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?


Editor Rating: 3.4 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.2 / 5.0 (150 Votes)

This episode was rockin'. Chin had me holding my breath the entire episode. Love DDK. I keep flip flopping on Sang Min, is he a good guy or a bad guy? The suspense, the team working furiously to find Chin...the relief when Steve said "we're going in". Hooray! Awesome fight scenes! And whew, Chin is rescued. Than I realize that there was this wonderful balance of the current story, the continuation of the Adam/Kono/Yakuza story arc and the balancing of other recurring characters. It was great to see cutie, Fong and Cat back. And if course Kamekona and Spam...Ever have spam fried rice? pretty yummy ;). This season is SO reminiscent of season 1 :)


I loved Sang Min...he is "a riot" to watch!! I felt really bad for Chin and could actually see something like that taking place, maybe not a maximum security place...but yeah I could see it. On the westcoast we missed the last 15-20 minutes due to the football game but what I saw I REALLY enjoyed!


Great episode, despite obviously unrealistic happenings. Loved to see more of Chin, he deserves more screen time, however horrified at the thought of that fluttery-eyed nurse being a possible love interest -WAY TOO SOON! It felt so disgustingly sugary and fake with how she stared at him and fluttered her eyelashes like some ostrich, and I just felt extremely awkward at the whole thing. PLEASE do not have her come back if it's for the purpose of having a romance with Chin -as a friend, sure, who can have too much friends? -but as a replacement for Malia? And so soon? NO WAY.


I'm sure it's not intentional, but Sang Min just makes me laugh--he's the biggest ham actor I've seen in recent memory--everything from his delivery to his melodramatic smirk is just so completely over-the-top. And finally...FINALLY...a shirtless Chih-Ho. I'd handcuff him to the bed too--albeit for different reasons than Delano did. ;-)


THIS IS WHAT I'M TALKING ABOUT!! I have to admit I quit watching for awhile when the show seemed to be losing its focus(also Alex's health problems became an issue). This ep puts everything back on track,and the show is back on my fav list. Episodes like these are what H50 will need in the upcoming Sweeps month. Would it be possible to get a crossover story guest starring either NCIS,Criminal Minds,or(just for laughs)How I Met Your Mother casts? Who's on board with THIS crazy notion? LET ME HEAR YA!!


Pam....CBS.com usually has the full episodes of shows on for a little while.


@Pam Go to this side and you can watch it.


What I saw of last nights episode was great! However, due to the football game, I was not able to see the ending. I have tried to view it on my DISH online account and was unsuccessful. Any suggestions on how I can view the last 20 minutes of the show.


BTW, to the reviewer, it is "redemption is "underway" not "under the way" as you wrote in the review.


I loved this ep, though yes, it was violent, but the violence made sense in the prison mileau. I think Daniel Dae Kim is an amazing actor, so an episode devoted to him surviving prison is all right with me. The Jimi Hendrix songs were so short that they really zoomed by before I could enjoy them. I loved that Steve and Danny were in total action-cop mode, and that Kono is beginning to realize that her relationship with Adam is not doing her any favors, and that he isn't all he seems to be. Which is sad, because the two together are seriously hot. It was good to see Steve and his gal working together again, and I laughed at everyone's aversion to SPAM, when realistically, people in Hawaii eat a lot of the stuff, on nearly everything, including pizza. Can't wait for tonight's ep.

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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.