this next sequence, Chin Ho outdoes himself being geeky, tracking down Kono via the microphone in her cel. He is in a "cleaning" truck, though it wasn't a dry cleaner van like was used for surveillance in the old show, but one of those trucks used by restoration companies. Chin manages to figure out that Trisha is going to a bank close to the hotel where she has all the money from her husband's laundering operation in a safety deposit box (number 41889). The final scenes have a more than a few similarities to the 1995 film "Heat" starring Sizemore. In that movie, Sizemore's character, one of the bad guys, is gunned down by Al Pacino after a bank robbery, whereas in this movie Sizemore takes out Baldwin after the crooks leave the bank with the loot. Kono has some kung-fu ass kicking moves in the bank, but she gets wounded in the shoulder for her troubles.

At the end, McGarrett slugs Fryer in the mouth for messing with "his" team, which is hard to take, considering Fryer doesn't turn around and punch him back. Hopefully Sizemore as Fryer will be back (and he was), since he makes a great bad good guy. The show ends with a slo-mo shot of the Five-0 five leaving the scene.

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6. Ka Hakaka Maika’i (The Good Fight)
Original air date: 10/24/11 -- Opening Credits -- End Credits

If the show two episodes ago was about "relationships," then this show was about "fighting."

The beginning and ending of the show, with McGarrett partaking in an Mixed Martial Arts fight for charity, complete with Raging Bull-like slow-motion reaction shots to punches, was ridiculous, designed only to show off O'Loughlin's beefcake and give real-life MMA fighter Chuck "The Iceman" Liddell the opportunity for a guest appearance. Come on ... even though McGarrett is a public figure, he needs to have a certain distance between himself and the community. Not only was McGarrett "exposed" by participating in this fight, but so were other members of Five-0 like Lori and Danno. Considering the element who attend these kind of contests, doesn't it seem possible that someone might try to try and knock McGarrett off if he appeared in such an obvious way (like Wo Fat -- hello!)? I'm surprised the writers didn't consider this, considering how complicated the plot -- such as was left after the time wasted with this fight -- already was. At the very least, public awareness of McGarrett and Five-0 would certainly increase. The way the other members of the Five-0 team and Kamekona were carrying on, supporting McGarrett, was silly. (Did Kono really call the big guy "Komokona" or "Komakona"?) Lori's conversation with McGarrett prior to the fight, with her telling him that she used to fight in a martial arts way with her former boyfriend until she beat him, was equally so.

Then there was the kick-ass duel between Joe White and Wo Fat. Come on again ... Terry O'Quinn is almost 60 years old (I was surprised to learn he is younger than I am, though). Just because he is a Navy SEAL, does this give him kung fu fighting ability? If you watch this fight carefully, you can see how it was choreographed and sped up to produce an effect of "extreme fighting." The music prior to this fight as Joe arrived at his home prior to us seeing Wo was hardly subtle.

The plot had the usual complications: someone is murdered in an unusual way, which gives Max Bergman an opportunity to come up with esoteric ideas about how the guy died. In this case, it was a well-known restaurateur in Honolulu, Jake Griffin. There were red herrings, like a crew of people working for the the Kokua Valet Service, connected to Jake's restaurants, who were committing a series of home invasions after making copies of customers' car keys. The focus soon turned to Jake's sister, Samantha Martel, played by Annie Wersching, Renee Walker on "24," and tough guy Victor Boriero (Gino Anthony Pesione). Samantha had left the employ of the restaurant to work for the charitable Leiomano Foundation, established by Jake for wayward young street types in Honolulu. Boriero trains at the foundation's gym. Neither of these two are guilty. Turns out the bad guy is Marshall Martel (Shawn Hatosy), Samantha's husband and Griffin's brother-in-law, who shot Jake during an argument and then threw his body in his swimming pool after tying him to a chair with duct tape which he bought at a hardware store shortly after (conveniently filmed by the store's video camera). The motivation for this killing (which was committed by accident) was that Marshall wanted money from his brother-in-law. BORING!

This show was unusual because Dave Lockhart, one of the suspects from the valet service, actually asked for a lawyer multiple times while in the Five-0 interrogation room. On the other hand, after he was arrested by Five-0, Marshall totally blabbed everything to his dumbfounded wife as he was being taken away.

In this show we get the first mention of the mysterious "Shelburne" who was discussed in the meeting between the former Governor, Wo Fat and McGarrett's father on the video file taken from the Governor's office. Because the audio portion of this file was unrecoverable, Joe White got agent Kensi Blye (Daniela Ruah) from NCIS, an "expert lip reader" who owed him a favor, to come all the way from Los Angeles to Honolulu to tell McGarrett this.

There were some nice aerial shots of Honolulu, and good acting from Scott Caan as Danno when he had to comfort Jake's son after his father's death, but overall this show was a dud. Hopefully they can get out of this rut of using the same kind of story-telling every week with something a bit off the beaten track soon.

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7. Ka Iwi Kapu (Sacred Bones)
Original air date: 10/31/11 -- Opening Credits -- End Credits

This Halloween-themed episode was a big disappointment, especially considering it was directed by Joe Dante, a man responsible for mixing horror with a wacky sense of humor in many of his movies. There wasn't very much funny about this show at all, other than seeing coroner Max Bergman dressed up like Keanu Reeves in The Matrix and Danno speculating about what costume Lori was wearing at a Hallowe'en party, wondering if she was "Slutty Wonder Woman." I totally didn't like this show the first time I saw it, less so the second time around. The major problem was Danno being beyond annoying after behaving relatively normally on the show for some time. At the beginning of the show he flew off the handle when some guy in the rundown Pagoda Terrace hotel where he was living and where he was taking his daughter Gracie for trick-or-treating gave her some miniature liquor bottles "for her dad." Danno pulled out his badge and threatened to arrest the guy for corrupting a minor. Fortunately, Danno was called away by McGarrett, and Gracie looked relieved, because then she could go off by herself without her PITA dad. What did Danno expect? I'm sure he could have taken his daughter to some better quality part of town! Danno also acted very stupidly at the crime scene located at Kulamanu Heiau, a (fictional) sacred burial ground where a Blair Witch Project-style documentarian and his girlfriend (Tyler Mitchell and Kat Forester, played by Paul Starr and Tani L. Fujimoto respectively) had been brutally murdered. The two film makers had been trying to capture a sighting of "night marchers," or ghost warriors. While others were waiting for a priest to give the okay to enter the grounds, Danno jumped over a wall and started poking around. At least he was nicely rewarded with a couple of large rocks through the front and back windows of his Camaro. There were the usual red herrings connected with the murder, specifically Robert "Freddy Kruger" Englund as Samuel Lee, a deranged derelict Vietnam veteran and the creepy-looking Tyler Mitchell (David Paul Starr) who worked at a funeral home, neither of whom had much to do with the crime. The guy who actually did it, hospital worker Jacob Garrison (stuntman Phil Culotta), who had a connection with mortuary attendant Mitchell through the body-parts trade, only put in a brief appearance at the last minute -- his presence seemed to be for little purpose other than a spectacular stunt at the end of the show where he turned into a human torch. The production values of the show including the photography again was very good, with some nice, swooping shots of the Oahu skyline. The music was mostly the usual plink-plank nonsense, but there were a few creepy passages which sounded like manipulated tape sounds, at times reminiscent of The X-Files. The soundtrack as Five-0 approached the killer's house was unbearably loud, but the use of the theme from "Ghostbusters" at the beginning of the show was a nice touch. Lori, whose part was boringly written, got clubbed on the head with a very heavy-looking object by Garrison near the end of the show. I suspect if this was real life, that the damage it did would have been very severe. Lori grabs on to McGarrett for a few seconds when they discover that she has been knocked out.

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8. Lapa’au (Healing) ½
Original air date: 11/7/11 -- Opening Credits -- End Credits

I enjoyed this show, in no small part due to the presence of guest actor Greg Grunberg. He appeared briefly at the beginning and I figured it's the usual Five-0 guest spot with the actor spending minimal time on the show, probably reappearing at the end of the show where he is identified as the bad guy. But Grunberg's character, ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) agent Jeff Morrison, took an active part in the investigation along with Five-0 to avenge the death of Monica Jennsen, an agent who worked for him. The big scene at the beginning of the show where this co-worker crashed into the ocean in a plane used pretty cheesy CGI, reminiscent of the famous stock shot from the old show where a car plunges over a cliff and bursts into flame. The Five-0 supercomputer seemed to be slow to respond to help with the case, because information about this plane and its pilot were not forthcoming early on. There was some suggestion that the NTSB (National Transportation and Safety Board) was going to be doing an investigation, but would this keep Five-0 from gleaning any details? As well, one would have expected McGarrett to bark "I want to know every plane that took off from this island" (especially since he knew that the plane was a certain variety of Cessna which had some peculiar characteristics which influenced the plot) and "I want to know everyone who is qualified to fly or jump from a plane." It turned out that the bad guy had these qualifications, yet the supercomputer did not flag these after Chin and Kono talked to the guy earlier in the day. The bad guy, Liam Miller (Jon Gries) was a VERY bad guy suffering from terminal cancer who took extreme measures not only towards Morrison's associate, but also some Chinese herbal doctor who prescribed him exotic animal remedies which did not work. The scene at the beginning with Danno was annoying, and Danno picked up a pet dog which seemed to share some of his characteristics, i.e., barking and interrupting the investigation at Five-0 headquarters and depositing some turds in McGarrett's office. You have to wonder, if Danno was such a "dog person" as he suggested, why he would let the dog gag on some of Kamekona's shrimp products. As well, Danno was bitching about Hawaii ("I hate this miserable land"), something which has not been actively pursued in recent episodes (other than the last one, where he was messing around with the sacred burial ground). Still, despite its faults, the plot for the show was relatively logical, and the photography again was well above average.

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9. Ike Maka (Identity) ½
Original air date: 11/14/11 -- Opening Credits -- End Credits

This episode was a typical Five-0 procedural, starting with the trunk of one of several muscle cars destined for Asian markets revealing a body which had had plastic surgery. The investigation identified the victim as Jimmy Sheehan (a.k.a. Adam Raines), who was in Hawaii under the auspices of the Witness Protection Program after testifying against a Boston mobster. Sheehan was recognized by another Bostonian, Billy Murphy (Zack Ward), who owed money to the mob and spilled the beans on Sheehan in order to clear his debt. Despite the fact the blue-lit room did double duty, with Five-0 grilling not only Ken Naoka (David Lee McInnis), a local car thief, but also John O'Toole (Tony Curran), a red-haired, smart-mouth Boston Irish Mafia guy, Sheehan's killer turned out to be Thomas James (Hank Stratton), the plastic surgeon who was trying to make him even less recognizable. Sheehan had died on the operating table while the doctor performed his work solo, after which the doc tried to cover up the crime. This hardly seems like a big deal compared to some of the cases that Five-0 has dealt with. There were some lame attempts at humor in the show, with Danno now sleeping on McGarrett's living room couch and complaining about the "Hawaiian water torture" sound of the ocean waves nearby. Max joined Danno on the rag, snubbing McGarrett and Danno because they had ignored e-mails he sent them, only speaking to Agent Weston, who got an opportunity to act slutty undercover, as well as escorting Max to some social function at the end of the show, the two of them dressed up like characters from "Grease." Considering the seriousness of what happened just before it, this finale was annoyingly cutesy-poo (as was Max playing the piano in the autopsy room). Kono and Chin Ho's dialogue was mostly of an expository nature, though Kono had a cool scene at the end of the show when she took out O'Toole's partner who was threatening Sheehan's Hawaiian girl friend. The sound mix when Naoka was in the interrogation room was terrible, making it almost impossible to understand crucial plot points. Later on in the room, O'Toole mentioned a lawyer, but then crumbled under questioning from Danno and McGarrett anyway. I figured out who the killer (the doctor) was well before the end, just by a process of elimination. Although there was some nice photography, especially the scenes on a cable-laying ship out in the middle of the ocean, this episode was a major disappointment, considering it appeared during November sweeps time, when they are supposed to pull out all the stops for a killer show!

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10. Ki’ilua (Deceiver)
Original air date: 11/21/11 -- Opening Credits -- End Credits

I did not like this show at all. So far I have resisted being one of the "this new show is pissing all over the sacred body of work that was the old Five-O" crowd, but this show not only pissed over that, but all over itself as well (even more than the Hallowe'en episode). This episode really should have been a two-hour show, in which case it might have succeeded ... MAYBE. Trying to compress this much material into 42 minutes was absurd, and script logic was totally thrown to the winds. For example, after Bethany Morrison, the muckraking reporter for the Pacific Register, was murdered at the beginning of the show, some guy named Sam Schulte was seen being interrogated in the usual blue-lit room at Five-0 headquarters. Who was this guy? He just appeared out of nowhere, matched up by voiceprint analysis to a threatening message left on the reporter's answering machine. He sounded like another member of the Irish Mafia, but he was not seen in the previous show. I rewound the show for several minutes prior to his appearance, but couldn't figure out who he was. Are they going to drag in some Irish Mafia guy every time they need to resolve plot points? Then there was Doug Mossman (nice to see him) as Kimo Hakama. Was he the owner of the house, some rental agent, the caretaker, or what? I couldn't believe the way the characters jumped on a plane for South and North Korea with all the preparation of taking a trip to the mall to buy a quart of milk. And since when did the Five-0 team get the knowledge to operate rocket launchers, heavy duty weaponry and so forth? Then there is the location of North Korea, where McGarrett was being held captive by Wo Fat after being coerced there by Jenna Kaye under the pretext of rescuing her fiancé Joshua Hirsch. Like Po'ipu, episode nine of the first season which featured a Kim Jong-Il-like leader, this show proved once again that its creators should avoid anything even remotely connected with North Korea. The way Terry O'Quinn led his comic book band of fighters into this country with the help of his old buddy Frank Bama (Jimmy Buffett) reminded me of The A-Team (especially with the participation of Commander Wade Gutches who is stereotypically gung-ho military enough) ... or even Scooby-Doo. I was under the impression that North Korea was one of the most repressive and highly regulated (not to mention protected from "outside influences") countries in the world, but what ... we have "rebels" in North Korea (the ones who captured Jenna's fiancé)? Huh? If someone tried to "invade" North Korea in real life, they would have been vaporized within a few seconds. Inasmuch as I am getting tired of Wo Fat being an even bigger Superman than McGarrett (who in this episode turned into Houdini as well), I was glad to see him finally on the run at the end of the show. But, of course, this will just make Wo even more motivated to come up with typically diabolical schemes and McGarrett equally motivated after the Nine Dragons-like torture that he endured. This was real twenty-first century torture, nasty and sadistic, with the demise of Jenna being a particular shocker. Chin Ho was seen seriously reviving his relationship with Malia at the beginning of the show, only to be called away to work (this is becoming an ongoing cliché). The way Reiko Aylesworth's character is being featured in such a sweet way only makes me think that she will meet a horrible end like she did in "24."

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11. Pahele (Trapped)  BOOK 'EM, DANNO 
Original air date: 12/5/11 -- Opening Credits -- End Credits

A much improved show over last week (how could it be worse?). It begins with Joe White getting kicked out of the Navy SEALS because of his A-Team adventures extracting McGarrett from North Korea. But this just motivates White to go "underground" in his retirement, helping out the Five-0 team (a very good career move, in my opinion!). He kidnaps Hiro Noshimuri (remember him from season one?) who has gotten out of jail thanks to clever lawyers, and makes him reveal that the mysterious Shelburne is a person that even Wo Fat fears. The central issue of the episode is another kidnapping -- of a school bus full of kids by some very nasty dope dealers. The crooks are connected with a recent $80 million cocaine bust by Five-0 which gets a lot of exposure at a press conference held by the Governor, identified as "Sam Danning" in the CBS press release for the show -- DUH! Soap opera star Ingo Rademacher is Malcolm Schafer, the father of one of the kids, and Five-0 suspects that he has some ties to the cocaine ... which he does, but not in the way we expect. Turns out that the drug runners were using his warehouse and when he found out, he turned them in. That's why they kidnapped all of the kids, including his son Jason. I had some very serious problems with the time frame in this show (2 hours for Five-0 to come up with the cocaine, 1 hour for them to deliver it). The team is all over the island, finding the bus, dealing with the kids' parents, going to Halawa Correctional and and rushing back to headquarters where they grill Mateo Vargas (Rick Gomez) from the prison in the usual blue-lit room. Kono even has time to try some hypnotic-like regression on this character. Of course the bad guys are nicely dispatched and the kids, who are nearly smothered to death in a delivery truck at what looks like a gravel pit where a conveyor belt dumps dirt all over the vehicle are driven back to their parents in their school bus by McGarrett as the usual banal music with Bourne-like passages plays in the background. Lori haters get their moment as she makes goo-goo eyes at McGarrett for a few seconds near the end.


12. Alaheo Pau’ole (Gone Forever)
Original air date: 12/12/11 -- Opening Credits -- End Credits

I didn't like this show that much. The plot of the week was incidental to the soap opera -- Joe White jerks McGarrett around yet more with the Shelburne mystery and Chin Ho gets married to Malia. The beginning of the show, with Danno and Lori caught in a hotel room handcuffed to each other, was very strange. Is Lori now supposed to have hot pants for Danno instead of McGarrett? The explanation for this scene, that it "didn't mean what it looked like" was lame. The show began with some obnoxious kids snooping in a bunker, spewing expository dialogue in an unrealistic manner reminiscent of a Stephen Spielberg movie, only to find what they thought was a dead body. And what's with the "lava tube" in the bunker? Did it suddenly appear out of nowhere since World War II? In the scene following, Five-0 rattled off more exposition, and Max was totally annoying. Is there anything that he investigates that he doesn't have some particular interest in, i.e., he is a comic book or TV/film memorabilia collector, a spelunker, etc.? The dead body, Dennis Archer (played by an uncredited actor), turned out to be very much alive. Turns out that Archer was scammed by Bridgett Turner, a woman working with her employer, Mitch Kolat (Michael Buie) the manager of a local luau, who had spent some time in a prison cell with the man who murdered Archer's son Shane in Arizona two years before. When Archer and his wife Sharon (Gail O'Grady) created a web site trying to find their disappeared son, Kolat was quick to take advantage of this, luring the father to Hawaii with a picture of Shane Photoshopped with Bridget. Bridget had been recently murdered and the case was being investigated by Fryer (Tom Sizemore), who surprised Five-0 while they were investigating -- especially since Fryer was not sitting behind a desk, but leading the investigation in a hands-on way. Fryer being "promoted" from Internal Affairs to head of detectives didn't make a lot of sense. As someone e-mailed me, it would put him in serious conflict with people he may have been investigating previously. The people making this show totally can't keep their characters on track, like the way that Lori was supposed to be the governor's stooge, but she turned out to be just a cipher, boringly written (as she was in this show, contributing little). Fryer's extreme interrogation techniques in the blue-lit room verged on the absurd, making McGarrett and Danno look like pussycats by comparison. The wedding at the end was cute in a travelogue-like way ("This is how we have a wedding in Hawaii"), but I still worry something sinister will befall Malia ... and now Joe White has to fear for his life because Noshimuri's son Adam is going to come gunning for him!

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13. Ka Ho’oponopono (The Fix) ½  BOOK 'EM, DANNO 
Original air date: 1/2/12 -- Opening Credits -- End Credits

This episode pushed the envelope, with a teacher sexually involved with one of his students (the teacher pointing out that the age of consent in Hawaii is 16; the girl in question was 17). This was a peripheral issue during the investigation, though, which was like peeling back the layers of an onion until the center was revealed. Once again we are presented with a typical Five-0 red herring procedural, and these red herrings are starting to stink! The best friend of the sexually involved girl was murdered by a professional hit man in order to get her father replaced on a jury with someone sympathetic to the defendant, a construction company which was using substandard steel from China, instead of the USA. As the episode progressed, things became seamier and seamier. The still-unsolved mystery of what Joe White did to Hiro Noshimura left us with yet another big tease at the end, with Joe telling the frustrated McGarrett that he helped Hiro fake his own death -- but there is no indication that Hiro is dead, he has merely disappeared! There were some very strong words between McGarrett and White at the police station, and later Joe was kidnapped by Noshimuri Jr.'s thugs, who beat the crap out of him. Unfortunately, the episode left a very bad taste in my mouth because there was not one, not two, but three examples of extreme interrogation which made me finally say "This is bullshit." McGarrett harassed the boyfriend of the murdered girl in the hospital after he tried to commit suicide, he and Danno grilled the teacher who had sex with the 17-year-old in the blue-lit room at Five-0 and, worst of all, the two of them kidnapped the replacement juror, put a bag over his head and threatened to throw him off a cliff if he didn't talk (and, of course, he did). Having heard what they wanted to hear, they threw him off anyway, only to have the camera pull back and show that the cliff was only 20 or so feet high, but probably high enough to cause the juror to have suffered some serious damage, especially considering his hands were secured behind his back. For these scenes, I give ZERO stars. For the rest, three. The average of the two = 1-1/2 stars.

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14. Pu’olo (The Package) ½
Original air date: 1/16/12 -- Opening Credits -- End Credits

This episode was supposed to have ASTOUNDING REVELATIONS. A CBS press release prior to the show said "CHIN HO TELLS MCGARRETT SHOCKING NEWS ABOUT JOE WHITE THAT CAUSES A FACE OFF BETWEEN THE TWO ... McGarrett is rocked to his core when Chin Ho tells him some shocking news about Joe White." This did NOT happen. The same press release said "Danny plays mid-wife for his ex-wife when she goes into early labor," suggesting that Danno actually helped with the delivery. This also did not happen. It also promised to reveal what was the mysterious Shelburne that has been driving Wo Fat (and viewers) crazy for several episodes. This happened, but in an anti-climactic way. Who is cranking out this promotional material, an ex-writer from the National Perspirer?

The show instead turned out to be all about FATHERS, aside from Danno, who may or may not have been the father of the child his ex-wife Rachel had in the hospital. Incidentally, some fan sites had a disturbing amount of hatred both for Rachel and Claire van der Boom, the actress playing her, saying that the character should have died in childbirth, or will hopefully now leave the islands for good. Someone even said how much they hated van der Boom's "British accent"!

The episode opened in 1992 with William Sadler returning as McGarrett Senior, a bottle of bourbon on the table in front of him, telling McGarrett Junior (Will Carlson) that he was going to be shipped from the islands to the mainland and military school for his own protection (Sadler looked hardly younger than his previous appearance during the show's pilot episode last season). At least the producers resisted the temptation to do an Airplane-style parody with the kid being Black or Asian. McGarrett's dad said that if something to happened to him, his son could "trust [his] Uncle Joe," as in White.

The crime of the week dealt with Lee Dolan (Dean Kaneshiro), an employee of Trans Hawaiian Parcel, a local delivery company, helping to smuggle RFID (radio frequency identification) tags manufactured in Thailand -- to be used in creating bogus passports -- past airport customs in Honolulu. It was suggested that Dolan was actively involved in the smuggling, but this doesn't make sense, because there would likely be someone else in the company's office who actually processed the goods, rather than one of the drivers who would deliver them. There were also suggestions that this was not the first such smuggling job Dolan had participated in, but this one went horribly wrong, with his driving partner murdered by a couple of semi-automatic-toting thugs who stopped the truck with a spike belt in the middle of nowhere.

When Five-0 showed up later at Dolan's place, they found him being pummeled by Kyle Ferris, who worked for Nicky Chang (Dante Basco), "a major player in Hawaii's black market." Unfortunately, during the confrontation at Dolan's, McGarrett shot Ferris dead. In order to get to the "paranoid" Chang, Five-0 had to spring Sang Min (Will Yun Lee) from jail, under a bogus pretext that the case against him collapsed (which the Segway-riding Chang and his associates saw through all too easily later). Kono and Lori talked to Sang Min in jail prior to his release, allowing Yun Lee to engage in some "I'm so horny" comments directed at Lori plus serious overacting reminsicent of Al Pacino playing Tony Montana in Scarface. After a meal at Kamekona's shrimp shack and following an obnoxious commercial for Subway (more about this later), the wired Sang Min accompanied by the burly Kamekona as his bodyguard, gets into Chang's warehouse, tailed in an original-series-obvious way by the Five-0 team in a Takahamo Cleaning and Restoration truck. They park almost next to the warehouse, which is full of surveillance equipment inside ... so why wouldn't it also have cameras on the OUTSIDE, where Five-0's every move can be monitored? When Five-0 overhears that their two agents' cover has been blown, there is a ridiculous firefight in the warehouse including the use of a flamethrower, culminating in McGarrett giving Chang some Schwarzenegger-like zinger after he is subdued.

Switch to the hospital where Rachel is being instructed by Danno to "exhale through your vagina," taken from a book for mothers-to-be which Danno describes as "hippie new age garbage," one of the few real laughs of the evening. The only reason for this dialogue seemed to be to get the word "vagina" heard on network TV.

Then there is a big switch to a scene overlooking Honolulu where another guy with Daddy issues, Adam Noshimuri, has a tense confrontation with McGarrett and Joe White. The latter finally reveals that he kidnapped Adam's father, and puts the two of them in contact by phone. (Noshimura Junior's words in Japanese to his father are "Where are you?", "What?", "I understand, father", and "Goodbye.") There are still references to Joe helping Noshimura Senior fake his death, despite the fact that this isn't knowledge that has been broadcast in the newspapers, or that Adam even knew about.

The buyer of the RFDI tags is IDd by Chang as Richard Dettwiler, an antiques dealer whose store, Pacific Collectibles, Joe was seen visiting at the beginning of the show, tailed by McGarrett. According to Joe, Dettwiler is a "master forger" who "forged documents for the CIA." When McGarrett and Joe show up at Dettwiler's shop, they find him shot, but he tells them that he was visited by a couple of "Eastern Europeans" an hour before, who left with the tags. Five-0 manages to confront them on the jet bridge to a plane they are taking at the airport in a relatively boring takedown.

And then there is the big reveal about Shelburne. Turns out this is an alias that Joe and McGarrett's father created during the latter's investigation into the Wonderful World of the Yakuza years before, and that as Shelburne, Joe killed Wo Fat's father. Really! Soon after this, executive producer Peter Lenkov tease-Tweeted viewers even more, saying that there would be another "big reveal" regarding Shelburne in the season's final episode. YAWN!

On the plus side, the photography for this show, especially the aerial shots, was superb -- probably the best seen on the show to date. This motivated me to say early on that the show was worthy of three stars (I almost said three and a half), but this was the "don't think too hard" rating, something which I abandoned a while ago. So two and a half stars -- just average -- it is.

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15. Mai Ka Wa Kahiko (Out of the Past)
Original air date: 2/6/12 -- Opening Credits -- End Credits

It was pretty obvious from the first show when we knew that Danny had a young daughter that some episode would put her in serious danger and tis episode was the one, big time.

Scott Caan gave an exceptional performance as the anguished father after his daughter Gracie was kidnapped by Rick Peterson, a dirty cop who he helped put in jail back in New Jersey. Peterson was played by Peter Greene, who matched Caan at the other end of the spectrum, exuding nastiness, perhaps the nastiest character seen on the show so far.

There was some gorgeous photography in the show, especially at the beginning where McGarrett and Lori were seen running up the 1,048 steps to the top of Koko Head in a competitive manner. Although Lauren German was almost likeable, overall this sequence seemed designed to do little other than piss off the Lori haters, and later gave McGarrett the usual excuse to be called away from some fun activity to pursue an ongoing case.

There were several logistical problems with the show.

At the beginning, Dave Collins (Jon Olson), an old police acquaintance of Danno's who is escorting a prisoner back to Hawaii, goes to the washroom on the plane to call Danno when he recognizes Peterson sitting up ahead (is this a coincidence the two of them are on the same plane?). A flight attendant, seemingly only a few feet away, is coming down the aisle picking up paperwork from people. In the next scene, the attendant notices the prisoner is gone, his leg irons unlocked on the floor, and Collins dead in the washroom, hacked up in a very gory way. Between these two events, Peterson goes into the washroom and commits the murder. When this happened, why didn't the flight attendant notice something odd (like two guys going into the same washroom, or the sounds of what was presumably a struggle in the washroom, or the fact that Peterson ended up with blood all over him)? On the other hand, if Peterson did the deed around the time the plane was almost landing, wouldn’t this have given Collins enough time to contact Danno? Sal Painter, the extradited convict (Theo Rossi) later says that Peterson freed him from the ankle bracelets after the murder happened. The way the attendant comes down the aisle to pick up the paperwork and then comes down the aisle (actually later) to tell people to put their seat belts on prior to the landing and discovers Painter missing and Collins dead looks like this is the same sequence. Bad editing!

Then there is the issue of how Peterson and Painter escape through the rear of the plane ("via the service cartway through the galley") onto the tarmac. Is this really possible? No one at the airport seems to notice the two of them running away from the plane.

Later Peterson is established as some kind of computer whiz, tapping into Danno’s and Rachel’s voice mail (comment from Hermano: "Maybe he used to work for Rupert Murdoch's snoopy tabloid.") and cloning Danno’s cel so he can determine calls being made to and from the phone. Puh-leeze! Peterson is using the I.D. of a guy named McGuire, but why does it take Five-0 so long (only a few hours, but an eternity in Five-0 time) to find out McGuire was actually dead and that Peterson had stolen his identity?

At the end of the show, Peterson forces Danno to shoot Stan, his ex-wife Rachel's husband, which he does, but only in the shoulder which is supposedly not so bad (but Stan is feeling the pain!). Then after Five-0 steps in, Danno shoots Peterson in the leg or foot to get him to reveal where he has hidden Gracie, and points a gun at his head. Despite his good intentions, these are all very serious acts, for which Danno should face legal consequences. Peterson then tells Danno where he has secreted his daughter (in some self-storage location). Why would he tells Danno this, considering what a dirtbag he has been prior to this and has nothing to gain?

At least there was no sucky ending at the very end after Gracie was rescued. But why didn’t Teilor Grubbs (Gracie) get a credit at the beginning?

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16. I Helu Pu (The Reckoning) ½
Original air date: 2/13/12 -- Opening Credits -- End Credits

While some hard-core fan sites had their druthers about this show, I enjoyed it. It had Michelle Borth acting friendly but bitchy and looking hot, Grace Park in a slinky dress, plenty of action, the usual great scenery/photography, an interesting flashback structure and a mind-bending stunt which was perhaps the best one seen on the show so far. While the Governor is throwing a charity event for the Clean Coast Fund, a murdered woman's body is thrown down the laundry chute into the hotel's basement. After Dennis Mack (Ryan Merriman), a red herring suspect, is grilled, it turns out the woman, Victoria Chase, used him to get to a room where she was going to confront Dmitri Vonokov, a former co-worker of her sister Amanda (Sarah Habel) at Garlin International, a multinational company on the mainland. Vonokov, a "charming" executive bigshot who was married to the company CEO's daughter, had raped her sister, producing a baby. When Victoria confronted him, Vonokov murdered her, threw her body down the laundry chute, cleaned up the room, then took refuge in the Russian consulate in Honolulu. McGarrett and Danno try to threaten consul Andrei Shepkin (Michael Reilly Burke), but get nowhere. So they get Chin Ho to drive a truck ostensibly full of toxic waste through the Consulate's front gates, with the intention of making Vonokov leave the premises. This works, though Chin Ho gets nabbed by the Russian security men after some fancy karate moves on Chin's part. When McGarrett attempts to grab Vonokov (an uncredited actor!) from a car fleeing the scene, the two of them are knocked down by another car and seriously injured (this is the mind-bending stunt). The Governor is furious over what could turn into an "international incident." But Kono grabs a blood sample from Vonokov at the hospital, and Max is able to prove that his DNA matches that of Amanda's kid. While the situation is resolved in the Governor's favor after Shepkin realizes he could be charged with harboring a murderer and rapist and feel the "international" heat for same, the Governor is still furious, threatening to shut down Five-0. Instead, Lori, who "was assigned to this task force for exactly this kind of disaster," takes the fall, choosing to resign from Five-0, after the Governor offers her a choice between the team and the State of Hawaii. A lot of fans got conflicted over the departure of Lori at the end of the episode. But the fact that it took the Governor 15 episodes to finally come to grips with this merely emphasizes that the producers and writers of the show totally blew it with the Lori character. She could have been interesting -- squealing to the Governor, caught between two worlds, and so forth -- but what we got was NOTHING. Even the speech she gave McGarrett near the end -- "The Governor put me on this team to be his eyes and ears ... I let things slide because of my feelings for you (pause) and the rest of the team, of course ... I let a lot of things slide." -- followed by a big hug, was a lame, final "stick it to the Lori haters." At least you can say that Lauren German gives a relatively dramatic performance in this, her final show, as does Sarah Habel.

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17. Kupale (Defender) ½  BOOK 'EM, DANNO 
Original air date: 2/20/12 -- Opening Credits -- End Credits

Although I wasn't looking forward to viewing this episode big time, I was at least willing to have an open mind about it. When it was over, I was disappointed because, while it was a good show which progressed logically for the most part, it employed the usual tried-and-true formula with red herrings, carguments (2), a "housegument," not-so-subtle product placement (Micro-Slop's Messenger with video, including really detailed closeups of the pad-like device's screen), blue-lit interrogations (2), nice scenery, and some very Hawaiian moments. By the end, it was obvious who did it -- there were not many suspects left, and the ones remaining were pretty uninteresting. The ending, which had nothing to do with the Crime of the Week (COTW), was cutesy-poo upbeat and went on for 3-1/4 minutes!

Hawaiian-born MLB outfielder Shane Victorino had a short cameo at the beginning of the show as a motivator from a group of pharmaceutical employees bonding in the Oahu wilderness. Speed skater Apolo Ohno had a more substantial role as Seth Burgess, one of the suspected bad guys, and did a good job. Al Harrington, in his recurring role as friend-of-McGarrett's-family Mamo, appeared as part of a battle re-enactment. As his character explained, "We're history buffs, trying to preserve and celebrate our culture." Although his part was brief, with his few sentences, he probably said more than he did in some of the episodes of the original series where he appeared. The beefy hundred or so Hawaiians appearing as warriors in this sequence seemed to be doing a bunch of kung-fu-like moves, trying hard not to hurt each other with spears and shark-toothed clubs called leiomanos.

The COTW was the murder of Brandon Koruba, one of the weekend warriors, who was a collector of Hawaiian antiquities and also the co-owner of Pacific Shipyards, builder of yachts and inter-island ferries. Aside from Burgess, Kevin Creed (Kaiwi Lyman-Mersereau), leader of the stupidly-named ecological organization Urthstrike, who had threatened Koruba and his company in the past because of their indiscretions against the environment, was also under consideration as a suspect until his lawyer gave him an alibi for the time of Koruba's murder. This left only Koruba's somewhat chilly wife Megan (Erin Cardillo) and business partner Tony Dennison (Patrick Fabian), and it turned out to be the latter, who was dispatched with a shot in the shoulder after a standoff (McGarrett obviously learned something from the two week's previous episode).

Typical fan reaction to this episode the next morning was along the lines of "Ding dong, the wicked bitch [i.e., Lori] is dead." Even people who, prior to this, were having a rational discussion in forums about things like "Peter Lenkov should be replaced as showrunner" suddenly had a glazed look on their face like cult members, drooling things like "Wow, what a great return to the 'core values' of the show" (whatever the hell that means). Depressing!

Despite the positive aspects of the show, my feeling is people should not forget that we wasted our time with 15 episodes of Lori bullshit ... thus 2-1/2 stars. (Yes, I can't let go ... even though I originally thought "Well, now Lori is gone, let's move on.") If the cloying end of this show, which had nothing to do with the COTW, hadn't gone ON and ON, I would have given it three.

This episode was like a throwback to the first season ... it was like we hadn't progressed at all!

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18. Lekio (Radio)
Original air date: 2/27/12 -- Opening Credits -- End Credits

This eagerly-anticipated episode definitely received a boost from the presence of guest star James Caan. The whole thing was highly reminiscent of the old Five-O show "Retire in Hawaii — Forever," where Helen Hayes, mother of the original Danno, James MacArthur, regarded as one of the greatest actresses of all time (sort of the Meryl Streep of her day), put in a guest stint as Danno’s Aunt Clara. Like in this episode, Hayes, the guest star, spent a lot of time on screen and helped out solving the crime. This show was in sore need of elevating, because as it got closer to the end, the material got more and more convoluted. It began with obnoxious pirate radio host and "comedic genius" Bobby Raines (Dennis Miller) getting blown up real good. Caan's character, retired New York cop/now private investigator Tony Archer, was a suspect after his fingerprints were found at the crime scene. But it turns out that Archer was a good friend of Raines, who he knew back in New York, and the godfather (an in-joke?) of Raines' daughter Brandi (Heather Sossaman). In Hawaii, Archer was providing occasional security for Raines, who had been threatened because of his involvement with Hale Ku'oko'e ("House of Freedom"), an organization for wayward youth that he had established. This is really stretching the "small world" angle too much -- and Archer knew Kamekona as well! At the beginning of the show, Danno was being a jerk to his daughter, calling a young boyfriend of hers "evil," "creepy," a "malcontent" and a "stalker." Shortly after, when Raines' body was brought back to the docks, a couple of the shock jock's moronic young fans (known as "acolytes") stole the medical examiner's truck which contained his body. Max came running up to McGarrett and Danno freaking out over this, and he was so hysterical that he totally lost his usual geeky accent. The Crime of the Week, with its usual Perry Mason person-you-suspect-the-least resolution was dumb. Turned out that Brandi's boyfriend Todd Dutton (Ben Bledsoe) was working in cahoots with Karen Whitfield (Tanya Clake), a woman involved with sweetheart scams on the mainland, with the intention of skimming money off Brandi's trust fund after her father was murdered. I think. As the plot line got more and more ridiculous, I got less and less interested in it. Fortunately, Caan Senior was great, and the episode was full of quotable dialogue. McGarrett he called "McGruff" and "McGoo," to Danno a.k.a. "Hairdo" and "a big hump," he said "Book 'em, muscles." The two of them together were "two Sherlocks" to whom he promised, "I'm going to be your marriage counsellor," suggesting a return appearance is highly likely. Jimmy Borges, who played various characters on the old show, appeared as Mr. Zhang, owner of a vegetable market where McGarrett used some kind of ESP to figure out that fireworks were hidden in the bottom of boxes of fruit.

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19. Kalele (Faith)
Original air date: 3/19/12 -- Opening Credits -- End Credits

This was another show to look forward to, with Ed Asner reprising his role from the original Five-O 36 years before as industrialist/smuggler August March, featured in the eighth season's episode Wooden Model of a Rat. Asner was again delightfully oily, and I enjoyed his performance even more than the earlier show. There were some faded-looking clips from the old show, which looked like some of the terrible broadcast prints we were all subjected to before the DVDs came out! I guess they were trying tor a "dream-like" effect. There was a serious breaching of the Five-O/Five-0 space/time continuum when March told McGarrett that years before he had been accompanied by John McGarrett (O'Loughlin's character's father) on the way to jail who he tried to bribe, but was not successful. While Asner's presence, like that of James Caan the week before, definitely elevated the show, the main plot with the incarcerated character of Kaleo (Jason Scott Lee) -- responsible for the murder of Danno's partner in the first season -- orchestrating a complicated diamond heist while in protective custody was strictly out of the "don't think about it too hard" school of screenwriting. The show began with McGarrett's sister Mary, now an airline flight attendant, being forced to transport $20 million worth of blood diamonds from Hawaii to New York under threat of having Angela, a stewardess friend of hers who has been kidnapped, murdered. Mary is caught at the airport after a tip is called in by Kaleo's brother Darryl (Anthony Brandon Wong), with the idea being the diamonds could then be stolen while still in Hawaii and fenced through March. How this all was accomplished made no sense whatsoever. An HPD evidence van with the diamonds on its way to HPD (I think) is diverted to Five-0 who need the diamonds to fly to New York with Mary using the Governor's jet to beat a commercial jet in order to keep the kidnapped Angela alive (nothing comes of this idea). On its way to Five-0, the evidence van is rammed by a huge semi-trailer cab in a scene highly reminiscent of the movie "Heat," which also starred Tom Sizemore. But, as Fryer says, the bad guys stole the semi THE NIGHT BEFORE, so in order to pull off this robbery, how would Kaleo's brother and his associates have known the exact sequence of events that put the evidence van in a certain place at a certain time so it could be rammed? At least there was some interesting interplay between Fryer and March, with Fryer warning McGarrett "Don't be fooled by the way he looks." This turned out to be very true at the show's end, where March meets Angela (Rebecca Ocampo), not kidnapped at all but in fact Kaleo's brother's girl friend (puh-leeze!) who ws in on the scheme from the beginning and who ended up with the diamonds which she gave to March. After thanking her, March shot Angela dead! March walks off with the diamonds, leaving open the possibility that he will return soon, hopefully with a better script.

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20. Ha’alele (Abandoned) ½
Original air date: 4/9/12 -- Opening Credits -- End Credits

I really liked this show, especially since it eliminated a lot of the usual B.S. like carguments and car chases, bromance and soap opera and replaced these with an interesting plot in addition to the now usual above-average production values. However, there were still some script logic issues which we will get to shortly. The show began with Danno reading a message from McGarrett, who has skipped town to investigate the mysterious Shelburne in Japan (Alex O'Loughlin taking some time off in rehab). Danno is called away shortly to investigate the Crime of the Week, some woman getting brutally murdered and her body dumped in a pineapple field (a nice local touch). The killer's M.O. has more than a passing interest to medical examiner Max, because of its resemblance to that of a serial killer nicknamed The Trashman, who operated between 1985 and 2009. We find out this killer was responsible for the death of Max's natural mother, Michiyo Takeshita, who was his second victim. Both of these women were connected, along with the killer's other victims, to a local church which was a safe haven for the unwanted children of single mothers. When Richard Branch (Pruitt Taylor Vince), an unemployed drifter, was arrested and convicted on circumstantial evidence for being The Trashman a couple of years before, Max investigated because of the connection to his mother, only to be convinced that Branch was not the killer. Kevin Dobson, Bobby Crocker from Kojak, made an appearance as Al Shepard, a cop who had been part of the push to convict Branch. The beginning of the show was especially nasty with lots of creepy atmosphere, though the reaction of Angela O'Hara (the murdered woman, presumably played by Elisa Levin, identified as "Young Woman" in the credits) was kind of stereotypical. The ending which took place in the basement of the church where Max confronted the real killer, Deacon MacKenna (James Michael Connor) was equally so, including a flickering light. The only disappointment was the comic relief over Kakekona's missing shrimp truck and the tourist shots at the very end of the show, though that was partially redeemed by the touching scene where Max met Branch when he was finally released from prison.

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21. Pa Make Loa (Touch of Death) ½ and NCIS Los Angeles Crossover (same title, just in English) ½
Original air date: 4/30/12 & 5/1/12 -- Opening Credits -- End Credits

I thought the Five-0 part of this show was OK, but it took the usual collection of red herrings masquerading as writing to absurd levels. The show opens with Bryan Palmer (Sean Koegel), an ex-veteran, dropping dead of hemorrhagic smallpox, with some really gross closeups of the effects of the disease. After the usual investigation, he is determined to be part of a clinical trial for an anti-depressant medication. Ken Tanner, the man running this trial, is discovered dead in his garage, apparently having committed suicide by gassing himself with carbon monoxide, but this is predictably not what it seems, since (a) Tanner was murdered and his "suicide" was staged and (b) the medication being tested was actually smallpox in liquid form. Tanner was in financial difficulty and received a large amount of money to set up a sophisticated laboratory in a warehouse on Sand Island where three other men who also received smallpox injections in the guise of this medication were being isolated and studied. There is no indication how Tanner was singled out for his participation in this experiment or why these three guinea pigs hadn't made any attempt to escape. Fingerprints on keys in Tanner's car lead to Dracul Comescu (Craig Robert Young), who has had some connection to NCIS: Los Angeles in the past, giving G. Callen (Chris O'Donnell) and Sam Hanna (L Cool J) from that organization an opportunity to visit Hawaii. In the absence of McGarrett (Alex O'Loughlin still being in rehab), Chin Ho provided even more exposition than usual. Grace Park as Kono looked very hot and got to use her long-range rifle, but there was some very annoying editing in one scene where she traced a bag from Tanner's laboratory to a garbage can out in the middle of nowhere. Why the bag was in this garbage can was yet another mystery. There was one incredible stunt where a truck suspected of containing Comescu flipped over and just about wiped out several cameras from the look of it. Prior to this, when Danno and Hanna were chasing this truck, which was driving on a loading dock-like ramp on the side of a building, the action looked very much like a similar scene from Hookman, one of the classic episodes (S06E01) from the old Five-O. (You can see a comparison of the two by clicking here.) There were several WTF moments, like when the combined Five-0 and NCIS people entered the warehouse where not only the three "patients" had been given the smallpox injections but also had been shot in the head after the people running the experiment realized the jig was up. Didn't anyone think that they might be exposed to the virus? The Center for Disease Control types shown at the same location in the next scene were all wearing typical hazmat uniforms!

This show continued the following evening on NCIS: Los Angeles in an episode also entitled "Touch of Death" where Chin Ho and Danno accompanied Callen and Hanna back to LA to help out. I have no idea why they did this. Chin Ho said "There's too much at stake for us not to see this through." Huh? I don't think so. What was their interest in coming there other than a free ride? I have never seen any NCIS show ever, so I didn't know what to expect, but this crossover episode was really BORING. If Five-0 was frantic, this was a sleeper. (And remember, the old Five-O episode "Sleeper" totally sucked!) Danno was pretty subdued. When he had run-ins with NCIS:LA boss 'Hetty' Lange (Linda Hunt), I expected him to call her "Shorty" or come up with some other smart alecky comment, but it never happened. I couldn't believe that while there is a very serious threat of bioterrorism, the two dynamic duos of Deeks/Blye and Beale/Jones are flirting and arguing over the most inane stuff. The NCIS:LA show's music was pretty bad, but because it was LESS obvious than the usual bad Five-0 music. At one point, Deeks and Kensi are talking philosophically about the horrible things that can happen if there is a smallpox outbreak, and the music is just pussyfooting along in the background. Instead at this point, you would expect some terrifying "24"-like background score! The only thing keeping this show from slipping into the ratings trashbin was the presence of the very hot Daniela Ruah as Kensi. I wish the Five-0 boys had stayed home and the smallpox epidemic would have wiped out everyone from NCIS:LA except her, and she would have then joined Five-0. That would have definitely drawn a lot of interest to Five-0, even though Grace P. would probably be annoyed. I thought it was pretty funny -- this friend and I sent each other our thoughts on the NCIS show at exactly the same time, and we felt exactly the same way about it ("da bomb," and not in a positive way).

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22. Ua Hopu (Caught)  BOOK 'EM, DANNO 
Original air date: 5/7/12 -- Opening Credits -- End Credits

This show was outstanding from start to finish. It began with McGarrett (O'Loughlin back from rehab looking MUCH healthier) in Japan. He captures Wo Fat with the assistance of local SEAL types, who seem to understand English perfectly, even though they don't always speak it back to him. There is something mysterious going on in the bathroom of Wo's hotel room, though -- it is a bloody mess. The next scene is a big surprise with Kono "doing it" ... with Adam Noshimuri! This is the only part of this episode that is hard to swallow (no pun intended). So when did Kono become pals with this guy (there were allusions to her having a boyfriend a couple of episodes before)? Given the scene not only with Kono naked with Noshimuri in the shower (as far as network television will allow) and the later scene with her duct-taped up by him, I am willing to overlook plot logic. The plot thickens as a State Department employee named Hanna Douglas with some mysterious connection to Wo is found dead. This leads Danno to the local CIA office where Glenn Morshower (Aaron Pierce on "24") plays a bad guy in the form of Deputy Station Chief Kendricks who treats Danno very badly. A dumpy looking guy from the CIA office named Deep Throat in the credits (Jack McGee) gives Danno some info and helps him to escape after CIA operatives kidnap him and try to use some relatively mild Five-0-like interrogation techniques. Of course, no episode would be complete without the usual mindless banter between Danno and McGarrett, and this time it comes in the form of a "celphonegument" while McGarrett is still in Japan. As the plane carrying McGarrett and Wo enters Hawaiian air space on the way home, it develops serious problems when one of the guys flying the plane starts shooting and in a scene highly reminiscent of "McGarrett is Missing" in the old Five-O, the plane crashes (this time piloted by McGarrett himself). McGarrett and Wo end up handcuffed to each other (again reminiscent of the earlier show) and after McGarrett knocks off a bunch of Noshimuri Junior's cohorts who have come to get Wo to take revenge for what Wo did to Adam's father, they are on their way back to Hawaii in the copter, with McGarrett again demonstrating his piloting skills. The following scenes with the helicopter flying at night around Honolulu intercut with Danno escaping the CIA headquarters (some huge cavernous building) had a musical accompaniment which was actually pretty good (is this the first time I have ever said this?) -- mainly because it sounded like Philip Glass. The score at the beginning of the show in Osaka, Japan, was also musically interesting, though it sounded more like a Balinese gamelan than some Japanese instrument. The color of the night time photography in the final scene with Adam and his never-ending supply of yakuza goons being confronted by Five-0 and HPD was exceptional ... probably the best I've ever seen on the show. As well, it had Kono with her big brown eyes pleading to Adam not to shoot Wo. And a nice reunion with McGarrett without being too sucky!

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23. Ua Hala (Death in the Family) ½
Original air date: 5/14/12 -- Opening Credits -- End Credits

This was a real "holy shit" episode with everything but the kitchen sink thrown in, and cliffhangers for virtually every character. If you look at it from the point of view of "don't think about it too hard," it was well above average. The non-stop action left you limp, and even the music seemed improved -- it was as if the resident composers had actually written new music, rather than falling back on stock themes, especially during the obligatory "cargument." However, once you start thinking, lots of things fall apart.

The show begins with Fryer getting knocked off after responding to a bogus call. When Five-0 come to investigate, Max also gets seriously wounded, which sets the team off on a chase which leads back to HPD headquarters. The object of their pursuit is Hillary Chaver (Taylor Cole), one of the nastiest villains, male or female, yet on the show. She blows up HPD, then gets a veterinary surgeon to patch up a wound resulting from Fryer's last shot, and shoots the surgeon and his receptionist dead. She is working in cahoots with an equally nasty guy named Toothpick (Karl Herlinger). It turns out that Chaver was part of a bank-robbing duo which Fryer and the now-imprisoned Delano pursued back when they were partners, and everyone considered her to have died in a fiery car crash on Tantalus Mountain. McGarrett takes care of her nicely after Five-0 storms the veterinary office.

Of the other characters, Joe White is also on the scene, telling McGarrett that he will finally show him who the mysterious Shelburne is. Danno is conflicted over his ex-wife Rachel's attempt to move from Hawaii to Las Vegas and, as a result, change the custody order for his daughter Gracie.

The show takes a big turn for the worst when the mastermind for the shooting of Fryer and much else is suddenly revealed near the end to be Delano, who Chin Ho springs from Halawa Correctional Facility on a moment's notice. As Delano himself says, "This 'immunity and means thing' you Five-0 guys have comes in pretty handy, doesn't it?" This is where I started to say "HUH?"

Are we to believe that Delano knew that Chaver did not die in the car accident years before and he somehow managed to contact her and convince her and Toothpick to knock off Fryer -- all from his prison cell? I don't think Chaver would have advertised in the local classifieds saying "nasty killer out for revenge for hire." I'm surprised that the people who run or work at Halawa don't lodge a complaint about the way they are portrayed on this show. How many times has someone escaped from this place or deals have been made to spring people from it which don't make sense? I sure wouldn't want to be living near the prison if its management and employees were as corrupt or co-operative with Five-0 as portrayed on the show!

Daniel Dae Kim gets a chance to emote big time when Delano tells him he has a choice between rescuing his cousin Kono, who is in danger of being thrown off a boat, or Malia, his wife, who is in peril at their home. When Chin asks why Delano is doing this, Delano rubs it in about how Chin was a dirty cop who got off scot-free, whereas he ended up in jail for life. Chin chooses Malia, and when he arrives at their place, she is not in good shape.

The show ends with the big reveal about who Shelburne is -- Mrs. McGarrett, also thought to be dead after her car was blown up years before. Christine Lahti has already been announced for this role for next season.

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