That's how to do a winter finale.
Emotion, humor and fire-fights are all blended as Five-0 heads south to Mexico to rescue Chin's niece Sara on Hawaii Five-0 Season 7 Episode 11.
It's Chin's birthday, with all his friends gathered together, complete with a funny video tribute featuring some blasts from the past.
You can't beat seeing Cuz Flippa in a elf costume that Kamekona is forcing his employees to wear.
One word for you - Union.Grover [to Flippa]
But the good-hearted opener transitions quickly into all-out action and tension for the the rest of the episode, which I didn't mind at all.
McGarrett and the gang back Chin's marginally thought-out plan to storm Mexico and bring Sara home, despite the warning of DEA Agent Navarro that such bullheaded tactics aren't likely to work in Mexico.
It was hilarious watching McGarrett employ his what drug lord Ramirez referred to as ""cowboy tactics" in totally unfamiliar territory. That starts with their first meeting.
Ramirez: You realize that, had my son not been here, you would already be dead.
McGarrett: In that case, I'm very glad your son is here, sir..
In the end, Ramirez is offering to pay the ransom just to get McGarrett out of his country. But he apparently respects McGarrett's machismo enough to give up the name of the detective who ripped off Hector.
That led to a short but effective scene in which the team, masked as robbers, storms (it was a stormy episode) the police station, with McGarrett threatening to feed the dirty detective to a gang of rapid prisoners.
Chin was smart to grab the tapes of Hector, which gave the team a little warning during the ambush.
But it also revealed that poor Chin was the actual threat to Sara, not the Morales.
Chin: It was because of our dealings with Diego that Sara was taken.
Kono: Chin, you can't blame yourself.
It was good that the writers avoided the stereotype of making Hector into a dirty lawyer, so that Chin could easily get Sara back. They avoided taking the easy way out.
Thank God for the comic stylings of Grover and Williams in the middle of the episode. Those two were totally out of the element, but found the right language to speak to the morgue attendant.
Turn your nose up at Mr. Franklin and you get Mr. Heckler and Mr. Koch. They can be pretty persuasive.Grover
The best part was listening to Max ridicule them from afar, as he walks them through the procedure to raise the tattoo on the body that was CBR. (That's a good term to work into my future grilling.) Poor Grover, threatening to never eat meat again.
I admittedly didn't see the Diego cartel link coming. I figured that storyline was one-and-done earlier in the season.
The obligatory firefight was nicely handled. But one question: How did the team get all that firepower into a foreign country? Or did the DEA provide it?
Chin did the noble thing and sacrificed himself to get Sara to safety and protect his teammates.
So when Five-0 returns, it's safe to assume there will be another all-action episode, as Five-0 will invade the Diego Cartel compound, probably aided by a small army of DEA agents. Or maybe McGarrett recruits some of his old military buddies, or Catherine's CIA comrades.
The possibilities are endless.
Hey, and how about getting back to the Dr. Madison Gray storyline? That's been left hanging way too long.
It's also time to get back to Kono and Adam, doing something besides being taken hostage. We saw more of Adam when he was in prison than since he's been released.
To catch up during the hiatus, watch Hawaii Five-0 online.
Did you anticipate the cartel involvement? Are you sad that Chin is going to have to part with Sara again? What do you want to see more of in the second half of the season? Comment below.
Dale McGarrigle is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.