H50 3.20 Olelo Pa’a (The Promise) – Page 4

Oh yes. McG and Freddie grab Anton but don’t manage to make a clean getaway and Freddie is hit. There then follows a lengthy conversation wherein Freddie asks McG to tell his unborn daughter that he loves her (this being the promise of the title) during which the Koreans keep firing but don’t seem to be getting any closer. Freddie covers McG while he gets Anton into a truck and drives off. I am probably supposed to be having feeeeeels right now but I am strangely unmoved.



Cut to McG and Cath who are now flying home having apparently managed to retrieve Freddie’s body and get out of the country with no trouble at all, even though they recently exploded a North Korean a few feet away from where the body is.

Now we’re having a pilot episode flashback! McG’s in the armoured car thingy with Anton. Poor McG. Do you think he ever wishes he’d said “no, I can’t talk to my father right now, this is a personal call and I’m working”? It occurs to me that this whole mission has been for nothing because they got no information from Anton at all on account of him being dead. This makes me all kinds of sad.

Now we come to the real feeeeels, as Freddie’s coffin is taken off the plane and all the airport staff stop what they’re doing out of respect.


This scene and the one after it remind me of the end of Titanic when I was completely ‘meh’ about Jack dying but in floods of tears for the real-life victims of the tragedy. Freddie’s funeral is moving not because of the character but because of what it represents. The only Show-specific part of it that I found particularly moving was when McG stood up after giving Freddie’s dogtags to his daughter and saw Danny, Chin and Kono standing a little way away.

The part where he actually gave the dogtags to the girl might have been moving if I hadn’t spent it marvelling at the hilarious awfulness of his hair and also wondering why fulfilling his promise is tied in with going back for the body. I mean, he promised to tell her that her father loved her, he could have done that a month ago. Six months ago. She’s old enough to understand and he has a dangerous job. Why wait? Don’t get it.


I had a lot of trouble with this ep, as you can probably tell. I was looking forward to it so much but I didn’t think it came even close to living up to the hype. If ever an ep needed to be a two-parter, this was it. To introduce a character that is such a huge part of McG’s past and to try and fit as much action into it as they did was too much to ask from forty-five minutes. I would have liked to have seen more of McG’s relationship with Freddie because I didn’t feel it at all from the brief snapshots we were given; if you compare it to McG’s relationship with Danny, it comes up very short and I didn’t get much of a sense that they were really that close. I would have liked more interaction between McG and Joe. I would have liked to have seen McG telling the team where he was going and why. I would have liked to have seen an exploration of the parallels between this story and Danny’s flashback episode. I would have liked to have seen the background to McG and Cath’s relationship that we were told this episode would have, instead of one line that told us nothing we didn’t already know. I would have liked to have had some kind of explanation of why Cath was in Korea with him in the first place, because “well, this is a highly sensitive mission that has taken three years to negotiate and will require a lot of very heavily armed guards, but sure, you can take your girlfriend with you for moral support even though she’s an intelligence officer with no combat experience, no problem” seems unlikely. And I was REALLY hoping for some more information about Buster because we’ve learned nothing this season and it seems a long time since Andrea and I were putting the final touches to it and hoping that all would not be revealed before we posted it and found that we were completely wrong about everything thereby making it a completely wasted exercise. We had the idea that this would be the ep where most of the pieces fell into place, but to have nothing, not even a little nibble, when this mission was so important in the grand scheme of things… I am disappointed. Perhaps that has coloured my view of the episode as a whole.

Another reason I didn’t like this ep is that it felt too formulaic. Dangerous, do-or-die secret mission with no hope of rescue? Check. Main character takes his best buddy along? Check. Best buddy just got married and has a baby on the way? Check. Best buddy is wounded and sacrifices himself so the main character can escape? Check. “Tell my daughter her Daddy loved her”? Check. Dangerous, secret, unsanctioned mission with no hope of rescue to recover best buddy’s remains? Check. Skin-of-teeth escape? Check. Tear-jerking final scene where the main character gives his best buddy’s dogtags to the child he never knew? Check. It felt stale. The dialogue wasn’t sharp enough and the characterisation wasn’t strong enough to make up for it. I spent most of the ep trying to find a peg to hang some feels on, but there was just nothing there for the most part. I struggled to care.

I know that most people loved this episode but I couldn’t connect with it at all and that’s entirely down to the writing because all the other elements are there. We all want different things from the shows we watch; some people watch for eye-candy, some for escapism, some for action sequences. I watch shows because I love good stories that are written and told well. I didn’t think this ep fell into that category. I am, however, very happy that most people liked it because – after all the expectation – if most people hadn’t liked it, the fandom would be a very sad place right now; but I can’t pretend that I liked it, or that I thought it was one of the best episodes of the show, because I just didn’t.

Now you can all disagree with me! Ready… set… GO!! 🙂




  1. Anonymous · · Reply

    Great review and, well, I happen to agree with you. 🙂

  2. Fantastic review..have to agree with pretty much all of it.

  3. I agree with almost all you wrote, sure they could have done a two part story but I don’t think this would have necessarily helped for showing us better who was Freddie… They could do it in 45min… I mean: look at the PILOT! That ep introduced all 4 the main characters so perfectly, sure we learned more with time, but…. Think about Danny introduction: the phone call he was making and Grace arriving… How long? 1-2 minutes? You already knew a lot about him… It was well written and even more well acted! I am sorry but I don’t think Freddie & Cath characters were well written or acted… We only had Alex trying to keep the show working… And he did a great job with what he had, but he’s only human!

  4. I do not know where to begin. I am *not* a fan of this episode. I think you nailed all the salient points, but I can’t get over how bulls/t the “going rogue” was. I agree that AOL did the best he could with it, but man, I am disappointed. I will need to come back and say something better when I have something nice to say.

    Thanks, Alicia, great recap!

  5. Oh–How hot did Chin and Danny look? Rowr. #teammoresuits

    1. They looked amazing! Probably because they’d just had a week off!

  6. Thanks for that recap Andrea. I agree with you. Don’t know were to start myself. So disapointed! I found the writing amateurish, the acting wooden and uninspired. The Hawaiian scenery just minimaly hidden to look like Korea. Caths presence made absolutely no sence. The fruendship of the boys seemed put on. The dog tag scene inexplicable. (What kind of a friend is Steve to never ever have contacted the mother and child of his oh so intimate friend! I thought seals looked for each other never left one behind cared of remaining families!)

    The hole episode felt like: hey look at those dumb fans! They will never notice if we go cheapo productions, all they want is AoL in uniform, lets throw it at them and they’ll be happy with everything, even if it makes no sense what so ever.

    I wanted to love this episode so much, but now I’m ACAAFIAS (As cross as a frog in a sock!) 😤

    1. “ACAAFIAS (As cross as a frog in a sock!)”

      Officially my new favourite phrase 🙂

  7. spurschick · · Reply

    I have been pretty disappointed with most of this season and this was the first ep that I enjoyed in a while. I agree that Show asked a lot from us in terms of suspending disbelief and common sense… like yeah, I don’t think I’d even BRING makeup with me on a mission like that, much less put any on and she certainly seemed to have on more than we’ve seen her in previous eps. What gives, Show? And I would have liked to seen more with Freddie and Joe… especially Joe. There is a lot more to that relationship and I don’t think we’ve seen the last of Joe – thanks for cancelling “666 Park Avenue” ABC! =) And if this was supposed to be the great unveiling of McCath, then Show gets a big, fat FAIL. Having said that, I appreciated the focus on the retrieval of a fallen SEAL, especially since they went into the mission knowing that there would be no acknowledgement that the mission ever existed and clearly a lot of effort went into convincing the govment to let Steve go back for Freddie’s body. The scene with the casket coming off the plane reminded me a lot of the HBO movie, “Taking Chance.” If you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend it. And I did enjoy the slip in of Kono basically saying, “Are you f*@king kidding me?! We’re not coming out there again to save your sorry ass.”

    As for McCath, I am all for it, but this ep made it sound like they were in some great romance back then and it makes me question why it seems like they’re still figuring each other out now. It’s like they brought the character on the show because the fans really liked her, but now they don’t know what to do with her. Kinda like the other love interests on Show. I hate to say it, but I was a little shocked that it got renewed for a 4th season. It feels like they’re running out of original stories to tell.

    1. hunny_bee1 · · Reply

      Totally agree with everything you said about Cath; the whole “backstory” that was promised turned out to be nothing at all. It really does seem like the writers don’t know what to do with her; the entire time she’s been on the show, from season 1 up to now, it seems she exists purely to do favours for Steve. Not to mention the fact that Show has STILL to explain exactly how it is that she’s managed to get some kind of super-extended leave from the Navy, in order to run around Hawaii running errands for her sorta-kinda-boyfriend. That’s why I’m neither here nor there with Cath…I’m just not interested in her at all. At least someone like Jenna Kaye – who, admittedly, wasn’t loved by everyone – had a purpose and quite an interesting backstory linked to Steve’s past.

      1. In my opinion Jenna was way better than Cath and Lori: her character had a meaning and she could have added more to the story even having betrayed Steve, since she had a very good reason: the love of her life. If they wanted an other female character in the show (hard to believe since the keep underusing Kono) they should have kept Jenna.

    2. Hi Spurschick! *waves*

      1. spurschick · · Reply


  8. Well this recap seems to have brought a lot of depressing comments. I´ve managed to avoid them on twitter and facebook. Sort of guessed those who dislike Cath would not like this epi. As an Alex fan and not H50 fan, I thought this epi was great for my kind of people. Lots and lots of Alex and say what y

    1. crap! wp ditched me in the middle of my sentence. Anyway, was just going to add that no matter what people think of the characters and storyline, Alex is a treat to watch, great acting. Fin.

      1. Paula, don’t view the comments as depressing. They’re just someone else’s opinion of the ep. Although I haven’t seen it yet, and most likely wont until late next week, I’m looking forward to it and forming my own opinion. What I would really love is if the people who thought this was the best episode yet, would comment and tell us why. Lets have some discussion and debate, people!

        But be warned…keep it civil and don’t bash anyone else’s opinion. Or I’ll send McG to deal with you.

        Wait, maybe I should rethink that threat 😉

        1. ^^^ what Westy said! I was expecting everyone to disagree with me!

        2. I am not good with words and don´t like debates…let´s face it, it is nicer to be in like-minded group commenting. I don´t expect to agree with everyone else, but getting tired of the continued questioning of Cath´s presence here. As smarter people than me have said elsewhere, this is a fictional show and not a documentary, there are so many plot holes in the stories always, you just have to get past those and focus on the bits you like.

    2. Actually, I quite like Cath. She is a great foil to McG and Michelle Borth is full of charisma as an actor. How great was her little conversation with Danno, for example? I love that she sticks up for herself, is a BAMF and is really quite independent. What I don’t like is the way we are being asked to believe the military works and the fairly sloppy writing in this episode. Alex and Michelle really did a great job with what they got.

      1. buttercup · · Reply

        I like Steve and Cath together, there’s a lot of chemistry and it’s a tv-show after all! Like in J.A.G. Mac and Harm together on their “missions”, wasn’t always believeable but fun all the way to season10!!!

  9. Did I even say thank you for the recap, Alicia?? I do it now.

    I love it how well you explain your mixed feelings about / dislike for this episode. Your reasons are perfectly plausible. Needless to say that I love it how you put your opinion so that it’s extremely enjoyable to read even if the reader (like me…) has the opposite feelings about this epi. Your writing appeals to intellect rather than emotions, which is a great and rare thing.

    Even though I admit I chose to accept that H50 is no high-brow entertainment and I don’t expect it to be. Neither am I much bothered by the fact that it violates / distorts reality, because reality as I know it isn’t really what I want to watch on TV. I’m completely done living it… So once again, thank you for your recap and your sharp observations 🙂 !

    1. Thanks Marnov, that was a lovely comment! Mwah!

  10. cvc-eve · · Reply

    Alicia, thanks for the recap and I enjoyed the read. You do put a lot of thought into it, I just watch a tv show but I do ponder how you get cell service in the middle of Montana and drag a body back across the border did they have a box? A bag? I’d like to think Steve has seen the widow and child on other occasions but this was just the most recent and yes, the funeral for all our other real life SEALs and others in the service is really what touched me. Those guys and their real life families are true inspiration.

  11. canadagirl66 · · Reply

    I wasn’t going to touch this with the proverbial ten-foot pole….but after reading the comments (and a lot of other negative stuff out there) I couldn’t stop myself…

    I respect all the time and effort and hard work that is put into this recap and I respect that everyone is entitled to their opinion…no matter how much it differs from mine (and it does).

    I’m not going to get into why I LOVED this episode. I just want to express what I am feeling. I am disheartened and sad for Alex and Michelle and all the other actors and writers and crew
    who put so much time and effort and hard work into making this episode…only to have it criticized.
    I try to put what they do into perspective. I try to imagine myelf at my job, spending hundreds of hours on a project and be given less than 45 minutes to do my presentation and then be told by my audience that it was substandard at best….I would be crushed!!!

    That’s it…that’s all I’ve got and I’m jumping off my soapbox now….and tomorrow I’m going to rewatch this episode yet again. And yet again, I’m going to be in awe of AOL…and I’m going to laugh my @ss off at the bar scene… and I’m going to flail when McG walks in wearing those sunglasses…I’m going to cry when Steve cries…and I’m going to enjoy Cath kicking @ss…and I’m going to be thrilled by the stunts…and I’m going to be impressed by the acting …and I’m going to forgive the imperfections.

    1. CG66, thanks for your comment and for telling us what you enjoyed about the episode. I totally agree that Alex did a fine job with the material he was given.

      What I’d like to say is that actors are artists, just as musicians, writers, painters and so on, are too. Any piece of art, be it television or other forms like film, novels, or sculpture, is open to interpretation. As artists, Alex and Michelle would be used to criticism and would even expect it, given the different ways in which people view their art. Any comments we make on The Champ Box, be it in recaps or discussions, are about how we have responded to an episode, and I hope they do not take anything away from the efforts and dedication of the actors or crew.

      I think that just because someone puts 150% effort into something, it doesn’t mean that it is exempt from criticism. I’ve actually just come back from a trip to Hawaii where I was lucky enough to see filming twice (no Alex though – boo). What my family and I got out of those experiences, apart from a smile of acknowledgment from Ian Anthony Dale (yes!), was how much time, effort and personnel it takes just to film a tiny scene. I spoke to a local guy and he told me that a friend of his was lucky enough to see Alex and Scott filming at H50 HQ. He said they got out of the car 15 times before the director called cut. Fifteen times to ensure getting out of a car was right! We watched as a Treat scene from 3.23 was filmed and the poor guy had to go in and out of a building over and over again. It was a real eye opener to see this.

      Also, I’m a published author and my first attempt at writing a chapter for a collaborative book was caned by my co-author. The criticism was hard to take (I had a little cry) after all of my efforts, but I pushed on and used the feedback to improve and now my second book is about to be published.

      Also, anything I say about Show is said because I feel passionately about it and I am the first to admit that I have high expectations. They may be too high but I think this show has incredible potential if the writing could just be improved. This week, I was just disappointed that my expectations were not met and the writing let it down. That is all, really.

      1. Exactly. Actors are criticised all the time. It hurts them I’m sure, but not everyone will like the same things in an episode. Which reminds, me. I’ve finally got my Internet back, (yay!) and just finished watching this ep. Here’s my thoughts…

        Firstly, a HUGE suspension of disbelief at the entire NK thing from the hangar onwards. The first part with Cath being there with him, on a government sanctioned exchange…I could sort of see that, I didn’t really have a problem with it. If that’s the reason they needed to include her in the episode.

        But McG taking off on his own mission and her tagging along…I didn’t buy it.

        Other than that, I actually didn’t mind it at all. Except for McG’s appearance at the cemetery…the orange hair (where the hell did that come from…has he always had reddish hair and I just haven’t noticed??) and the MAKEUP…I don’t think I’ve ever seen him look worse.

        I did find the touching scenes ‘touching’…had a lump in my throat and a tear in my eye. But a flag draped coffin will do that to most people,

        No real back story on McRoll as such. Nothing about Buster, but they couldn’t have touched on that as well in one episode.

        I read somewhere that someone wondered if Steve was imagining Chin, Danny and Kono at the cemetery (a la Hookman) and I had to laugh when I saw it, because it did look so much like that scene with PoppaMcG, and the the two dead cops. Except C,D and K looked much better. So much pretty!

        McG’s speech to Freddie’s daughter would have been more appropriate for an older child, I thought. She’s only 3 or 4, right?

        But definitely not the BEST episode yet, in my opinion, and no comparison whatsoever to 2.10. And to the missing episode to 2.10 dealing with McG’s fallout from all that torture. (I will keep mentioning this forever, by the way!)

        And someone give Cath a hair tie, for God’s sake. 😛

        For me, 7 out of 10.

  12. “We all want different things from the shows we watch; some people watch for eye-candy, some for escapism, some for action sequences. I watch shows because I love good stories that are written and told well.”

    This says it all. I am with you 100%. The writing let it down and I’m sad about that because I had such high hopes for it. And as a fellow Buster-ite, I am so disappointed that we didn’t learn anything at all about this story arc and I am more confused than ever. Show, continuity does matter and If you tell your audience you are going to do something, deliver on that.

    1. I am too. Confused, I mean. So there must have been enough time between Anton being captured and him being transported at the beginning of the pilot for the rescue plan to be put together and Victor to arrive in Hawaii?

      1. cvc-eve · · Reply

        I enjoy the recaps and comments and debate. I very much enjoy seeing how much more thought is put into it by others, to see what people like and don’t like. I have lots of opinions I keep to mostly myself- general internet self censoring. I don’t bother with non- FUCUP sites, just stick with ones where friendly disagreement is as bad as it gets. I appreciate all the work that recapping and photo posting and gif posting would be for you all. But as long as we’re not starting a petition to get someone off a show, it’s fun to get a difference of opinion on something as light hearted as a tv show. I say let’s start a petition for hair ties!!!! #Hairtiesforcath

        1. cvc – if I could, I would award your comment a gold star. We can’t all like the same things in an episode, and its interesting finding out why some liked a particular scene or whatever when the person recapping had another opinion.

          In fact, I liked your comment so much, I’m going to do a post about it! Stay tuned. ❤

          1. cvc-eve · · Reply

            Thanks chickie! :).

        2. CVC, your comment means more than you probably realize – gold star, as Westy says. I’m always really interested in how different people respond to an episode. I watch every week and discuss the eps with friends and I love learning how we all feel about them – not always on the same page or something matters to someone more than it does someone else but that’s OK, that’s what makes it fun for me. Thank you also for the acknowledgement of our hard work. Recapping the episodes IS lots of work and that’s why are happy to have people discuss and debate on our blog. We are probably over analyzing but I’m amazed at what we can get out of any given episode – the good and the not so 🙂 .

        3. heymomo · · Reply

          I agree with you, that so much work goes into these recaps, and I appreciate the words and pics and gifs… especially the pretty pics and gifs 😉
          Thanks Alicia for putting your thoughts out there. I liked this ep, so it was interesting to read this recap and everyone’s comments. Thanks to all for keeping it respectful 🙂
          Also, Cath totally needed a hair tie in Korea!

  13. Alicia, it’s taken me a few days to get to comment but I just have to say thank you for the great recap and I ACA with just about everything you said. I’m fine with having to suspend my sense of reality for certain plot twists but not for nearly the entire episode. I’ll overlook the hair and makeup because I’m just happy the booties Cath wore in this episode actually made sense given what she was wearing and doing. I’ll never get over them putting her in shorts and booties, it’s a pet peeve. 😉

    1. Hi JDD! Lovely to see you :-).

      LOL, yes this ep was a #bootiewin (that sounds wrong somehow…)

  14. Aimee · · Reply

    First and probably last time reader. I’m one of “those” that loved the episode. Alex’s acting was excellent! I enjoyed much about the story. Some was a little far fetched but I’m able to suspend disbelief on most of it for story/artistic purposes since this isn’t actually reality. I was initially enjoying what I thought was a well written recap at the beginning. I found myself agreeing in places like no acknowledgment that Cath knew Freddie, but then what I was reading started to seem very nitpicky, tedious and negative. I was exhausted and a little depressed by the time I got to the end. Not because you have a different opinion than mine but because you went out of your way to mention every. single. thing. that annoyed you even in the slightest…sometimes repeatedly. It sounds like you’re making fun of the show and not in a fun, lighthearted way but more a kind of mean way. And there’s a “proud of it” vibe as you lay out all these terrible issues including cell phone coverage and the intolerable amount of eye make-up on one eye vs. the other. I did find myself feeling bad for Alex, who poured his heart into this one and everyone else who worked so hard. Constructive criticism is one thing – a good thing – and there was some in this recap but then it got lost in minutia.

    1. Firstly, you have the best wordpress avi I’ve EVER seen! Sunglasses and fangs! It’s like being told off by Mick! Yes, Mick, I HAVE been a very bad girl…. 😉

      Secondly… well, you can tell how much I didn’t get on with this ep. It’s the FUCUP way to poke fun at Show and point out its flaws, but usually it IS done in a lighthearted way, and with love. As you noticed, I lost my love for this ep as I went along and the recap really reflected that. “Proud of it”? No. Exasperated and disappointed. I tend to notice little nitpick-y errors a lot more when I’m not being carried along by the narrative. If you want to see how I recap an ep that I really do love, then please have a look at my recap of 3.14, which is here:


      Best ep of the season, for me. Except possibly 3.06. Or 3.07. Or 3.10. Or 3.18. One of those five, anyway :-).

      Thank you for stopping by and sharing your thoughts. If you do stick around – and we really do welcome all viewpoints – please have a look at Westy’s comment a little further up the page about not attacking other users of the blog. Mahalo! 🙂

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