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Hawaii Five-0 – E uhi wale no ‘a’ole e nalo, he imu puhi - Review:" …The Smoke Will Rise”

I was in the middle of writing, “Wow, this is kind of slow for a episode opener” when the gunshots started.

Not that I should be surprised. The promos for this week’s episode warned us that someone on the team wasn’t going to make it out alive. I really didn’t expect it to be Toast, the hacker/CI the team would occasionally call upon in previous seasons. However, the “previously on” clip gives you a big hint.

The episode doesn’t start with Toast’s untimely demise but a quick visit to the shooting range.

Junior’s academy instructor praises him on his ability and initiative, but warns Steve that Junior has the same “steak” that Steve does. It may be what keeps him from graduating.

Steve doesn’t think it’s a problem, and exercises his own rebellious streak when he takes Lou shopping for used industrial kitchen appliances. Danny is insisting on buying everything new, and Steve is taking advantage of his partner’s absence to save a little money. When Lou points out that Danny’s not going to be pleased, even if Steve has found the “Cadillac” of industrial ovens, Steve gives what’s perhaps the biggest lie in all of Hawaii Five-0 history, telling Lou that the two have “complete confidence in each other’s decision-making ability.” Sure, Danny might ultimately trust Steve when he decides to jump off of a freeway overpass on to a truck full of trafficking victims, but he’s not going to trust him on anything that isn’t a life-threatening choice in the midst of extreme danger.

Before Steve can pull the trigger on the oven deal, he gets a strange phone call from Toast. A couple of gunshots immediately worry Steve and the team later confirms the worst. Toast is dead, and someone is after the team’s criminal informants.

While the show has always focused on the tight “family” the team has formed, this episode reminds us that not all of that family is at HQ. Steve is genuinely shocked and saddened by the death of Toast and that concern extends to all of the island characters who have helped the team over the years – even Sang Min! He immediately orders Jerry and the others to circle the wagons around the people they care about, but one slips through the cracks.

When Flippa’s shrimp truck blows up, Steve learns that it was a diversion to kidnap Kamekona. This won’t be the only diversion in tonight’s episode!

Kamekona is almost always used as comic relief, so it’s nice that the show reminds us how much danger he puts himself in for the team. Every piece of gossip makes him another enemy and one has finally found out the truth. Drug dealer and ex-con Joey Kang isn’t after Kamekona solely for revenge, but because he thinks that Kamekona stole $500 thousand dollars from him before he was arrested.

To fight the rogue hacker that broke into their system, the team turns to another rogue hacker. Maybe saying, “Turn into a CI to help us find out who brutally murdered our last CI,” isn’t the best sales pitch, but Aaron Wright is lured in by the promise of a prison transfer and 24-hour room service.

Wright works a lot better in this episode than his previous appearance and his chatty demeanor even manages to lull Tani into a false sense of security. He gives up a blind hacker named Mogera as the one behind it all, and Mogera refuses to give Lou any information. In the meantime, Wright notices that Tani’s distracted by her brother’s behavior and tries to give her advice on troublesome brothers. It’s all just a way to stall for time until his associates can free him. They bust through the door and are about to shoot Tani before Wright stops them. That’s definitely going to come back to haunt him.

Steve figures out that Wright set all this into motion months ago. He was the one who hacked into the system and sold out the CIs, and he framed Mogera for his crimes. Wright then used the chaos over the list as a distraction to arrange for his own escape. Steve is frustrated that the hacker managed to play them all, and Tani is upset with herself for letting him get away. Luckily, they just happen to have another world-class hacker cooling his heels in HQ.

Mogera proves to be a worthier hire than Wright, and he manages to find the connection to Joey Kang. Meanwhile, Kamekona is holding out well in the midst of Kang’s torture. He is frightened, but can’t be broken by Kang. In the dramatic highlight of the episode, Kamekona explains that he was given a second chance on life, and that he never expected to even live this long. Kang can’t do anything to take that away from him. We later find out that Kamekona donated Kang’s money to build a community gym for the island as a way to bring a little joy into the lives of kids struggling like he did.

Luckily for Kamekona, the team is speeding to his rescue. Steve straight-up states that Kamekona is family, and he’s willing to burn down the entire island to save him. Steve convinces Kang to back off and later finds Kamekona alive and well.

Steve’s concern also extends to the new members of the team. He checks in with Junior and gently reminds him that it can be incredibly difficult to come back from active service. “It’s a process,” he tells his new friend, and he wants to make sure that Junior always has the means to reach out, even if that means buying him a cell phone himself.

Later, the team gathers to celebrate Toast’s life and Kamekona’s escape, and Steve takes the opportunity to introduce Junior to the rest of the group. Kamekona told Kang that Steve and the rest of the team offered him a chance during his darkest hour, and it’s moving to see Steve do that for someone else. When he finds Junior in a homeless shelter, he offers up his home without a second thought. I’m interested to see the writers use Junior’s storyline to show the challenges of transitioning to civilian life. As Steve says, it’s a process.

Kamekona and Junior aren’t the only people Steve helps this week. When Tani withdraws after Wright’s escape, Steve tracks her down with Eddie in tow. Steve’s smart enough to know that you can’t tell a dog as cute as Eddie to go away, and he uses that as an opportunity to offer Tani some advice and assure her of her place on the team. Wright still may be in the wind, but the team has a new determination to catch the criminal once and for all.

What did you think of tonight’s episode? Let me know in the comments!

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