Hauʻoli Heleuī, “Hawaii Five-0” fans! Once again, it’s time for the another fun Halloween episode filled with quirky Max-isms, Danno phobias, and yes, even zombies.
Zombies in paradise? Just as plausible as Satan worshippers in Mānoa, right?
Sorry, I couldn’t resist mentioning season three’s offering, where guest star Lee Meriwether was great as the psychotic invalid grandmother and we learned that Danno (Scott Caan) had a Hitchcockian-style fear of birds. The best Halloween-themed episode was season two’s “Ka Iwi Kapu” (“Sacred Bones”), as “Hawaii Five-0” used the culture and superstitions of Hawaii to its advantage.
This season’s foray into the supernatural was more clinical than spooky, but I did like it more than last year’s “Mōhai” (“Offering”). As usual, the best parts of the episode were the times when the team was allowed to just be themselves.
Max (Masi Oka) dancing with his lady love Sabrina (Rumer Willis) on the beach to the “Time Warp” from “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” was classic Max. But add that fact that he is dressed in his Keanu #3 costume as Prince Siddhartha from the mostly unknown Bernardo Bertolucci film “Little Buddha” (#1 was Neo from “The Matrix” and #2 was Ted of “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure”) and we have Max at his fan-geek best.
I adored Sabrina and Max’s solemn declarations of love for each other. I know, they didn’t really share a the more traditional version of “I love yous” but when a man tells a woman she can kill him if he turns when the zombie apocalypse hits, he is truly in love. Likewise, when a beautiful woman tells a man there’s no way she’s killing him — she’s going to let him bite her so they can live happily-undead-after eating brains and having zombie babies — that is true love, folks. Trust me.
For the most part, that covered the zombie theme of the episode, besides what was offered up to introduce the investigative procedural. The idea was clever; a rich man, Henry Upton (Corbin Bernsen) writes a blank check to mad scientist Dr. William Ellery (Kenneth Matepi) to cure his son Brock (Yosef Kasnetzkov) of his criminal tendencies, thus creating virtual “zombies” who have been injected with toxoplasmosis or a parasitic disease to supposedly quiet their brains and cure their bad behavior.
When Max started speaking brain I got a little confused, but for the most part I think this is what the bad doctor was trying to cook up. If nothing else, we were treated to a creepy performance by DJ Qualls (who played homeless heavy breather Marshall Demps), witnessed as close to a real zombie as we may see outside of “The Walking Dead,” examined a headless corpse, and watched a brain being dissected. All in the name of science!
Or perhaps, all to scare everyone for Halloween. But it wasn’t that scary — at least the zombies died down after the initial bite. We didn’t see too much gore, because recurring officer Sgt. Chang (Keo Woolford) shot the zombified hospital administrator (Scott Folsom) and Sgt. Lukela (Dennis Chun) thankfully explained the rest of the bloody opening scene.
Sadly, we didn’t see too much of Woolford, which would have been great as the last time we saw him he was arresting McG (Alex OʻLoughlin, in the season two opener). It would have been nice to let him have a few moments as the cop who saved the “Rocky Horror” fans from the zombie horror.
Another thing I missed? Gracie (Teilor Grubbs) in costume. Perhaps Grace has grown out of the dressing up for “Trick-0-Treating,” but I was glad to see her in a cute scene with Daddy Danno as he taught her a valuable lesson: don’t TP Danno’s house, because he will get the forensic guys to figure out what ply you used and make sure you are prosecuted within the law. (Because TPing someone’s house is a gateway crime to bigger crimes and is completely a violation of the sanctity of Danno’s home.)
Little did he know that poor Gracie was his culprit, and she only did it to her own home because she thought it would be mean to do it to someone else. Good thing Danno knows that Uncle Steve’s house has many more trees for Gracie to practice her criminal ways and get it all out of her system.
Along with a great Gracie scene, I loved that we also got a healthy amount of McG and Danno to make us feel like it was Christmas. Thankfully, Danno was actually IN this episode, complete with mini-cargument, bickering about Steve driving the Camaro (it get’s better gas mileage, Danno), and the revelation of Danno’s claustrophobia. And the scene with Danno and McG sharing a ride in a house-pumping stripper-pole sporting party bus was awkwardly funny and darling at the same time.
I did like the scenes of Catherine (Michelle Borth) mourning Billy’s (Justin Bruening) death. McG trying to counsel her about getting over her grief were really nice touches that sometimes “Five-0” forgets to add. I still feel like Chin (Daniel Dae Kim) has never been allowed to mourn Malia quite enough, so I was glad to see that Billy’s death wasn’t just brushed under the lauhala mat and filed under “In the Past” like a few other major events that have affected the team.
And even though we didn’t get to see Kono (Grace Park) searching for Adam (Ian Anthony Dale), Chin and Cath working together to figure out a Hawaii connection to Sato, the man who has Adam, really helped to keep that storyline rolling along.
Overall, I definitely had a good time watching this episode. I loved seeing the team back together, for the most part, and seeing the further development of our favorite characters. While guest star Corbin Bernsen did a great job playing a concerned, yet misguided father, it would have been nice to see a little more development between his character and his son, who only really showed up at the end of the episode.
Yet with all the interplay, I can give bad dad a break. For me, seeing McG, Danno, and Chin in action is what made this season’s Halloween episode a real treat.
Redux Side Note
This week’s title, “Kūpouli ʻla,” translated by CBS as “Broken” didn’t quite work for this episode. A better translation of “kūpouli” would be “befuddled, stupefied, mentally clouded, dazed, carried away with emotion, or stricken” and “la” translates as “day.”
This would make the title “Day of the Stupified,” or even better, “Day of the (Mentally) Clouded,” which actually works if you think about how the procedural dealt with medical experiments on the brain. The ʻokina before “la” seems superfluous, at best. (Thanks to Monica Bacon for the help deciphering the title.)
TNT has switched their schedule and episodes will air Monday, Nov. 4, with “Haʻiʻole” (“Unbreakable”) and Wednesday, Nov. 6, with “Mea Makamae” (“Treasure”).
Wendie Burbridge is a published author, playwright and teacher. Reach her via Facebook and follow her on Twitter.