Five-0 Redux: The villains I’ve loved
BY WENDIE BURBRIDGE / Special to the Star-Advertiser
I have a confession to make: I have a love/hate relationship with many of the villains on “Hawaii Five-0.”
I love how they are smart and tricky, yet so ruthless and charismatic I want to like them — but I know I will lose my “Team Five-0” card if I ever gave into their evil charm.
More often than not, they seem to have a special vulnerability I can relate to, and even get me semi-cheering for them to at least survive McGarrett and his team. Don’t get me wrong, I never want them to actually succeed. I would never go against McG, but I would like a few of them to live and cause havoc one more day in “Five-0″ land.
So like last summer’s open letter to the “Five-0″ villains from season two, here’s five of my beloved season three villains, and why many of us have loved them more than we really should.
I can’t seem to say enough about the rebooted version of the 1973 classic “Hawaii Five-O” episode of the same name.
Not only was the villain, one Curt Stoner, someone we inherently felt sorry for, but he was also extremely clever in plotting his revenge against the HPD officers he blamed for the loss of his arms. Unfortunately for Stoner, he sought to avenge his limbless life by also targeting McGarrett — the son of the officer he blamed the most for causing his injury.
Stoner was played by the impressive Peter Weller, who also directed the episode, and the real-life double upper amputee, Jason Koger, who “stood in” for The Hookman’s bionic hands.
I think one of the reasons why I loved the Hookman was because I could understand his anger and his want for payback. I’d say losing your arms is pretty brutal, and then to spend years in jail paying for a crime that also caused that loss is adding insult to injury.
Hookman did lose a lot of my love when he shot Sgt. Duke Lukela, who was a rookie when Hookman was thwarted by Jack McGarrett and officers Keoki and Ookala. When he engraved “McGarrett” into a bullet, I knew all bets were off, as there would be no way Hookman would survive if he went after Five-0.
When Kono shot him in the end, I felt a mixture of “glad he was stopped” and “aww, poor Hookman,” mostly because the guy never had a chance once he looked through his scope and aimed at McGarrett.
The Evil Woman
I don’t think I’ve loved hating a woman like Dr. Olivia Victor, the “Evil Woman” in “Wahine ‘Ino Loa,” since Alexis Carrington graced my television in “Dynasty.”
For those of you who may not recall the kind of character Alexis was on the popular 80’s soap opera, just think of Bellatrix Lestrange from “Harry Potter” and add a cool hat and beautifully capped teeth. All three women — Olivia, Alexis, as well as Bellatrix — were evil, conniving, and clever, but always undone by good.
Olivia, played by with smirky excellence by Vanessa Marcil, was lovely to hate because she used all of her feminine wiles to twist McG into knots, and I had to give the girl some props for being a tricky wahine. She was still too skinny to completely fall in love with, but I bet she won’t be able to keep that girlish figure at Chez Halawa Correctional Facility.
The Bad Cop
How can we forget ex-HPD Detective Kaleo? We met him so briefly in season one’s “Manaʻo”, and luckily for us we’ve seen him twice more since his visiting hours were reinstated in season two’s “Kālele.”
Unfortunately for Kaleo, played with nice passionate anger by Jason Scott Lee, our third visit in “ʻŌlelo Hoʻopaʻi Make” took place during a prison riot unwittingly set off by Chin Ho and Sang Min to orchestrate their escape.
Poor Kaleo — not only does he have to hang out with the commoners in general population, afraid a criminal he put behind bars would kill him, but in the end it was his own need for revenge against his own brother in blue that actually brings him down. Chin Ho fights to the death against Kaleo minutes before McG and the Five-0 team swoop in for the rescue.
It seems in the dynamic of good cop/bad cop, Kaleo drew the short stick.
Maybe because I met Shin in person, or perhaps because I really enjoyed the episode, but his character was the bad guy that I felt a bit sorry for when he was used as a human booby-trap. While he did kill McG’s SEAL brother Freddie, who he killed and buried years before, death by grenade still seemed like a tough way to die.
Shin’s portrayal was a conflict in emotion because his character probably would have faced the same fate as Freddie if the situation had been reversed. I’m not a terrorist, nor do I hang out with arms dealers or underground rebel groups, but I would guess that their life spans are fairly short.
Luckily for me I got to experience how a combatant lives and dies without having to wander too far from my living room.
The Black Sheep
Now the villain I wanted to love and wanted him to love me back the most this season was Adam’s brother, Michael Noshimuri (Daniel Henney), who first appeared in “Huakaʻi Kula,” freshly released from prison.
When he hugged Kono hello, I thought, “Well, maybe they will be one big happy family?” I should have known that anyone who looks as sweet in the face, yet have eyes that are hard as his own pecs, probably has other things on his mind besides living on the right side of the law, and the right side of his brother’s cop girlfriend.
Alas, when Adam kills him in the season ender, I was glad to see the black sheep of the Noshimuri clan finished. He would have taken down not only his trying-to-do-good brother, but also Kono, which would have torn the Five-0 team apart.
Ironically, the team is separated right now because of Michael’s actions, but I’m crossing my fingers that will be resolved rather quickly to get Kono back with McG and the team.
Alas, we come to a character that shouldn’t be considered a villain, but I can’t help but think that Doris McGarrett really is a good antagonist for McGarrett.
An antagonist is not always bad, but if you pull them out of the story, the story falls apart — and the writer’s have set Momma McG as someone who connects McG in many ways to several storylines. The Wo Fat storyline, and the Adam and Kono storyline, as well as the Champ Box/Shelburne/Jack McGarrett story that seems to still be lingering on into season four.
I know many of us love Christine Lahti, but her Doris character has often rubbed us the wrong way; sometimes good and sometimes bad. Still, I see her as someone I really love, but who completely frustrates me as a viewer. I want answers!
And like a typical Momma, Doris is making me wait patiently like the good little girl I should be. I only hope next season we see her more as a team player than someone who creates more conflict than she resolves.
OVERALL, this season’s mix of villains was a pretty good one. There are several I haven’t mentioned but could have, as I’m sure you all will comment here if you want to add to the list.
I’m just happy that there were several that I enjoyed watching be caught by McGarrett and his team. I’m hoping I’ll have more to add to the list for love notes next season.
Redux Side Note:
This week’s repeat was “Ke Koa,” featuring kapu ku‘i a lua — the ancient Hawaiian martial art more commonly known as lua. Friday’s repeat is “Pā’ani” filmed by Jeffrey Hunt and incorporates the Pro Bowl and NFL running back Arian Foster. There is a special cameo by former “Magnum P.I.” star Larry Manetti.
Wendie Burbridge is a published author, playwright and teacher who lives and works in Honolulu. Reach her via Facebook and follow her on Twitter.