Hawaii Five-0 Review: Honor Thy Father

at .  Updated at . Comments

Some shows do a holiday themed episode.

But if you’re a Hawaii-based series like Hawaii Five-0, honoring the December 1941 attack of Pearl Harbor works, too.

And work Hawaii Five 0 Season 4 Episode 10 did. With just the right elements of sentimentality, drama, mystery and even some backstory for our own Steve McGarrett, the episode was a winner.

First off, the opening was quite impressive and cinematic (see my interview with Peter Lenkov and Ken Solarz, writers of the episode, for more on the filming of it) with the recreation of that awful day that changed so many lives. The special effects were solid and if the show wanted us to feel like we were there that day, job well done!

Memories of Pearl Harbor

But there’s also a story to the episode. Post-flashback, we’re at a Pearl Harbor ceremony on the actual site and, bonus, we get McGarrett in his Navy whites.

Catherine is here... and so is an elderly Japanese man aiming to kill one of the vets from the ceremony. Steve, not letting his whites slow him down, takes the man down and we’re off to 5-0.

The man is David Toriyama (the awesome James Saito) and he feels like he’s met Steve before (or maybe a McGarrett... hmmm??). David was seeking revenge for Ezra Clark (the vet) killing his father in 1943. So, yes, we have a case!

We’re going back to the 1940s where David is a young boy with an older brother, Kenji (Conrad Pratt), who lived on the island with their parents at the time of Pearl Harbor.

At first, it’s a bit jarring that we’re spending so much time in this past story, but Lenkov and Solarz’s writing draws you in quickly and, like the opening, you feel as though you’re getting a piece of history we haven’t seen before. (And a shout out to director Larry Teng, who did great work in making this episode feel less change-of-pace but a fitting piece in the H50 series.)

After Pearl Harbor, we’re shown how the Japanese residents (even if they were American citizens) were unjustly taken from their homes by the government and put into intermittent camps. David’s backstory even says it felt like they were POWs, which is exactly what I thought in watching these scenes.

(Yes, we’re learning history here, folks, and it doesn’t suck!)

David contends his father was murdered but it was covered up because he was Japanese. Truth or not? 5-0 will find out! McG and Cat meet up with the cranky old coot, Ezra Clark, who at first seems like he could be a racist but – shocker – he had a Japanese wife and daughter!

One of the best scenes of the episode takes place between Chin and David. Chin wants to shake his hand for what he’s been through and for being a soldier. Chin reveals he had an Uncle who was also at the camp and there’s a nice understanding between the men. David urges him when he has a family to pass on the story of Pearl Harbor so it’s a story we never forget. (Which is exactly what this episode is doing. Thumbs up!)

The investigation continues with David being taken back to his home where he goes through old pictures and – WTF?! – Steve recognizes his grandfather – who was in the Navy and died during the Pearl Harbor attack - in one of the photos. 

(See what they did there bringing the McGarrett lineage into the story?!) We also find out Kenji was killed in Italy during the war and David still misses his brother. McG is going to see if he can help David get an ancient sword back.

Danny is confused. That is all.

Wait. There’s more: Danny (confused by the case) kind-heartedly gives Steve some flack for being a softie and keeping on this case, which Steve says he’s investigating out of honor. The guys show up with Chin at an old storage space where they find some old files from 1943. They do find an old witness report where Ezra Clark is the witness, not the offender but this could still be a cover up!

We get a nice scene where Steve looks at old family photos to see if there’s a David connection and there’s no sign of the sword either. The team takes David out to the site of the intermittent camp to jar his memory on some details. It works and David remembers when his father was killed…and David contends it was Ezra Clark….but evidence from the paperwork show that the cop who may have covered this up was George Rigby.

We go to the Rigby home where his daughter shows them to more old files and there are some twists and turns in the story that leads the team to needing to find the bullet that killed David’s father. And, hey, it’s Max (Masi Oka), who we haven’t seen in awhile! Hi, Max!

In short, they resurrect the body, find the bullet, do some testing and we find out the murderer was not Ezra Clark, they get the sword back (from the now-dead murderer’s Grandson, who had no clue what it was), return it to David, who apologizes to Ezra Clark.

The final button on the episode is Steve back at the USS Arizona and David is there. Turns out Steve’s Grandfather was someone David knew and they even played catch, and David gives Steve the baseball mitt. A nice moment bridging the past and the present and we’re done.

Bravo, 5-0!


Editor Rating: 4.5 / 5.0
  • 4.5 / 5.0
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
User Rating:

Rating: 4.6 / 5.0 (109 Votes)

Jim Halterman is the West Coast Editor of TV Fanatic and the owner of JimHalterman.com. Follow him on Twitter.


I'm behind in my 5-0 viewing. But, I just had to add that this is why I keep H50 in my rotation of must-watch crime shows - because they alone consistently address certain cultural aspects of American history like no one else. They aren't afraid to do it, and IMO they get better at it every time. LOVED this episode.


Thank you for this episode. Even though it made my heart hurt it was beautiful. Our military deserves this and more.


Great ep, I went through a box of Kleenex. We also had internment camps In Canada. I share a love for baseball with my Grandfather and in his collection movies I found one called American pastime, it's a story about baseball in the internment camps. I would recommend it for anyone who is interested in life in the camps. It is fiction so you won't get the total picture but it is an excellent snapshot and a very entertaining movie..


Best Hawaii Five-O to date. Keep up the good work!


"Heaven favors the strong and the just". When David translated the inscription on the sword, the episode came into sharp focus. The memories of a young boy suffering the indignity of his familiy's arrest and ending up in an internment camp. It was heartbreaking to hear his recitation of that horrible time and how his family was changed forever. To imagine losing a father and a brother who joined one of the most highly decorated japanese regiments in history, rather than live in the camp and yet his family still lived with dignity and honor. I haven't been able to stop thinking about David. What an amazing episode. Bravo to Peter, the writers, the crew and especially the cast that brought this episode to life. Never forget....


I must confess that I didn't think that I would enjoy this episode very much, but I couldn't have been more wrong. I truly feel that this was the best Hawaii Five-0 episode of the series, and one of the best episodes of any show. It was so touching that I cried at the end. Kudos to everyone involved in the making of this episode, well done by all!


this show is great but this episode fantastic. what a way to honor pearlharbor day in such a touching manner. some parts made me teary. also learned as i didn't no they had those camps


Loved this episode I think this is one of the best episodes ever its probably my new favorite. I was so interested in all the history to bad when you learn about Pearl Harbor in history class it's never this interesting atleast it wasn't as interesting for me I felt I learned more in this episode than I ever did in class. Wasn't suprized to find out that David's fathers murder was a cover up but I'm glad that it wasn't actually Ezra that killed him but someone else. David's dad was killed over a sword. I'm really glad that at the end David got the sword back and it was nice to see that he apologized to Ezra. The connection between David and Steve was really interesting. Again I absolutely loved the episode it was so amazing and very well gone I can't wait till the next episode.

Sarah silva

I loved this episode.
It was great having Danny back and he and Steve had a couple funny moments! I laughed super hard when Danny said claustrophobia was no laughing matter and Steve said they would hold a telethon.
I cried at the end.
I really did like the whole Pearl Harbor theme.


Excellent episode and excellent review. I really enjoyed it and as previous comments have stated everyone did an amazing job. Thank you for reviewing. Looks like auto correct didn't want you to use internment camp though and it says intermittent.

Tags: ,