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Hawaii Five-0 - Na La ‘ilio - Review:"Dog Days"

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Last week’s season premiere left me wondering what this new Hawaii Five-0 would look like in the wake of cast shakeups and we get our answer this week. It looks a lot like the old Hawaii Five-0. While this week was much quieter than the premiere (a qualifier that can be applied to any episode that doesn’t feature a helicopter lifting a cabin off its base), it still delivered on quality action moments and introduced us to an important new character.

Or should I say two… While Beulah Koale’s almost painfully eager Junior Reigns is obviously an important new character (and I know this not just because I saw the opening credits), it’s Eddie the Dog that really shines in this episode.

That’s not to knock Koale’s performance. The idealistic Junior already seems like a great protégé for Steve and a nice balance to Tani’s more cynical personality. It’s just hard to focus on any character that isn’t an adorable dog in life-threatening danger.

The show has always been incredibly effective at telling little stories in the opening minutes of its episodes. Last season, we had the guy nonchalantly browsing through the grocery store with a woman tied up his trunk and a loving war veteran taking his granddaughter out for ice cream to get through a bad breakup. This season delivers the very sad story of Eddie the police dog and his handler, DEA Agent Lazio. We get a brief glimpse of the adorable morning routine between the two partners before they get the call to action. Lazio’s been working to bust a major cocaine smuggling ring and a huge shipment is about to come into port. He and Eddie are on the case, but are quickly confronted by masked gunmen who have no compunction about shooting both of them. I’m sure every viewer with a dog was holding them a little closer after that harrowing scene. Eddie survives. Lazio does not.

The show cleverly juxtaposes Lazio and Steve when it comes back from the opening credits. It immediately cuts to Steve’s own morning. The camera moves to a wide-angle shot that shows Steve’s huge kitchen and emphasizes his own isolation.

That isolation is cut short with the arrival of Junior. Junior has recently returned from war and is set on working for the 5-0 taskforce. Steve likes the young man’s can-do spirit but gently tells him that they’re not hiring at the moment. Junior takes the rejection well, but it’s clear that we’ll see him again.

Steve makes another friend when the taskforce is called in to solve Lazio’s murder. He and Danny both immediately guess that the raid was actually an ambush, and Steve follows a blood trail to find Eddie at the brink of death in a shipping container. They get to him in time, but Steve asks Jerry to keep an eye on the dog while he goes through surgery.

While I’ve been a little iffy about the restaurant storyline, the show also does a clever job of tying it into the main action. On the way to the failed raid, Danny tries to sell Steve on the ludicrous idea of importing bottled tap water from his Uncle Vito in Jersey to make the pizza more authentic. At first, it seems like just another silly scene before the two partners until the solution to tonight’s mystery is all about imported drinks.

In addition to questionable imported beverages, another major theme in the episode is that people are more than they appear. It begins when Lou and Steve track down Lazio’s main confidential informant. Instead of the skeezy street-smart lowlife that they might expect, Kiana is a put-together soccer mom who owed Lazio for her recovery and is horrified that her bad tip could have gotten him killed.

Kiana leads the gang to a dishwasher named Manny, who operates out of a fancy restaurant on the island. His own new business partnership makes Steve a little more interested in the inner workings of the restaurant, and the smarmy manager, Roger Niles, is happy to oblige. Lou and Steve haven’t learned their lesson from the CI soccer mom and take Niles at face value. When they show up at Manny’s apartment just as he dies of a forced overdose, it's no coincidence. They should have wondered who knew they were about to show up.

The next surprise of the night comes from Agent Reid, who seems like the team’s concerned contact at the DEA. He’s shocked by Lazio’s death and is insistent on helping Danny and Tani as they check through the shipping containers at the port. They soon discover that one of the smugglers broke into an innocent shipping container to provide a red herring and got away with his shipment. It’s the blood evidence found on Eddie and Tani’s good memory that points them to the right truck.

While Tani and Danny do an amazing job of chasing the smuggler down, it’s Agent Reid who takes him out. He explains that he had no choice, but there’s something a little off about his reaction.

It’s quickly revealed that Nolan and Reid have been working together. They’ve been changing the cocaine into liquid form, smuggling it in wine bottles, and processing it in a huge abandoned business park. Reid shoots two DEA agents, steals the twenty-four-million-dollar shipment, and gets away.

The entire team is up for a raid, but Jerry warns them that the place is enormous. Luckily, Eddie has recovered from surgery. Steve insists that everyone pet the dog before going in, which gives Lou one of the quickest character arcs ever. He is quickly set up as someone uncomfortable with dogs, until Eddie saves his life during the raid. Suddenly, Eddie is a hero who must be rewarded with steak “din-dins”. The rest of the team can’t help but smile at Lou’s teasing. Eddie singlehandedly chased down Reid and got his revenge for his friend’s death.

However Eddie isn’t completely over it. In a heartbreaking scene, Steve finds him laying at Lazio’s grave, softly whimpering. Now that’s loyalty. I’m not sure if Eddie’s going to be sticking around or not. Danny says that they’ll be finding him a new home, but Steve seems awfully attached to the adorable dog.

Junior is definitely sticking around. He proves his dedication by washing Steve’s truck, and Steve sets up an introduction with Duke. Junior will be joining the police force as the first step to becoming a team member.

While it seems a little strange that Junior has to jump through these hopes when Steve and Danny were begging academy washout Tani to join, I’m glad we’ll be seeing more of him. His earnestness might just be part of his personality, but it seems to me that there’s probably a deeper reason that he wants to join the team. Like Tani, I’m eager to explore this new character’s backstory and see how he’ll mesh with the rest of the team.

What did you think of tonight’s episode, and what do you think of Junior? Let me know in the comments!

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