Five-0 Redux: Father figure
BY WENDIE BURBRIDGE / Special to the Star-Advertiser
It’s always sad to see a cool guest star getting blown up in the first five minutes of a “Hawaii Five-0” episode, and this week was no exception. Dennis Miller, who meets a vocally explosive end, definitely got the show started on this week’s episode, “Lekiō” (“Radio” in Hawaiian).
As Miller — a comedian, actor, and currently the host of his own daily internet radio show — is no stranger to controversy, his portrayal as pirate radio show host Bobby Raines was not much of a stretch. But once Raines joins the heavenly airwaves, the action keeps rolling along, leading us to the inevitable showdown between McG and the real star of the episode, James Caan. And once Caan establishes himself as a sort of father figure to the team, the episodes sails along like a well oiled Five-0 machine.
I have to say, it’s always fun to watch signature “Five-0″ action, like a near hysterical Max joining McG and Danno to chase down Dumb and Dumber, a couple of Raines “acolytes,” who wanted to sacrifice Raines’s dead body to Pele on the Big Island. And the excellent carguments between Sigmund McG and his patient, Danno Troubled-Daddy Williams, as well as more subtle daddy issues between Danny and Tony Archer, played with effective gumshoe crabbiness by Papa Caan.
I don’t know what I loved better — McG getting one-uped by Archer in a game of gun chicken, or Archer’s many loving nicknames for Danny — “Hair-Do,” “Dick Tracy,” and the best: “Muscles.” We even got a “Book ‘em” from Papa Caan, definitely a cool moment for “Five-0″ fans.
A lot of hype has been made about James Caan guest starring on this week’s episode, and I was not disappointed. It was nice to see a big name actor get more than five minutes of short scenes in this week’s episode. He seemed to do a lot more than most guests, and I hope it was not an accident. Archer is a good character to bring back; he fit right in with his snappy combacks and the writers crafted his backstory and revealed it well. He seemed even more developed than Joe White, who played a similar father figure role to the Five-0 team.
Perhaps this week’s episode should have been called “Makua kāne,” which means “father” in Hawaiian, as that is the role James Caan seemed to play. A godfather, if you will, to the Five-0 team — if you will excuse my obvious pun and historical allusion to the movie that made Papa Caan a household name in the 1970’s. The father issues and theme run pretty deep, which is not hard to do when James Caan is the real life father of Scott Caan. He fathers the team through the investigation and he also was the godfather to Raines’s daughter, Brandi (Heather Sossaman).
The fact that many of the characters had daddy issues, with Bobby Raines’s playing father figure to runaway kids at his charity home, the first suspect Doug Leland (Chris McGarry) having issues with his runaway son, as well as Danno’s personal issues with his daughter growing up right before his eyes, solidify the daddy metaphor.
And in the end, Archer gets to be the hero for his goddaughter, and seems to have made a strong bond with the Five-0 team. I am definitely on board for another episode with Tony Archer godfathering McG and Danno any time, any case. The McG/Danno/Tony group hug, as well as a real father-son hug in the end, was the topper to a great episode.
Perhaps Papa Caan can return to teach Danno a thing or two about slippers, wearing Aloha shirts, and how to deal with his marriage — I mean, his impending daughter issues. It’s obvious he knows how to be a really great father.
Redux Side Note:
Also, be sure to read Honolulu Star-Advertiser reporter Mike Gordon’s exclusive interview with James Caan to learn more about his experience on “Hawaii Five-0” and how proud he is of his son. It’s a great treat for “Five-0″ and James Caan fans alike.
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.