Hawaii Five-O scored the post-conference championship time slot this year, and you can’t say this episode didn’t make the most of it: we’ve got a tsunami, the return of Steve’s girlfriend Catherine Rollins, and Scott Caan finally getting to show that Alex O’Loughlin isn’t the only one who looks good without a shirt on. (Hey, he held his own with a shirtless Paul Walker, remember?) If this were any other show, I’d be crying “stunt episode” by now, but not with this one – because the tidal wave functions as an impetus for the hunt for a missing scientist.
By the middle of the episode, we’re already clued in to the idea that there’s not actually an impending tsunami, which is a good thing as we’re not subjected to a small-scale disaster movie. In fact, the idea of a fake natural disaster is a pretty interesting one, playing on the paranoia of the general public. We don’t know if any alarm is real or not, and we usually abide by the “better safe than sorry” doctrine. It’s not a stretch to think staging a natural disaster this way could actually happen with the right (or wrong) combination of brains and technology. Once that’s put aside, this episode is a fairly straightforward one, with bonus points for the creative use of a forklift. The real heart of the episode comes at its end, when we revisit the issue of the asset forfeiture locker from the Christmas episode. It’s good to see that there are, in fact, consequences for our heroes’ less-than-legal actions, unlike on many series where they can seem to get away with anything. Things are wrapped up in a satisfactory manner, except for one burning question that definitely leaves us wanting more – but doesn’t make us feel that we’ve been cheated.
Amongst our regulars, it’s great to see a second straight episode in which Kono gets to flex her muscles as an investigator. Anyone who’s seen Battlestar Galactica knows that Grace Park is a more than capable actress, and I’m hoping that her role will continue to expand and allow her to demonstrate more of her talent. Scott Caan continues to show why he was nominated for a Golden Globe, as Danny gets a grade-school education on tsunami warning systems and whinges about how he doesn’t want to die. I’ve come to appreciate Danny’s perspective more with every episode, as his being a “fish out of water” also helps to clarify things for the audience along the way. Together with Jackie Earle Haley on Human Target, Scott Caan tops my list of best supporting actors on television right now, and is certainly the most entertaining.
The episode also has a number of interesting guest stars (and I mean beyond pop singer Joanna “Jojo” Levesque): there’s Bones alum Joel David Moore as another scientist, reliable character actor David Goodman (who just appeared on Bones and also visited Alex O’Loughlin’s previous series Three Rivers), and Private Practice‘s Agnes Bruckner. I know I’m in the minority when I say that I’m not all that thrilled over the return of Michelle Borth as Catherine; no offense to the actress, but I remain largely apathetic to both her character and her ongoing relationship with Steve (although I’m glad she finally called him out for only phoning when he needs something). In another nod to continuity, the writers also slip in a mention of Dr. Malia Weston, Chin’s ex-fiancee that we met last week.
I know a good number of Hawaii Five-O fans were excited to see this episode get the post-football time slot. The series has never been short of attention, but tonight it simply had an even bigger stage to show why it deserves all the buzz. In my eyes, the special treatment was not a gift, but rather earned by a show that’s been on the mark all season long.