It’s sad to think that “Hawaii Five-O” has only a handful of episodes left before the finish of Season 9. The messages, on the power of “ohana,” have pulsated throughout each episode, along with the drama’s trademark action. This week's February 1 Episode 14, “Ikiiki i ka la o Keawalua” (Depressed with the Heat of Kealwalua), hits straight out of the gate with a brutal murder of one of Flippa’s (Shawn Mokuahi Garrett) friends and bandmates for no apparent reason. The team quickly discovers that what they assume as a sexual dalliance with a teenage girl is actually a valiant effort to save her from abuse, and the case pulls them into the disturbed minds of hate purveyors.

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For Captain Lou Grover (Chi McBride), the situation stirs up memories that he can hardly bear, and Steve McGarrett (Alex O'Loughlin) again proves himself as a steadfast friend.

Missed gig turns into a murder

Flippa is beside himself when his drummer, Luka (Hale Mawae) is running late for an important performance at a cultural festival and is utterly devastated when he literally hears his friend being murdered, slashed nine times with a knife before his last breath, and his van taken.

Steve arrives on the scene, and extolls the longtime “Hawaii Five-O” ally to not blame himself, and assures him that justice will be delivered to the killer.

Judging from the body, Steve deduces that the slaying has to be personal, but instead, hatred is the only thing personal to a contingent of murderous extremists.

Tani (Meaghan Rath) he uncovers transfers from Luka to an online account totaling $5000 to Annie (Maddie Nichols), a 15-year-old teenager trying to escape to Maui. Tani suspects a clandestine relationship between the victim and the teen, but, in truth, Luka was selflessly serving as both therapist and rescuer to Annie, funding her legal fees for parental emancipation, and seeing her once a week as a therapist to guide her in accepting her sexual orientation.

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Once brought to headquarters, Annie describes the torturous efforts of her parents in forcing her to undergo “conversion therapy,” where they are determined to send her. The struggling daughter is crushed to hear of Luka’s murder, and Steve assures her that she won't be going anywhere near Idaho, the site of her horrors.

Things don't go well for mom and dad (Tonja Kahlens and Cory Blevins) when they arrive at “Hawaii Five-O,” either. Mom tries to defend that they “love our daughter very much,” but simply hate “the sin.” Steve immediately retorts that nothing is sinful about the girl in his office, and that “it's a good thing she knows that.” Hiding behind their biblical “unto’s,” the parents are soon the ones needing cover when it turns out that they hired an investigator to look into Luka after they claimed to know nothing about him.

Once again, credit is due to the writer, Paul Grellong, and director, Peter Weller, for this storyline that resonates with realism through its themes of self-acceptance and inclusion without becoming saccharine. “Hawaii Five-O” has come a long way over the past two seasons. The long-running series has always embraced “ohana,” and the family is consistently growing bigger.

A hater on a mission

Jerry (Jorge Garcia) uncovers a lead to Connor Russell (Riley Baron), a young man with a criminal record that goes on for miles.

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Jerry comes prepared in his bulletproof vest for dealing with this perpetrator, and he doesn't bother with procedural paperwork when his bedroom door is locked, a good kick works just fine.

When Jerry tries to take the computer in and break the encryption, malice combines with malware, and an explosive blast takes the beloved conspiracy geek down, thing severe burns on his hands and arms. Recruiting Junior (Beulah Koale) to assist as “temporary fingers,” they continue with the case.

Russell’s computer reveals rampant racist ramblings from the bomber and, unbeknownst to the team, he slashes another officer to death when he tries to investigate a sighting of the white stolen van around the storage units, where Russell is welding triggers for his explosives. A “decoy” red van, with its owner bound inside, momentarily takes the team of the hot trail.

Lou Grover can hardly bear to listen to the hatred spewing from Russell, twisting his fists on the table, and Steve realizes that the words provoke personal painful memories. He and Lou pay a visit to the prison where Russell shared a cell with Roger Barton (Graham Beckel). The elder killer tries to paint young Russell as a shy, angry, and withdrawn onlooker, while he was actually a pupil to Barton’s equally vile teachings. It was Roger who wrote the words that Russell echoed to their brainwashed believers. On a second visit, Grover comes within a hair of going off on Barton, removing his watch, and gripping the wall for dear life rather than making the warped apostle who defends “a white man speaking his mind” the next deceased.

Five cities are targeted as locations of massive bombings, and a bone-chilling climax comes when the smiling bomber drives through the entrance at a community center where children are crossing from school. Jerry warns, from surveillance, that Russell is on-site and has a grip detonator. Just as he is about to press his control to achieve his deadly goal, Steve comes from behind, and the two struggle in life and death, McGarrett daring not to squeeze the device too hard. He begs Junior to shoot, but he has no clear aim to Russell, Lou takes the fatal aim.

Late that night, Steve comes to join Lou at a bar, being there to listen. Lou advises that he has a long story to tell, and the offers the recollection of a stop in Elkhart, Illinois in 1988. His stop at a roadside diner turns into a face-to-face encounter in every sense with rural racism, leaving him with a broken finger, and memories that he can never forget. Every component of this episode conveys something meaningful, including Mahalia Jackson on the jukebox.

The story ends with Annie at the memorial service for Luka, thanking Steve for his help in getting both signatures from her parents on emancipation forms. She knows that they may never change, “but now, my life will.” Steve being such a fatherly figure and listening friend is another lovely touch to this storyline.

At her request, the crowd raises their phones with flashlights bright to the sky. Light is the only power that vanquishes darkness and disables hate.