Five-0 Redux: Identifying the commonplace face

Nov. 15, 2011 | 16 Comments

Danno and McGarrett interview a witness at Kakaako Waterfront Park during this week's episode. (Courtesy CBS)

Danno and McGarrett interview a witness at Kakaako Waterfront Park during this week's episode. (Courtesy CBS)

BY WENDIE BURBRIDGE / Special to the Star-Advertiser

In Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s short story, “The Adventure of the Red-Headed League,” Holmes tells Watson, “As a rule . . . the more bizarre a thing is the less mysterious it proves to be. It is your commonplace, featureless crimes which are really puzzling, just as a commonplace face is the most difficult to identify.”

Much like Sherlock Holmes’s explanation to Dr. Watson about the difficulty in identifying a commonplace face, so must our Five-0 team figure out the classified identity of a sanded fingerprint and facially altered John Doe corpse, as well as the owners muscle cars with altered vehicle identification numbers. But they also need to understand their own identities within the team — and all must work together to identify something within themselves as well as aid in solving their case.

This week’s episode was entitled “‘Ike Maka,” which in Hawaiian means “eyewitness” or “to see or witness personally.” According to Hawaiian language expert T Ilihia Gionson, “it means to know something because you see it with your eyes. ‘Ike means ‘to know’ and maka means, ‘eye,’ so ‘‘ike maka’ basically means to know something because of your eyes.

“Yet maka not only means eye, it also means face, so you could recognize or know someone because of their face.”

Perhaps that is where the idea that ‘ike maka means identity comes from, as this is the translation the CBS press site offers for this week’s episode. To recognize a face or “to know a face” is similar to the idea of knowing an identity — which most people would relate to knowing someone’s face. The true Hawaiian translation of identity is “‘ike e ho‘omaopopo ai,” which even to Gionson is clumsy and quite a mouthful.

Not a simple title for a network television show, nor is it that easy to say during a promo full of sunshine, cool waves, and hot babes.

The Five-0 team gets ready to go after the bad guys. (Courtesy CBS)

The Five-0 team gets ready to go after the bad guys. (Courtesy CBS)

After watching this week’s show, the idea of being a witness, as well as the theme of identity, stood out as being cleverly woven throughout the episode. Between a corpse in a trunk whose identity is unknown to Kono and Chin Ho identifying a car thief, Lori posing as a muscle car babe and Max trying to ID a surgical implants, one could say the themes of identity and to see or witness personally were covered. Add to it the surprise identity of the killer, and the “‘Ike Maka” theme is pretty well tied up.

It’s interesting to me that “Hawaii Five-0” is really making its mark as a hit television show. They seem to really be using their sophomore season to hone their identity as a strong action-comedy, with tonight being no exception; the action was hot and the comedy spot-on. Writer Mike Schaub really knows the team and the character arcs set up by show genius — I mean, showrunner — Peter Lenkov. Director Bryan Spicer also handled the mix of action and humor like a pro.

I felt like this episode really reminded me of the reason why I started watching “Five-0″ and why I continue to tune in. I’m sure I am not alone in that thought this week.

All in all, the reveal of the actual killer’s identity was a clever twist on the idea of identifying the commonplace face. Plastic surgeon Dr. James (played by Hank Stratton) tried to alter his victim’s face, and in the end it was his downfall. I wondered when I saw Murphy and the O’Toole brothers’ hair color if Schaub was paying respect to Conan Doyle’s story. I can say that whatever his intentions, this episode was a fun and skillfully written adventure.

Redux Side Note:

Could Spam musubi-flavored air fresheners become a reality? (Courtesy CBS)

Could Spam musubi-flavored air fresheners become a reality? (Courtesy CBS)

Our friend Sarah Katherine Miller (@BlondeatBeach) was an extra on this week’s episode. She was one of the bikini girls at the muscle car showdown where Lori Weston traps Ken Nakoa (David Lee McInnis). I wrote about her in May for my post, “Being the Blonde on the Beach.”

If you were online during the episode searching for Aromas of Hawaii Air Fresheners in Spam musubi or loco moco scents, please let me know if you find them. I was unlucky in my search, but if I know anything about Kamekona, he’ll be selling them out of his shrimp truck in no time. Perhaps he’ll add a garlic shrimp plate scent to his lineup?
———
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.

  • http://twitter.com/BertHayling Bert Hayling

    Cackling at the prospect of either a Loco Moco or garlic butter shrimp plate air freshener — who’d be able to drive? I’d be gnawing on the steering wheel after a few minutes’ exposure, especially if we were talkin’ a Rainbow Loco Moco or a Macky’s garlic butter shrimp plate… ;-)

    LOVED this episode!  This was H50 firing on all cylinders and running as beautifully as any of the hot-rods featured in “Ike Maka.” This episode? These characters, their interactions,  their affection for (and exasperation with) each other, combined with a twisty, turny case that enhances rather than overruns opportunities for those character interactions — this is indeed the H50 I fell in love with. Show, how I missed you! Please don’t go away again!

    It’s great to see Lori’s characterization hitting its stride, too, and she works especially well when playing off Chin and Kono or Max.

    Two most awesome scenes of the episode? The “Odd Couple” opening scene, with Steve and Danny bickering over TV vs. surf as appropriate background noise for sleeping, and the equally hilarious sight of Steve and Danny climbing over each other to get out of the office so’s to see what “Sandy” Weston is up to — and man, between Lori and Max rockin’ the Grease look, and Steve and Danny looking baffled… totally made of gold.

  • Anonymous

    Loved it, simply loved it! Mike hit a home run with this script and the actors were all just on their best game. So many good points that you already mentioned but one that I thought was stellar – after Chin & Kono corner the car thieves, Chin taps on the window with that great big gun of his and calmly requests… license & registration please? I just about fell off my chair.
    Our two leading men are wonderful and I’m hoping Danny doesn’t move too soon. I love to see Steve get upset with him, there goes his coolness, right out the window! :)
    Loved Lori’s version of Sandy and Max makes an excellent Greaser! I want to go to one of his movie parties!  

  • http://twitter.com/PSfoodtruck Derek Platt

    They have to start selling those air fresheners.  I would love a loco moco.

  • Anonymous

    Wendie,
    This was another great episode. I especially liked the liberal use of humor. I agree fully with pinkiepie230 about the Chin request for license and registration “please” with the heavy duty gun. Reminds me of some ofthe oldie B movies.
    Paul

  • http://twitter.com/Timy72 Timy Seghers

    As always a delightful coda to a wonderful H50 episode.  I love reading your thoughts.  They help to keep me in my ‘happy place’ just that little bit longer ;-)

    And I don’t know about Spam musubi or loco moco Air Fresheners, but I’d definitely consider hanging the garlic shrimp plate scented one.  Yum!  LOL

  • http://twitter.com/BKSteveMcG Steve McGarrett

    It was a surprising, funny and enjoyable episode last night.  Thanks for the reviews.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_ILXXMUHUGYOTXZJLQOFJM5WBZY JoAnne

    Another awesome blog, Wendie!  I, too, thoroughly enjoyed this week’s episode with an even mix of comedy and drama.  Spam musubi and loco moco car air fresheners?  I think I’ll pass on trying to get one for our car —for now, anyway!   

  • http://twitter.com/fiveophans Joey

    amazing show – i dont know if i love the fun ones or the wofat-steve ones the best but i guess thats a good problem to have! absolutely love lori- fyi peeps this is the way shes written in case u werent sure – dry sense of humour with glimmers of fabulous one liners- her scenes with max were priceless and the boys are so funny together! i love steves rules – go to my house youll see how funny i thought it was kids in shower – wife has tv on while im trying tosleep! the air freshener thing was classic taylor i could just see him pawning these things at his next swap meet! alex and scott are so great together i think in 20 years the ‘look back’ articles will list them in the top of all time buddy cops- they really play well off each other! cant wait to see 2.10 i know its gonna be epic! and i know were gonna suffer a few weeks until the next new one . hopefully jenna gets what she deserves. its gonna be fun- love steve centered episodes even though aol looks like hes got red beat tired eyes in most of those scenes! hes a pro!

  • http://twitter.com/fiveophans Joey

    oh and lest i forget lauren as SANDY – all i can say is      well i wont say but i had a good nights sleep!! she is so hot!

  • http://twitter.com/jdublove Wai Lani

    I look forward to reading your blog every week, as much as I look forward to the actual show itself =)  I would love to hear your take on the new series Once Upon a Time

  • kim davies

    Wendie, It doesn’t actually say they smell like Spam, but here is a link for you.  http://www.spam.com/Shop/ProductDetail.aspx?Product=%7BCB0EA252-7E06-46CA-B461-721F2767B84F%7D

  • Anonymous

    Wendie…I think I enjoyed this blog more than any of the others.  Not only was this a fantastic episode full of everything we have come to love about FIve-0 your Sherlock Holmes reference really made my day. 

    You see, when I was a little girl my dad read me bedtime stories. Well, that’s not really unusual, obviously, but he actually didn’t READ them to me.  My dad was an avid reader and he had a memory like 100 elephants and could remember entire passages from books.  So when I was little and I asked for a bedtime story, he didn’t pull out Three Little Bears or Snow White, he’d sit with me and literally recite passages from great books. 

    I heard about Tarzan and the Apes, how Michelangelo painted the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, Miss Marple mysteries and, my favorite, Sherlock Holmes.  Your reference to the Holmes quote was a perfect fit for this episode and as always your explanation of the meaning of the title and how it related to the episode make it all the more enjoyable.

    If he was still with us, my dad would have loved this Five-0.  He would have loved the relationship between Steve and Danny.  He would have recognized Danny’s obsessive love for Grace (he had it for me!) and he would have enjoyed making my mother mad but checking out Kono and Lori.  But he would have loved the writing the most.  He hated the obvious and the convoluted story lines would have been like candy to him.  After all “when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth”.

  • Anonymous

    Great post, Wendie! Loved the episode and your take on it. Mike Schaub really rocks as a writer for this series.
    Dana

  • http://twitter.com/jlopie1 Lynnette Janssen

    Wendie – Awesome review of an awesome episode! Everything was perfect this week – the dialog, the procedural, the actors, the action – it all came together as one big stellar “event.” I have to agree with Bert, this was the 5-0 we had come to love, and for it to return in all it’s glory is a gift from the “writing gods”!

    Needless to say, I come to your blog every week for a more insightful take on the episode we’ve just seen.  Your thoughts make me think a little harder and reflect a little more on the dynamics of the show. I feel as if I’m back in Critical Thinking 101, and that’s a good thing because it keeps my brain cells working in a much more enjoying way than doing crossword puzzles! 

    “Identity” was a perfect title for this week’s episode.  Next week is “Deceiver?” I have a feeling I know what that title will be telling us! Thanks again, Wendie! 

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_OFRFT7KNRUOHO5C5AJZEL5XLJU Valerie L

    Awesome review Wendie. I love your perspective and I agree that its pure genius on the part of Peter Lenkov, Mike Schaub and the other directors on the team to write a script that clearly identifies our characters so well.  But even though we all know the characteristics of each character, surprisingly there is always something new to learn about each one of them.  Max though we are reminded of is a genius when we see him play the piano once again, its oddly familiar to all of us when we were first introduced to Max’s character and both Steve and Danno were not quite sure how to deal with such an eccentric individual. In season two though its amusing to see that Steve and Danno have truly taken Max for granted and once again find themselves at odd with him when he snubbed them both. Mike Schaub was a genius in bringing back the unique eccentricity of Max’s character.

    Kono’s character has certainly evolved – she is so poised with confidence …just love every minute of how tough, intelligent, she is and she can always be counted on just like Chin who is still the steady soul of the team.  Chin looks so much happier now that the cloud of “injustice” now belongs in the past and he and Malia obviously are back in their relationship.  

    I just wish we had a little more of Kamekona who’s such a lovable fun character and I miss little Gracie.  I hope we see more of her later on in this season.  I miss her cute presence.  Part of why I love and follow H50 is we are all able to identify with each one of the characters.  Inspite of the fact its a crime drama with all its exciting action scenes, its just so much more fun learnng new things about each character. 

    I also enjoy the presence of Charlie Fong who is just the geek God and is completely charming and a little fond of Kono and their screen chemistry is tons of fun to watch as well. Lauren’s chemistry though contraversial to many, I find her interesting and fun and seeing her flirting with Max while enjoying the open mouthed surprise from Steve and Danno who really looked like a pair of jocks who were out done by the Geek God!!

  • Anonymous

    I’m watching that episode now. The first thing I did when the air fresheners came on was get online to find them. I used to live on Oahu and I am always trying to find unsual gift items from there. I can’t find them…It’s a good idea though for a gag gift! If you find them or find that someone is actually going to make them..PLEASE let me know!  :)