Five-0 Redux: More depth and promise

Sep. 28, 2013 | 11 Comments

BY WENDIE BURBRIDGE / Special to the Star-Advertiser

After watching the season premiere of “Hawaii Five-0” this week, I completely understand the kaona (hidden meaning) behind the episode’s title, “Aloha Kekahi i Kekahi (Love One Another).”

Having been on the red carpet during “Sunset on the Beach” and gotten another chance to speak with the cast and crew of “Hawaii Five-0,” I believe the title is also representative of the production as a whole. When Alex O’Loughlin, Daniel Dae Kim, Michelle Borth, Chi McBride and other cast members walked the red carpet and met their fans, they definitely showed love and appreciation. I know that for many fans, attending “Sunset on the Beach” is the chance of a lifetime to meet the actors who grace their televisions every week.

Chi McBride, right, makes his debut on "Hawaii Five-0" in the series' season four premiere. (Courtesy CBS)

Chi McBride, right, makes his debut on “Hawaii Five-0″ in the series’ season four premiere. (Courtesy CBS)

And now that I’ve watched the season premiere twice in two days, I’ve had a chance to really wrap my brain around this episode. I’ve come to one conclusion — the season four opener is the best premiere since the start of the series reboot.

Watching on television last night, Sept. 27, was just as great as seeing it on the big screen on Waikīkī Beach. The same excitement and tension accompanied the episode, and I wasn’t disappointed by the action scenes on a smaller screen. For me, the best parts were the more tender moments, like when Kono (Grace Park) and Adam (Ian Anthony Dale) discussed the new path of their relationship, as well as the guilt they both had for the death of Adam’s brother Michael (Daniel Henney). Or when we saw Chin (Daniel Dae Kim) missing Kono at the end of season three, or the scene between McG (Alex O’Loughlin) and Cath (Michelle Borth) when they were reunited after she was kidnapped.

All of these scenes were similar to what happened over the last three seasons, but with more depth. When I spoke to executive producers Alex Kurtzman and Peter Lenkov, they both promised they were going to reveal more depth in their characters and storylines this season.

Borth also revealed to me on the red carpet that her character would be “going through some major life changes.”

“But what I really like, and what I’ll reveal to you, is that everyone is going to have a chance to see (Catherine and McGarrett) really fall in love,” she said.

After seeing the almost wordless scene where McGarrett frees Catherine from her kidnappers, I can see what she was alluding to on the red carpet. It was also perfect in regards to the theme of the evening; loving one another and needing each other seemed to go hand in hand this week.

Chi McBride, left, and Alex O'Loughlin on the red carpet at "Sunset on the Beach" on Thursday, Sept. 26. (Star-Advertiser File)

Chi McBride, left, and Alex O’Loughlin on the red carpet at “Sunset on the Beach” on Thursday, Sept. 26. (Star-Advertiser File)

Overall, this was a season opener that hit all the marks. Not only did we get a police procedural that kept us interested, but we also met some cool new characters and got a glimpse into what awaited us for the rest of the season.

Chi McBride told me on the red carpet that his character was “one of the good guys,” and even though he challenges McGarrett, I think the scene where he bares it all to find out information about the hostages at Five-0 headquarters was not only funny, but telling of his character. McBride’s scenes as Capt. Lou Grover with Sgt. Duke Lukela (Dennis Chun) are very “Five-0.” Watching Lukela deal with someone very much like McGarrett — someone who does the unexpected in order to get effective results — was not only humorous, but telling of all the trials Lukela must go through with the Five-0 team, and will probably also have to experience with Grover.

And that’s another thing — for all the great tension and action in this episode, I sure enjoyed all of the humor. The carguments, as well as the “relationship” discussion Danno has with McG and Danno’s intervention between McGarrett and Grover were moments that made me laugh, even upon a second viewing.

Yet, despite the humor, we also suffered a few loses in the episode. Some were expected, like the deaths of terrorists Ernesto and Flora (guest stars Henry Ian Cusick and Martha Higareda) in one of the several car chases of the episode; as well as the killing of suspect Ricardo Cosi (Luis Carazo) by his own crew and death of his big bad uncle El Condor (Nestor Serrano) when his fall from a stolen helicopter was stopped by a parked car.

But it was the “death” of the Five-0 team’s magic table that was really a sight to see. When I asked Kim about watching the table being shot up — as he usually is the one to work the table — he was quick to mention the table is “almost a character within the show.” I was happy the team returned to the table in the end to pump some life into it, thanks to friendly hacker Toast (Martin Starr).

There were lots of unexpected surprises this week, which I think should have been worked into the episode’s title. While I did see a lot of “needing each other” — especially when McG and the team have to go rogue in order to save Catherine — the other surprises created a cool puzzle of entertainment.

When the terrorists killed their own guy and surrendered to McGarrett– who would have seen that coming? And who would have thought that McGarrett would confront Wo Fat about exactly what we’ve all been thinking the last two seasons? I was definitely surprised he asked Max to find out if they were brothers after grabbing Wo Fat and slamming his head into a prison door for a blood sample.

Finally, some clear answers about the Momma McG/Shelburne/Wo Fat mystery. Well, one can only hope. Alex O’Loughlin told me on the red carpet, that there were two main things that his character faced this season. One was that Steve was going to work to find out about Wo Fat and his mother, why they are so connected and what that means. “And it’s kind of terrifying for him,” said O’Loughlin. The other thing McG will deal with is what is going on with him emotionally because of his mother. “She left for twenty years, and now she’s gone again– it’s tough,” said O’Loughlin on the red carpet.

So even though I am excited about what the writers seem to have in store for this season, I know not to hold my breath for all the answers right away. Like all great shows, they always leave us wanting just a little bit more.
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Wendie Burbridge is a published author, playwright and teacher. Reach her via Facebook and follow her on Twitter.

Click here for more coverage of the “Hawaii Five-0″ season four premiere at “Sunset on the Beach” in Waikiki.

  • jlopie1

    Hey, Wendie, I agree completely – best premiere since the Pilot! It was a wickedly fun ride, requiring two viewings back to back in order to catch all the subtleties! Beautiful title for the start of a season in which we will see our characters expand their emotional need for each other, as well as their trust in each other’s support.

    I think Steve realized just how much Catherine meant to him in this episode, and that there is no way he will lose her to terrorists as he lost his father. He also had it made very clear to him that Danny is probably the one person in the world he can totally trust to be at his side in whatever crisis his personal life throws at him. Danny showed him he was willing to have his back even if it meant the end of his career, ending up in jail, or losing his daughter — not to mention losing his (our) beloved Camaro!

    There was so much going on in this episode, it’s hard to discuss them all! But that’s what is so fun about H5-0 premieres! Everyone has something that they specifically pick up on and then share with everyone else! Thanks for getting the discussion rolling, and can only tell you how grateful I am for your blog. It’s going to be another great season!

    • Wendie Joy

      I agree- I just really liked this one! And I just loved all the Steve and Danno moments. So great. I just realized that I left out my favorite line! “This is Hawai’i- we do things differently here.” WOW. I need to write an entire blog JUST about that line…. :) But it’s true… I felt like this episode was given some breathing room to just let the characters be who they are- you know? Great comments Lynnette! Mahalo for commenting! Aloha, Wendie

  • alavenia

    Hi Wendie!!
    Loved the premiere, specially watching with thousands of people surrounding you! :-) But seriously I thought this premiere to be one of the best, action packed, so fast paced that you didn’t have time to breathe, great moments all around, hard to pick one favorite!! Thanks you for your review, as always I enjoy reading your blogs!!

  • Sam

    Now this is the H50 I know and love! SuperSEAL Steve…the bromance: Danny “I’ve got your back – always” and “you’re invading his personal space…that’s not a good idea”…helicopter stunts…spectacular car crashes…Steve & Catherine, Kono & Adam…and frankly, they had me at shirtless McG (thank you Egan Inoue!)
    Bonus points for Chi McBride (love him!) and killing the Camaro so we can get that cool looking black one next week. You gotta shake things up sometimes and that’s what they did in this premiere. I’ve been a fan since Day 1 but the show had kind of gotten in a rut. Looks like they’ve blasted out of the rut while deepening the core feeling of ohana and now it’s game on. I can’t wait to see what’s next. It’s gonna be a great year!

  • https://www.facebook.com/nadia.correia.5 Fanmisa (Nadia)

    Aloha Wendie !
    Mahalo for sharing again this amazing review !
    I couldn’t agree more with you about everything you said !
    I LOVE the episode, and it totally defeat 3.20 as my all-the-time fav episode because we had the 2 main things I love : action and emotion !

    I already watched the episode 3 times and every time I watch it, I couldnt believe how many stunts we had in only ONE episode ! It was AMAZING ! Between car chase, helicopter, gunfires, explosion … … this was an action-packed episode and I’m amazed by the quality of all the stunts ! Never though we could have that many stunts in 40 mins ! just WOW and hatsoff ! to the stunt team and Jeff !

    As for the emotional side, it broke my heart : RIP Camaro ! uugggh that’s hard and Danno’s face when he saw it :( – lol
    Cath being kidnapped WOW !!! amazing scene between Cath and Steve ! Michelle and Alex have such a great chemistry on screen and it just make this scenes be awesome – Loved the way Steve cares about her and to be honest I’m looking forward to see how their relationship will grow !
    Kono/Adam the scene in the beginning brought me tears ! Amzing vew from the boat and the fact the both feel guilty about Mickael’s death was awesome ! Love the way they speak about their future and of “them”

    Chin was great too ! Loved the BAMF side of him ! and the emotional one when he thinks about Kono !

    Henry, Martha and Chi did an AMAZING job on their respective roles during the entire episode !

    2 thumbs up for Peter and the writers : McRoll made me think about McRoll on 3.18 at the end and McG/Lou was like McDanno on 1.01 ! Loved it ! and Danno was just awesome in this scene :)
    well it 2 words IT ROCKS !
    cant wait to see what’s next – loved the s4 premiere, s4 promise to be FANTASTIC ! :)

    Mahalo Wendie ! xoxo

  • LindaStein

    Great great review Wendie. I totally agree…best premiere since the pilot. Just loved every minute of it form Steve’s video game take down of the gunmen after WoFat to the anxious moment when Kono realized she and Adam had been compromised to everything in between.

    Kudos to Jeff Cadiente and the wonderful stunt team for making me go WOW several times during the show especially that car flipping crash that killed the terrorists. Incredible!

    I think I’m going to love Capt. Grover. I love it when someone gets all up in Steve’s face and Grover will be a great antagonist to Steve’s way of doing things but, as we saw, Grover isn’t above doing something out of the ordinary to get the job done. These two will always bristle against each other but eventually they will come to respect each other and their ability to get justice.

    The best part of the episode for me, of course, is the personal connections between the team. Danny will always have Steve’s back and even though Steve already knew that it meant a lot to have Danny actually say it. And the way Steve’s voice actually broke when he told Cath he wasn’t going to risk losing her was heartbreaking.

    This episode had every element of what makes this show my favorite and why I keep coming back for more and more. I can’t wait to see all the great stuff that’s yet to come but at the same time I mourn for two old friends who have left our team. Chin’s magic table and Danny’s beloved Camaro. They will be replaced, of course, but the originals will always hold a warm place in my heart. Good buy old friends…you will be missed.

  • Robin Jane Bridges

    I loved the premiere, it was like the pilot for the 4 season. I do wish Danny’s comment about his car had more heat to it, but it was great. I saw one policeman/stunman go sliding on his back when the SUV crashed thru the blockade. I wonder if that part was planned.

  • KAD1228

    I loved the episode though I found it more violent than any others. It was a long, dry, hot summer w/out Steve and the gang. One thing I noticed that the ohana feel was back and very evident. There was humor, there was silly, there was the unexpected, there was love. Lots of it. Danny having Steve’s back, always. Kamekono rushing to help his ohana. Max’s concern. I felt Steve’s anguish over Catherine and their love when reunited. Chi’s Grover will be a great addition for the show, but esp. for bringing out the best and worst in Steve! Looking forward to his return! Poor Duke, having to deal with both Steve and Grover, poor man – he might be getting a bit grayer this season because of them!!

    I don’t know what I was more sad about. The loss the beloved Camaro or the loss of the table (though I was happy to see Toast again! DUDE!).

    I know the new night will be a blessing in disguise! The numbers proved a lot of naysayers wrong already! Ha – take that!

    I’m looking so forward to s4 and I’ve got my seat belt ready cause I know I’m going to need it for the twisting, turning road ahead!! Mahalo nui loa!!!

  • LindaStein

    Hey Wendie. Was watching the episode AGAIN and I noticed something. When Catherine is driving trying to get to HQ the announcer on the
    newscast she’s listening to on the car radio says “the drama continues
    to unfold at the Iolani Place…..”. But, Five-0 HQ isn’t in the
    Iolani Palace…it’s in the Aliiolani Hale. Am I just hearing that
    wrong, did the writers make a mistake or do they just assume the casual
    viewer won’t know the difference?

  • june77

    I love your review and your info from the red carpet. I will miss the old magic table and wonder if the terrorists got the info to their customer somehow – all it takes is a cell phone, which they had. Still not totally clear why they shot their own man. Almost everyone was in the episode except Danno’s daughter.

    Question: how will you feel if it is revealed that Wo Fat is McG’s half-brother? I vaguely recall you mentioning the possibility in a previous season and that you wouldn’t like it, but that is just a fuzzy memory.

    Thank you, Wendie!

  • FIVE0JOE

    wendie- ‘ you look marvelous’ im glad you had a great time !! i think the half bro thing is false- im prob wrong but i think were being played – lol i think its gonna be something else idk maby im overthinking it but those writers are pretty clever