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Unmasking the truth

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“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.


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.

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  • OMG Wendie….you had me laughing my head off with the reference to that commercial with the kids and the chainsaws! I love that commercial and the look on the “killer” face, that eye roll he does like “ok…now I have to kill these stupid stupid kids”. Lou’s snarky comments all through this episode reminds me of that moment in the commercials too.

    I was an enjoyable episode….the kind I expect from a Halloween offering. Splitting up the team is not something I usually care for but in this case I think it worked well. I enjoyed both stories but I don’t think either one had the meat to support the entire team. This way it worked out pretty well.

    Thanks for another great review!

  • Thanks for another great recap and for bringing it all together for us, Wendie.
    I, too liked the combination of creepiness and humor. And after a recent episode where I felt Grover was just sneering through it, I loved him again in this one. Grover’s been there, done that, and knows how to take care of business with little fanfare.

    One of my favorite comic lines was when Jerry earnestly asks Steve and Danny “Can you guys manage without me?” Scott Caan’s sarcastic “No.” was just perfectly delivered.

    Two things were “off” to me, though. At the beginning when Danny and Steve were having the heart-to-heart would have been the PERFECT time for Steve to mention feeling guilty about leaving Cath behind in Afghanistan, but nada. Not one mention. I realize the season is still young and not all has been addressed but that conversation seemed tailor made for that subject to come up and the fact that it didn’t, seemed wrong. The other thing seemed very careless was the fact that right after Danno was horribly traumatized when opening a steel drum to find the remains of his brother (presumably,) it doesn’t bother him in the least to stand next to Steve while opening identical steel drums. Having experienced a traumatic event in my own this past year, I can tell you he would have had flashbacks. And other fans on social media thought the same thing.

    Joe Dante always brings a nice eerie atmosphere to Halloween episodes and I really hate to see Greg Ellis’s bad guy go. He definitely had flair. Oh, and the IRA? I definitely didn’t see that coming!

    • Terry…I agree 100% about the steel drums. Even if Danny had just backed away and waved a “ do the honors” to Steve as he opened it, it would have shown that he was at least uncomfortable about being in such close proximity to the damn things.

      I don’t agree about Steve mentioning Cath during that heart to heart with Danny though. That was not the time nor the place for Steve to bring that up UNLESS Danny broached the subject first. That was Danny’s grief and Steve was right not to impose his own issues on Danny at that time. Now if Danny had tried to divert Steve’s attention away from the Matt issue or wanted to know how Steve deals with things like what’s going on with Cath by bringing it up himself, then it would have been perfectly fine and very appropriate.

      There is a woman in my office who’s husband is going through a very bad health issue, one that will not turn out well in the end. Whenever anyone tries to show her support by bringing up their own emotional experience, she gets very upset, saying “this is not about you…it’s about me and MY husband”. However, a couple of times she has reached out to me to talk (my husband had a health issue a few years that DID work out). Then she is open to advice or just to hearing about my feelings during that terrible time. If I try to say those EXACT same words to her without her prompting first, it is an entirely different story.

      Just because fans are anxious for Steve to acknowledge his worry or anger or whatever he is feeling about Cath doesn’t mean that was the right place to do it. Steve did the right thing not bringing it up then.

      • You seem to be be forgetting that Steve DID bring up his own guilt over a couple of incidences including the death of his SEAL buddy, Freddie, during this conversation.

        • But that was directly related to Steve trying to make Danny see that Matt’s death wasn’t Danny’s fault. Matt, John and Freddie are dead. As far any anyone knows Catherine is fine..she just isn’t there and Steve did do all he could do for her. It’s not the same thing. Steve may be worried about Cath but he’s not questioning that he did something to cause anything to happen to her as he did with John and Freddie and as Danny is doing with Matt.

        • If Steve isn’t questioning the fact that he left Catherine alone in Afghanistan and what could be happening to her, he’s not the man we’ve been led to believe. I’m not saying he shouldn’t have left (I’m undecided on that) but this was the woman he loved and if he doesn’t have doubts about leaving her and making no attempt to return, he’s no hero in my book.

        • I’m not questioning that…just that it wasn’t the time to bring it up. She is not dead like the others.

        • Wow, your conversations must be carefully diagrammed to stick to a single topic and never move over to a related one.

        • LOL actually no. My everyday conversations are very well rounded. I just know when not to burden an already grieving friend with my own problems when he’s having a hard enough time dealing with his own.

  • Thank you to Lou (resp. the writers) for bringing in a lot of dry humor and funny lines which are always a relief and very welcome when the team is dealing with the typical gory and creepy Halloween episode murders. I’ve never liked movies/shows about these slasher-type killings or seeing their outcome (dead bodies with parts cut out). But it definitely helps a lot when humor is mixed in – and when I love the investigating team, as is the case with “Hawaii Five-0” (or “Criminal Minds” which would be the perfect show for a Halloween cross-over episode involving an insane serial killer).

    As far as the two storylines are concerned, I preferred the one about Jerry’s kidnapping and the investigations about the bookshop owner leading to his “unmasking”. I agree with you, Wendie – although this was a good storyline, it wasn’t one that should be stretched out over too many episodes. So it’s a good thing this case was solved.

    You are also right about fans liking the interaction between Steve and Danno. The moment when they talk about feelings of guilt and Steve reveals his emotions about the death of his father and Freddy, was definitely my favorite scene. And the song playing during that scene was great, too.

    Overall, this was a very good episode again but I think nothing will compare to next week’s 100th birthday episode which I can’t wait to see after I enjoyed the first short promo trailer which looked simply awesome!

  • Great review, Wendy. I enjoyed this episode a lot more than last weeks because last week was missing Danno, just like I was. It’s not the same without him. That being
    said, I think Ellie is great. I can see where Steve is going to make her job a lot harder

    in the future and I am looking forward to her getting annoyed with him. My favorite scene was when Steve was comforting Danno over the loss of his brother, also. Steve even went looking for him. That is real friendship. Those guys are great together in those emotional scenes. I am so looking forward to next week. And Scott and Alex
    going to be on The Talk. I am taking next Friday off of work just to watch it. I guess I do have a life and it’s Hawaii 50.

  • Hi Wendie. I agree that it was good the writers did not drag out the Jerry story. I like Jerry, but you can only do so many, you have no proof episodes. I enjoyed the way they concluded it. As for the Halloween episodes, I was not a big fan of the ones in the past, but I liked this one. I liked that there were two investigations and they split the team to solve them both. I always enjoy the different combinations of Five-O pairings that this show does, and with the cast growing, it makes more sense to split them off at times. I am liking Ellie as well, although I am a big Catherine fan, we have to move on if Michelle does not come back. If this is a McG love interest, I do hope they show them as buddies first, before they advance anything. Looking forward to the 100th episode next week.

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