Back at HQ, Chin tells us that Cutler has made frequent trips to Ni‘ihau in recent months so this may be the origin of the specimen, given that the ‘forbidden island’ is home to thousands of rare plants. Danny is a no-go for the field trip to Ni‘ihau as he doesn’t like flying with McG. McG could always do an A-Team-style knockout of Danny for the duration of the flight but no, Chin goes instead.
I love this next scene because it is a wonderful demonstration of how well Show does its exploration of Hawaiian culture. Chin speaks to a local woman in her native language to find out where Cutler may have gone and this scene is very nicely done. We also learn something about the history and significance of the island. Kudos, Show!
We cut back to Danny and Eric and Danny is giving Eric yet another pep talk. That he says the kid has accomplished nothing and has zero value to society is way harsh IMHO. I know his job is to set him on the straight and narrow, but still and all. At least he tells Eric he has done a good job today. Good job? He’s practically solved the case for them!
The next scene contains another stoner computer hacker only this time it’s Toast’s roommate not Toast himself. I’m initially disappointed that it’s not Toast but the roommate is just as hilarious (the pineapple bong!). Are all computer guys stoners?
Back on Ni‘ihau, McG and Chin find Dr Stevens, a botanist whom Professor Cutler had been helping to find a cure for his son’s rare degenerative disease (adrenoleukodystrophy, I believe). So this is what Cutler was working on!
Stoner Computer Guy finds out a virus was implanted by Roth in Cutler’s computer via an email so that he could keep an eye on what Cutler was doing. Roth obviously found out about the research into the cure and wanted a piece of it. It turns out Roth is on Ni‘ihau, also searching for Cutler’s Partner in Science. Roth chases after Dr Stevens and tries to shoot him but McG and Chin get there first and Roth is subdued. Yay!
In the best scene of the episode in my view, Kono finds Sang Min sitting on the kerb looking into his family’s house as they eat dinner. Sang Min’s wife has moved on and now has a new husband and Sang Min is heartbroken. This scene is very well done as the writers and Will Yun Lee manage to make me care about Sang Min. I’m not sure that it is a good thing to feel this way about a criminal but well done Show anyway!
In the final scene, we see McG in the hospital with Dr Stevens and his son. I found out after watching the episode that the boy is not an actor but a real seriously ill child (suffering from cancer). He did a nice job and it added some realism to the scene. It also provided us with yet another McG-is-good-with-kids moment (although I think we get it now, writers :)). Anyway, McG has managed to obtain permission from the governor for Dr Stevens to continue his research on Ni‘ihau. Yay, McG! Also, but in no way pertinent to the plot, Alex looks gorgeous in the black shirt he is wearing. Oh, and Eric has repented all sins and now wants to work in a crime lab. I so wish my parenting dilemmas were as easily solved!
A note about the alternative endings:
I cannot access the alternative endings as the clips on the CBS site aren’t available outside of the US. However, I have gathered from reading some comments online that the other suspects had the same motive for killing Cutler, to take credit for his research. I also understand that each ending was basically exactly the same, only McG and Chin had to subdue a different suspect. This doesn’t really seem like ‘alternative endings’ to me. I think Show has missed an opportunity to do something really clever here. Thoughts?
Door Number 3:
I understand that the West Coast viewers chose the student as their killer, that the student put the virus on Cutler’s computer to search for the tests and then discovered the research. To anyone who has seen this ending: didn’t the TA sell the tests to the student? Also, would a college kid really have killed a professor over his research and then travelled to the forbidden island to kill the botanist? How would he have passed such groundbreaking research off as his own? Or was that not his intention? Or, am I asking too many plot-related questions? (Yes, I hear you all say.)
Door Number 2:
I presume that the TA also put the virus on Cutler’s computer (to try to find out what he was up to). And, already disgruntled from overwork, he discovered the research and wanted to take credit for it? This seems more plausible to me than the student although of course viewers didn’t know about the nature of Cutler’s research when asked to choose their killer.
• The humour/character development – There were some great moments with Eric (the photo of Danny!), the pineapple bong, the college girl thinking McG and Danny are a couple/old enough to be her friend’s ‘Dads’, and Rebecca trying to get away on a pink scooter. I’ve always loved Show for the humour and it definitely delivered this week. The storyline between Eric and Danny was a welcomed aspect to the episode even if Danny delivered tough love to his nephew and it was all wrapped up a bit too neatly at the end. Even though I get that McG is good with kids and we’re supposed to see his softer side this season, the scene in the hospital was also nicely done.
• Sang Min – I know we are not really supposed to feel empathy towards a serious criminal but I do and I like Sang Min. Will Yun Lee did an amazing job of the scene with Kono, outside his house. Kudos, Show.
• Ni‘ihau – Show usually does a good job of highlighting Hawaiian culture and this episode was no exception. I (being a nerd) like learning about other cultures and I find the Hawaiian aspects of Show really interesting. I liked that the writers respected the importance of the ‘forbidden island’ and I loved the scene with the local woman spoken in the appropriate dialect.
Even taking aside the fact that I couldn’t vote, I don’t think the alternative ending strategy really worked. If it earned higher ratings, then I suppose it did but to me, it took away enjoyment from the episode and it wasn’t very cleverly done. It was written with only one result in mind – the desire to pinch the professor’s research – and if the endings were exactly the same other than the perpetrator, then it doesn’t really seem like ‘alternative endings’. Overall, the character moments were good but the COTW wasn’t very interesting even though there was lots of potential for it to be.
Righto, go forth and comment. I’m keen to know what you all thought of the episode given that it was an interesting, and possibly risky, move on Show’s part.