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Hawaii Five-O “Ki’ilua” 

Photo Credit: Norman Shapiro/CBS

I’ve been a regular Hawaii Five-O viewer since the beginning. But it’s never been the type of show where I have to watch an episode the day of or even the week it airs. I usually bank a few of them up and marathon ‘em. There have been good episodes and so-so episodes but I don’t really ever remember being blown away by an episode until “Ki’ilua.”

Call it a team-building experience for the Five-O gang. They all banded together to help rescue Steve from the clutches of Wo Fat. Returning for her final appearance was Larisa Oleynik as Jenna Kaye, a character who arrived on the scene towards the end of Season 1 and worked alongside McGarrett, Danno, Chin Ho and Kono. I didn’t immediately like Jenna but she quickly grew on me. And then we found out she was working with Wo Fat and had infiltrated Five-O for the show’s big villain. It was a good twist but, still, I liked Jenna so I was sorry to see the character take a turn.

We found out why she took that turn in “Ki’ilua.” Her story about her fiancé was true. He was alive – or so she had been led to believe. Wo Fat conned her into helping him kidnap Steve by luring him to North Korea to help her “rescue” Josh. I’m not sure why she fell for Wo Fat’s con. She wanted to believe him because she loved her fiancé so much. She never stopped to wonder why Wo Fat would have ever left Josh alive. It doesn’t matter how many proof-of-life pictures he hands you, you can’t trust Wo Fat ever.

Photo Credit: Norman Shapiro/CBS

Anyway, Jenna did manage to get word to Danny about McGarrett’s situation. With the help of Joe (Terry O’Quinn), the whole gang decided to go rogue and head to North Korea to save Steve. Going along for the ride was a Navy Seal buddy of Joe’s, played by David Keith. He grabbed a couple of guys and joined everyone as they flew off on this under-the-radar mission.

Meanwhile, Steve was hanging by chains as Wo Fat alternately tortured and interrogated him. He wanted intel on something called Shelbourne; Steve’s dad knew about it so Wo Fat assumed Steve would know too. I thought it was interesting when McGarrett realized Wo Fat had no idea what Shelbourne was. I wonder how long it’s going to be until we know what in the world Wo Fat’s after.

Jenna tried to redeem herself by: a) getting word to Danny; and b) slipping a steel pin from Josh’s knee (he once had knee surgery) and getting it to Steve. It was inevitable that she would end up dead. After Wo Fat shot and killed her, Steve was able to use the pin to get out of his shackles and make that escape. His freedom didn’t last long, however. Wo Fat and his men got the drop on him pretty quickly. I always feel Steve can handle anything and escape anything so the fact he was recaptured so quickly was new and different.

Photo Credit: Norman Shapiro/CBS

Thanks to Joe’s connections – the “Save Steve” group was able to easily get a copter and some weapons easily. Too easily? Probably. But I totally suspended my disbelief for this episode, especially since this portion of the show introduced us to Joe’s pal, the one that owed him a favor. Jimmy Buffett played the guy and he did a good job. I love that he didn’t just donate his classic copter to the cause but he piloted it as well. The writers even snuck in a margarita joke for good measure, which is much appreciated.

Anyway, the Five-O/Navy Seal combo tracked down Wo Fat, his minions and, most importantly Steve. Lori Weston was able to use an RPG to blow up a bridge that slowed the cavalry down and enabled them to save Steve. But, of course, that slippery sneaky Wo Fat escaped.

There was a scene in the helicopter at the end where everybody – sans Kono (boo!) – had this nice moment in the copter that also included Chin announcing his engagement (yay!). The group had gone into hostile territory and saved the guy who usually saves everyone else. Even though Kono wasn’t part of it, I still basked in the moment. It was a great payoff to a wildly suspenseful episode.

There were two things that really bugged me about “Ki’ilua.” First, the Kono situation. She was the one left behind to monitor the situation from afar. I don’t know why she couldn’t be with everyone, especially in that last scene in the helicopter. It always seems like she’s this afterthought. Why couldn’t she be a bigger part of the action?

And the next thing that totally bugged was when the guys got Steve back to the helicopter. Lori jumped out and ran up to him and hugged him. Now, it’s very clear she has a thing for Steve. But the way Alex O’Loughlin has been playing it, it doesn’t seem like Steve feels the same. I don’t know if it was meant to be an emotional moment because it wasn’t. It just feels like the writers/producers are trying really hard to make something out of nothing. I’m completely uninterested in anything developing between these two characters.

These are just minor complaints about what turned out to be the best episode of the season so far. Hawaii Five-O airs Mondays at 10/9c on CBS.

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