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Hawaii Five-0 - Wehe’ana - Review: "Prelude"

A couple of weeks ago, Lou revisited his past in Chicago. Now, Danny gets the same treatment in a season highlight that takes viewers back to before he ever met Steve and his 5-0 family.

Which is tragic, because who else is willing to get high off of glue and decorate Charlie’s new racecar themed bedroom with him? Steve may make passive-aggressive comments about Danny’s retirement and his unwillingness to rely on the instructions, but for the most part he is in a cheery mood. He thinks he could even host one of those home renovation shows (would watch that spin-off).

All thoughts of the room and the spinoff are gone when Danny’s old boss, Tanaka, from Honolulu PD shows up at his house. Seven years before, on the last case he worked before joining 5-0, Danny was looking for a witness to a shooting.

In the first of several flashbacks in the episode, we see Danny as a newly arrived New Jersey transplant. He’s been in Hawaii for six months but still can’t get the feel of the place. Tanaka isn’t too happy about having an ignorant haole on the case of the murder of a low-level drug dealer. Danny, however, is the only one with the insight to reach out to Makino, a reluctant witness who clearly doesn’t want to have anything to do with HPD. Danny gets through to him, even if he does still have a business card with his name spelled wrong.

Seeing that first meeting between Danny and Makino makes it sting even more when Danny finds out where he is in the present day. Something bad happened to Makino seven years ago and he ended up in a coma in an assisted living facility, listed under the name John Doe. It’s why Makino went off the grid for seven years and why Danny was unable to find him (come on guys, the island isn’t that big).

When Makino begins showing signs of waking up from his coma, the local news runs a report. Tanaka makes the connection, and realizes that the guys who tried to murder Makino made it too. They will probably come back to finish the job.

Danny’s determined to protect the witness he couldn’t save the first time. He’s so rattled by a lockdown at the facility that he doesn’t give Steve grief about finishing Charlie’s bed without him. He even tells Steve to drive like an insane person, aka how he usually drives.

Before Steve can get there, Danny has to deal with an assassin posing as a nurse. I’m not sure how he intuited that she was fake because she knew the name of a semi-famous patient, but it was a good instinct. Danny wins the fight, but blows up at the real nurse Jenny (played by Orange is the New Black’s Lori Petty).

The show builds tension by isolating Danny from the rest of the team. He leaves a message for Jerry and knows that Steve is racing to the meeting spot, but for now Danny is on his own. Tanaka and Jenny are the only two to help him, and the assassin’s partners are ready to finish her job.

In more flashbacks, we see Danny’s tense relationship with Rachel and his desperation to spend time with Grace. He’s not accepted by his department and can’t lose his rigid East Coast outlook on life. Things go even worse for him when Makino reaches out, but winds up missing. Tanaka won’t take his claims seriously and is offended when Danny implies that there is a mole in the department.

The episode did a great job showing the similarities and differences between Danny in the present day and Danny in the past. Past Danny was frustrated by his isolation and didn’t have anyone backing him up with his superiors. The Present Danny not only has an entire team who have his back, but can take out a hit squad in the time it takes Tanaka and Jenny to ride the elevator down a few floors. The one thing that links him in any timeline is his need to protect people.

Danny’s determination is put to the test as he tries to dodge the hit squad after Makino. I spent quite a bit of the episode suspecting that Jenny was another assassin, but she does everything she can to keep Makino alive in the ambulance. Tanaka also proves his worth by taking out the cars.

Too bad Danny drives into spikes and blows out the tires of the ambulance. The new team (can we have Jenny and Tanaka as full time 5-0 members?!) sets up shop in some house, forever mentally scarring a young girl in the process.

At headquarters, the rest of the team hears a name they haven’t heard in a while. The Ochoa cartel is back and wants Makino dead. Lou, Chin, and Kono track down the new leader of the cartel and try to get him to call off the hit. They try to threaten him, but ease up when they see his son. What is it with drug kingpins and their innocent kids on the show? This is the third time they’ve done it this season – once in Mexico and once with Michelle.

While Danny is under siege at the house, Tanaka decides this is the time to try to make amends with him. Danny is too focused on trying to save everyone’s lives, but finally breaks when Tanaka forces the issue. He didn’t lose Makino because Makino hung up, but because Danny put him on hold so he could continue his argument with Rachel. As Danny jokes, it was the one time in his life he didn’t hang up on his ex-wife and it ended in tragedy.

Danny can’t dwell on it too long. The hit team cuts off the power to the house and tries to breach it.

I laughed out loud when Steve’s insane driving literally saves the day and he slams the truck through the front of the house. Despite Danny grousing that it was probably an accident, Jenny and Tanaka are charmed. Danny admits to the comatose Makino that he failed him, but that he now has backup that makes the island feel like home.

Makino is moved to a secure ward, Charlie loves his new racecar bed, and all is well. Danny is also scared away from opening his restaurant, which means that he may be staying with the team for a while!

While the focus on Five-0 will always be the team, the show has knocked it out of the park this season with episodes centered on individual team members. Like Kono’s sex-trafficking case, this episode was gripping and easily one of the best of the season.

I’d actually put this one and that one as the top two. What did you think of tonight’s episode? Let me know in the comments!