This week’s Hawaii Five-0 wins for “Most O’s in an Episode Title.” Unfortunately, that’s about all it wins, as it’s a rather lackluster return for a generally great show.
Who would hire a professional killer to off a teenage girl? That’s the question of the week when Emily Winter is discovered deceased. Her father (Clayton Norcross) has no idea why his daughter would be targeted, but tells Steve that she stole a check from him and wrote it out for five thousand dollars. We discover that this was in order to help her friend Karen (Courtney Coleman), who’s being blackmailed over her affair with their school’s headmaster, Mr. Summers (Christopher Cousins). Ew.
The blackmailer is a fellow student named Jared (Bryan McClure), who happens to have footage of Emily’s bedroom on his computer as well. Double ew, but at least this is constructive. He’s unknowingly captured her murder at the hands of a professional killer.
Here’s where the episode takes an abrupt and random turn. Emily’s father was serving on the jury of a civil trial at the time of her murder. Her death led to his being released from the jury, allowing for a suspicious replacement. The whole fourth act feels a little bit Runaway Jury, with Steve interrogating a high-powered jury consultant (Sam Anderson) and dragging his planted juror to the edge of a hilariously short drop (not that the guy knows it). We’re soon talking about substandard construction and criminal negligence, with the only real tension coming from the jury consultant falling to his death despite Steve’s best efforts to save him.
Meanwhile, Joe is back in town after a second trip to Japan, which opens up the whole can of worms surrounding him again. He’s an obvious suspect in Hiro Noshimuri’s murder, and Chin pushes Steve to look seriously at his old friend’s activities. With Hiro’s son Adam (the still welcome Ian Anthony Dale) breathing down his neck, Steve starts to get edgy, but ultimately eases up on Joe, who ends up getting knocked out by an unfriendly thug outside his front door.
When next we see him, Steve is having to drop in unannounced at Adam’s pad in order to save him. This ends up being Steve’s last straw, particularly when Joe admits that he helped Hiro Noshimuri fake his own death. “I want answers, I want them right now,” he demands, but his former CO refuses to give him any, walking away instead. It’s getting to the point (if it’s not already there) where Joe is more trouble than he’s worth, and I’m waiting for the moment when Steve truly snaps on him. We know that his frustration this episode doesn’t scratch the surface of his temper, and it’s not as if Joe’s not deserving of a McGarrett meltdown.
There’s not much to say about “Ka Ho’oponopono” one way or the other – and that’s the problem. This is not a bad episode, but neither is it a memorable one. For the most part, I felt pretty apathetic through the hour. That’s a little more glaring to me with this being the first episode back from the winter hiatus; usually one hopes for a midseason premiere to be particularly engaging, getting the audience back into the excitement of a show and making the wait for new episodes worthwhile. That wasn’t the case this week. Still, I suppose I’d rather have an average episode than, say, another installment of ridiculous pirates.
The episode isn’t helped by the fact that next week is a rerun. I have to wonder why bring the show back now only to air a rerun right thereafter; wouldn’t it seem better off to wait another week and then start new episodes without an interruption? Oh, well. Let’s just wait two weeks and see what H50 has in store, because this episode is not a particularly good indication of what’s to come.