This week’s February 27 “Hawaii Five-O” episode (#17 for Season 5) “Kuka’awale” (Stakeout), has everything that sets the drama apart from the myriad of police dramas, and promotes such endearing fan loyalty every Friday. This is one for the keeper stash. Steve (Alex O’Loughlin) and Danny (Scott Caan) find themselves in the therapist’s office once again for a progress session, with quite divergent views of success, and find themselves in an unusual setting to spy on some diamond thieves willing to pay the highest stakes.
The story opens with a diamond robber (Zoltan Hayth) really giving his all for his girl (Jessica Lowndes). After presenting her with his big haul in the little bag, they passionately embrace in a kiss, and she pulls out her pistol, and shoots him point blank. Meanwhile, Lt. Commander McGarrett is being taken through his paces in positive language and communication, just as Danny is trying to praise him for progress in his control issues. The session breaks down when Steve confesses that his method for dealing with his cherished partner is that “I just don’t listen,” and the buddies are given homework from a conflict resolution manual, just as they are called to the diamond heist stakeout. Kudos to Daniel Dae Kim in directing his first episode, clearly bringing out the best in his cast mates, and their natural skills in bringing ad-libbing across on-screen. He meticulously plotted out every shot mentally before each scheduled shoot, and deliberately put in plenty of pleasures for “McDanno fans.”
Captain Grover (Chi McBride) notes that the shot security guard at the jewelry store was “one of our guys,” no slouch, so already, he suspects an inside connection. After interviewing the jewelry store owner, Mia Price (Arden Cho) they immediately understand that the thief had to be tipped off with all the delivery details. Following clues of the wounded suspect seen driving along the highways, he has identified first as Jacob Anders, but then as a former Serbian revolt leader, Radomir Ivonovich, and his cohort as Emma Mills. Danny and Steve arrive at neighbor, Agnes’ apartment, with their court order to conduct a stakeout. Immediately, Danny is disturbed to be in the abode of a “crazy cat lady” and identifies a cherished portrait of her “Mr. Pickles” before sparking debate with his partner over the merits of cats vs. dogs as pets, just at the moment the real-life Mr. Pickles scares him to pieces. The partners enjoy a moment, but only a moment, under official police work, of undress with their subject, Mills, before she draws the curtain. The next time they see her, she is dressed in black, with a blonde wig, and a book full of diamonds, planning a pick up. She lies to her contact, Barry Burns, played by Jon Lovitz, telling him that her counterpart has been shot by police. He tells her not to worry so long as she has the shimmering booty. The team snaps up Burns to headquarters, where he quickly realizes the benefits of cooperation, in a case of “screw her over before she screws me.” In a scene depicting just how tough their true adversary is, Ivanovich pulls out the slug from his body himself, dropping it into a glass, in gory glee. Cloris Leachman is utterly delightful as Mrs. Tennenbaum, a neighbor dropping by with macadamia nut cookies, and absolutely nothing against gay marriage, which is what she thinks she is seeing between Danny and Steve, until Steve feels compelled to tell her the whole truth. In return for her cooperation to keep quiet, Steve promises to look into the case of her missing fern. Steve makes a magnanimous gesture, telling Danny he can order “whatever you want” for dinner, but then declining Chinese and pizza with moans and a grimace, and picking up the phone to order Indian food, his way.
Mr. Pickles’ caretaker just happens to be Ricky Schiff, the lovable dwelling drug connection, who stashes his pot along with the kitty’s catnip. The colorful role is captured perfectly by Charlie Saxton. Jerry (Jorge Garcia) checks in on Mrs. Tennenbaum with a new fern as a “decoy,” and falls comfortably into sharing sweet memories and sandwiches, cut into triangles. Late one night, McGarrett makes a bold move, sharing a vulnerable moment of why he gave up playing guitar, feeling fearful and exposed under the glare of strangers at his 10th grade talent show, and forfeiting a true passion. The next morning, Captain Grover gags at the smell of microwave eggs ala Steve, and Burns breaks into a sneezing fit, allergic to cats. When Danny and Steve observed Mia Price over at Emma’s place, to share passion beyond what they share for jewels, they know she has played along the whole way. Danny declares that girl on girl action is something that no guy can compete with in the bedroom. McGarrett opens up that in his family, “men are different” than in Danny’s family, where every feeling is explored, and they reach one of those unspoken understandings again. Steve admits that he looked over the book to stave off boredom. Ivanovich raids a gun shop for weapons, severely wounding the owner, who says that the betrayed robber is “getting ready for war,” which Kono passes on to Steve. Mr. Pickles escapes through a window left open by Danny, and Ricky is called back to lure him home. Danny and Steve hear Emma’s screams, but arrive at her apartment to find the diamonds gone, and her bleeding out. Kono gets to Mia Price, trying for arrest for the sake of safety, but not before Radomir Ivanovich reigns terror with an explosion and twin blazing automatic weapons. Danny and Steve call in Ricky to the precinct, and he just then realizes they are cops. They offer him a pardon in exchange for names of all his connections. He needs a lot of paper. Jerry tearfully sees on surveillance that the real thief of Mrs. Tennenbaum is her loneliness, and he escorts her on a walk at sunset. She shares some bawdy senior humor at their shrimp dinner, still ready to make a play for a “Silver Fox” that she sees.
Before they leave for another counseling session, Danny presents a special present to Steve, a very nice acoustic guitar, and Danny gets the gift of the words “You drive” from Steve. “I’m still in charge of the radio,” reminds McGarrett, as they drive off to the “Hawaii Five-O” credits rolling.
Next week is set to be a thriller to remember, as Danny and Steve are in deep stuff in South America, connected to the case of Danny’s brother.