Five-0 Redux: Cleaning up, Hawaiian-style
BY WENDIE BURBRIDGE / Special to the Star-Advertiser
“Hawaii Five-0” can definitely start off their episodes with a bang and then keep the ball rolling for the rest of the show. And this ball kept us bouncing most of the episode. Sometimes when a ball is bounced around, it knocks things over, messes things up. And then it’s sometimes hard to figure out what to clean up first.
Here in Hawaii, there’s been a fair bit of coverage about this episode because the opening scene that got the proverbial ball rolling was shot at the University of Hawaii’s Stan Sheriff Center and utilized Rainbow Wahine fans for a special “Hawaii Five-0” volleyball game. Unfortunately, because of NCAA rules, the real team could not play themselves in the game, but it was a great treat to see so many local faces in the stands during the show, even if it was as deep background.
Local actor Joe Toro played head coach Brian Scartelli, and while he was not the normal face we see with the Wahine, he did look like a volleyball coach. It was also great to see Hawaii News Now Sunrise anchor Ramsey Wharton playing a role she has a definite talent for — a news reporter — even if it was just a short clip on a television. I know, not much of a stretch for our Ramsey, but it’s always great to see another familiar face on “Hawaii Five-0” and she did a great job, as usual.
I’d love to see her play another type of role; perhaps a politically-driven career woman running for Congress? They do say to play what you know.
Or perhaps it’s write what you know — and it’s obvious to me that what Peter Lenkov said at the Hawaii International Film Festival’s “Afternoon with Hawaii Five-0” is true — that when you write what you know, everything looks and sounds real, and feels real for the actors. And in “Ma‘ema‘e,” the emotions as well as the strength of each character was put to the test.
There has been a lot said in these last few weeks via social networking sites about the fate of our Five-0 team, Kono in particular.
We have been very worried about our girl, if she is headed down the wrong path toward the opposite side of the fence and if she will ever come back with her rookie charm intact. At the HIFF panel discussion, Grace Park herself commented on the change within her character, saying that she loved “going to the dark side.”
That being said, Monday’s episode (“Ma‘ema‘e” meaning “clean”) gave us great insight into not only Kono’s character, but into her actions for the last few episodes.
Clean up she does, in more ways than one. Perhaps the symbol of cleanliness lingered throughout the entire episode, but I think this is why many of us like the use of Hawaiian words and terms to name each episode.
According to my Hawaiian language expert, T. Ilihia Gionson, “in Hawaiian language, ‘to clean’ would be to ho‘oma‘ema‘e. That which is unclean will come into a state of cleanliness, ma‘ema‘e.
“Poetically, Hawaiian language equates cleanliness with a pure beauty; clean and free of flaws, if you will.”
We saw a lot of this symbol throughout the episode, a coach who tried to clean up for people he cared about — one of his mislead players and a woman who he considered a friend in trouble; a man who laundered money for dirty cops; Chin Ho’s ex, Malia, trying to clean up Kono’s relationship with her cousin; a cop who was seen as dirty and one who was — made clean by the actions of Kono. All ways the writers worked the theme into the episode.
There’s a lot of badmouthing about “Hawaii Five-0” out there, I know. People stop me in stores and in my office at work and tell me why they just cannot watch the show — but I ask them to name me a show that works a metaphor into their scripts for every episode, and “Five-0” joins the ranks. It usually wipes those dirty looks right off their faces.
Returning tonight was Reiko Aylesworth as Chin Ho’s former fiancée, Malia, Tom Sizemore as HPD Internal Affairs officer Vincent Fryer, and William (formerly Billy) Baldwin as Frank Delano. I have to say that I was dreading Sizemore’s return to the show, as I really disliked his character — not Sizemore, he’s really a terrific actor, regardless of his personal problems and addictions — but Fryer is about as greasy as his name. And I was proven right — McG’s good effort to clean his clock was very satisfying.
In the end, when Kono cleared the air, she brought the team back together. And though the Five-0’s may not be free of flaws, they definitely can no longer be called dirty. And if nothing else, that is worth cleaning up the house.
Redux Side Note:
The University of Hawaii Rainbow Wahine is one of the foremost women’s volleyball teams in the nation, in large part because of their legendary head coach, Dave Shoji. Shoji has coached the Wahine’s since 1975, and has four national titles under his belt.
Local folks know that the crowd you saw in “Hawaii Five-0” is a common occurrence for Wahine games — one of the most beloved pastimes in Hawaii.
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.