Five-0 Redux: Scandalous maneuvers
BY WENDIE BURBRIDGE / Special to the Star-Advertiser
For most of the American public, political scandals are often in the news and after Bill and Monica, John and Rielle, and Arnold and the housekeeper, nothing can shock us now.
So it is awfully timely for “Hawaii Five-0” to rip a page out of the headlines to give us “Hana I Wā ‘Ia,” which in Hawaiian means “Scandal.”
And it was a doozy of a scandal, as it seems that it involved more than just Governor Sam Denning (Richard T. Jones), his Congressman friend, a special election, and a dead escort. It was pretty evident from the start that it was none other than the pain-in-Five-0’s-side, Wo Fat, who orchestrated this scandal.
If anyone knows how to plan a downfall, it would be Wo Fat. He was the mastermind behind McGarrett going to jail, as well as the murders of Jenna Kaye and Pat Jameson, the former Governor of Hawai‘i. So it wasn’t that much of a surprise to find the devil in a sharp suit holding a gun to the head of one of the pawns in his game.
Wo Fat wants to fix a special election. And his way of fixing the election is to kidnap a Congressman and get him to “commit suicide,” so his pick will win the election and owe his political career to Wo Fat.
That’s the basic premise for this episode, yet I have a sneaky suspicion that Wo Fat wants the Congressman in his pocket, so that he can eventually control the Governor, who in turn can regulate his arch-nemesis — McGarrett. And then perhaps he will finally get revenge on Mama McG for killing his father.
This is just my own humble theory and I could be very wrong, but while Wo Fat is pretty wily in his actions, his reasoning has always been pretty simple — to get McGarrett.
In the midst of Wo Fat’s nefarious plans, the sub plot of the episode was Danno’s court battle with an absent Rachel over custody of Gracie. The scenes of McG supporting his right-hand-man in the courtroom were full of the bromance fans adore. Danno fixing McG’s tie, McG standing up to vouch for his partner and “close friend,” and Danno’s heartfelt speech to the judge (Joy Minaai) are all elements we want to see in “Hawaii Five-0.”
The episode definitely heats up when Governor Denning asks McGarrett to personally take over the investigation of a murdered prostitute and to streamline all inquiries through his office. Big red flags go up for Danno, and the ensuing “cargument” in the Five-0 headquarters was only the start of Danno’s cynicism about why they were asked to investigate this murder.
McG was at his best when he confronts the Governor and point blank asks him if it was his DNA they found on the victim. Watching two determined and powerful men locking horns is always good drama, and when the Governor admits that the only reason he wants to keep the investigation close to Five-0’s Kevlar vest, is because the Congressman, who was staying at the house where the victim was found, is his friend and former brother-in-arms.
And it only gets better from there. I have to say, even though I knew from the start of the episode that Wo Fat was involved, I still gasped a little when Kono’s surveillance footage showed a clear shot of McG’s nemesis. And when the poor Amy Davidson (Australian actress Stephanie Jacobsen) reveals that she had been forced by Wo Fat to wear a wire — I’m not sure if I was more surprised by her undressing and shushing Danno, than by the sudden sniper shot that killed her.
Director Larry Teng really kept the tempo at a nice pace in this episode. And I appreciated how the episode didn’t go off on strange tangents. Yes, we had the typical red herring with the team thinking that nerdy writing professor, Ryan Webb, (Patrick Fischler) killed the prostitute, but once he was cleared, they saw that all roads lead to Wo Fat.
The chase to find the missing Congressman and clear what started off as a murder, but turned into a political conspiracy involving an escaped felon and the Congressman’s opponent. Teng often directs episodes with far more action, car chases, and gunplay — and this episode had some of that — but the action in this one was perfectly balanced. Mike Schaub penned an excellent procedural, and used it as a way to keep us interested in Wo Fat and to remind us that he is still out there, and still gunning for the McGarretts.
After Sunday’s action packed riotous prison episode, this was a strong show of character development and helped to answer a few questions that we’ve had since the start of season three. Questions about Danno and Garcie’s future, about Wo Fat and what he has been up to since we last saw him escaping out the window of Mama McG’s safehouse, as well as the question of Governor Denning’s true agenda with Five-0 — all were satisfactorily answered.
There was a lot I loved about this episode: the McG and Danno banter, the helicopter chase with Danno holding the big gun, Wo Fat shooting until he was out of bullets, and seeing both his and McG’s face at the thought that they were going to let the other get away — again — was spot on. The ending scene with McG and a casually dressed Governor was great, and really added more dimension to Denning’s character.
I hope this means we will see more of him, as I think he’s the type of boss McGarrett needs; one McG can definitely trust.
Regardless of the maneuvers Wo Fat used to get a leg up on McGarrett and his team, at least we know now that the Governor will be on the right side this time, and that gives me a little more confidence that perhaps Five-0 will get their man sooner than later.
Redux Side Note:
I was so sad to see Wo Fat make quick work getting rid of the hunter on an ATV. I can’t believe he shot very beloved Hawaiian musician and performer Keali‘i Reichel. I know he called Wo Fat a pig, but really? Did he have to get shot after 30 seconds on screen?
And I wished Commander McGarrett had stopped by for a few minutes to chat with the Governor’s assistant, played for the third time by Melissa Puana-Martin. Hopefully, now that the Gov and McG are now BFF’s, Puana-Martin will be back for more scenes and more screen time.
It has been a whirlwind “Hawaii Five-0” weekend. Saturday night was a repeat of “Lekiō” and a few of the Hawai‘i fans got together at Big City Diner Pearlridge. California fans Christina and Alexia Kerwick, and classic and reboot fan Alan Keisner joined us to watch the episode.
It’s always so much better to watch a rerun of “Hawaii Five-0” with friends and food, as it is usually done in Hawai‘i.
Sunday was a special episode, which aired after the AFC Championships. “ʻŌlelo hoʻopaʻi make” was an action-packed show with many local faces and the return of many “Five-0″ bad guys. If you missed the episode, you can watch it now at CBS.com. Be sure to check out my review after you have caught up on your viewing!
Wendie Burbridge is a published author, playwright and teacher who lives and works in Honolulu. Reach her via Facebook and follow her on Twitter.