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Hawaii Five-0 Review: Honor Thy Father

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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!

Review

Editor Rating: 4.5 / 5.0
  • 4.5 / 5.0
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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.

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This episode was an emotional winner.

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That was really amazing and emotional episode with unusual and interesting cold case - to find a killer from 70 years back and a stolen katana. It touched difficult topic of Japaneese attack on Pearl Harbor (impressive opening scene) and the following persecutions of Japaneese Americans - still very hurtful memories for David whose family lost everything. All he was left with was to find the truth. James Saito was fantastic as David and he actually stole the show. There was also a nice reference to Steve's grandfather - now we know who our comander got his first name after. Yes, Steve does have big heart despite his sometimes controversal ways of work.

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Danny will have more episodes coming up later in the season, lets stick to the great episode of last night, and not ignore it by bringing something else up. This was done beautifully, by all actors, including Scott Caan. It was a wrong done to fellow Americans that should never be forgotten. Loved the way they tied everything together very neatly. The writing this year has been excellent. James Saito, should get an award, he did a perfect portrayal. Probably the best episode they have done. Not one misstep one this one. Looking forward to the rest of the season and Kono's return.

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@ Zia

This is an opinion site. Everyone is just as entitled to their opinions/comments/questions as you. Thanks.

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@ Diane

And I expressed my opinion of how people who watch an entire episode, and all they come away with is a knock one of its stars, who did absolutely nothing wrong. Thanks

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@ Zia

"James Saito should get an award, he did a perfect portrayal". Absolutely, "probably the best episode they have done". Absolutely. Thanks for expressing what I found so hard to put into words.

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@ Nisan

I agree also!

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@ Nisan

agreed

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Agree with the earlier comments, episode was well doneand very meaningful.
As far as saying Danny was confused, so am I, about his role. What exactly is he there for anymore? I am not a Danny hater, but I can see where non-Dan-fans are coming from, his character has become, basically, irrelevant.
What's the jig Scott Caan?

Immunity5o

Outstanding history lesson intertwined with a great touching story. Everything in this episode was truly amazing. It was so well made and the acting, the writing, the beautiful music. Kudos to cast and crew for a superb job! This will go down as possibly the very best episode of the serie. The story David told about his family and what they went throught was very moving . Plus the connection for Steve and his grandfather was wonderful. It was wonderful to see how humble and with lot of respect Steve handle this case. Danny was right it made him softie almost human This episode showed us that people like David also were victims of that horrible war. I didn't even knew about the internment camps ......... James Saito was just amazing as David give that man a Emmy. They did a great job of aging him for the role in real life he is 58 years old. A wonderful tribute to the remembrance of that tragic day on December 7th 1941. Peter Lenkov & Ken Solarz and Larry Teng did a terrific job and must be proud that this episode will air for a year on the USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Habor.

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WOW, well done, well done. Why not five stars? This episode was most definately perfect. The visual, the mystery, another thank you to the best generation, a thank you to the american japanese and all their efforts to be recognized as good Americans and their horrible treatment by our government and a McGarrett connection. So much going on in this episode. Thank you, I learned alot.

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