Five-0 Redux: Special delivery
BY WENDIE BURBRIDGE / Special to the Star-Advertiser
Old Chinese proverb: “The enemy of my enemy is my friend.” So said “Uncle Joe” White (Terry O’Quinn) to two sons — Adam Noshimuri (Ian Anthony Dale) and Steven J. McGarrett (Alex O’Loughlin).
Both sons react differently to the fact their fathers lied to them to keep them safe. One son doesn’t want to face the truth, while the other comes to a tough realization that he has been lied to his entire life, but at least now he understands it was to keep him alive. For love, perhaps; love he has struggled to understand since the day his father sent him away and told him, “you can always trust your Uncle Joe.”
But Steve is still struggling with that trust. And his Shelburne question lingers the entire episode. I have to say the answer to that question was a bit anti-climactic, but I was sorry to see Steve lose yet another father to the war with Wo Fat. Still, the story of sons avenging their fathers’ deaths will continue within both Steve’s and Wo Fat’s intersecting character arcs at least for the rest of this season, I think.
This week’s episode of “Hawaii Five-0,” entitled “Pū‘olo,” — which in Hawaiian means bundle, bag, container, parcel or packet, and as CBS translated the episode to mean “The Package” — seems like a pretty straightforward interpretation of the Hawaiian word.
A hijacking of a delivery truck to steal a package of RFID tags to make fake passports. The special delivery of Rachel and Stan’s bundle of joy. A parcel of bad news, delivered to McGarrett by “Uncle Joe” White, that both mends and severs the relationship between McG and his stand-in father figure. There were literal representations of a package throughout this episode, and a few figurative elements as well.
Much of what McG learned this week would never have been discovered if he hadn’t taken action by confronting Joe and the yakuza. As dangerous as both actions may have been, McG is never one to turn away from a tough fight — just like his father. But perhaps he was right; maybe action was the best way to figure out what secrets Joe was hiding. Sort of like trying to track down a lost UPS parcel with their handy tracker number. Only McG’s number seems to have been altered many times by Joe and others so he would not find out the truth.
Despite all the deliveries of sad news, it was refreshing to see some of the old “Five-0″ humor come back into play, especially the reappearance of season on villain-turned-remorseful-informant, Sang Min (Will Yun Lee). We haven’t seen him since he burst into Five-0 headquarters and threw himself at the mercy of McG.
The scenes with Sang Min and Kamekona (Taylor Wily) going undercover was slapstick humor at its best and had me laughing out loud. Kamekona’s Subway weight loss plan was an interesting advertisement for the fast food restaurant and Lori’s (Lauren German) comments on Sang Min’s hair and fashion sense was great fun. It reminded me of the reasons why I started to watch “Hawaii Five-0” in the first place. (I think they should also ask Sang Min where his accent came from, or where he picked up his unusual appetite for garlic shrimp.)
I also noticed a little perking of ears as the Five-0 team listened to Kamekona talk his way out of being seen as a snitch by this week’s bad guy, Nicky Chang (Dante Basco). Perhaps the team might be questioning Kamekona’s explanation of his role with Five-0?
And Basco, who is most famous for playing one of the Lost Boys in Steven Spielberg’s “Hook” as well as for being the voice of Prince Zuko in the television series “Avatar: The Last Airbender,” seemed like a naughty child playing gangster. Perhaps the writers should know never to give a Lost Boy a flamethrower. Oh, and maybe someone should have told him never to call police officers pigs — it’s such bad form. I guess the same can be said for inviting pigs to a luau.
Still, I don’t think I’ve laughed so much during an episode in a long time. It was nice to have some levity in such an emotional episode.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention poor Danny’s (Scott Caan) dilemma of having to be there for his ex-wife, who gave birth to the child he once thought was his own, which then turned out to be that of her current husband — and then to have to help her deliver that child while he is still so obviously in love with her.
If you followed that line of thought without a hiccup, good for you, because I know many of us are wondering why the writers thought it would be better for Danno if the child wasn’t his. I’m still fuzzy about that plot point. I think Danno having a family and being worried for their well-being with a new baby while living in Hawaii and not sunny New Jersey would have been just enough conflict for the character. This sort of silly, convoluted plot line of Danno delivering his ex-wife’s baby and sending a picture to absent-Dad Stan seems very situational comedy to me (albeit sans laugh track).
I think I am not alone in wanting Danno to have a little bit of happiness delivered at some point this season. But I suppose he will just have to suffer in horrid Hawaii, surrounded by the dreaded ocean and scrawny palm trees until he opens up another parcel of bad news.
Speaking of bad news, it seems we can’t make it through an episode without getting some, but I still feel that none of this news really answers our questions. I know we finally found out who Shelburne is, but it still doesn’t answer the why. With so many lingering questions, let’s hope the rest of this season will start to answer some of the deeper ones. I hope most of us are still on board with “Hawaii Five-0” to stick around and sign for receipt when all the answers are finally delivered.
We may have to pay some postage due, but I’m betting that we will be more than satisfied with whatever package is delivered, wrapped up in a pretty bow — or not.
Redux Side Note:
Among the cast in “Pū‘olo” was popular Hawaii storyteller Lopaka Kapanui, who played the small part of Carl Hodge, the delivery driver who was killed in the opening. Since Papa McG has been haunting Steve from the start of the series, and as Kapanui is most famous for telling local and Hawaiian ghost stories, it just seemed fitting to have him on the show. You can read about Kapanui on his website, Mysteries of Honolulu.
When doomed Carl Hodge talks about taking his wife to the “Ninth Island,” he is making a reference to the popular phrase locals use to describe Las Vegas. Hawaii is made up of eight islands, Oahu, Kauai, Lanai. Molokai, Maui, Kahoolawe, Hawaii island, and Niihau. Las Vegas is called the “Ninth Island” because so many locals visit and play there, and many former Hawaii residents now currently call Las Vegas home.
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.