Hawaii Five-0 Review: Burying the Past

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First of all, let's give a shout-out for characters that were M.I.A. this week. 

Following Hawaii Five-0 Season 4 Episode 12 - a big, impressive outing with the parallel stories of Danny and Grover - it was odd not seeing them at all in this week's episode.

But Hawaii Five-0 Episode Season 4 Episode 13 had another major story to tell, a tale of murder close to home. It may have taken 15 years to solve the murder of Chin Ho's father, but this episode deftly dispatched with that heart-wrenching loose end.

Chin, In Thought

With his father's murder unsolved, it had been like having a dark cloud hanging over Chin Ho's life. 

So discovering the connection between his father's murder and the dead body found hanging in the warehouse was like a lightening bolt. He had seen that scorpion tattoo once before, on his brother-in-law Gabriel.

15 years is a long time to grieve and be tortured by the thought that a killr had been roaming free from punishment. But for Chin Ho, an even more painful was the realization that it was his own brother-in-law that had killed his father. 

It was such a senseless act of violence; Gabriel had merely robbed a convenience store to join a gang and Chin Ho's father was just in the way. "Wrong place, wrong time," as Gabriel had finally admitted.

Thus, haunting Chin Ho was the memory that he could have prevented it. Just prior to his dad's death, Gabriel had been arrested for stealing a car and Chin Ho had intervened so Gabriel would not be booked and have a record hanging over his head the rest of his life. 

But that one simple act of kindness set in motion a chain of events that would event tragically for everyone. Gabriel did not learn from his second chance; instead he used it to embark on an even darker path of criminal activity. His proclivity for criminal enterprise spurned him into become a ruthless drug lord, one who would one day return to Hawaii to track down an embezzling employee and leave another dead body in his wake.

The focal point of this episode was not merely Chin Ho's quest for resolution and retribution, but rather the consequences of one bad act. 

Chin Ho's intervention in Gabriel's booking 15 years before had a ripple-effect in both their lives. For Gabriel, it  sent the wrong message about being culpable for his actions. As stated by the IA investigator, "By letting that kid go, you sent a message that he is bullet-proof, and that created a monster."

It had simultaneously cast a shadow over Chin Ho's career. If he had been willing to look the other way and ask for a familial favor all those years ago, who is to say that he has not continue to step over the line and bend the rules when it suited him? 

That is the very question that Internal Affairs was asking. They wanted to prove that Chin Ho was a dirty-cop, one that would follow the rules only when he thought the rules benefited him and ignore them when they did not - especially with millions of dollars of drug cartel money missing.

In his heart, Chin Ho knew he had only tried to do the right thing: to help out a family member. Could he have foreseen that his intervention would be seen as a blanket grant of permission for Gabriel to become a criminal drug lord, or that Gabriel would be the person behind the gun on that fateful day in the convenience store? 

Chin Ho's act had been out of love and desire to protect; unfortunately, Gabriel spurned both. He did not want any charity, expressions of love or to be protected from his own actions. So he took his second chance and continued down the path he had already marked out. Second chances be damned.

Just like Gabriel's actions finally caught up with him, so did Chin Ho's. A cop should not use his power and influence to decide who is prosecuted and who is not when a crime is committed. That abuse of discretion has put I.A. hot on Chin Ho's heels and they are not likely to go away now that they have the scent of a cop gone-wrong. 

Chin Ho may have finally arrested his brother-in-law for the crimes which Gabriel is responsible for, but the suspicion associated with Chin Ho remains. As the I.A. investigator ominously foreshadowed: "You say you're a good cop, but trouble always seems to find you somehow... I'll catch you later."

This episode may have been about putting demons from the past and sins from the past to rest, but it was also about the strength of friendship and family. 

Both Kono and Steve were called in to provide testimony in the I.A. investigation, and both steadfastly stood by Chin Ho. Kono would perhaps do anything to protect her cousin and to protect a fellow officer, but Steve was more level-headed about it as he succinctly told I.A., "Suspecting and proving murder are two different things."

For all those years, Chin Ho may have wondered what Gabriel did that got him that scorpion tattoo right at the time that Chin Ho's father was killed, but linking a tattoo to a murder was impossible at that time. It took another brutal act of murder to finally link Gabriel between the two murders and give them enough evidence to bring him in and officially charge him.

There was a moment there on the rooftop as Chin Ho confronted Gabriel where it looked like he may have wanted to cross the line himself and enact his personal retribution against Gabriel, but in the end, Chin Ho stayed firmly on the right side, as Steve watched knowing his pain and how hard that decision was in that critical moment.

Perhaps knowing that his cousin and Steve were there during the interrogation and even through the investigation and arrest of Gabriel, gave Chin Ho the strength he needed to keep a cooler perspective. 

His cooperation was needed to put the I.A. investigation to bed and keep his badge. He nearly walked out on the investigation, but once he saw that Steve and Kono were there on his behalf and to help in the investigation, he realized he needed to go back and finish it. Their presence reminded him of the value of friendship and family at a time when Chin Ho thought he had none.

It was a beautiful touch to end this raw and emotional episode with the scene of Chin Ho on the beach recalling the day he met his wife. 

Their playful exchange about the surfboard and uniforms reminds us that Chin Ho had a reason for wanting to bend the rules just once - it was because he loved his wife so much that he would do literally anything for her.

Chin Ho may regret having helped Gabriel all those years ago, but he will never regret having helped out his wife the one time it really mattered to her. Love means doing things that may have long-term repercussions that haunt, but it also means you tried to honor those you love by helping them when they ask.  The love between Chin Ho and his wife was just that strong and never-ending.  He would still do anything for her. 

No regrets.

So... is the Internal Affair investigation now over?


Editor Rating: 4.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.1 / 5.0 (63 Votes)

I'm glad we have a little more info on Chin's backstory. Loved seeing Kono as a teenager. They did a pretty good job. Grace Park looks so much younger than she is anyway. It showed how much integrity Chin has, and the look on McG's face on the roof was great. I don't understand people, we can't have every single person, on every single show and get a smooth episode, that tells the story. Danny, Grover, Catherine, Max, will all be back, as they should be. A show is only about 42 minutes long. This has been great, and the ratings have been steady, so if its all bad, then why are so many people still watching every week.


Lackluster ep IMO. Enjoyed learning the back-story, but the action and detective work weren't up to the usual standards. As for the lingering "Cath bashing", this mirrors what people (mostly women) are saying about a new female character on another show. Let it go, folks. On a lighter note, when Chin confronted Gabriel with "You killed my father, you son of a bitch!", did anyone flash on Inigo Montoya (from "The Princess Bride") and his "I want my fath-ehr back, you son of a bitch!" ? No? Just me then? :-)


sorry, boring episode for me. i like chin, but not that much... i was zoning out.


sorry, boring episode for me. i like chin, but not that much... i was zoning out.


sorry, boring episode for me. i like chin, but not that much... i was zoning out.


I have to say that I love Chin, love Daniel Dae Kim even more. The fact of the matter is they have always made the show about all four of them, not just one of them. For those who keep hating on Catherine, what is your problem. She's beautiful, intelligent and military. Don't tell me you don't believe women like this don't exist. Please, don't you know truth is stranger than fiction. If you have been watching from day one of H5O then you would know she was always part of the show. She left the show for pilot episodes of the tv series about a combat hospital. What is starting to grate on my nerves is writers starting to listen to people complain about their characters. The writers should not be writing to their audience. Sounds weird, but I will tell you why. Writers are creative people they are telling us their story, their vision of this fictional universe. If they write to fans then their vision is compromised and then we start to see degradation of the story. YOU CANNOT PLEASE EVERYONE. If you don't like the story don't watch it. I hate Game of Thrones, so I don't watch it. Hate True Blood as well, watered down Anne Rice, Laurell K. Hamilton fiction to me. However, I am not going to ask the writers to change their vision to meet mine, this would compromise them as artists. If I don't like it, I find something else to watch that is more to my liking.

@ Aykme

I agree. We all have the ability to choose which shows we watch. I chose this show because my Dad loved the original and watched it faithfully the entire time it aired and I am now a fan of the reboot : ) I also choose to respect the private lives of the actors who portray the characters. By not knowing about their personal lives, their true ages etc. I fully enjoy the stories brought to life on screen. I believe that Kono is a rookie even though I am familiar with her other body of work and I appreciated the scene of a young Kono trying to sneak a sip of beer. (It made me chuckle) I thought the makeup crew was outstanding with young chin and young Kono...they looked young to me : ). I love shows centered around the core 4 but still enjoy when the focus is on one character, it allows each actor their chance to shine brighter than usual. I am grateful that we have such an outstanding group of actors who bring the stories to life and inevitably touch us along the way. Just my 2 cents. : )


This was incredibly boring ep for me. I'm not a fan of Chin so a whole episode about him was a great reason to fast forward a lot. I love Danny centric episodes so I'm sure Chin's fans enjoyed this one, me not so much. I agree with the poster before me, Danny's absence is too much. I'm happy for Scott and his other projects but he has a contract with H5O doesn't he? Catherine has had more screen time this season than him.

@ Danna

People who use the non-word 'ep' are boring for me.

@ Danna

I agree


Regarding Kono's age, if the preliminary info is to be believed, Kono was 16 when Chin's father was murdered so that would make her 31 now. When we first meet up with Kono in the pilot Chin tells Steve & Danny that she had to reinvent herself after she injured her knee so she probably got a late start at the police academy.

@ Five-0 Fan

If I recall correctly she was in her mid teens when she injured her knee. 31 is a year or 2 older than I have but close enough. There is a 6 or 7 year gap in her life between high school and the academy, hope they address that at some point.


I liked the episode and understand why Cath, Grover, Max and Danny were not in it but they were missed by me. It is only a guess on my part but the 3 members questioned were the 3 that were there for the arrest, just makes sense. Also never enough McGarrett for me of course but all in all a good episode, another breaking from the norm which is nice.


Great review, Tiffany. What an intense, heart wrenching episode. That was an amazing ride. I was caught up with Chin-Ho from scene 1 and my heart was in step with him througout from the heartbreak of losing his father, the memories of his past decisions, the IA interrogation and ending up with the bittersweet memory of how he met Malia. And I admit... I miss Malia and Chin together. When they rekindled their love and married, I wished them their ever after happy ending. DDK is truly an amazing actor. Seeing young Chin work with Steve's Dad and the glimpses of how close they were reminded me of how Steve knew all about Chin and vice versa. Kono's return full board was awesome. The insight into their past lives was well done. The makeup was fantastic...young Kono and young Chin was pretty amazing. I loved that young Kono already had the instincts of a detective when she recognized the scorpion tattoo on Gabriel. It was so sad to see Chin's dad call out to Gabriel as a 'family friend' and yet Gabriel made the choice to shoot. There were a lot of these connect the dot moments...Kono also knew Steve's dad as a teen.
This was an awesome story and the fact that Danno and Catherine was not in it made perfect sense. I love both of them but having them included would have been extraneous. The story flowed seamlessly between past and present.
IMHO, the best scene out of all the outstanding moments was on the rooftop when Gabriel confessed his actions on that fateful night. Chin does the right thing (I knew he would because of his character) but seeing that Steve witnessed it made me sigh in relief. All in all, an awesome episode. DDK is an amazing actor.

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