Hawaii Five-O Episode 2.03 Review: Room For Improvement

Thanks to this week’s Hawaii Five-O, I’ve found another reason to dislike camping: you just might find a corpse in the tent. Not cool, show. Not cool at all.

Steve and Commander White (Terry O’Quinn) – who’s put in for a transfer to Pearl Harbor – have their bonding session broken up by this development – the body is that of a SEAL named Clay Garcia. Max tells Steve that the cause of death was a self-inflicted gunshot wound, but White and Garcia’s wife Marissa (Sarah Roemer) aren’t so sure. Looking over the evidence again (after Steve needles him into doing so), Max declares that Garcia was in fact murdered, setting Steve and Five-O on the case.

While a stone-faced Lori (Lauren German) grills Marissa over the state of her marriage – and then decides to prod Danny about his failed nuptuals, as if she wasn’t already unsympathetic enough at that point – Steve, White and Chin venture into the jungle, where Chin nearly walks into a tripwire and they uncover a horde of marijuana plants that belong to some angry-looking thugs. After Steve takes out their Jeep with a falling tree, he and Chin have a not so friendly chat with their leader, who says that they tried to get Garcia to back off their weed but didn’t kill him. Marissa’s boss (Dash Mihok) claims he had a confrontation with Garcia over his wife but didn’t do the deed either. No, someone is knocking off all the members of Garcia’s SEAL team – as proven when another body ends up in Max’s freezer.

Steve and White visit SEAL honcho Wade Gutches (David Keith), who is the predictable “authority figure who stonewalls our heroes but eventually changes his mind.” From there, with some help from Lori, they believe the SEALS are being targeted by a drug cartel assassin. There’s one member of SEAL Team 9 that hasn’t been accounted for, as he’s being pushed out of a plane, but Steve manages to catch him in mid-air while Chin puts down the assassin on the ground. The SEALS then resume busting the drug cartel while our heroes get front-row seats.

Meanwhile, Chin isn’t too thrilled with the company that Kono has been keeping since being “forced out” of HPD, but she’s not interested in listening to anything he says. Instead, she’s spending her time with ex-cop Frank Delano (William Baldwin) and his poker buddies. Frank wants her to work with his crew, who hold up bad guys instead of busting them. It’s like Rogue Force just with robbery instead of murder. Frank asks Kono to get him information from HPD, and she uses Chin’s login to do so, which will inevitably land Chin back in hot water. I liked Baldwin when he was on Dirty Sexy Money, so I’m interested to see what he does here. I’m still skeptical about this storyline, but I’m holding on to the idea that she might just be working for IA, which would settle just fine with me. Only one way to find out…

Hawaii Five-O hits its first bump in the season two road this week. It’s fun to watch, but it’s not without its flaws. I give it props for uniqueness; how many other shows would have their hero using the environment as a weapon and skydiving out of a plane? That’s a resourcefulness that’s fun to see (enough that I’ll suspend my disbelief regarding the plausibility of the latter sequence). It’s also nice to see more screen time for Terry O’Quinn, and I have to admit that I got a chuckle out of the Beatles references near episode’s end.

“Kame’e” makes one thing stick out like a sore thumb to me, though, and that’s Lori. I gave her the benefit of the doubt last week, but this week has her veering dangerously into unwatchable territory. At one point, Danny makes a crack about Lori being a possible “love connection” for Steve, and I can’t help but groan at how obviously the show is pushing that angle for the second episode in a row. It’s as if they’ve forgotten the “show, don’t tell” rule.

That’s a secondary concern, though, when I consider her cold stare and bluntness towards Garcia’s widow, and subsequent needing to prod Danny about his personal business. Her behavior this week is abrasive and annoying. Being unlikeable and painfully obvious is a bad, bad combination. And just so happening to have the piece of information that busts open the case to boot? That’s all a bit tough to swallow, and it puts a damper on the episode as a whole, since she’s a major part of it. Scott Caan could have probably taken this episode off if he’d wanted.

As a whole, “Kame’e” is a fun diversion, but I can’t help but be disappointed in it since Hawaii Five-O has proven it’s a lot more than just a Monday-night distraction. It’s been a smart, fast-paced, fun and engaging series, and this episode doesn’t live up to that potential. Let’s just remember that there’s always room for improvement.


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