Random thoughts on 3.20

A little warning upfront, if you haven’t seen the episode yet… turn away now. At the end of this review there won’t be any surprises left. So, you have been warned. 😉

From now on you can rate every episode in a quick poll. Hope you will have fun to see what others thought of the episode. If you vote below ‘okay’ I’m sure we all would love to hear why. Tell us in the comments if you like.

Okay, before we even start with the review I like to say that I’m pretty sure that this is the episode that was more anticipated than any other. And it won’t come as a surprise, knowing me by now, that I was not disappointed.

But as usual let’s start at the beginning. Three years ago we saw Steve McGarrett transporting a prisoner in a convoy in South Korea. Back then we didn’t know who the prisoner was or where he got caught. We didn’t even know much about who Steve McGarrett was. Over the years we learned more about the Hesse brothers and who we thought was behind the murder of Steve’s dad.

NOW we will finally learn what actually happened in the hours before those first scenes of Hawaii Five-0. And I for one couldn’t be happier to see more of SEAL Steve. As I said before I think he is the character with the most interesting background. Just the fact that he is one of only about roughly 3,000 SEALs makes him more interesting than one out of a million police officers. (Yes, there are about one million police officers in the US. The numbers vary between 900,000 and 1,100,000. Depending on where you look for it.)

Anyway, I’d be happy to learn a bit more about the others too, but jumped for joy to get a whole episode about our Steve. (And I bet SC, DDK, and GP were happy to have some time off.)


Steve is back in South Korea, at the border to North Korea to be exact. Obviously to make some kind of prisoner exchange. Of course we know that he is supposed to pick up his SEAL buddy who he had to leave behind on a previous mission. Now, after three years he will finally come home. Anyone who thought that this would go as smoothly as planned? No, of course not.

I must say those were some chilling scenes at the beginning. I loved it how McGarrett didn’t even utter one word, but his thoughts were more than clear. Perfect.

Okay, everyone who had seen even just a glimpse of BUD/S training or had been to Coronado would know that this is not southern California. But I guess it’s the best they could do in beautiful Hawaii. And I’m glad that our heroes didn’t have to freeze their little butts off. The water in December in Coronado is damn cold. So lucky for our guys that they were in Hawaii in March. Nice and warm. But I’m sure it was still not much fun to lie in the surf like that or make sugar cookies out of oneself. 🙂

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Not sure why Joe was picking on Hart, but as we learn in a little while he had his reasons to suspect him to be a quitter. (Little fact here, the drop-out rate at BUD/S is between 70 and 90 percent. The winter course is harder due to the cold water conditions and therefore the drop-out rate is higher. And BUD/S is only the beginning. After this they are a long way from the trident. All Navy SEALs must attend and graduate from their rating’s 24-week school known as Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL (BUD/S) training and then the 26-week SEAL Qualification Training (SQT) program. SQT qualifies all BUD/S graduates in basic SEAL skillsets in MAROPS, Combat Swimmer, Communications, TCCC, Close Quarters Combat, Land Warfare, Static line/Free-fall Parachute Operations, SERE Level C (Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Survival,_Evasion,_Resistance_and_Escape ), CQD and Hand-to-Hand Combat. All sailors entering the SEAL training pipeline with a medical rating or those chosen by Naval Special Warfare Command must also attend the 6 month Advanced Medical Training Course 18D and subsequently earn the NEC SO-5392 Naval Special Warfare Medic before joining an operational Team. Once outside the formal schooling environment SEALs entering a new Team at the beginning of an operational rotation can expect 18 months of advanced training before each 6 month deployment. In total, from the time a prospective SEAL enters military service to the time he finishes his first pre-deployment training cycle, it can take over 30 months to completely train a Navy SEAL for his first deployment)

It was nice to see a tiny glimpse into how Steve started out to become a SEAL, and it tells us for good now that Steve went to SEAL school first and worked for NI later. Or maybe he never worked for NI but for the CIA’s highly secretive Special Activities Division (SAD) like he told Danny that Nick did (back in 1.09). They recruit operators from the SEAL teams. Joint Navy SEALs and CIA operations go back to the Vietnam War and are still seen in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. That creepy guy (Robert Picardo, probably best known as the ‘Holo’-doc from Star Trek Voyager) in a later scene might be from SAD.

Boy, you are getting more background information in this ‘review’ than an actual review. Need to change that. 😉

Guess all that training with Egan came in handy while stopping his buddy from quitting.

After this little visit to Steve’s past way back, we are back in the present at Osan AFB in South Korea, where Steve and Cath are waiting for their flight back home. I really loved it that Cath called Danny to give him an update about how it all went. I thought it was sweet that she kept him in the loop. And it was even sweeter that Danny asked how his boy was doing.

Even though Catherine told Danny everything went without a hitch, that was about to change. Of course it couldn’t be that easy. They got the wrong body.

Now we get the next flashback, this time not quite as far into the past. The time is September 2010. And we all know what that means. Shortly after whatever is going to happen, the events in the Pilot happened. But before that we finally see Steve with sunglasses again. First of all, I think shades can look really cool, and I always wondered why the heck they aren’t wearing any in Hawaii. No, seriously, all of them are glaring in the sun, sometimes barely able to see. Please, prop people, give them some shades. It’s good for their health, and it looks cool.

This is when Steve gets the order to travel to North Korea to extract Anton Hesse. Now, here is a question for all of you. Didn’t we learn that Wo Fat was behind the whole murder scenario of Steve’s father, that he was responsible for the killing? And that it was his planning and funding that made the attack on the convoy possible? If that is so how did he manage to organize all that in such a short time? How did he even know about it? I’m presuming that Steve didn’t spend any length of time in South Korea before he transported Anton Hesse. Was Wo Fat in NK during that time? Was he also behind all the smuggling? And if so, did Steve just eliminate a huge part of his operation at the end of this episode?

Okay, back to the show. On the couch is the creepy CIA/SAD guy I was talking about. “This mission does not exist. If you’re killed or captured, you’re on your own. That means no rescue attempts, no negotiations, not even an acknowledgement of your service.” Sounds like fun, doesn’t it?

Steve is allowed to choose his own partner, and so Freddie Hart and Steve are on their way. Personally I love the scenes on the plane. Yes, the story that he just got married and a baby on the way was maybe a bit much. BUT they sold it really cute and those were some great scenes.

And we learned how Steve knew that the body was not Freddie. The question now was what to do about it? Going to the authorities and trying to negotiate again? No, Steve was right; they have waited long enough for Freddie to come home. Only one right thing to do. (And please remember, this is TV, not real life. So yeah, on TV two people can go into North Korea to retrieve a body that was buried who knows where and might not even be there anymore. On TV everything is possible. Well, almost everything. If you think this is unrealistic, well only two words for you, ‘Giant Claw’. THAT was unrealistic. Steve going into North Korea? Piece of cake.)

I really liked their mini argument if Cath should come or not. And I loved Steve’s acknowledgement that she CAN take care of herself just like he can take care of himself. That was great, and one part of Steve I really love. He accepts her and other women as equals. That is truly great. That of course doesn’t mean he doesn’t try to protect them just a little bit more than his male friends. But that is just natural and I would be disappointed if he didn’t. And I was very happy that he didn’t pull rank on her, and accepted her help easily.

Uh, and by the way, what does she needs Dramamine for? Does she have motion sickness or her boyfriend? 😉

I thought Steve and Joe were kind of at odds with each other? Isn’t Steve at least somewhat mad at him for lying all those years? This actually came as a little surprise.

I’m not really sure what was more disgusting; what’s in that drink or his finger in it. 😉

Welcome back Frank Bama.

Okay, you all know I’m not a fan of Kono. And again she showed me why I won’t become one any time soon. I have no idea who thinks it might be clever or even remotely funny to let her say such stupid crap. Really, Kono, you think Steve would ever forget that he was captured and tortured in NK? Or that he needs YOU to remind him of that? I’m more than sure that Steve is very well aware of the risks they are taking right now. Sorry to disappoint you, Kono, you don’t sound like the adult here at all. I only found that remark stupid and almost offensive. And I think even Steve looked annoyed. I bet he wished not to have called them with an update.

I have to completely agree with Frank here, Steve does look so much better than the last time he was in the country. I liked Frank the last time we saw him, and I liked him this time around even more. Loved the scene with Tangerine.

With Frank’s help they make it into North Korea, armed and ready to take on everyone who stands in their way of recovering Freddie.

This is the perfect time for the next short flashback. This time to the beginning of the mission to capture Anton Hesse. With very cool scenes jumping out of the plane, and the two boys landing in the right location.

We’re going right back to Steve and Catherine who are, according to Steve, just 3 clicks (one click = military speak for one kilometer, that’s about 1093 yards) from where they will find Freddie. How the heck did Steve know that he was still where he left him? Why was he so sure that Freddie was still there? I mean, really, I think it is highly unlikely that the baddies back then took the time to bury him right there on the spot where he was killed. If they would bury him at all. So, how does Steve know where to find his friend? That is one big plot hole, but one I’m willing to overlook.


Don’t you think it was a bit naïve and way too risky to take a prisoner, even though he was the one killing, or at least shooting his friend? I’m pretty sure Steve would not have gone after that guy; simply because it would comprise their situation. It was a high risk they took to capture the guy.

And as we could see soon, it didn’t work out like they hoped.

Of course they got their guy in the end.

I thought it was very sweet how worried Steve was about Cath’s injuries, and how Cath thought that his were way worse. Two tough ‘guys’ not willing to admit they were both hurting pretty badly.

Finding Freddie’s remains and realizing what was done to his body are my second favorite scenes. That was pretty heartbreaking.

In the next scenes we got another glimpse of BAMF Steve. I would not want to get on his bad side. Really, I would think twice of making him my enemy. I guess the scene with the grenade is kind of controversial, but I don’t have a problem with it. They had to make sure that he stays put. Sure, his chances were not very good to survive it, but he still had a chance. Besides, this was not on some back road on Oahu; this was North Korea, in the middle of enemy territory. I do believe different rules of engagement are in effect in that situation. So, I’m okay with it, and with the outcome of it.

Of course it was clear that it would not go smoothly after this. And sure enough Steve and Cath were captured.

I have to confess I was a little disappointed in the scenes with Cath and Steve as prisoners. I expected at least some kind retaliation from Han Ji Woon. I expected him to at least rough up Steve a little bit. But on the other hand they were led away to their execution. Guess Woon didn’t want to waste any time with them. And Woon was somewhat right, Steve was on a personal vendetta and looking at them being prisoners, it was kind of foolish to go after Woon. They should have only gone after the body and leave. But of course I can understand that Steve wanted to get the guy who mutilated his friend’s remains.

I loved it how Cath and Steve worked in perfect sync taking out the bad guys.

What kind of stupid macho behavior was that? Han Ji Woon coming at Steve like that? I mean, a small handgun without any cover against an assault rifle from behind cover? Simply stupid and a bit unbelieving that he would do such a thing.

At this point I had almost forgotten that we still didn’t learn how Freddie died. So, here we got the next flashback.

And that was a really tough one. When Freddie was hit and he wanted Steve to leave him there. Those were great scenes. For me the best of the episode. It was so heartbreaking that Steve had to leave his friend behind. All his efforts were useless, and in the end he had to drive off.

It was kind of cool that they used footage from the actual pilot. Even though I had to smile at how different Alex looked back then. I think a bit older and the little more weight suits him well.

Remembering the scenes that are to follow and now knowing what happened before that, it shows us what his job had cost Steve in just a few days. His best friend got killed, and just a few days later his father met the same fate. That had been a hard week for Steve.

I loved the scenes on the plane with Catherine and Steve. That was very sweet.

There is really not much to say about the ending of the episode. That was pretty much perfect. I have nothing that I would change about it. I loved the scenes at the airport. The respect everyone showed when the casket was unloaded. I loved it how they showed the different people and started with the voice-over and the wonderful music, and then switched to the actual funeral. That was brilliantly done.

The scenes with the little daughter are actually not my favorite ones. For me that was a tiny little bit too much. And I was for the first time totally distracted by that stupid wig. I know I should simply ignore it, but I couldn’t. That looked so ridiculous. Who the heck is responsible for that? The same guy who does the makeup for the tattoo when Steve takes his shirt off? It’s obvious that he/she is colorblind. We have absolute proof now. And btw why couldn’t they film the scenes at ‘Coronado’ last, and give Steve for the future episodes a haircut? Why do we have to endure this wig a few more episodes? Really, guys, Steve can’t get a haircut? Okay, rant over, on to the funeral.

How cool was it that his team was there? Supporting him from a respectable distance. I loved that.

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Well, I guess all that is left is my verdict. I’m sure that is not that hard to guess. I loved this episode, but I knew that long before it even aired. Give me SEAL Steve and I’m happy. Yeah, I’m easy like that. LOL

No, seriously, I think this was a well written and perfectly executed hour of entertainment. It had action and lots of emotional scenes for our normally unfazed SEAL. This was a very well rounded episode. I loved the different color theme for every time of the ep, every flashback had a slightly different filter. That was great.

And I for one didn’t miss the team one bit. Simply because this was not about the team. This was purely about Steve and his background. And I loved to see that. And I loved to see Catherine with him, not as his girlfriend, but as an equal partner and officer of the Navy. But still she gave him support in any way he needed. Those two are just perfect for each other. I couldn’t have said it better than Freddie did: “She is the real deal. Don’t mess it up.” I truly hope Steve’s ‘roger that’ means just that. This episode was written by Peter Lenkov and Ken Solarz. I hope those words were written by Lenkov and that he will remember them for a long time to come. Don’t mess those two up, Mr. Lenkov. Please.

For me, this was an outstanding episode and no other rating than an A plus will suffice.

I would love to hear where you agree or strongly disagree.

6 thoughts on “Random thoughts on 3.20

  1. I LOVED every bit of this episode. We were given BAMF SEAL Steve (and devoted lover Cath), nice Ohana moments (‘How’s my boy?” and the final scene), wonderful scenes of Steve and Freddie’s friendship, and patriotic moments that stirred up amazing feelings.

    I personally LOVED the scene with Steve and Freddie’s daughter. The range of emotions Alex showed throughout the episode was fantastic…….Emmy Please!

    Excellent episode – brilliant !!


  2. This was an absolutely freaking awesome episode and so is your summary of it hon!!! Love the diaporamas! You have said everything I thought about this episode…..minus the drool that was falling out of my mouth as I thought…lol lol Excellent hon. Thanks for sharing!


  3. Thank you for this great review!
    This episode was just freaking awesome! I loved it from beginning to the end. For me it was the best episode of all three seasons! And I don’t care that there was no team. Although I’m not a McRoll-Shipper (I’m all for McKono, weird I know, but I can’t help) I do appreciate that she brings out a different side of Steve.
    Yes – it was a pure ‘Steve the SEAL’ episode, but he deserved it. We saw Bamf!Steve, Caring!Steve, Gentle!Steve, Emotional!Steve, Reliable!Steve, Badass!Steve, Broken!Steve and Funny!Steve too. Outstanding performance from Alex.
    And I am with Sheri: Emmy please (even though I know it won’t come to that)!


  4. Great review, I really like this episode, Steve and Cath were great.
    After this ep I realised that he didn’t only lost his dad but also his best friend.
    In Poland there is a soup called “czernina”( blood soup), made from ducks blood and other products, and that was my first thought when I saw this drink fuuuu.

    Kajtena 😉


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