The Five-0 Redux: Keeping the faith

Mar. 20, 2012 | 11 Comments

BY WENDIE BURBRIDGE / Special to the Star-Advertiser

Faith seemed to be in short supply for “Hawaii Five-0″ fans these last few weeks. After trying to follow the roller coaster of bad news — Alex O’Loughlin in rehab, the “NCIS: LA” crossover episode being shot without McG; the suggestion that perhaps there will be a shortened second season, coupled with two weeks of repeats — fans were ready for a new episode. And while the release of the great news that “Hawaii Five-0″ was renewed for a third season seemed to bolster viewers, this week’s episode, “Kālele” (or “Faith”), was a much needed salve for fans.

Ed Asner. (Courtesy CBS)

Ed Asner. (Courtesy CBS)

The episode, featuring a much-hyped guest appearance by Ed Asner, started off with a great scene that put the faith back into faithful for “Five-0″ fans. I swear I heard sighs from millions of living rooms across the nation when McGarrett and Danno came out of the waves at Queen’s Beach in Waikiki. I loved the irony behind McG instructing Danno on proper etiquette for “dropping-in” on a wave, since in reality Alex O’Loughlin is relatively new to the sport and Scott Caan has been surfing most of his life. (And Caan probably would not be caught dead dragging his board in the sand.)

But if nothing else, we got to see our favorite star healthy and in good spirits — which definitely helped to put our faith in the show back on track.

Asner, in a fantastic homage to the original show and his role as diamond smuggler August March, was another strong guest star. While some viewers have not been happy about the concentration on guest cast members versus the core Five-0 team of McG, Danno, Chin, and Kono, the addition of seasoned actors who have great parts written for them really adds to the flavor and appeal of the show.

I loved how writer Joe Halpin not only brought Asner’s character back and made it work within the established plot structure of the reboot (a young Jack McGarrett drove March to jail and refused to take a bribe from him), but also brought back March’s signature line from the original show.

“Never turn your back on the buyer.” This was the perfect way to tie the classic to the reboot!

And what a way to end this week’s episode — I have not been this excited about an ending since the season opener when Jenna Kaye drove a getaway car for Wo Fat and we saw a good guy instantly turn bad. I know, later we found out that Jenna wasn’t actually bad (just misguided by love), so perhaps we may see March back to atone for his dastardly ways. Perhaps fans of the original would like to see more classic references in future episodes of “Five-0.” I, for one, would not complain.

There was a lot I really enjoyed about this episode, not only the August March character, but also the return of a few other characters — Taryn Manning as Steve’s wayward sister Mary Ann, Jason Scott Lee as ex-cop and current Halawa prisoner, Kaleo, and Tom Sizemore as Chief Fryer.

Mary Ann should be nicknamed “Pua Ting” (say it slowly, non-pidgin speakers), because she sometimes steps in it so much that I wonder if she has a “Kick Me” sign on her back. But, I suppose it makes her that much more endearing to television fans. I do like the fact that she may be in more episodes, so that she and Steve can actually build more of a sibling connection rather than just a McG-as-bail-bondsman kind of relationship.

Tom Sizemore, right, returns as HPD chief of detectives. (Courtesy CBS)

Tom Sizemore, right, returns as HPD chief of detectives. (Courtesy CBS)

Scott Lee and Sizemore are the epitome of what real officers probably don’t want to be compared to when cops are portrayed on television. Both left a slimy film on my flat screen. I did feel a little sorry for Kaleo when he was sent into general population in prison, but after threatening Danno’s daughter, he probably asked for it. I guess Kaleo didn’t get the memo that Danno would literally shoot anyone if Grace was threatened.

Perhaps we should change the line to “Break ‘em, Danno,” because if you didn’t believe he would break every bone in Kaleo’s body for threatening Grace, you are not watching this show carefully enough.

As for Sizemore, he is growing on me. I’m not a huge fan of his Fryer character, but I am a fan of the actor, and I have to say, he plays good cop/bad cop well with the Five-0 team. He helped Danno punish Kaleo for killing Danno’s old partner, as well as setting up the death of two innocent officers. Unfortunately, he really wasn’t the true mastermind of the operation, which made the entire episode end with its fantastic twist.

All in all, there was a whole lot of faith in this episode: sibling faith, cop faith, as well as some misplaced faith — perhaps one should never trust an ex-con, no matter how sweet and grandfatherly he seems. As for me, after this episode, my belief in the show has definitely been renewed. I guess I’ll have to give thanks to the original for helping me keep the faith.

Redux Side Note:

Local radio personality, Devon Nekoba, made his “Hawaii Five-0” debut as Myers the TSA agent who gives McG the replay of Mary Ann’s arrest. Nekoba may be a familiar face to Hawaii residents as he is often seen in local commercials and plays around town.
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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/shirik1 shiri

    you are so right! and lets not forget the roll of the ultimate bad guy-played by the amazing 
    Peter Mensah!

  • Anonymous

    Nice review Wendie, you’re right, we needed this episode and see Alex back on the screen after so bad bad news, loved Ed Asner, and the reference to the old H50, well written!! Missed McGarrett in some of the scenes though!

  • http://twitter.com/Radazzle LovesAlexO

    Thanks for a wonderful review!  It was great to watch a new episode of H50 last night.  I loved Alex O’Loughlin and the rest of the cast and special guest stars, Ed Asner, Jason Scott Lee and Tom Sizemore.  It has been several weeks since H50 had a new episode on CBS and a few more episodes before the fans will see Alex O’Loughlin again.  I loved every second of this episode, which was full of all the things I love about H50!

  • Anonymous

    Thank you Wendie! What a great review! You always aim to please! 

  • http://twitter.com/fiveophans Joey

    this ep was 5 star – thouroughly enjoyabloe every second of it- funny scenes with the birthday cakes and really good chemistry with all of the guests! so far the north korean ep is #1 for s2 for me but this one is a close second! i hope mr asner gets to return i think theres alot of fun to be had with his storyline.

  • http://twitter.com/Keith_Sato Keith Sato

    Ed Asner was awesome! I’m a little too young for the original H50 but the “flashback” scenes are a great tribute & reminder of the original. Great character & hope we see him again!

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_PYTWUNNG7PPBGVBTLCMBWMVEOY Diane

    Great review Wendy, I like the way you break it down. I think this show has really hit its stride in the last 6-7 episodes.  Some glitches for me in the first half, for which I won’t go into for the thousandth time, but it has really picked up since the holidays. 

    I absoulutely loved the beach scene.  Alex and Scott play off of each other so well, you can’t help but love this friendship between the two characters they play.  Scott making fun of Steve planting his board in the sand.  “no appetizer should ever be named Pu Pu” (not sure how they spell that) just so funny.  Good to see Mary back, and they left it for her to show up next season rather easily.  Hopefully sooner and a little more often.  I love the brother/sister relationship, and hope that they explore more of that next year.  The story was great, and Ed Asner played it beautifully.  I loved how they incorporated the original scenes with the current one, very clever.  You could kind of guess about half way through that August March was in on it, but to show how ruthless this grandfather looking man was, was brilliant and a surprise.
    Loved the grenade cake and how these four  great actors show how close these characters have become.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/MW4ECHH66XQHPG3GL2TVGIMH2E maryd

    I always enjoy your positive and balanced reviews. I agree that the guest stars are an added bonus – I don’t think they detract from the core characters – only add depth.

  • Anonymous

    Wendie,
    Thanks for the heads up on the locals in the ep, such as Devon Nekoba. Great review.
    Paul

  • http://www.facebook.com/cdcl925 Cyralene Lorquet

    I always look forward to your reviews. This really was my favorite episode this season. It was the perfect blend of…everything that made me fall in love with the show to begin with. Happy to see an upward trend in the quality of the episodes.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks, again, for another super review, Wendie! What would we hard core #H50 fans do without you each week? You’re one of us and you speak our language! I might be a mainlander, but I’m picking up a little bird each week (yes, I got the “Pua Ting” nickname the first time I read it through!)Fun episode! Thoroughly enjoyed all the guest stars – new and returning! Ed Asner still has what it takes – switching between charming and ruthless at the drop of a hat! Sizemore’s Captain Fryer was as annoying as ever, so Sizemore must be doing it right, and Taryn Manning, pua ting, brings out the soft fuzzies with McGarrett, so more of her, please! Kaleo has apparently bulked up at Halawa! He looked way more intimidating in an orange jump suit than he did dressed for work as a cop.  But the guy really doesn’t have much for brains – thinking he could threatened Danny with his daughter – isn’t Rick Peterson somewhere in that prison? – you’d think the word would have gotten around that Grace is totally off limits if you want to survive intact! Jason Scott Lee was creepy good.

    The story was good – a great premise, well-written, tight filming - Joe Halpin is quickly becoming my favorite writer for H5-0, along with Lenkov, of course!

    I think the major lesson learned by this week’s awesome episode is that Hawaii 5-0 is alive and well for the foreseeable future.  Sure, it was bittersweet knowing this will be the last time we will see Alex onscreen in a new episode, for however long it takes for him to get well, but Scott, Daniel and Grace are more than capable and undoubtedly up to the challenge to take over the reins and keep H5-0 viable in anticipation that Alex will return for the season wrap up. I will certainly continue watching each new episode (okay, so I’ll watch the reruns, too!) because I think the remaining team have some fun adventures ahead of them!

    Thanks, Wendie – hope you’re enjoying your spring break!