Hawaii Five-0 (2010) -- Season 8 Episode Reviews

INCLUDING ODDITIES, GOOFS AND TRIVIA

Copyright ©2017-2018 by Mike Quigley. No reproduction of any kind without permission.


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RATINGS:
★★★★ = One of the very best episodes, a must-see.
★★★ = Better than average, worthy of attention.
★★ = Average, perhaps with a few moments of interest.
= Below average, a show to avoid.


1. (S08E01) A‘ole e ‘ōlelo mai ana ke ahi ua ana ia (Fire Will Never Say that It Has Had Enough) ★★
Original air date: 9/29/17

This eighth season opener contained lots of the usual annoyances and stupidities people have come to expect from the show or, if you are a psycho-fan, things you have come to ignore and/or love. No one who followed news about Five-Zero during the summer can be unaware that both Daniel Dae Kim and Grace Park (Chin Ho and Kono) left the show because of pay issues. The fate of both of their characters was explained.

The episode began with an "out of nowhere" moment with McGarrett and Danno showing up at the Hilton Hawaiian Village where the racially-ambiguous (for Hawaii) Tani Rey (Meaghan Rath) is working as a lifeguard at the Paradise Pool. They try to convince her to join Five-Zero to replace the departed Kono, who we saw heading to the mainland in S07E25 and is now part of a task force there investigating sex trafficking.

Because Rey, who was considered an outstanding prospect for HPD, punched out her training officer at the police academy and also cheated on her written exam, she interests Five-Zero, because they "need a cop who doesn't think like a cop and ... who isn't afraid to break the rules a little bit." McGarrett tells her that Chin now heads up his own Five-Zero-style task force in San Francisco (something foreseen in S07E25), as if her joining Five-Zero could be the road to bigger and better things.

Probably because Rey (and Rath, like another Canadian actor, Michael J. Fox many years ago) is young and could pass for being in her late teens, McGarrett and Danno tell her they want her to investigate the recent murder of a computer engineering student named Benny Lung on the Aloha State campus which has been connected to a hacker named MiZchief, a name which Danno suggests is that of "a moron." She tells them thanks, but no thanks.

A restaurant-gument between McGarrett and Danno follows where the two quibble over details about a prospective Italian eatery which Danno wants to open using the name "Steve's" in Honolulu's Chinatown. This was hinted at in last season's finale. On location at the place, McGarrett says to Danno, "I thought you said you were gonna wait until you retire," to which Danno replies, "I am, but this is now, we start now, we get it going, and if we need help running it, somebody helps us." "We" includes McGarrett, who figures this has something to do with his radiation poisoning, also mentioned in S07E25.

The usual "let's get serious" phone call takes McGarrett and Danno back to headquarters where the news is that serial arsonist Jason Duclair (Randy Couture) has been sprung from Halawa. This is the work of MiZchief, who, facially recognized while using a wi-fi hotspot on the campus, is determined to be Aaron Wright, related to Ian Wright, who kidnapped Grover's daughter and was knocked off by Wo Fat in S04E22. (Grover does not like this connection.)

The way Duclair gets out of jail is ridiculous, reminiscent of Wo Fat's escapes from jail. His door having opened automatically, he walks out of the place into blazing sunshine as the guards are locked in their room, both thanks to MiZchief. Is the door where Duclair seemingly exits from Halawa really on the outside of the building and there are no other guards between the place he is confined and the entrance gate where we have seen people leaving the place in the past?

We figure out later that Wright, who hacks into the Supercomputer and starts conversing in a jerky manner with Five-Zero, was contracted to spring Duclair by a drug trafficker named Randy Tao (Earnest F. Kong), who lost a lot of product and one of his lieutenants in a fire the week before. Duclair accompanies Tao to the location of this fire and provides his expertise -- "like an arson investigator" -- to determine who burned the place down and what means was used to do this. As part of his "services," Duclair then somehow tracks down Anthony Brent, a two-time convicted arsonist who he determines was the responsible party, and roasts him alive in a controlled fire (we do not see Duclair doing this, only the results).

Now that he is free, Duclair isn't happy to just knock off Brent. He goes back to Tao and gives him and his two sons the same gross treatment, and then goes after MizChief, the guy who got him out of jail. Just as he has drenched Wright with gasoline, Rey shows up at Wright's place, having decided Five-Zero's offer is worth considering. Somehow she figured out how to track down the hacker. Rey, who looks like she weighs maybe 120 pounds soaking wet, then attacks Duclair with various martial arts skills which she no doubt picked up at the police academy. Although we shouldn't confuse the show with real life, I had a good laugh about this scene, screaming at the TV, "Randy Couture is a goddamn mixed martial arts champion!" (I said the same thing later when McGarrett clashed with Duclair, even though the top cop took part in an MMA fight in S02E06, and O'Loughlin is kind of a beefy guy.)

Duclair prevails in the fight with Rey, and Five-Zero makes an appearance just as she is about to meet her end. Duclair escapes, hijacks a car and flees to a dead-end road where he enters the Ewa Forest Reserve and starts setting fires as a cover for his escape. Of course the team (now including Rey, despite Grover's objections) has to follow him into the conflagration. The special effects for this fire including tons of smoke above Honolulu and related scenes with lots of firemen were actually very good.

Five-Zero takes shelter in a cabin in the middle of the fire, which is kind of ridiculous, but not as much as what follows, where McGarrett manages to get out of the forest, commandeer a helicopter and fly back above the cabin. Then Danno, Grover and Rey hook cables dangling from the copter under the cabin which McGarrett then lifts up with the three of them inside and takes them to safety (seriously). Duclair fled into the burning forest some time before this, and he is the only casualty of the blaze, according to news reports.

At this point, there are still about seven minutes of the show left. Danno goes to visit Rey, who is still mulling over whether she wants to be part of Five-Zero. Danno lays on a lot of baloney about how, despite the fact that McGarrett can seem like a wild and crazy guy, "there is nobody out there you'd rather have having your back than him." Danno seems to be acting very chummy with Rey, almost as if there is a hint of a future relationship between the two of them, especially when he starts comparing her to Kono. One can hardly criticize Danno for being this way with her, since she is gorgeous-looking.

Back at the Five-Zero office, Grover is still pissed about MiZchief Wright's connection, via his deceased hacker brother, to his daughter's kidnapping and confinement. He brings Samantha to the blue-lit room "to see the brother of the man who kidnapped her three years ago [who he describes as a "monster"] and made her life a living hell." I was worried for a moment that Grover was going to pull a totally apeshit number on Wright, like he did with his former partner in S06E13, but his daughter gives him a big hug, which brings him back to his senses.

The show closes with yet more lame dialogue between McGarrett and Danno at the restaurant's planned location.

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2. (S08E02) Nā lā ‘īlio (Dog Days) ★★★
Original air date: 10/6/17

This episode was a lot better than I expected, especially considering one of the featured players was A DOG. This particular canine named Eddy was employed by the Drug Enforcement Agency to sniff drugs and was said to have been with the organization for three years. Prior to that he was a war dog stationed in Afghanistan. During an investigation into containers on the docks, his handler, Paul Lazio (Stephen Oyoung) gets knocked off by one of the bad guys. When Eddie attempts to exact retaliation for this by going after the killer, he is wounded.

This episode was supposed to be the third of the season, but it was changed to the second. There are guesses as to why this is so. One is that it was more of a "feel-good" show compared to the one originally announced, considering the recent shootings in Las Vegas and perhaps considering the replaced (until next week) show's plot: "The boss of a major crime family is murdered, triggering revenge killings across the island."

It may also have been attempt to take advantage of momentum for the new season with the introduction of the previously-announced other new member of the Five-Zero team, Junior Reigns (Beulah Koale), a former Navy SEAL who just returned from serving his country. Reigns shows up on McGarrett's doorstep asking for a job with a recommendation from a mutual acquaintance, but McGarrett says that he is not hiring. Later on in the show, Junior is seen washing McGarrett's car in front of the Five-Zero offices, so McGarrett introduces him to Duke, saying that if he completes the training at the HPD academy, then he will hire him. Only problem is, according to the academy's real-life WWW site, the training takes 5 and a half months. Will we see Junior join Five-Zero in the middle of next March, or will McGarrett somehow be able to "borrow" him for some particular skills that he has in the interim?

The investigation which got Eddie shot concerned a large shipment of cocaine. Five-Zero tracks down Lazio's informant Kiana Solice (Alisa Allapach), who points them in the direction of a pusher named Manny Delarosa, a dishwasher who has not shown up for work that day at a restaurant managed by Roger Niles (Casper Van Dien). Niles gives McGarrett some advice about the previously discussed opening up such a venture with Danno: "Why on earth would you do that? Isn't there enough risk in your life already? I don't want to dissuade you, but it can be a brutal business."

McGarrett and Grover go to Manny's place, where he is dying from a massive heroin overdose (not self-administered), as well as a head contusion at the base of his skull, according to Noelani later. Soon after this, Jerry reports that Eddie the dog is out of surgery and is recovering nicely. As well, the vet pulled "foreign blood" from Eddie's mouth which has been traced to Jesse Berman (Shawn McBride) who is in the system for multiple drug offenses. (This procedure, presumably involving a DNA trace, seems very far-fetched). A mug shot of Berman is recognized by new Five-Zero recruit Tani as being a trucker who just left the docks with some cargo. A helicopter tracks down this truck which is then involved in a relatively exciting chase with Tani blasting it with some high-powered artillery. Berman manages to escape from the truck after it is run off the road, but he is shot dead by DEA Agent Chris Reid (Bob McCracken)

This truck contains several boxes of Van Essen Cabernet Sauvignon 1996, which Tani suggests could be liquid cocaine. It was destined for the restaurant managed by Niles and where Delarosa worked. (No idea if Manny's working there had some connection to all this.) The wine is duly analyzed by the crime lab and determined it could produce 264 pounds of cocaine worth $24 million, the "biggest drug bust in Hawaiian history," according to Jerry.

Five-Zero starts asking questions about DEA Agent Reid, who has been connected with the drug investigation since the beginning of the show and was Lazio's boss. Berman's autopsy by Noelani shows that Reid shot him from only a couple of feet away, which is very suspicious. Shortly after this, at the DEA evidence compound, we see Reid shoot two of his own men and then hijack the impounded truck full of wine.

Reid and the wine promptly disappear, but Jerry looks through Niles' financials and sees he owns commercial property through one of his holding companies where it is quite likely a drug processing lab could be located. This is a huge property taking up "five city blocks, maybe a couple hundred thousand square feet." To help with their investigation, Five-Zero gets Eddie the dog released from the veterinary hospital. He obviously is well-suited to work with them, because like other members of the team (McGarrett, for example), he can spring back from the most horrible injuries and return to the job within hours. Not only does Eddie figure out where the lab is, and it is taken down big time, but he is so pissed off at Reid that he gives his former handler's boss a good chewing. Grover, who has been kind of leery about dealing with Eddie because he is not a dog kind of person, becomes Eddie's best friend after this, though qualifying this by saying "I'm a 'this dog' person."

Amidst the cutesy-poo aspects of the show designed to appeal to fans of Facebook postings about animals were unfortunately the usual tedious whatever-guments between McGarrett and Danno. The first of these was some idiotic discussion about how Danno's Uncle Vito [sic] has agreed to bottle tap water for their restaurant, "Jersey tap water that has been pumped through aged pipes that give you a mineral count that is perfectly bred to make a good piece of pizza." Danno's uncle is going to ship this water to Hawaii, which McGarrett says is ridiculous because "Why do we need more water when we live on an island?" Near the end of the show, there is a dog-gument over what McGarrett is feeding Eddie (who will soon leave him for somewhere else). This changes into a cat-gument with McGarrett, like in episode S05E17 insisting that cats are "far superior" animals to dogs because "they're more sophisticated ... cunning ... agile ... [and] self-sufficient."

The show ends with Eddie wandering from McGarrett's place to the grave of Lazio where he already took part in a funeral earlier. Although I have no idea how close the cemetery is to McGarrett's, this reminded me of the Canadian kids' movie "The Incredible Journey."

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3. (S08E03) Kāu pahi, ko‘u kua. Kāu pū, ko‘u po‘o (Your Knife, My Back. My Gun, Your Head) ★½
Original air date: 10/13/17

This show featured MI6 operative Harry Langford (Chris Vance) who appeared in S07E02 (a very bad show). Harry had returned to Hawaii, having retired, in a manner of speaking. Harry's "British" presence and his interaction with the locals was good for a few laughs, but the crime of the week was stupid. Here is what happened in chronological order (spoilers, but you already know that).

Three years before (maybe -- see below), Aiden, the 8-year-old son of mild-mannered piano teacher John Walcott (Steven Brand) was killed in a hit and run. The car involved was driven by crime boss Jimmy ("Mr. Untouchable") Okada (Eric H. Mita) (maybe -- also see below). Ever since that time, Walcott has been steaming over his loss and amassing a large collection of guns and other paraphernalia and training himself how to use all these resources.

Walcott joined a bereavement support group where he met Annie Hughes (uncredited actress), whose brother was killed in a convenience store robbery back in 2014. She just happened to be a waitress at a bar where Okada and his gang hung out gambling in a back room and Walcott developed a "romantic relationship" with her.

Walcott got Annie to help him with a plan to invade Okada's hangout and knock off everyone, including the big boss himself. When McGarrett and Five-O find out about this, they are worried that a gang war is imminent. They get Harry to help them talk to a local gunrunner named Loto Manui (Peter Jai) and then to help take down Viktor (Joe Seo), connected with another gang who says that there is no way they would have tried to take over Okada's operation, since the FBI was surveilling him heavily (as they were at the beginning of the show). Five-Zero is also surprised to find that only one person was responsible for the massacre and used only one gun, a Browning Buck Mark .22 LR.

Knowing that Walcott reported a gun like this missing a few days ago, Grover and Tani go to talk to him just as some of Okada's men, who have tracked down and murdered Annie, show up at the piano teacher's house. A firefight ensues, but Walcott runs away while Grover and Tani are preoccupied with killing 5 of Okada's 6 thugs. Walcott then goes to the penthouse apartment where Derek Okada (Derek Mio), Jimmy's son, lives, managing to get to Junior's apartment after knocking off all of his bodyguards.

Five-Zero shows up as Walcott has a gun to Derek's head, but despite pleas from McGarrett and Harry, Walcott kills Derek and is arrested.

There are a lot of questions about this rather wacky plot. Probably the biggest one is: considering Walcott ran way from the house where he had a room in the basement described by Grover "like John Wick's man cave," full of (according to Tani) "dozens of books and DVDs on combat training, tactical firearm techniques, body armor, weapons, maps, [and] surveillance pics," where did Walcott get all of the hardware -- guns, smoke grenades, night vision glasses, and so forth -- which he used in his assault on Derek's penthouse?

Aside from this seeming goof, I found the whole business of Walcott getting to Derek's apartment utterly ridiculous, more so than the idea of Walcott building up a huge arsenal of weapons and becoming proficient in using them, even considering parallels to certain recent events which may have been a reason that this show was moved from its original position in the season lineup from second to third.

There are more questions:

There was quite a lot of mention in this episode of restaurants, especially the one that McGarrett and Danno are supposed to be opening. I seriously hope that we are not going to have to listen to this crap in every show, which is getting to the point of being nauseating after only three episodes. I counted at least eight times restaurants were visited or mentioned in some way:

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4. (S08E04) E uhi wale no ‘a‘ole e nalo, he imu puhi (No Matter How Much One Covers a Steaming Imu, The Smoke Will Rise) ★★½
Original air date: 10/20/17

This episode was Danno-free, but it hearkened back to a time when we were forced to contend with issues of the characters in the reboot, in this case both new and old.

At the beginning of the show, Adam "Toast" Charles, Five-Zero's on-call geek, is brutally murdered. (I don't think it is Martin Starr, the actual actor who played this character, seen in a gory close-up.) Five-Zero's computers were hacked into the night before, obtaining, among other things, a list of informants including Toast, Sang Min, Gerard Hirsch, Kamekona and several others. It is suspected this list falling into the wrong hands is the reason for Toast's death, because it revealed his co-operation with the cops tracking down criminals.*

To investigate the breach, McGarrett enlists the help of Aaron Wright (Joey Lawrence), who he just busted a couple of episodes back. Wright does not come cheap. He demands a transfer out of Halawa to another prison, plus while working for Five-Zero he wants to stay in "a fancy hotel suite that's got a little Japanese toilet that sings to you" and "has 24-hour room service, in-room spa treatments, chocolate truffles on the nightstand, the whole nine." Most of these things are granted.

Around this time, another informant from the list, Kamekona, is put in peril. McGarrett arrives at a shrimp truck on the North Shore where he hears Kamekona has gone. The truck is on fire with Nahele inside. McGarrett rescues Nahele, and the truck explodes in a huge fireball. Nahele tells McGarrett that Kamekona has been kidnapped by the same guys who set the truck on fire and left him inside it to die.

In his hotel room, Wright goes to work, and says that a legendary hacker named Mogera (real name: Harley Taylor, played by Leonardo Nam) was responsible for breaking into Five-Zero's computers. But all this is a setup, and Wright has actually been spending time contacting a criminal named Kahili Marks (Jesse Lewis) who breaks into the hotel room and frees him. Tani, who was assigned to watch over Wright, is almost killed, partly because she has been distracted texting to her troubled brother who we met in the season opener, and who has disappeared.

Mogera is the fall guy for all the hacking, blackmailed by Wright who found out Mogera had logged into some government computers. Taylor was told by Wright that if he was busted by Five-Zero and kept his mouth shut, he would eventually be let go because of a lack of evidence. However, Taylor, who is blind, ends up in the blue-lit room where Grover threatens to give him a good working over. McGarrett then convinces Taylor to co-operate with them, which he does, hacking into Wright's cloud where he takes the names of everyone that Wright has contacted and cross-references this with the list of all the people Kamekona helped put away.

The result is one Joey Kang (Reggie Lee), who knew Kamekona years before when they were both on the wrong side of the law. In some out-of-the-way warehouse, a thug in Kang's employ beats Kamekona severely, because Kang, his boss, says the big guy owes him half a million bucks from when the two of them were pals. Kamekona does not volunteer any information and, in fact, insists that he has not been working for Five-Zero (???). The result is Kamekona is slated to be executed.

Venturing into methods of convincing people to co-operate that we haven't seen for a while, McGarrett goes to Kang's father's auto repair shop, drenches it with gasoline, then pulls out a lighter. The father (Donald Li) quickly calls his son and, for some reason which is not explained, Kamekona is set free.

The show ends with a "celebration of life" of sorts for Kamekona, with Jerry singing Merci Buckets by the Drive-By Truckers. Tani is not at the party, and McGarrett and his dog Eddie go to visit her. She is having doubts about whether she is the right person for the team in light of her failure guarding Wright earlier. McGarrett tells her "If you weren't, you and I wouldn't be having this conversation right now."

Junior Reigns, the other new member of the team, is also having problems. While he is showing himself to be an expert marksman on the Honolulu Police Academy Shooting Range, he is living in a shelter for homeless people and doesn't even have a cellular phone. McGarrett suspects that Junior is having trouble readjusting to life in the real world after returning from serving his country, and tells him "It's okay if everything's not okay all the time." McGarrett tells Junior to pack up his things and move in with him at his house. (Hopefully Junior is not going to have an attack of PTSD or something and go psycho.)

Taylor Wily as Kamekona got lots of screen time, which was a good thing, but the beating his character took was pretty tasteless. He had some serious speechifying, telling Kang why he had changed his life around since he reformed, in a manner of speaking. Speaking of tasteless, Grover actually threatened to hit the blind Mogera when he was being grilled! What will Grover do next, push someone in a wheelchair down a flight of stairs like Richard Widmark in Kiss of Death? Later in the show, when Taylor was hacking his way into Wright's cloud in the Five-Zero office, Grover, in response to Jerry, who described this as being like "watching Mozart live in concert," said, "Don't you mean Stevie Wonder?"

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5. (S08E05) Kama‘oma‘o, ka ‘āina huli hana (At Kama‘oma‘o, land of activities) ★★½
Original air date: 11/03/17

As the show opens, Junior, who is now living at McGarrett's, is cleaning up some mess which Eddie made on the carpet. Danno, wearing a grotesque Hallowe'en mask, shows up at the door, and is disappointed that McGarrett isn't there, because he spent $75 on the mask to scare him. Accompanied by the usual "comedic" pizzicato music, Danno is trying to act like a nice guy; he is wearing a sling on his left arm. (Did Scott Caan really injure himself?) Danno reportedly fell off a ladder in the restaurant, saying that it is a cheap ladder which McGarrett bought.

McGarrett is at Alicia Brown's house on the North Shore. Although hacker MiZchief was caught, tried and sent to jail in only three episodes, we are just getting around to the court case dealing with Alicia's killing of serial killer Madison Gray in S07E17 (broadcast last February). Alicia is conflicted because she doesn't want to tell the truth, that she killed Gray who was not threatening her with a knife as Alicia said in her statement at the time. McGarrett, continuing the "immunity and means" attitude seen in the previous show where he dumped gasoline over a suspect's father's garage to get co-operation, tells Alicia he doesn't want to hear about this and tells her to keep her trap shut when she goes to court.

Believe it or not, this was the pre-opening-credits cliffhanger, probably the least suspenseful in the series so far!

The crime of the week was so-so. I'm going to talk about it in a manner which is not the way that it appeared in the show, so don't be bitchin'.

Twenty years ago, a 12-year-old girl named Marissa Walker was abducted on her way home from school, dragged into the forest, raped and tied to a tree. She was attacked by wild boars and her face was chewed up, leaving her horribly disfigured. After she was found, she was called the "Half-Face Girl," and she was treated like a freak.

According to Hannah Bell (Vivan Durge), her sister, Marissa left the house one morning when she was a teenager, went into the woods near their house and never came out.

Aside from questions like how has Marissa (now played by Michele Carro) survived for so many years -- what did she eat and so forth -- she is now taking revenge on Hannah who was responsible for Marissa's misfortunes because on the day she was abducted, Hannah was supposed to walk home with Marissa, but let her walk home alone.

In addition to abducting her niece Lacey Bell (Hannah's daughter, played by Rylee Brooke Kamahele) and tieing the kid to a tree like happened to herself, Marissa has also committed two murders of innocent people -- one of a guy who was transporting pigs on the Pali Highway, the other who fell into a concrete mixing tub and became like a stone idol. All of these events have some connection to Hawaiian folklore.

I have to wonder why Marissa committed the two murders and then the abduction. Is she trying to create a distraction for the cops, who won't figure out that they are all connected to her? But they are, and Tani, McGarrett and Noelani figure this out very quickly.

As Five-Zero and HPD attempt to track down Lacey (who is eventually found), Marissa is seen evading them, climbing trees and running through the forest with all the skill of Pierre Shaw, the parkour dude seen in S07E01. (This suggests to me that Marissa isn't living on nuts and berries.)

Alicia is dragged away from her trial to help Five-Zero, and while she is trying to make FBI profiler sense of what is going on, she gets news from the P.A. (Prosecuting Attorney?) that he is willing to make a deal and let her off with 18 months probation if she makes herself available to help Five-Zero with cases, thus guaranteeing Claire Forlani employment for a while.

Meanwhile, Marissa gets away. At the very end of the show she comes snooping around Hannah's house but rushes back into the forest, suggesting that she will also be back on the show as a "recurring character" in the future.

The secondary plot thread of the week involved Grover, who went to the Florida State Prison where a convicted hitman named Sebastian Wake (James Frain) is scheduled to be executed. Wake spends a lot of time jerking around Grover, who is annoyed that he wasted 11 hours coming there to listen to what he expected would be some eleventh-hour confession.

Wake does tell Grover that Clay Maxwell, Grover's former partner offered him $250,000 to knock Grover off, but it isn't until Grover leaves the prison that one of the personnel there gives him a map which Wake made for him. Grover uses this map to go to a location in the Florida Everglades where he finds some mini-cassette tapes. They provide proof that Maxwell killed his wife in Hawaii in S05E20, which motivated Grover's quest to Chicago in S06E13, as well as the fact Maxwell put out a contract on Grover.

Grover calls McGarrett to tearfully say what is on these tapes will provide him with closure to the events surrounding Maxwell. But will they? Can these tapes really be used in a court of law as evidence?

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6. (S08E06) Mōhala i ka wai ka maka o ka pua (Unfolded by the Water are the Faces of the Flowers) ★★
Original air date: 11/10/17

The crime of the week part of this show was not bad.

Oliver Matthus (Michael Weston), son of Patrick, an over-zealous cop who was kicked out of HPD in 2010, then spent 18 months in Halawa as a result, and died from heart disease in 2014, is suffering from DID (Dissociative Identity Disorder -- an actual mental condition). One of Oliver's 7 personalities is that of his father, who murders two tourist surfers at the beginning of the show.

Oliver then invades a house where he and his parents used to live and beats up the current occupant, Hali Mitchell (Dollar Tan). After extracting justice by shooting some guy dead on the street, he goes to HPD headquarters. Duke, using a ruse, locks him in a room, but Oliver escapes through the ceiling, goes to where the cop cars are parked and steals one, leading Five-Zero and other police on a chase back to his home where McGarrett earlier had discovered Oliver's mother Claudia dead in bed of natural causes.

Alicia Brown (Claire Forlani), quick to offer assistance to Five-Zero after last week's episode, figured out Oliver's condition early in the show, and she enters his house, acting like his late mother. In a nerve-racking sequence with SWAT team members poised outside ready to knock off Oliver, she manages to overcome his abusive father's persona which he has assumed and comfort him, so that he can be taken away and given proper treatment.

That is the good news.

The rest of the show, almost 45% of it, was taken up with an idiotic story where Danno hires a stress counsellor to diagnose what is wrong with McGarrett and to offer suggestions on how his life can be improved.

Several members of the Five-Zero "ohana," including the repugnant Dog the Bounty Hunter, gather at McGarrett's house at the beginning of the show to mostly tell him why this is a good idea, before the counsellor, Chloe Gordon (Jolene Purdy) is introduced. Despite her saying that "stress management isn't some New Age nonsense," Chloe is the epitome of a chirpy, well-intentioned and politically correct New Age professional.

As this opening sequence dragged on and on, making me anxious for the usual phone call that ends the comedic opening stuff, I started talking more and more to the TV, and not with nice words, as well as other expressions like "Leonard and Rose Freeman must be rolling over in their graves."

I had a good laugh when some of Chloe's "anal-ysis" later came back to bite Danno in the ass, like when she told him "some of your behavior can be causing Commander McGarrett some undue stress. If you could be a little less negative, a little more agreeable in your dealings with Steve, I think that would really help." McGarrett totally picked up on Danno's efforts to tone things down, wondering why Danno wasn't saying things while they were driving like "Steve, it's not the DeLorean time machine. You know, we don't have to get it up to 88" and "Hey, can you turn up the radio 'cause I'm pretty sure I just heard the GPS lady say she wants to get out."

But some of the other dialogue was stupid. While driving with Danno and McGarrett, Chloe asked McGarrett about his sex life. He replied that he had been seeing Lynn "on and off for a while now." (WHAT? This is a woman that has been seen in FOUR episodes since her introduction in S06E07 -- November 6, 2015.) Not only that, he said they were doing it "five times a week, I guess." Danno ridiculed this, because he said his girlfriend Melissa had heard from Lynn that it was more like two or three times.

This scene was also notable for the usual queer-baiting, because even though Chloe was referring to McGarrett and Lynn when she said "I'm assuming you guys are (chuckles) intimate?", it sounded like she was referring to McGarrett and Danno in the front seats, who looked nervously at each other.

At least Weston and Purdy played their parts very well, especially the latter, who made me totally dislike her character, especially at the end where she gave a preview of her report for McGarrett which would include recommendations for "stress-reducing techniques, holistic modalities [and] dietary guidelines."

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7. (S08E07) Kau ka ‘ōnohi ali‘i i luna (The Royal Eyes Rest Above) ★★½
Original air date: 11/17/17

Junior is jogging downtown, listening to Here Comes The Hotstepper by Ini Kamoze when he literally runs into Layla (Anna Enger -- a very hot looker), a woman who we later learn was his pre-Iraq-service girl friend. She is now married and pregnant to boot. Continuing his jog, Junior notices four suspicious-looking guys with duffel bags outside a savings and loan getting out of a car with no license plate.

He alerts McGarrett, who was at the airport welcoming Adam home. There, Adam told him that Kono was just about ready to return to Hawaii, but then "a lead panned out in Boulder City" relating to her sex trafficking project. Adam told McGarrett, "I figured it was time to come back home and try to have some semblance of a life."

Meanwhile, at Five-Zero headquarters, Tani is troubled because earlier that day she rescued her brother Koa (Kunal Sharma) from some disreputable looking place in a disreputable neighborhood identified only as "Honolulu," to avoid offending anyone, I guess. This place was going to be raided by vice cops any second, and Tani flees with her brother on a motor scooter. A surveillance video of the two was made of them leaving, and she is worried that if McGarrett sees this she will get the axe from her new job. Grover solves the problem by deleting the video.

McGarrett and Adam soon arrive outside the bank where Junior is waiting for them. After some debate, McGarrett enters the place, where customers and employees are tied up on the floor. Adam and Junior cannot sit still, and join him inside, with weaponry provided by McGarrett. They go down to the vault with the bank manager (Nolan Hong). There is an explosion, which knocks them all on their asses for a minute or so. Upon opening the vault, they find a tunnel inside where the bad guys have made their escape.

McGarrett pursues the robbers into the tunnel and shoots what he thinks is one of them, but it turns out to be an HPD cop. McGarrett picks this guy up and runs with him through the tunnel. Adam and Junior, who have gone back to the street, drive McGarrett's truck frantically through downtown. They meet him where the tunnel ends and rush the cop to the hospital where he dies. McGarrett is very sad.

Jerry determines that Bobby Akamu (Saint Thompson), one of the bank employees, was connected to the robbers, because his prints were all over the inside of the bank vault. Akamu is dragged into the blue-lit room where Grover gets very heavy with him, saying "somebody's gonna walk right up to you and Jack Ruby that ass."

Shortly after this, McGarrett is relieved to find out the "cop" he shot dead is not a cop, but one of the bank robbers. But another one of these robbers named Dave Lockhart (Kila Packett), also dressed as a cop whose name is R. Osmond, comes to Five-Zero headquarters where he manages to get to the blue-lit room and shoot Akamu in the head! Lockhart escapes out of the building, followed by McGarrett and Grover, to a car containing the other two robbers. Following a brief shootout, the bad guys attempt to flee, resulting in a mind-boggling stunt with a car flying up and flipping over.

Later that evening, Tani is still in the Five-Zero office, stressing about helping out her brother earlier. Grover tells her not to worry. As he leaves, she says she has "one more thing to do." Is she up to something no good? At McGarrett's place, Junior looks up a video taken of him and Layla before he went off for his tour of duty, which suggests the two of them were going to get married. Adam goes to his house with McGarrett, where he is sad because Kono is not with him.

This Danno-free (YAY!) episode was better than average (that's why it gets 2½ stars, rather than 2 or less), but there were still questions and problems. We now switch you over to the trivia section:

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8. (S08E08) He Kaha Lu‘u Ke Ala, Mai Ho‘okolo Aku (The Trail Leads to a Diving Place; Do Not Follow After) ★★
Original air date: 12/1/17

This show was confusing.

The first confusing thing was I had seen a promo picture of this episode which showed McGarrett in what appeared to be a jet fighter pilot's outfit. I hadn't read anything about the show at all, which was probably not a good idea. I figured McGarrett was going to perform some Super-SEAL number, flying a jet plane to an isolated location and rescuing someone.

So I started watching the show, and in the teaser (the stuff before the main credits), McGarrett instead is involved in some kind of stunt-filled air race involving giant CGI pylons near Magic Island, adjacent to Ala Moana Beach Park and the Ala Wai Yacht Harbor. This is part of a competition which a quick Googling and a look at YouTube discovered is a thinly-disguised variation on Red Bull Air Races. I guess they couldn't get Red Bull to be another corporate sponsor.

The second confusing thing was the fact that the teaser was not the usual stuff which is happening now which turns into the stuff which is happening next. It was a preview of something to be seen later in the show, though edited down from two minutes 15 seconds to about 25 seconds. The number of times this "preview" teaser variation has been seen in the show previously, including this episode, can be counted on the fingers of one hand including S01E12, S06E07, S06E25 and S07E08.

Then to compound all this baloney, I totally missed the crawl after the teaser which said "31 HOURS EARLIER," meaning "stuff that happened before, but is actually happening now," duh!

Anyway, McGarrett meets an old pal of his from the military named Ronnie Turner (Dohn Norwood), "the best mechanic we ever had on base." Ronnie is now one of the chief mechanics for the Hammerade Air Races (the thinly-disguised variation...), and his pilot's plane "nose-dived into the water during a training session" a couple of days previously, killing him. Why they didn't just start the show with this accident beats me. I guess seeing McGarrett flying a plane in front of the "ohana" who are gathered with other spectators on the beach is more exciting.

Ronnie says that the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), who just recovered the crashed plane, will likely say the accident was because of "pilot error," and Ronnie tells them that the pilot, Jason Sachs, also known as "The Shadow Baron," was an ace and "a good guy." Ronnie says there are a lot of other possible reasons for the crash: a defective part, a design flaw, even sabotage. If the verdict is "pilot error," Sachs' family will not get any money from either the insurance company or Hammerade.

McGarrett and Danno go to a hanger where NTSB investigators under the direction of Agent Callahan (Ricardo Chavira) are examining all the bits and pieces. There are some things unaccounted for, like the "trim tab," part of the plane's tail. Questions are asked of Callahan (whose name is spelled "Callaghan" in the Closed Captions), but this turns into yet another exercise of "Five-Zero being jerked around by Feds." McGarrett doesn't like being jerked around. He tells Danno, "This guy making a call like that without a crucial piece of evidence, one of two things -- either he's a complete idiot, or he's hiding something."

So far, this episode is kind of "meh," as if the writers were really scraping the bottom of the story barrel. But then it goes totally off the rails in a manner which I don't recall seeing for quite some time, harking back to earlier episodes of the show where plots competed with each other to see which could be the most convoluted.

After asking Noelani to do a second autopsy on Sachs, McGarrett and Tani go to visit Sachs's widow Elena (Dana Garcia), who came to Honolulu with her husband and their young son Tomas (Noah Khan). She tells them she first met Sachs when she was "working at a bar in Puerto Palomas, [a Mexican city] near the U.S. border." After seeing her a few more times, Sachs returned when she was with someone else who she says didn't treat her well, and he took her with him across the border to Texas. She tells Five-Zero on the day before the recent crash, Sachs had an encounter with a man who upset him, though Jason later told Elena "there was a misunderstanding."

This mystery man is Norman Andrews (Chris Flanders), who Grover and Danno go to talk to. He gives them some long story: "Ten years ago, this guy comes to me with an investment opportunity. Says he's working on the next Google, and he shows me the business plans, the algorithm. He says I can get in on the ground floor, make a fortune, so I invested my entire life savings, and that bastard ran off with every penny. Guy's name was Jason Sachs. I looked for that son of a bitch for a few years, but he disappeared. But a couple months ago, I catch this 'behind the scenes' clip of the Air Races on YouTube, and in the background there he was -- the guy that ripped me off. He's wearing the the Shadow Baron outfit, but he had his helmet off. So I did some digging, confirmed his name was Jason Sachs. So I flew over here and tracked him down to his hotel."

The only problem is, Jason Sachs with the air races didn't turn out to be the same Jason Sachs who ripped Andrews off: "They were dead ringers except when it came to height." In other words, aside from his height, this flyer looked exactly the same as the "other" Jason Sachs! WTF?!? Andrews story is checked out later, and he really was scammed by a "different" person.

Meanwhile, a technician from the air race named Isaiah Phillips (Alex Monti Fox) manages to find the trim tab in the ocean, something the NTSB is either incapable of finding, or is ignoring. Phillips had problems when he was fired after he missed issues with planes that he was mechanically inspecting. (It is not specifically said if this was with Hammerade since 2014 or his previous employer, Reno Air Races. If it was with Hammerade, there is no indication when and why he was rehired.) Phillips figured he would cover his ass if he found the part, but after examining it, he knows Sachs's plane crashed because of sabotage. Ronnie catches Phillips with the part, but the NTSB types show up quickly, and confiscate it before Five-Zero can get involved again.

The NTSB soon has a press conference where, as predicted by Ronnie, they say the crash was due to pilot error. Shortly after this, the trim tab shows up on McGarrett's desk, which Tani, the only other person in the office at the time, cannot explain. Taken to the crime lab, the part reveals tampering with screw threads which were then painted over.

McGarrett seizes on this opportunity to bust Callahan for obstruction of justice. A quick investigation has shown that Callahan, who looked shifty when we first met him, is indeed hiding something: the fact that he is taking payoffs to keep problems with the race out of the public eye. In the blue-lit room, Callahan smirks a lot as he tells McGarrett and Tani that if they expose his dirty dealings, he will bring up the fact that the tab was illegally seized from a federal facility by someone connected to their task force, which McGarrett denies doing.

Things get more complicated when it is determined that Jason Sachs the scammer really wasn't Jason Sachs the pilot. The scammer died in a car accident six years ago in 2011, but the prints of the pilot are those of Luke Nixon, who was arrested in 2009 by the Drug Enforcement Agency. Nixon's records are sealed, but McGarrett gets them unsealed almost immediately.

Nixon was caught flying drug shipments for the Maldonado Cartel in 2009. He was offered the opportunity to become an informer against Juan Camilo, the cartel's "grand poobah," which he did for a year and a half. But then he decided to "cut and run," taking Juan Camilo's only daughter with him ... who just happens to be Elena. Nixon assumed the identity of the then-deceased scammer and he got a gig with the races where he was "hiding in plain sight." How Nixon chose Sachs specifically to steal an identity from and how he altered his appearance is not mentioned (plastic surgery?) -- no doubt this will be in deleted scenes on the Season 8 DVDs.

Using all this info, McGarrett cleverly deduces that Nixon the pilot, a.k.a. Sachs the pilot, was knocked off by someone connected to the cartel who wanted to kill "not only the guy that ratted on 'em, but the guy who ran away with the boss's daughter."

Moving with the speed of a lightning bolt, McGarrett contacts Inspector General Miguel Cortines of the Mexican police who have been after the Maldonado Cartel for some time and gets him to find out whether Juan Camilo has placed any outgoing calls to numbers in the 808 area code of the United States (i.e., Hawaii) in the last 24 hours

Cut to the next scene, a house where Elena and her son are being held captive by some slimy dude named Guillermo (Romualdo Castillo). They are just about ready to leave to go back to Mexico when there is a huge explosion in their truck outside, McGarrett and Tani show up in slow motion, Guillermo and some other guy are arrested, and Elena is rescued.

At this point, we still have about eight and a half minutes to go. When again reminded that Elena and her son won't get any money from the race, and Ronnie saying "We got a backup plane, but no pilot," McGarrett smiles and Danno starts freaking out with "Can I talk to you for a second, please," so we know that McGarrett will save the day by taking over Sachs's slot in the competition. We then cut to a rehash of some of the scenes at the beginning of the show. Despite almost getting himself killed, McGarrett comes in dead last ("It's better than dead, period," chirps Danno), 12th out of 12.

The show ends with beers on the beach (sigh), Tani and Junior again being chummy (which they also were earlier in the show), and Tani going home and seeing her brother Koa, who, it turns out, was the one who stole the trim tab. Whether he or Tani brought it to the Five-Zero office is not said. This leaves us with a question: how could Koa get into wherever this piece of evidence was presumably locked up by the NTSB to steal it?

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9. (S08E09) Make me kai (Death at Sea) ★★★½
Original air date: 12/8/17

Don't faint, I quite liked this episode, especially because it was just one story. The only thing that I didn't like was the time frame considering what was happening during the show, which was sometimes ridiculously compressed.

A woman named Monique Sims (Alexandra Chando) is found floating in a small raft off Waikiki Beach; she has been in the water for at least 8 hours. She is "a familiar face on the Island's social scene" and an acquaintance of Adam. Monique's assistant says she was a guest on a yacht called the Serenity, owned by someone named Nathan Diamond (Attila Pohlmann), a big hedge fund guy.

A satellite picture of this yacht is not good, it looks like people on it are dead.

So McGarrett, Danno, Tani and Junior are dropped on the yacht by helicopter. Unfortunately, all the people on board are dead, and they look like they have been victims of some kind of biological agent, which is later determined to be "a hybrid that combines the pernicious qualities of two different viruses to create one even more deadly pathogen. [T]he victims are exhibiting the symptoms and mortality rate of a hemorrhagic condition like the Ebola Zaire virus, which has a 95% fatality rate." There is a suggestion that this has been "combined with something highly contagious, like measles. Bottom line, anyone infected will be dead within eight to ten hours."

All of this means that our heroes WILL SOON BE DEAD because the clock is ticking away!

There is the usual blather such as people who are going to die soon will make, but Danno cannot shut up about nonsense like the waiting area in his and McGarrett's restaurant. McGarrett, because he is a kind and understanding person, actually listens to this, because THEY ARE ALL GOING TO DIE. The foursome end up sitting on deck chairs waiting to hear from Adam, Grover and Jerry on shore as to whether there is an antidote for their condition.

It turns out one of the people on the Serenity was not on the passenger list, a fellow named Marko Joseph (William R. Edwards). This name is a pseudonym for one Andreas Koslov, an "egghead who used to run the entire Ukraine chemical weapons program ... [who] disappeared with some materials from a lab." Interpol issued a red notice (no pun intended, I am sure) on him, but so far, there have been no sightings. Adam speculates, considering this Marko dude was mysteriously dropped off on to the yacht by some other boat, "We're thinking he was using the Serenity to get himself and the virus onto American soil."

Monique has some connection to this biological virus fishiness, because she gets a call at the hospital from some other guy. It sounds like she was supposed to help bring the virus ashore, but these plans went awry when one of the vials of the virus broke, causing infection among the yacht's passengers, who attacked and killed Marko. Monique managed to escape without getting infected herself.

Mr. Mysterious Phone Call Guy tells her that he wants to get the $500,000 which he invested in this project back, so Monique punches out a nurse and leaves the hospital wearing the nurse's uniform. Being a clever guy, Jerry can figure out that Monique received this payment, but it originated in a Swiss bank, which has iron-clad security. Adam tells Jerry and Grover to give him 20 minutes, and ... presto! ... he gets information revealing who the Phone Call Guy is ... maybe because of his family's yakuza connections (which I thought he had moved away from)?

Grover, Jerry and Adam quickly rush to The Now Identified Source of the Funds house and get him to set up a meeting with Monique who has the half a million packed in a bag already. (Did she have it at her apartment, or did she take it out of the bank? --- the latter being VERY unlikely). When she arrives at the meeting place, Monique is cornered, but pulls out a gun which she was keeping at her apartment for a rainy day. One of the HPD cops shoots her, which causes Grover to say "Damn!" as in "Damn, our only way of resolving the plot is screwed!" Fortunately, Monique is still alive, and before she gets medical attention, Grover gives her a "mean mother-you-know-what" speech telling her to cough up information about the antidote for the virus, which she does.

Cut to the yacht, where a Perfect Storm-type storm is raging. Grover arrives by helicopter, and the antidote in a case is dropped down on a line which, of course snaps, and the case ends up in the ocean. As Tani screams instructions in the downpour, Junior and McGarrett dive into the drink and fish it out ... and the day is saved.

The foursome end up getting their health back to normal in the hospital's biohazard quarantine area with Junior doing sit-ups, McGarrett and Tani playing chess (which McGarrett loses) and Danno ranting on about the restaurant waiting room some more. McGarrett tells him to shut the hell up. The only reason he listened to Danno earlier was because they were all going to die, and McGarrett just wanted to humor him. McGarrett says "That's not something I ever have to think about again." And Danno still cannot shut the hell up!

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10. (S08E10) I ka wā ma mua, I ka wā ma hope (The Future is in the Past) ★½
Original air date: 12/15/17


GUEST REVIEW BY TODD WITTELES
I first met Todd at the 1996 Hawaii Five-O convention in Burbank. He had a Five-O WWW site of his own in the mid-1990s, which may have actually predated mine. He has contributed many times to the Discussion Forum on my site. These days, Todd is a professional poker player. He even has his own Wikipedia page! -- Mr. Mike


The show begins with what appears to be a successful opening night of Steve and Danno's restaurant, seemingly set in present-day. This bothered me because the whole restaurant idea has become a drag and time-waster on the show this season, despite the fact that it was only presented last year in order to give closure to Danno if Scott Caan had chosen to leave the show.

Since Danno stayed on, they should have shut down all restaurant talk until the series was really going to end (or he was really going to leave). Instead, the restaurant idea changed from a retirement plan to an active venture for Danno and Steve, which is already ridiculous because clearly neither have time for such a major undertaking.

So here I thought all that annoying restaurant talk had come to fruition and we would have to be dealing with Steve McGarrett and Danny Williams, Restaurateurs, from now on.

Then came the twist. Danno saw a report on TV about a veteran detective being shot at the hospital. He asked Steve about it. Steve acted confused before informing Danno that it's him. The entire sequence was a delusion of a gravely injured Danno.

Cut to opening.

As unnecessary as this opening was, I have to admit a feeling of relief coming over me, that the restaurant wasn't actually going to be part of the show just yet.

As we cut back in time a bit, the Five-Zero crew (minus Grover and Jerry) are still in the quarantine area, six hours away from release. A man in a hazmat suit comes in, fiddles with the wall, and doesn't answer anyone. They wrongly assume it's doctor they've been dealing with, but the viewer obviously knows that will be the shooter.

The man pulls a gun and orders all four (Steve, Danno, Tani, Junior) to tie themselves up with zip ties. Steve tries to convince him that he's infected himself and will need their help to escape alive, but the man removes his protective helmet and says he doesn't care about himself. He asks Danno if he remembers him, to which Danno says no. Then the man shoots Danno, and turns the gun on himself, committing suicide.

The rest of the episode is a fairly mundane exercise of getting Danno out of the quarantine area despite the fact that the gunman booby trapped the only door with a sophisticated bomb.

He destroyed all of their phones, as well as the in-room communication system, so they cannot call for help.

Tani gets the fire extinguisher to bash a pipe in the bathroom pretty hard until it bursts, saying she's looking to "cause a flood" through the ceiling below, to get people's attention. Why didn't she just clog the drain in the sink and leave the water running?

Attempts to break the glass in the room with a chair are unsuccessful, as it appears to be very strong, presumably to prevent accidental breakage.

Grover is a jerk to the bomb squad and other cops on the scene, questioning everything they're trying to do, and eventually dismissing their help and taking a hammer to the other wall. Why not do that in the first place?

Throughout the episode, we are treated to various hallucinations Danno has, where he believes he's living in various scenes in the future. The restaurant was the first one.

Next, we see him at Grace's wedding, talking her out of cold feet. We learn that her husband-to-be is none other than her real-life current boyfriend, Grover's son. The actress playing Grace is in her 20s, so presumably this is set about 10 years in the future.

The next hallucination involves Danno's son Charlie (presumably about 7 years old now, thanks to rapid TV aging of babies), who is in his early 20s and graduating the police academy. So presumably this one is set about 15 years in the future.

Next we get to see Danno and Steve as old men, in makeup which was fairly convincing. (Steve's looked better. Danno looked almost like a zombie.) They're sitting together on chairs in front of the water, presumably at Steve's place, and are discussing how Danno's granddaughter is about to graduate the police academy. So presumably this is about 30-40 years into the future.

The fact that it almost appears the two of them are living together at this point would give some ammo to the people in the "Danno and Steve are gay" camp.

These various hallucinations of the future are interspersed through the episode, with the last one oddly taking place while Danno is in cardiac arrest. It would be impossible to have such a hallucination while your heart isn't beating.

Of course, there's the obligatory "Steve does something heroic in an area where he's not trained", this time involving him taking orders from a doctor to get potential deadly air pressure out of Danno's chest, in a fairly graphic scene.

Of course, Danno pulls through.

For some reason, they have a very hard time identifying the shooter (even after the police get access to him), despite the fact that they have full access to his prints and face.

They do find that he was registered under a phony name at a local motel, and in that room they find a surveillance picture of Danno, taken by the killer, with the words, "HE DESERVED TO DIE" written on it.

Overall this episode was more of a poor man's version of the original series' "Yesterday Died and Tomorrow Won't Be Born", and it lacked much excitement or suspense.

Clearly Danno wasn't going to die.

Clearly the Five-O team wasn't going to get blown to bits by that bomb.

We learned nothing about the shooter (yet).

The future hallucinations were pointless. Why were those even included, and why did we have to suffer through four of them?

If they wanted to do a revenge episode involving someone trying to kill Danno, it could have been done much better than this.

P.S. I was SHOCKED to see pictures of Chin and Kono on the wall of the restaurant in Danno's hallucination.

Unless they got permission from Grace Park and Daniel Dae Kim (unlikely), or unless their contracts allowed for re-use of still photos of them in future episodes, THIS IS A HUGE NO-NO in Hollywood.

Something very similar was done on "Grey's Anatomy" last decade, when Isiah Washington was fired for using anti-gay slurs. In order to explain Washington's disappearance, they showed another character holding a newspaper featuring an article about him, with his face pictured.

Washington sued them, arguing that they had rights to his character, but not his face.

Indeed, he was legally correct, and ABC ended up settling with him out of court.

Did Five-0 just make the same blunder?

MORE TRIVIA (by Mr. Mike):


11. (S08E11) Oni kalalea ke kū a ka lā‘au lo (A Tall Tree Stands Above the Others)
Original air date: 12/15/17

"Danno, why do people do bad things?"


12. (S08E12) Ka hopu nui ‘ana (The Round Up) ★★½
Original air date: 1/5/18

This Danno-free episode sort of had potential, but I was scratching my head already in the opening scene where FBI Special Agent Douglas Fischer (Kip Pardue) is holding a press conference in the Honolulu U.S. District Court. He has been asked by Governor Mahoe "to lead a special FBI task force focused on the brutal cycle of gang-related crime that has plagued this island in recent months ... Governor Mahoe has given me the sweeping authority to ensure that the organizations behind this violence are identified, rooted out and brought to justice."

So what was wrong with this picture? There was NO ONE FROM FIVE-ZERO present! I started thinking, "Is this a slap in the face of our favorite crime-fighting team, that they are deemed incapable of doing their job?"

We then cut to a scene with Fischer moving in to a house with his wife Laura (Alexandra Hasenbank) and six-year-old daughter. In another example of the "I-could-see-this-coming-a-mile-away" trope, a box is delivered to the house which contains a powerful bomb that kills Fischer, his wife and their cute daughter holding her favorite stuffed animal.

Following the opening credits, we jump back 24 hours to Fischer and his associate Agent McNeal (Gonzalo Menendez) approaching Tani as she arrives home. They bring us up to date on the fate of Yakuza-connected Michelle Shioma who was "shanked to death in the showers at Kailua Correctional" (something never mentioned on the show previously) and a possible connection between that and the fact that Adam (tainted with a Yakuza connection from his father, as we all know) returned to Hawaii around the same time. Tani tells them she doesn't like where this line of conversation is going, and she obviously relates this incident to McGarrett, because in the next scene, he goes to Fischer's office and tells him that Adam is a neat guy ("I trust him with my life, okay?"). McGarrett warns Fischer and McNeal not to start jerking him around and he leaves.

McGarrett then visits the morgue where the Fischer family's bodies (as well as the stuffed animal) are being autopsied. He looks sad. After flashing back to the opening press conference (which no one from Five-Zero attended) we are present at a meeting in the Five-Zero offices where everyone is talking about the fact that there are no clues regarding the explosion. Junior seems to be now a member of the team, so I guess Danno's fantasy story about him getting a badge in the last show was somehow based in reality. (I didn't pay much attention to that show, so I could be wrong about this.) Strange that there is ABSOLUTELY NO CLUE about the guy who delivered the bomb or anything, unlike usual where perhaps someone's security camera in the neighborhood could have provided footage -- but then the investigation is young.

Although there has seemingly been no communication from the Governor's office to get Five-Zero involved with what has happened, McGarrett is pissed. His solution is to bring in "every single one of [every gang], anyone who has any connections to OC [organized crime] on this island, we'll bring them all in, we'll press every single one of them until someone rolls and talks." Whoa! That is a pretty big order! Grover and Tani are both incredulous. It's not like you can look up these people in the Yellow Pages under "Organized Crime Groups." (Quite frankly, like Grover I found this idea to be very far-fetched.)

But the operation begins anyway. McGarrett's solution involves what looks like the National Guard, HPD, his dog Eddie and the geeky Jerry at the computer, plus Kamekona with his all-encompassing knowledge of everyone connected to crime on the islands. When word gets out to the gangs that the sweep is in progress, McGarrett tells some of his forces: "We need to speed this up, right? Close the net before any of our suspects go to ground."

Acting on information received frrom Kamekona, McGarrett and Grover deal with Hector Garcia (Marcelo Palacios), who lives in a palatial mansion in Palolo. When Garcia escapes via a secret door and an underground tunnel, Eddie pursues him and gives his arm a good chomping until he yells "Uncle."

Junior, in his "first day on the job," gets to go with two HPD cops to bust Luis Alvarez, a gang boss involved in GTA (grand theft auto), burglary and assault. Junior is the backup for the cops, but acquits himself well after one of them is shot dead and the other seriously wounded. Junior totally takes control of the situation despite blasts of automatic weapon fire, one of which wounds him, by using a stun grenade and eventually knocking off Alvarez. Nice job!

Tani is assigned to deal with Damien Bautista (Jon Chaffin), an old friend of hers (sounds like this is a Kono/Adam type of "old friend"), who involved her brother Koa in certain "schemes." Bautista gets kind of chummy with her until she whips out her Five-Zero badge and announces she is visiting him "on official business." Half a dozen stereotypical thugs in Bautista's employ show up shortly to rescue him but they are delayed by the proverbial chair under the doorknob, which has always struck me as a pretty lame way to keep people out. Tani forces Bautista to jump from his balcony into a swimming pool below, which appears to be several feet away from the side of the building, then follows herself, and the two of them manage to get out of view before the thugs look below.

All the bad guys rounded up are brought to some warehouse-like building where they are housed in cages which reminded me of the place Cuban refugees were put in the film Scarface. There are 169 suspects in custody, but McGarrett, Grover and Tani are the only ones shown questioning them like they would do in the blue-lit room, and they find out nothing. McGarrett is clever, he figures the reason for this is because the baddies "are in survival mode. They're so busy dealing with a turf war, they don't have time to make a high-profile hit like the one on Fischer."

On the phone to McGarrett, Jerry reveals that his "anal-ysis" of recent crime data shows that since Michelle Shioma was knocked off, the local Yakuza have been relatively low-profile, which he says is "weird." McGarrett, Grover and Tani speculate that Brandon Kenzo (Lanny Joon), a former Yakuza lieutenant who is their new boss in Hawaii, knocked off Shioma, then started "an island-wide gang war to decimate the competition" while he "lays back and lets all the other gangs on the island cannibalize each other." Once the Governor decided to call on the FBI for help, Kenzo realized his days were numbered, which is why he killed Fischer.

While all of the above was going on, Adam was picked up while he was driving by the slimy Agent McNeal and taken to the FBI offices where he was grilled about the "suspicious" timing of his return to the islands. Since they need Adam to help talking to Kenzo, Five-Zero pings Adam's cel phone and McGarrett shows up at the FBI offices to spring him. But just as they are leaving, McNeal pulls a rabbit out of the hat, showing McGarrett a photo of Adam visiting Michelle Shioma less than 24 hours before she was killed.

In the car as they leave, Adam tells McGarrett that Shioma wanted to see him, which he originally resisted. The reason for the meeting was she wanted to know what had happened to her children, which were put in protective custody when she was arrested six months before. Despite offering Adam things like money, he refused to help her, even though when he was leaving, she said, "I know something about you, Adam Noshimuri. Something that could change your life forever."

Anyway, now that is cleared up, Adam goes to see Kenzo and convinces him to surrender and talk to Five-Zero, which happens some tense moments. But when Kenzo talks, he debunks all the theories about his involvement in the death of Shioma, instigating the gang war, etc., etc.

As Kenzo is taken away, McGarrett suddenly gets a call from Jerry, who says the "rendition facility" (a fancy term for the holding cages for all the gang members) has been invaded by "eight hostiles" who overpowered the guards and are releasing all the big-shot leaders. The feed to the place is cut, so McGarrett, Grover and Tani rush to the place to find all the leaders have been shot dead. A firefight ensues with the killers, but some of them escape. When Tani sees Bautista dead, she is sad, suggesting their relationship was an Adam/Kono one. Later, at the morgue, where Tani picks up Bautista's effects which she intends to give his mother, she comforts Junior, who is also there, because he is also sad that he didn't prevent the death of the one cop. She tells him "you did more than anyone expected."

As the show closes, Adam comes to McGarrett's office, and McGarrett tells him, "I haven't had a day as bad as today for a long time." The dead killers of the gang members were IDd as "foreign mercenaries out of Tokyo [with] no affiliations with any established crews [and] no Yakuza link." He tells Adam, "I think it's safe to assume that whoever put the rendition hit together also took out Shioma and Fischer." Adam says, "Looks like there's a new player on the scene and they don't like competition."

McGarrett tells Adam, "I need your help. I want you to head up a special division within the Five-0 Task Force that focuses solely on organized crime on this island. Now, you got the connections. You know how these guys think. You know how they act. I want you to help me find who did all this. Now, listen. I know it's a lot for me to ask you to walk back into that world..."

Adam tells him, "No, Steve. You don't have to convince me. I'm in."

Huh? While a case can be made for Adam not being a bad guy, because he wanted to try to turn his Yakuza boss father's assets into legitimate businesses without any corruption or other criminal influences, there are still a lot of very "iffy" issues surrounding him, like the fact that he was busted with other Yakuza types at the end of the second season (along with the fact that Adam mysteriously got out of jail in the next season, which was never explained).

One big final question: Will Five-Zero be in deep poop because of their scheme to round up and confine the gang members, some of whom were then knocked off? Although these guys were all demonstrably "bad dudes," I can see a host of wrongful death lawsuits being launched against Five-Zero as well as HPD and the others who were guarding them by their relatives down the road!

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13. (S08E13) O ka mea ua hala, ua hala ia (What is Gone is Gone) ★★★½
Original air date: 1/12/18

This was an above-average episode, undoubtedly the best since S04E10 (the Pearl Harbor/internment camp one), though not perfect (that's why it only has 3½ stars).

As the off-duty Grover and his son are out driving, they come across a car which has run into a road sign. Grover discovers that its occupant, Brad Woodward (Devon Sawa) is on the verge of taking his own life with a gun.

Woodward's wife of 10 years, Tracy (Kate Tobia), recently plunged to her death from the balcony of their fifteenth-story apartment. Brad is suspected of killing her. He was supposed to surrender to the police that morning, but instead attempted to flee.

Grover immediately tries to negotiate with Brad, and both Five-Zero and HPD show up. Tani, who was out paddleboarding with McGarrett earlier, immediately pipes up that Brad is "the scumbag that threw his wife off the balcony." She and Duke add that prior to Tracy's death, the police had been called multiple times to Brad and Tracy's place because of "domestic disturbances." The cops couldn't do anything, because there were never any signs of physical abuse and Tracy would never press charges.

Danno chimes in that the way the way McGarrett wants to let Grover handle the situation ("doing everything we can to get this guy to stand down") is a "very dangerous precedent." Detective Keegan with the HPD Crisis Negotiation Unit (Kenric Green) tells McGarrett that he and his team want to take over, but McGarrett tells Keegan to back off because Grover knows what he is doing. Keegan says, "If that man kills himself, you're denying justice for his wife and her family."

Tani and Junior are assigned to "get everything HPD has on this case ... to see if there's any truth to what Brad's saying." They go quickly to Brad's apartment where there are signs of a struggle. With lightning speed, they also get various police reports as well as Brad's phone records, e-mails, texts and banking information and investigate to see if there was a life insurance policy taken out on Tracy. None of this produces any results, though several now-deleted text messages and unreturned calls to Brad from Tracy are suspicious. Tani and Junior return almost immediately to the scene where Grover is still talking to Brad.

Brad tells Grover that he left the apartment after an argument he had with his wife and wasn't even present when she died. Grover says he feels Brad is innocent and wants to get in the car with him. Keegan tells McGarrett "That's the biggest mistake he can make. Isolating yourself with a subject who's armed? He's practically signing his own death warrant." Meanwhile, Noelani has double-checked Tracy's autopsy report that said she had bruising as well as Brad's DNA under her fingernails. Tani says "They got enough evidence to lock this guy up for the rest of his life." Grover gets in the car.

Brad tells Grover that he did not kill his wife. He was the one who tried to save Tracy, because she had severe depression involving mood swings every day that nobody knew about except him. Tani and Junior are suddenly back at Brad's apartment building, where the building manager saw Brad leave, but whether this was before or after Tracy died is unsubtantiated. Junior notices a nearby ATM machine which probably has video of what happened on that evening.

Things get complicated when Tracy's father John Lefotu (J. Downing) shows up with a gun. McGarrett subdues him and he is taken away from the scene, while describing Brad as a "bastard."

Brad tells Grover that on the night Tracy died, she was going to commit suicide with a bottle of sleeping pills, and he tried to take them away from her. Tani and Junior call McGarrett to let him know that the ATM machine's camera confirms that Brad was out of the building before Tani fell; "There's no way that he could have pushed her."

Unaware of this update, Tracy's father, infuriated by an order of pizzas which Grover requested for himself and Brad, attempts to carry out his mission of vengeance, grabbing a gun from a cop and shooting at Brad's car, wounding him. The father himself is shot (not seriously) by Duke.

McGarrett, who was bringing the pizzas to the car, tells Brad that they now have proof that he is innocent, but Brad is despondent about the fact that he didn't do all he could to help his wife, saying "I couldn't take it anymore. The constant threats. Worrying about what she'd do to herself. I tried so hard. But nothing I did mattered. I was done fighting for her. I was done fighting for us. I told her, 'Go ahead and do it.' I killed her."

Grover pulls a negotiating ace out of his pocket, telling Brad "I got just one more thing to say." He tells Brad of his experience in Chicago 7 years before dealing unsuccessfully with a man holding his two-year-old son hostage while threatening to commit suicide. The man killed both both himself and his son, something which drove Grover to attempt to kill himself. Only when Grover's son Will (Quinton Ray playing him as a 10-year-old) came home unexpectedly from school was Grover able to see the error of his ways. Brad surrenders, and the show ends with Grover back in Chicago 7 years ago attending a support group for people dealing with suicide-related issues.

This show, which was just a one-story episode, had exceptional acting by Chi McBride as well as Devon Sawa as Brad. As far as Grover was concerned, it was almost the total opposite of S06E13, another Chicago-related episode where Grover went back home to prove Clay Maxwell, his former partner, had murdered his wife while on vacation in Hawaii. This was one of the worst episodes ever, because the script had Grover so out of character.

The script for this episode by Sean O’Reilly was totally on target. What was particularly interesting was the way it portrayed some of Five-Zero and the cops. Their assumption that Brad was guilty was nothing unusual; the focus when a husband or wife dies under suspicious circumstances is usually on their spouse. But the attitude of people like Tani, Danno and Keegan, while disturbing, seemed also very typical -- that they believed their own kind in terms of how Brad had been pre-judged. McGarrett, on the other hand, knew exactly what he was doing, likely because he was familiar with Grover's back story. The potentially clichéd business about the relative (Tracy's father) out for revenge was also well-handled.

There were some things that I did not like about the show (yes, we are getting to that).

First was the sequence of McGarrett and Tani paddleboarding at the beginning of the show. This was full of dialogue like the kind of filler you get in movies when people are just talking for the sake of talking. The well-photographed scene in the ocean was likely to tie in with the tourist shots which opened the show, and no doubt gave fodder for the Five-Zero Twitter drama queens to get excited about whether McGarrett and Tani are going to have a "relationship," whether there is any significance to Tani winning the race that she and McGarrett had, and some of the stuff that McGarrett had to say about Danno, like "I love the guy, but I gotta say, I sometimes I regret not shooting him when we first met," and further comments about how competitive he and Danno are.

What followed this at the beginning, Grover and his son Will talking about Will's relationship to Gracie, Danno's daughter, with Grover "unlocking the secrets of what makes a happy woman," was more nonsense, though the two of them coming upon Brad's car and what happened after this was connected to scenes at the end of the show with Grover returning home and talking to his son.

I didn't like the final group therapy scene at all, because it had some pop song (created for the show? [not so -- it is "Here We Go," by Tom Rhodes]) wailing away, telling people what to think. There are two composers for the show, surely one of them could have written much better non-vocal music for this scene!

But over and above all the above things I didn't like, the one thing that drove me up the wall during this very good show was the goddamn commercials which totally ruined the suspense! I'm sure it will be a much better experience once you can view it on DVD.

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14. (S08E14) Nā keiki a Kalaihaohia (The Children of Kalaihoahia) ★½
Original air date: 1/19/18

WARNING -- MOST OF THE LINKS IN THIS REVIEW ARE VERY GROSS.

After last week's "very good" show (i.e., one of the best ever), this one was a letdown, sort of like the show which followed S04E10, the "very good" Pearl Harbor/internment one ("the best ever"). While there was only one crime of the week, the rest of the show was a mishmash, including some heavy soap opera. The show was directed by Peter Weller, who did a good job, given the mediocre script which was handed to him.

The show and crime of the week began in a Oahu graveyard with a cool tracking shot. The body of Travis Hinkley (July 26, 1978-January 5, 2018), who died of malaria which he picked up on a recent visit to Africa, is being exhumed by Neil Voss (American Idol winner Phillip Phillips). He is interrupted by a man from On Guard Security (Esteban Diaz), who is shot (not fatally) and buried alive in the grave. When the truck containing Hinkley's body is located the next day, his body is still inside it, cut up in the first of several encounters in the show with GUTS.

The way this was handled was truly nauseating, not to say we have not seen "gross" things like this on the show before, though this approached, or even exceeded, the famous scene in the 1970 movie Catch-22 (click here to see this). Hinkley's GUTS were seen again in the morgue where Noelani demonstrated, using a photo of his intestines, that his GUTS had been tampered with.

Noelani finds out that Hinkley never had an operation on his GUTS before, so she suggests that the person who tampered with his GUTS was probably the person who prepared his body for his recent funeral. McGarrett and Danno, who previously suspected Hinkley of being a drug mule and later of being a diamond mule in partnership with Voss -- who also spent time in Africa recently -- hurry to the Roseland Mortuary where they find mortician Curtis Rice (Walt Gaines) tied up, having just had a visit from Voss, who is on his way to Rice's house, where diamonds formerly in Hinkley's GUTS are located.

Cut to the house, where Voss insinuates himself into the place and forces Rice's wife (Kathleen Stuart) to open the safe which contains the jewels. Voss is on his way away from there when he is surrounded by the well-armed members of Five-Zero. He attempts to shoot his way out of his predicament, a very bad idea, because he is killed, allowing the diamonds which he has just swallowed to trickle out of his body along with lots of blood, though no GUTS are shown.

All that sort of made sense, though there is a pointless sequence when McGarrett and Danno try to figure out what's with the GUT-chopping and -cutting. Jerry throws several ideas at them, including the possibility there is some connection with Santeria, an Afro-Caribbean religion: "Some of its practices include live animal sacrifice and the use of human remains." They drag a Santero (a guy who practices this religion in a big way, like a priest) named Arian Rovello (Claudio Pinto) into the blue-lit room. Aside from a suspicion that Ravello has human bones on an altar in his house and him telling Five-Zero he was not involved with the grave-robbing, this interrogation leads nowhere.

Another unnecessary sequence, except for die-hard "McDanno" fans, was a restaurant-gument (not the first one we have seen on the show) between McGarrett and Danno after the tools they are using to make their restaurant are stolen. Danno is carrying on like an asshole, though McGarrett has a few snappy comebacks for him, and not just at the beginning of the show. HPD Officer Pua Kai (Shawn Thomsen), who looks somewhat different than his last appearance, is delegated as per a special request from McD to HPD to find what happened to the tools. There is amusing banter between Pua and Kamekona when Pua learns that if he wants any information from the big guy he has to spend some money at KK's shrimp shack.

After a lead from Kamekona to a pawn shop, Pua manages to track down the tools to Kapula Sugimoto (Misa Tupou) who purchased them there. Sugimoto is restoring his house which was destroyed in a fire, and looks hard-up, so Pua takes pity on him and returns to see McGarrett and Danno, telling them that his investigation reached a "dead end." After he leaves, Danno tells McGarrett, "Maybe it's time to reevaluate." When Danno suggests bringing in another partner, McGarrett pooh-poohs the idea, suggesting instead they should get a loan to help with the financing. All very nice, but WHAT DOES THIS HAVE TO DO WITH FIVE-ZERO? NOTHING!

Adam is busy with his new job investigating organized crime for Five-Zero, specifically a local yakuza boss named Hideki Tashiro, who may be connected to the mass assassination of crime figures rounded up recently. Adam shows up at the Womens' Community Correctional Center in Kailua just as Jessie Nomura (Christine Ko), whose resume includes being "real good at being bad: burglary, fraud, money laundering, grand theft," is released. (She is also an orphan, which is a good thing according to Adam, because "family can be an Achilles heel."). You really have to wonder how Adam chose Jessie, whose background makes her out to be a major league badass, though she looks far too "nice." He tells her "I'm offering you something most ex-cons never get: a purpose. Without one, you're very likely to end up back inside." Adam tells her she will get what is presumably a good salary for infiltrating Tashiro's gang. Rather than speak to her about what the amount is, he shows her a piece of paper where it is written down. I don't understand this. Are there spies in the trees nearby watching him with telescopes to read his lips or something? This is stupid. She tells him to take a hike, but later finds out where he lives because she is "resourceful" (huh?) and takes him up on his offer because she was once criminally involved with his brother Michael, who Adam killed in S03E24.

Tani, who helped her brother Koa escape from the cops in S08E07 (referred to in a "previously on" at this show's beginning), is seen bringing him to a house under construction where Adam has gotten Koa a job. (Why is Adam suddenly Tani and Koa's pal?) Later, when Adam comes to check on Koa, he finds him passed out in a portable toilet from what looks like a drug overdose. Adam loads Koa into his car and drives him to the Medical Examiner's office because he doesn't want any connection with the cops. (Nice -- Adam brings Noelani down to the same "immunity and means" level as H50.) Noelani has some naloxone handy and she pumps it into Koa, saving him. Following this, there is an emotional scene where Tani comes to see Koa after leaving work. This is yet another sub-plot which has NOTHING TO DO WITH FIVE-ZERO. I kept thinking of unrelated stuff like "Why does Tami keep driving around with her brother on her pitiful Vespa-like scooter? Can't she be provided with a company car, something Kono had? It could be part of the corporate tie-in with General Motors." As well, considering Tani's brother's overdosing is kind of a BIG DEAL, sort of like SUICIDE in the previous episode, why didn't the producers make something out of this? Was there a PSA regarding "opiates" anywhere?

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15. (S08E15) He pūko‘a kani ‘āina (A Coral Reef Strengthens Out into Land) ★½
Original air date: 2/2/18


GUEST REVIEW BY TODD WITTELES

The episode begins with a creepy scene, where a native teenager dives into a natural jungle pool off a vine, only to find a decaying human body wrapped in chicken wire.

We get "treated" to yet another Steve/Danno restaurant segment, this time involving a new character, Uncle Vito, who is Danny's previously unseen and unmentioned uncle. Vito (Vincent Pastore) is quite similar to the "Big Pussy" character he played on The Sopranos, and has all of the usual "old, brusque Italian" mannerisms. Steve and Danno inexplicably trust Vito with $5,000 of their money to held with their remodeling, despite the fact that he has no contacts on the island, and does not appear to have much experience in remodeling restaurants! It's not difficult to predict that follies and shenanigans will follow.

Regarding the crime of the week, the victim is identified as a private detective on the island, Leighton Prewitt. He was found to have six active clients at the time of his disappearance, but the first client interviewed, Susan Kalani, turns out to be the main one of interest. (Oddly, the other five clients are not interviewed, nor are they mentioned again.) Susan hired Prewitt to find her husband, Micah, who was in financial trouble and completely disappeared a few years back.

An interview with Micah's parents leads Five-Zero to believe that he wasn't actually dead, as they're played a voice mail message he had left fairly recently, telling them he was sorry for disappearing. This turns out to be a pointless distraction and waste of time in the episode, as it is soon revealed (in a far-fetched and unnecessary plot point) that Micah's father had faked the message in order to give his wife hope. In reality, the message was years old. Micah's father reveals that he last saw his son years ago when he was begging for money, which was refused. Both parents also reveal that they don't trust Micah's wife, as they believe she simply wants him declared dead so she can collect on a life insurance policy.

It is also unclear how Micah's wife lives in a large, expensive home in a pricey neighborhood, if the family was having horrendous money troubles prior to his disappearance. It seems that most suspects and witnesses interviewed by Five-Zero at their homes live like millionaires, even if it doesn't correspond to the plot!

Upon further investigation, it is found that Micah had a plan to enter the jungle shortly after vanishing, and it's found that another man exited the jungle around that same time, with a severe nervous breakdown. Five-Zero visits the man at the hospital, and he doesn't recognize the murdered detective, but flips out when shown the picture of Micah. However, he is too mentally gone to coherently explain anything. He utters a phrase which is later found to match the title of a book he's holding in an old picture, and Five-Zero links that book to a self-help-guru-turned cult leader named Kundahara.

Surprise, surprise, guess where Kundahara's compound is based? You got it... the same jungle where the body was found.

Five-Zero storms the compound, but gets in a scary armed standoff with a number of armed men, intent upon defending their leader. In a scene which didn't make very much sense, the brainwashed followers are somehow scared into putting their guns down when McGarrett shoots one of them in the arm. This seemed like a horrible decision by McGarrett, as Five-Zero was outnumbered, and opening fire against a cult of fanatics seemed like a sure way to cause a high body count on both sides.

Kundahara is apprehended, and it's revealed that he killed Micah because, after initially being under his spell and giving him his bottom dollars, Micah realized he was a fraud and was about to expose him. Prewitt, the PI, was killed because he came looking for Micah. It is never made clear what happened with the mentally broken down man, or how he escaped.

If this story sounds convoluted and confusing, you're correct, because that's exactly what it was. It didn't flow well, and the villain was identified through deux-ex-machina tactics which weren't at all satisfying.

There was a bit of redeeming value to the episode with the Adam segment. He sends Jessie (the young female ex-con, whose presence and sexual tension with Adam seems to be a substitution for Kono) into a dangerous situation. Adam steals mob boss Hideki's car, bugs it, and then gives it to Jesse to return to Hideki. This already is a huge risk of Jesse's life, but Hideki is impressed with her skill and willingness to return the car to him voluntarily, so he lets her walk. However, when Jesse oddly appears when Hideki is getting a haircut, he knows that she has been trying to get his attention, and again he considers killing her. Once again, Jesse talks him out of it, and he agrees to hire her on a trial basis. Just as it seems Jesse is making progress with Hideki, one of Hideki's thugs has the car analyzed for bugs, and one is found. It's known that Jesse is working with the cops! Whoops!

Fortunately, Adam arrives at just the right moment to stop the thugs from reporting it to Hideki, and makes them disappear somewhere, presumably in some form of solitary confinement prison. At the end of the episode, Adam is attacked in his home and knocked out, and finds himself tied up in a shack located in ... yes, you guessed it... the jungle!

We don't get to find out what happens to Adam for another 6 weeks, as the show is on hiatus until March 2, due to the Winter Olympics.

Interspersed throughout the episode are the comic relief follies with Vito, who is tricked by an attractive young woman to go back to his hotel room with her, at which point she ties him up (pretending it's a sexual act) and robs him. Kamekona helps Vito track down the woman, and he is surprisingly understanding about the whole thing. The two men simply accompany her to the mall to return the merchandise she bought with his money. Why doesn't Vito simply report this to the police, as his nephew is part of Five-Zero? With most of the money back (aside from an ugly $800 statue, which can't be returned), Vito does his job, and McGarrett seems moderately satisfied.

Personally, I'm sick of these relatives of Danno and McGarrett showing up out of nowhere. None of them are very interesting, and most follow the "pain in the ass relative who gets into trouble" story arc. It appears Vito will be back in future episodes.

Overall, this episode simply wasn't very good. I'm hoping we see an improvement when the show returns in March.


Thanks to Todd for providing the above, but, of course, I cannot shut up! - Mr. Mike


I was having a lot of trouble dealing with this episode, which was totally "meh" and transitional, so I am glad Todd provided his review, which I largely agree with, even to the extent of also giving it 1½ stars.

Although there were a few laughs with the interaction between Danno's Uncle Pussy ... er ... Vito and Kamekona, Vito's presence in the story (which is not over yet -- he will be back next show) just had me scratching my head. We have heard about Vito before in this season's second episode, where Danno told McGarrett about some crazy scheme where Vito would import tap water to Hawaii because "It's Jersey tap water that has been pumped through aged pipes that give you a mineral count that is perfectly bred to make a good piece of pizza." McGarrett was incredulous about this, saying "Why do we need more water when we live on an island?"

Vito, who McGarrett says flew all the way to Hawaii "to help us get this restaurant up and running," just annoyed me, because his actions and dialogue just perpetuated typical Italian/Mafia stereotypes in keeping with the show's mockable treatment of "criminals." Unlike typical bad guys on the show (Mexicans, Muslims, Asians), though, Vito is perceived as being "cute" when he refers to "where the bodies are buried" and his offer to solve McGarrett and Danno's restaurant dilemma by burning the place down. (I totally couldn't buy McGarrett's stunned reaction to the "bodies" line; is McGarrett really that clueless to "Jersey humor"?)

I agree with Todd regarding the business where Micah's father spoofs an anwering machine message from his son. Probably using his small digital recorder, the father recorded a voice mail that Micah left him a while ago. The father then called his own phone from a pay phone and left this message as a new voice mail, playing back what he had recorded. When Micah left the original call, he was standing near the ocean. But the father, when he was making this spoof call, was using a pay phone which was not near the ocean. First, we have to assume that the voice mail on the father's phone was the one from the phone company, not on an answering machine. Otherwise, how would Tani have known that the phone used during the spoof call was not near the ocean? Second, if this new voice mail was based on an "old voice mail," isn't it possible that Micah's mother also heard this old call? If so, wouldn't she recognize it as an "old voice mail," assuming the father played it for her? So what is the point of all this other than bringing the father back to the Five-Zero offices and leading into further discussion with the father about how Micah came and hassled him for money? Just trying to write this out so I could understand it and pass the information along took far too much time!

There were more examples of how the writing in the show was mediocre other than what is mentioned in the previous paragraph. I really don't understand why there is a Twitter handle for #H50_Writers ... aren't there usually only 1 or 2 ... or 3 at the most ... writers in the main credits? The idea that there are "writers" just gives more credence to the opinion by Larry Cohen that "writers are usually credited on the show as associate producers, co-producers, executive producers, co-executive producers, ad nauseum. And they're really writers. And what they do is they keep turning the script over from one to the other to the other to the other, till nobody really wrote it and everybody really wrote it."

For example, at the end Grover tells Kundahara, the cult leader, when they are grilling him in the blue-lit room, that they now know he killed Micah in addition to Prewitt, the investigator whose body was found at the beginning of the show, saying, "You killed Prewitt, and you directed them to dump his body. Turns out it was very close to where you dumped Micah's body. We got divers going over the place right now." Huh? Why didn't they search the pool when Prewitt's body was originally discovered? The pool doesn't seem to be that big or deep.

As well, in addition to far too much expository dialogue in the show in general, Adam's protégé Jessie's conversation with Hideki, the Yakuza boss, was laughable, reminding me of nudge-nudge lines delivered almost 100 years ago by actress Mae West. And where was the microphone on Jessie's body when she was at Hideki's place? Wouldn't Hideki have had her scanned for this?

The ending with Adam in some beaten-up box in the middle of jungle nowhere was ridiculous. How did the people that put him there get there themselves?

Over and above the usual stupidities connected with the show, though, one thing that really interested me about this show was some of the fan reaction to it.

Wendie Burbridge writes a column called The Five-0 Redux in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser where she reviews episodes and/or comments on the show. She normally has a positive spin in what she says, so I knew we were in for something different with the headline on her review of S08E15: "'Five-0' needs to continue moving toward more solid ground."

The third paragraph gives a clue of what is to come: '[T]his episode is one that might be hard to love. While there were a few moments that showed us glimpses of what we enjoy about the show — they were few and far between."

It's not like Wendie has never said anything negative about the show, but some of what she said in this review, and not even what was said between the lines, seemed to be dropping some big hints to the people in charge of Five-Zero:

Her conclusion: "Overall, it seemed as if this week's "Hawaii Five-0" was more of a filler to get us to next month's March 2 event — which is the next time the show returns with a new episode."

Another Five-0 blogger, Linda Stein, was also critical of S08E15. Stein's blog is called "Hawaii Five-0 Kool-Aid: Surfing the wave on the positive side!", so named as a riposte to those people who accuse her of "drinking the Kool-Aid" because says she avoids "negative comments and the one-sided shipping [fans' emotional involvement with the ongoing development of a relationship] that's on most of the blogs." Like Wendie, she is normally positive about episodes which she reviews. Some of her comments on S08E15 were definitely not expected:

What was even more surprising were the responses after this review (and these are excerpts from all of them):

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16. (S08E16) O nā hōkū o ka lani ka i ‘ike ia Pae (Only the Stars of Heaven Know Where Pae Is) ½ STAR
Original air date: 3/2/18

After a Five-Zero-less month, this was another tripartite exercise with substandard writing and irritating editing jumping between the three stories, divided up approximately as follows: CRIME OF THE WEEK: 51.2%; THE PERILS OF ADAM: 25.2%; UNCLE VITO AND THE RESTAURANT: 19.2%; and MISCELLANEOUS (titles, credits, etc.): 4.4%.

UNCLE VITO AND THE RESTAURANT

Vito gets Kamekona to hire "B- and C-Team" tradesmen to work on the restaurant and then buggers off to go and hassle a city license inspector named Lee (Clyde Yasuhara) about the restaurant's liquor license which will be seriously delayed because of McGarrett's tardiness in submitting it. For his efforts, Vito is thrown in jail after trying to bribe Lee to speed up the application, first with a nice dinner and then with $500. Because Vito doesn't return when he said he would, Kamekona leaves to take care of his own business and the tradesmen leave the place in a total mess. This causes Danno to go even more ballistic than normal.

After Vito is sprung from jail, he goes into a rant echoing what numerous other people have said in previous episodes this season about Danno and McGarrett's venture: "You two know less than nothing about the business, because if you did, you'd know it's a full-time, back-breaking grind just to squeeze out a few bucks profit." Vito reminds Danno that he "used to sit on my lap when you were a kid … you pissed me off." Vito uses the word "schmuck" and Danno calls Kamekona a "putz," both of which mean "penis" in Yiddish, among other things.

McGarrett finally tells Vito that the restaurant has been "a very interesting learning experience -- and one that we should probably put behind us now." I thought, "Good, no more mention of the restaurant, Vito will go back to the Mainland." But then McGarrett continues, "What I'm saying is that since you so accurately diagnosed just now where and how we're going wrong, that you should stick around and help us get it right." AUGH!

About the only interesting thing about this section of the show was at the end, when Vito recognized the mystery man who almost killed Danno in S08E10. However, this guy will not be identified until a future episode. (Why does this guy's picture just happen to be showing on a TV screen in the Five-Zero office when Vito is there?)

THE PERILS OF ADAM

he show begins with a "previously on" where Adam met Jessie as she left prison and when she agreed to become his criminal informant. It doesn't say anything about how Adam wound up in the storage container in the middle of nowhere where we left him last episode. The container seems to have a wooden floor (and maybe ceiling) and its steel walls are full of holes. Adam freaks out because bugs are crawling all over his body. When Hideki, the subject of Adam's investigation, who put him there (I guess), shows up the next day, Adam is not bitten as much or devoured as we might expect.

In an interesting move as far as the writers are concerned, Hideki gets Jessie, who has insinuated herself into the yakuza boss's life as per instructions from Adam, to give Adam a good working over with brass knuckles and some serious kicking. Hideki wants to know where $20 million dollars that Michelle Shioma took from Adam's father and hid somewhere on the island is located. While she is beating Adam, Jessie whispers to him in a very loud voice, "For God's sake, Adam, just tell him where the money is. You gotta give Hideki something, otherwise, he's gonna make me beat you to death, and neither of us want that." Considering they are in the relatively quiet jungle and Hideki is standing right outside the door of the container, where even a whisper would probably echo around the inside of its metal interior, Hideki hears nothing. Jessie whispers in a similar manner twice more later in the show, and Hideki is none the wiser.

Although Shioma never told Adam where the money was located, saying instead she knew something that would change his life forever (but never told him that either), Adam pretends to know where the bucks are buried, and is taken at gunpoint to some other obscure jungle location. Knowing exactly where to dig (How? Was he the one who buried stuff there years before?), Adam digs up a box which contains a gun. He tells Hideki this gun was used to commit a murder which Adam's late father helped cover up and the rich local businessman who killed his partner with this gun could be blackmailed for "more than $20 million, maybe." Hideki clenches his teeth a lot, but lets Adam live with the promise that if he can't get $20 million from the guy, Adam will still owe him the money.

The badly-beaten Adam meets with McGarrett, who regrets giving him his assignment because it is "too dangerous." But Adam says he is "all in -- now more than ever." Adam "can't shake this feeling that there's something else going on, an angle I'm not seeing," and that Hideki is "is taking orders from someone."

Unfortunately, at the end of the show, Adam gets news that Joshua Stern, the businessman who owned the gun, committed suicide when confronted with it, so Adam is on the hook for $20 million to Hideki.

You have to wonder why Hideki gets Jessie to do his dirty work. While in the previous episode Adam did put several of Hideki's goons someplace where "there are no phones, just four very thick walls," Hideki is a Yakuza big shot, and I'm sure he could find some more guys to work for him under "Thugs" in the Yellow Pages.

The episode did feature some intense emoting by Ian Anthony Dale when Adam was having his life seriously threatened by Hideki.

CRIME OF THE WEEK

Five-Zero looks into the recent disappearance of Anthony Waller, headmaster of the Lawrence Academy private school, who had a "strong personality which rubbed people the wrong way." There is no indication why they are involved with this case. Does the Governor have children going to the school and wants a favor done? Do the Five-Zero team sit around in their spare time reading HPD reports that suggest that their investigations are not thorough enough?

Tani and Junior go undercover as "prospective parents" of Noah, a "loving and kind and compassionate" (as well as "athletic," "smart" and "artistic") kid Photoshopped into family pictures with them. They want to enrol Noah in the academy. During an interview with Helen Meech (Robyn Lively), the place's head of admissions, they start asking why Waller is not present, but are just given an explanation which jibes with what the police already found out (i.e., next to nothing). Junior and Tani's gushing over their "kid" is obnoxious.

Later, during a fundraising auction at the house of Natalie Barton (Melanie Romain), head of the Academy's PTA, to equip the school's new gymnasium -- which her contractor husband Jared (Robert William Campbell) is in charge of building -- Tani and Junior snoop further, asking parents there further questions about Waller, despite the fact that Danno told them earlier "These people, they don't talk to anybody unless you're part of their little stupid clique. They gossip. They talk behind each other's backs." Surely people at this function would notice the two asking everyone questions, and would start talking among themselves, saying "Who are those people, why do they want to know this, hmmm, they asked us those questions too," etc. So much for Tani and Junior's big "cover"!

Actually, their work is pretty much for nothing, because Danno's forensic nephew Eric digs around in Waller's laptop, recovering a message that was never sent which accused Meech of violating her contract by accepting bribes, and called for her dismissal from the staff. This message was deleted a day after Waller disappeared, and when combined with surveillance video footage which shows Meech entering Waller's office and deleting the file from his computer (how does she know his login and password?), makes her the number one suspect in his disappearance. (There is a big question about how Meech knew about this unsent letter. Presumably Waller confronted her and told her that he was going to send it to the Academy's Board. She offers no explanation for what's in the video footage. She is not actually seen deleting the message in the video that we are shown.) Meech is busted just as she is leaving the fundraiser in her new Mercedes and is dragged to the blue-lit room and grilled. She says she did not kill Waller.

Suddenly the grillers (McGarrett, Junior and Tani) are called away because some "new evidence" in the form of Waller's car has been found and it is clean as a whistle. This convinces Five-Zero to focus on the school to find Waller's body. Sure enough, it is located in some concrete poured in a form for the new gymnasium, along with a gun that is registered to Jared Barton, contractor husband of the PTA lady.

Shortly after this, Barton is nabbed with a suitcase containing $5 million in the trunk of his car. In the blue-lit room, Barton confesses that he killed Waller and he was going to use this cash to "disappear." He also admits to laundering money in connection with the gymnasium construction and his "employers" … get this … are "a Venezuelan drug cartel" (seriously!). I had a good laugh at this. Maybe the Five-Zero writers read my bitching about their constant discrimination against Mexicans, so they had to choose some new "bad guys." No idea why the husband got connected with these gangsters, since his name is "Barton" (a very non-Venezuelan name).

Barton says he will blab more to Five-Zero, but he wants assurances that his wife and daughter -- who he says know nothing about his criminal activity -- are safe, just at the same time as the two of them are being kidnapped during a firefight in front of a Waiola Shaved Ice store. A security guy hired by Barton and two Venezuelans are shot dead on the street in front of horrified onlookers, but several other Venezuelans pour out of an SUV, sort of like the bugs on Adam's body earlier in the show, and grab the mother and daughter.

McGarrett decides the best way to get the two women back would be for Barton to pay them the money from his trunk, which is presumably what they are after. Shortly after, Barton arrives in his BMW at a garage where the exchange is to take place. The Venezuelans, led by the "Head Cartel Guy" (Dezmond Gilla), take the money but then Mr. HCG announces the women, who are held captive in a nearby room behind a glass window by some goon with a gun, will be executed anyway. Five-Zero rushes in with cannon-like artillery (the same as was used to take down the cult in S08E15) and kills off all of the bad guys … with the exception of the one holding the women. For some ridiculous reason, this guy is a dummy -- he doesn't knock them off. Instead, he gets a bullet in the head courtesy of Junior.

Now that the women are rescued, McGarrett tells Barton that the gun recovered from the concrete has been analyzed, and DNA on it suggests it was fired by a woman … but there is not enough evidence to connect it with a specific person. He tells Barton "When you confessed to that murder, you knew your wife was the one who pulled the trigger." But what the hell is he talking about? Barton's wife hasn't even remotely been a suspect for the entire show. It was Meech who was under suspicion as the killer for a few minutes when she was in the blue-lit room -- duh!

In other words, this badly-written episode ends as stupidly as it began. It would have made more sense if Barton had been having an affair with Meech or something and lent her his gun to take care of Waller (assuming she even did that!).

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17. (S08E17) Hōlapu ke ahi, koe iho ka lehu (The Fire Blazed Up, Then Only Ashes Were Left) ★★
Original air date: 3/9/18

This episode was disapointing, because it was preceded by confusing advance hype and was yet another story which begins with something stupidly written which sets the whole plot in motion.

According to the CBS press release for the show, "Adam’s mission to take down organized crime on the Island goes sideways when deadly chlorine gas he was using to bait a big fish falls into the wrong hands." On the other hand, an article about the show at parade.com says this: "When Hideki Tashiro charges Jessie with stealing several containers of a deadly chlorine gas, Adam agrees to help her to make sure the heist goes off smoothly, only to discover that not all the tanks make it to the drug makers."

The second of these summaries is more accurate, but it is still stupid, aside from there being nothing about Adam "baiting a big fish" in the show. According to Adam talking to McGarrett, Hideki has "moved into meth production. Chlorine gas is a key ingredient, so he needs a steady supply. Last night, he called Jessie, said it was time to restock. I went with her to watch her back. [At the beginning of the show, Adam drove her to I.X. Chemical, and, with her, cut through the fence, including razor wire, broke into a warehouse, located and loaded the chlorine cannisters (several of them) into a cart, moved this cart on to a truck from the company which he then hot-wired and drove through another fence to escape while being shot at by security people.] Jessie then turned the chlorine over to Hideki's people, and I tracked it to a meth house in Kalihi. I've since discovered that one of Hideki's soldiers, Kazuya Nemoto, went behind his back and sold a couple tanks to someone else."

So Hideki expected Jessie to steal the chlorine gas all by herself? This stuff comes in metal containers which weigh 150 pounds. Is she supposed to hire people to help her? Why would she let Adam help her? If they were caught (and they narrowly miss getting caught), it would totally expose Adam and his Five-Zero-related investigation! Later in the show, we see four guys trying to move just ONE of these 150 pound tanks into a van and THEY are having a difficult time. Talk about dumb.

After the opening credits, there is a nuclear attack drill which makes you wonder if it was inspired by the false drill in Hawaii on January 13 of this year. Whether the script was rewritten to feature this or it was already included is a good question. The Five-Zero team takes refuge in the blue-lit room, but Danno ridicules everyone, saying that if there really was an attack, the island would be eradicated, leaving a "big, empty, radioactive wasteland." McGarrett and Jerry seem to be the only ones who think that they could survive in what Danno calls "this miserable box" eating food intended for astronauts. Danno was really annoying in this scene.

When the drill is over, the story segues into a discussion between Danno and McGarrett regarding their restaurant, which fortunately lasts just less than a minute, the only mention of the restaurant in the show, thank God.

Adam comes to see McGarrett. He is upset, because his operation helping Jessie turned into a big flop, since there are now two canisters of chlorine unaccounted for. Despite the fact that Adam says "I'm not sure who this buyer is or how to find them," Five-Zero and the cops soon raid some house. This leads to a grilling of the above-mentioned Nemoto (Desmond Chiam) by Grover and Tani which is somewhat more smarty-pants than usual. Nemoto eventually co-operates, saying that he dropped off the two "missing" tanks at a house in Makiki where there were some "haoles." We cut to this place where Kevin Randall (Sven Lindstrom), one of these four guys also mentioned above [one of whom is actually NOT a "haole"] drops a tank in the back of a van where the valve on the top is damaged and the gas starts leaking. The other three keep Randall from getting out of the truck. Of course, he freaks.

Having been given the address of the "haoles'" place by Nemoto, Five-Zero, including Adam, who also sports a gun while walking in the usual crouching-at-a-crime-scene manner, arrives there. (This is called "room cleaning" -- now you know! Thanks to Kurt.) Randall is still alive in the van, though with horrible sores all over his body, and is taken to the hospital. His condition is very serious. Whether someone who was exposed to chlorine gas would still be alive after this unspecified time interval and covered with horrible sores is yet another "good question." A post-mortem by the Five-Zero team outside the house suggests that the people involved with the chlorine are not "rocket scientists."

There are no clues as to who the "four ordinary, regular guys" are. Grover and Tani go to talk to Randall's wife Denise (Ashley Platz). It turns out that she was diagnosed with cancer nine months before and their medical bills wiped them out financially. Her husband was in communication with members of a support forum on some online message board for people whose loved ones have cancer.

On their way back to the office, Tani speculates that Kevin and some friends from the support forum were involved in an extortion scheme. At the hospital, Randall has been put in a medically-induced coma because the chlorine got to his lungs, and Adam and Junior try unsuccessfully to get Randall's doctor to bring him out of the coma so they can interview him. Adam, thinking he is McGarrett, tells the doctor if he doesn't co-operate, he is "complicit" if any future disasters with the chlorine happen, which is a bunch of baloney. (The doctor does not comply with Adam's directive.)

Jerry snoops in Randall's computer and has uncovered information that suggests a canister of chlorine gas would only kill about 200 people. The computer also reveals that the four men were going to release the gas in buildings with a certain kind of HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) system, so Danno orders Jerry to track down buildings like this on the island which have at least 200 employees. Of course, the Supercomputer can do this, which is far-fetched. The result is hundreds of buildings. After a commercial, the cops are ordered to "Search and evacuate all buildings in a six-block radius of the governor's office." Huh? Why? What does the governor's office suddenly have to do with the plot?

Doing more computer snooping, Jerry finds the on-line forum where Randall posted regarding his wife. He cannot track down Randall's accomplices, but, for some reason, there is a lawyer connected with the group mentioned in the postings who is none other than Odell Martin (the returning Michael Imperioli, who totally overacts). Odell is tracked down to the Ali‘iolani Hale Law Library, where he tells Five-Zero that Randall and his friends wanted to sue a company called Agrocore, which makes GMOs, biofuels and pesticides, and sounds like a thinly disguised version of companies like Monsanto, and that the foursome suspected chemicals from this company found their way into the local groundwater, causing cancer.

Because Agrocore has five offices on the island, and it would take a lot of time to figure out which one is going to be targeted, McGarrett says for Jerry to contact the governor's office and "Have them activate the nuclear emergency drill at all five locations." Huh? Does he mean in each building there is a special siren (which we will soon hear)? According to a news report about the January warning, there are 385 sirens throughout the islands -- and I think these are all EXTERNAL sirens.

When Five-Zero arrives at one of the company's buildings looking for Agrocore lead counsel Marshall Friedkin who, according to Odell, is a dirt bag that Randall and his friends had bad dealings with, Friedkin is not there -- he is in another building, the downtown corporate office. Meanwhile, two of the three conspirators, all of whom have arrived at the other building (how would they know Friedkin was there, since even Five-Zero didn't know?) are getting cold feet, leaving only Doug Manning (Rob Duval) to take care of business. The well-armed McGarrett and Adam rush there to this "other" building. On the ninth floor, McGarrett encounters Manning, who is not deploying the gas, but has just shot Friedkin. McGarrett convinces him to surrender.

In the next scene, Odell visits Five-Zero's offices, where McGarrett tells him that the Governor will launch an investigation into Agrocore's shady business practices and that hopefully Odell will be able to help the men who almost committed an act of domestic terrorism.

BUT ... the story is not over! At Jessie's place, Adam confronts her. He suspects her of double-dealing and lying to him. Adam has been listening to conversations she had with Nemoto, and there is a gap of 8 minutes on one of the tapes that was made. She tells Adam that what she and Nemoto were talking about was "personal." Adam suddenly exclaims, "You're sleeping with him? [WHAT?!?!?!?] Do you have any idea how dangerous and stupid that is?"

At this point, I started yelling at the TV. Adam should look in the mirror -- he has a criminal past and was sleeping with Kono, A COP, for years, as if there either were or could have been no complications from that, DUH! Geez -- another stupid beginning and ending to two episodes in a row!

Adam says "Thousands of people could have died today because of what we did" (not true -- the most would have been 200 from the one canister as per Jerry's research). After Jessie tells him to get lost, Adam leaves her place in his Dodge Challenger and drives down busy streets at high speeds screaming like a madman as he sees flashbacks from his recent past with Five-Zero.

Seriously -- it's probably too late to do anything about the mess Adam finds himself in this year, since the script for the last episode is supposedly in the can. but hopefully there will be a way to eventually resolve things so Ian Anthony Dale won't say silly things like this in a recent interview: "In 8.17 we see a frustration not only of the missteps [Adam]’s made, but more so about not being able to call on the one person that he trusts the most, which is Kono."

I don't get it. Does Kono have an unlisted phone number? Has she fallen off the face of the earth? If Adam has problems because he hasn't heard from Kono, why not have him PHONE her and either by his reactions, convey to us what she is saying, or hire some woman who looks like Kono from the back and/or can imitate Grace Park's voice to appear on screen talking to Adam and maybe resolve what is happening between the two of them for once and for all. Or maybe just kill off her character, who it is unlikely will ever return to the show!

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18. (S08E18) E ho‘okō kuleana (To Do One’s Duty)
Original air date: 3/30/18

This episode was directed by Alex O'Loughlin, but it was impossible to make an evaluation of this because of what happened in this 3½-parter. The script was comparable to the terrible Stakeout (S05E17), directed by another Five-Zero star (Daniel Dae Kim), which also barely escaped the bottom of the ratings trash bin.

We finally got details about the guy who shot Danno in S08E10. He was Ray Gardner (Daniel Kaemon), an abusive husband who Danno dealt with 20 years before in New Jersey. Back then, Danno later ended up having sex with Ray's wife Brooke (Joanna Christie) and then taunted him over this, with the result that Gardner punched out Danno and was busted and sent to jail for a long time where he developed a huge grudge against the cop who put him there.

At the beginning of the show, Brooke comes to Hawaii and meets with Danno. She goes to the morgue to identify her husband, who shot himself in the head after he near-fatally wounded Danno, who was recovering from exposure to an Ebola-like virus in a hospital isolation ward. Details about why she came to the islands are not revealed. In S08E16, Danno's Uncle Vito sees a picture of Gardner on a monitor in the Five-Zero office and says, "I've seen this guy before … About two months ago, I go to this guy's house. Quoted him a bathroom remodel, you know? … He said he knew some guys on the Jersey PD, so I told him about how my nephew moved to Honolulu to become a cop in paradise." Obviously Vito was able to supply details about Gardner, and then Danno contacted Brooke. (Watch for deleted scenes on the Season 8 DVDs!)

This whole business about Danno, a cop, having sex with someone he was trying to protect, was so wrong in multiple ways. But what do you expect from a show where one of the Five-Zero team (Kono -- a rookie cop for five minutes) had a "relationship" with the son of a criminal mastermind who himself consorted with his father's minions?

There was a large uproar on social media over the episode, because it seemingly tried to deal with the serious issue of spousal abuse, but just ended up putting its foot in its mouth.

Even though Danno is off-duty when he confronts Gardner in the parking lot of some bar, and presumably was also off-duty when he was having sex with Brooke, the whole business about him having sex with her was just STUPID, compounded by some rather ambiguous flashback that Danno has where we see him and her with some of their clothes off. Surely no one is going to try to explain this as some kind of "wishful thinking" on Danno's part and he really did NOT "do it" with Brooke.

There actually is a simple (and a bit less offensive) way that the whole "Danno doing it" business could have been dealt with.

Let's assume that Danno did not have sex with Brooke, he just said that he did to piss her husband off, get punched out, and Ray would get busted and go to jail -- though if Danno really formulated this scheme ahead of time, he was taking a huge chance that everything would fall into place. The writers of this show seem to think that this incident existed in a vacuum, because in real life, Ray would not just get arrested and then thrown in jail. There would be a court case, and Ray could hire a smart lawyer, testify that the off-duty Danno said that Ray was impotent and that his wife said he was not as good a lay as Danno, among other things. Under these circumstances, maybe Danno's lawyer could then call Brooke to testify against her husband to confirm that Danno did NOT "do it" with her?

It is incredible that when Gardner showed up earlier this season to take his revenge (let's not even think about how he got into the isolation ward wearing a hazmat outfit), Danno did not recognize him, considering this whole case was quite likely a BIG DEAL in Danno's life. It is even more incredible that after this, seemingly no one was able to originally figure out who Ray was, considering he was presumably fingerprinted after the Danno punch-out in Jersey, his DNA might be in a database, and so forth.

Anyway, enough of that…

The feel-good section of the show had Tani and Junior "walking a beat" for one day because, according to McGarrett, "HPD Academy recruits are required to do [this] before they graduate," which neither of them had officially done. In addition to their duties, they got some quality time together where they discussed problems in their lives before joining Five-Zero.

The kind of stuff they encountered on the job was kind of mundane:

As far as Adam and his "task force" is concerned, like in other recent episodes, his life is a mess. He gets busted by the cops, who are responding to an anonymous tip. They open up the trunk of his car to find Hideki, the yakuza boss Adam was pursuing, dead. In a non-blue-lit room at police headquarters, Adam refuses to give up Jessie, but McGarrett and Grover later locate her, which gives an excuse for a high-speed car chase and a ridiculous parkour-like pursuit. In the Five-Zero blue-lit room, Jessie tells them that Hideki had hidden in a trailer at a construction site because he was not able to locate the money Michelle Shioma had hidden somewhere on the island and his boss, some yakuza bigwig who wanted this money, was looking for him. When they go to this site, the trailer has disappeared. McGarrett uses "the keyhole satellite system" to see the trailer being towed away, and zooms in on the image to see it being pulled by a truck from Windham Industrial Services, whose sign appears in the truck's front window (the software on McGarrett's computer can actually make the blurry sign readable). The trailer is located after a firefight with Five-Zero using the usual cannon-like weapons, and Adam is sprung from jail.

As the show ends, McGarrett meets with Adam, telling him, "The fact that [now-dead yakuza dudes cleaning the trailer] were destroying evidence while you were still in custody was enough to make the case against you fall apart." (Uh, really?) McGarrett continues, "When the M.E. was conducting the autopsy on Hideki's body, they found some foreign DNA. Now, there's no way to tell if it was the killer's, but they ran it anyway. There was nothing in the system that could outright I.D. this person, but it did turn up a familial match. To you. You had 27 of 111 DNA markers in common, showing a close familial relation. We also know the sample came from a female, roughly 35 to 40 years old."

At this point, there was some ASTOUNDING REVELATION which I did not hear, because Adam mumbled it. I am glad that I did not hear this, because I would have probably thrown something heavy at the TV. I checked the closed captions in the local streaming of the show the next day and what Adam said was "I have a HALF-SISTER. And somehow she's involved in everything that's been going on."

WHAT?!? WHAT?!? WHAT?!? I mean just shut the you-know-what up!!!

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19. (S08E19) Aohe mea make i ka hewa; make no i ka mihi ole (No One Has Ever Died For the Mistakes He Has Made; Only Because He Didn’t Repent) ★★½
Original air date: 4/6/18

This was a "transitional mishmash" episode or, as it might be called, "another multi-parter the writers [sic] cranked out as the show winds down to its seasonal conclusion." Some of it was OK.

The crime of the week or "the part of the show which demanded the most attention" was the appearance of Leroy Davis (Frankie Faison), an elderly hitman who confesses to knocking off 18 people starting in the 1970s. He turns himself into McGarrett at Five-Zero headquarters, because he and McGarrett's old man had developed a certain rapport way back when. In fact, John McGarrett was the only cop at HPD who was seemingly not enmeshed in some web of police corruption and really pursuing Davis.

In a flashback, we see McGarrett's father (Ryan Bittle) smashing the windshield of Davis's 1965 Ford Thunderbird convertible with a baseball bat, which is very effective at getting Davis's attention in front of the disco he is entering with some hot chick on his arm. Davis (his young self played by Thomas Q. Jones) threatens to kill McGarrett with a gun right there on the street, which he does not, despite McGarrett saying "I'm the guy that's going to put you in jail for the rest of your life" (which he also does not -- why not is never really explained). Some kind of mutual respect develops between the two of them, so much so that years later McGarrett takes Davis to a graveyard where the relatives of a cop Davis knocked off named Jake Ozuki are gathering as they do every year. McGarrett gives Leroy some heavy speechifying: "Every murder has two victims: the deceased and the family left in the wake."

Considering that it is later revealed that McGarrett Senior was actively investigating the 18 murders which Davis committed, you have to wonder why he didn't pursue things further. Was HPD really THAT corrupt? Why Davis looks up the current McGarrett to atone for his sinful past is because while burying some body years ago, he almost knocked Steve's father off, but suddenly had a change of heart when he overheard a police dispatcher tell John McG that his wife Doris had gone into labor with our current hero, as if Davis suddenly had some kind of feelings for John, the "family man." In other words, the current McGarrett's arrival in the world is what saved his old man's ass! (Davis was also motivated to confess by the fact that Jake Ozuki had a son, Jack, perhaps by his visit to the graveyard as mentioned above and maybe by a picture in his doctor's office drawn by the doctor's young son.)

Although some of these murders happened 40 years ago, Davis's memory is pretty good the way he remembers the locations where he buried the bodies, even down to the specific places on a beach where he and Steve plant little red evidence flags. His memory is especially amazing, since the reason he is fessing up is because he has been diagnosed with Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease, a fatal brain disorder which I haven't heard mentioned since S02E24 of The X-Files many years ago. Symptoms of this disease include memory problems, behavioral changes, poor coordination, and visual disturbances leading to dementia.

The bodies that Davis locates are dug up by Junior and others and examined and identified by Noelani. When the very guilty Leroy is taken to police headquarters to be booked by Duke, he gets Steve to read him his rights, as if a final chapter in his life is closed.

Unfortunately, after this, McGarrett leaves Noelani's office and he is met by over a dozen relatives of Leroy's 18 victims for a tear-jerking slow-motion finale (to the crime of the week, anyway), accompanied by sad music. It would have been more effective if this number had been reduced but included one of the people present in this crowd, Jack Ozuki (Steve Tanizaki), the son of the murdered cop, who is now himself a cop.

Aside from the ending, this section of the show was worth watching. While kind of short on major drama, it gave us some insights into McGarrett's past, and the acting by Faison was very good. (The episode was directed by Jennifer Lynch, daughter of David.)

The show began with an inspector named Ed Romero (Billy V.) grilling McGarrett and Danno about 17 fire code violations. This took place in the Five-Zero offices so it took me a moment to realize they were talking about violations in the duo's stupid restaurant, the plot thread that will never die. McGarrett put his foot in his mouth when he mentioned the electrician who wired the restaurant fixed up their headquarters after it was "torn apart by bullets." This just motivated Danno to get antsy, but then Danno turned Romero over to Jerry to give him "a tour." Of course, Jerry's dungeon-like room in the basement provided Romero with even more ammunition, saying the place was a a "tinderbox," "an electrical fire waiting to happen" with "poor ventilation [and] insufficient egress," not to mention piles of newspapers, no doubt containing big stories connected with various conspiracy theories. Thank God these scenes were brief.

Adam's roller coaster of a life continued, as FBI agent Colin McNeal (Gonzalo Menendez), who we thought Adam was clear and free from, took him to a meeting with Adam's surprisingly-announced-last-episode half-sister Noriko (Susan Park). She was majorly cute, but also a major bitch who shot McNeal in the head and threatened to have Kono, Chin, Abby and Sara all murdered if Adam didn't produce Michelle Shioma's missing $20 million, which has kept him and us preoccupied recently. With the clock ticking, Adam rushes to Jessie's place where we find out that Adam knew all along where this money was -- originally on Kauai. He later turned it over to Mr. Kimura (Dana Lee), an elderly gardener who is running a yakuza bank which launders money (among other services) along with his bonsai business. Adam and Jessie arrive at Kimura's tout suite.

The $20 million is quickly produced despite Kimura's stern warning that withdrawing it is not a good idea, and put into Adam's car. Unfortunately, Adam has stupidly left the key in the car, which allows Jessie to drive away with the loot -- duh! She escapes at high speed (dunno why, they are on an island) and is later found with a bullet in her head and the money gone. Continued sometime soon ... no idea if the resolution to this will be in the next few episodes!

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20. (S08E20) He lokomaika‘i ka manu o Kaiona (Kind is the Bird of Kaiona) ★★★
Original air date: 4/13/18

This show marked the return of McGarrett's former inamorata Catherine (Michelle Borth) for the first time in a very long time (since S07E07, in fact). Of course, I was very interested in this, and was not disappointed by her presence. The opening of the show was a stunner, with Cath, now having some high-level CIA position in a Ruiru, Kenya black ops site, thoroughly pissed off because a terrorist named Masari dies before they get to interrogate him. Catherine oozed bitchiness, which reached its high point when she attempted to strangle one of the CIA guys who screwed up trying to get Masari to talk.

In Masari's possessions, they find what Catherine, suddenly an expert on things Hawaiian, recognizes as a lei niho palaoa, which Wikipedia tells us is a "Hawaiian neck ornament traditionally worn by chiefs of both sexes." Talking via the Internet with some woman at a musem in Hawaii who knows about this stuff, Catherine further finds out this was from the tomb of King Kamehameha, the location of which has been a mystery for almost 200 years. She also gets this trinket analyzed which shows traces of U-236 and plutonium, so she surmises that the late Masari picked it up from some place in Hawaii which contains depleted uranium. (Yes, I am trying not too hard to think about this.) So off to Hawaii she goes, because she has "got someone there who can help me."

Catherine shows up at the Five-Zero offices and immediately starts using The Supercomputer to investigate her theories as Grover and McGarrett talk about her, mouthing words silently behind her back. This produces a great "burn" line when Catherine tells them "Are you guys okay? Because you're being weird." Catherine convinces McGarrett to help her out, telling him "Steve, this is your island. No one knows it better than you do," and after talking to a woman from the army named Rodriguez (Tracey Graves) who has information about possible locations (or not) for radioactive material, they head off to Kaho'olawe, the smallest Hawaiian island, which the military abandoned in the early 1990s (this is actually true).

Jerry has convinced McGarrett and Catherine to let him come along because he wants to be the one who finds Kamehameha's tomb and says he used to hunt on the island with his uncle many years ago, which is later revealed to be a total lie. McGarrett and Catherine run into a couple of bad dudes -- hunters (Lehi Falepapalangi and BJ Penn) -- who force them into a pit in the ground full of punji sticks. They manage to get out with little difficulty and the three of them soon find the bunker which contained uranium that Masari supposedly smuggled off the island, despite the fact that Catherine says it was probably about "500 pounds worth" and this bunker is not exactly beside the ocean. They also run into a couple of terrorist-looking guys who murdered the hunters and are hanging out in the bunker. The terrorists start shooting. One of these guys tries to escape with a bomb which explodes in fire and fury when he trips, yet no one seems concerned about getting contaminated with radiation, if that is what it is supposed to contain.

Mission accomplished, sort of, back in Honolulu, Catherine tells the assembled that in the bunker they found a cel phone which was able to produce information that will help her locate Masari's boss Asad Al-Laja. The lei niho palaoa which motivated her to return to the islands is proven by carbon-dating to be a fake, as were other knick-knacks Jerry found in and around the bunker, thus quashing his "discovery of Kamehameha's tomb." McGarrett says these all came from a shipload of mass-produced tourist trinkets which sank in 1957 en route from China: "I guess the Navy must have come in and salvaged it, stored that stuff away, you know." (This is SOOOO stupid, I am not making this up!)

If the show had focused more on McGarrett and Catherine, even though their adventures already took up about half of the show's running time, this would have been a higher-rated episode, despite the comic-book logic of the plot. Borth's very hot looks and very serious acting, despite some lines which made you think "how can she say that and keep a straight face," were both outstanding and the exchanges between her and McGarrett on the island in the middle of the show where they talked about their past relationship was delightful with great rapport between the two characters. (With all due respect, this was really not "the best show of the season," which some people opined on the Internet; that was the episode where Grover kept the guy from committing suicide, S08E13.)

Unfortunately, there was the usual pandering to the fan base of the rest of the "ohana," especially a lengthy sub-plot -- about 30% of the show -- involving Junior who gets seriously injured during a fall while he is jogging in the middle of nowhere. Eddie, McGarrett's dog, who was with Junior, pulls an "Incredible Journey" back to the Five-Zero offices, and Junior, at the bottom of a cliff, spends time reflecting on his life, which may soon be over, including why he didn't want to go the birthday party for his father, from whom he is estranged. This whole section of the show was fast-forward-worthy, especially some lengthy speech Junior made as his fate looked pretty grim.

We also had a continuation of Adam's saga from last week. At the beginning of the show, he is heartbroken because his criminal informant Jessie was murdered, and he tearfully tells McGarrett with a quivering voice, "I'm done, I'm out" as far as his task force is concerned. Sad music plays in the background. Adam says that he is leaving Hawaii to go to the mainland to be with Kono.

At the show's end, the gang, including Catherine, meets for beers on the beach at Kamekona's shrimp truck as the big guy makes various "nudge-nudge" comments to Adam about getting busy and producing kids with Kono so he can become their "uncle."

However, Adam did something very peculiar earlier. He went to see Mr. Kimura (Dana Lee), the old guy from the last show who runs a yakuza bank in the back room of his bonsai business. He tells Kimura, "I need an alibi." This is never explained. At the end of the show, however, Adam's half-sister Noriko, who was extorting Adam to cough up the $20 million from Michelle Shioma or Kono, Chin, Abby and Sarah would be killed, is found dead on the beach with a gun shot wound to the head. The question, which a friend of mine poses: is Adam the one who knocked her off?

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21. (S08E21) Ahuwale ka nane hūnā (The Answer to the Riddle is Seen) ★★
Original air date: 4/20/18

As Five-Zero lurches towards its ninth season (recently announced), this episode made me think about the original show and the opinion that Karen Rhodes expressed in her 1997 analysis of it, Booking Five-O, that its later seasons displayed a "trend toward an upper-crust, drawing room atmosphere," where Five-O "became a 'society' law enforcement agency, looking into the problems of the rich, spoiled and bored."

McGarrett and Danno meet up with Harry Langford (Chris Vance), who is in town, acting like a bodyguard to Lady Helen Mortimer (Kate Beahan), 34th in line to the throne of England, and her 16-year-old daughter Lady Sophie (Alana Boden). Langford says "Back in my MI5 days, I used to run security for the Mortimers," which seems odd, because the Wikipedia description of the UK's domestic counter-intelligence and security agency's responsibilities doesn't include anything like this, other than it is "directed to protect British parliamentary democracy."

When Sophie, whose "rebellious streak ... became the favorite of every tabloid editor" according to her mother, disappears while on a shopping spree, McGarrett and Danno help Harry find her. From Carlotta (Arienne Mandi), Sophie's best friend back in England who Harry calls a "puffed up little trollop [a fancy word for slut]" to her face during a Skype-like conversation, they find out that Sophie has likely hooked up with some social media hotshot later determined to be Travis Lynch (Adam Scott Miller), who they track down to a party at the Muse Beach Club attended by a vast crowd of young morons, giving the show an unexpectedly high quotient of boobs and bums. Travis is described by Harry as a "pond weed" and a "complete and utter Muppet."

Sophie is not at this location, having "split with these two chicks," according to Travis after Harry threatens to break his arm. From an English tabloid photographer (Darren Richardson) outside the party, Harry gets a picture which reveals the license plate of the BMW Sophie left the place in (KM1 685), though when we later see it, there is only one young woman driving her to "Oliver's boat." The car is located through its vehicle recovery system, and when McGarrett, Danno and Harry arrive at the marina where it has been left, they find Sophie scrawled the name of the boat -- "SS Martha" -- on her seat headrest in what looks like lipstick, though how she could have done this without the woman driving not seeing her is a good question.

Somewhere off Oahu on the boat, Sophie is horrified to discover she has been kidnapped by three sleazy guys with the intention of selling her to some "nice rich prince" to be part of his harem. Both Harry and McGarrett show up in a very stealthy manner, and after some chop-socky moves in an episode which is relatively short on them, Sophie is rescued and returned to her mother and father (Saul Rollason), who has flown to Hawaii.

But ... there is a twist ending of sorts, because Danno surmises that Sophie is actually Harry's daughter. Harry admits this is true, that he had an affair with Lady Helen when she was separated from her husband. The episode ends with McGarrett saying, "You think the kid has a right to know who her real father is?" Harry replies, "If she ever asks, I won't lie. In the meantime, I'll always be there for her." Talk about lame!

Considering the above is mostly a bunch of fluff, a much better candidate for the crime of the week is handled by Junior, Tani and Grover and is solved by what Grover calls "good, old-fashioned police work."

A Betamax tape arrives at Five-Zero headquarters which shows a brutal murder in a motel room, filmed from the ceiling above, but there is a real paucity of clues on the tape to help solve the case. From a phone seen in the video, a Motorola MicroTAC Elite, the date is estimated to be between 1994 and 1997. The room key is for #13, which Grover says is unusual, because this number is usually avoided because of its superstitious connotations. Tani and Junior start calling motels to see if they can find one which had a room 13 way back when and despite the fact that even 10 years ago, according to some web page, there were over 200 such possible properties in Honolulu, they get results quickly.

The former room 13 of the Avalon Motel has been remodelled, but by going into the attic which is not just a crawl space, but an area where you can walk standing up, Tani finds the former air-conditioning ceiling vent which she digs out with Junior's knife. (The motel attendant doesn't have anything to say about who is going to pay for the damage.) The woman who is murdered in the video is later identified as Lara Levy, who disappeared 20 years ago and the case has never been solved. Tani is sad about all this, but Grover tells her "This is the tough part of the job -- these type cases. They don't always end with us knocking on somebody's door and giving them the news that they've been waiting years to hear and give them closure. Sometimes there is no closure. No closure, no healing. Not in the here and now, at least. Sometimes it's just about us getting justice for the victim, and that's all. And that's enough."

The lab reports that DNA was on a can of soda found in the attic (talk about far-fetched) which belongs to Arthur Dubbins, who used to work at the motel and was the Peeping Tom videographer. However, he has been in a coma in the hospital for the last three weeks after collapsing with a stroke. When Grover and Tani interview Dubbins' wife Alice (Mariko Van Kampen) in the Five-Zero offices, she admits she was the one who sent the tape to Five-Zero because she felt guilty about keeping her husband's secret of being a voyeur all these years. Later at her house, Alice opens a cupboard to reveal over 100 tapes which her husband made, dating back to 1990.

Just like they tracked down the motel room, the "kids" from Five-Zero get busy watching the tapes, which are mostly of people having sex, including nine encounters between Lara and the same guy, who eventually killed her. From a pin on the man's jacket in one of the vids, they determine he was an airline pilot who was on a layover every Thursday and manage to track down the guy, Nick Hoff (DB Warren), to Bakersfield, California, where he is duly busted in slow-motion (all so simple!).

This "crime of the week" part of the show was OK, aside from time-compression issues with the motel and video tapes. At least the episode spared us yet more soap opera from Adam who reportedly has skipped town. McGarrett tells Danno he will need "some clear evidence ... that implicates Adam [in the murder of his half-sister or who knows what else]," otherwise "there's nothing to discuss."

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