When it comes to “Hawaii Five-O” interpretation of law and order, justice delayed can become justice denied, and this week’s January 22 13th episode of Season 6 has Chi McBride front and center in the story line of “Umia Ka Hanu” (Hold the Breath) as Captain Lou Grover, at last with all the ammunition he needs to corner old partner, Clay Maxwell, skillfully portrayed by Forest Gump star, Mykelti Williamson, who has lived as a free man since last April’s “Ike Hanau,” in which Lou’s gut was locked and loaded that the man who once had his back was guilty as sin, but he couldn’t yet muster the evidence. As for the rest of “5-O” team, what begins as a playful wager for who’s through traffic first for dinner turns into a life and death road race.
From the first frame, this is a “Hawaii Five-O” episode so taut and well-crafted that no viewer has time to take a breath before the anticipated action, suspense, and in this case, satisfying wielding of justice begins. The episode also serves to prove that the central characters keep the drama spinning, without constant need for guest stars. Lou is laying in wait for former partner, Clay, the wife killer, whose Thursday night routine for takeout pizza is so predictable that the Captain couldn’t miss. An unsuspecting Maxwell is summarily taken down with a drug syringe and duct tape. Danny and Steve (Scott Caan and Alex O’Loughlin) are back to familiar territory, trading barbs as to whether Steve is a “wave hog,” as Danny contends, or saving his partner’s life with his “party wave.” With the traffic jams being monster, Chin and Kono (Daniel Dae Kim and Grace Park) wager with Steve and Danny that they can get through faster going through the coffee fields that Chin road through on his bike as a teenager, while Steve chooses to stick to a longer highway route around the island. Lou reminds his now captive friend that his regular routine for pizza is as certain as death and taxes. When Steve tells Danny to relax and enjoy the view, Danny retorts that “there’s no view, I got jet stream!” Like dad on the road trip, he refuses to stop to let his partner answer nature’s call– it’s a no go, no matter how badly Danny needs to go!
Kono is more relaxed than she has been since the beginning of Adam’s confinement, her feet out the window, enjoying her time of “just you and me, Cuz” with Chin, and letting her cousin know that his blossoming affection for Abby is no secret to anyone. Even while watching his captive, Lou faithfully services the homework hotline for his kids. He notices that the wedding portrait of Clay and his bride is gone, and inquires where girlfriend, Leann (Jonell Kennedy) is. Clay replies that she is out of town, but that turns out to be an untruth, too. Hammer time begins when Lou fetches the sledgehammer from the garage, and begins to swing away at the blue wall of protection for his buddy. He describes the process of coming to the conclusion that “it doesn’t matter what you go in for” as long as prison is the outcome. He recalls a “stash house” where drugs were confiscated, and two bags, together worth half $1 million, or confiscated as evidence. All the serial numbers were in order, apart from this mysterious gap that was an inexplicable. Partner loyalty is lost. Lou remembers that poker winnings used to be hidden in the drywall of Clay’s home, so the Captain begins his own smack down, looking for the bills. Kono and Chin have no signal, and realize they are lost, not seeing any coffee fields. They find a car, still warm, and search for the owners to ask for help, but instead see a grim scene of a great being dug. Before they can escape, they are held at gunpoint. Kono surrenders her necklace with Adam’s ring, while the keys to the car and his wallet are demanded from Chin.
Back at the Maxwell home, Leann calls, and Lou instructs Clay to say he’s out on an errand, and for her to wait at their favorite bar. The stakes are raised now. Steve and Danny arrive back at headquarters, celebrating victory, and planning dinner. Kono and Chin are in more disturbing troubles, as Chin finds the body for that grave in the trunk of the car, and is forced to carry it to the burial site. He uses the opportunity to describe the horrors of jail life, especially because the victim is a cop. The blue flashers on Chin’s car blow his cover, revealing he is a cop, and making matters more deadly. When Steve and Danny can’t explain why their other partners have made no contact, they go on rescue mission. Lou tries Clay’s safe, and finds his deceased wife’s rings, stirring up more painful memories. Clay reiterates that there is “not one shred of evidence” against him, but Lou talks to the contrary. Clay continues to poke his partner in the eye, bringing up the sore spot of Philly, and how they were “priests” for each other, speaking in confidence. Leann enters the house, grabbed by Lou immediately, and restrained, just like Clay.
Steve’s worried that Chin and Kono are in trouble with Gabriel Waincroft, and then it’s Danny’s turn to tell him to relax. Lou relates to Clay all the good things, the real things, he has in life—family, friends, his work, even his golf club membership– and lets him know he would never put all that at risk if he were not certain about Clay. Lou then perfectly plays it for Leann, asking where she is going to be when Clay hits “the rewind button,” and does it to her. Chin and Kono are ordered to turn their backs to Jeremy (Marshall Allman), certain that they will be shot, they give each other a loving glance. Shots from Danny and Steve take Jeremy down, and give safety to the cousins, in perfect “Hawaii Five-O” timing.
By this point, Lou is about to go mad, knowing he’s right, but not finding the bucks, so the money can do the convicting. Suddenly, he notices a picture, taken when Clay’s car was his new pride, just like his wife. He then wonders aloud why a beautiful car would be kept out in the cold and the elements, when a wreck of a car stays in the garage. “That car is a safe,” the captain ascertains, and it doesn’t take even two swings of the hammer before the bundles of bucks fall out. Clay’s fate is sealed. Along with “Congratulations, Lou,” Clay offers half of the money to his former partner, in exchange for just walking out, but Lou has suffered enough and come too far, and been far too patient in his wait for this booking. He calls his old precinct in Chicago, and talks to an old friend, who’s now promoted to answering phones. He asks him to send a car over, and some officers, citing that he’s with Clay Maxwell, who’s “tied up right now.” Sweeter words were never heard on any police drama.