In Hawaii, most families strongly believe they are protected by a ʻaumakua — a family or personal god — who we understand is an ancestor in the shape of an ocean or forest creature. Like the pueo, a Hawaiian short-eared owl, which is often regarded as a benevolent ʻaumakua. Kumu (Amy Hill), the cultural curator of Robin’s Nest, believes the pueo protects the estate. In this week’s “Magnum P.I.”, when Kumu’s belief in the pueo is brushed aside, Magnum and Higgins are faced with near-deadly consequences.
The episode, “Knight Lasts Forever,” written by Neil Tolkin and directed by Eagle Egilsson, starts with Kumu telling Higgins (Perdita Weeks) that she found a dead pueo on the beach and thus Higgins needs to tell Mr. Master’s arriving guests that they should stay at a hotel. While Magnum (Jay Hernandez) agrees with Kumu, using his own personal ʻaumakua of sorts — his lucky Detroit Tigers baseball cap — as an example, Higgins does not. Like most non-Hawaiians, the majordomo thinks the belief in a ʻaumakua is mostly “superstition.”
Kumu tells Higgins that without the protection of the ʻaumakua, “I’m afraid bad things will happen.” She’s right, as their guests turn out to be mercenaries who take Kumu and Higgins hostage. Their plan is to open Robin Master’s safe and find the true identity of the White Knight, the main character of his international best selling book series. And they seem to be willing to use any means necessary to find out who the White Knight is — and kill him.
PROTECTING THE WHITE KNIGHT
This puts Magnum in more danger than his Tiger’s cap could possibly handle, as Robin has based his character and the storylines for his novels on Magnum’s missions and actions as a Navy SEAL. Once the guests are revealed to be unwelcomed paid mercenaries, Higgins and Kumu are put to the test. One of them needs to give them the code to the safe. Higgins tries to bluff, saying Mr. Master’s doesn’t leave any of his notes and research in Hawaii, but the mercs seem to have insider information. They zip-tie Kumu and leave her in the wine cellar while they waterboard Higgins to reveal the code.
While torturing Higgins could have certainly been left out, it did reveal how far Higgins would go to protect her friends — especially Magnum. When Magnum returns to the estate to pick up his lucky Tiger’s cap, Higgins and Kumu send him an SOS in order to get his help and save him from the mercenaries finding out who he really is — the White Knight himself.
PREPARING FOR BATTLE
Really the coolest part of the episode was watching Higgins and Kumu use whatever resources they have to escape the wine cellar. Higgins uses her remote for the lights to flicker an SOS signal to Magnum, a broken wine bottle helps cut them out of their zip-ties, and then Higgins uses the gallium from a thermometer to weaken the iron of the lock on the wine cellar gate so she and Kumu can escape.
Magnum is also resourceful, once he sees the SOS. He sets up traps while taking a guess — and a leap of faith — that Higgins would follow his train of thought in order to take down the mercenaries. Earlier in the episode, Magnum calls Higgins and her ringtone for him is the Todd Rundgren song “Bang The Drum All Day,” specifically the part of the song which lyrics are “I don’t want to work, I want to bang on the drum all day.” Yet when Magnum needs to work — he is all business.
While most of Magnum’s traps work, thanks to Higgins paying attention to tripwires — he is caught and taken away before Katsumoto (Tim Kang) can get to Robin’s Nest. Kumu calls Rick (Zachary Knighton) and TC (Stephen Hill) after finding Evan Butler (Dayne Catalano), an old research assistant of Mr. Master’s, who sold the safe code to cover a gambling debt. Higgins forcibly convinces Butler to give up the mercenaries so they can find Magnum, telling Butler “You better pray my friend is still alive.”
Higgins and Katsumoto find where Magnum is being held, and Rick and TC arrive and tell Katsumoto they are not going to wait for SWAT. The four storm the warehouse, and help rescue Magnum — who in true White Knight fashion has a bag over his head and is tied to a chair. The shootout that ensues is expertly heightened, as the friends move in the darkness of the warehouse, looking for Magnum. All of them, including Magnum with his hands zip-tied behind his back, get a chance to take down a baddie, which is completely fun and satisfying to watch.
While they rescue Magnum, they don’t find any information about who really wanted him, and Robin’s reaction is to propose a new book called “The White Knight: Under Siege.” Yet trying to protect Magnum and Kumu has given Higgins a real reason to accept Magnum’s offer to be his partner. She seems to have “found something here that I don’t want to lose.” Perhaps for once in her life, she has a family, an ohana, she can truly count on.
Wendie Burbridge writes “The Five-0 Redux” and “Magnum Reloaded” blogs for staradvertiser.com. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram at @wendiejoy.