Five-0 Redux: All in the ‘ohana
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.
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.
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.