Over the history of “Hawaii Five-O,” through nine seasons of the elite crime-fighting force, fans have seen Lt. Commander Steve McGarrett (Alex O'Loughlin) pull off some spellbinding feats in order to save his “Five-O” “ohana” and protect the safety of the public on the islands. The Australian-born actor has been completely honest in admitting that some of the physical strain involved in filming the series has taken a considerable toll. After finding some successful treatments, O'Loughlin has been reinvigorated by his co-stars of the last two seasons and even taken a turn as director.

In this week's January 18 13th episode of Season 9, “Ke iho mai nei ko luna" (Those Above Are Descending), Steve drops by to check in on Grace (Teilor Grubbs), now recovering at home. She lets “Uncle Steve” know that while she appreciates her devoted dad’s (Scott Caan) love and concern, she is being swallowed by all his TLC—he is even buttering her pancakes-- and not giving her a minute alone in between servings of matzo ball soup.

Death down under

When Noelani (Kimee Balmilero) calls in with a case of a body (Ken Dubois) on the beach, Steve is able to oblige Grace’s need for a few hours to herself, and her dad leaves with Steve to investigate. Steve and the medical examiner concur that the victim died from high-pressure nervous syndrome, along with his neck wound, because he had no gear for surviving in deep waters.

Investigation reveals that he is Dr. Jason Kamaka, part of an expert crew aboard the submerged lab, Neptune One, belonging to super-rich entrepreneur, Claude Nostromo (Reed Diamond).

The purported purpose of the lab is studying the impact of a lava flow on the geology of the ocean, but such study motive hardly seems like one that will result in murder.

When Steve and Danny visit Nostromo’s office, he is the very portrait of the courteous but non-corporative subject, never handing over the files that the partners request for the scientists on board his lab. McGarrett makes it clear that they are going deep on this case, sending a team to the lab site.

The casual, poking banter is back between Danny and Steve in this one, as Steve suggests that his partner and his ex are playing “relationship jazz” and Danny retorts that he is “the Miles Davis of relationships.

Steve is called “an animal” for going after Grace’s pancakes, but Danny still keeps a devoted vigil for Steve’s safety and the team at sea.

Junior (Beulah Koale) has his own relationship dilemma with his dad (Eric Scanlon). This father is hardly happy when his son makes repairs on his deck, scolding him for using red Cedar, despite its durability, saying how much trouble it will be. Junior lays down his hammer, reminding that “This time, I don't need an excuse to leave—you’re enough,” handing the tools back to his father.

Steve announces that Junior will lead this investigation and that he and Danny will monitor with Lou (Chi McBride) from the land. He schools Tani (Meaghan Rath) and Adam (Ian Anthony Dale) on the physical impacts of deep water, and they soon learn for themselves.

Blood and deep blue

Dr. Kamaka’s wife (Haley Webb) told Danny and Steve that her husband had only accepted the work on Neptune One in order to pay for her son’s costly stem cell treatments for a rare condition and that recently, the research was not what he thought it would be.

Almost immediately, things take a deadly turn when Junior, Tani, and Adam arrive at the lab and find fresh blood on a trail. They find a wounded Dr. Walker (Jeff Galfer), who tells them he has been attacked by Dr. Marcus Nash (Moronai Kanekoa). Soon another scientist, Nina Kane, explains an attack from Dr. Nash, appearing to be in a weakened state. The oxygen levels seem fine at first, and Tani and Junior go to find Nash.

Fingerprints lead to a secret room, where Nash rages but does not prevail. The specimens in the room have nothing to do with lava but are instead Yttrium, the “rare earth” element used in computer components and numerous other aspects of technology. Mining Yttrium from Hawaii's shores is completely illegal, but irresistible to someone like Nostromo. Tani and Junior trace who has entered the room, and question Dr. Linda Brady (Angela Lin), who tries to prove that she had nothing to do with Kamaka’s demise by showing her logins on the computer. The evidence, however, has been wiped out.

At the very moment that Nostromo contends that his files in the lab have no backup and that he has someone specifically assigned to monitor their safety, Nina Kane is revealed as the turncoat, and she tries to make an escape, locking the others away.

By this time, Junior, Tani, and Adam realize that they have only minutes of oxygen left, and they each are suffering from the effects of the deep. Kane took the submersible vehicle in her getaway, so communication is lost. Junior finds an emergency buoy and records a rescue message. He uses much of his fading strength to see that the device reaches the water’s surface. Tani pulls him to safety when he becomes disoriented, but time is running out for this half of “Hawaii Five-O.”

Lou gets word of the desperate situation to Steve and Danny, and Steve immediately jumps into action, just like when he lifted the cabin from the blazing forest with a helicopter or leaped from an overpass onto a moving 18-wheeler, or through any other of dozens of unfathomable saves.

He calculates that if he can free dive with two tanks, his “Hawaii Five-O” counterparts can survive until Coast Guard intervention.

Considering the current desperate situation of US Coast Guard families amidst the government shutdown, and the recent images of Deep Blue, the elusive, mammoth shark, the underwater scenes and suspense of this episode are even more spectacular. In TV land, the impossible happens, and the forces now serving without pay in the Coast Guard pull off impossible rescues routinely.

Steve McGarrett completes his mission, taking one long breath from the hose offered by Tani “for the road.” Danny is there to throw a life ring to his partner, and diffuse the dealings with life-and-death by joking about takeout food in the car.

Junior tries one more time with dad, finding him nailing boards. Without words, the father extends the hammer, and his son accepts. Families are complicated and hearts and history are hard to mend, but it does happen—sometimes one more try at a time.