Five-0 Redux: All in the ‘ohana

May. 14, 2013 | 11 Comments

Christine Lahti returns as McGarrett's mother in this week's episode. (Courtesy CBS)

Christine Lahti returns as McGarrett’s mother in this week’s episode. (Courtesy CBS)

BY WENDIE BURBRIDGE / Special to the Star-Advertiser

Can you imagine how much more bad-ass Steve McGarrett would be if he had actually grown up with Secret Agent Mom instead of the sweet Momma McG of his memory?

The momma who made fried baloney sandwiches, was on the PTA, and taught “little Stevie” magic tricks — not the woman McGarrett currently knows who is guilty for a myriad of questionable crimes—like hacking into the FBI database, letting Wo Fat escape, torturing and almost killing a man, and of course, never really telling her own son the straight skinny about well, anything.

In this week’s episode, “He welo ‘oihana” (“Family Business”), McGarrett learns more about his mother’s secrets and begins to reconcile the idea of the mother he lost, with the mother he found. In a parallel storyline that has been ratcheted up these last few weeks, Kono is thrust into more of Adam’s family business and it also looks like she’s going to be hung out to dry in the season finale.

(One good thing — they can’t shoot her again. Or can they?)

But if “Magic and secrets, they go together,” like Danno says to McGarrett after a night of Momma McG covert op shenanigans gone awry, then maybe some of the magic that we have missed in a few of this season’s episodes will return after some of the secrets are finally put to rest.

Do I sound frustrated? Perhaps because I’m a bit tired of the dragging on of this Champ Box/Shelburne/Momma McG storyline. I find it a bit too unrealistic that McGarrett’s thought-to-be-dead mother really was a covert assassin, and that she can do some of the same cool secret spy SEAL stuff her son can. I think Christine Lahti, who plays Doris McGarrett, is a great actress, but at times she gets glassy-eyed much too quickly and slips into Momma McG a bit too easily for someone who spent more years being a secret agent than Little Stevie’s mom to be realistic.

Danno, left, and Chin Ho question Kono's boyfriend's brother. (Courtesy CBS)

Danno, left, and Chin Ho question Kono’s boyfriend’s brother. (Courtesy CBS)

This week’s episode was another trip to Never Never Land for me, as it was complete with “Mission Impossible”-style wire action, a runaway elevator, and a helicopter as a getaway vehicle. I wondered why they didn’t have Kamekona flying the chopper, but I think writer Eric Guggenheim probably figured there was enough comedy in this week’s episode that they didn’t need to add helicopter humor to the mix.

I am a huge fan of all of the action that Five-0 infuses, and with a stunt coordinator like Jeff Cadiente, coupled with a great director like Larry Teng, the action was very well done. I know, who doesn’t like watching McG strap on some Kevlar, ride a freight elevator, and kickbox security guards with guns?

I just wish the stellar action scenes were supported by better storylines.

I know, you all are going to comment about how it’s a television show and can’t I suspend my disbelief for one hour a week? Why yes, I can, but I also know the action can be better supported by a stronger story. This is not always the case for “Hawaii Five-0″ — there are episodes where the action is fully engaged and works well within the story.

But with the Momma McG story, it just seemed so silly and over the top. Really? A covert op maneuver to get back the stolen microfiche from political bad guy Tyler Cain (Craig T. Nelson) that will keep the McGarrett’s safe from Doris’s past. And her current boyfriend Mick Logan (Treat Williams), and Joe White’s SEAL friend Wade Gutches (David Keith), along for the ride to help to orchestrate the “op.”

I really wanted them to stop calling it a “covert op” as it was just ridiculous. They were dressing up in black and stealing something. Yes, they were prepared and they had the technology and expertise to do it, but covert ops are for national security — not Mom’s who are have an empty nest and parenting issues.

Kono, left, and her boyfriend have a serious conversation in this week's episode. (Courtesy CBS)

Kono, left, and her boyfriend have a serious conversation in this week’s episode. (Courtesy CBS)

Yet even though I found the breaking-and-entering scene unbelievable, the humor throughout really helped, as it made me not take everything so seriously. And I did enjoy the incorporation of the magic trick — that worked. As slick looking as the action scenes were, the humor reminded me that “Five-0″ can make fun of itself. McG talking about the age of Doris, Mick, and Wade and what they should be really doing “at their age,” and Doris having McG do the magic “breath,” helped to lighten the mood. And so the over the top storyline almost reconciled itself as more comedic action than serious spy games.

This was of course helpful when coupled with the return of Adam (Ian Anthony Dale) and his all-bad baby brother, Michael Noshimuri (Daniel Henney), which I thought was a stronger storyline. Kono and Adam reuniting, Chin and Danno confronting a super cocky Michael in the gym, and Kono being shot all seemed well constructed around the opening procedural.

I did love how the episode became more about the team than the case, as Kono’s personal life now seems to be impacted by her lover, his brother, and their family business. I do look forward to seeing how this plays out. The ending with Max arriving to tell McG and Danno that Kono’s gun seems to have killed one of the victims she found in a Yakuza warehouse was not that surprising, as I’ve been waiting to see what happened to Kono’s gun. Now, I just want to know who will come to Kono’s rescue.

The episode’s theme was “family business,” with Doris and the business of her past affecting her family, just as Adam and Michael’s business with the Yakuza affected Kono and her Five-0 family. The theme was well supported throughout, and while I’d like more realistic storylines, as long as the ʻohana is infused into the episodes, I can hang on and get through until the end.

Redux Side Note:

Only one more episode of season three, so make sure you clear your calendar for next week’s season finale.

“Aloha. Mālama Pono” will bring back Christine Lahti, Ian Anthony Dale, Daniel Henney, Autumn Reeser (who plays Dr. Gabby Asano, and stood up an eager Danno at the airport this week), as well as Marc Dacascos as Wo Fat.

I am eager to find out who is bidding “Five-0″ good-bye this time. I’m sure we’ll have a bit of a cliffhanger as we have had in the last two season finales. I’m sure it will be a great episode to end the season.
———
Wendie Burbridge is a published author, playwright and teacher who lives and works in Honolulu. Reach her via Facebook and follow her on Twitter.

  • KAD1228

    Thank you for another great review Wendie. I feel the same way about the Mom arc and have been saying it all along but could never have said it quite as eloquently as you. I really liked this episode, it had great action and even though the stealing the microfiche storyline pushed the limits, it had a s1, sit-on-the-edge-of-your-seat feel to it. Danny’s comments about Doris were toned down and he actually encouraged Steve to help her. I did get a chuckle from Steve’s comments about what people of their age should be doing (I can relate, I’m getting thisclosetoit myself!!) On the true fangirl side, seeing Alex all in black and being a super BAMF was well worth it!
    Hmm, seems Kono’s got some splaining to do to Steve and Adam too. When the team works together it’s magic and last night was no exception. When Steve rushed to the scene and touched Kono’s face w/his finger, I melted. I love Chin and his over-protectiveness of her – his comment about killing her when she’s better was priceless. Michael was chillingly good as the ex-con-you-aint-got-nothing-on-me bad guy. A lot of emotions were there last night. I’m sure there will be lots more next week.
    I think Adam will come to her rescue – he’s trying his hardest to come clean and please her (but wonder after finding the replicated phone how the trust issue will play out). The team.

  • pauldunn1

    Wendie,
    Another good review of this second last ep of this season. I enjoyed the action, humor, and the opening beach scene with Kono and Cath. I would prefer that Moma McG leave the island never to return next year. I love to watch magic and did think it was an added treat in this ep. Next week’s season finale should be another great cliffhanger.
    Paul

  • KAD1228

    Sorry – computer acted up.

    The team will also help. I’m sure there’ll be repercussions but our core4 is not afraid of some adversity. I’m leaning towards Mom not coming back (her new show notwithstanding). With Wo Fat returning and out for blood as usual, my feeling is the island isn’t large enough for both of them. Mom will leave in order to keep Steve safe (or safe enough) leaving the door open for a reappearance next season (if need be).
    I’m sad to see the season end but am happy for s4 and the addition of 2 new writers who will bring a new perspective to the storylines.

  • TerriF

    Wendie
    Very well written as always. The main thing I love about 50 is how they can intercede the humor into the crime story without being too over the top but it does come through like that sometimes. Did I say main thing? Okay, fib- main thing is Steve of course BAMF! :)

    Looking forward (but not) to the season finale and hoping to see more of Cath (beautiful Michelle Borth) next season. For the summer we have reruns and will break out the Season 1 and 2 DVDs.

  • http://www.facebook.com/robin.j.bridges Robin Jane Bridges

    I agree with you Wendie. I liked the episode, but wished a little less of MomMcG and more of what was going on with the case. I also noticed that the helicopter didn’t have the big guy’s face on it and it happy about that. I do like the humor that H50 always has in it.

  • TheRealScoop

    Nobody is technically ‘leaving’ the team…other than Kono because she is pregnant and will be going on maternity leave.

  • jlopie1

    Yep, you said it, Wendie! A Mission: Impossible and The Expendables mash up! It didn’t take too long to pick up on the parallels, and to actually realize that H50 was gently laughing at itself with the whole Mom/Son espionage romp. I expected more from “Coach.” I expected more edge of my seat drama. I did not expect this little play action between Mom and Steve in the elevator, nor did I expect Commander Gutches’ involvement! How does Doris even know him? In other words, I was surprised. Which really is a good thing, because when I start correctly predicting what’s going to happen next in this show, it’ll be time for me to move on or H50 to ride off into the beautiful Hawaaian sunset!

    And what is this with Danny and Gabby? She’s been gone 9 months? We know she’s in the finale, so what’s she coming back now for, after telling him she was staying in Morrocco? Hmmm…

    I’m intrigued with Adam and Kono – I have been bored with this plot line, but it seems to be picking up and going in an interesting way now! Looking forward to the finale, but not the long hiatus. Time to pull out the S1 and 2 DVDs again!

  • http://www.facebook.com/FabFourLover Linda Stein

    Another great review Wendie. I’m sorry you didn’t like the episode more. I really liked it a lot but I can see your point about the realism of things. I’m not really tired of the Mama McG story line but that doesn’t mean I’ll be sad when it’s concluded. Doris isn’t one of my favorite people simply because for every little thing she tells Steve there are a hundred more she still hiding. The poor guy deserves a break.

    I was really surprised to see Wade too and I agree that was a bit out of the blue. Maybe Joe put her in touch with him?

    I really AM looking forward to the Kono/Adam storyllne thought. I actually really like these two together….doomed lovers and all that jazz and the introduction of Michael was inspired. THIS story intrigues me and I sooooo want Adam to be a good guy to the end.

    Thanks again for all the fun last week. It was such a blast. Can’t wait until I’m able to return the favor but be warned…the last time I visited the sites in my city I was in high school. I may need to take a crash course before you ever arrive! ROFL Take care sistah! LUV YA

  • http://twitter.com/SOlivia67 Sandy B

    I always love reading your reviews of Hawaii Five-0. It is always interesting to get someone else’s opinion of the show. I really liked the episode. I like Steve’s Mom even though I think she is not being truthful or fair with him. I cannot imagine how one would feel to think your Mom has been dead for 20 years and then learn that she is alive and that she is not the person you remember. I think that is why the writers have shown a little softer side of Steve. He is just not quite sure how he feels about his Mom. I do hope in the end Doris does not turn out to be too bad. I loved it when Steve said “I lost you once, I’m not going to lose you again.”

    I really hope that Wo Fat does not turn out to be Steve’s half-brother. I am eagerly looking forward to the Season 3 finale and also Season 4. I hope Hawaii Five-0 last for many years to come.

  • http://twitter.com/hedwig2212 Dina

    Love your work Wendie! we did disagree with the episode but I see your points very well XO ;=) I think your points were well done

  • Diane

    Hi Wendie. I still really don’t care about reality. As long as I’m entertained and care about the characters and the overall story, a little embellishment on the reality front doesn’t matter. After all its not real anyway.
    I do agree with you that the Doris storyline, like some others are dragged out too long. The writers should know how to end a storyline and continue the story without just killing off a character. I think Doris is an interesting character, but enough already. Lets get the answers, there is still enough there to keep her in the picture occasionally. Maybe the finale will give us an answer. I’m sure there will be more questions for all of us.
    I’m hoping that the move to Friday, helps with the ratings. For me, I will follow H50 where ever it goes, and Friday is better for me personally. I don’t have to get up to go to work the next morning. But I get what people are saying, and it is showing in the decreased numbers watching this year. A fresh start on a new night might help, hopefully it won’t hurt.