Just to let you guys know, I am doing a combination of reposting old reviews I wrote last year on Mike's forum, as well as posting new reviews. This is a new review. You can tell the difference because I will list the season/episode number on the new reviews.

I mentioned in another post that Season 9 was inferior to seasons 1 through 7. This episode was a good example of it.

What started out as a fascinating mystery in the opening acts degraded into a convoluted mess which I still don't fully understand after watching the episode and even rewinding some parts.

The opening act involves Jim Spier (Jack Kelly) escaping from prison, in order to prove his innocence. He had been convicted of killing his elderly wife, Helen Newhall, presumably to receive her million-dollar (about $5 million in today's money) estate. Spier had turned down parole twice, claiming that it would be an admission of guilt.

In attempt to find more information, Spier breaks into the home of Detective Norton (Lyle Bettiger), the now-retired cop who put him away, and steals his files. He also breaks into the home of his deceased wife's daughter, Anita Newhall (Zohra Lampert), and confronts her about an investigation she had done on him and his mistress prior to the murder.

The viewer is led to believe very early in the show that Spier is innocent, and he's seen talking with a hairdesser girlfriend Claudine Hessler (Linda Ryan) about how he can prove his innocence. While it's revealed several times in the show that Spier and Helen Newhall had a marraige which was more of an "arrangement", where he gave her companionship and friendship in exchange for eventually inheriting he fortune, it's not made clear how and when he got together with Hessler. This is because Spier claimed he had an affair with a woman named Edna Kentner right before Helen was murdered, which he was quickly arrested and convicted for. So when did he have time to meet Hessler and fall in love with her? This was never explained.

During Spier's break-in to Anita Newhall's place, it's interrupted by Norton, who had been hired to protect her. However, Anita shoots Norton and lets Spier run off, for reasons which, again, were never explained. Norton died believing that he helped convict the right man, so there was absolutely no reason to kill him, nor was there a reason for Anita to let Spier run off. She would have had the perfect excuse for shooting him in her own house, claiming self defense!

At this point, it is obvious to the viewer that Anita Newhall, who claims to practice some New Age religion and says she communicates with her dead mother, is guilty of something, and likely had something to do with framing Spier.

Much of the episode is spent searching for the mysterious Edna Kentner, who had a 1-night-stand with Spier the night Helen Newhall was killed, but could never be located. Both Spier and Five-O look for Kentner, at first without success. Then, in a strange sequence, Duke and Chin are assigned to search for Spier's mysterious beautician girlfriend, while Danno is tasked to find Kentner. Both of these "searches" are bizarre. After visiting numerous beauty parlors, somehow Chin comes up with a very accurate drawing of Spier's girlfriend Hessler, and verifies it with prison officials who saw her visiting. How? It isn't explained how Chin connected Hessler with Spier. Then, in an even weirder scene, Danno is shown interviewing a stewardess who helped Edna Kentner find a dentist in San Francisco during a flight out from Hawaii. But how did Danno know that Kentner was on that flight, if that was assumed to be (and was) a fake name? Did Edna Kentner book the flight under the alias she gave to Spier? Again, this was never explained.

Thanks to the tip and the San Francisco dentist, Danno locates Edna Kentner, and finds out her real name is Evelyn Knight -- but that she had just moved out of her apartment prior to Danno getting there. Shortly after that, a woman fitting Kentner/Knight's description is seen entering Anita Newhall's place, so Danno and McGarrett rush down there.

After initially denying that Evelyn Knight is there, an older woman comes down the stairs who looks just like Helen Newhall, and that's exactly who she is. So Helen Newhall actually isn't dead, after all! But who was the body found in the "lion's pit" (lol) where Helen was supposedly murdered?

It turns out that the real Evelyn Knight, who traveled to Hawaii as Edna Kentner, was killed at Helen Newhall's house shortly after she had sex with Spier. Helen had come home and found this, but said nothing until Spier had left for some reason (again, this isn't expained), and then she confronted Knight. Helen injured her, went downstairs to call for an ambulance, and then her daughter had come down and informed her that Evelyn was dead, presumably having finished her off without telling her mom. They then arranged for Helen to take over Evelyn's identity and move to San Francisco, and Anita pretended that the victim in the lion's pit was really her mom. This was supposed to get her the inheritance instead of Spier, and also screwed Spier, whom she hated.

This convoluted revelation came via an awkwardly-staged, several-minute-long interview between McGarrett, Danno, and the two Newhall women at Anita's house. It ends with McGarrett booking both for "conspiracy". Somehow McGarrett doesn't book Anita for her murder of Norton, despite believing Spier's version of events at that point, because he orders Spier released!

Lots of problems with the entire story. Why was Evelyn Knight using an alias in the first place? Someone said that perhaps she was using it because she was ashamed of the affairs she'd be having in Hawaii, but who flies 3000 miles just to have an affair with married men? Also, even if she came to Hawaii expecting to use an alias while there, why fly under an alias? How could she have predicted she would have been the subject of an investigation later on? Makes no sense.

I have a hard time believing that an elderly, frail-looking woman like Helen Newhall could seriously harm a younger woman (which Evelyn Knight presumably was), even if she were angry. The entire murder of Norton didn't make sense, nor did Anita's sparing of Spier, when she knew he would report on what really happened once he was caught. It's never made clear whether Helen Newhall was aware that Anita was going to frame Spier for the killing. On one hand it seems obvious, but at the same time, Helen seems to be forthcoming with McGarrett and Danno, as if she has nothing to hide. It's also never explained how Helen Newhall took over Evelyn Knight's identity without anyone missing the real Evelyn.

It's too bad. This could have been a good episode. The opening acts with Spier escaping, declaring that he was looking for the real killer, and his invasion of Norton's property were exciting and full of mystery. Then the entire thing went to crap.

Mike gave it 1 star in his review. I'll give a more generous 1.5 stars out of 4.