“Hawaii Five-0” always celebrates Halloween with a fair amount of imagination and creepiness as well as a healthy dose of tongue-in-cheek humor.
After last week’s bittersweet cold case, it was great to get an episode that played into the fun that surrounds Halloween. “Ho’omā’ike” (“Unmasked”) did not disappoint and I appreciated their homage to bad ’80s horror movies and the addition of a timely buzz topic that added to the final twist. I definitely enjoyed the fact I was left guessing who the killer was and the way the show’s writers brought one of the continuing sub-plots to a quick conclusion.
In Hawaiian, “ho’omā’ike” means “to show,” which for all intents and purposes could also mean to unmask a person and show their true self. This week, the Five-0 team deals with unmasking not one, but two dangerous criminals.
This week’s case centered around classic ’80s horror film elements that are still popular today. The weakling who gets his revenge on the big bad bullies was made famous by the “Friday the 13th” and “Halloween” franchises, and “Five-0” took a few good natured pokes at the silly plot points and overdone gore that made these films favorites.
While I thought the plot had a bit of an original twist at the end, the trail that led to the killer was perfect for Halloween. Chin (Daniel Dae Kim), Kono (Grace Park), and Grover (Chi McBride), with help from Halloween and Keanu Reves expert Max (Masi Oka), focused on this case and really helped tie in the unmasked theme.
The episode focused on the killings of former high school friends Henry Chun and Mark Merser, who were murdered the same way victims of ’80s anti-hero horror film “Jack Knife” (not a real film, in case you were wondering) also met their fate. The first victim had his tongue cut out; the second had his eyes removed and a third victim (David DeLuise) who had also been friends with Chun and Merser had one of his ears sliced off. The killer copied the clichéd speak no evil, see no evil, hear no evil motif of the pumpkin-headed killer in “Jack Knife.”
I loved how Grover added the thoughts of sane people everywhere on how horror movies really end in the real world.
“I hear a noise in my garage. I get my pistol. Movie over,” he said. Grover’s point about “stupid people hearing a stupid noise” which gets them killed made me think of a recent commercial where a group of scared teens forgo jumping into a perfectly good getaway car to escape a deranged killer and decide instead to hide behind a wall of chainsaws.
Grover continued to point out the obvious — and he was right. Taking down the bad guy is really how you end a horror movie.
In the end, the team realized the real killer was bullying victim Sam Cole’s son Aaron (Laiman Severson), who blamed the three men for ruining his father’s life by making him a weak man and thus creating a poor and unhappy home life for his son.
While the ending may have been how most horror films finished, I did like the way Kono told Aaron the reality of the situation — Kono would shoot him dead with her big ‘ol gun — until Grover stepped in to resolve things without bloodshed. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a horror film end so painlessly.
I really liked the trio of Chin, Kono, and Grover working together, and I was happy that they took the case while McGarrett (Alex O’Loughlin) and Danno (Scott Caan) worked Jerry’s (Jorge Garcia) problem. Jerry’s undercover work surveilling a supposed antique bookstore owner Thomas Farrow (Greg Ellis) led him to being kidnapped last week. We were left wondering what was going to happen to our friendly conspiracy theorist, and if he was going to be unceremoniously written out of season five.
I figured things would end badly when Farrow showed up at Jerry’s house, put a Guantanamo-style bag over his head and told him, “He who pokes around in other peoples affairs will face retribution.”
Thankfully for Jorge Garcia fans everywhere, it did not end too badly. Yes, there were a lot of bumps along the way, but when it comes to Jerry when is anything ever smooth? McGarrett and Danno, with some help from new friend Ellie Clayton (Mirrah Foulkes) really came through for him.
I know Jerry is a likable guy, and yes, his theory was correct, but McG really went out on a limb for him. It’s a good thing he was right, or it could have been a very sticky branch for Five-0 to get stuck with.
I did like that both sides of the team got to unmask a villain, as Jerry found out Farrow really was a disgraced British soldier after McG noticed a shrapnel wound on his arm that meant he had been in combat. This helped them figure out the intel HPD sent about Farrow was false, as it did not list any military service. I was also glad Farrow didn’t really kill his partner Browser aka Lt. Colin Helms, a fellow soldier who served under Farrow (aka Maj. William Corrigan), but instead faked the death in order to get Jerry to lead McG on a wild goose chase.
Which, of course, led to a helicopter chase to a boat anchored off the coast and McG and Danno getting into an action-filled shootout that really killed Helms — who was making off with the counterfeit money Jerry suspected they had made all along.
Jerry’s checkmate was well played. And thankfully, McGarrett wasn’t charged with misusing his Five-0 task force to solve a mystery hatched by a man who believed Lee Harvey Oswald did not act alone in the assassination of John F. Kennedy, and that Area 51 really housed aliens.
All in all, it was a fun episode for Halloween. I was so glad the Jerry/Farrow story wrapped up, as it was a little tedious with the team constantly telling Jerry to stop investigating and his insistence on ignoring their logical reasoning. I definitely did not need that storyline to continue the entire season.
Yet I think the part of the episode most fans probably liked the best was the interplay between McGarrett and Danno. The short scene of Danno mourning the loss of his brother and McGarrett telling him that it wasn’t his fault for letting Matt leave Hawaii three years ago — or that he was killed — was needed. I loved McG’s revelation to Danno when he said, “Are you going to second guess every decision you make? I did that with my old man and I did that with Freddy. The truth is I could never have saved either of them. Don’t do that to yourself.”
Another unmasking: McGarrett showed his true feelings and deepest emotions to help his friend. It was yet another moment that helped make the episode complete.
REDUX SIDE NOTE
There were several Hawaii actors featured this week. Recurring cast members Dennis Chun (Sgt. Duke Lukela) had a short scene with McGarrett and Danno when Jerry was found by HPD after being kidnapped, and Taylor Wily (Kamekona) shared a short scene with Chin and helped the team find the link between the first two victims.
Matthew Lund (Browser/Lt. Colin Helms), a former Navy drill instructor, was another local face featured this week, as was Laiman Severson (Aaron Cole). Lund’s character, unfortunately, was killed by McG, but Severson’s character was just lightly tackled by Grover. Who knows, maybe Severson might have a chance to come back and help McG catch other serial killers from his cell in Halawa in future episodes.
Wendie Burbridge is a published author, playwright and teacher. Reach her via Facebook and follow her on Twitter.