Hawaii Five-0 Review: ...Or Die Trying

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After a strong mid-season return last week, "Olelo Ho'opa'i Make (Death Sentence)" veered all over the place - one moment, impressing with gorgeous fight choreography and action movie-level production values; and the next, presenting the least plausible prison riot that I have ever seen in my TV-watching life.

Throw in some unreleased Jimi Hendrix songs, and, yes, it was a lot to process. But ultimately, it did satisfy... even if there was enough discussion of Spam for it to officially count as a subplot.

Can Chin Escape?

Why did Frank Delano's brother kidnap Chin and stick him in a prison, instead of just taking him out behind the barn and shooting him? I don't know; why do super-villains slowly dip secret agents into enormous vats of acid instead of just taking them out behind the barn and shooting them? Because it looks cooler, and it's more fun!

This episode was Hawaii Five-0 at its action movie-est, and for the most part, I dug it. The hand-to-hand fight choreography was seriously beautiful (Chin's moves in the infirmary especially knocked my socks off), and I enjoyed Kaleo's transformation into a terrifying prison boss. Chin's stabbing was completely unexpected, Sang Min spun some excellent Hawaii 5-0 quotes, and the 5-0's siege of the prison was a gas (I liked that even Kono's SWAT outfit is something that could be described as "beach casual").

I did get stuck on the aforementioned prison riot, though - there seemed to be about ten staff members, all of whom looked like elementary school teachers and none of whom carried guns, in this supermax prison. Who is guarding this place? Paul Blart, Mall Cop?

And were they all on board with falsely imprisoning Chin?

I also got stuck on Sang Min. Call me a naive fool, but I was really feeling for the guy after his Say Anything moment outside his wife's house last week. His handing Chin over to Kaleo felt a little bit out of left field - or maybe I'd just prefer that it was. I thought the Redemption of Sang Min was under the way, turning him into yet another cuddly TV "he's not really a bad guy!" criminal. But Sang Min remains a bit more complicated, and what he's going to do now that he's on the outside and in possession of a police officer's outfit is anyone's guess.

Lindsay Price (who my fellow thirty-somethings may remember as the girl that Steve Sanders got pregnant on original recipe Beverly Hills 90210) did a fine-enough job as Leilani the prison nurse that I hope to see her again. God knows Chin could stand to have a light romantic subplot, after the year he's had.

The police-officer-stuck-inside-a-prison is a classic action trope (Jean-Claude Van Damme's Death Warrant is all that's coming to mind for me right now, because I am a classy individual - but there are many, many others), and it was fun to see the show play with it. I wouldn't mind seeing them run through some other classic action tropes as well, now that you mention it. Can somebody get McGarrett a bus that will explode if it goes under 50 miles an hour, maybe?

What is going on with Sang Min? What do you think is going to happen now that he's escaped? And what's your favorite "cop stuck inside a prison" movie?


Editor Rating: 3.4 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.2 / 5.0 (150 Votes)

I liked the episode. McG flying that helicopter was awesome part. Super Seal all the way. I don't understand reviewer giving only a few stars. It was big adrenalin from start to finish. That is what 5-0 is. This is how we like it.


Overall a good episode. The rescue at prison was sorta lame. You had Chin who was about beaten to death and stabbed but yet he was able to fight the much bigger, much more physical and not beaten ex cop. Pretty lame. I've loved this show since the get go except for two characters. Don't care for Chins cousin. Not a very good actress and the guy who plays forensic guy. Worse character on the show. The female cop they should have kept was the blonde who was on there but now plays on Chicago Fire. Better actress than the female cop that stars on there now.


i thought it waas GREAT....and i HOPE, we see MORE of the nurse from the prison....i felt a spark between she and chin. alisa


Gabrielle! I agree with Mrs alex o'loughlin, this episode deserves more then the 3 stars you gave. Great episode lots of excellent actions loved that Chin got his moment to shine. And DDK knocked it out of the park.I'm glad to see that they mentioned that Chin was getting help with his grief, seeing the shrink surprised me.The action was great, loved McG flying Kamekona's chopper in to rescue Chin. It was good to see Super SEAL Steve from season 1 back! Catherine is back at work finally! and being back to do favors for Steve. but I loved how concerned Cath was for Chin this favor was really for Chin not Steve. Kono was not all that trusting of Adam, feeling bad for her, but was glad she was cop first when Adam got that suspicious phonecall. See a lot of trouble coming her way. Loved Sang Min helping Chin out at first and then, of course, finding a way to escape, for him it is not safe anymore to be in Halawa prison now that he has helped a cop. Loved the Ohana moment at the end on Chin hospital bed. Can I say that Halawa prison seems to me the easiest prison in the world to break into or out LOL


Wow, 2 episodes in two days! We've never had such a week :) @Zia, great review, as always!


With a big lead in from football and against reruns H50 had it biggest ratings of the season with 13.6 million viewers to 4.0 for a Shark Tank rerun on ABC and a 2.7 for a Biggest Loser rerun on NBC. Also on Saturday a rerun of H50 (the one with James Caan and Dennis Miller) won its 9PM slot with 4.6 million to 2.4 for a Chicago Fire rerun on NBC 2.4 for a Will Ferrell movie Blades of Glory on ABC and 1.8 for a Kitchen Nightmare rerun on FOX.

Sarah silva

Zia; Usually H50 comes back a week earlier than it did this year, the episode last night was supposed to air last week, so they are not ahead of schedule. Last year they had an episode Jan 2 then they were off for 2 weeks, had an epiosde Jan 16 the off for 2 weeks.

Sarah silva

We are all entitled to our own opinions and personally I loved this episode! It was one of the best. I am a little shocked you rated it so low Gabrielle!
When I read weeks ago that Chin was going to be in Jail, I was not sure how that would go and what the premise would be for him to end up there and I think it worked well. I like Sang Min and I like that he helped Chin, even when Chin thought he turned on him, Sang had a plan. Speaking of Sang Min I think that is the last we have seen of him for awhile, Five 0 will not be going after him. I like Lindsay Price and Chin deserves to be happy and I would love seeing her recur on the show.
The Adam and Kono storyline is heating up! I would like to think Adam is not a bad guy anymore but we will see. Looking forward to another new episode tonight!


@Zia...I agree I am SO SO happy to see both Chin and Kono get more substantial screen time and storylines. I do also love both Steve and Danny, but Chin and Kono light up the screen for me. It is probable that I won't like where they take this Adam/Kono storyline, but at least I know Kono will HAVE a storyline :)


@Gabrielle Moss - You're not the only one who feels like this about Sang Min :) I'm with you on this.

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Hawaii Five-0 Season 3 Episode 13 Quotes

The first time we met, you hit me across the face with an ashtray. Now that we're even, you can trust me.

Sang Min [to Chin Ho Kelly]

Chin Ho Kelly: Who put me in here?
Sang Min: Someone who wants you to suffer before you die.