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NCIS Hawai’i - Paniolo & Gaijin - Reviews

1.4 - Paniolo
Written by Noah Evslin
Directed by Larry Teng
Reviewed by KathM

I am all about this episode. I found the first three episodes endurable, but this one showed characters including Kai with depth (Kai contiues to have depth) and a great storyline. Note to writers: more of these, please. It’s a good idea to compel us to keep watching a new show by putting something interesting in that makes us watch it up front. Anyway, enough unhappy thoughts.

There are two tales in this episode, and both center on family. Kai is having trouble getting his dad to the doctor because he keeps skipping appointments and Kai’s unpredictable work schedule isn’t really allowing him the time off to take dad in. Dad’s got some bruises he says are from tripping, and everyone is worried about the amount of time he spends in the kitchen at the diner he owns, particularly since he’s talking about tripping and falling and all. Kai has even hired extra help, but Dad won’t slow down.

The other family we’re looking at is that of Master Sergeant Kaleo Whitman, who lopes into town on his horse shot and bleeding out. He tells the NCIS crowd that he was probably shot by a hunter accidentally, but he and particularly his wife are very close-mouthed about it and just want the issue closed. Nobody believes him, especially when Whitman was found to be far from where the closest hunting area was and that he was shot by handgun. When Lucy and Kai return to question him, Whitman is in the wind.

Witman is also a Paniolo, a Hawaiian cowboy. They’ve been around since the time of King Kamehameha III, and as with a lot of native populations on the islands they aren’t too comfy with the local police. At the Alia ranch, where Whitman was raised, his cousin Hoku says he has no idea where he is. After a little chat with Jesse and a reminder of the Paniolo honor code (Hanohano), Hoku admits that he brought Whitman to the ranch and he proceeded to ride off on his horse for the mountains. Tennant checks the stable and finds what she estimates to be about three pounds of crystal meth.

Micah, Whitman’s son, is the culprit. He fell in with a bad crowd in school (don’t they all?) and heard about making some easy money taking packages up the mountain. The second time he went up he looked at what he was carrying, freaked out, and went straight to his dad. Micah wanted to make some money to contribute to the ranch, but not that way. Dad sends Micah to hide up in the mountain while he tries to negotiate with the drug runners. This is the most improbable part of the episode, because I don’t think a career marine would be that naive. He gets shot for his trouble and once he frees himself from the hospital Whitman sets out to find and protect his son. Tennant, Hoku (as guide) and Jesse ride up into the mountains seatching for the Whitman's. Theh reach them as Whitman as he’s near death and as they are taking him down the mountain along with Micah they meet the drug dealers. The main guy is a real jerk, and it’s easy for Tennant to shoot him and get the rest of the gang to surrender by telling them about the life sentence they’ll receive if they are charged with killing a Federal officer (if they do). A helicopter comes for Whitman and gets him to the big pink hospital and save his life, the bad guys are put away, and the folks at the Alia ranch throw the NCIS folks a luau where everyone line dances and Tennant and Jesse get delightfully festooned cowboy hats in thanks.

I’m still really having issues with Lachey. Sometimes her character is convincing and sometimes it’s like she's reading a script. But it was nice to learn a bit more about Tennant and the rest of the gang, regardless.

Tennant is a total rock star in the saddle and learned at a place called Tama Hills when her dad was stationed in Japan.
Lucy continues to annoy, but somewhat less in this episode. She tells Kai that’s she’s had “every issue imaginable” with her family as she tries to get Kai to open up about the issue he’s been getting texts and calls about throughout the day. She is a total cow about it and I don’t think I’d share with her.
Ernie seems to have had some kind of fraught former relationship with narcotics detective and chemist Dahlia Gates, which it seems she’d like to rekindle. She is practically crawling on poor Ernie, the majority of her conversation drippig with innuendo and hints of times gone by. When his replies get a bit too...much, Lucy, who had accompanied him, basically runs away. Ernie later agrees meet Dahlia for mid-afternoon coffee at a location of his choosing and they go dutch. I want to know more.
Kai continues to be interesting and awesome. He’s trying to keep the personal and professional separate, but does end up telling Lucy about his dad missing doctor’s appointments, and even admits that he came back to take care of him. The stress of handling something like his is familiar to anyone who has had to do it. To make sure that his dad gets a checkup, he brings his doctor to the diner so his dad can’t duck out. Kai is a good family man and it just keeps showing.

1.5 - Gaijin
Written by Ron McGee
Directed by Tim Andrew
Reviewed by KathM

Drunken Japanese sailors stop karaoking when they realize one of their own is missing. Unfortunately he isn’t sleeping it off; he’s sprawled on the sand, dead with a knife in his heart.

Shogo Oda, an Isso (Petty Officer equivalent) with the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force, is this episode's current victim. Tennant is getting many, many calls from the higher-ups about how important the case is, even SecNav is keeping an ear on the situation. Oh, look! Helping out the Japanese Navy is Captain Milius.

Oda was in Hawai’i to participate in Operation Iron Cloud (missile defense training using computer simulations that are held in a different location every year). Interestingly enough, when they held Iron Cloud last year in Okinawa, Oda’s girlfriend, a translator, was murdered, also by being stabbed through the heart. The one suspect in her death was her roommate Abby Nelson, but they didn’t have enough evidence against her. Her explanations were off, and she claimed that she had breakfast with Yuki’s dead body in the apartment because she was in shock. This is also why it took her an hour to call the police

Abby now lives in Honolulu, and the NCIS gang can’t find her anywhere until she shows up at the station. She says that she hasn’t seen Oda in a year, but a waiter in a Japanese restaurant says he saw them a few days ago. Busted for lying, Abby agrees to a polygraph, which she beats handily. Tennant notices that no matter what Abby is asked, her heart rate never wavers. Does she have antisocial personality disorder? Tennant thinks so. Abby seems unconnected to her emotions, which Abby casually admits. It is because of that the gang isn’t sure whether she’d be able to get angry enough to kill Yuki because her default emotion, if it can be called that, is ”relaxed”. She does tell Tennant that she thought Yuki was seeing someone else, so maybe they were the murder.

Turns out that Yuki was seeing someone else: Commander Tanaka, who is in charge of Iron Cloud. And nobody will be able to get him to confess but Abby, who will be able to remain calm while talking to Tanaka at a noodle bar wearing a wire. She gets him to confess to both murders (he killed Yuki because she wanted to be with Oda, and Oda to cover his tracks. He even worked with the US government to get Abby out of Japan in a way that made her look guilty. So Tanaka gets arrested, Milius asks Jane out and gets shot down, and Lucy tries to sing karaoke. Tennant was right not to accept the dinner invite, because she’s the first woman to have her job and she doesn't want to be seen in the company of any high-ranking officer socially on their own that might convince others that she might have gotten her job through any way besides hard work. It sucks, but it’s still true.

This episode is very heavy and dramatic and aside from Lucy trying to karaoke, nothing really appealed. I was interested in Abby in sort of an abstract way, and it might be interesting to see her again. Sometimes you’re in the mood for this kind of episode, sometimes life is just too distracting. I’m hoping next week will bring something interesting to my screen.

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