It's hard to beat a good standoff for dramatic tension.
Unless you have three groups and a fascinating bit of history like on Hawaii Five-0 Season 7 Episode 14.
It's always better when a series, especially on filmed on location, embraces its surroundings, and that's something Hawaii Five-0 has always done well.
That warm, beautiful scenery never hurts on a cold winter's night.
Anyway, I'd never heard of the Nation of Hawaii and didn't know it had its own sovereign land in the midst of the 50th State.
Thanks to my old friend WIkipedia, I now know that the Nation of Hawaii is the oldest Hawaiian independence organization and its village/cultural center/place of refuge is a fairly recent development, established in 1993.
And its Head of State, Dennis "Bumpy" Kanahele, a descendent of King Kamehamema, can act pretty well. I guess when you're talking from the heart about something you believe, that makes it easier.
So take this sanctuary in the middle of Oahu, and have a suspected murderer slip inside, and you've got instant dramatic tension.
This place obviously holds a special significance to the natives, one that relative outsiders just don't get.
Chin: They think he's innocent.
Grover: So? I hang a man-cave sign in my garage. That don't stop my wife from barging in whenever she wants something.
But peaceful negotiations make for bad TV.
So I approve of falling back on that oldest of tropes: the unrequested feds armed to the teeth bullheadedly charging into a situation that they just don't get. Hell, they've been using this one all season on NCIS: New Orleans.
Why are they there? Better yet, why is Lincoln trying to start something, like this is some cult they're storming?
No good reason, other than to rachet up the tension.
DoJ sent them in? They've got no more pressing issue on the island other than this little standoff?
But illogic aside, the case itself was twisty enough, with the former burglar led back to his old career by the man who supposedly was helping him to go straight.
And it was a sweet embrace of native culture at the end, with Five-0 sitting down to eat with the villagers set to a meaningful ukelele tune.
After the intensity of the Chin-rescues-Sarah episodes, this was a nice, self-contained change of pace.
Also it was a great episode for the McGarrett/Danny bromance.
Most fun was watching McGarrett torture the poor DMV lady, even after Danny had warned her what was coming
Danny: You guys are going to go over speed limits, right?
DMW tester: It's a comprehensive road test, covering all the driving laws of the State of Hawaii.
Danny: Comprehensive meaning like driving on sidewalks, hopping curbs, going under semi trucks, stuff like that?
McGarrett even revealed his dynamic with Danny to this perfect stranger.
Fortunately, I'm used to being judged from the passenger seat of this vehicle, so that's fine.McGarrett [to DMV tester]
Danny proves he can read McGarrett very well, which he does for Chin.
Danny: His mouth has not moved in 3 1/2 minutes.
Chin: Maybe she's got him on hold.
Danny: No. No. His nostrils are flaring, he's pacing like a maniac and he just switched his phone from his right hand to his left hand like he wants to punch someone.
McGarrett isn't as observant.
Danny [to McGarrett]: There are two things on this Earth that I'm thankful for: That you cannot read my mind and this seat belt right here.
Jerry thankfully played a fairly prominent role in this episode, actually cracking the case to a degree in his own unique, if expensive, way.
Jerry: Do either of you know who I turn expenses in to? The safe and the magnet weren't cheap. Cost me about 750 all in.
Kono: You spent $750 on a visual aid?
Jerry: Well, at least the sock was mine.
It's good to see Jerry providing something beyond conspiracy theories and comic relief.
Grover also plays well off Jerry.
Jerry: Think you could run a few background checks on potential roomies?
Grover: You want me to use Five-0 resources for your personal matter, Jerry?
Jerry: I don't think McGarrett would mind.;
Grover: You know that?
Jerry: I don't. But if I can't find a roommate, I may have to go back to sleeping on the sofa in his office, and I can't imagine he'd like that.
Grover: Good point. I'm on it.
With an encore presentation next Friday, what's next for Five-0?
Well, most of the ongoing storylines have been tied up. Maybe it's time to go back to the Dr. Madison Gray storyline, and get the squad pursuing some more serial killers.
Or how about a spotlight on Kono and Adam, or new Medical Examiner Noelani?
Or this possibility: The guys could get together and hunt down their girlfriends/wives, who have been missing for a large part of the season.
I know romance isn't a focus of the series (Grace and Will were the most recent featured couple) but jeesh!
To find the largely invisible girlfriends, watch Hawaii Five-0 online.
Had you heard of the Nation of Hawaii and its village? Did you like the different pace of this episode (more talking, less action)? Why were the Feds there? Comment below.
Dale McGarrigle is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.