Five-0 Redux: Until we meet again
BY WENDIE BURBRIDGE / Special to the Star-Advertiser
Well, ladies and gents, we made it to the end of season three. And like the third year of life, college, or a smokin’ hot love affair, it had its share of bumps and bruises — but it sure kept up with all the action. While we nurse our scrapes and wipe our tears, the action and nail-biting drama will sure keep us coming back during season four.
Most of us will probably come back just to have our questions answered. Because wouldn’t you know it — most of them were left dangling off the proverbial television cliff with just enough rope left to keep us hanging on.
So not fair.
But of course, the creative team behind “Hawaii Five-0,” this week headed by director Bryan Spicer, and scripted by Peter M. Lenkov, Ken Solarz, and David Wolkove, delivered a good punch tonight—ending with a tearful good-bye, as well as knock-out on the cliffhanger front.
I did love this week’s title, “Aloha. Mālama Pono,” used to not only describe several dramatic good-byes, but uttered by Kono in the last few minutes of the episode. While her goodbye had more of a sad and bittersweet tone, it was not the type of farewell I was expecting according to the promos.
The “four become three” tag line made me think someone was going to die. And why wouldn’t I think that? In the season one finale they killed Laura Hills (Kelly Hu) and Governor Jameson (Jean Smart), in the season two ender they killed Malia (Reiko Aylesworth), and tried to kill Kono. So naturally, I thought more blood would be shed — and it was, just this time it was of a bad guy and it still didn’t solve anyone’s problems.
Yet even though “Five-0″ definitely ratcheted up the drama with the stabbing of forensic “Geek God” Charlie Fong (recurring cast member Brian Yang) by Michael Noshimuri (Daniel Henney), and then ended Michael’s Yakuza career with a Cain and Abel fight for the gun with his brother, Adam (Ian Anthony Dale). Coupled with the side story of Wo Fat imprisoned in Hannibal Lecter’s cell, and McG and Momma playing the “let’s confront each other but not really tell each other anything” game, I was involved in the episode, loving the tension, but still feeling frustrated with the lack of payoff.
There’s a good writing technique that writers often use, and that is where they pose questions for the audience to think about and want the answers for, and then they have the characters reveal the answers as the story moves along. The writer then makes sure the audience gets an answer — a reward, you could say — so that the audience stays with the story and the characters. Writers will always add a new question when at the same time they answer a question to keep the audience on their toes—and always intrigued by the character.
For me, this season had too many questions and not enough answers—to the point that the rewards were sometimes too small and not enough for me to feel satisfied. Sort of like eating a piece of chocolate cake that looks delicious, but was made with ersatz cocoa and Splenda. Just not the same.
I want to be filled up with answers, but eager to find out the answers to the next question, the next case, the next storyline. While I enjoyed McGarrett putting Doris on the spot and getting into her face (finally!), I was so let down with the “To Be Continued.” I know I am not the only one.
Yes, I know some of you will write to me and say — but now you will come back and watch so you can find out what she means! Yes, yes, I will, but throw me a bone here — is Doris Wo Fat’s Momma too? Is she Momma Fat McG? Please just answer that question — who is Wo Fat to Doris? I know a million more questions will arise just from answering that one question. And then we get a reward, and we’ll be so much more inclined to watch another season answering the questions that follow. Oh, and they will follow, I know they will. This is “Hawaii Five-0.” There are always more questions and more problems to solve. No disappointment there.
As Wo Fat, Mark Dacascos was completely scary half-burned and twitching in pain. I am eager to find out how his “enemy of my enemy is now my brother” McGarrett can save him. And does this mean that now McG and Wo Fat are allies? This storyline I’ll stay tuned for. It is worth the wait to find out who’s coming through the door, guns and torches blazing.
And of course, I’m dying to know what will happen to Kono and Adam. Will their love survive? Will Momma McG take care of them as well as she takes care of herself?
I was not sad to see Doris get on the boat, but I was sad to see Kono go. I have really loved the Kono/Adam storyline all season—well, since it was set up in season two, and I thought the writer’s really handled the pacing and the tension in that subplot very well. I liked the romance, the sexiness, and the almost “Romeo and Juliet” quality to their storyline.
I know we’re all eager to hear the official story to why Grace Park seems to be written out of the storyline for a while — but how long, we all wonder? We can only wait for someone from the show to let us know. I, for one, hope it is not long. I know I disliked when Kono wasn’t part of the team during the first few episodes of season two. But at least she was on the show.
While the essential McG questions weren’t answered this week, I thought the episode was entertaining and had many elements that I love about the show. The opening car chase was slick and cool and I always love when the team goes rogue. One thing about the team, they only break rules when it is “pono” — righteous, just, virtuous. And usually when they are trying to save one of their own, or find out information that could save lives.
They went rogue to save McGarrett when he escaped from prison, they disobeyed orders to fly in to save Chin in Halawa, and McG covered for Danno when he broke a few rules to save a little girl. They don’t just bend the rules to benefit themselves, but they do it to find justice. All elements we love about our team. And which is why we keep coming back, no matter if our questions are answered or not, but because we know what they are doing is right and good.
This week’s title is definitely bittersweet, as “Hawaii Five-0” says “Aloha, malama pono,” to the fans and viewers until season four. Many changes are headed our way next season, a change of night, a change of time, and now a change up within the cast.
So aloha ʻoe, until me meet again — to Kono and Adam, to Doris, and Fong. May season four come quickly for all of us who want to know your fate.
Redux Side Note:
Dennis Chun had an intense scene in the opening moments of the episode, and while we always love Sgt. Duke Lukela, we know it must be hard to be a cop and understand where McGarrett and his team are coming from, but having to still do the job.
Chun understands the idea of “the job” well, as his father, Kam Fong — who played Chin Ho Kelly in the original version of “Hawaii Five-O” — was a Honolulu Police officer for 16 years. Last weekend, Fong was inducted into the HPD Hall of Fame. Be sure to read the “Five-0 Redux” next week, when I share my experience attending the dinner honoring Fong, as well as all the 2013 HPD retirees. It was a very special night that I was privileged to attend and share with the Chun ‘ohana.
Next week starts a summer of reruns, and like the last two breaks, the “Redux” will return with more information about the cultural elements of Hawai’i that the show touches upon, as well as interviews with local actors who have had small parts, but still made an impact on “Hawaii Five-0.”
If you have any interesting ideas for me to write about, research, or an actor you’d like me to interview, send me an email at Five0Redux@gmail.com. I’d love to know what you’d like to read about or learn about during the hiatus.
Wendie Burbridge is a published author, playwright and teacher who lives and works in Honolulu. Reach her via Facebook and follow her on Twitter.