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Hawaii Five-0 “Powa Maka Moana (Pirate)” 

Well, stunt casting didn’t serve the story with last week’s outing about a kidnapped pleasure cruise of 12 college kids during Spring Break. As the CBS promo monkeys were happy to sound out, this week’s guesters were Vanessa Minnillo and Nick Lachey (and also Ray Wise and Stacey Edwards, who weren’t touted).

We start with the kids on board a small boat, dancing, drinking, laughing, and snapping pics on their phones until they’re set upon by masked guys in a speed boat who storm aboard waving guns and threatening the kids. The captain is killed and his second in command, Susan (Minnillo), drops below deck as the kids are rounded up.

Back in town, McGarrett and Danny are unsuccessfully pushing Papa McGarrett’s car and they stop to bitch at each other as a tow truck pulls up and McGarrett’s phone rings. They boys join Kelly and Kono on a Coast Guard boat and speed out to the kids’ boat and find the dead captain, a dead kidnapper, and a hiding Susan but no kids. Kono also finds a cell phone with video of the kidnappers that she can use for facial recognition geekery.

Susan lands on shore with the crew and is welcome by her fiancé, (Lachey). McGarrett sends Kelly (strangely using his full name like Danny did last week) off on a task while he and Danny go interview Kamekona to see if he knows anything about the dead kidnapper, who was an Islander. Kamekona makes a few calls and that leads the boys to a pawn shop where the less-than-helpful proprietor, Big Lono, has his vault blown to hell when he won’t unlock the door to talk to them and McGarrett takes the door off with a grenade while Danny fairly renders his garments about it.

The next stop after the owner changes his mind about helping them is to the hideout of a pirate crew known for its robberies but no violence. The dead kidnapper is a cousin of the lead pirate, Saloni (played by Branscombe Richmond, who’s recognizable for pretty much everything) which twigs McGarrett that the kidnappers are a new crew trying to redirect the investigation back onto a known pirate team.

The 5-0s go meet the parents and try to make all assurances and one parent played by Wise is more of the mind that they should just pay what the kidnappers are asking—$20 million. McGarrett talks him down but soon gets a call from one of the kidnappers that the payment received was insufficient. They find Wise’s son shot dead, because Wise made his own deal and paid $400K cash. They also piece together that the whole cruise was a setup—a guy approached the 12 kids in a VIP lounge with a paid day trip.

The kidnappers up the ante and ask for a plane and the remaining money and they add that they want Susan to do the payoff. McGarrett brings her back in and she’s appropriately freaked out by the idea but agrees to do do it. They mic her up and send her in, and she walks sheepishly into the warehouse (clumsily toting a huge duffel bag) where the kids are waiting in a van. One of the guys approaches her when she sets the bag down and says something along the lines of “Told you we could do it” and she breaks into a grin (while mic’d?!?!). The masked guy (who we assume is Lachey) opens the bag and finds it’s full of phone books.

The team storms in, gunfire breaks out between them and the kidnappers, McGarrett follows Lachey out a window before shooting him dead on a moving trolley, and the surviving kids are reunited with their folks as the team takes in the success tempered by the loss of the first kid. The giveaway that Susan was in on it came from Lachey using Susan’s name on the phone with McGarrett when her name had been kept out of the papers.

So, Wise had me thinking he was in on it but other than complicating the investigation, there was nothing to his role except to be a grieving dad, which he did as well as he always does everything because he’s awesome. The MacGuffin of Minnillo and Lachey was sort of glaring because they were only in the first scenes and then disappeared and the network made their casting announcement a big deal, so we had to assume there was more to their appearance than the opener.

I was glad to have Danny and McGarrett back together and their banter intact; loved that they were both sort of really trying to talk the pawn shop owner out of what they were going to do if he remained uncooperative. When Danny asked McGarrett if he was going to drive the car into the shop, I thought, well, yes, except he’s not in the truck today.

If the schedule holds, tonight’s episode is the last one until April (basketball and whatnot) and The Futon Critic has placeholders for 24 episodes, even though I’ve not found confirmation of that many episodes ordered, but I’ll take it.

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