This review contains spoilers.
Ah, 'Magnum, p.i'. – it always cheers me up. When I came to watch this episode to review the following day, I had had a bad day for various reasons, and really wasn't in the mood to watch much TV. But – even though this isn't one of my favourite episodes – by a couple of minutes in, I was feeling much happier.
This is the last in an occasional line of 'ghost stories' in the show, stretching back to the second season's enjoyable 'The Woman on the Beach', and also including season six's 'Rapture', not to mention several encounters with the ghost of Mac. However, unlike those earlier stories, most of this one is explained away as not being supernatural – although there are still some unexplained plot points.
The backdrop for the episode is Higgins putting on another high-class show, in this case a Historical Society Pageant. The "putting on a show" plot device has been used in several episodes, such as the fourth season's (much underrated) 'Let the Punishment Fit the Crime'. In this episode, most of the humour subplot comes from Rick and T.C. trying to get a model volcano to explode properly.
It is nice to see a story that involves a Hawaiian history setting – although there is the odd such thread woven into various episodes, the only real episodes that use it to any notable extent are the second season's 'Dead Man's Channel' and season seven's 'Kapu'. Although maybe it would have become a bit repetitive to do it regularly, it is a setting that maybe would have been nice to utilise a bit more often.
Anyway, the plot itself is a fair one, but personally I find it a bit slow, not to mention a bit confusing and unclear in places. I don't dislike this episode, but at the same time it feels that it should somehow come off better than it ultimately does.
The climax of the story, with Magnum and the possible princess in the fire, is quite good, although I found it little surprise who the culprit behind the trouble was – the fact that he just happened to be involved with the running of the pageant seemed a little over convenient to me.
In its own way, this is actually quite a nice story, but I don't think they fully captured what they were going for, and it's not really one of my favourites.