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Hawaii Five-0 - O Ka Mea Ua Hala, Ua Hala la - Review: "What is Gone is Gone"

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That’s the theme of tonight’s episode of Hawaii 5-0, which I consider to be the best of the season. It’s also the advice Lou gives Will in one of the opening scenes. Will is frustrated when he gives Grace advice and then gets chewed out over it, and Lou is happy to illuminate all the ways he handled the situation incorrectly. Lou is a big proponent of keeping open ears in relationships, but he’ll end up taking his own advice when he and Will stumble upon a suicidal man accused of killing his wife.

Lou wasn’t intending on tracking down Brad Woodward. He was having a good time on his day off with Will and even ignores a text form the HPD to share some fatherly wisdom. Unfortunately, their ride is cut short when they stumble upon Brad’s car wrapped around a pole. When Lou cautiously approaches to investigate, he sees Brad holding a gun to his head.

Will calls his Uncle Steve, and Steve rallies the rest of the team. He and Tani cut their own day off short to race down to the scene of the crime. According to Tani, Brad is guilty as sin. The HPD had been called to his condo for multiple domestic disturbances before his wife fell off a fifteen-story balcony. Brad claims that she jumped while HPD believes she was pushed. When they went to arrest him, he fled the scene.

Lou doesn’t know much about Brad’s case, but he’s willing to do whatever it takes to save this stranger’s life. If that means promising that the team will look into the case, then so be it. Steve trusts Lou completely and even gives out his impressive SWAT resume to the crisis negotiator who wants to take over the case. Danny, on the other hand, worries that it sets a dangerous precedent for the future. The team can’t do this every time HPD is dealing with an unstable suspect.

But if Lou says that it’s worth it, then it’s worth it.

Junior and Tani head to Brad’s apartment to investigate. While they both keep an open mind, both are suspicious that Brad deleted a number of text messages from his phone before HPD could read them. His wife also placed numerous calls to him before she died.

Lou tries to get Brad to talk about his wife. Brad won’t take the bait, but Lou insists on getting through to him. He tells him, “Suicide is not a rehearsal” and makes the risky decision to put away his gun.

The hostage negotiator Keegan is still buzzing in Steve’s ear about letting Lou handle the negotiation. Steve reveals to Tani and Junior that Lou has faced a similar situation in the past. Back in Chicago, he was unable to peacefully end a negotiation with a suicidal man and that man ended up killing his own son. Steve knows that Lou has some ghosts to put to rest over the incident. While some may think that that kind of trauma would affect Lou’s abilities to talk with Brad, Steve believes that that gives Lou the empathy he needs to rectify the situation.

However, even Steve starts to doubt himself a bit when Lou decides to get into Brad’s car with him. At this point, DNA evidence and a call from Noelani has the team convinced that Brad committed the crime, and Lou just put himself in a small confined space with a suspected murderer.

When Brad opens up about his feelings at his wife’s funeral, Lou flashes back to attending the funeral for the man and his son and seeing the accusatory look on the wife’s face. The cold colors of the flashback are a stark contrast to the warm colors that always flood the screen in an episode and are a nice way of differentiating between life on Hawaii and the mainland.

Brad also gives Lou the tidbit that his wife, Tracy, was incredibly depressed. He was tired of dealing with her constant mood swings and refusal to seek professional help.

Keegan, who is basically the Greek chorus of the episode, keeps telling Steve that this is the wrong way to handle things. Before Steve can argue, Tracy’s grieving father appears and shows why it’s a bad idea to bring a gun to a hostage negotiation. He believes that Brad is 100% guilty and wants to pull the trigger himself. Steve obviously takes the gun away but lets the father stay to see how it all plays out. This proves to be the worst decision of the episode.

Steve gets the chance to fill Lou in on the DNA evidence when Lou calls for pizza delivery. Lou doesn’t care. Whether or not Brad is guilty of the crime doesn’t matter. He’s determined to stop the situation from just ending in another tragedy.

Junior and Tani revisit the scene of the crime and pull ATM footage to investigate whether or not Brad left the building before Tracy fell.

Meanwhile, Lou flashes back again to his downward spiral after that fateful event in Chicago. He spends the nights out late drinking instead of going home to his family. What seemed to me a bit like filler flashbacks turn deadly important when Lou flashes back to a drunken moment of anguish where he fights with his wife about changing the combination on his safe.

Brad confides in Lou that Tracy tried to kill herself before and “the kids” aka Tani and Junior confirm with the ATM footage that Brad was out of the building before she jumped.

Tracy’s dad is still yelling about how Brad doesn’t deserve delicious pizza. Steve understands his sense of loss but also trusts that Lou knows what he’s doing. He delivers the pizza himself, but ends up spooking Brad again. Tracy’s dad goes berserk, grabs a cop’s gun, and shoots Brad himself. Brad freaks out. It turns out that he does have a lot of guilt over Tracy’s death, but because he decided to walk out and leave her in a suicidal state.

To finally get through to Brad, Lou tells him the story about what happened in Chicago. After he yelled at Renee for supposedly changing the safe, he continued into a deep depression. Turns out the reason he wanted the combination is to get his gun. Lou makes the decision to kill himself and nearly goes through with it until a crash in the house distracts him. He didn’t realize that Will was still in the house.

It’s this that finally gets through to Woodward and Chi McBride does an amazing acting job sharing Lou’s story and giving Brad hope about living through the next day and the one after that. Lou promises to stay with Brad and help him through the process himself. Lou’s story saves the man’s life, and he takes the opportunity to thank his son Will, although Will doesn’t know exactly what he did to save his own father. We are treated to one last flashback of a Lou at peace with himself and planning a move to someplace warmer.

To me, this was a soulful episode of Hawaii 5-0 that ditched the traditional structure to tell an important story about empathy and recovery. It’s easily one of the best they’ve ever done.

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

The National Suicide Prevention lifeline is 1-800-273-8255. They also offer online chat. It is free, confidential, and available to everyone in the United States. You never have to suffer alone.

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