While on paper the latest episode of Magnum P.I., “Welcome to Paradise, Now Die!”, isn’t that much more complex than last week’s, I still had a better time watching it. In large part, that’s because of the return of some of the show’s best characters—Apollo and Zeus, Higgins’ giant and fierce yet somehow lovable Doberman Pinschers.
“Welcome to Paradise, Now Die!” starts with a rare nighttime shot. We see a family enjoying their vacation to the fullest. Their young daughter is making sandcastles, they’re enjoying the fireworks, and dad goes to get a drink. He just doesn’t come back. Somehow, he disappears during the firework presentation, and his wife cannot figure out where he went. All she knows is he left his phone behind. Luckily for her, the man who runs security for their hotel is friends with Gordon Katsumoto, and she calls him in for advice.
Magnum is still poring over evidence about Greene’s murder, and is irritated there’s no fingerprints left on his body whatsoever. All they know is a black sedan had been following Greene before his death. When Higgins suggests they look into the shady harbormaster that T.C. encountered in the first episode of the season, it’s revealed he’s gone suspiciously missing as well. All they have going for them is that Higgy put in a request to MI6 to see what they can find, but that might be a bit of a wait. So they’re looking at a lot of dead ends for now.
A good chunk of the episode revolves around Rick being a complete goofball. He’s still staying at Robin’s guest house, but he’s not doing it like an adult. He’s built a full pillow fort to shield his eyes from the sun, and since it’s his first free day in a while, he’s lounging and more than a bit disheveled. Gordon gives him all the stink eye when he arrives, but that’s not why he’s there. He wants Magnum’s help with the case of the missing husband, though he’s very reluctant to play P.I. himself. Since there’s another client on their docket, Higgins and Magnum split up on different missions. While Magnum and Gordon investigate David’s disappearance, Higgins goes on a very different, canine-focused adventure.
Magnum and Gordie at first are perplexed by why David disappeared. According to his wife, Dana Carter, he was afraid of travel and possibly agoraphobic. Yet they find footage of him wandering through the hotel lobby, seemingly unafraid of contact with tons of people. They also quickly discover David had no credit history prior to 2010. Even more strangely, turns out the real David Carter died years ago, so the missing husband is actually someone else entirely. When they manage to get a print from his phone, turns out his real name is Cliff Bennet, and his old job was as a mob accountant. Which might explain why he’s suddenly on the run.
At first, Higgins feels her mission is somewhat lacking. She’s at a memorial for a dog named Hank, whose owner thinks he was murdered. It’s easy to dismiss Patty’s opinion, since she’s very full of herself and a bit of an emotional vampire. But she’s not far off the mark, and with the help of a dog autopsy (called a necropsy, apparently) found the cause of death for Hank were chemical burns, possibly from a concentrated toxin. Which leads to Kumu and Higgins taking Apollo and Zeus (referred to as “the lads”) and walking through a dog park Patty and Hank frequented for answers.
Many people point to the fact that Hank was a horny little monster, and Patty was annoying to almost everyone. Though none of the facts indicate any of the dog owners that frequent the park hated them enough to poison the poor pooch. Then Higgins hears from Patty, and it turns out Hank ate a lemon bar laced with poison. Which might mean the target of the poisoning was Patty. Some more sleuthing reveals Patty made the bars herself, though she recently had sugar delivered to her house. This means someone laced her sugar with rat poison. The question is, who? Their first suspect is her ex-fiancé, Owen.
As for Rick, he’s a space case. He’s making pancakes for himself, and sets aside some tiny ones for Magnum’s mouse friend, Roberto. Rick just makes the dumb mistake of opening his cage to get the pancakes inside. Which of course leads to Roberto escaping and Rick calling T.C. for help finding him. In their search, they find a golden necklace underneath Magnum’s bed and start speculating about him having a new girlfriend. What they’re not able to find is Roberto, who leads them on a merry chase.
Gordon and Magnum find David / Cliff staying at a seedy motel. When Magnum tries picking the lock, he’s answered by gunshots from inside. Turns out, David is terrified of being caught by his old mob boss, a man named Wells. He’s been hunting David since the previous night, and Magnum and Gordon barely avoid getting riddled with bullets. David escapes before they can catch him but calls the motel phone to warn them to stay away from his family, suspecting they work for Wells.
Higgy and Kumu talk with Owen, and level suspicions that he tried to kill Patty for her money. He says if he cared about money he never would have tried to marry Patty, since she’s getting hefty alimony checks from another ex named Patrick.
Thomas and Gordon try to talk with David’s family for answers, and find a crime scene instead. The couple’s little girl is hiding in a closet. Her mommy was packing luggage to leave after David called her on a burner phone, but Wells broke in first. Dana was able to hide her daughter for protection, but she wound up as a hostage in the bargain.
“Welcome to Paradise, Now Die!” ends with a couple of dramatic encounters. When Higgins and Kumu interrogate Patrick, they bring the cops along with them. Turns out, he wanted to stop paying alimony, so he tried to poison his ex. As for Magnum and Gordon, they find where Dana is being held, but David gets there first. Wells wants his money back, so David is setting up a transfer, asking only that Wells let his wife live. Lucky for him, Gordon serves as a distraction while Magnum sneaks up the rear door, and they get David and Dana rescued in one piece. When they’re leaving the scene, Gordon asks why Magnum wanted his help, and realizes it was to distract him from his upcoming hearing.
My favorite part of the episode are the last few moments. Kumu is surprised to find that Apollo and Zeus suddenly seem to like Magnum. In the past, Higgins took great joy in having them chase Magnum for fun. Now, they treat him like anybody else. When the team is all relaxing at the end, Rick is bereft about losing Roberto, until Magnum, smirking, points out he’s on top of his cage, eating a miniature stack of pancakes. And Higgins exclaims happily when she finds her necklace. Which leads to Rick and T.C. taking a sidebar to talk about how that means Magnum and Higgins are finally a couple.
The secret is finally out! A fun episode of Magnum P.I., and hopefully a sign of better things to come in Season 5.