Leave it to “Hawaii Five-0” to introduce a new character that captures our hearts from the minute he puts on his uniform and heads off to work. Sure, he’s on four legs and covered in fur– but that makes him even more lovable. In this week’s latest season eight offering, “Nā lā ʻīlio” (“Dog Days”), Eddie, a 2-year-old yellow Labrador retriever, is one of the newest members of the Five-0 task force, brought into the team by McGarrett (Alex O’Loughlin). The episode also introduced new series regular Beulah Koale, who plays Junior Reigns, a former Navy Special Operator (or SEAL) looking to join Five-0.
Written by David Wolkove and Matt Wheeler and directed by Tara Miele, the episode was a cool mix of chasing bad guys and good buddy moments featuring both McGarrett and Eddie, as well as new business partners, McG and Danno (Scott Caan). There was also more of Lou (Chi McBride) and Jerry (Jorge Garcia) working the case and backing up McGarrett. Both characters seem to be much better utilized, and much more visible. We also had several scenes with Sgt. Duke (Dennis Chun) and Noelani (Kimee Balmilero) which helps to confirm their combined elevation to series regulars this season. And newcomer Tani Rey (Meaghan Rath), played Danno’s sidekick most of the episode, yet seemed to be well established within the team. Unlike last week, where Tani needed to prove herself, it looks like she is firmly in place.
This could be because they flipped this episode in the season schedule. This was the third episode of the season, but I think they wanted to introduce Koale’s Junior Reigns character sooner rather than later. Next week’s episode, “Kāu pahi, koʻu kua. Kāu pū, koʻu poʻo” (“Your knife, my back. My gun, your head”), was supposed to air this week, but as it features returning guest star Chris Vance as British Spy Harry Langford, and not newcomer Koale– I think they wanted to get the team more established before James Bond arrived in the islands.
Still, there was quite a bit to love about this episode– mainly the scenes with Eddie and the continued character development of our main characters. But the overall case of the week was just too easy to figure out. The team is set to find out who ambushed DEA agent Paul Lazio (Stephen Oyoung) who was given a tip that a major shipment of drugs would be arriving at the docks at Sand Island. Lazio is killed and his partner, Eddie– a detection dog– is shot in the attack. When Five-0 arrives, Duke tells McGarrett and Danno that they can’t find Eddie and McG immediately heads out to find the injured dog.
Really– Eddie was the star of this episode. When I first read that they would be incorporating a dog into the show, I didn’t think much of it. Don’t get me wrong– I like dogs. I think I’m with Danno when he said “Shoot a dog, you’re going to hell, period”– but he’s a dog, he can only be so cute and do so much, right?
Well, I was wrong. Very wrong. Because Eddie is an excellent actor and action star– and it’s very hard to not like watching him in action. It helps that he’s good looking and you want to pet him through your screen– but I’ve heard many women say the same about Alex O’Loughlin, so there is that.
But really, he’s a great stunt dog and very believable. I loved all the moments between McG and Eddie– they were sweet and heartfelt. It seems as he’s named after big wave surfer and Hawaiian icon Eddie Aikau, so if he is going to be McGarrett’s new sidekick, he’s perfectly named. It looks like this may be the romance we have all been wanting for McG.
While I loved Eddie, I wasn’t really crazy about the case of the week. After McGarrett meets Eddie, and the team begins to investigate– I thought the case just got incredibly predictable. The team is looking for two things– the drug shipment that the DEA had been looking for, and the drug dealers who want the drugs. They set out to find the CI (Confidential Informant) who gave Lazio the tip, and ex-addict Kiana Solice (Alisa Allapach) turns out to be a sweet-faced soccer mom. She sends them to find Manny, her former drug dealer, who she had continued to buy from to get information for Lazio.
Look, I love a red herring– when the bad guy the team is chasing, turns out to be yet another victim– but at the point when they find Manny dying of a drug overdose, I started to look for Eddie to wag his way back into the case. I guess it was because I figured everything out so quickly.
I knew who the true villain was as soon as he entered the scene. In order to distribute such a huge shipment of drugs anywhere you probably need an inside man– so the minute DEA Agent Chris Reid (Bob McCracken) introduced to Five-0– I knew he was the bad guy.
And the restaurant manager Roger Niles (Casper Van Dien) definitely was too slick to be up to any good. And even the moment when McGarrett picks up the wine bottle gave it all away. I immediately got that Niles and Reid were smuggling the drugs in the wine bottles. It was just all too convenient. But it all wrapped up nicely with Eddie finally catching Reid and giving the awful human a bit of payback for causing the death of Eddie’s partner, Lazio. Perhaps even dogs understand karma.
So yes, I did enjoy the episode. Especially the scenes between the team. McGarrett and Danno’s “cargument” early in the episode was the right amount of banter and humor, with a huge dose of bittersweet. I loved Danno telling McGarrett that they needed Jersey water to make the right kind of pizza dough for their restaurant. And how McG translated all of Danno’s Jersey speak– a talent he has gained after seven years of friendship. And how Danno called McG a sensitive flower because Steve was upset by Danno making decisions about the restaurant without him.
I was very glad that they had a conversation about Kono and her work breaking up the sex-trafficking ring on the mainland, and how she was working with Chin’s task force in San Francisco. When Danno teared up talking about their friends and how much he missed them, it seemed as if it was more than just their absence that he was feeling. It’s that loss that I think most of the fandom is still trying to deal with. I think we are all sensitive little flowers when it comes to that change in this season.
I also loved the repartee between Tani and Danno. Tani giving Danno a small heart attack as she popped out of the Camaro window to shoot at the moving truck filled with the drug stash, was pretty funny. Danno called her a “female version of McGarrett,” so it was cute how he kept telling her “easy, easy, easy”– which he has said to McGarrett before.
And of course, meeting Junior and seeing how eager he is to work for the legendary McGarrett, was great to watch. I hope we get a chance to find out more about him, especially after the heartfelt scene with McGarrett and Duke in Five-0 headquarters. When McGarrett tells Junior he needs to join the academy and then he’ll be offered a position in Five-0, I wondered how long it would take for Junior to join the team. And then I realized it didn’t matter, as he is already on the team, he just needs to complete his initial training.
But the Eddie scenes were the best. The scene where McGarrett explains that before a big operation the DEA would pet and love on Eddie was precious. Tani and Danno pet him like an old friend, but Lou– the “I’m not a dog person”– explains this to “Fido” and just touches his head with one finger. But when Eddie saves his life, Lou becomes a “This Dog” kind of person. I loved that Tani gave him grief about his change of heart. McG’s kiss on the top of Eddie’s head made me realize that this friendship is going to last a long long time.
After Eddie helps them break up the make-shift drug lab, with McG shooting Niles and Eddie using his teeth rather than handcuffs to catch Reid, the big press conference scene with Sgt. Duke explaining the bust and the hard work of Five-0 was something we haven’t seen in a long time. But it was a nice touch as Jerry had told them it was the biggest drug bust in Hawaiian history.
The funeral scene for Lazio was so sad with Eddie sitting there next to his coffin. I hope you noticed Kahu Kordell Kekoa who officiated the service. He is the same Kahu who married Chin and Malia in season two and who blessed Malia’s paddle out and scattering in season three. He has also performed several of their start of the season blessings.
The episode ended on a very bittersweet note. Eddie, who is staying with McGarrett, runs back to Lazio’s grave. When McGarrett finds him and sits next to him to comfort him, I became the sensitive flower in the room. I suppose it was more than just Eddie sitting there next to the grave of his partner, but the fact that McGarrett knows far too well what it means to lose a friend, and a brother, and a partner in their line of work. Like McGarrett, Eddie is a war veteran and a fellow officer, and maybe that’s why McGarrett likes him. They can relate to each other. Like his relationship with Danno, their connection is deeper than just working a job together.
I suppose that is why we love the Five-0 team. It’s the connection they share and not just the job they do, that keep us coming back each week. Regardless of new teammates or whatever changes are on the horizon.