Hawaii Five-0 Review: ...Or Die Trying

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After a strong mid-season return last week, "Olelo Ho'opa'i Make (Death Sentence)" veered all over the place - one moment, impressing with gorgeous fight choreography and action movie-level production values; and the next, presenting the least plausible prison riot that I have ever seen in my TV-watching life.

Throw in some unreleased Jimi Hendrix songs, and, yes, it was a lot to process. But ultimately, it did satisfy... even if there was enough discussion of Spam for it to officially count as a subplot.

Can Chin Escape?

Why did Frank Delano's brother kidnap Chin and stick him in a prison, instead of just taking him out behind the barn and shooting him? I don't know; why do super-villains slowly dip secret agents into enormous vats of acid instead of just taking them out behind the barn and shooting them? Because it looks cooler, and it's more fun!

This episode was Hawaii Five-0 at its action movie-est, and for the most part, I dug it. The hand-to-hand fight choreography was seriously beautiful (Chin's moves in the infirmary especially knocked my socks off), and I enjoyed Kaleo's transformation into a terrifying prison boss. Chin's stabbing was completely unexpected, Sang Min spun some excellent Hawaii 5-0 quotes, and the 5-0's siege of the prison was a gas (I liked that even Kono's SWAT outfit is something that could be described as "beach casual").

I did get stuck on the aforementioned prison riot, though - there seemed to be about ten staff members, all of whom looked like elementary school teachers and none of whom carried guns, in this supermax prison. Who is guarding this place? Paul Blart, Mall Cop?

And were they all on board with falsely imprisoning Chin?

I also got stuck on Sang Min. Call me a naive fool, but I was really feeling for the guy after his Say Anything moment outside his wife's house last week. His handing Chin over to Kaleo felt a little bit out of left field - or maybe I'd just prefer that it was. I thought the Redemption of Sang Min was under the way, turning him into yet another cuddly TV "he's not really a bad guy!" criminal. But Sang Min remains a bit more complicated, and what he's going to do now that he's on the outside and in possession of a police officer's outfit is anyone's guess.

Lindsay Price (who my fellow thirty-somethings may remember as the girl that Steve Sanders got pregnant on original recipe Beverly Hills 90210) did a fine-enough job as Leilani the prison nurse that I hope to see her again. God knows Chin could stand to have a light romantic subplot, after the year he's had.

The police-officer-stuck-inside-a-prison is a classic action trope (Jean-Claude Van Damme's Death Warrant is all that's coming to mind for me right now, because I am a classy individual - but there are many, many others), and it was fun to see the show play with it. I wouldn't mind seeing them run through some other classic action tropes as well, now that you mention it. Can somebody get McGarrett a bus that will explode if it goes under 50 miles an hour, maybe?

What is going on with Sang Min? What do you think is going to happen now that he's escaped? And what's your favorite "cop stuck inside a prison" movie?

Olelo Ho'opa'i Make (Death Sentence) Review

Editor Rating: 3.4 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.2 / 5.0 (150 Votes)
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Hawaii Five-0 Season 3 Episode 13 Quotes

The first time we met, you hit me across the face with an ashtray. Now that we're even, you can trust me.

Sang Min [to Chin Ho Kelly]

Chin Ho Kelly: Who put me in here?
Sang Min: Someone who wants you to suffer before you die.