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Hawaii Five-0 “Malama Ka Aina (Respect the Land)” 

Photo: Neil Jacobs/CBS

Minor nit out of the way up front—if you have Jean Smart in your cast, USE HER. She was in the cast list for this episode, but then not in the credits or the actual episode when it aired. If you’re going to trim for time, trim somewhere else, okay? Aside from that, it was a nifty, clicking installment.

The episode opens with the gang at a football game for Kelly and McGarrett’s alma mater. Danny arrives with Grace; there are intros all around (Kelly sweetly, proudly says she’s to call him “Uncle Kelly”) , and when McGarrett tells Grace he’s heard a lot about her, she responds that she’s heard a lot about him, too, which gets a chuckle. It takes about ten seconds for her to announce she’s hungry, so Danny takes her to the concession stand in time to see two guys entering the stadium with concealed guns.

He badges an older lady and hands Grace off to her for safekeeping and heads onto the field while he calls McGarrett to report that two guys are “strapped” and heading toward the players. The gang mobilizes and is on the field just as the gunfire erupts. The two shooters are killed and Kelly takes off after a suspect, who turns around to face him. There’s a moment of recognition and Kelly calls him by name, Sid, before allowing him to flee.

In the aftermath of the shooting, Kona shows the victims’ gang affiliation tattoos to McGarrett, and they learn that one of the victims was the uncle of the quarterback. After a friendly sitdown with the QB, where McGarrett tells him to keep playing football and not get wrapped up in the family trade (to which Danny protests), they head off to properly investigate.

McGarrett and Danny track clues to a warehouse with a stash of pizza boxes and McGarrett does a Bill Nye/Mister Wizard trick that reveals that the boxes have been used to transport guns, so they go see the pizza shop owner, Joey (Max Casella, a.k.a. Vinnie from Doogie Howser), and when he’s unresponsive to their questions, they drop him in a shark tank (surrounded by harmless. homeless Galapagos sharks) and drink beer and shoot the shit on an adjacent boat until Joey is terrified enough to talk. He tells them a New Jersey crime boss has set his sights way out west to the illegal gambling trade that’s thriving in Hawaii. Separately, we find out that Sid is Kelly and Kona’s cousin and he is still bitter about Kelly’s (mistaken) bust as a smear on the family; he also reveals that he’s part of an undercover gang task force. Also going on—Danny’s ex-wife has threatened to change Grace’s visitation agreement because of the shooting at the game.

Kona asks Sid to work with them and he agrees to help everyone but Kelly get into the gambling event where the New Jersey boss is slated to appear later. They reconvene at the mobile casino (at a private home); Kona dons stilettos, a teensy red silk robe, and flirty demeanor and McGarrett and Danny pose as (very nattily dressed) whales. Kelly is outside running the surveillance and Sid is security. Before long, the jig is up, the boys’ covers are blown, and Sid is slapped around for being a snitch, so the squad moves to take down the baddies—and wouldn’t you know it, Kelly saves Sid’s life. Sidebar: there is a very short, faux giggly-flirty scene between Danny and Kona to distract the bad guys that reminded me of Scott Caan’s character in Into the Blue.

The next morning, Danny goes to speak with his ex-wife, and as he drives up, the governor’s motorcade is departing. He heads to the gate and buzzes the intercom and when a female voice answers, he just unloads everything, having a very sincere heart-to-heart with the intercom about how he came 5,000 miles for 400 hours a year with his daughter and to take anything away from that would break his heart. He begs her to reconsider and just be kind, and then he stops talking, only to have the housekeeper speak up on the other end that she needs to fetch his ex to come speak with him. Then his ex-wife’s attorney gets on the com and tells him the petition has been dropped. Danny’s dumbfounded and grateful and before that completely sinks in, the gates open and Grace runs out into his arms and he just hugs and hugs her while she tells him what she wants for her birthday.

At the precinct later, we find out Kelly and Sid are brokering a reconciliation and Danny asks McGarrett if he called the governor. McGarrett plays dumb but says government permits are required for his ex’s new husband’s hotel. Danny thanks him and McGarrett takes the piss out of him for it. In the main room, Kona and Kelly are watching footage from McGarrett’s QB days where, as Kona puts it, he was having his ass handed to him in a state championship game. Kelly says McGarrett Sr. was hoarse at the game, which surprises McGarrett. Kelly says Steve’s dad was his training officer when he was fresh from the academy and any game where Steve was starting QB was an automatic day off. Danny asks about the #50 on his jersey and McGarrett corrects him that it’s “five-O,” something his dad coined as a nickname for the McGarretts since they were not native to Hawaii (the 50th state). Kona digs it. McGarrett smiles sort of sadly about the memory.

The chemistry with everybody is just humming along here. I was surprised that Kelly and Kona weren’t more prominent since the main storyline was so entrenched in the island. I do hope they get more to do in the episodes to come. Kona had a bit of a showcase last week. Let’s give one to Kelly, too, soon, please. Caan was very, very good in the scene where he poured his heart out to a voicebox. He also has a lovely rapport with the girl playing Grace, which helps cement the idea that Danny abandoned an entire life to be with his daughter. Teilor Grubbs, who plays Grace, is a newbie actress, which is even more awesome.

P.S.—the very specific assignation of “Five-O” makes me laugh because almost all of the shorthand references (including my own) to the series have been “H50.” See you next week. The ratings are good, so I think we’ll hear about a full-season pickup soon. Yay for the O’Loughlin fans.

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