Being a cop isn’t always such a great gig. Yeah, you get to drive exceptionally fast with sirens blaring; yeah, you get discounts at theme parks and movie theaters; and yeah, you look damn good in blue. But other times, you’re asked to protect a mass-murderer seeking asylum in America. Okay, so maybe that’s not a typical part of your local cop’s job, but it is certainly a theme that has that great familiar tinge to it; well, maybe great isn’t the right word, but you get the idea.

The benefit to simple plot devices such as the one seen in tonight’s episode is simple: character development. Different character archetypes respond different ways to any given situation, and this makes for a fairly simple formula: Archetype + Conflict = Self-Disclosure, which basically means that every time Danno is up against the wall, you learn something new about him. You learn something about the way he fights, the way he copes under pressure, the way he handles family emergencies, etc.

While that all sounds great at the surface, a problem arises when the only point being hammered home is one we’re all too familiar with. For example, we all know that McGarrett is a by the book kind of guy when it comes to making moral or ethical decisions. He may hang a thug over a balcony, he’d never kill him. We already know that. So in tonight’s episode, when McGarrett stood strong to prevent his old buddy from killing the monster General Pak, we didn’t learn anything. We saw this coming.

On the other hand, the build-up to that moment was very well done, for the most part. McGarrett and Danno don’t agree on a lot of things; and, to be honest, McGarrett is generally right. I don’t want him to be right any more than anyone else does, but it’s true. So when they butted heads over McGarrett’s newly introduced long-time friend, I’d say we all expected that McGarrett would be right in trusting him. Again. To see him brought down to Earth was a great step forward by a show that has played it a little too safe when it comes to character development.

That’s the big stuff. The little things, well, they’ve started building up. Things like Kono often looking like she’s holding a dead chicken instead of a gun. Seriously, I’m not firearms expert, but she often looks incredibly uncomfortable holding a gun. A fake gun. I know her delivery is terrible, but even Megan Fox can fake it better than that. It’s certainly not the end of the world, but it’s that lack of polish that keeps Hawaii Five-0 from being a truly great show.

One other thing to keep in mind is that this is the ninth episode, and while we’ve still got over half a season to go, there has been little to no building on the season-wide story lines. It’s time to start tying all of these episodes together, because it’s starting to feel like a lot of mini-movies as opposed to one cohesive quilt of television goodness.

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