First of all I want to once again say, what I have said here many times before and on many other sites where I comment, that I think the Pilot of Hawaii Five-0 is one of the best for its genre, I have ever seen on TV – if not the best. With that I want to say I have tremendous respect for Peter Lenkov’s talent as writer and producer. He has done this job for many years and with many accolades behind his name, it is undisputable that he knows what he is doing – most of the time in any case. 😀
I am also not one for nit-picking, but do like to make some jokes at the expense of the show. That is actually how I met many of my H5-0 friends. We do not all have the same tastes and preferences and that makes us human and normal. And to voice our opinions and debate differences can be good, but “screaming” personal insults towards show runners, actors and fellow fans, sucks the life out of having fun on social media. It creates an ugliness that spoils the fun for those of us who just want to enjoy the entertainment away from real life drama. The show is fiction after all and we always need to suspend belief a bit to get us through most episodes. What I am trying to say is they can do almost anything and I will accept it as creative freedom ….. and just enjoy the entertainment value of it.
Having said that all, this episode left me more disappointed than what I wanted to be. I like the big epic episodes where show tells us more about Steve, the soldier. Episode 210 ripped most of us at the heart. Episode 320 stretched our imagination a bit more, but for me Alex’s performance and the significance of it, in the life of Steve McGarrett, made it epic. Because they are unique and special episodes, I feel they should be handled with extra care. I also think Alex enjoys and always shines in these episodes, because they mean a lot for his character as a whole, and Episode 421 was no exception. The cast and crew did not disappoint. In the lead, with an outstanding performance of course, was Alex. Although extremely disturbing, I found the interrogation and the set-up for the execution, very well done and kudos to all the actors (and stunt people) involved. Add to that a beautiful set of the simplicity of a village and the house inside, great progressive make-up during all the stages, action scenes and effects, and the episode is a winner.
Unfortunately I feel in this episode the writing let us down. Was this just careless lazy writing or was it crises writing? Did they have the basic concept for the episode written and just had to rewrite some parts for Cath’s exit? The lack of any build-up of Cath’s character before this exit, of course makes it clear that this was not the end of a grand two-year story arc for this character, but a rushed exit. Whatever the reasons are for Michelle and the Network parting ways, it was not a creative decision with 2 years planning for the character behind it, as was implied on social media. They use this excuse because it is most probably difficult and unwise for either side to reveal the real reasons for their separation and I agree, because frankly it is a matter between the parties involved. In other words it is used as a reason to protect both Michelle and the Network, so let us as fans lay the lie of this big plan to rest and move on……
I will be writing my ‘review’ by making alternative suggestions for some parts of the episode – maybe we can call it some sort of constructive criticism. By doing that, I am not just saying what I found bad and thought it stretched creative freedom to the limit, but how, with a small stretch of the imagination, it could have been a bit more believable, maybe. I am definitely not a writer or a critic and will never be able to come up with all the creative stuff they produce week after week, but I thought I’ll give my 2 cents here.
First of all I want to take as short look at the ‘Crime of the week’.
Since when does the Governors’ special task force handle hit and run cases? Really, why does Honolulu still have a police department at all if any minor case is appointed to Five-0? If they brought Five-0 onto the scene, two steps later into the process, it would have made sense to me to get them involved with this case. By that I mean, if they already knew that an organ was stolen and that time was of the essence to save a life (especially of a prominent person and not only just anybody at that), it would have made sense to call in the special force to solve the mystery.
Some fans debated whether the Hawaiian part of this episode was really necessary, but for me it does not really matter. If they wanted to use the whole team for the episode and I see no problem with it.
This bring us to Catherine’s farewell story.
Cath receives a call on her cellphone from Amir, a man who lives in a remote village in Afghanistan. A man who she met 8 years ago while doing military duty in Kabul, Afghanistan. A man who saved her life 7 years ago, by putting his own family’s security and lives at risk to take care of her while she was wounded. He is from a village with no apparent electricity supply, telephones and cellphone reception when we see footage of it later on. His 14 years old son Najib, was captured by the Taliban and he decides the best thing to do is to call this lady soldier that he saved 7 years ago and now lives on the other side of the planet. I am struggling to ge my head around, where he made that call from. REALLY!?
One of Cath’s friends who knew of her rescue by Amir, who is again on duty in Afghanistan, was on a mission to Amir’s village, where she heard the news that his son was captured by the Taliban. She reported it to her superiors, but they decide it is not for the military to get involved on that level and to rescue this kid, so she calls Cath. Cath realising that going rogue might be the only option to help this family. She ask Steve to contact Joe for some help to get her there. The friends on the ground there offer to assist her as long as she can get herself into Afghanistan.
- Continuing with the real story ….
We see Steve and Cath leave on a normal flight and next we see them arrive on horseback in the Badakhshan Province. With no time frame given for this, it does not really matter how and when they get there and the creative freedom is wide open.
But just for some fun I would like to tell you what their journey might have been like in reality. With no direct flights from Honolulu to Kabul, they would have boarded a flight with at least 2 or 3 stop-overs, either flying via the mainland to the region or to another country, that do provide flights into Afghanistan. This trip would at least take them 1 to 2 days. The only chance people have of a direct flight there, might be with the military.
From Kabul to Badakhshan Province they would have had to travel another 375 km to the north of the country. For that they might have been able to travel by air or maybe via road, with at least 6 more hours of travel time, probably more. Once in the region they might have been able to get the horses and ride the last part of their journey to the remote village on horseback. So in reality they would have travelled for maybe 3 to 4 days to get there, most probably tired with jet lag and without much sleep. 🙂
A lot of fans feel that the soccer ball story was just a bit much to swallow. And I agree, because first of all the villagers and the children will know a lot more of what is happening in their area and they would definitely know better where the danger areas will be for them to go, than some soldiers just visiting the area….
The kids kick the ball, it lands on a mine in the field and boom it blows up. Realising the loss of the ball and the dangers for the people and especially the children in the village, Cath calls Billy to organise a sweep of the area for mines and securing the area, to remove the dangers for the people there. And also ask the military to deliver a few new soccer balls for the kids, because they lost theirs.
That would have been a more productive gesture toward the local population, maybe? Same basic footage, just a different story. 🙂
One of the things I saw a lot of complaints about, was why did Cath just let the terrorists drive off with Steve and not try to save him? There were just 2 guys left.
First there were the children that she had to protect and secondly, if she tried to shoot at them, the chances were great that she might hit Steve at that distance as well. So as heartbreaking as it might seem, I do not have any problem with how it was done.
From the time Steve and Cath part ways, she has to travel more that 12 km (or klicks as they call it) back to the village to take the children to safety. Your guess is as good as mine of how long it took Cath and the kids to travel that distance to safety. I presume she did not have any help or big vehicle to transport them with. On foot , it must have taken her and the kids many hours to get there. In the episode she only calls Danny once she got there. Now Danny has to call Joe somewhere and he needs to make some calls to convince somebody in the military to go and save Steve. Precious time is lost!
From Badakhshan to the Panjshir valley it is about 280km where they were supposedly taking Steve. Traveling with a vehicle and on the type of roads in Afghanistan it could take Steve and his captors quite a while to get there. Maybe the same amount of time it took Cath and the kids to get to safety of maybe a bit more?
Okay, you will ask me why am I on this crazy trip of looking at time and distances …….. let me explain further.
The distance from Hawaii to Kabul Afghanistan is 7500 miles or 12 ooo km. When flying direct it would take at least 15 hours flight time to get there. My question is, why did the military fly a unit from Hawaii to go and save Steve? Are there no more soldiers deployed in Afghanistan or in the region, to carry out this type of operation? Surely time is of the essence, if they feel Steve can be killed at any time by the terrorists. It is absolutely ridiculous to spend the money and the time to put guys on a flight that will probably take more than 15 hours to do this rescue.
I know it was done for the sentimental value of Danny rushing to the scene to “rescue” Steve, but it remains utterly ridiculous to me. In my opinion Danny and Steve know how much they mean to one another and have shown it on many occasion before. It was a bit over the top and unnecessary to force the issue during this episode. By forcing it, it actually cheapened their relationship in my eyes and made it into a gimmick to create effect. Whether anybody liked or disliked Catherine, I think the show could have shown respect to the 4 years of this character, by giving her a proper goodbye, without adding more unrealistic stuff to the episode.
Cath and the children get back to the spot where she and Steve left the horses. The satellite phone is with the horses and she calls her friends with it. Telling them that Umar Hassan is still alive and that Steve was capture by his men and giving the direction of where they are going. With this news, they are able to convince the command in the region to do some recon and to get the plan of Steve’s rescue into action.
She might also contact Danny as a back-up plan to get him to contact Joe, to press the matter of the rescue even further from his side, to his mates in power as well. Just to make double sure that every effort will be taken to get to Steve on time. This will also keep Danny and the team in the loop of what is happening and that would have been good.
Cath and the kids on the other hand travel back to the village with the two horses. Her friends also make sure that the military send some help to her, to protect her and the children in order for her to return all of them back to their family’s, wherever they are from.
After all the children are safe, she asks to be taken to Jalalabad to be there for Steve’s rescue.
Interesting to me is the CIA and Military’s reaction about the whole thing. I can understand how they feel about Steve’s rogue operations, but …. And for me it is a big BUT. He helped them to track and kill a high value target (Umar Hassan) during his rescue, who they thought they killed 2 years ago. So I believe they should be thanking him, rather than trying to throw him in prison.
After Steve’s rescue, both Cath and Steve are reprimanded by the CIA and the Commanding officer of the area for their actions. But they both agree that the death of Umar Hassan means a lot to them and for the military efforts in the region and they therefore would not press the issue of punishment further. With Cath’s plight for Najib and some other children who have not been found yet, they agree to start a project to help locate these kids and bring them to safety and back to their families.
Because of her emotional involvement with the case, Cath convinces Steve that she feels it is her duty to stay behind and with her skills in military intelligence and personal involvement and passion for it, to help get the project under way. She also tells him that since Billy’s death she felt like losing part of herself and needs this to give her life some meaning again.
From his hospital bed, he reluctantly agrees and accepts her wishes. He declares his undying love to her and she leaves to get started on the project as quickly as possible, because they have leads that the children have been taken across the border.
I know I do not have any insight into the direction the story tellers want to take everything. They most probably therefore have reasons why they wrote what they wrote for the actual episode, but I think my scenario more or less left them with the same options. Cath’s future uncertain, the military not fully happy with them and the search for Najib still in place. For me it just feels a bit more believable and in my head it just makes more sense. 🙂
Thank you for indulging me with my long boring story – I promised Paula I will not do it again. 😆
Just to have some fun – some of the things that got a big chuckle or even just an amused smile out of me. These are a few of the things from the episode that we laugh about and forgive the show for, for being just fiction:
- Is it just me or was there a lot of grabbing in this episode?
- The box of pictures. And after finding Steve’s picture amongst them, the search for who he is on a computer. I was wondering if the pictures had some sort of code on them for reference to search for on the computer, but I could not find evidence of any.
- Cath cringing with pain from a broken arm and the next moment without any sign of discomfort, pointing a gun at Amir.
- Steve losing his turban when he roll down the truck, just to have it all fixed again when he lands. (btw that stunt was all Justin)
You can read the rest of the thoughts that I added on at a later stage here: