As we established with my review of last week’s Hawaii Five-O, I really like it when things blow up. I especially like it when it comes as part of a great plot. This week’s episode is the total package.
We meet Danny’s younger brother, Matt (Dane Cook), who appears to be successful, fun and likeable, but of course things can’t ever be that simple; they’d be boring if they were. By the end of the first act, Steve and Danny are made aware that Matt is the focus of a federal fraud investigation, and on the verge of being indicted. I know that I decried stunt casting last week, but I’m actually very happy with this week, because I don’t think it’s a stunt; Cook is very well cast. I admit to being skeptical because I’m not a fan of his stand-up material, but he’s a capable actor who has a great rapport with Scott Caan and has the added bonus of physically looking like he could be Danny’s brother. His performance makes Matt is both ridiculously likeable and yet capable of deceiving both other people, and himself. The plot also allows Scott Caan to shine yet again, in one of his best performances of the season, not to mention that it lets the more serious side of the relationship between Danny and Steve come out. We see them banter every week, but we get a great reminder that they also support each other. As we near season’s end, this is the kind of great material that I want to see, and I wouldn’t mind seeing Dane Cook make a return appearance; given the way the episode ended, I’d think he probably will. Matt is Danny’s version of Victor Hesse – an ongoing albatross around his neck, except this one isn’t a villain he can hate.
Because life does not stop for family drama, his comes at the same time that Five-O is looking for a man who killed the daughter of a judge and the son of a prosecutor. While I certainly enjoy the explosions, the plot holds my interest beyond the nifty effects, with the same theme of families and choices. There’s a level of suspense that’s maintained through the episode, and the pieces all add up in the end. The case does get overshadowed a little bit, but that’s because the personal drama is so good, not because it is lacking. It’s a good compliment to everything else going on in the episode.
After this, we’ve got six episodes of Hawaii Five-O left in season one, and the show has some strong momentum going into the end of the season. With episodes like this, I can only imagine that it’s going to end strong, and it would shock me if it doesn’t return for more.