An admission: I love the Fast & Furious films. So give me Hawaii Five-0 taking after the Fast & Furious films, and I'm a happy girl.
The show opens big, with Honolulu Police cruisers trying to catch a speedy flame-red set of wheels and finding a whole host of beautiful cars inside locked shipping containers. One of them has a dead body sans fingerprints in the trunk. This allows us to use Hawaii's car culture as the episode's backdrop. (It also means Lauren German gets primped as if she's trying to channel Michelle Rodriguez - if Rodriguez's Letty had driven a bait car.) There are even the obligatory women in bikinis, though one could argue they fit in here much better, since this is Hawaii, after all.
Our heroes follow the evidence to Suzie Greene (that's Dexter's Courtney Ford), who identifies the dead guy as her missing boyfriend, Adam Raines, who had told her about his past possibly catching up with him. Of course, she knew him as "the gentlest man in the world," but his real name was Jimmy Sheehan and he was in witness protection. And his roomie, Billy Murphy (Titus star Zack Ward) is not a nice guy. That's okay, though, because Steve does his best impression of Daniel Craig in the opening sequence of Casino Royale, going up a moving crane so as to take Murphy down.
From there on, it becomes a mob hit story. The two hitmen are quickly dispatched before they can kill Suzie, one of them courtesy of Kono and her sniper rifle. But if they were there to kill Jimmy, they obviously thought he was alive, so who killed him? His plastic surgeon! Seems Jimmy died during his plastic surgery and the surgeon panicked and tried to cover up his demise. Well, that's one so basic I didn't see it coming. Kind of nice that not every victim on a crime drama is murdered.
Meanwhile, having left his dive of an apartment that we saw in last week's episode, Danny has taken to crashing on Steve's couch for the past two weeks, and this has lent itself to a whole new cargument about each other's living habits. There's supposed to be more humor in the fact that Max is ignoring Steve and Danny for a time, but that gets old after awhile, especially since we don't get an explanation for why Max is ticked off until episode's end, well after the gag has been played out. Seems his emails accidentally went into spam.
There's a neat side-effect of the concept, though, because Max leaves with Lori on his arm - so maybe that means she won't be forced into a pairing with Steve. (Although I could have done without Steve and Danny falling over each other to get out of his office when she walked by.)
We've done witness-protection plots before (in fact, there's a whole show about it over on USA now), but this one's particularly fun. The Fast & Furious vibe makes me laugh a little bit because the score for the last three of those films was done by Brian Tyler, who also has done some composing for Hawaii Five-0. (Including the new theme tune, which is included on the soundtrack album.) I'm okay with the car culture being only one part of the episode, because it didn't overstay its welcome.
Aside from Ford and Ward, there are some other interesting guest stars this week as well. There's Hank Stratton, whom I last saw as Isaac Reed in season four of The Unit, as the plastic surgeon, and Chris Bauer from Third Watch and True Blood as the victim's boss. As a TV geek, I always like episodes with familiar faces that don't overtake a show - which is something H50 has had a problem with this season and might again coming up (Jimmy Buffett? As in, the guy who wrote "Margaritaville"?).
This is a nice, solid stand-alone episode for Hawaii Five-0 in a season that's been hit and miss. It proves that when the show sticks to what it does best - straight-up, no bull crime drama with strong characters - it still works remarkably well. That's two in a row for the series, and I'm starting to feel better about season two.
(c)2011 Brittany Frederick/Digital Airwaves. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted.