Five-0 Redux: Identifying the commonplace face
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.
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:
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.