This episode is a first for Hawaii Five- 0 as they offered up a winter final. Based on the quality of this winter treat , we hope it will not be their last. As usual, our resident recapper, Susan depicts it below. Enjoy.
We begin with Chin’s birthday party where everyone is watching a video of Chin as he grew up. These are actual pictures of Daniel Dae Kim who plays Chin and he was just as handsome growing up as he is now. The video also has friends who couldn’t be there including Sang Min who with his usual greetings, of course ended in telling Chin to say hello to cousin Spicy(Gotta love Sang Min). The video also included his Uncle Choi played by the beloved George Takai, and also Dog the Bounty Hunter who appears often with the Ohana, this time wishing Chin a wonderful Birthday.
Off to the side we see Lou standing at the bar staring at Flippa who is wearing the Elf costume he was made to wear at work. Flippa didn’t have time to change before the party. Lou’s one word advice is “Union”. Kamekona is also there and of course gives Chin a 20% off special on a meal at the truck.
Everyone is having a good time and the party is going well when Chin’s phone rings and it’s Sara’s picture. Chin answers so happy to hear from her. After he answers his face turns to panic and he runs out of the room. At that moment Kono is bringing out the cake and everyone is singing Happy Birthday, as they look around the room for Chin. Steve seeing Chin run out and follows him. Once outside, Steve sees Chin speed off on his motorcycle. He follows him, catches up with him and yells out the window for Chin to pull over. Chin reluctantly pulls off and he is clearly in a state of panic and isn’t thinking clearly. Steve tries to calm Chin down asking him what’s wrong. Chin tells Steve that Maria called saying that Sara had been kidnapped on her way home from school and that he had to get to Mexico. Steve tells Chin that they all have his back and will do whatever it takes to get Sara back but they have to do it the smart way.
The whole team meets up at HQ where they have agent Navarro from DEA in Mexico on video phone. Agent Navarro explains that an SUV with four kidnappers got Sara with one of them being killed in a shootout. There was no ID on the dead kidnapper because they took his body with them after getting Sara. Navarro tells the team that K & R (kidnapping and ransom) is big business down there and the police don’t know she’s been kidnapped, and that if they did the kidnappers would kill Sara and move on to the next payday. He proceeds to tell them that their best hope of getting Sara back is keeping the police out of it. Steve tells Navarro “we’re not the police.”
Our next scene is in Ciudad Juarez Mexico where Steve and the team arrive at the home of Jorge and Maria Morales. The team set up phones and tracing equipment. Chin goes into Sara’s bedroom where he sees a picture of him and Sara on her night table with a letter to Santa that she has started asking for a new doll, pink bicycle and a plane ticket to visit uncle Chin. Clearly, Chin is now filled with even more despair.
Outside Steve and Danny meet with agent Navarro where he tells them they found the SUV used in the abduction torched and a badly burned body inside. They believe it’s the body of the kidnapper that was killed. Navarro explains they burned the body to prevent it from being identified and that the body is at the morgue. He tells them that things move slowly there and that there are so many gangs that it could have been anyone of dozens that could have been responsible. Steve asks him who is at the top of the list for these things and Navarro gives Steve the name of Rafael Ramirez. Steve tells Navarro they are going to talk with Ramirez because if he didn’t do it, he knows who did. Navarro tells Steve this man is too dangerous for that and only someone with a death wish would take that on. Well….
We next see Ramirez in the pool with his young son and body guards with guns all around as Steve walks in with hands up saying in Spanish “Excuse me, Excuse me.” The guards lead Steve in toward where Ramirez is now sitting at a table near the pool. Ramirez tells Steve that had his son not been there he would have already been dead. Steve tells Ramirez who he is. Ramirez laughing at that says it means nothing. Steve then calmly takes control of the situation, smiles a McGarrett smile, and notifies Ramirez that he has something on his robe. Ramirez looks down to see a red laser dot on his chest and of course we see sniper Kono in position aiming towards Ramirez. . Ramirez looks a little impressed and starts to take his visitor more seriously.
Steve now explains why he’s come to see him and that he wants to know if he has Sara. Steve goes on to say if he doesn’t, he wants to know if he knows who does. Ramirez denies having Sara or anything to do with the kidnapping. Ramirez gives Steve advice on how to deal with the situation and actually seems to be genuine in what he is saying. Steve then leaves.
Our next scene is of Danny and Lou walking into the morgue practicing their Spanish. Lou knows one word, American and Danny knows one sentence, ‘you have a beautiful smile’ (they realize they might have a problem) Trying to explain to the worker at the desk that they are there to find the identity of a burned body of a possible kidnapper, Lou and Danny are relieved to hear the worker speaks English. They also learn that it will take two weeks before they can see the body. Deciding this will never do, Lou offers money as a bribe to get in sooner to which he is turned down. Danny’s solution is his gun which the worker has no option to accept.
With some comical banter ensuing, everyone is on their way to see the body. Once they get to the room with the body, the worker tells them there has been no autopsy done yet. The body is so badly burned that Danny calls Max for help on how to identify it. After having to remind Max who he is, Danny explains the situation. Max tells Danny that he needs a detailed list of years of medical school and experience to do this. This is one of the funniest scene’s to date with Lou, Danny and Max. These three are amazing at comedic delivery especially Grover (Chi McBride). As Max explains how to remove burned skin from an arm to identify a tattoo, Lou provides some facial humor as he attacks the task that Danny is instructing him to do via Max.
On the way back from Ramirez’s Steve and Kono are on the phone with Chin telling him it’s going to be more difficult than they thought and they have to rethink their approach. They found out that kidnapping in Mexico is different and they could be putting Sara’s life in danger if they go about it the way they would on the island. Chin tells them there still has been no ransom call yet.
Steve and Chin hang up and Chin tells Jorge no news. Jorge is upset wanting to know what more they can do. At that point Chin tells Jorge he should never have let Sara come there. Jorge said it wasn’t his choice as it was the courts. Chin loses it, telling Jorge he had been the one with the drug dealers’ phone number in his phone. While arguing, the kidnappers call.
Jorge tries to keep them on the phone for a long as possible for a trace but after the instructions on the ransom drop the kidnappers end the call which wasn’t long enough to get a location. Chin decides the only way is to just get the money together, go to the drop, pay it, and get Sara. Jorge is hesitating and he tells Chin he can’t pay the ransom. Chin is in disbelief. Jorge explains that he had the money but was on his way to make a deposit one day and he was robbed. Jorge suspects it was a dirty cop of which there is many. Chin decides they will have to steal the money back from the dirty cop.
Back in the morgue, Danny is showing Max a live video of the arm of the dead man. Max tells Lou and Danny they have to burn the outer part of the arm to find the tattoo and hearing this Lou and Danny now argue over who is going to do it. (the banter and reactions is absolutely hilarious –Five 0 is the master at delivering such humor while in such a serious situation)
Back at Jorge and Maria’s Steve gets off the phone telling Chin that Navarro is running into all kinds of resistance trying to find out what dirty cop was the one who shook down Jorge. Chin reminds Steve they only have two hours left to get and meet the ransom. Steve tells Chin that he has an idea.
We next see Steve back at Ramirez’s home as he and Ramirez talk. Ramirez offers to pay the one million for the ransom. Steve says that it’s a generous offer but if he accepts, one day Ramirez will ask for something that he won’t be able to do. Steve turns down the offer. As Steve is leaving Ramirez shouts out a name ‘Quintanilla ‘Detective Quintanilla’. Very happy, Steve hurries off.
Sitting outside of the Mexican police dept. Steve, Danny, Lou, and Chin are dressed like ninjas while getting ready to go in for the dirty cop. Danny and Lou protest at what a stupid dumb idea this is while pulling down their ski masks and leaving the vehicle.
They storm the police station with guns drawn calling out for Detective Quintanilla. The detective comes out of the office and Steve asks for the money he took from Jorge. He says he doesn’t know anything about that and that he is not afraid of guns. Steve handcuffs Quintanilla and walks him down the hall to the prisoners’ cell, puts the key to the cell, and tells him he’s going to join the angry mob of prisoners unless he gives back the money. The very next thing we see is a bloody Quintanilla putting the money in a bag for Steve.
When they are about to leave, Chin stops, pulls off his ski mask, and tells Quintanilla that he knows he wire taped Jorge’s phone and that’s how he knew Jorge had the money on the way to the bank. Chin reminded Quintanilla he wasn’t afraid of guns and then Chin shot him in the foot telling him next time it wouldn’t be just his foot.
Back at Jorge and Maria’s house they are putting the money together and going over the plan. Before the guys leave to make the drop, Chin asks Kono to go over the phone recordings of Jorge and Maria that were tapped on their phone lines that Quintanilla had ordered. Chin is sure there is something on those tapes that will prove that Jorge is involved in the cartel and with that proof he can get Sara back to live with him.
As the guys race to the drop off and exchange location, Kono is listening to the recordings. Just as the team arrive at the location, Kono hears something on one of the tapes that tells her the whole thing is a setup. Jorge is getting out of the vehicle with the money, Chin’s phone rings and it’s Kono who tells Chin on the tapes there is contact between the Moraleses before they arrived and that the whole thing was to lure Five-0 down to Mexico… it’s a trap.
Just then two trucks with machine guns attached show up circling the Five-0 team shooting. Everyone exits the vehicles and a shootout ensues. As usual, when they are close to losing the battle, the teams finally gets the upper hand and win. Chin goes after Jorge telling him he knows he used Sara as bait to get the team down there. He tells Steve what Kono found. Steve comes down hard on Jorge who denies vehemently that he doesn’t know anything.
This turns out to be true as we learn in the next scene that it was Maria that knew something. Maria tells Chin that she had no choice and that she got a call telling her they would kill Sara unless she got all of the Five-0 team down to Mexico. Maria tells everyone she has no idea who the people are or why they wanted Five-0 there.
Kono enters the room saying that Max called with an ID on the dead guy. The kidnapper is a known member of the Diego cartel. Navarro asks if they know the Diegos. Steve tells Navarro that a few months back Juan Diego was killed in a shootout on a case that Five-0 was working on (the one where Kono jumped out of the bag with guns a blazing).
Navarro tells the team that Juan’s brother Carlos is the head of the cartel. So now this is blood for blood which also means they won’t keep Sara alive. Navarro tells Steve that even the military won’t go into Diego’s compound, so going in to save Sara isn’t an option.
After listening to Navarro give a detailed description of the compound Chin says it’s a suicide mission and goes outside saying he needs some air. While outside Kono tells Chin he was right about not wanting Sara to come there. Chin tells Kono that it’s his fault, that the biggest threat to Sara was him not Jorge. Chin clearly riddled with guilt is putting all the blame on himself, saying that the job and the risks that they take are always putting the ones they love the most in harm’s way. Kono reminds him that he also knows that they are the good guys and every day they fight to do the right thing.
Back inside the house we see Jorge and Maria praying while Chin sits on Sara’s bed looking at the picture of them together and remembering the times he had with her at home. All those memories rushing in and the pain at the thought of any harm coming to her seems to be too much to bear.
In the living room Steve, Danny, and Lou are discussing the plan that Steve has come up with to which Danny now declares this one the all-time most stupid plan ever. Steve tells Danny he agrees and that since he and Lou have kids they should not be a part of it. Lou is disagreeing when Kono comes in saying she can’t find Chin anywhere. He’s gone. Steve calls Chins phone who is driving. He looks at the phone and sees it’s Steve and throws the phone out the car window. It seems Chin has made a decision and it does not include the rest of the team.
Still at the house they discover that Chin took Jorge’s car and ripped the spark plug wires out of the other vehicles. Navarro calls his people to get a car to go after Chin. Now on their way after Chin, Kono gets a call from Chin who is calling from Maria’s phone. He tells Kono he’s at a crossroads (interesting parallel as to the actual crossroads of life) five miles from the Diego compound and to get there quick as Sara will be waiting for them. Steve says he’s probably made a deal with Diego. Kono is now very upset and begs him not to do this. Chin tells her he is proud of her and that he loves them all but he has to make this right and hangs up.
As the men in the cartel pull up, Chin is waiting, they release Sara to him. Sara tells Chin she knew he would come for her and it’s all Chin can do to not break down. Chin tells Sara that he wants her to wait in the car for Auntie Kono and Uncle Steve who will be there shortly to get her and take her somewhere safe. Sara asks Chin if he will be there too and with tears in his eyes says he will always be there for her. He gives her a last hug and she goes to the car as instructed.
With the men waiting for him he walks over, gets in the car, and they leave. Steve and the team arrive and cautiously get Sara. Steve is calling out for Chin and finds his Five-0 badge lying in the dirt.
Back in the car the men place a hood over Chin’s head.
That is not all that goes dark as that is the final scene and our winter finale. I have to say that this was excellent. Every episode seems to be better than the last and the show has returned to what it first was when we all fell in love with it.
This one had it all. Action, drama, family loyalty, comedy, and heartbreak. For all those reasons, this one for me was a 9.5 as the only one that still holds the 10 is the 100th episode. However, this one was very close.
That is it for the last episode of the year. Thanks to Susan who faithfully provides these great recaps for us. January 6th is the next new episode as we will learn how the team saves Chin (if they can).