Five-0 Redux: Seeking reality
BY WENDIE BURBRIDGE / Special to the Star-Advertiser
Let’s pretend we live in an alternate universe, where Hawaiʻi’s governor gives free reign to a high profile daytime television talk show host and allows them to follow around his elite crime fighting task force.
The host — just for fun, think Oprah meets Kelly Ripa — not only has full access, but also is allowed to ride along with the team and film their every move while they investigate a horrific murder. When it becomes obvious an international terrorist, as well as the U.S. Secret Service and the Russian mob, seem to be involved in the team’s case, she and her crew are allowed to continue filming and are often caught in the line of fire.
And all of this is done without the guidance of a public relations or media aide from the Governor’s office or HPD.
That’s really the part where I wasn’t buying it. No PR rep? No way. Would never happen.
This is the set up for this week’s episode of “Hawaii Five-0,” entitled “ʻImi Loko Ka ʻUhane” (“Seek Within One’s Soul”). The Five-0 task force has to endure the intrusive and unnecessary cameras of “The Savannah Walker Show” and guest star Aisha Tyler, who plays Savannah. While she may be great on her real life daytime show, “The Talk,” her portrayal of a supposed “investigative reporter” was not on the same level of the aforementioned Oprah or Kelly Ripa. It was more like watching Tyra Banks after a really strong round of Botox.
I know there will be many out there who will have a lot to say about “Hawaii Five-0” and their fictional foray into reality television, but I will try and salvage the hour of my life I will never get back and focus on all that was good about this week’s episode.
Bromance and Backstory
TV Guide just awarded “Hawaii Five-0” its 2013 Fan Favorite Award for Best Bromance, so I suppose I was not surprised by the funny cargument Steve and Danny have with Savannah in their backseat. I know she didn’t really need to point out how McG drives Danno’s car and that they really do love each other, but it was a cool reminder we fans who voted in the TV Guide poll were on the money.
I also loved the little video packages “The Savannah Walker Show” prepped for McGarrett and Kono, and the interviews she conducted with Chin and Catherine. Danno was portrayed the most realistically — shunning the cameras, all while saying “please.” In McGarrett’s package, we saw a few pictures of McG as a baby, a young boy, a high school football star, and then as a Navy commander.
Chin’s confession that he would be a jazz trumpeter was even more telling of his story. We all know he comes from a long line of cops and that it was natural that he would become one, but did we know that he loved jazz?
At first I thought he was being sarcastic, but it was a good piece of Chin’s backstory, and one that perhaps would never have come up in a different episode. His one-on-one with Savannah was strange, as I couldn’t see Chin being that “raw” on camera. But I think Kono’s explanation of how she uses technology to help solve cases, and her knowledge of how it all works, made up for Chin’s awkward moment. (Thank you, X-Box for giving Kono her tech savvy skills.)
I found it a bit awkward that Max was willing to reveal the entire case to Savannah, but he was very cute playing the fan boy. I’m pretty sure he would have been removed from the case or reprimanded in some way for not following McG’s orders, however. But if nothing else, the backstory presented was accurate and along the lines of what we know and love about our team.
Action and Attitude
Action is never a problem in “Hawaii Five-0.” A car chase, a bloody crime scene, a gunfight with Wo Fat, McG breaking down doors, and jumping out of a window into a pool to catch a bad guy—was pretty much a typical day with the Five-0 team. We also got to see them all on ATVs and shoot down a helicopter, and watched Chin get shot right in his bulletproof vest.
Seeing a very badly burned and bloodied Wo Fat was pretty shocking, and I can only begin to wonder how he is going to get out from McG’s thumb this time. I’m sure there will be more to come in the next three episodes.
The best parts of the episode were when the team dished out attitude. Danno’s “Welcome to my world,” after McG jumped into the pool after a perp, was priceless. And the team trying to convince Savannah and her cameraman to get “full coverage” from their insurance company, was actually good advice, ironic or not.
Kamekona’s product placement moment with his cousin Flippa was Kamekona at his opportunistic best. Even Catherine’s “It’s none of America’s business” about her relationship with McG was a cool retort that worked.
Of course, they would all act this way reality show cameras in their faces. Danno kicking them out, not moving so they can see over his shoulder, and McG demanding “My crime scene, my rules” discipline was not just because he’s a control freak, but because that is McGarrett.
The Reality Show Set-up
While I wasn’t a fan of the overall storyline involving Savannah Walker, I suppose if “Hawaii Five-0” were really trying to poke fun at themselves on an ironic level, they succeeded.
I know the writers and producers understand they are making a television show, not curing cancer or ending world hunger, so the tongue-in-cheek attitude used in the episode — real or imagined — worked in order to perhaps catch viewers up. Savannah explaining how the team works gave the show an opportunity to review some backstory newer viewers may not know, or to explain in a compact way how the team got to this point in season three.
Yet the episode title means “to seek within one’s soul,” and while I think they did reveal things about the team that perhaps some are not aware of, I hardly think it was anything like seeking into anyone’s soul.
Maybe at the end when we saw McGarrett standing at Wo Fat’s bed — perhaps that was a bit of soul searching on why he didn’t kill Wo Fat when he had a chance. His second chance. Or was it his third? I’ve lost count.
No matter, I know the chance will come again, and even though McG’s life would probably be easier with a Dead Fat, we know that if he seeks within his soul he wouldn’t kill anyone in cold blood. I am hoping if anything good can come from this episode, it is that soon McGarrett can stop seeking the reality of Wo Fat and finally know the truth.
Redux Side Note:
While we didn’t get a chance to see much of Dennis Chun and Shawn Mokuahi Garnett in this week’s episode, fans did get a chance to meet them both, as well as Vince Shin, who was in “ʻŌlelo Paʻa,” at last week’s “H50 Fan Wrap Party.” Fans from Germany, Australia, and the mainland joined us for food, fun and to watch the repeat of “Mōhai.”
Wendie Burbridge is a published author, playwright and teacher who lives and works in Honolulu. Reach her via Facebook and follow her on Twitter.