This week's Hawaii Five-0 feels like a sweeps episode. Our hero held at gunpoint by a former friend and in need of rescue? Definite attention-getter. Thankfully, "Ki'ilua" doesn't stop there, keeping hold of us through the hour.
Before we get to that point, though, we must deal with the murder of investigative reporter Bethany Morris (Kaytlin Borgen), who gets yanked out from under her bed like Maggie Grace in Taken. The obvious question is "What was she working on that got her killed?" Seems Bethany was a whistleblower poking her nose around in corporate business. Nothing you haven't heard of before. What you haven't heard is that she was visiting Jenna Kaye - but she knew Jenna as Jane Woodley. Yes, that little plot twist from earlier this season is about to come to light again.
Simultaneously, Jenna (Larisa Oleynik) appears to chat with Steve. Her fiancee is allegedly alive and in North Korea, and she's intent on paying the ransom to free him, but she wants Steve to go with her. Steve, being a gentleman and a hero, says yes over Danny's concerns. Lots of shooting happens, and then Jenna pulls a gun on Steve. This would be more revelatory if she hadn't been shown with Wo Fat in the season premiere, and if it hadn't been given away in the episode preview last week. Oh, well. It's still cool to see Wo Fat (Mark Dacascos) turn up. I keep expecting him to announce a secret ingredient, but he's also a pretty good villain.
So now the Five-0 team has two objectives: find Bethany's killer and save their fearless leader. To help, Danny visits Joe White (Terry O'Quinn) and Wade Gutches (David Keith), only to get a phone call from Jenna, who's had second thoughts once she realizes that her fiancee was already dead. She was naive enough to think Wo Fat would actually hold up his end of the bargain, apparently. At least her phone call is enough for Joe and Wade to pull together a rescue operation that is, unsurprisingly, very illegal.
To round out the team, Joe knows a guy named Frank, who has a helicopter, and is willing to ferry the rescue squad where they need to go. Frank is played by musician Jimmy Buffett, who sang "Margaritaville," which is what makes Danny's line about being "a margarita guy" sort of funny.
Never mind the guest stars, though - the best part of the episode is what was also so great about a few episodes from season one: Steve's confrontation with Wo Fat. Wo Fat uses Steve as a punching bag, but Steve doesn't budge. Then Wo Fat kills Jenna, and Steve vows to kill him. We know that won't happen for awhile - it would be ending the show's central conflict - but that doesn't make it any less sincere. Just like we know Steve won't really be killed, but that doesn't make it any less exciting to see how he's going to get himself out of this pickle.
It's interesting to see our characters so far removed from their normal environment. I doubt Danny ever saw himself in the jungles of North Korea wielding an assault weapon. Yet there he is, stepping out of his comfort zone to save his friend. And all's well that ends well, particularly when it involves taking out a bridge with a rocket launcher.
In happier news, Chin and Malia get engaged again. I can't complain about this; hopefully, it means more Reiko Aylesworth on my TV.
She's about the only guest star that I'm all that excited for, though; as we've said throughout the season, this show works best without its smorgasboard of special appearances, and this is another episode where there are quite a few. Jimmy Buffett's cameo might have been much-hyped, but what works in this episode is what always worked before - the ongoing conflict between Steve and Wo Fat, and Alex O'Loughlin and Mark Dacascos being able to keep that tension alive. I'm glad that Five-0 is starting to roll, but it can still use to ease off on the extras. It already has all that it needs right here.
Hawaii Five-0 is a rerun next week, but returns in two weeks. See you then!
(c)2011 Brittany Frederick/Digital Airwaves. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted.