Magnum P.I. Season 5 Episode 18 Review: Extracurricular Activities


This was one entertaining debate on the relative value of higher education.

What was enjoyable was how this discussion on Magnum P.I. Season 5 Episode 18 took place both on a university campus and in the woods.

Thomas and Juliet fit relatively easily on a university campus, her on the academic side and him on the leisure side. Couldn’t you see her giving a lecture and him at that toga party?

The case of the week was even somewhat topical, as they investigated allegations against a hotshot professor using his position to exploit ambitious female students.

Sure, Brody was a stereotype that has been repeatedly seen on TV. Fortunately, it turned out that more was going on than met the eye.

Nothing was easy for the P.I. couple in this case. It didn’t make sense that Higgins couldn’t do her usual hacking remotely. So they had to head back to school.

It was simple enough for Magnum to get by as the anonymous service guy in the Hawaiian shirt, which would gain him easy access to almost any building.

It was such a Thomas thing to do to be chilling in Brody’s office, almost getting caught, and being forced to hang off the ledge outside his office window. But Higgins should have texted him as soon as class was over.

Juliet was equally at home in a classroom, making a salient point based on her visit to Kenya that caught the attention of both Brody and her fellow students.

You could see her becoming one of those nontraditional students if only she weren’t so busy hunting down skips, criminals, and spies.

Initially, it seemed like an open-and-shut case. While Brody was a world-class scientist, he was also a sleaze who used his reputation to take advantage of co-eds.

Thomas even discovered that one of Brody’s former assistants had killed herself after a likely affair.

So, Brody certainly deserved what was coming. However, this case just wasn’t as simple as it seemed. Things weren’t adding up.

For one thing, Higgins kept having trouble with the spyware that Magnum installed on Brody’s electronics. A former spy colleague confirmed that there was government-level encryption on his phone. Why would a seed doctor require that?

Another revelation was that the late former assistant was being blackmailed with explicit photos. Brody was the obvious choice to have done so. But she was being extorted by Helen, the angriest of Brody’s current squeezes.  

Yes, Helen went from victim to villain in a hurry, as Juliet, Thomas, and the dean who hired them put together the possible bioterrorism uses if Brody’s research fell into the wrong hands.

Naturally, they were a step behind Helen. Otherwise, there wouldn’t have been that dynamite motorcycle chase through Honolulu, ending just steps outside the Chinese consulate.

The episode marked Perdita Weeks’ directorial debut, and she deserves credit for being front and center throughout one of the two storylines. This compares to the handful of scenes in which Zachary Knighton appeared while directing Magnum P.I. Season 5 Episode 17.

The rest of the cast, except Kumu, headed out into the woods for camping and soul searching. Katsumoto was determined to impart some survival skills to his son Dennis before he headed off for college in the wilds of Michigan (actually Ann Arbor).

Being trapped in a Midwestern snowstorm during their mainland college tour didn’t discourage Dennis. The novelty will wear off for him.

On the other hand, the new father, Rick, just wanted some quiet so he could sleep. He didn’t move in with Suzy and Joy until reasonably recently. He doesn’t get to complain yet.

Rick cajoled and guilted his way into this father-son camping trip and brought along so much gear that he turned it into a glamping trip.

He slept well, but his snoring kept everything else awake. But as Rick pointed out, they weren’t sharp enough to keep their supplies from being stolen.

The key to this outing was Cade’s secret about his future. When T.C. kept bringing up going to college, Cade finally admitted that he wanted to follow T.C.’s lead and enlist in the Marines.

You would think that this decision would have made T.C. proud. But, like parents everywhere, he wanted something better than his life for his child. This caused a new layer of tension to the trip.

Rick supplied the necessary perspective to T.C., pointing out the valuable experiences that T.C. had taken away from being a Marine.

They discovered their supplies had been stolen by a son who was trying to help out his homeless father. The son reminded T.C. of how far Cade had come since the two of them had become a family.

It was gracious of Rick to “loan” that equipment to the homeless pair, even though it did mean cutting their camping trip short. Rick remembered his difficult youth and decided to pay things forward.

In the end, T.C. and Cade explained to each other where they were coming from, and T.C. grudgingly supported Cade’s choice, even though he didn’t wholeheartedly agree with it. But Cade must find his ohana after sharing T.C.’s for these last few years.

To look back through the seasons, watch Magnum P.I. online.

How soon did you suspect Helen?

What did you think of Cade’s decision?

How did you enjoy the camping trip?

Comment below.

Dale McGarrigle is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on X.

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