On an explosive Hawaii Five-0: Season 4 Episode 19, it seemed as if the entire world was blown to bits - and that was just in the first very first minute of the the hour
It was not really the entire world, but the building that Five-0 had staked out for a gun deal was rigged to blow up; and, once they were inside, it blew sky high.
It was a cold open work of art.
It is always exhilarating to watch the entire Five-0 team all decked out in their gear, guns held high, stealthily creeping down a stairwell; even more so, when they are in search of serious criminal action - only to find a man beaten within an inch of his life ducted taped to a chair, who - once the duct tape is removed from his mouth - only utters only one word: bomb.
Then the entire building ferociously explodes. That is the kind of explosion that nobody should have survived. It was a building decimator. The only thing left should have been dust, debris and gold fillings.
Horribly, that's where they chose to insert an act break/commercial break and those dreaded words "14 hours earlier" appeared on the screen. What a way to be a buzz kill. Viewers blood is pumping, all anyone wants to know is what happened next after the explosion.
Who survived? Who was injured? And what was it all about?
Instead, the writers cruelly tortured their audience with a time flashback to show the events that led up to the bomb.
Of course, they took it back as far as the night before just as Danny and Amber were making out and ready for some quality personal time. Given their 9 p.m. timeslot, they kept it all PG for the younger viewers and then flash-forwarded to the morning after, where Amber is caught in the kitchen, barely dressed by Grace.
Apparently this was the perfect time/wrong time for the new girlfriend Amber to meet Danny's daughter Grace. Despite the awkwardness, that meeting proved fortuitous later as Amber would be needed to pick Grace up from school so both she and Grace could be there for Danny's hero-welcome after the big rescue.
This episode had a bit of a shock-and-awe feel to it. And that was accomplished. I was both shocked and awed by that opening bombing scene. Looked pretty real and scary.
No one should have survived that bomb blast. And as a California girl who endures her fair share of earthquakes, it served as a vivid warning that perhaps staying out of underground garages will guarantee a longer, heathier, happier life.
The episode really was about appreciating what you have. Steve is constantly trying to remind Danny that Danny needs to take a positive approach on life and to embrace life as it is now, instead of worrying about the future. It is a reminder that we can all learn from -- to appreciate and revel in the now, and stop worrying about all the potential negative things that could happen, and probably (hopefully) won't.
Steve's "power of positive thinking" does seems to be his lucky charm. That man has survived countless situations that should have claimed his life years ago.
Yet death seems to barely scratch him. Why?
Because Steve firmly believes that he is destined for more. That life owes him more and he is going to take it. He also wants that luck to extend to his friends, so he constantly pushes his partner Danny to be more positive-thinking.
Steve may be the "glass half-full" kind of guy and Danny the "glass half-empty" kind of guy, but it is great to see Danny struggling to be a better man and attempt to adopt more of his partner's embrace-life-to-the-fullest attitude, rather than worrying about everything that could go wrong (and probably won't).
With an entire building about ready to cave in on them, Steve's positive approach may have seemed like false bravado, but in the end, it did seem to do some good.
Danny enthusiastically decided to try use some of Steve's advice and to pull the woman he loved closer, rather than push her away as his instincts seemed inclined to do out of his natural fears of abandonment.
Watching that building blow up was pretty spectacular, but there were also lots of great moments of real human connection between the characters -- specifically Steve and Danny. Their professional partnership has always been based on a natural bickering, an almost good-natured ribbing as they took jabs at each other for their different perspectives and viewpoints on life.
But when literally down to just a few hours to live and the oxygen rapidly running out, not to mention the big gaping hole in Danny's side from the rebar, Steve and Danny really took a moment to talk to each other as men. It was a deeply bonding moment and they bared a bit of their souls.
Danny revealed the depths of his fear of claustrophobia and abandonment; and Steve revealed how much he genuinely cares for the fate of his partner and how he would do anything to save his life.
Steve could have made his way through the debris, gotten a message out and then came back to be with Danny; instead, he took his partner's hand and held it as he came up with a different plan to survive 'til help could arrive.
Just holding Danny's hand and giving him that physical reassure that he was not going anywhere was a moment of truth. Steve then moved heaven and earth to get that concrete slab off Danny, located a disinfecting agent, forced Danny to drink some much needed water before he dehydrated too badly, and then worked tirelessly to get the message out that they were still alive.
Much of this episode was about facing fears and prioritizing friendships and relationships. Happiness should be now, not in the future and not postponed.
It was great to see both Steve and Danny pushing for each of their own happiness: Steve by making plans for a sushi date with Catherine; and Danny by making plans with Amber and Grace for a week's rest and relaxation while he was recuperating.
Then once things started to look rather like they were at a dead-end, Steve pulled out a Hail Mary maneuver and blew up the rocks blocking their way so they could be lifted out of the collapsing building.
It was also great to see how tirelessly the entire Five-0 team worked to get the information needed to ascertain the true culprit behind the bombing, and using their strengths to get Danny and Steve back out of the wreckage.
Calamities such as this require an entire team to get the job done and everyone rose to the occasion. Catherine figured out how to boost the signal so she could talk with Danny and Steve. Max identified the deadman's prescriptions and found his surgical scars to ascertain his identity.
Chin Ho and Kono talked with J.C. back at the prison and started putting all the puzzle pieces together. And Lou never left the building site as he knew that he needed to keep pushing the emergency crews to save his teammates' lives. The only person missing was Jerry, but what could he have contributed but than to speculate crazy conspiracy theories?
Though given what they ended up figuring out, Jerry's wild conspiracy theories may have not been too far off.
The bombing was not payback for J.C. being an ATF prison snitch; instead it was to lure and kill Steve who had been digging into the Cambodian mystery. An ex-CIA spy wanted to send a strong message (if not to kill Steve outright) to back off from the Cambodian empty grave and all the mysteries it beheld. It's too bad that bomb only destroyed a building.
It failed to kill its true target and now Steve is more determined than ever to get to the bottom of the Cambodian affair.
That final confrontation scene with ex-CIA agent Edward Cobb was doomed from the start. Steve is like a pit-bull with a bone -- serve him one and he will never let go. Even trying to kill him and his friends was no deterrent; instead it only fueled his passion and drive to see the Cambodian mystery to the bitter end.
Someone had put a bullseye on him and his friends and he was not going to tolerate that murder attempt. Someone was going to pay.
Unfortunately, Cobb pulled a gun and Steve's protective instincts kicked in. One more body to wonder about -- like what other secrets was Cobb keeping? Steve did find out that his mother had killed the wrong person in Cambodia; she had killed Wo Fat's mother, when her mission had been to kill Wo Fat's father. This was just a CIA cover-up that compounded the initial wrong.
So now Steve knows the truth. But what is he going to do with it? Will it push him to track down Wo Fat? To give the information to the proper authorities? To confront his mother about it?
The Cambodian mystery may be solved, but it only leads to more questions. More questions that Steve really should leave alone. But that bomb only taught him one thing: life is short and he had better get his answers while he can - and maybe hug a good woman on the way. Fighting crime cannot just be all work and no play, after all.
Has Steve learned his lesson and will now stop digging into the CIA's business?
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