Five-0 Redux: Guardian McGarrett
BY WENDIE BURBRIDGE / Special to the Star-Advertiser
A message to all tweakers who want to make Santa’s naughty list by carjacking a Navy SEAL on Christmas Eve — perhaps you shouldn’t choose Steve McGarrett’s car, as he would guard anything he cares about with all of his abilities. That was very evident in this week’s episode, “Kahu,” translated by CBS as “Guardian.”
So even though our local tweaker (Kainalu Hecomovich) had his wish list blown away by McG, it seemed as if everyone else had a wish list this week, too. Catherine wished for a romantic evening out, Kamekona wished for a helicopter so his new logo would make sense, and McGarrett made a wish to help a wayward young boy who seemed to have lost his father. Ethan Awana (Tristan Lake Leabu) may have reminded Catherine of McG at 13 years old, and knowing McGarrett’s history of losing his mother at a young age, may have been why they took Ethan under their wing.
“Kahu” was another solid show of the popular elements we have come to love. There was a nice mix of humor, sassy zingers, a strong show of team ‘ohana, as well as an interesting procedural that included several different “guardians” into the storyline.
In Hawaiian, “kahu” means “honored attendant, guardian … keeper, administrator, warden, or caretaker.” We definitely saw that in several characters — Uncle Choi (George Takei) was the caretaker of the moonshine, Ethan Awana was somewhat a guardian of his father, and McG and Catherine guarded and cared for Ethan.
“Kahu” also means “pastor, minister, reverend, or preacher of a church,” which is the more common use of the word in Hawai‘i’s vernacular, so it seemed a bit of an odd choice, as the reference was not related to a church or religion at all. “Kāpuhi” means “nurse or caretaker of a child,” so perhaps that might have worked as well for a title, but I see why the choice was made to use kahu. It has more weight and is a stronger choice for the guardian theme.
While the procedural got a little convoluted, the bottom line for me, was that McGarrett took on the role of Ethan’s guardian. He saw something in the boy that made him want to find out why the boy was all sad eyes and eager to free himself from a pair of cooling off cuffs. O’Loughlin had some nice interplay with the young Leabu; McG was more of a big brother than a father figure, but it worked well in the episode.
I also enjoyed Michelle Borth getting to show not only her sensitive side, but her fight scene with the actual villain, Stuart Rizzi (Lew Temple), was more proof of her kick-ass abilities. She may not be wearing her Navy uniform in every episode, but Cath can definitely hold her own with the Five-0 team.
I enjoyed a lot of this episode, while the procedural just seemed to be pieced together in order to highlight the Ethan and McG interplay, there was still enough to keep me engaged. The McG/Cath scene at Rainbow Drive-In really set the mood for the episode, as it didn’t get very dark this week, not like it has in some of the past episodes.
One of my favorite scenes was when McG dragged in the Tweaker/Carjacker to HPD, and Duke (Dennis Chun) laughed at the audacity of someone trying to carjack McGarrett. Chun’s reaction was the same as mine, “You picked the wrong car, brah.”
I’ve said it before — I love Chun’s natural reaction to whatever scene he is in, and I am hoping to see him integrated into more of the plot in future episodes.
All in all I think the peripheral scenes were the best of the episode. Chin finding an imu instead of a dead body, and calling Moku Bradford (Juan Gabriel Pareja) “lōlō” was classic. “Lōlō” means “feeble-minded or crazy” in Hawaiian, but most locals use it to mean “stupid.”
I also liked George Takei as Uncle Choi. He played the perfect curmudgeonly moonshiner, and his distrust of cops — who are not family, of course — as well as his weather beaten, craggy face, really helped to create a good character for the usually exaggerated Takei. And I could not leave out Kamekona Claus, handing out his self-promoting gifts, Danno preferring Egg Nog to moonshine, and Bond McG showing up to escort a surprised Cath to Christmas dinner — all scenes that made me want to sing “Mele Kalikimaka” like Don Ho.
This week left me feeling happy that the holidays are just around the corner, and I enjoyed having an episode that focused around McGarrett — and not because he was hunting Shelburne or dealing with Momma McG drama. McG has had two playing guardian to scared kids, last week with Lucy and this week with Ethan.
I can almost bet Guardian McGarrett will definitely be on Santa’s “good” list this year.
Redux Side Note:
A few interesting side notes caught my eye in this week’s episode. The scene when Ethan waited in McG’s office, he was reading a comic book called “R.I.P.D.” Executive producer and showrunner Peter Lenkov wrote “R.I.P.D.” and I talked with him about the comic before the start of season two. The film version of the comic is scheduled for release in July 2013, starring Ryan Reynolds, Jeff Bridges, Kevin Bacon, and Mary-Louise Parker.
And for those of you who enjoyed “Magnum P.I.” perhaps you noticed a familiar helicopter parked next to the chopper Danny brokered for Kamekona. It looked exactly like TC’s (Roger E. Mosley) yellow and orange-stripped chopper made very famous in the popular ’80s show starring Tom Selleck. If it wasn’t the actual chopper from “Magnum P.I.,” it sure reminded me of my second favorite TV show from my childhood. I’ll let you all ponder what show was first on my list. I’m sure you won’t have to think too hard about that one.
This has been a hard week for all of us, between the tragic events in Newtown, and the loss of our beloved Senator Dan Inouye, it was nice to have a few moments of levity with the ‘Five-0’ team. Today, Dennis Chun sent fans a Christmas message of love and hope. I leave you his message, beautifully illustrated by Laura Mellow, and I also wish you all a very Mele Kalikimaka me ka Hau‘oli Makahiki Hou.
Wendie Burbridge is a published author, playwright and teacher who lives and works in Honolulu. Reach her via Facebook and follow her on Twitter.