No matter how long you have lived in Hawaii, one element of Hawaii life that everyone gets used to rather quickly is the superstitions that seem to exist in our island lives. We know which areas are haunted by Huakaʻi pō, the Night Marchers, or Pele, or ghosts from the past. It makes no difference if it is Halloween, we always know where we can find something spooky.
This week’s “Magnum P.I.” takes that element of island superstition, as well as our spiritual beliefs as Native Hawaiians, and melds it into an interesting Halloween episode. The episode, “Make It ‘Til Dawn,” has Magnum (Jay Hernandez) and his friends running into several Hawaiian superstitions, both real and imagined. Written by Gene Hong and Tera Tolentino, and directed by co-executive producer Bryan Spicer, the episode is heavy on action and teamwork, but light on any real fright or scare tactics. The episode really is more about what is really scary in our world — like possibly losing a partner or saving a child.
DEAD MAN’S PARTY
The episode starts with Katsumoto (Tim Kang) and his rookie partner Pono (Hayden Szeto) on the hunt for mass-murderer Mason Watts, who escaped a prison transport just hours before Halloween trick or treaters are about to hit the streets. As it usually happens in TV land, Watts hides out at a neighborhood Halloween party which is also where Magnum and Jin (Bobby Lee) are searching for a bail jumper. Magnum is dressed as John Lennon and Jin as an almost dead ringer for Yoko Ono.
It was a pleasant surprise to see Lee return as Jin after guest staring a few weeks ago in “Honor Among Thieves.” Lee is now a recurring cast member, which is another great move for “Magnum P.I.”. Jin has again hired Magnum, and his new partner Higgins (Perdita Weeks), to help him. Magnum and Higgins flip a coin to decide who will work Jin’s case or who will spend the night finding out why a new client thinks her house is haunted. When Higgins wins the flip and chooses to sleep at the haunted house, Jin’s devasted “Ouch” at not being the winning pick is both funny and surprisingly endearing.
Yet while Magnum is helping Jin at the Halloween party, they find Pono stabbed by Watts. Katsumoto sends Magnum to find Watts so he can stay with his partner and make sure the young detective makes it. Katsumoto’s concern reminds us of the relationship he had with his own mentor Tak. He and Magnum found Tak’s killer in the season one episode, “A Kiss Before Dying” which revealed a lot about Katsumoto’s character, which was evident in this week’s episode as well.
HAUNTED HOUSES AND KILLER GUESTS
After stabbing Pono and escaping the party, Watts is now on his way to the house where Higgins and Rick (Zachary Knighton) are spending the night. Again, welcome to TV land. This house is the same house where Watts got the name “The Killer of Waianae” because he brutally murdered a family there 20 years before. When Kumu (Amy Hill) hears where Higgins is going to spend the night she tells Higgins that the locals call the house, “The Slaughterhouse” and warns her not to take the case.
Higgins brushes off her concern, telling Kumu the house is not haunted, and that she thinks it’s probably leaky pipes. Rick jumps on the chance to assist her, as Magnum is with Jin. Rick wants to sleep in a real haunted house. He has dreamed of doing something like this since he was a kid. He gets way more than he bargains for — not in a supernatural way — as the “tortured souls” that supposedly haunt the house, is a cat that sounds like “a young child, wailing” trapped within the walls of the old house.
The only thing really scary that happens in the “haunted house,” is when Watts shows up and almost beats both Rick and Higgins to death. Poor, Rick, he wanted to find a ghost and all he got was thrown through a window by a murderous psychopath. Even Higgins gets to claim the win, as she is the one who hits Watts with a fireplace poker to take him down.
While their friends are all busy trying to catch a murderer, TC (Stephen Hill) and Kumu are busy protecting an ancient heiau from pranksters. Yet their night of telling spooky stories around a cozy campfire turns into a rescue scene. A kid who was trying to get to the heiau area for some spooky fun fell off the side of a cliff in the dark. Kumu drives one of the construction trucks with a wrecking ball of sorts attached to a crane and lowers TC down the side of the embankment so he can grab the scared boy. They save the day and protect the ancient site.
What was so great about the heiau scene — besides watching TC and Kumu tell stories and bond — was when the Kahu (played by real-life Kahu Kordell Kekoa who also conducted both season-opening blessing ceremonies for “Magnum P.I.” and “Hawaii Five-0”) arrives soon after Magnum, Jin, Higgins, and Rick.
Kahu has come to bless the heiau and allow the construction to continue. He tells them, “this heiau is an impressive structure. On their own, these rocks are oddly shaped and useless. But when they come together, they become stronger. They find a greater purpose. And so, for us, together, we are a team. Let these rocks represent us, too.” And that is really what this episode was about — being a team, getting stronger, and finding a greater purpose.