Five-0 Redux: Fighting the good fight
BY WENDIE BURBRIDGE / Special to the Star-Advertiser
If this week’s episode of “Hawaii Five-0″ doesn’t prove to you that the CBS series is taking a lot of great risks this season by showing us this action/drama is not your standard fare, I’m not sure what could convince you.
Most shows have an action-filled opening, add a funny moment with the main characters right before they get pulled into the case, follow with a big action scene (with either guns-a-blazing, or a kick-ass fight) and a tearful moment, then wrap everyting up neatly on a feel good note. Yet, our “Five-0″ writers and crew seem to want to fight that dramatic stereotype by mixing up the formula — for both the viewing audience and our Five-0 team.
I’d like to say that watching McGarrett fight in the octagon not only made me think that if he gets into another fix like he was in last year, he definitely has the option of joining the MMA ranks. He may have to have his hands taped by a girl and Danno there to throw in the towel in case someone tries to rearrange his face, but as long as Joe White is there to jump in and take over, McG has all his corners covered.
I’ve seen sailors fight before, and Joe White could win the belt any day. His fight with Wo Fat in this week’s episode, “Ka Hakakā Maika‘i,” was just an amazing tribute to stunt coordinator Jeff Cadiente, as well as to the acting and physical ability of both Terry O’Quinn and Mark Dacascos. I really loved that both characters showed their vulnerability during the fight; White his age, and Wo Fat’s underestimation of his opponent.
Now, if anyone knows how to fight, it’s our favorite big man on TV, Kamekona. I was so happy to see him again with the team. I got a little nervous when I didn’t see his shrimp truck in the opening credits sequence, but again, that’s another clue “Hawaii Five-0” is trying to get away from the standard drama setup. Kamekona is great comic relief, on a different level from the funny eccentricity of Max (Masi Oka).
I’m not sure that air-popped popcorn with kakimochi (Japanese rice crackers flavored with shoyu) is exactly “healthy kine, sistah,” but at least he held the butter. If nothing else, Taylor Wily is a former sumo wrestler, and if you’ve ever seen those battles, he could definitely give McG a few lessons how to evade your opponent in the ring and when it’s time to pull up your mawashi and exit the dohyō.
“Ka Hakakā Maika‘i” translates to “The Good Fight,” and this episode was fraught with fighting — both good and bad. While we are used to our fearless four (now five with the reinstatement of Kono and the addition of Lauren German as Department of Homeland Security profiler Lori Watson) fighting like a bunch of trained ninjas or covert SEALs, the “fight” was both literally and figuratively painful. McG gets punched a few times too many by Joe White’s words as well as his actions, and even a few well-timed punches by MMA champion Chuck Liddell can’t stop the staunch of emotions from his fight.
I wasn’t sure how happy McGarrett was to meet Joe’s cohort from “NCIS: LA,” Kensi Blye, played by the lovely Daniela Ruah. Her lip-reading skills really helped in adding fuel to McGarrett’s quest for the truth, yet we’re still not sure if this is a truth that McGarrett wants to hear — but we know it is something he needs to hear. Joe White’s fatherly advice in the end makes me wonder if McG is on a path that will not only lead him to the fight of his life, but toward something that would make being framed for the murder of the governor and getting shanked in prison a welcomed relief.
Redux Side Note:
A Loco Moco — which is what McG brings Joe White during their meeting with Kensi Blye — is basically a local plate lunch delicacy served up by drive-ins, as well as most sit-down restaurants, all over Hawaii.
A plate lunch is what locals call a meal that comes in a take-out box and usually consists of two scoops of sticky white rice (served traditionally with an ice cream scoop), a scoop of macaroni salad, and a meat entrée. Meat dishes are normally hamburger steak — a hamburger patty covered in brown gravy — or chicken katsu, which are strips of panko-coated chicken, fried to oblivion.
Other plate lunch favorites are beef stew, chicken katsu covered in curry sauce, shoyu chicken (chicken thighs stewed in soy sauce) and of course, teriyaki chicken. A Loco Moco consists of the requisite two scoops of rice, but is topped with a hamburger patty, two eggs (usually cooked over-easy) and smothered in brown gravy. I’ve had Loco Mocos in diners, drive-ins, and even at sit-down restaurants with white tablecloths and linen napkins — basically the same places you could also order misoyaki butterfish.
It’s not really where you eat your Loco Moco, but how you eat it. With grilled onions? With brown rice? With hot mustard and shoyu? I eat mine with a side of kim chee, but no matter how you eat it — or where you get it — it’s all bad for you.
But yes, Kensi, it really is a bit of heaven.
McGarrett got Joe’s Loco Moco from Rainbow Drive-In, which has served plate lunches in Hawaii for the last 50 years. The Loco Moco served on their menu goes for the low price of $6.75 — which is quite reasonable, given the large portion you receive.
When in Hawaii, be sure to add Rainbow Drive-In to your “Hawaii Five-0″ tour around the island, along with Liliha Bakery for Coco Puffs, Leonard’s for Malasadas, and Zippy’s or Big City Diner for any local dish you missed. I guarantee your ‘ōpū (stomach) will say, “mahālo.”
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.