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Thread: And A Time To Die... turns 50!

  1. #1
    Yep! It's that time of year again and now we begin with Season 3. S03E01 And A Time To Die...

    Wo Fat (Khigh Dhiegh) is back with his eyes on killing a guy named Shepard (Chuck Couch) who is a British journalist returning from China. The reporter has some very important info in his head - current and planned missile sites throughout China. Of course, nothing is written down and it's all memorized.

    The catalyst to start things is that Shepard is shot in the head at Ala Wai Heliport after he takes off recognizing the man who betrayed him to the Chinese. This guy is Ralston (Norman Du Pont) who works with federal agent Sam Kavanaugh (Gerald S. O'Loughlin). However, Shepard isn't killed, only injured and comatose in the hospital.

    Enter Wo Fat's plans against the neurosurgeon, Dr. Forbes (Donald Moffat). Wo has kidnapped the doctor's daughter Ellen (Sherry Plep) and will return her unharmed if Dr. Forbes allows Shepard to die. McGarrett and the Five-O crew become involved with the lead detective butting heads with Kavanaugh.

    As usual, I'm going to plug Mr. Mike's review of the episode here: Because as usual, he does a much better job at explaining than I do.

    This isn't one of my favorite episodes (and that's the case with most of the Wo Fat episodes for me, although I like Nine Dragons). However, it doesn't mean it's bad. We actually see a human side to Wo Fat in this show when he plays chess with Ellen. He thinks back on a time of a little girl who was killed in the strife in China. It is never made clear if the girl is a sister, niece or even a daughter. Her death obviously affected him and gives us a glimpse into this complex character in more ways than one.

    We also see McGarrett's advocacy for victims of crime as he defends Dr. Forbes and his family numerous times. He's also not willing to write Ellen off as easily as Kavanaugh. Too bad we couldn't see Kavanaugh in any other episodes as he proved to be a federal agent who matched well against McGarrett. Unfortunately, many of the future feds tended to back down right away or didn't have their stuff together like Kavanaugh did.

    Happy 50th for And A Time To Die...

  2. #2
    One of my a great score by Richard Shores that utilizes the theme music in numerous places!

  3. #3
    This episode is one of my favorites as well - good Wo Fat interaction in this one!!

  4. #4
    Like you I’m not a huge fan of the Wo Fat episodes but I really like this one. Love the human side of Wo as well as just the intricate story overall. Well-written!!! I agree that the score by Shores is top-notch, one of his absolute best! A highlight of season 3, alongside Mort Stevens’ score for “Over Fifty? Steal”. The other 2 great scores this season are both by Don Ray - “The Late John Louisiana” and “Ten Thousand Diamonds and a Heart”.

  5. #5
    Five-O Home Page Author Mr. Mike's Avatar
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    Mar 2019
    Vancouver, B.C.
    If this episode is "well-written," how do you explain the end of the show where members of the Five-O team suddenly appear in Coast Guard uniforms?

  6. #6
    Is that really a problem though? They dressed up in coast guard uniforms. Why is that unbelievable? They asked the Coast Guard’s help I suppose. Five-O carries a lot of weight in the islands.

    Compared to the remake the old show is practically a documentary. Exceptionally well-written show.

  7. #7
    Five-O Home Page Author Mr. Mike's Avatar
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    Mar 2019
    Vancouver, B.C.
    It is not a "problem," it is illogical:


    McGarrett asks for a couple of additional hours (equivalent to how long the operation would have taken if Shepard survived). When Kavanaugh says no, McGarrett tells him, "If you feed Wo Fat the word that Shepard talked, I'm gonna feed him the word that you lied. And if you don't think I will, you just try me." McGarrett gets his two hours.

    Armed with a picture of the Sea Gypsy (where he got this from is a good question), McGarrett and Danno scour the local marinas by helicopter trying to find it. He has until 5 p.m. before the deadline runs out, and we see time ticking down to 4:25, 4:44, 4:52 and 4:58. Of course, they manage to locate the boat in time, but not before 5:00 rolls around and Kavanagh tells Ralston that Shepard survived.

    Ralston passes along the word to Wo about Shepard and Wo leaves, instructing Chung and Bates to take care of the child. Kavanaugh and Forbes are driven to the marina by Chin Ho almost immediately as Wo is chauffeured away to go back to China to deal with the silos because of the information to be revealed by the supposedly now-recovered Shepard.

    Overall, the acting for this show has been very good, and the script up to this point has made sense. Unfortunately, there is a totally stupid ending.

    With the 5 p.m. deadline well passed (probably several minutes more) and no consideration for whether Forbes' daughter is going to be killed immediately, McGarrett and Danno, who were only seconds before flying over the yacht, as well as Kono, all appear on a Coast Guard patrol boat beside it, dressed in well-fitting Coast Guard uniforms, as if there was some floating Coast Guard haberdashery nearby, pretending to be "examining vessels to determine compliance with federal boating laws." Lucky for them, the kid is still alive, and Chung hides with her on the yacht, which is quickly uncovered, and Chung is taken out of action. Ellen is rescued and reunited with her father.

  8. #8
    What can I say? It doesn’t bother me. Like you said, there may have been a Coast Guard boat standing at the ready with uniforms all ready for our boys. It’s suspension of disbelief that totally works for me. I don’t need to see every detail - landing the chopper, getting on the boat, taking off their clothes and putting on Coast Guard uniforms. It’s all left to the imagination. Obviously there’s some time compression there too. But it works for me. Honestly I never questioned it.

    Sometimes if the story works I just go along with it and don’t question some odd bits. Nothing is ever perfect. If one starts nit-picking too much it gets harder to appreciate even the really good episodes.

  9. #9
    I agree mostly with ringfire. Yes, like Mike I noticed the Coast Guard uniforms and first said "wtf", but I quickly got past it. I didn't find it that distracting.

    I will agree that the ending wasn't particularly well-written though. I found it convoluted. It would have been better if the traitor inadvertently led Five-O back to the boat. Kavanaugh's instructions to the traitor to watch a supposedly other suspected traitor was bizarre. Yes, it was a ruse by Kavanaugh, but what was he looking to accomplish? Shouldn't he have just pretended it was business as usual? (There was a very similar plot device in Nine Dragons, by the way, and it was also kind of frustrating to watch unfold.)

    I always really liked the Wo Fat character. He was one of the more interesting villains, and the new version on Five-Zero didn't do him justice.

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