Five-0 Redux: Unbreakable McGarrett
BY WENDIE BURBRIDGE / Special to the Star-Advertiser
So it was a great episode, right? Worth the month of speculation and anticipation? Worth the little pleas you sent up to the television angels, asking for time to move faster, for the last three months to speed by like a silver Camaro.
If you were jumping up and down in your living room or yelling at your high-def screen after watching the season two opener of “Hawaii Five-0,” you are nodding your head as you read this — “Ha‘i‘ole” was well worth the wait.
I have been holding it in for nine days, people. NINE DAYS. I’m ready to burst out with my many thoughts, just like the hidden camera placed by Poppa McG in the Governor’s office spilled all the Wo Fat beans.
But before I get ahead of myself and talk about the OMG ending, let’s breakdown a few of the moments that made this episode live up to it’s title.
We now have a lot of proof that McGarrett and the Five-0 team truly are unbreakable. They are faced from the beginning with an unbreakable case, a case that seems to have no cracks in which they can find a way to get McGarrett out of the murder charges and the life in prison he faces.
Yet, from out of the blue sky lands a new friend who has arrived to help the team out — Lt. Commander Joe White (Terry O’Quinn). And this friend is the one who trained McGarrett. If there is one thing a SEAL knows how to do, it is not to break.
There are a lot of friends in this episode — old friends who help, friends from both McG’s and Poppa McG’s past, and even one who comes back from the dead via modern day video surveillance. There is even a friend who used to be an enemy, and an enemy who has been acting like a friend. And with friends like that, who really needs enemies? It’s not as if the team doesn’t have enough.
Yes, my friends, it was a rollercoaster of a ride and believe me when I tell you, I’m still trying to wrap my head around who are the team’s real friends and which ones do they need kick out of the car. Last week I thought that Lt. Commander Joe White would be the deus ex machina — the man who would come in and save them all. But the team’s actual savior was another lieutenant: Lt. Governor Sam Denning (Richard T. Jones).
Well, he at least made a partial team save. The verdict is still out on Kono’s fate. But I have a feeling that ball will not be dropped by McG and the boys, who will work to clear her name. I’m sure that will come to fruition in the next few episodes. Otherwise, we’re going to be watching a lot of Kono surfing in a string bikini scenes.
Not that any of the male population of the world would mind that — but I think we’d rather have her kicking ass and taking names with the rest of the male Five-0’s, don’t we?
I have to say the writers really gave us an episode of the light and funny as well as the dark and ugly. The added bromantic scenes between McG and his former SEAL trainer were a great addition to the show, and I’m looking forward to more of Joe White. Yes, they almost stole the show from the McG and Danno bro-marriage, but we did get enough witty repartee from our two Five-0 favorites to give us the laughs we have been waiting for all summer.
The added humor from Max (the always interesting Masi Oka) and of course, the cherry syrup on our favorite shave ice, Kamekona (Taylor Wily) was enough to give us the “welcome home Five-0” feeling our living rooms have sorely missed.
I don’t know what was funnier — Max driving Danny’s Camaro at warp speed, his Master Yoda clarification, or Kamekona explaining how to make undercover ops look real. Can’t wait to see more of these two this season.
BUT THE dark and ugly, that was well played and equally well written. The scenes of McG in an orange prison jumper doing rounds of pushups did not make us swoon at his well-shaped arm muscles, they just made us feel faint from the sheer fact that McG is behind bars — and we’ve seen enough cop dramas to know a former cop/former SEAL in jail is not a good thing for our hero’s life.
We know McGarrett is played by an Aussie, but we don’t want scenes like the ones in another prison television show named after Alex O’Loughlin’s homeland. So when McGarrett survives a violent jailhouse attack — by former enemy Victor Hesse, now his seeming friend who has no idea how to show his friendship in a normal way, I know I was holding my breath.
But he’s McGarrett and the theme of this episode is “unbreakable,” and we see McG do almost everything but break. He makes it through jumping from a moving ambulance and running from a cop who just so happened to take a pit stop at the wrong time, only to survive being grilled by Danno, stitched up Max, and end up hiding from the law in the lavatory of Kamekona’s shave ice lair.
McGarrett does not once break — even when he’s almost arrested once again and this time with the possibility of escape added to his murder charge. Can’t the man catch a break?
The one thing that did break in this episode was a bit of truth. The truth about Jenna Kaye, played with deceptive innocence by Larisa Oleynik, and Wo Fat. Now, I thought I was dying to see this episode, until I saw the ending. And now I’m dying to know what is the story of Jenna Kaye.
Which leads us back to Wo Fat. It was hard for me to wrap my mind around the vindictiveness of the character, and how deep his evil tentacles have penetrated into McGarrett’s circle of trust, after meeting the sweet and genuine Mark Dacascos. But when I saw who was driving Wo Fat’s getaway car, I was assured that there are other villains in the show who could trump even his impenetrable stare.
I am getting a bit tired of all the betrayal that is being slung around the magic table. Who’s next? Kamekona turning informant for IAB and getting Danno in trouble for breaking the no-ties-just-aloha-shirts statute? All I know is, whatever you think about “Ha‘i‘ole,” if you saw it on the big screen on Waikiki Beach on Sept. 10 or if you watched on your home screen Monday night, I’m sure you were pleased to know that the Five-0 team is back together and on its way to being completely intact.
But we know for sure — our McG and his friends are proving themselves to be an unbreakable team.
Redux Side Note:
If you have already pre-ordered your “Hawaii Five-0” season one DVD online or are planning on picking it up this week, you will not be disappointed. All of the deleted scenes and the extras on the six-disc set are amazing. Several deleted scenes left me teary eyed and were amazing character studies of our team, as well as Max and Mary Ann. In fact, you really get to see Mary Ann in a completely different light by watching the deleted scenes. And the Gag Reel is a good look at the chemistry the team enjoys off camera.
Check out Burl Burlingame’s complete review in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser.
Also be sure to check out the Sept. 19 edition of the Star-Advertiser for Mike Gordon’s special four-page viewer’s guide to season two. He did an awesome job compiling a breakdown on all of the main and recurring characters as well as the guest stars. You can always see complete coverage of the show by checking out the Star-Advertiser’s Hawaii Five-0 page.
Wendie Burbridge is a published writer, playwright and a teacher of literature and fiction writing at Kamehameha Schools-Kapālama. Reach her on Facebook and on Twitter.