One duty that “Hawaii Five-O” and all the police drama’s cast, crew, writers, and showrunners take very seriously is the deep honor and connection to the military, and to all those who have served and sacrificed. The week of October 19's fourth episode of Season 9 is “A'ohe'kio pohaku nalo i ke alo pali” (On the Slope of the Cliff, Not One Jutting Rock Is Hidden from Sight). There have been numerous touching and memorable episodes in honor of the military from the original “Hawaii Five-O” series run to the current long-running incarnation, and this particular episode pulsates with power and emotion from the first five minutes, and throughout the remaining episode, which transcends time.

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Junior (Beulah Koale) and Jerry (Jorge Garcia) assume the duty and honor of escorting the body of a heroic fallen Staff Sgt. from Dover AFB to his family in Hawaii. Junior is perplexed as to why he was designated as the escort, and he is told that it is probably because he and officer Kaliko (Kainalu Moya) are from the same hometown. The moving honors of transporting the hero’s body from the hangar to the C-130 cargo plane are enough to bring tears from a turnip, much less any viewer with a loved one in the military.

Junior (Beulah Koale) and Jerry (Jorge Garcia) fulfill an honored and sacred duty on Hawaii Five-O. [Image source: Spoiler TV-YouTube]
Junior (Beulah Koale) and Jerry (Jorge Garcia) fulfill an honored and sacred duty on Hawaii Five-O. [Image source: Spoiler TV-YouTube]

Through the journey, Junior and Jerry reveal their own reasons behind being compelled for this somber duty. Personal touches are added throughout, including Jorge Garcia, Jr., portraying a pallbearer. This is the finest performance to date from Beulah Koale.

On another front, when a semi truck loaded with black sand is tailed by a traffic cop, and the driver opts to dump the contents to delay confinement, a decomposed body is part of the load, missing many parts, but most notably, both feet.

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Danny and Steve (Scott Caan and Alex O'Loughlin) take a boat out to find those specific body parts and find more than they bargained for, while Tani (Meaghan Rath) and Lou (Chi McBride) discover more unique details on the case.

A matter of honor

Steve tries to convince Duke (Dennis Chun) to fight to clear his name and get his well-deserved job and reputation back during his reinstatement hearing, but the grandfather, and beloved part of the “Hawaii Five-O” “ohana,” seems resigned be content with retirement and dote on his granddaughter, who was at the core of the incident leading to his suspension.

When Steve gets on-site at the scene of the sand/body dump, there is little left to define the victim's identity. Noelani (Kimee Balmilero) identifies surgical marks on the tibia that indicate a screw was in place on the foot, which is certainly a unique marking. Steve and Danny take a high-definition imager on a boat, and Steve dives for the right feet. Danny takes the opportunity to state his case on not being included in the restaurant decisions and Duke’s situation while Steve is submerged in water and cannot disagree.

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Steve brings up what he thinks is the only pair of feet, but these have nail polish and female shape. He has to take another dip to retrieve the male feet, one of which has that unique screw. They realize that this case is a double homicide.

The experience of being escorts brings Junior’s memories back from serving in Afghanistan when he was asked to designate his own escort. He was not only tormented by the question but by his father's spurning due to his joining the military.

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He eventually chose his cousin, but the pain of the gulf between father and son still lingers.

Jerry, too, feels a different kind of loss. He was inspired to serve in the military, after the tragedy of September 11, but suffered a panic attack during his recruitment interview and had to face the news that he was not military material. Junior consoled him, letting him know there were other ways to show bravery and Jerry had fulfilled those on the team. An added pain was that he had encouraged his good friend to join the military and that friend lost his life in service. Jerry became so consumed with grief that he never attended his funeral, and saw fulfilling this duty as some measure of making amends.

Truth of life

Action fans who live for the thrilling chases of “Hawaii Five-O” will love the scenes at the sand processing site, where McGarrett and the perpetrator leap and fly across stairs and silos. Danny delivers a great line about ending up with “three bodies and no partner.” Writers Talia Gonzalez and Bisanne Masoud crafted singular components into the storyline, including the fact that when a female body is found at the site, both victims share the same name. Lou and Tani reveal that the female is part of the Mahu culture, in which both female and male identities can be expressed and respected. A visit to a dance studio turns grim when Tani and Lou are told that the good friend and fellow teacher of the owner have been missing for weeks.

The perpetrator is revealed when an interrogation uncovers that the husband of the victim made the call about his missing wife, while on vacation with her friend in Bali, and the inexpensive hitman had first killed the wrong victim, then the right one, resulting in real prison time.

Duke visits Steve, telling him that he has reconsidered, and wants to defend himself at his reinstatement hearing. He realizes that his example may be a “roadmap” for his granddaughter, and he asks for Steve’s support, which is promised “1000%.”

Junior does not realize why he was chosen as the escort until they arrive at a church near Pearl Harbor where Christopher Kaliko ’s parents wait. Seeing a high school bumper sticker, his memory is triggered to a speech he gave there for an assembly encouraging enlistment in the military. A young Chris Kaliko thanks him for the inspiration. He is overcome with guilt for the loss of the officer and his part in it. Jerry urges him to see the heroism that he inspired, and how he lives that heroism out with “Hawaii Five-O.” He must fulfill this duty, and as he gently informs the family of the arrival of their son, he receives a letter from Christopher. The personally addressed letter states “things didn't go my way,” leading to “this sad day” but, moreover, the lasting impact of the young man’s service resulted in a community of people living in freedom with their home intact. The screen goes to white for the credits as the words “the greatest satisfaction of my life.”

This was a job well done for “Hawaii Five-O.”

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