After a couple weeks off, Hawaii Five-0 Season 4 Episode 15 returned with a special visit from Danny's mom, portrayed by special guest Melanie Griffith.
The veteran actress was a welcome addition this week, as her and Scott Caan made the mother-son relationship seem so believable and touching.
It should be recognized that Danny's strength is always going to be his family and it was nice to see that his innate sense of love for his daughter was influenced by the strong love of his own mother; and no matter what difficult situation they all may be going through, that familial love carries them gracefully through it.
Danny may have felt shocked and unable to initially accept that his own parents would be getting divorced, but he was open-minded enough to consider his mother's well-reasoned explanation as to why it was time to call their marriage quits.
Clara had devoted her life to a man that made promises that he just would not honor. She had waited patiently for Danny's father to retire, so they could rediscover their passion and love for each other and to explore life together -- but Danny's father was not interested in that, and the love they had once upon a time had drifted away over time.
Thus, it was time for Clara to claim her life and live it as she wanted; and not to pine of a life she would never have. And it was good that Danny understood that. People change and their families have accept it when a relationship ends.
It also good to see that Danny's mom came to Danny as a touchstone at a time when she needed the support and strength to end her marriage.
She wanted to be with her son and grand-daughter. Clara had not come to grieve over the end of her marriage, but to celebrate her new life with them. She wanted Danny and Grace to be a part of her third chapter and to relish in it along with her.
As lovely as it was seeing Danny, Grace and Clara all together and adjusting to this new change in their lives, it felt odd that Danny was not more involved in this week's murder mystery case. But perhaps that was just not explained well that Danny was taking some personal time to be with his mom; particularly as he only came into the office to talk with Steve about his parents' divorce when he needed space to clear his head.
Steve, fortunately, rose to the occasion and did his best to commiserate with Danny. Though Danny kind of poked the bear by bringing up Steve's own family issues. As a viewer, it was kind of funny, but to be in that situation, it looked rather awkward. Yet, that is perhaps more reflective of real life. Real life is awkward and messy and entangled.
Speaking of which, the murder mystery of the week was a bit messy too. It was a jealous husband who killed his wife and her lover in a fit of pique before the wife and lover could run off together.
The irate husband thought it poetic justice that he granted his wife's one dying wish: to be reunited with her lover for all eternity -- which he granted with the pull of a trigger and then buried her in wall. It was a messy way to deal with the fact that the husband felt jilted and an angry.
Not to mention the fact that he bought a gun off the black-market from the place that was supposed to destroy guns for the police department -- a trail that led right back to him.
The cool thing that came about from the busted illegal gun sales was we got to see Chin Ho and Kono play bad-ass cops as they calmly busted in, shooting the gun buyers and taking down the dubious gun seller.
Hawaii Five-0 is a cop show, after all, and seeing them efficiently take down the criminals felt great. Chin Ho and Kono make a great, no-nonsense team. Plus, the underlying sense that they want to laugh all the time is fun too.
Then the other messy story involved in this episode involved the nosy reporter (portrayed by Ethan Embry) who was looking for a juicy tale of a hostage negotiator who made the wrong call and got a two-year old boy killed. The reporter just wanted a smear story to sell and was not really interested in the fact that there might have been extenuating circumstances.
All that was aggravating to no end, but it did set up nicely the scenes with Steve and Lou.
One of the more surprising aspects of the show has been the seamless integration of Lou Grover into the Hawaii Five-0 world. He also has a good rapport with Steve, as they both seem like tortured souls that really get each other.
That they have gone through hell and lived to fight another day; and while their personal demons may still haunt them, they fight against drowning amongst those shadows every day. The Lou and Steve scenes are turning out to be my favorite scenes as such a strong bond is starting to develop between them. In addition, their light-hearted repartee is fun to watch. It feels laced with genuine affection.
It should be noted that one theme that seems prevalent on Hawaii Five-0 Season 4 seems to be that characters are caught up in events from their pasts.
As easy is it is to make cases relatable to our heroes by tying them into the stories through their pasts, it is also nice when our heroes focus on moving forward and living in the present. There is a saying that no man can move forward while looking backward all the time.
Hawaii Five-0 would benefit from looking forward more and not looking back so much. It would feel more hope-filled and less tortured that way. Let's unshackle them and see how amazing they are when not tied down by their pasts.
(Shout-out to the fine behind-the-scenes production work on this episode. Full disclosure: I was invited to the production offices of Hawaii Five-0 for this episode and got to see how their technical wizardry comes together to make the show look and sound as good as it does.)
So... should Steve have made the deal with the devil, the news reporter, to save Lou from a malicious news story, particularly as it may come back to bite him?