Five-0 Redux: Best Episodes of 2013
BY WENDIE BURBRIDGE / Special to the Star-Advertiser
For the last “Five-0 Redux” of 2013, I’ll jump on the bandwagon and reminisce about some of the best episodes of “Hawaii Five-0” in 2013. This means we’ll be looking at the last half of season three and the start of season four.
While many episodes had terrific moments and memorable scenes, they may not have had the strongest storylines or lacked other elements fans love about the show. The episodes below were chosen because I felt they were great as a whole — the police procedural storylines were interesting, there were scenes with the entire Five-0 team (all of them, not just specific characters) and the episodes contained strong character development, awesome action and quality direction.
“Hawaii Five-0” has definitely grown over the last year. Many viewers reacted positively to changes executive producer Peter Lenkov made this season, including more character-driven storylines, the addition of McGarrett’s girlfriend, Catherine Rollins, to the team, as well as new series regular Chi McBride as Honolulu Police Department SWAT Capt. Lou Grover.
There have been some really great things happening on our favorite show so far this season. Here are five of the strongest episodes, in order by appearance from January through December 2013, that I believe qualify as the “best” of 2013.
Aired Feb. 4
There was a lot of hype surrounding this episode, and with good reason. Not only did “Hawaii Five-0” revisit its roots by recreating the 1973 version of the classic series episode of the same name, but they also brought in director Peter Weller, who played double-duty as the antagonist Curt “The Hookman” Stoner.
Writer Joe Halpin took the 1973 script and brought it to a level modern audiences could appreciate, while still paying proper respect to the original.
Double upper amputee Jason Koger, who stood in for Stoner’s bionic hands, added realism to the storyline, which also helped the episode stay out of the realm of parody.
Stunt coordinator Jeff Cadiente told me he worked very hard to recreate many of the second unit’s stunt scenes from the classic version frame by frame. Weller played the vengeful villain perfectly; we felt sorry for him for his injury, yet not so much that we liked him picking off Jack McGarrett’s police brothers.
The best part of the episode, besides watching the entire team work to stop Hookman from his ultimate kill (the son of the McGarrett he blamed for his amputation), was the ending. When the “ghosts” of McGarrett’s past return — his father, Keoki and Ookala — there wasn’t a dry eye in the house.
Aired May 6
While this episode seemed ripped from the headlines — the same week it aired, three women were found in Cleveland after being missing for 10 years — fans were moved by the realism of the storyline, as well as how the team went above and beyond to solve this heart-wrenching case.
Director Steve Boyum handled the difficult storyline with an even hand, and the story by Peter Lenkov and teleplay by Noah Nelson gave us a sense of solace, even with the death of the first captive, Amanda Morris (played with supreme maturity by Hawaiʻi actress Kanani Rogers) and the kidnapping of little Ella Bishop (Mykayla Sohn).
Hawaiʻi actors Jodi Jarvis and Brent Scott Dupuis played Ella’s parents, Joyce and Don Bishop, and veteran television actor Adam Lieberman and Hawaiʻi actress Mia Adams played Amanda’s parents, Henry and Tess Morris. Both sets of actors showed pain and anguish without the need for melodramatic overacting.
While the episode dealt with a reality no parent would ever want to face, real-life father Tip Gilbert, who helped to pass the bill that instituted the M.A.I.L.E. Alert (“Minor Abducted in Life-threatening Emergency”) in Hawaiʻi, made a cameo with his motorcycle club and helped instill a sense of reality into the fictional storyline.
‘ALOHA KEKAHI I KEKAHI’
Aired Sept. 27
This episode gave me hope “Hawaii Five-0” was moving toward better development of existing character arcs and stronger storylines. While we were missing Kono, the team worked well together to save Catherine, and we were explosively introduced to McBride’s character. Coupled with a “Sunset on the Beach” screening that featured appearances by the stars and a concert by the Jonas Brothers, and this fourth season premiere episode was one of the year’s best.
The episode, written by Peter Lenkov and Ken Solarz and directed by Bryan Spicer, kept us guessing. The carguments between Danno and McG were at their bromantic best, and the gun fight and helicopter appearance at the end showed the “Five-0” stunt team at the top of their game.
It also helped to introduce two new storylines for the season: the new slant to McG and Catherine’s relationship, as well as the working relationship with Capt. Grover. We also got a good glimpse at what was in store for Kono and Adam, and found out more about Wo Fat and his connection to McGarrett.
All in all, this was the best season opener since the series premiere.
‘HAUʻOLI LĀ HOʻOMAIKAʻI’
Aired Nov. 22
This episode, written by Eric Guggenheim and Moira Kirland and directed by Allison Liddi-Brown, definitely deserves to be on this list, mainly because of the wonderful performance of veteran actress Carol Burnett, who guest starred as Steve and Mary Ann’s Aunt Deb. Yet the theme of ʻohana was so prevalent in this episode, even without Burnett’s appearance, this was a strong offering from season four.
While “Five-0” always tries to incorporate a feeling of family and friendship, this episode pushed those themes to the forefront. Starting with a Thanksgiving flag football game with most of the team, as well as the return of Mary Ann and her baby were all good reminders of how the idea of family is immersed within this show.
And no one will forget the touching serenade Aunt Deb blessed her ʻohana with in the ending scene. Watching Burnett sing on television was truly a delight for everyone.
‘HOʻONANI MAKUA KĀNE’
Aired Dec. 13
I’ve written two posts about this episode, and yet I feel like I have only scratched the surface at how terrific this World War II-themed episode was for fans, veterans, and as a comment on history. Yet many, even 72 years after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, knew next to nothing about the internment of the Japanese-Americans in Hawaii.
Writers Peter Lenkov and Ken Solarz, this time with director Larry Teng, created a storyline rich in meaning. It was not only a reminder of history, but also delved into McGarrett’s own past and family. The entire team got behind McGarrett’s unwavering trust in Korean War veteran and former Honouliuli internee David Toriyama (James Saito), but they also used their modern technology and know-how to clear his name and solve a 70-year-old family mystery.
As a bonus, we learned about McGarrett’s grandfather — who was also named Steven and died on the USS Arizona — and the love he had for his family and his country. Many fans found this episode to be very emotional, as well as educational, especially about internment camps. It takes a special show to expose their audience to a part of American history we may not be very proud of.
For me, this episode is the frontrunner for best of season four, as well as 2013.
While these episodes may not be your favorites, let’s keep our bromance alive and bicker like friends in the comments section below. If nothing else, I’m looking forward to the rest of season four, and hopefully season five!
Mahalo for your support this year. I wish you and yours a Hauʻoli Makahiki Hou (Happy New Year).
Wendie Burbridge is a published author, playwright and teacher. Reach her via Facebook and follow her on Twitter.