Five-0 Redux: The truth is out there
BY WENDIE BURBRIDGE / Special to the Star-Advertiser
Leave it to “Hawaii Five-0” to make me wonder if my Hawaiian history kumu withheld information of hidden treasure, nefarious scandals and conspiracies while he lectured about the Kingdom of Hawaiʻi and the Kamehameha Dynasty. I can almost imagine conspiracy theorists hanging around Aliʻiōlani Hale and ʻIolani Palace trying to find hidden underground lava tubes, or making their way to Mauna ʻAla, the Royal Mausoleum of Hawaiʻi, to see what is really buried in its sacred ground.
No, folks, I’m not encouraging such investigation, because I am sure that the most conspiratorial story that comes from Hawaiian history is the true story of the annexation of the Hawaiian Kingdom and overthrow of the monarchy.
Still, this week’s episode, “Ka ʻoiaʻiʻo maloko” (three words, not four), meaning “The Truth Within,” helped to not only reveal a few truths within McGarrett and Catherine’s relationship, but also gave us a fun “theory” rolled up within the rich culture and customs of Hawaiʻi. Take it from this island girl with more than a pinky toe of Hawaiian blood, it was a solid effort from writers Steven Lilien and Bryan Wynbrandt. They took a nice chunk of real Hawaiian history, added some cool fiction to make it work for the show and rolled it all up into an entertaining story.
Not a bad ride for “Five-0” viewers, who not only love all things McGarrett and crew, but who also enjoy learning more about the state that shares its name with their beloved show. And anytime they can bring on a great guest star like Jorge Garcia, who played conspiracy theorist and Chin Ho’s fellow band pal Jerry Ortega, to help the team and add witty zingers to the storyline, I’m all for it.
I was a huge fan of one-season-wonder “Alcatraz,” Garcia’s first post-“Lost” adventure. His portrayal of Dr. Diego “Doc” Soto, comic book aficionado and Alcatraz historian and expert, really made the short-lived show worth watching. Garcia is, of course, well-known as the much beloved “Hurley” from “Lost” and has made a name for himself in roles that provide a bit of comic relief. While he’s famous for his comedic talent, he definitely has the dramatic chops to tackle serious leading roles as he did in both “Lost” and “Alcatraz.”
But in “Hawaii Five-0” this week, Garcia was all comedy. His scenes with fellow “Lost” alum, Daniel Dae Kim, were priceless, with Chin even saying that going to band camp with Jerry “was like being stuck on a deserted island.” Between Danno’s trademarked sarcastic zingers, from asking if they could feed Jerry after midnight to his “Say hello to the Hobbits” farewell, and Jerry’s “Holy Fox Mulder!” and telling Danno, “You are my Scully,” I could not stop laughing at the fast and furious pop culture references.
When Jerry came out in public despite his “surveillance problems” and revealed his conspiracy theory, I was sold on his eccentric nature and could go along with the Royal League and the Medici Rings connection.
Yes, folks, Jerry was right about the facts surrounding the Kamehameha statue. Thomas R. Gould, an American who was living in Italy, did create the statue that sits in front of Aliʻiōlani Hale (which stands in for Five-0 Headquarters). The original statue was lost at sea and was another ordered, and it is the second statue we see in the opening credits of “Hawaii Five-0.”
The original statue, which was cast in brass, was found near the Falkland Islands and sold back to the Hawaiian government. It was subsequently placed near Kamehameha’s birthplace in Kapaʻau on Hawaiʻi island. The fiction added to the story about the Royal League and scrimshaw key made the mystery behind what looked like an armed robbery even more interesting than just another murder-for-hire plot.
That kind of storyline — killing for money, lust or love — might have been popular when Gremlins were staying away from bright light and the “X-Files” were on television. Our modern minds want more intrigue and details. And a cool payoff.
Overall, I thought this week’s episode had more sass, with Jerry’s quirkiness playing off Danno’s snarky one-liners, Max and McG announcing their BFF status, and Chin reluctantly admitting his former band geek status having added to the lightheartedness that surrounded the storyline. The more dramatic moments — Danno being concerned for the victim’s daughter, Catherine resigning her commission and McGarrett thinking that perhaps Billy isn’t really a shipmate he can trust — all helped to balance the episode.
There were some strong Hawaiʻi actors in the episode, some who could have used a few more minutes of screen time. Loretta Ables Sayre, who played Jerry’s mom, was sadly not used as much as her talent deserved. A Tony Award nominee for her performance as “Bloody Mary” in the 2007 revival of “South Pacific,” Ables Sayre could have played a much more significant character; perhaps in a different episode.
And Will Oak Wild, who played killer Ellis Gregory, had a cool action scene and spoke maybe one line, but not much else. It would have been great to see an interrogation scene with McG, or let him watch Jerry find the treasure so we could see his face when he realizes how close he really was to solving a 150-year-old mystery. Wouldn’t it have been just perfect to watch his face as Jerry, who still lives with his Mom, thinks phones are out to get him and closes his eyes so no one can take him out for seeing something top secret, open the Kamehameha statue to find the Medici Rings?
Two Hawaiʻi actresses did have nice scenes. Jesiree Dizon played the murder victim, Kaylea Van Horn, and Jenn Boneza played her sister, Alani. Boneza had two nice scenes with Scott Caan as they both mourned for her sisterʻs death as well as her niece, who was now an orphan. The ending scene when Danno brings Alani and the baby a stuffed monkey that his daughter, Gracie, has “grown out of,” was enough to make the entire “Five-0” fandom collectively sigh.
There was a lot to like in this episode: the fun, the comedy, the mystery, the history. But Danno might have been onto something when he said, “When things are good, nobody thinks they are going to go bad.”
I know he was speaking of Catherine and McG’s relationship, but you could almost relate it to “Hawaii Five-0.” This season started off on some really good footing, but I just hope they don’t lose their momentum. With all the story arcs continuing from last season, I’m thinking the “bad” may only come with criminals, villains and the return of Momma McG and Wo Fat.
But then again, wouldn’t that be fun?
Redux Side Note
We haven’t seen the Fonger (Brian Yang) in the last three episodes. Do we know the fate of our favorite forensic Geek God? One can only hope Adam’s brother Michael didn’t end Fong’s tenure on “Five-0” in the season three finale. Perhaps Yang’s side film project, “Linsanity,” which screened at the Hawaii International Film Festival’s Spring Showcase earlier this year and opened in select markets this weekend, is extending his hiatus. Hopefully he’ll be back to help the team analyze evidence and solve crimes very soon.
Wendie Burbridge is a published author, playwright and teacher. Reach her via Facebook and follow her on Twitter.