Hawaii Five-O” followers were, no doubt, suffering withdrawals from weeks of missing their favorite Friday night crime-busters. Nothing makes any “Hawaii Five-O” heart happier than a new episode, and the March 2 episode, which is the 16th in season 8, “O na hoku a ka lani ka I ‘ike la Pae” (Only the Stars of Heaven Know Where Pae Is) is full of fun, fear, and a suspense factor certain to fill many coming episodes.

Meant to be Mama and Papa

Depending on whether a fan loves terror or delight, the opening scene of this “Hawaii Five-O” installment is one for the memory books.

Adam (Ian Anthony Dale) is being devoured by fire ants while chained in the storage container in which he was last deposited. Cringeworthy does not begin to describe the scene, and the day will only go downhill for Adam from there.

Lt. Commander McGarrett (Alex O'Loughlin) tasks Tani and Junior (Meaghan Rath and Beulah Koale) to go undercover as prospective parents at the pricey private Lawrence Academy to find answers about the missing headmaster. They play their parts to the nines, and the snappy dialogue is a delight, too. The pretend couple even comes up with family photos. When they are prompted, “Come on, you're in love!,” Tani fires back, “No we’re not, we’re married,” during a family photo session with a superimposed son.

The inquisitive couple probes the admissions director, Ms. Meech (Robyn Lively) as to why the headmaster was not present to talk with them. She unwittingly reveals a bit too much even then about her “goody-goody” cover, and the team has already exposed that she takes payments “off the top” from interested families, gaining vacations, cars, and other goodies for herself.

She is not the killer, though. After Steve takes a jackhammer to a poorly laid slab of concrete, a gun and its owner come to light.

That identity comes fairly quickly, with the revelation that Jared Barton (Robert William Campbell), the “builder” of a new gym at the school, is already massively over budget, in the millions. His confession comes quite quickly to Danny (Scott Caan) and Steve.

He admits that he deserves prison “or worse.” The stashed money was to serve as protection for his family from the cartel that was after him, and who are now making them targets.

Shoveling to survive

Steve and Danny are struggling with budget problems of their own at the restaurant. Uncle Vito (Vincent Pastore) convinces them that he is “handling” every issue (in the old-school Jersey hustle way), even offering bribes for the liquor license.

Actor Aaron Yoo couldn't be more despicably perfect in the role of Hideki Tashiro, and his character uses the capable hands and brass knuckles of Jessie (Christine Ko) to convince Adam that he is deadly serious about getting his hands on the $20 million that Michelle Shioma disclosed to Adam during his prison visit.

Adam gives Jessie credit for not blowing her cover even a tiny bit, but all the beating is still taking its toll. She pleads with Adam to come up with a plan. Adam knows the underworld in a very personal sense, and more than once, he's had to think on his feet. He tells Tashiro that he will lead him to the money. After a long trek on foot, still stinging, Adam is ordered to dig for the dollars. He comes to a locked case holding a gun. Tashiro holds his own gun to Adam’s head, about to fire. Adam explains that the gun was used to kill a wealthy business partner and that his father had “cleaned it up.” The gun has worth as a blackmail weapon much beyond $20 million, but Adam has to be free to see the mission to the end.

Steve takes responsibility for what has happened to Adam, and wants to “shut down the task force.” Adam is adamant, saying that he wants to stay in more than ever, now that he knows that Tashiro is taking orders from higher bosses.

This storyline gives an entirely new dimension to “Hawaii Five-O” this season, one that is very satisfying. The scenes truly feel like a whole different world from what's going on elsewhere on the island, and the acting is spot-on.

When cartel thugs turn up and take Barton’s wife and daughter, Steve decides to “give them what they want.” He orders a sting to deliver the money, and once again, McGarrett's protégé, Junior, takes aim from the stairs for a last second, life-saving shot.

It was another thrill of the “Hawaii Five-O” return.

Danny is in complete despair after seeing the restaurant completely a wreck. He and Steve decide that Vito will stay and work them out of the mess he's made. As he pulls them in for a hug, he sees a familiar face on TV. He knows the man who shot his nephew Danny while in quarantine. Here lies yet another clue that will unwind as a story thread for the remainder of the season.

Adam answers a call from Christine as he treats his wounds. She tells him to turn on the news, running a story about a murdered businessman. He can feel the barrel of the gun against his own body more than ever now.