We're off and crime-solving on Hawaii Five-0 Season 4 Episode 16...
The hour offered a stark look at how one can be simultaneously disillusioned of the world we actually live in and also compelled by our sense of duty to do something for the greater good.
Unfortunately, it was an episode of sad realizations for two strong women -- Clara and Elaine Tan.
On one hand, there was Clara yearning for a little adventure. She wanted to peek behind the curtain into Danny's world and see what excitement he deals with on a day to basis in his job. She also wanted to have a romantic adventure and see what it was like to go on a date with another man.
Both were not what she expected.
She was saddened to realize that she really did not want to know how dangerous her son's job was and even more saddened to realize that going on a date with someone other than her husband just was not as fun and exciting as she thought, either.
Then, separately, the Chinese agent Elaine Tan had to face the harsh truth that her ex-fiance had betrayed her and their country all in hopes of scoring a quick pay day by selling the fallen Chinese satellite intel to the highest bidder.
Fearful of being labeled a traitor and co-conspirator by her government, Elaine had to move quickly to track down her ex-fiance Quong and secure the intel before her own life would be deemed forfeit. In those final moments as she stood facing Quong, she was still hopeful that he would value her life and the love they shared over his greed; but as he pulled the trigger shooting her, she was forced to do the same.
She survived her wound, but he lie dying on the pavement and the satellite hard-drive seemed irrevocably damaged as it had been hit by one of the bullets during their gunfire exchange.
It must have hurt her doubly-hard to learn how little Quong had actually loved her. But her love and loyalty was to her country, especially with her life on the line.
In many ways, Steve and Danny were on the sidelines for this episode. They were there for every part of the investigation and for every action-packed scene, but the true story for this installment was the harsh realizations that both Clara and Elaine had to face.
The episode set up their stories perfectly. It was fun watching Clara getting picked up at Danny's house by Lou, as Danny practically sputtered over the idea of his mother going on a ride-along for the day. It was also great watching Clara bond with Lou over raising children and the sadness over how her marriage could have ended in such a non-eventful way.
It was even more fun watching Clara and Lou at the shooting range and Clara being hit upon by the gun tech and then how Lou finagled to set her up on a date. It was the day of big adventure that Clara wanted.
But as she stood by the SWAT car and realized for the first time how physically dangerous her son's job was virtually every day and yet how proudly and competently he did it, we watched the reality of Danny's world really begin to sink in. It was even more etched on her face after Clara's date and she resignedly sat down with the ice cream container with Danny on the sofa and she admitted that everything she thought would be exciting and fun had ended up being more scary and weird than she was ready to face.
It culminated in a beautiful moment with Danny and his mom leaning on each other as that life realization sunk in. Life always sounds so exciting until you actually get to see what it is really like.
Danny's mom has lived a very content, sheltered life until this separation with is father. She just thought it would be fun to see what Danny's job was really like and thought it would be fun to go out on a date with a new man. Reality is just never as rosy as one dreams it could be. Reality always feels a bit more like a dash of cold water.
Then for Elaine, her bubble burst the day she realized her fiancé had taken off in search of the fallen Chinese satellite.
Had their entire relationship just been an opportunist's con to get close and score a big payday? Or did he simply choose money over her even after all their time together? Either way, it hurt her to the core. He had left the second his opportunity to cash in arose, leaving her to answer to her government for his betrayal and possibly losing her life in the process.
Fortunately, Elaine had a strong sense of duty and loyalty to her country -- even if it meant tracking down her ex-fiance and killing him in the process to recover the satellite hard drive. Her heart would mend, but she may never trust as easily again. Another dash of cold reality had been thrown upon her.
In Danny and Steve's world, they were doing everything they needed to do to track down the killers and recover the missing satellite intel.
With the aid of Jerry, Chin Ho, Kono and Catherine (she's back!), they back-tracked Quong's credit card and hacked his email to intercept the sale of the satellite hard drive.
The usual antics and banter were at play between all the characters. It was actually funny to watch Jerry taser Elaine after she pulled a gun on him in his mother's basement. It was fun watching Danny and Steve bicker over the top of the car about how Steve set up Danny's mom with the ride along with Lou.
It was great to see Catherine back in the mix as part of the team and her supposedly top secret rendezvous in the park with Jerry in tow. So the entire Five-O team were in fine form as they tracked down Quong in quick fashion.
It was also reassuring to see Steve at the top of his game, despite the fact he was having trouble sleeping and having nightmares about his friend Freddy killed in action.
Clearly still grieving and haunted by survivor's guilt, Steve has some deep-rooted issues to work through. But he was smart enough to call Lou to have someone to talk to and work it out a bit. Suffering in solitary silence was not helping and the act of reaching out to someone was really the best thing he could do.
Like in previous Hawaii Five-0 episodes, it was fantastic watching Steve and Lou bond over a common history of grief and guilt and recognizing that they both ran away from the situations that terrified them. Yet running away can be healthy too when distance is need to get perspective and time to let hearts and minds heal.
The fact that Steve is reaching out and trusting Lou is a huge step. Plus, it is just great watching them in scenes together. Alex O'Loughlin and Chi McBride just knocked those scenes out of the park.
The shocker of the night had to be the ending scene where Steve handed over the Chinese satellite intel to the U.S. government. Once a soldier, always a soldier.
Steve knew instinctively that information could be damaging to the U.S., so he secured it and wiped the hard drive before returning it. Yet he did not have to turn it over to the U.S. government, and he did. His sense of duty compelled him too.
He may now work for Five-O, but he will always be loyal and true to his country first and foremost. It was strong reminder of who Steve is at his core. He is not just a cop. He is a soldier in a police uniform.
That is why he is haunted by a friend who was killed in action saving his life and why he works tirelessly every day to repay that debt and no only keep the streets safe, but the entire nation safe. Whatever it takes. It is a piercing reveal behind Steve's careful facade. It is something to keep an eye on too. That duty runs deep.
Finally, special mention should be made of the cold opening for this episode. Watching the satellite crash down through the atmosphere and into the ocean by the boat was spectacular.
Then as the trio on the boat quickly turned around, there loomed the giant freighter where the militants stood with machine guns and then there was a hail of bullets. It was a scene set up perfectly to catch our attention. It was the excitement and wonder turning into absolute terror that captured our attention. Well done.
It also served to keep us invested in the investigation as we felt more connected to the victims and wanted their killers caught and brought to justice -- even if that justice was of the eye-for-and-eye variety. And there certainly was a lot more bullets flying when our heroes did catch up with the killers.
Perhaps courtroom justice was too good for them after such a dastardly killing.
Should Steve have stolen the Chinese satellite intel and then wiped the hard drive clean before returning it to Elaine?