Book ‘Em: Bloody diamonds
BY BURL BURLINGAME / email@example.com
Nice south swell pumpin’, and McG and Danno are arguing about who “owns” the waves as they stagger ashore near Queen’s Beach. Oddly, Danno is looking more pumped up than McG, and even oddlier, it’s Danno who’s preaching freedom of the waves. McG is all for the local-boy habit of awaiting his turn. It’s like they’re vying for Inouye’s seat.
Gosh, it’s McG’s little sister staggering in from the mauka side of the beach. Haven’t seen her since H50.2.1 season, yeah? I guess she was off in skank school. She’s wearing what looks like a waitress uniform from “Alice” days.
No, she’s supposed to be a stewardess of some sort. I won’t say more dignified “flight attendant,” due simply to her raccoon mascara and gelly hair.
McG doesn’t seem all that pleased to see Sister McG. Danno makes a show of attempting to stand his surfboard in the sand, with an expansive hug for Sister McG. He’s such a slut.
She follows them home, just so she can say she doesn’t have time to hang with the boys, whom she calls “surf buddies,” larding the phrase with obscure weight. Danno makes a funny reach for a cup of coffee. There are ship models cunningly displayed in every shot, so’s we know McG is a navy boy.
The scene reeks of desperate humor, but the cast largely carries it off. I can’t take my eyes off Sister McG’s hand-crafted stewardess uniform, which is so tight that deep breathing must be out of the question.
Zoomy aerial shots.
Sister McG opens up her hotel room and inside is a big scary black guy. He says hello, and Sister McG makes the requisite Pre-Credit Surprise Face, opening her eyes so wide in faux horror that her Zorro-mask mascara flies off.
Credits. It’s H188.8.131.52, “Kalele,” which is Hawaiian for “trust, depend on, to have faith in.”
H50 HQ. Danno is having a private chat with Chin Ho and Kono, which makes McG paranoid when they clam up and scoot. Funny line when McG tells Danno that “Black helicopters are REAL.” But the fun ends when McG is told that Sister McG has been arrested for diamond smuggling at the airport.
Well, there goes the stew gig. But I’m wondering why H50 HQ doesn’t have any telephones. They get all calls on cellphones. So what’s the office number? Don’t they have a receptionist, or even a security guard? Where’s the mailroom? Every office in Hawaii this time of year has Girl Scout cookies. No snacks anywhere. I guess that’s how they keep trim. In fact, they don’t even seem to have chairs. No one ever sits down in H50 HQ. They’re always standing, gathered around the cobalt glow of Magic Table. What a dreadful place to work.
The airport has its own Green Room interrogation chamber. McG is so freaked debriefing Sister McG that he tells her to “slow down” before she even says anything. Unflattering close-ups of Sister McG, who’s getting dissolute. She’s going all Lohan on us.
Her story is that Scary Guy pointed a gun at her and made her tape diamonds to her tummy. (The show, instead of showing us this piece of action, settles for a description. Dudes, it’s called MOVING pictures.) The leverage is that Sister McG’s gal pal “Angela” will be killed if she didn’t try to smuggle the diamonds. They met in “yoga class” three months ago and Angela scored Sister McG this bitchin’ stewardess job. I’m smelling set-up. As for McG, he vibrates between Concerned Big Brother and Annoyed Cop, as rapidly as a tuning fork.
Lots of “NCIS: Los Angeles” promos. I’m smelling a future set-up.
The H50 squaddies are tossing Sister McG’s hotel room and finding zip. McG babbles about possible scenarios and Danno calls him on it. McG is rattled. Or maybe just dumb.
Security footage shows Scary Guy hauling off “Angela.” Since they don’t bother to give her a personality, that means she’s most likely in on the scheme.
This calls for fast driving and close-ups of Chevy logos, and Danno squealing in terror. He’s getting annoyed with McG’s rash recklessness.
Since Sister McG isn’t on the plane to New York with the diamonds, they have to get her there even faster than the airliner. So they borrow the governor’s G-4 Gulfstream executive jet, ha ha! Our real governor is running the state on discontinued Wang computers and Trash-80s. What state do they think we are? Alaska?
Fast-driving, Chevy logos. Big truck headlong-rams the HPD “evidence transfer” van — a pretty spectacular crash — and a perp with a pistol jumps into the van to snatch the diamonds. Shattered glass all over the floor that looks like diamonds, at least the stunt diamonds used in the show. Pistol Perp is picked up before anyone sees what went down.
Tom Sizemore is on the screen to take his sunglasses on and off, on and off, to punctuate his gruff mutterings. He and Danno and Chin Ho figure out that the plan all along was to get the diamonds into police protection, which means that Sister McG was set up from the get-go.
The Angela Kidnappers send Sister McG a text message telling her what to do when she arrives in New York. Good thing her phone isn’t on Airplane Mode, and the airliner is flying below the level of cell towers.
Sizemore has a brainstorm: A diamond haul this big requires a stolen-gem broker, otherwise, the “stones” will never get off the island. Let’s count the Big Buts: One, you can always just mail them in a flat-rate USPS box. Two, wouldn’t the broker have the same problem? Three, it’s just an excuse for Sizemore to pitbull Ed Asner, playing “August March,” a jewel smuggler just out of prison.
Sizemore’s slavering jowls are a’quiver as he goes for August Asner’s throat, and McG pulls him off, saying the old guy has done his time. He sings that he’s going to make it after all, and tosses his hat in the air.
August Asner is so flustered he bumps into the wall several times and is out of breath, likely because they whip out some flashbacks from a 30-year-old “Hawaii 5-0,” in which Augest Asner is dealing in smuggled netsuke. Sizemore browbeats August Asner into setting up a “meet” with Pistol Perp. August Asner reveals that McG’s father drove him to jail, which, for some reason, causes McG to look smugly self-satisfied.
Dramatic music as we see an aerial view of Hooters at Aloha Tower Marketplace.
They’re on the water at Gordon Biersch, which makes me thirsty for a frosty Hefeweizen. August Asner makes small talk with Pistol Perp, until he lets slip a little too much, and Sizemore feels obliged to gun down Pistol Perp. August Asner does some spastic, useless gesture with a potted plant, which was probably part of a stunt gone agley.
“Nice shot, Sizemore!” snarls McG. “You’ve extended this episode by half an hour!”
Sizemore justifies the shoot by stating boldly that Pistol Perp “matched the description of the hijacker,” yeah, the hijacking with no witnesses? From ten minutes ago? Sizemore has a real talent for looking both arrogant and stupid.
Pistol Perp, it turns out, is JasonScottLee’s (you have to pronounce it as one word) brother, whom the H50 squaddies jailed a year ago. (Will they award JasonScottLee with previous-episode flashbacks, like they did Asner?)
Instead, he vaguely threatens Danno’s daughter — Scott Caan does a great slow burn at this — whilst Sizemore finds a cell phone hidden within a book with cut-out pages. Let’s hope that the phone had an iBook download of those missing pages. And which book is the phone charger hidden within? Oh, it’s not?
August Asner IDs a sample diamond as a Liberian “blood diamond,” and fingers Africans in general as potential suspects. He charmingly tries to hie away with the diamond, but he’s busted — charmingly — by Kono.
Magic Table pops up pictures of visiting Liberians and Sister McG identifies one as Scary African Guy, who’s staying at the Sheraton Waikiki. They all go down there, and as McG tries to retrieve his flak vest from Danno’s trunk, he discovers a hideous black-icing cake shaped like a pistol. It’s his birthday. Awwww.
Scary African Guy is just sitting in his hotel room, fully dressed in a snazzy suit, checking out stock prices or whatever on his laptop when the H-50 squaddies burst in. Angela isn’t there.
In the Green Room, Scary African Guy rats out Angela. Yep, she’s in on it. Guy says they had to draft Sister McG to make the drop. McG goes thrombo and hisses “She was my sister!” The past-tense is interesting.
They all agree that Angela is too dumb to have planned this herself, so the suspicion of being a criminal mastermind falls on JasonScottLee.
They handle it by putting JasonScottLee back in “general population,” so he’d better watch his okole. JasonScottLee joins a line of prisoners. Interestingly, he’s wearing a fitted orange HCF jumpsuit while the other prisoners have orange HCF pajamas. How does he rate? Oh yeah, he’s JasonScottLee.
McG gives Sister McG the big-brother treatment, tells her to buck up. The airline is letting her keep her job. Taryn Manning actually does a good job here of essaying disappointment, hope and relief. They have to sit on the edge of a table at H50 HQ, as there are no chairs.
Then everyone sings “Happy Birthday Cha Cha Cha” to McG. The cake this time is a giant hand grenade, and they’ve made it with salt instead of sugar. Ha ha ha!
Clever mini-montage of Hawaii winding down its day, and we see August Asner on a pier with “Angela,” and he shoots her dead and shambles off with both the money and the diamonds. Whoa!
And so, “Kalele” ends with an actual twist, even though, true-to-form, the baddie has no personality and only one line and we only see her in the very last scene. It’s H50.2 keeping us at arm’s length away from actually caring about the characters. Body count: two, from a nasty crash. Plenty of star power tonight. Ed Asner really is the old guy in “Up.” And JasonScottLee and Sister McG get their various comeuppances, both bad and good.
Burl Burlingame is a features reporter at the Honolulu Star-Advertiser. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter.