HAWAII FIVE-0 3.12 ‘Kapu’ (‘Forbidden’)

5-0 tackles the murder of a college professor, but it's really the viewers who solve this one.

Hilary Rothingby Hilary Rothing

Episode Title: "Kapu" ("Forbidden")

Writer: David Wolkove

Director: Steven DePaul

Previously on "Hawaii Five-0"

Episode 3.11 "Kahu" ("Guardian")


Did last night’s "choose your own ending" episode of "Hawaii Five-0" usher in the future of television? In a likely bid to encourage viewers to watch "H5-0" in real-time, CBS let fans choose from three different endings to this week’s whodunit. It’s a fun concept though the various outcomes really didn’t vary all that much. If anything, all we learned is that West Coast viewers prefer killer teacher’s assistants while East Coasters like it when the bossman goes down for the crime. At the very least, you’ve got to give CBS and "Hawaii Five-0" credit for trying this very tricky experiment.

Alternate endings inside, "Kapu" was a real treat. And I knew it would be when the cold open featured a shadowy figure demanding his captive beg for his life in Spanish or sing a song from ‘90s. The victim went with The Backstreet Boys. Some may argue he should have been killed, regardless.

"Kapu" focused on the murder of college professor, Joel Cutler whose body was found in a tub of acid by a college student in the midst of a frat hazing session. Standard stuff for 5-0, but this time around, Danny’s delinquent cousin Eric or "E-Train" (Andrew Lawrence) as we shall refer to him going forward, was in town and proved to be invaluable in solving the case.

Also in town was our favorite "greasy mulleted" gangster, Sang Min (Will Yun Lee). Kono (Grace Park) was tasked with guarding Sang (who enjoys singing Poison songs in the shower, by the way) who was set to testify in a federal trial. However, the slippery Sang was able to get the better of the deputy prosecutor who was prepping him for court and escape. When Kono found him sitting outside his ex-wife’s home, she saw Sang’s sensitive side and made a deal to have him transferred nearby in exchange for his testimony. This is a good thing, as this guy needs to make an appearance at least once a season.

While Kono babysat Sang, Danny (Scott Caan), E-Train and McGarrett (Alex O'Loughlin) chased lead after lead in the murdered professor case. The street smart E-Train helped the boys find the professor’s hidden home lab which led them to the private island where he was secretly conducting research. There they found the late professor’s research partner (Hey, it’s Frank Lapidus from "Lost," Jeff Fahey!), Dr. Stevens who explains the two were working on a cure for the rare degenerative disease Stevens also suffers from. That’s when McG gets the call from Danny, who reveals who the killer is (based on fan votes).

Having enlisted the help of hacker associate, "Toast’s" roommate, "Bullwinkle" (Hey, it’s "Badger" from "Breaking Bad," Matt Jones), Danny learns that the Trojan Horse found on the late prof’s computer was sent in an email from Cutler’s university boss; Or from his teacher’s assistant or from one of his student’s, depending on which ending you prefer.

Who cares really? All three endings were plausible as all three suspects were supposedly motivated by greed, hoping to get their hands on Cutler’s brilliant research. What made "Kapu" such a fantastic episode was the trio of great guest stars enlisted. Andrew Lawrence made a great third wheel in Danny and McG’s bromance as E-Train and I really hope this isn’t the last we’ve seen of him. If he really does want to work in a crime lab, I’m sure Fong could use an intern (and some help getting a date with Kono). Matt Stone basically played the same character he does on "Breaking Bad," except he’s actually good at being a criminal this time around. And Jeff Fahey’s constant wide-eyed look of astonishment as McGarrett and Chin took down the baddie was funny stuff, even if not intentionally so.

We also had some nice action scenes in this hour; in particular, McG leaping over a bicycle rack like an Olympic long jumper to take down a perp in the middle of a crowded college campus. Oh and the 20-mile-an-hour "chase" scene between 5-0 and a sorority girl on a pink Vespa was one of the best ever. That and her horror over the possibility of going to a state medical school during the interrogation scene in the "blue room."

"Kapu" is easily one of my favorite "5-0" episodes to date, even if the fan-voted ending fell a little flat. I love the idea of viewer-determining certain aspects of the show but maybe not the ending. Perhaps letting viewers vote on "how" the team takes down the baddie or "who" does it, for instance. I personally love to see Kono kick some ass. At any rate, "Kapu" was another super-fun hour of "5-0," no matter which you ending you went with.