This review has been a long time coming, but hey, it was the holidays! So try to think back to before Christmas.
We start out with previouslies that pretty much have nothing to do with this episode except to remind us that Danny was shot. (Not that you could tell at all, since he's all over the floor and doesn't seem any worse the wear for his brush with death.) Cut to stockings over the fireplace in the Williams home, when Danny walks in after having made Christmas cookies, Charlie is shaking presents, and Adam is checking out the chimney for Santa. (I've never heard of that, but okay.) He's apparently going to meet Kono in LA. the next day. As Danny walks Adam to the door they're talking loudly about Santa and who really eats the cookies, so I hope Charlie is hard of hearing or some of the magic of Christmas was just ruined right there. Danny goes into Charlie's room for a bedtime story and says he's going to tell Charlie a special story---a crazy story---that will make you feel good inside because it has a Christmas miracle.
Flash to a Santa ringing a bell collecting coins in a box with an armored truck guard coming by carrying heavy bags. He says to the guard that he forgot one and just pulls open his coin box and hands the guy another delivery. (Apparently it's okay to take a random pickup. Aren't their company guidelines or something?) Only when the guard takes it and stashes it in the truck, the Santa pulls out a remote detonator and the truck blows up. Another Santa rolls up in a red car, and they steal as much as they can out of the bombed out truck.
Well, Charlie has questions and Danny goes back in the story to Junior driving veterans to a shelter. He's supposed to be meeting Steve, but Steve calls to say his sister and niece are in town and he wants to be with them at the parade. (I wish we could have seen that scene. Sigh.) Steve happens to see the truck explosion and he runs toward it, even though he doesn't have a gun. He manages to take the downed truck guard's weapon and a shootout ensues. Steve shoots the retreating red car enough that it crashes, but the two Santas come out shooting and run away. By this time, since his dad has been calling him a "crazy man" and a "police man" Charlie has guessed the story is about Steve. But Steve is looking for the Santas on the run through the parade route. Are the Bad Santas going to get away? Danny assures Charlie that this story is proof that miracles are real.
The Bad Santas are running and crashing through the crowd and eventually split up. Danny gets stuffed animals and other toys so he can reenact the scene for his child. (On Christmas Eve. Right before bed. Okay. He also uses a donkey to be Steve. Oy.) Steve does catch up to one of the Bad Santas, but the guy cowardly takes a woman hostage to get away. Charlie asks why Uncle Steve's friends didn't help him? Well, Jerry is singing and decorating a tree at the office. Lou is critiquing his singing when Tani comes in to announce the armored car heist at the parade. She tried to call McG, but he didn't pick up so they ping his cell. The guy is on the move, so I guess that means he's in pursuit. The team skedaddles down there.
Steve is helping the discarded female hostage up and she points in the direction that the Bad Santa went. A shopping mall. The team shows up and Jerry starts surveillance. The Bad Santas are still in the mall so the team needs a plan. They decide to go in as civilians and catch them by surprise. (Hopefully the Bad Santas didn't get a clear look at Steve's face I guess, but realistically, I bet they did.) Junior and the vets come to mall and want to help. Steve has respect for retired service people, but doesn't want to put civilians in harm's way. They tell him they've taken fire behind enemy lines, they can handle a couple of Santas. And one of them used to work in the mall, which would definitely be helpful. For Charlie's story, the vets are the angels. (Aww.) Jerry sees the Bad Santas heading to a department store, but it's closed circuit in there so he doesn't have eyes on them. Oh, and Adam is randomly in the mall, too, so they make sure he's standing by. Oddly, Steve has the veterans go in and just randomly start telling shoppers to leave the store. (Could you imagine having people come up to you and tell you to leave? Why not tell mall security? The store manager? That was weird.) Then the team comes in guns drawn, sweeping the area. Tani sees Santa boots in dressing room and they open it up to see that the Bad Santas have ditched their costumes. Uh oh. Now suspects look like everyone else in this mall.
The milk is set out, the cookies are there and Charlie is yawning. He still wants to hear what happened to the bad guys, though. The team "borrows" tech stuff to set up a checkpoint and has everyone go through it to exit the mall while they check IDs. Tani apparently left the mall search and went back to where the truck was robbed with one of the veterans to look for clues. We do find out that Tani's dad served in the first Gulf war. He didn't like to talk about it. They find a piece of the bomb under a truck and get a print off of it. One of the bad Santas is a James Wendell and he has a terrible mug shot that the team all gets on their phones. They split up into buddies and start searching for him. Adam finds blood on floor and hears pounding. Instead of calling for Steve or backup, (since they are looking for an armed and dangerous man!) they just open the door and find two mall Santas tied up in back room, with no costumes. The Bad Santas stole the mall Santas costumes to throw Steve off. Clever. Back at the checkpoint, one the Bad Santas goes through. Oops.
Lou gets a phone call from Steve and stops the Bad Santa, but he runs. Junior does a nice takedown and money flies everywhere from the Bad Santa's costume. The other Bad Santa is still hiding in the mall. Steve calls him out over the mall intercom (just like in Mall Cop) Bad Santa heads to the stairwell that has roof access. Frank the veteran who used to work at the mall knows a shortcut, but the elevator was locked down. Reggie, another veteran, has a metal arm that he can use to unlock it. Bad Santa is waiting for Steve on the roof though. That can't be good. Charlie hides under his covers and wants his dad to finish the story there. (Why is he telling his kid a bad guy shootout story before bedtime?) He tells Charlie that Uncle Steve talked and talked until the Bad Santa got so bored he fell asleep. In reality, we're shown how Steve shot him. Wow. What a great Christmas bedtime story for your small child.
Cut to a Christmas party at Steve's house. Eddie is there, licking "Dog's" face. Steve is only wearing a Santa hat because he's seen enough Santa costumes today. Steve thanks everyone for coming out to Steve and Eddie McGarrett's Christmas Bash. So cute. The veterans are there and Steve gives a little speech about them having his deepest gratitude for all their personal sacrifices. The rest of his friends are there as well, and he tells them it's an honor to call you guys ohana. Merry Christmas. Awww. *sniff*
He has a gift for Junior who looks uncomfortable since he didn't bring a gift for Steve. But it's a Five-O badge. He's going to finish the HPD course, but he's more than ready for the badge. (I agree.) Tani gives him welcome hug and he gets congrats from Lou. So there's the happy ending to the story that Danny promised, but Charlie is already sleeping. Danny goes into living room and the cookies are missing from the plate. Steve comes out of the kitchen eating one, saying that they are shockingly good. Danny is miffed and says they were for Santa, you animal! (At least he didn't say filthy animal, I guess.) Steve used the key behind rock for emergencies to get in. Well, what's the emergency, Danny asks. I needed cookies. Ha! Steve says Danny is kind of grinchy and Danny says he's a gorilla.
And that is the Hawaii Five-O Christmas message for us all. Try not to be a grinchy gorilla and don't share Five-O cases with your small child.
Happy Belated Merry Christmas.