I have mixed feelings about today’s Magnum P.I. mid-season opener. On the one hand, I’m very happy that the show has officially returned, especially after a fraught and prolonged writer’s strike. On the other hand, this marks the beginning of the end, since after this season, Magnum P.I. will be finished. With that duality in mind, let’s touch on the latest episode, called “Hit and Run.”
The episode starts at night in a lit up Dubai. It’s gorgeous, and that’s not the only beauty on display – Higgins is about to get into bed with a strange man! I know, I was concerned too, but things don’t go that way. Higgins slips something into the man’s champagne glass, which knocks him quickly unconscious. She pretends to be a panicked girlfriend, screaming for assistance. When the paramedics arrive, the con becomes apparent, since two of them are familiar faces – Rick and T.C.
They claim the mark got stung by a scorpion, and Higgins joins them as they wheel the man away. Only for the security guard to get a call about two paramedics tied up without clothing, and guns are drawn. It looks bad for our team, until Magnum himself, AKA the White Knight, bursts out of the ambulance, wherein things get really weird.
As the bad guy is boasting, Thomas starts summoning bolts of lightning from the sky itself. Then he hurls them at his foes, like an enraged Zeus, while his teammates surround him, ready for danger. And no, I wasn’t drinking when I watched this episode. It’s crazy because it’s a story, being told by our favorite con artist Jin to Rick’s baby, Joy.
Back in reality, Thomas and Juliette have a new case, and poor T.C. is still in recovery after nearly being killed earlier this season. The episode lightens the mood with more of Jin’s nonsense, specifically him trying to pitch a story of himself as a musclebound hero to Robin for his next book series. But sadly he’s not much in the episode outside of these early scenes.
Though we’re back in reality, the new case still takes a weird turn (though admittedly not as weird as superhero Magnum). He and Juliette arrive at a bench to wait for their new client, though they come in separate cars. When he gives his girlfriend a hard time about this, she reveals that she may actually be pregnant, and was just at the doctor’s office. Which shuts him up pretty quickly, and later on makes him awkward around her. But that’s not the weird turn I told you about. No, that comes when they both hear a phone ring, but it’s not either of theirs. Instead, it’s a phone taped to the bottom of their bench.
Turns out, the phone was place by their client, a man named Xavier. He’s not their usual client, since he’s a hitman. The reason they want to listen to him is simple – he was hired to kill a 12 year old girl, and refused. Now he suspects they’ll hire someone else to finish the job, and he wants our duo to protect the girl from harm. Xavier is a serious contender, and watches Magnum and Juliette through a scope from a distance away, but he says he won’t speak to them again. They have everything they need to finish the job.
Without going into all the details for the main story in “Hit and Run”, it’s a serviceable story with some good twists and turns. The new hit man, who goes by the title The Ghost, doesn’t seem like much, but he’s managed to avoid apprehension after 27 murders, and he’s serious. A lot of the detective work involves finding out who hired The Ghost, and why. Katsumoto offers some insights, and once the answer becomes clear, things get more complicated. But first, let’s spend some time talking about Rick.
Rick is busily scrubbing the underside of his houseboat when a mysterious, gorgeous stranger spies him underwater. This lovely brunette is named Piper, and she’s a professional boat cleaner. She also immediately captures Rick’s attention, even though he tries to pretend otherwise. There’s chemistry pretty immediately, with one catch – she hates La Mariana, also known as his bar. One time she had way too many Mai Tais there and never returned. So now Rick is eager to find a way to rectify that history.
Though it’s not the primary story in this episode, T.C.’s arc did a great job of tugging at my heartstrings. A huge reason for that is the constantly amazing acting by Stephen Hill, who does a great job of showcasing a huge range of emotion, especially here. The big man is still in a wheelchair after being attacked, and has no feeling in his legs. Luckily Kumu and Shammie are there to help him recover, as well as a kind nurse named Millie. They do their best to help him stay positive and learn to get around, and Shammie even helps show T.C. how to shimmy out of his chair and onto other surfaces. But none of that makes his pain and embarrassment any easier, and it leads to a surprising bout of anger directed at Shammie’s eagerness to help.
As for the main story, Magnum and Higgins quickly discover the girl is named Anna, and attends a boarding school called St. Andrews. She has a history of running away, so nobody thought anything of her absence. Her teacher served as a mother figure, since the girl’s own mother passed away. But even the teacher is gone, and when our intrepid P.I.s look into it, they run into the killer, who knocks them on their butts before escaping. Luckily some of his blood gets on Magnum’s ring, which Katsumoto runs down for more information.
Gordon reveals that the girl’s teacher was hit by a vehicle the previous day and is in a hospital, and apparently the killer was searching for Anna at her home. Even more interesting, Anna’s tuition was being paid by some big shot televangelist in South Carolina. Before we can get more answers, Thomas and Juliette visit Rick to borrow his speedboat, which they take to Molokai. It appears Anna is taking refuge there.
When they arrive, Magnum does a MacGuyver and straps a phone to a stick using Higgin’s belt, and spies inside where the girl is hiding. They find a man there, and it turns out it’s none other than the man who hired them, Xavier. Better yet, the actor who plays him is Paul Blackthorne! Though I’ve never seen Paul quite this intense, with a shaved bald head. The killer with a heart of gold has been protecting Anna the whole time, and hoped Magnum and Juliette could draw The Ghost out so he could take the hitman out.
Despite initially being terrified of Xavier, who grabbed her off the street, Anna has come to rely on and trust the imposing man. But unfortunately, things get crazy when The Ghost finds them and bullets start flying. The only way to stop him is to make a distraction, so Xavier volunteers as Magnum aims a sniper rifle. Xavier takes two brutal hits before Magnum manages to pop the killer right in the forehead. Sadly, Xavier perishes as well. So much for a recurring role with Paul Blackthorne.
I won’t spoil all the details, but “Hit and Run” has a happy ending, and the person that hired the hitman is taken into police custody. T.C. also manages to learn how to adjust to his new circumstances, and when Shammie and Kumu brings in covert burgers, his feet even start twitching involuntarily! Even Rick gets a happy ending of sorts, since Piper visits him at La Mariana and flirts pretty hard.
Overall a very solid episode of Magnum P.I., though perhaps less exciting than the premiere of the first half of the season. It had some good banter between Magnum and Juliette, especially as they joked about whether a possible child would inherit his sense of spin or her pointed sarcasm. Then it all ends with a revelation that Juliette isn’t pregnant, which leaves Thomas with some mixed feelings. Thankfully he pivots and tells her he loves her, and she reciprocates in kind. Not bad, but here’s hoping next week’s episode introduces some more interesting, season-wide complications.