I’ve spent way too much time watching car chases, and I know I’m not alone. With all the police video shows out there, we’ve all seen our fair share. Having one is an entertaining way to open this week’s episode of Hawaii Five-O; it drops us almost right into the middle of the action. Unlike those other shows, however, this one can’t just jump to the next clip, so it’s a good thing that it has a solid plot to follow up the chase with. At least, it’s not every day you find a freshly severed human head in a box.
It becomes clear fairly quickly that the soon deceased driver of the car is not the person who killed the dead man, sending Five-O on a quest to identify both men and their roles in the murder. The head is revealed to be that of a physics teacher, whose wife is subsequently presumed missing. By the end of the first half, the direction of the episode is still fairly open to debate, but within the first few minutes of the second half, it starts to fall together. This isn’t the most sharply defined plot in that sense, but once it becomes clear where it’s going, it definitely gets going. We get a shooting, a SWAT team, and the rest of our victim’s body, pn the way to a swift wrap-up. We get to see Kono learn an important lesson about police work, and Danny gets his chance to solve the case; there are a number of shows where one main character gets to always be the hero, but Hawaii Five-O spreads the success around. Even when it’s not necessarily the most complex or compelling plot, this show is still above its competition. The episode’s last few scenes prove that, particularly in the performance of Alex O’Loughlin, who again takes moments that would be throwaway at the end of any other series, and makes them mean something.
This episode also introduces us to Dr. Malia Weston, Chin’s ex-fiancee played by Reiko Aylesworth of 24 and Lost fame. I’ve liked her work ever since she was one of 24‘s best characters as Michelle Dessler Almeida, and it’s great to see her, moreso knowing this may not be her only appearance. The only thing better than seeing a good actor guest on a show is looking forward to more of their work.
If there’s a weak point here, it’s that there are a couple of groan-worthy jokes surrounding the severed head, but since the point is how bad they are, I’ll give them a pass. The episode more than makes up for it with some great banter between Steve and Danny, anyway. Alex O’Loughlin and Scott Caan seem to be having a particularly great banter this episode. While it won’t stand as my favorite of the series so far, this week’s installment is still worth staying up that extra hour to catch, if only because there’s always a character moment or two that makes it all worthwhile.