Monday, March 13, 2017

Hawaii Five-O Review and Recap: Where the Subject Matter is Hard to Watch

I wasn't sure I wanted to review this one. It deals with some very emotional subjects, yet it's pertinent and important to talk about in our society. But at the same time, it was hard to watch.

We start out with a girl in the hospital who has obvious injuries. NurseAnna is trying to ask her questions, but the man with her answers with the cliche "she fell." When the nurse steps out to go ask someone to call family services, the girl and the man leave.

Back at Steve's house, he's drinking coffee with Kono and telling her she did a great job with the earthquake (from the MacGyver crossover). Then he asks her about Adam being unable to find a job, which Kono confirms and adds that if they want to start a family, he wants to contribute with being employed. (Is the show starting to give reasons why the team might disband at some point with Kono pregnant and Danny retiring? Thinking out loud . . .) McG says if they ever need anything . . . and the doorbell rings. It's Sara! Dressed as an Aloha girl, with Kamekona at her side. (She's got an awful lot of badges for not being in Hawaii very long.) They are selling cookies and Kamekona tells her to show the face (she pouts) for McG who ups his order number quickly. (And does a cute pout face of his own!) Then, when it's mentioned that Danny bought twelve boxes before he left to go visit his sister, McG buys thirteen. Because they are competitive like that.

Kono gets a call from Noelani, but before she leaves McG asks if everything is all right and she says she'll fill him in later. (I like McKono together. They really have a great ohana vibe.) Noelani meets Kono at the hospital where she says that NurseAnna and her are friends and she wants her to take a look at something. After the nurse tells her what happened with the girl last night, Kono asks to look at the security footage. That gets passed along to Jerry who stares at it as McKono are coming into the office and talking about what they know of the case so far. Of course, Steve has his box of cookies with him and is obviously enjoying them. Jerry shows them how afraid the girl seems of her "uncle" but they run facial rec on him and don't get a hit. McG has a hunch and they run facial rec on the girl and she's a runaway named Moani. They show the pic of the man Moani was with to her parents, but they don't recognize him. Kono takes Moani's laptop so they can look at it again. She gives it to Eric who is trying to tone his sexist act down, (Thank goodness. It wasn't cute at all.) He says he'll look into it.

Chin and Grover are approaching a house talking about Angus MacGyver and everyone's glad it turned out okay with the rescue etc. (I haven't watched MacGyver before the crossover and from what I saw, the rebooted MacGyver is just okay, in my opinion. The original was more organic and made more sense, and OriginalRecipeMacGyver was a man, where the new "Mac" is more like a young adult with a babysitter/handler who talks a lot. It was hard to get into for me!) Anyway, back to Chin and Grover, there are three bodies inside the house, and it's a place where recovering addicts can put their lives back together. Stacy, a girlfriend of one of the victims was bringing over coffee and found the bodies. Grover's spidey senses are tingling during her questioning so he goes back inside and see four dehumidifiers in one tiny room, so he pokes around a finds a secret compartment! It's really a stash house and this was a robbery!

Chin and Grover head to a skate park to talk to the guy paying the electric bill on the stash house. SkateParkDrugDad's kid posted a pic of them on Instagram so Five-O knew right where to find them. They introduce themselves and congratulate him on his ingenuity of using ClearPath for a stash house, but tell him they really want to know who gunned down three people. Of course, he's going to help them because if he doesn't, Five-O will make sure the case goes all the way to trial and make him radioactive. (That sounded bad.)

Eric is back at the Chatting Table to tell Steve and Kono what he found out. (He leans way over in front of Steve to put the flash drive in and the look on Steve's face was funny. Too close! Too close!) Moani was chatting with a guy named Jonah and Eric triangulated the location to a foreclosed house, so McKono heads over. Steve can't understand how a bright girl like Moani, with a stable home, could get mixed up in this. Kono tells him that being a fifteen year old girl is hard, you're insecure and awkward and when someone gives you attention and compliments, you think they get you. Jonah obviously took advantage of that. :(

We get a nice McG breach pose as they go in, guns drawn and clear the house. There are a lot of empty rooms with mattresses in them, but when they go down into the basement, they break down a locked door and a girl is inside, gagged and duct taped. Kono takes care of her while Steve keeps a lookout. She hugs Kono so tight, it's heartbreaking. At the hospital, NurseAnna comes out to update them on her condition. She's been sex trafficked and badly traumatized so, in light of that, only Kono can question her. The girl (whose name is Kelsey) opens up to Kono, tells her how Jonah/Emilio told her she should be a model and they started hanging out, he said he loved her, but then threatened her little sister to get Kelsey to do what he wanted. She asked Kono not to tell her dad what happened to her. (Grace Park is amazing here, with so many emotions playing across her face as the girl talks---rage and sorrow and everything we're feeling as viewers.)

After the interview, Kono is driving and stopped at a red light. (Where did Steve go? Why didn't he drive with her?) The light turns green and she doesn't move and the guy behind her starts honking and yelling for her to move. She gets out of her car, he rolls up his window, and she punches through it, takes his keys and throws them to the other side of the street. (I honestly have no idea what the point of this scene was. She was the one blocking traffic and yeah, she was emotional, but randomly breaking that window made her look like she couldn't handle her job.) (Food for thought: If that was Danny punching out some lady's car window during an emotional case for him, would we feel different?)

Steve drives in the Palace parking lot (lunch break?) and sees Kono sitting in her car. He asks her if she's okay and she says she is, but it's obvious, she isn't. He gets in and she tells him that Kelsey ID'd one of her johns as a high school teacher. They're putting together a photo array. He holds up her bandaged hand and asks if she's sure she's okay. (I really do love protective Steve.) She says she knows it's not good to be angry and emotional, but he assures her it's fine to get angry. Does she want to sit this one out? She says no, but I disagree. (Emotional cops can make mistakes and put others in danger.)

The SkateParkDrugDad comes to Five-O to tell them that he got a ransom burner phone for the drugs that were stolen. (The thieves will call him with instructions). He wants justice for his friend Mark, but he doesn't want the info to be used against him so Grover says he has the Cone of Silence. SkateParkDrugDad has no idea what that is. (It's from some old show and while everyone got a courtesy chuckle, the explanation was a little long and rambly.)

Steve and Kono go to the high school teacher's house that Kelsey identified. Kono shows him Kelsey's picture and immediately punches him in the stomach with her injured hand. (Assault? Maybe innocent until proven guilty ringing a bell with anyone? No? Okay.) He wants them to leave, but they show him Jonah/Emilio's picture and tell him he's going to help them find him. He calls a number and leaves a message while Kono rages at him on how he could do that to a girl not much older than his students and telling him how those girls had to do it in order to survive, they had no choice. He sort of sits there looking scared until they get a call back that the girl will meet them at a hotel. McKono heads there. (Hopefully they have HPD coming to watch that guy or something. I bet he runs.)

Jerry has gotten security footage of who ordered the ransom burner phone. Surprise! It's the girlfriend Stacy that they questioned at the stash house. Chin and Grover get her in the Blue Room of Doom and tell her she was so clever until she pulled an amateur move like the burner phone. She was working with her boyfriend Calvin while her other boyfriend Todd was killed trying to get his life together. Grover callously blurts out that Calvin didn't make it through the gun battle with Five-O and goes on to say there were guns in the house they think will connect to the murders. PoorDumbTwoTimingStacy.

McG and Kono are waiting at the hotel for the girl and grab her when she gets out. They go after the driver of the SUV and McG is randomly shooting at it as it backs toward him. He jumps out of the way at the last second (Why just stand there and empty your gun? Shoot out the tires? Move to the side for a better shot? I don't know, that just seemed weird he stood there shooting and waiting to be run over.) They grab the driver and bring her into a hotel room for questioning. Her name is Tori and she kept all the girls in line. She's pretty cool under questioning, telling Kono that none of the girls will testify against her, but McG says Kelsey is tough and she will. Then Kono decides that isn't threatening enough and says that they know lots of inmates in the Women's Correctional Facility and they owe favors to Five-O or want to get on their good side. With that in mind, those women will do to Tori whatever Five-O wants and the guards will look the other way so tonight it will be Tori getting turned out before a beatdown. (I was actually horrified that Kono would advocate that level of violence, to tell you the truth. Why is she sinking to their level? We all saw how affected Kono was by what the traffickers did to their victims, why would she ever threaten another woman with the same thing? Yeah, she's the villain, but still. I hated they had our heroine say it, much less think it.)

Tori tells them an address and they head there. (McKono is doing a lot of driving to different locations in this ep!) Chin and Grover are with them this time and they find the girls in a locked room. Jonah/Emilio runs away and Kono tracks him down. She tells him to pick up his knife and she puts down her gun to fight him with her fists. Jonah/Emilio is a terrible fighter and Kono beats him up easily. She breezes by McG (where was he that whole time? It's like he keeps disappearing this ep) and tells him the guy had a knife. While everyone is being treated by paramedics, Chin tells Kono to get her hand looked at. She needs stitches and while at the hospital, Nurse Anna tells her about Pearl Haven, a place where girls who are exploited can go to heal. After she's done being stitched up, she goes to see Moani and her family and they chat, but 72 hours later Kono oddly escorts Moani to Pearl Haven. (Where were her loving parents? They'd just gotten their runaway daughter back after a horrifying experience and they aren't escorting her? But, whatever, I guess.) Moani hugs Kono and she watches her go meet the other girls.

The team does a PSA after the episode about girls who are exploited and trafficked, and, while I'm glad to see a spotlight on this horrendous crime, I'm not sure what I felt about the episode. Grace Park had some amazing emotional moments that she knocked out of the park, but she was also written as being out of control and sinking down to an appalling level using threats I never thought I'd see Five-O use on another human being. It was hard to watch all around.

So, with that said, did you watch? What did you think?


Mister Mike said...

Grace Park's acting was excellent, despite the script which was full of eye-rolling moments. The episode would have been much better if:

1) Instead of really busting the guy's window, Kono had a daydream about this.

2) Kono provoking the bad guy to pick up his knife and fight with her was changed so he had the knife hidden and then attacked her as she was handcuffing him, then she kicked the crap out of him.

3) The tasteless business about threatening the "house mother" that Five-Zero could make bad things happen to her in jail because they had influence with both the guards and prisoners was completely eliminated.

4) Instead of punching the teacher in the stomach, the wife had come home and Five-Zero had left saying, "We're from Five-O, we just had to talk to your husband about something."

Julie Coulter Bellon said...

I completely agree with every point you made, Mr. Mike. That would have truly made the episode a standout for me.

Julie Coulter Bellon said...

Also, by incorporating those four points, it would have made Kono look like the professional she is, still affected by the case, but keeping herself under control. I wish the show could write women in a way that underscored that!