Okay, so here's the thing. I liked last night's episode and maybe that puts me in a minority and so be it. It had everything I wanted with a heavy dose of Danny angst and righteous anger and some decent underlying character development. And anyone who knows me, knows if there is character development, DC is all over it.
There is a lot I have to say about this episode and I'll do my best to organize it so that it makes sense.
The one light moment came right at the beginning with Sumo beach wrestling— and hair style tips at the expense of Steve. Personally, I hope he got the license plate of the barber who did the hit and run on him. Yeeouch. The snarkiness between Danny and Steve is always priceless and this was no exception. Danny: "I got to hand it to you buddy. You got a lot of heart showing up with that haircut." And we just knew it had to come out at some point and here was Steve's opportunity. "I find it difficult to be insulted by a man who uses more product in his hair than most women do." Still, Steve you lose when Cath, Kono and Chin have to put their reviews in as well. But if anyone can pull of the not quite a buzz cut look, it would be Steve.
Under the main storyline/case we also had Kono and Adam. This has been brewing most of the season, certainly once Adam's brother came back. At this point we don't know if we should be pulling for Adam or not. He did, after all, save Kono's life—something even Chin is mindful and thankful of. But mysterious phone calls and pictures of him meeting high ranking Yakuza members don't look good and leave Kono doubting what she's doing. And really, who can blame her? She got hung out to dry once already. We'll all be finding out what Adam is up to in the upcoming final two episodes, I have no doubt.
Then there is the main storyline which involves two separate but overlapping cases. Amanda, a young girl abducted ten years ago is found, shot and buried in a shallow grave. She shows signs of being held captive for years. Another little girl, Ella Bishop, has just been kidnapped the day before.
And this starts pushing buttons in Danny right from the moment he knelt down next to Amanda in that grave. We all know Danny is a very protective father of Grace, sometimes it's a bit over the top. But no one can fault that a man who has been in law enforcement as long as Danny has and has seen what he has, would be a bit more cautious when it comes to his own daughter. I think sometimes that gets forgotten with Danny. This would not be his first kidnapping case and doubtfully his last.
What has changed though is that his own daughter was kidnapped a year ago and in this episode, we finally start to see some of that fallout. Because there had to be fall out and this case was the one to blow the lid off of what was probably something Danny never properly dealt with after Grace was rescued. Chin gets a grief counselor but we have no idea what Danny did in the wake of Grace's abduction and release. It could be safe to assume he simply locked it down and tight, refusing to deal with it until it gets shoved in his face here.
This isn't Detective Williams being over the top and out of control with a bout of anger when he kicks that suspect backwards, chair and all. This is Danny, who'd been burying wounds and hiding from nightmares and now they are back. He sees Peterson, taunting him, reminding him that he'll kill Grace and there is nothing Danny can do about it.
He was powerless then and he's feeling that way again.
I can appreciate that Steve pulls Danny off when he does. There was no "What the hell are you doing?" from either of them. Steve needs Danny to get perspective back and Danny needs to get the hell out of there.
And connect with his daughter, the one thing that is more precious to him than anything else. And every time we see these two together, it transcends simple father/daughter stuff. Whatever it is that Scott brings to the table as Danny, it's on a whole different level whenever these two have a scene… but I digress. Grace grounds Danny, reminds him of who he is without words and back to the team he goes.
It can't be that simple though.
When they finally do get the pieces to come together and raid the house they're sure Ella's being held at, we see Danny at his breaking point but still desperately holding on. With the realization that Ella has been moved, Steve and Danny are faced with a smug and defiant Ray Beckett who thinks he holds all the cards. Danny attacks him then and Steve hauls him off, keeping Danny back but at this point, even Steve has had enough. When Beckett snaps they can't touch him because they are the police, Steve asks for Danny's badge and gun and then walks away without a look back.
At this point, Danny's little more than a wounded animal and Steve has to know this. They are too close for him not to have put the pieces together at this point.
Danny of course gets the location in what is probably the most controversial scene – on or off camera of the entire series.
They find Ella and it's Danny of course who climbs into the box she was buried in and takes her out, all the while speaking to her, asking her if she's okay, stoking her hair out of her face. The exact same things he did when they found Grace in that storage unit. He knows this is Ella, but it's clear he's reliving that horrible night a year ago.
It's Danny who returns Amanda's diary to her shattered parents, giving them the only piece of her he could.
It is unlikely that finding and returning Ella to her parents, relatively unharmed, will be enough to put Danny's demons to rest. He's broken in so many ways but hopefully, with these events, Steve at least will see that Danny has been suffering and realize he needs help.
Now for a few opinions here.
This episode had its usual plot holes and moments. Sure, we had to suspend our believe here and there too. And a lot of people are upset with what Danny did.
Frankly, I find what he did in this episode more believable than his having an affair with Rachel while she's married to another man.
I don't condone what Danny did with Beckett, but I can understand the character's motivation and reasons, right or wrong. Was it over the top? Maybe. I doubt he's proud of what he did.
Nor do I see Danny as out of control or tossing everything aside that he believes in, including what it means to be a good cop. He's not the same man we knew in first season—a great deal has changed and he's been through so much in the short time he's been in Hawaii. When you take the time to look back and consider all of it, you see a complicated man who still holds to his values and beliefs. But he's had to adapt and accept some things as well as he deals with a different kind of grief.