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Thread: Epitome of the series?

  1. #1
    I've been meaning to pose this question for awhile but things have overtaken my intentions.

    Which episode of the Classic Five-O series do you consider the epitome of the series? As in, what one episode encapsulates everything about the show: the good, the bad, the indifferent, the meh? All 278 are up for grabs and there's more than one I can think of. As well, what ingredients do you believe need to be included to be considered the epitome of the series? Is it the teamwork? The crime of the week? The villain getting the upper hand on the team then getting their just desserts?

    There's three I can think of: Hookman, Nine Dragons and The Bells Toll At Noon.

    If I had to boil it down to one: The Bells Toll At Noon had a solid story with an elusive (and sympathetic to a point) villain in Johnny Kling. The team had to work together to figure out what was going on and the pattern Johnny was following. He went after everyone in the supply chain he considered responsible for the overdose death of a young woman (I believe she was 20) who Johnny was in love with. The way he did this was creative in re-creating endings to three classic James Cagney movies. The finale also didn't end in a shoot-out but rather a talk down. After re-watching this episode a few weeks ago, I have to agree with Karen Rhodes' assessment in her book and Mr. Mike on his web page: this is perhaps the series' most perfect episode. It even had a funny moment (to me, I'm an odd duck) when McGarrett slams on the brakes recognizing the sketch from the motel of Johnny. He nearly threw Danno through the windshield!

    Any other thoughts? What other episodes qualify and why?

  2. #2
    Five-O Home Page Author Mr. Mike's Avatar
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    If you want a show which is near-perfect, I would suggest Yesterday Died And Tomorrow Won't Be Born from the first season, despite the fact that McGarrett is out of action for most of the show. Joseph Trinian is a super nasty villain, and his plot for revenge on those who jerked him around has no faults that I can see. Deathwatch, also in the first season, got a high rating from me in my recent re-viewing. Other 4-star shows so far include The Box, Forty Feet High and It Kills, Singapore File, All the King's Horses, Most Likely to Murder, The Late John Louisiana, To Kill or Be Killed, The Grandstand Play and Skinhead. All of these are worthy of discussion...

    As far as the shows you mentioned...

    I like Nine Dragons because of its international scope. However, the structure of this episode is kind of weird. It starts out with this section which is like a long teaser, then we get McGarrett doing a voice over: "How did I get here, and why? What is it that I've got to stop by 4:00? … It all began two weeks earlier at Hickam Field in Honolulu." The story then proceeds from that point in the "present" and carries on to the end, including what we have already seen with McGarrett getting rescued in Hong Kong harbor in the quasi-teaser. It seems to me that the resolution of the plot, i.e., nabbing Wo Fat and so forth, is kind of given short shrift compared to the rest of the story. The music in this show is excellent. One thing I don't like about this is McGarrett's super-sexist comment to Barbara Dalton, "You're very pretty, and I'm sure you know a lot about chemistry." This seems very much out of character for McGarrett, even if Dalton was needling him about the excessive security surrounding the toxin.

    Hookman is another excellent episode, with one of H50's very nastiest villains. The music in this show is one of Morton Stevens' best. There are some nit-picky things in the show, however, like the fact that the Mustang which is hauled out of the harbor is not the same as the one Stoner was driving previous to this.

    Bells Toll at Noon is also very good, though I haven't seen this in quite a while. I was very disturbed that this show was rated worst of the season in a poll on IMDb years ago, and while the user Alpha was most vocal about this, he was joined by several others who agreed with him. His big objection was the end where Johnny Kling breaks into this dance like James Cagney in "Yankee Doodle Dandy." I didn't understand the complaint about this, it was totally in character for Kling, who was obsessed with old movies and old movie actors.

  3. #3
    Agreed Mr. Mike. Yesterday Died and Tomorrow Won't Be Born is one of the best. I re-watched that one recently and it continues to stand up.

    I watched All The King's Horses last night and thought it is definitely worthy of discussion. McGarrett is especially bullheaded in this one wanting Mike Finney to get a fair shake and a second chance. It also doesn't hurt that one of my favorite actors, Keye Luke, made a guest appearance. His line to McGarrett about being previously imprisoned and now a State Senator is one of the best, and one of my favorites, in the whole series.

    Both of these episodes are certainly in the running in my book.

  4. #4
    I also re-watched "Yesterday Died" and it was great. That episode could appear on the surface to be not a very good one -- very little McGarrett is seen, and we know who the killer is from near the very beginning. However, it was excellent.

    "Nightmare in Blue" is another "epitome of Hawaii Five-O" episode. The only part I didn't like was the very end, where McGarrett acted like a jerk regarding the rape victim who survived. When she called to talk to him (right after McGarrett killed the rapist), he said, "Tell her there's nothing to discuss!" Cold!

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