If getting back into new Hawaii Five-O episodes has been on fans’ wish lists for a while, this week’s winter premiere, “O kela me Manawa” (Now and Then) was probably all their hearts could desire. The story was filled with fateful decisions, a long search finally fulfilled, a welcome back, and a perfect ending to start the second half of Season 4. This 12th episode is directed by Peter Weller, who starred in last season’s retro “Hookman” episode.
Just as a story airs in a bar about a generous benefactor buying bulletproof vests for the Honolulu Police Department, that said benefactor is being lauded by his waitress, before a malevolent stranger come strolling in, looking for him, and looking for trouble. Scenes quickly switch to Vancouver, and Kono (Grace Park) walking into the back kitchen of a Vancouver restaurant, and calling “Adam” (Ian Anthony Dale) to the dishwasher. Her desperate and long disappeared lover turns to see her. They embrace, crumbling into heart-wrenching sobs, and Kono assures him that it is once again safe to return to life, because all those who were protecting Michael are either dead or in jail. Transition to another scene, in which Grace (Teilor Grubbs) is hesitant to let dad probe into her slumber party hosts at cheerleading practice, knowing background checks would be part of the process. Danny (Scott Caan) concedes, but only after his daughter verifies her cell phone capability. He struggles with the realization that he has a preteen now, and not a little girl. Steve (Alex O’Loughlin) discovers that Jack Anderson (Karl Makinen) that benefactor at the bar, has become the victim of a beating, but an ID trace on his vehicle leads to another man, Dennis Koga (Eugene Shaw). Steve also discovers that Captain Grover (Chi McBride) is a close friend of Anderson, and vouches for his character, but not for long. Danny discovers his carpool “psychology sessions” with Steve are not so bad, once Captain Grover confirms his concerns that Grace’s innocence is “lost in space,” reminding him that bra shopping and boyfriends come next, as the three have a conference call. A request for driving directions turns flirtatious at a gas station, and Danny decides to help a lady with a beautiful smile (Lili Simmons) out, despite telling her he was going another way. Lou Grover proves he can go “off the books” with interrogation tactics, too, doing a little sawing of the traction ropes as he pumps Koga for information from his hospital bed.
Danny’s delightful detour is horribly interrupted, as a gunshot to the back of her head ceases travel with his new acquaintance, and he sets out to find the shooter. Captain Grover is astonished to learn that his longtime friend, Anderson, has had many identities, and a long criminal record. His fingerprints pop up in the death of a young bride as being a drunk driver. Grover and Steve go to the Anderson home to break the news to his wife, Bridgette (Laurie Fortier), who does offer that him her husband often goes all for hunting time in the wilderness at a state park, following the young sons’ telling Steve that their dad was home that morning to get gear while mom slept. Danny investigates a photo shoot where weapons were supposedly used all in fun as props, and discovers a boat, aptly named Foxy Lady. When he goes on board, he learns that a fisherman’s young son made an errant shot with a rifle, with tragic consequences. He switches from forensic to understanding father mode.
As usual, the captain and McGarrett are verbally sparring as they step their way to Anderson him, McGarrett correcting his supervisor, telling him that they are in a forest, not woods, and that he “moves fast and knows where I’m going” to boot. Steve also tells Grover he got picked for the mission because things were so shorthanded at headquarters, never letting him have credit. Chin (Daniel Dae Kim) proves pretty darn good at interrogation himself with Koga, as the confession comes that the “hit” for Anderson was from Matt Haley (Zay Harding) the husband of the killed bride. A standoff with Anderson becomes a shakedown at first, until Grover gets very real with his old friend about regrets, and leaving some opportunity to still be part of his sons’ lives. He is taken into custody, and as a squad car pulls up in front of his home, Grover reminds Anderson, “you know what you gotta do,” before removing the handcuffs in front of his family. He confesses and says goodbye simultaneously to his loved ones. Anderson asks to make one more stop, to see the husband, Haley, and express remorse, just after Haley describes the pull of hate. Perhaps there is still room for the power of forgiveness.
Danny’s smiling face is the first his travel companion sees upon consciousness, and she tells him her name is Amber Vitale. There is definite instant chemistry. A weekend game party at Steve’s closes out the story, with Captain Grover and his chili invited. Danny chides Steve about the new friendship, saying, “He’s like you, but he can cook,” as Steve teases back about the smile that “pops up” whenever Danny talks about Amber. Kono and Adam make the last two guests asking if there’s room for two more. Another Hawaii Five-O reunion ensues, and loyal viewers are left with that warm feeling they love about the show. It seems there’s nothing like spending time with old friends, and making room for new ones.
Voting is underway for wardrobe and props for the fan-built episode to air toward the end of the season.