'Hawaii Five-O' 1.16 'E Malama' Review
How do you follow the threat of a tsunami? With an episode in the Hawaiian jungle. Really, the only way this episode of Hawaii Five-O could've had a cooler setting was if there'd been some excuse for a Bengal tiger. Just look at this picture and tell me that's not cool. (I have to say, though, I was laughing a little at the Google Earth opening.)
So how does one get to this point? Julie (True Blood's Mariana Klaveno) is a Very Important Witness in a high-profile murder case, and on the day she's scheduled to testify, barely escapes a pair of thugs posing as HPD cops. Needless to say, this does not go over well with the real good guys. (And I bet if the U.S. Marshal protecting her had been Raylan Givens, this would not have happened.) Steve and Chin set off into the jungle to find Julie, which takes all of the first act, but is as usual with this show, accomplishing the primary objective is just a starting point for the rest of the story. The real meat of the episode lies in hunting down the bad guys, which gives us the fun of Steve introducing one to the business end of a log and the drama of him then electing to save his life when he really doesn't have to. The whole thing feels like the small-screen version of a Rambo movie, with Alex O'Loughlin in the lead role.
Meanwhile, Kono is dispatched to find out everything she can about the case and the drug cartel in question. Michaela McManus sort of reprises her Law & Order: SVU role as the prosecuting attorney. I wasn't too enamored with her on SVU, and as she's playing the same type of character, I feel the same about her here. I'm also not sure how smart it is for Kono to be goading the defendant when she later crosses paths with him; it's like those movies where somebody tells the murderer that they know they're the murderer. The exchange might be a fun scene for dramatic purposes, but from a logical standpoint, it's not very smart. At least she makes up for it by stopping the final assassin in pretty impressive fashion.
To make matters worse, Danny's ex-wife Rachel gets carjacked, with Grace in the car. Though both survive unharmed, it strikes Danny as bizarre that the car is recovered with Rachel's credit cards and everything inside; if it's not for monetary gain, then what's the motive? His suspicions are only heightened when they arrive at Rachel and Stan's house and he realizes it's been trashed, but nothing of value seems to have been lifted. The evidence seems to point directly at Stan (Mark Deklin), and the resulting confrontation between him and Danny is the most uncomfortable car ride ever. Thankfully, Stan is not made out to be a bad guy; in fact, he's a whistleblower. It would have been really easy for the show to demonize him with this plotline, but it's nice to see that he is not a villain. It's another one of those touches that sets Hawaii Five-O apart from other shows in the genre. Not to mention, when Danny goes after the official making Stan's life hell ("You can get my badge number off your forehead"), all I'm thinking is, "Why didn't Scott Caan win that Golden Globe again?" He's showing that he could do an excellent job leading his own show - not that I want him off this one anytime soon, but he's head and shoulders over your typical supporting actor. He's less of a No. 2 and more of a No. 1A in my eyes.
This episode, to me, felt like almost a departure from the entire series; it really looked, felt and played out like a shorter, smaller version of one of those great 80's action films. It's not what I'd expect from this show at all, and while it wasn't as moving or thought-provoking as some of the other episodes, as someone who loves a good action movie, it was great entertainment. How many other shows would throw one of their protagonists into the jungle and have him lose his gun? I don't think many. Kudos to Hawaii Five-O for trying something completely different. If nothing else, it was a heck of a lot of fun.
For more Hawaii Five-O, check out the show category at my blog, DigitalAirwaves.net.