Five-0 Redux: Becoming maʻa

Oct. 5, 2013 | 20 Comments

From left, Scott Caan (Danny Williams), Daniel Dae Kim (Chin Ho Kelly), guest star Tim Daly (Texas Ranger Ray Harper) and Alex O'Loughlin (Steve McGarrett) in a scene from “Hawaii Five-0.” (Courtesy CBS)

From left, Scott Caan (Danny Williams), Daniel Dae Kim (Chin Ho Kelly), guest star Tim Daly (Texas Ranger Ray Harper) and Alex O’Loughlin (Steve McGarrett) in a scene from “Hawaii Five-0.” (Courtesy CBS)

BY WENDIE BURBRIDGE / Special to the Star-Advertiser

Being Hawaiian, when I think “fish out of water,” I always think of a person somewhere unfamiliar, playing a part they are unaccustomed to, or in harms way, because a fish out of water connotates a deadly situation.

Metaphorically, “Hawaii Five-0” has used the fish out of water theme before. In the first season, Danno (Scott Caan) was the New Jerseyan who recently moved to Hawaiʻi. The same could be said for McGarrett (Alex O’Loughlin), growing up without a mother and far from home, as well as for Chin (Daniel Dae Kim) when he was exiled from the Honolulu Police Department.

And while this week’s episode focused again on the theme, the Five-0 team actually showcased being more “maʻa” (accustomed, used to, knowing thoroughly, habituated, familiar, experienced) about their world than they have the last three seasons.

For Native Hawaiians, learning to navigate the seas using moon phases, the stars and the tides, is fundamental to their very existence. In Hawaiian language, the phrase “ʻAʻale Maʻa Wau” means “I am not maʻa,” or, “I am not experienced, accustomed, or familiar.” This is an apt translation in more ways than might be obvious, as guest star Tim Daly, who portrayed Texas Ranger Ray Harper, looked like he was the epitome of someone who is definitely NOT maʻa.

Perhaps it was the big Stetson hat, rodeo belt buckle and pointy cowboy boots that gave him away, yet Harper adapted to his new situation and became maʻa about Hawaiʻi and some of our history and customs. A second definition of “maʻa” is “to adapt,” and Harper’s knowledge about rats and mongooses in the cane fields showed this to his advantage.

I loved how he didn’t change his appearance during this episode — he never once donned an aloha shirt or traded his cowboy boots for slippahs — but he knew that in order to accomplish the task of finding his missing daughter, he had to become maʻa to the situation quickly.

Tim Daly, right, was the featured guest star in "A'ale Ma'a Wau."  (Courtesy CBS)

Tim Daly, right, was the featured guest star in “ʻAʻale Maʻa Wau.” (Courtesy CBS)

The procedural was pretty strong for the second episode of its new season; I really enjoyed Daly’s character and how the team took his side once they unraveled his story. I knew once Danno heard Harper’s daughter was in danger, there would be no stopping him from helping Harper find her.

McGarrett, of course, always has the back of the underdog. Despite Harper not being straight with them at first, McG did what is pono (righteous) for a man who is seemingly cut from some of the same cloth.

Now, I have no idea if “Five-0” writers read this blog, but I have to say thank you for apparently listening to some of my advice last season about taking time to show the development of characters and worry less about guest stars and their stories. While I enjoyed the Harper, Texas Ranger story, I loved seeing Kono (Grace Park) and Adam (Ian Anthony Dale) in China duking it out with the Yakuza, as well as seeing further development of McG and Catherine’s (Michelle Borth) relationship.

And let’s talk about who is truly maʻa here — is there anything Kono can’t do? Oh, right, cook and clean, but damn, she can sure take out a team of assassins and bring home the freshly caught fish for dinner. Adam really shouldn’t send her home; how is that boy going to eat and stay alive?

I’ll be sad if they separate, but I also want her back with the Five-0 team, so I’m torn. As a true romantic, I’d like them hiding out and fishing for dinner and fixing broken-down jeeps for a little while more. Sometimes facing the unknown in a relationship is more romantic than candlelit baths and drinking red wine while watching the sunset.

On the flip side, McG and Cath are facing a different kind of unknown. Is Billy Harrington (Justin Bruening) playing the good guy in front of McG in order to get to Catherine like Danno suggested? I think Danno might be onto something and McG needs to pay close attention to his advice. But no matter what Billy has in mind, Catherine seems to be going in the direction Borth hinted at when I spoke to her on the red carpet at “Sunset on the Beach.” She is going to resign her commission and take this perfect job with Billy’s new security company, all with McG’s blessing.

Scott Caan and Daniel Dae Kim on the set of "Hawaii Five-0." (Courtesy CBS)

Scott Caan and Daniel Dae Kim on the set of “Hawaii Five-0.” (Courtesy CBS)

If nothing else, McG seems to really be gaining a lot of trust in his team and with his lady. Now if only he could gain some trust in his mother. The almost anti-climactic way it was revealed that McG and Wo Fat were not brothers was sort of a letdown. Even with Max’s (Masi Oka) sneaky passing of DNA results and Danno’s subsequent cargument interrogation, it did nothing to heighten the drama around what was a huge reveal in the season opener.

But it still highlights how much little Stevie doesn’t trust Momma McG. Danno is right when he asked Steve what the DNA helps clear up for him — nothing, really — but McG’s burning desire to know why Wo Fat left Doris alive is the crux of this mystery. And of course, I only ask the payoff to that question is as mind-blowing as when we found out the truth about Jenna and Victor Hesse.

We also got some great ‘ohana scenes with Danno and Gracie (Teilor Grubbs), with Uncle Steve and Uncle Kamekona (Taylor Wily) helping out on the baseball diamond, and the introduction of new toys for the team. A new magic table appeared, slicker and better than the last one, and Danno got a new ride. One he seems destined to never drive, but still, it sure looks nice and fast. McG can probably testify to that.

Overall, I really enjoyed the first two episodes of the new season. It’s almost as if the show is finally finding its stride and riding some of the best waves since season one.

“Friday Night ‘Five-0’” has a nice ring to it. And I, for one, am certainly enjoying the ride.

Redux Side Note

TNT Thursday continued this week with repeats of two popular episodes, “Pōwā ma ka moana” (“Pirate”) with guest stars Nick Lachey and Vanessa Minnillo, and “Loa Aloha” (“The Long Goodbye”) with Dane Cook as Danno’s wayward brother.

We always love seeing local actors return to the show, and this week we got two cute scenes with Gracie (Teilor Grubb) playing baseball, plus Shawn Mokuahi Garnett returned as Flippa to sell a few hot dogs in the stands. Dennis Chun made a brief appearance in uniform at one of the crime scenes, holding Kono’s tablet to give the team background, then appeared out of uniform in a cool aloha shirt and hat to cheer in the stands at Gracie’s game.

I loved how the entire Five-0 ʻohana showed up to support Gracie, as well as her coaches Danno and Steve, and even Cath’s opposing team. It was a nice way to show the team off the clock in the real world, so to speak.
———
Wendie Burbridge is a published author, playwright and teacher. Reach her via Facebook and follow her on Twitter.

  • Wendy Hansen

    I really enjoyed this episode. I felt that it was a really well balanced, well written episode, with excellent acting and direction all round. I love episodes with Teilor in them, Gracie is just adorable and of course I love Daddy Danno and Uncle Steve. Of course, there was no way that Danny was going to get to drive his new car – has Steve EVER let Danny drive except for the day they met? *cough*Control freak*cough*

    I’m with Danno though… Cath working with Billy is baaaaaaaad juju. Hasn’t McG learned his lesson about blindly trusting his SEAL buddies after Nick Taylor??

    • Wendie Joy

      Well balanced and well written– couldn’t have said it better:) We Wendy/ie’s must think alike:) Mahalo for your comments! Aloha, Wendie

  • edmattes763

    Two Graces with great reactions. Grace Park is getting to act and it’s great. When Kono got the Jeep started, her reaction was priceless. Like when she was working in the HPD auto shop in Season 1 (“It’s alive!”). And Teilor Grubbs’s Gracie reacting to the ball she hit going over the fence. (Danny’s reaction was pretty good too.) I loved this episode a lot.

    • Wendie Joy

      Big thumbs up on your comments Ed- I’m with you– the Grace’s were great:) Thanks for commenting! Aloha, Wendie

  • Brenda

    I think this week Kono showed what draws fans to this show. Tough action characters with a heart of gold. The same with Steve and Danny coaching the ball team. The interaction showing the tender side of this team keeps us coming back. Love it and great recap Wendie.

    • Wendie Joy

      Hi Brenda:) Thanks for reading and commenting. Can’t say enough about Kono– this is a great storyline for her. Much better than when she played the “bad girl” in Season Two… and I love the romance. It adds an interesting dimension to Kono’s character and they show. Mahalo for your thoughts;) Aloha, Wendie

  • Dina

    Again a great review Wendie!!! and yes it was very easy to see Daly’s character with the title’s meaning. Yet on the flip side Kono seems to defy the title and triumph over her “inexperience of being in an “unknown land”. In the end Daly triumph’s as well but as part of a “team” where Kono is out there alone without the rest of Five-0

    Of course one of my fav episodes aired with Dane Cook and Claire van der Boom on TNT- awaiting to see if Peter and writers EVER pick up the pieces of that story line for they have left so much “open” I do feel like they want to but are unavailable due to scheduling the co- stars.

    • Wendie Joy

      Hi Dina;) Thanks for reading! There was so much to like about this episode:) I’m with you- I’d love to see then wrap up a few open ended storylines they opened in earlier seasons. Especially would like to know what happened to Danno’s brother, and his ex– maybe with his Mom scheduled to appear– we may get some answers??? We can only hope! Thanks for commenting! Aloha, Wendie

  • LindaStein

    I have such a great feeling about this new season and 2 episodes in it feels like an old friend has returned. This episode was extremely well balanced between the “crime of the week”, a great use of guest star Tim Daly, seeing Kono and Adam in China and, of course, great Ohana moments. It’s everything I came to love about this show.

    My first reaction when Danny unceremoniously stated that Steve and WoFat are not brothers was THANK CHRIST! I knew they weren’t brothers but I was terrified TPTB would take that route and I did not want to be involved in the tsunami that would have caused in fandom. I’m thrilled they did not make it so but now I am more curious than ever to find out what the hell Doris is up to. WoFat’s “Few Good Men” comment that Steve doesn’t want to know the truth…yeah well…WE DO. It will keep me coming back for more no matter how long it takes.

    Kono was extremely good in this episode but there really is nothing new there, is there? She’s always been awesome but I agree with you Wendie…Adam better not send her away or he is doomed! LOL

    So far this season is NOT disappointing me at all. I’m so excited to see what’s next. Thanks for the great review sistah!

    • Wendie Joy

      Linda- I love your comments- and like you, I’m not sure I’ll be able to “handle the truth!” LOL :) Chief was yelling at our TV “You can’t handle the truth, McG!” It was too funny. But you’re right– I still want to KNOW! :D But it was such a solid episode, it really gave us all the things I think we were missing at points in season three– so I’m ready for more season four! Thanks for reading and posting and commenting! Aloha, Wendie

  • KAD1228

    Great episode! Well written and very balanced. We got to see the team relaxing and enjoying real life and we saw Kono and Adam. I want Kono back, there’s a huge hole with her missing but I also enjoy seeing her with Adam. I’m disappointed in Catherine. She withholds a lot from Steve, keeping his mothers secret and now not telling him about her retirement. Judas kissed Christ before handing him over. And Billy appearing to get Steve’s blessing. That scenario is an accident waiting to happen. Hasn’t Steve learned from his past with his supposed pal (can’t remember his name) from s1 who was out to kill him! Not getting good vibes from this. Danny is right about this. Love seeing Gracie!! Tim Daly quickly adapted and worked well with the guys. I hope he comes back. After 2 episodes, this season holds a lot of promise! Can’t wait to see what happens next!

    • Wendie Joy

      Karen, I’m with you- this season is starting off on a better footing than in Season 3. I’m hooked again, which is nice:) I really loved Tim Daly- I thought he was a great guest star- and he’s such a good actor. I guess on the Catherine front, I think I understand her holding back from McG- living with a Navy man, they are often not easy to read and often hold back to protect the ones they love. I guess that is how I see their relationship- sort of “I don’t want to worry you, so I’m going to reveal what needs to be revealed, when and if you need to know.” Chief calls being on the “need to know.” Whatever the reason- I like the drama and hopefully maybe they are past this and will be more honest with each other. Thanks for reading and your comment:) Aloha, Wendie

  • Robin Jane Bridges

    I loved the episode! The baseball game had me laughing so hard I couldn’t see anything. I like Danny’s new ride, something about those lights are awesome. I think the reason why Adam’s reason for Kono going back is because she is acting like a body guard and he doesn’t know how to surive in the jungle, the city he might do better. It would have been great if the ranger’s daughter and Danny’s Grace met and shared the experience of being kidnapped and knowing their father would find them. I noticed the girl still had her jewerly on, maybe she was going to use them for trade or something.

    • Wendie Joy

      Hi Robin:) You noticed a lot of details- nice! The baseball game was a nice touch for the episode and I loved how so many of the cast was involved in the scene. Thanks for reading and commenting! Aloha, Wendie

  • Terry FiveOs

    As always, thanks for the Hawaiian tidbits, Wendie. And nothing against Tim Daly because I’m a fan, but I had to chuckle a bit as he seemed to be the one ʻAʻale Maʻa Wau in those boots and his attempt at a Texas drawl.

    And although I was really disturbed by Kono hooking up with Adam last season, I have to say he’s one me over, and I credit Ian Anthony Dale for that. That’s a man who can break your heart! I appreciate that he loves Kono enough that he’s willing to sacrifice absolutely everything for her. I know that Ian has been cast in another series but whether it gets a full season pick-up remains to be seen. Knowing how the Five-0 bosses work though, this is probably the kiss of death for Adam.

    I actually liked that they didn’t make McGarrett getting the results of the blood test to be extremely dramatic. Life is in fact, often anti-climatic. But I do wonder a couple of things; one is that an accurate result, and if it is, 2) did Peter Lenkov turn away from the direction of having Wo Fat and Steve be brothers after so many viewers have jumped to that conclusion over the past few seasons.

    I enjoyed the episode, although I was taken aback by McGarrett being a bully at a child’s ball game. Yes, it was played for laughs, and he’s competitive, but I don’t believe Steve would act that way in front of Grace. But, no big deal. It’s wasn’t a make or break moment and Alex looked really hot so all is forgiven. :-)

    • Wendie Joy

      Hi Terry- I have to agree with you- in retrospect, I’m glad they didn’t hype the results of the DNA– makes sense after watching it again. I also agree with you and others that if they had dragged out the storyline it would have watered it down. Your 2 thoughts about the results are cool theories and I hope that we might get a chance to ask and/or find out about as the season moves on. That’s a really interesting thought that perhaps Lenkov turned away from that direction- now I wonder what is the real mystery behind the link behind Doris and Wo Fat???? Really cool idea:) And Steve being a bully on the baseball diamond– I had glossed over that because it was with Kamekona and I sort of thought it was a play between the two of them… but you’re right, it was like he was “making big body” in front of kids. Love your comments:) thanks for taking the time to read and post your thoughts. Aloha, Wendie

  • Diane

    Hi Wendie, having a little problem with Disqus. finally got in. I’ve loved the first 2 episodes. Loved seeing kickass Kono again. Although, I wish they would not make Adam look so helpless. Love Danny’s new car, hope he gets to drive it.

    I agree the revelation of the McG and Wofat not being brothers, could have been done better, but I am so glad they did not drag it out forever. We still don’t know the reason Wofat and Doris let each other go. Catherine and Steve may be solid right now, but we all know, Billy has his own agenda. It will be interesting to see how Steve reacts to competition for Catherine. I liked Tim Daly in this. Thanks for the review.

    • Wendie Joy

      Hi Diane:) Thanks for trying to post despite Disqus… glad your post came through:) I’m with you- glad we got to see more Kono, love Danno’s new ride, and am also glad they did not drag out the “could be brothers” storyline:) Loved Tim Daly and hope, like many other characters they have introduced, that we perhaps get a chance to see him again:) Thanks for commenting! Aloha, Wendie

  • alavenia

    Thanks Wendie, I love reading your blogs, I enjoyed this episode, a lot, and I am really liking Kono’s side story with Adam, like you said, is there anything she can’t do??
    Thank you!!

    • Wendie Joy

      Hi Anita- Seriously, right? Kono is ʻono as many like to say! Thanks for reading and commenting! Aloha, Wendie