By Stu Robinson,
He’s BA-ack! We could be talking about Steve McGarrett, as actor Alex O’Loughlin returned to CBS’ Hawaii Five-0 this week after missing two episodes to undergo rehab from prescription painkillers. Or we could mean Wo Fat (Mark Dacascos), the mysterious villain who takes any episode up a notch.
Season 2, Episode 22 begins with a double whammy and doesn’t let up from there.
It starts with McGarrett leading an Interpol SWAT team into an Asian hotel room, where Wo Fat sits on a couch waiting. In the bathroom, the SWAT team finds a gory, blood-spattered mess. Could it be … Shelbourne?
[Cut to the boffo Hawaii Five-0 theme song.]
Kono (Grace Park) wakes in a suite at the Hilton Hawaiian Village following a tryst with her new mystery man. She puts on a robe and goes the door to get breakfast from the room service guy. Then she heads into the bathroom, where her man is showering. She drops the robe, opens the shower door and joins … Adam Noshimuri (Ian Anthony Dale), the yakuza prince?!? Ruh roh!
The episode that develops isn’t so much a crime to be unraveled as a puzzle to be solved. A puzzle on steroids. Heck, what we really have here is a four-way cage match pitting Five-O, Wo Fat, the yakuza and the CIA against one another. Oh what a tangled web we weave.
McGarrett is in Osaka, Japan, preparing to bring in Wo Fat. From the balcony of Wo Fat’s hotel room, he finally calls Danno (Scott Caan), and bickering ensues. McGarrett asks his team to find out who Wo Fat had been calling at a particular location in Hawaii. When Danno calls back to report finding the body of a female foreign-service officer shot in the head, McGarrett and a couple of SWAT guys are loading Wo Fat onto a private jet bound for Hawaii.
Aboard the plane, Wo Fat tells McGarrett that the blood in the hotel bathroom was not the mysterious Shelbourne’s – Shelbourne has eluded them both, he says. The two then engage in a staredown until McGarrett feels the landing gear deploy. He rises, turns to the cockpit and demands to know why because they’re well short of Honolulu. The copilot rudely orders McGarret back to his seat. Yeah, right. When one of the SWAT guys moves to back up McGarrett, the copilot pulls a gun and shoots at him. The SWAT guy returns fire and hits the pilot, who slumps forward onto the controls, sending the plane into a dive. McGarrett slugs the copilot, pulls the dead pilot out of his seat and struggles to retain control of the jet. He’s unsuccessful, but manages to level out the plane enough that he and Wo Fat survive the crash into the jungle.
McGarrett wakes in the cockpit and turns to find Wo Fat missing. The door is open, so McGarrett pulls his gun and steps through. He gets about 10 feet before Wo Fat hits him with a rock, knocking the gun away. After a brief martial arts interlude, McGarrett manages to subdue the crime lord. Moments later, a helicopter full of yakuza gunmen appears overhead.
It seems that Wo Fat has murdered Hiro Noshimori and mailed pieces of him back to Adam. With Hiro dead, Adam is leader of the Hawaiian yakuza, and he’s really pissed. So let’s review:
- McGarrett wants to bring in Wo Fat alive.
- Wo Fat would rather die than be brought in, but would prefer to escape.
- The Japanase gangsters want Wo Fat dead. Adam assures Kono that he wants to take the yakuza business empire legit, but he can’t escape the urge to avenge his father’s death by torturing and killing Wo Fat.
- And the CIA – remember that dead “foreign service” officer – wants … hmmm. Apparently the agency had used Wo Fat to broker arms deals in the past and would like to wipe out any evidence of that collaboration.
Meanwhile, Kono’s loyalties are torn and the CIA has taken Danno prisoner. Boy, is this complicated.
Eventually, McGarrett and Wo Fat get the drop on the gangsters and escape in their helicopter. McGarrett flies it back to Honolulu where it’s met by Adam and more yakuza gunmen. (C’mon, Steve, it never occurred to you to check the helicopter for a tracking device?) Danno arrives moments later after escaping with the help of a disobedient CIA agent, as do Chin Ho and Kono, who tracked Adam’s cell phone. So it’s a Mexican/Hawaiian/Japanese standoff, which the characters manage to resolve with only one additional death.
- A haole lawyer playing puppet master within the Hawaiian branch of the Japanese mafia? Go figure.
- Du-oh! Failing to check the chopper for a tracking device wasn’t McGarrett’s only goof. Moments earlier, he uncuffed Wo Fat to help him overcome the yakuza goons. Of course, Wo Fat takes the first opportunity to grab a gun and try to get the drop on McGarrett, and our hero has to subdue him again.
- Product placement: Not only does Kono’s secret tryst take place at the Hilton Hawaiian Village, but Danno’s helper within the CIA conveniently provides a Chevy Impala as an escape vehicle.
- We all know that Steve McGarrett was played on the original Hawaii Five-0 by Jack Lord. Well, in this episode the hot shooting-range chick who helps identify a gold-flecked bullet is played by actress/model/singer Jacqueline Lord. After a cursory Internet search, I don’t think she is a descendant. The casting director must simply have a sense of humor.
- You’d think that after killing Jenna Kaye (Larisa Oleynik) in this season’s Episode 10 and banishing Lori Weston (Lauren German) in Episode 16, you’d think they’d give us a break from the “FIVE-0 WILL LOSE ONE OF ITS OWN” teases. But no. The promo for the next episode showed Max Bergman (Masi Oka) getting shot and implied that other members of the team will be imperiled as well.
Stuart J. Robinson, a college friend of the TV Tyrant, is a writer, editor, media-relations practitioner and social-media guy based in Phoenix.