A man dressed like a ninja (Mark Lenard) sneaks into a secure compound, including scaling a chain-link fence, scrambling through the woods, jumping off a roof and picking a lock to an ammunition bunker. Opening a box, the ninja takes several sticks of dynamite, tucking them into his shirt. When a guard (Beau Van den Ecker) opens the door, the ninja throws a multiple pointed star at the guard, killing him. The ninja takes off, running to parts unknown.
McGarrett arrives on scene, where Kono and Chin have begun their part of the investigation with two HPD units parked nearby. Footprints were found near the fence, but they are not useful since the person seems to have "worn slippers or sandals or something." Chin also finds a scrap of material that is black and what McGarrett describes as "hand-woven." After ordering Chin to get the scrap to the lab, McGarrett drives to the actual bunker.
At the bunker, McGarrett enters the crowd of lab technicians, ambulance attendants and the coroner ("Doc"). The coroner (Robert Brilliande) says the weapon was a "jagged instrument of some kind. Never seen anything like it." Looking over the body, McGarrett observes, "Throat's badly lacerated." The timeline given is a couple of hours. As soon as they finish, Danno informs McGarrett eight sticks of dynamite "with enough fuses and caps to detonate them" was taken. Their conclusion: a desperate "kook" stole the dynamite.
McGarrett, Danno and Doc walk to the open bunker door. McGarrett spots the weapon lodged into the opposite wall. He pulls it down with a handkerchief, noticing traces of blood on it. Not sure what they're looking at, Doc confirms it would take a weapon like it to cause the damage to the guard's throat. Danno says it "looks like something off the top of a Christmas tree. 'Tis the season to be jolly." McGarrett adds, "Peace on Earth. Goodwill to men."
In Honolulu, a street Santa Claus rings a bell as several people walk by him. A sketchy man nearly runs into Santa before beginning to look in each car for a key in the ignition. When he finds one, he gets in, starts the engine and puts the car into gear. During the process of pulling onto the street, he smashes the cars parked in front of and behind this sedan. As the smashing happens, HPD Officer Naaleu (Vincent E. Eder) attempts to stop the man but is hit and kicked for his effort.
In McGarrett's office, Officer Naaleu reports what he encountered –- a Japanese man who is "a karate expert." During this conversation, Danno walks in with the lab reports, which isn't much. The highlight is the black scrap of cloth found –- confirmed to be hand-woven, it dates to about 30 years prior to Japan, probably outside Osaka. Danno says, "The cloth was very musty and loaded with wood dust. Meaning it's been stored for quite some time."
McGarrett orders Danno to send a cablegram and a sample to the Osaka Police –- telling them Five-O needs anything they have. After Danno leaves, McGarrett calls Jenny in to take Officer Naaleu's statement and to send out an APB on the man encountered. McGarrett and Chin then leave "to see a man about the top of a Christmas tree."
The stolen car drives to a boarded up house overlooking Honolulu. The man then starts ripping off boards to gain entry. Running in, he goes from room to room, ripping down cobwebs, until he arrives at a key in the wall. Turning the key, a secret room is revealed. In this room, he goes through various boxes and finds a pair of sai (a Japanese weapon, a blunted, prong shaped metal baton, with two curved prongs projecting from the handle).
At a martial arts school, two men spar with a bamboo rod and a pair of sai as students, McGarrett and Chin watch. One of the men, Jerry (Tom Fujiwara), knows McGarrett and because of this McGarrett asks Jerry about the murder weapon. Jerry identifies it as a "shuriken ... a weapon used by the ninja." Jerry then explains ninja are "assassins, professional spies, saboteurs." He goes on to say there are no more ninjas: "It's a lost art." This after McGarrett lays out the full scope of the crime –- murder and then some. Kono then walks in, interrupting the conversation with a report of a guy fitting the APB as a man who escaped from the State Mental Hospital. McGarrett then wraps it up with Jerry and leaves with Kono and Chin in tow.
The stolen car practically crashes into the curb on a busy street in Honolulu. The escapee gets out, studying the store front of Takuma Clock and Art Studio. Walking in, the lady behind the counter tries to help but the man calls her Komiko. He then starts speaking Japanese to her but she doesn't understand him. In the process of the gibberish conversation, he asks, "Where is Yuko?" This is the only common thread between the two, besides Komiko who was the lady's mother. The longer the conversation goes on, the more desperate the man becomes, eventually pulling a knife. He forces her to go with him, stealing a clock and knocking one onto the floor as well as taking her purse off the counter. He threatens to kill her unless she gets into the car and drives.
At the State Mental Hospital, McGarrett talks to Dr. Lukens (Bruce Wilson) and discovers the name of the man they are after -– Nagata. Institutionalized 28 years ago, just before the attack on Pearl Harbor, he was catatonic –- withdrawn and non-communicative –- when he was brought in. Not much has been learned in the last 28 years, other than each exam has been consistent: "Acutely psychotic, paranoid, amnesiac." The only option is total confinement with treatment. It is not likely Nagata will ever recover. Not much is known about Nagata's background except he may have known English and there are no family or friends listed in his records. His actions in the hospital had been "totally passive with the patients and the other staff." McGarrett requests a look at Nagata's records while at the hospital with the doctor complying.
Just then, the phone rings. It's Danno with a report of a missing Japanese girl, last seen working at her job in a clock shop. McGarrett takes down the address. When Kono tries to connect the dots, McGarrett offers, "Heather Nagata." McGarrett and Kono then leave the hospital in the Park Lane.
At Takuma's, McGarrett studies a broken clock on the floor. Takuma explains he found the shop such as it is, "The door was open, and Heather was gone." Heather is Takuma's niece. He waited an hour, then started calling around to find Heather. After no success, he called the police. After inspecting the back room and verifying the back door was closed, Takuma states nothing was missing except a clock – a run-of-the-mill alarm clock, inexpensive and one of his best sellers. Takuma then unboxes a clock like it.
Verifying there were no witnesses or any screams, McGarrett explains Nagata escaped from the mental hospital that morning. Takuma is stunned into silence at the name. Composing himself, he explains Nagata is dead. When McGarrett disagrees, Takuma states, "He was killed in the attack on Pearl Harbor. One of the nameless dead trapped in the area when the bombs fell." After McGarrett assures him Nagata is alive, Takuma drops a bombshell, Nagata is Heather's father. McGarrett presses further, trying to figure out where Nagata would go. Takuma tells him and Danno there is a house "across the Pali, on the Windward side. But it has been boarded up for years." McGarrett and Danno exchange glances.
At this house, Nagata tapes the dynamite sticks together while quoting Robert Louis Stevenson. He continues rambling to himself as Heather is seen with tape over her mouth and her hands tied behind her back. Nagata removes the tape, asking her if she's hungry. He then shows her "tai [a Japanese fish], broiled in salt for good luck" and a bottle of sake. They soon argue because Heather asks to be taken home. Nagata insists she is home. Heather tries to explain who she is: "I'm a teacher's assistant at the University of Hawaii." Nagata yells at her, throwing the cap from the sake bottle and pounding on things. Nagata sits on a crate cross-legged, drinking straight from the sake bottle. They continue to argue, with Nagata yelling Imperial Rule will return. Heather looks at him fearfully.
Meanwhile, McGarrett and Danno drive toward the house. Nagata polishes off the bottle and now has a pair of sai out. He continues his karate motions atop the crate; throwing the empty bottle to the side, screaming with each stance with the sai. Heather begs him to stop, breaking down,sobbing. Nagata stops and tries to comfort Heather, still thinking she is Komiko. He reminisces about when they were together in Japan and how he read poetry to her. Heather fails again to convince him that she is not Komiko. Nagata sinks deeper into his delusions –- and whether they perish or not, the mission must be done. Heather continues to cry, held captive by Nagata's delusions. In a calm respite, Nagata rummages through her purse, trying her perfume and pulling out a small mirror. Rather than seeing his true self, Nagata sees himself as a younger man, ready for his mission.
In the next scene, McGarrett kicks in the door but Nagata and Heather are gone. Danno and Chin follow McGarrett in. McGarrett orders Chin to check upstairs. Looking at the room, McGarrett and Danno discover the leftovers of the clock and dynamite, as well as Heather's purse. Putting the dots together, they realize Nagata has manufactured a time bomb. Surveying the rest of the room, Danno finds scrawled on the wall: "To Hell With Babe Ruth". McGarrett explains this is what the Zero pilots screamed over their radios before dropping the bombs.
Chin re-enters the room as McGarrett unfolds a piece of paper -– a map of Pearl Harbor. McGarrett summarizes what has happened so far: a murder, stolen dynamite, kidnapped girl and creation of a time bomb. McGarrett orders a priority call to Admiral David Foster and an immediate red alert for military and civilian installations. They have "Less than 15 hours to 'tora, tora'."
Danno returns to Takuma's, walking into the back room. He finds Takuma has attempted hara-kiri but is still alive. McGarrett and Kono arrive at the hospital, where Danno says that Takuma's chances are "slim." McGarrett gives an account of current events – the installations are on red alert with every HPD officer looking, but Nagata hasn't been found. McGarrett is puzzled why Takuma would try suicide. Danno can only answer with, "My guess is he lied to us, knew we'd find out." They enter Takuma's hospital room.
Takuma is depressed he's still alive –- considering his life worthless. When pressed why he did it, Takuma explains he was trying to purge a ghost. Nagata was a reminder of everything unpleasant. Takuma explains, "When you told me about him ... I could not cope with the memories." Going on, Takuma says he was once a "Black Dragon." The guilt of what he did in the past compelled Takuma to do the honorable thing and commit suicide. He feels unworthy to be with his ancestors. McGarrett presses to discover what Nagata intends to blow up –- Takuma answers, "Pearl..." twice before dying.
At the Five-O office, Captain Barnes (Philip Bolten) briefs McGarrett and Danno about Nagata. He was known "as a super agent" to several intelligence agencies. Barnes clarifies the Black Dragons to be a "gang of political malcontents," committed to their missions up to and including death. The discussion continues through historic events, including no attacks of sabotage before, during or after the Pearl Harbor attack by any Hawaii resident. The focus then shifts to Nagata himself and the fact he's holding Heather captive.
Barnes then produces two maps of Pearl Harbor: before and after the attack –- battle damage is marked in red on the second map. McGarrett hunts for what could be considered strategic to Nagata. Barnes points out several things such as shelters, oil storage tanks, supply stations, communications and a mortar battery. McGarrett sums up, "Needle in a haystack. We got about seven hours to find it." Chin calls and they all run out of the office.
Chin meets them in a red-lit laboratory with a map used by Nagata. Chin suggests Nagata's target is a control tower on Ford Island as three arrows point toward it. However, behind the arrows, is the "Sand Hill oil depot." McGarrett says Nagata is too obvious for the control tower and the real target is the oil depot due to "Japanese high command, battle psychology. Expose the obvious, then do the reverse." Due to the large volume ("5 million gallons") of gas in the depot, if they were to explode a lot of people would perish.
At the depot, Nagata sits atop a fuel tank with the ticking bomb in his hands. Heather secretly tries to unbind her hands. Meanwhile, Nagata studies the surrounding area –- fuel tanks upon fuel tanks. Heather manages to get loose and makes a run for it. Nagata quickly recaptures her and brings her back to the top of the tank where they were. Nagata berates Heather for her "disloyalty" and yells, "There is no deviation from the path of glory!" He pushes her down.
McGarrett arrives at the depot with an Army unit just behind him. Forming quickly around the Park Lane, the soldiers listen to McGarrett's briefing. He tells them what they're listening for, there isn't much time and no shooting is authorized. "One stray bullet in this area can do the same damage as Nagata's bomb." McGarrett stresses this last point. He also orders an evacuation of all personnel in the area as well as silencing all noisy equipment. The entire group moves out.
Nagata continues to hold the bomb, after re-tying Heather's hands. Meanwhile, Five-O and the Army soldiers commence their search for Nagata's bomb. Nagata tries to make nice with Heather but she isn't having it. Nagata finally backs off, saying, "There is hate in your eyes." He then muses about the white swan swimming to "the shore beyond" when she asks him why he is going to kill them. Five-O and the Army continue searching, leaving no stone unturned as the minutes tick away.
With 40 minutes left, Nagata reminisces again, this time about the soldiers marching off to war in Japan. He goes on about the marriage contract signed by his and his wife's parents, revealing his given name as Yoshio. Heather tells him that is impossible since her father is dead, killed in the attack on Pearl Harbor. Hearing the footsteps of Five-O and the Army, Nagata runs to the edge to scout them out. Realizing they are closing in, he returns to Heather and puts his hand over her mouth. It's too late –- a boom mike has picked up the bomb's ticking.
McGarrett finds a ladder up a tank where they can corner Nagata. He runs towards it with Danno and three Army soldiers behind him. Nagata continues to hold his hand over Heather's mouth. McGarrett and Danno move from one tank to the next, moving ever closer to the pair. They split up, hoping to surround Nagata.
Upon seeing McGarrett, Nagata yells at him to stay put, thrusting the bomb in front of himself. McGarrett tries to break through Nagata's delusions by telling him World War II is over and it is no longer 1941. Pointing out the differences 28 years can make, McGarrett keeps trying to break through, mentioning that Nagata doesn't need Heather. McGarrett tells him, "No, she's not your wife, she's your daughter."
On the other side, Danno threatens Nagata with his gun but Nagata warns he could still trigger the bomb. McGarrett and Danno slowly close in causing Nagata to shift from one to the other. Nagata rants on about the planes arriving at 7:55 and how he wants to see them before he dies. McGarrett states, "No planes, Nagata ... No planes. They're not coming." Looking skyward, Nagata hears the roar of jets. Four military jets fly overhead as Nagata yells, "To hell with Babe Ruth!" several times. Realizing they aren't dropping any bombs, Nagata shouts, "Traitors!"
McGarrett and Danno make their move –- McGarrett grabs the bomb, Danno grabs Nagata. McGarrett pulls out fingernail clippers in order to diffuse the bomb by clipping a single wire. As this happens, Danno cuffs Nagata. McGarrett unties Heather and he verifies the truth for her. As she touches her father's cheek, Nagata remains in his delusions.
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