Five-0 Redux: Christmas keepsakes

Dec. 21, 2013 | 16 Comments

Chin Ho Kelly (Daniel Dae Kim) just can't catch a break — he's attacked and kidnapped by a serial murderer in this week's episode of "Hawaii Five-0." (Courtesy CBS)

Chin Ho Kelly (Daniel Dae Kim) just can’t catch a break — he’s attacked and kidnapped by a serial murderer in this week’s episode of “Hawaii Five-0.” (Courtesy CBS)

BY WENDIE BURBRIDGE / Special to the Star-Advertiser

Christmas in Hawai‘i is understandably very different than it is anywhere else in the world. The temperature usually tops out at around 80 degrees, we don’t have to worry about snow days or hail and ice storms, and most folks spend the day barbecuing at the beach after finding out what Santa stuck under their tree.

Sure, we have pine trees shipped in so we have somewhere to stash our presents, we cover our homes with lights and wreaths, and yes, Santa still wears the full red-velvet suit complete with white beard and tall black boots. But really, it’s sunny and warm, and when we dream of a “White Christmas,” it’s more like what Chin Ho called “Pineapple Powder” on Mauna Kea.

While last week’s episode had me in tears, this week I was alternately gasping and wondering out loud when Chin Ho would ever catch a break. “Hawaii Five-0’ seems to love making him suffer.

“Real Housewife of Orange County” star Heather Dubrow, right, and James Urbaniak were this week's featured guest stars. (Courtesy CBS)

“Real Housewife of Orange County” star Heather Dubrow, right, and James Urbaniak were this week’s featured guest stars. (Courtesy CBS)

When I spoke to Daniel Dae Kim on the red carpet at this year’s “Sunset on the Beach,” I asked if anything good would happen to Chin this season. His good-natured laughter in response to my question was reassuring, and he did agree that while his character seemed to have had a difficult time in season three — like losing his wife, being dumped in Halawa Correctional Facility and having to say “aloha” to his cousin Kono — he assured me Chin would have a chance at happiness this season.

So I suppose happiness includes Leilani (Lindsay Price), the nurse he met during his unfortunate prison stay, who returned in this episode to warn the Five-0 team she hadn’t heard from him in hours — which alerted the team Chin could be in trouble.

Again? I swear, Chin has a perpetual “Shiv Me” sign on his back.

This week’s episode title, “Pukana,” means “keepsake, memento, remembrance or souvenir” in Hawaiian. And while I don’t think CBS meant “Chin Ho remembers when he was shanked the first time” as the theme of this episode, it did refer to the keepsake Grace (Teilor Grubbs) and Danno (Scott Caan) found washed up on the beach during a beach cleanup. Gracie finding the Japanese puzzle box, which contained a locket with a picture of a sweet faced young Japanese girl, and Danno trying to find the person connected to the little girl was, of course, more of what we love about “Hawaii Five-0.”

Danno (Scott Caan), left, and Gracie (Teilor Grubbs) celebrate Christmas in this week's episode of "Hawaii Five-0." (Courtesy CBS)

Danno (Scott Caan), left, and Gracie (Teilor Grubbs) celebrate Christmas in this week’s episode of “Hawaii Five-0.” (Courtesy CBS)

All of the Danno and Gracie moments this week, including Gracie teasing Danno about a thrice-divorced mom flirting with him and Danno teaching a New Jersey born (but Hawaiʻi raised) Gracie the finer points of east coast hockey with in-line skates and no snow, really helped balance the violent attack on Chin.

I suppose it was Chin’s turn to be kidnapped by serial killer Gary Nathan (creepily played by veteran character actor James Urbaniak), kicked to a pulp and shanked in the process. Only this time, Chin was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. Good thing Gary’s girlfriend Emily (“Real Housewife of Orange County” star Heather Dubrow) stopped by to bring our killer some Vietnamese noodle soup. Otherwise Chin would be dead — with one less finger.

Thankfully, Emily kept her cool and slid Chin his gun during a scuffle so he could stop Gary from adding both of them to his collection of photos and fingers. I found it incredibly gross that Gary kept a finger from each of his victims as a memento. I guess we figured out what McG was looking at when he opened Gary’s safe, despite viewers never being actually shown what was inside.

I so love when “Five-0” brings everything full-circle. The original case the Five-0 team investigated had to do with serial burglar Victor Dobbs, who we saw at the start of the episode opening Gary’s safe. When a look of shock and disbelief covered his face, we obviously thought he was upset because the safe was empty; now we know it was filled with more horror than the burglar was ready to see.

Chin Ho Kelly (Daniel Dae Kim) and his girlfriend Leilani (Lindsay Price) enjoy a tender moment after Kelly was kidnapped by serial killer. (Courtesy CBS)

Chin Ho Kelly (Daniel Dae Kim) and his girlfriend Leilani (Lindsay Price) enjoy a tender moment after Kelly was kidnapped by serial killer. (Courtesy CBS)

I’m not sure I was ready to see Chin get beat up so bad, nor was I ready to see him saved by a “Real Housewife.” Still, I was glad to see him recover enough to relax on the beach with Leilani. But if that’s how DDK sees his character “finding happiness,” I’m hoping Chin wins the lottery, starts driving a Rolls Royce and treats everyone to Side Street Inn every day, just because he’s so darn happy.

Something needs to give for Chin. We like him too much for it not to happen for him. And soon.

Overall, there were a lot of the classic “Five-0” elements we love in this week’s episode: Danno and McG carguments, Danno giving McG some healthy ribbing about being cheap, and a touching moment when McG suggests the puzzle box Danno found could belong to someone who was affected by the tsunami. Of course, that led Danno to seek out the Fong’s (Brian Yang) help in order to find the family of the little girl in the locket.

We got to see some nice moments with Danno and Fong, and Fong actually got out of the lab! I loved when he showed up at Danno’s house and told him, “I couldn’t sleep” after he found the owner of the puzzle box — the father of the little girl and the only survivor from his family. How could we not love the closing scene when Danno and Gracie travel all the way to Japan to return the box?

That’s definitely how I wanted this episode to end, with hope and some cheer. That’s a keepsake we can all treasure.

Redux Side Note:

“Hawaii Five-0” is on Christmas hiatus for the next two weeks, but CBS has three great repeats lined up. Don’t miss a special rebroadcast of “I ka wā mamua” (In A Time Past) tonight, Dec. 21, at 8 p.m. on CBS.

On Dec. 27, one of the best episodes from season three, the re-imagined version of the 1973 classic “Hawaii Five-O” episode “Hookman” will air during the show’s regular Friday night timeslot.

And a fan-favorite episode, “Huakaʻi Kula” (“Field Trip”), with the amazing Lesley Boone as Gracie’s Aloha Girls leader will repeat on Jan. 3, 2014.

The “Five-0 Redux” will continue with new posts every Saturday. A very warm Mele Kalikimaka to all of you from “The Five-0 Redux” and the Pulse. Mahalo for all your support in 2013!
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Wendie Burbridge is a published author, playwright and teacher. Reach her via Facebook and follow her on Twitter.

  • edmattes763

    I thought it was a little odd that Danny and Grace would go all the way to Japan (that’s got to be at least a 3 or 4 day trip, right?) and not have much contact with the father once they got there. I hope they did a little touring too.
    And I like what the show is doing for Grace Park, even though we officially don’t know why she’s gone. Keeping her personal life private and filming her part of this episode (and probably part of the next one) in her hometown of Vancouver. But British Columbia looked kinda warm for Christmastime.

  • jlopie1

    Mele Kalikimaka to you and yours as well, Wendie! Thanks for a great review (as always!). This episode might not have packed the emotional punch throughout the whole episode as last week’s, but I certainly used up my left over box of tissues for the ending!

    We all know that it’s impossible to have the caliber of drama every week with every episode such as 4.10 brought us, and honestly, more often than not we’ve had some sort of a letdown in episodes following a stellar one, but I have to say, although Pukana retuned to the crime of the week format, it left the viewers every bit as satisfied. Well-written and directed, well-acted and really well edited!

    Poor Chin – He really is the most tortured soul on this show! Oh, well, Chin seems perfectly capable of getting himself out of the worst fixes imaginable and bouncing back incredibly quickly, to boot!

    Not going to lie, I adored the Danny/Gracie time they gave us this week. Teilor is growing up into a beautiful young lady and getting more lines (and doing them well) every time we see her! Loved Grover and his daughter, too! Apparently the girls go to the same school? Anyway, the story behind of the puzzle box was poignant, and another example of H50 bringing into the story line current events that happen in Hawaii. Perhaps it was wrapped up just a little to quickly for some people’s taste, but we got closure and sentiment to ring out the first half of the season with satisfied sighs.

    It’s been a fantastic 1st half of S4, and considering what we’ve been told to expect for the second half, it’s turning into the best season of Hawaii Five-0 since, and perhaps including, Season One! Mele Kalikimaka to one and all!

  • critiq

    Aloha Wendie! on hiatus yeah…no wonder when I passed by Nuuanu Ave early this week and of course, friday evening….saw alot of EYE crew trucks in downtown. Thought it was strange because I did not see any familiar 5-0 cars in the area, guess they were hired to kokua Cameron’s film then…..but its great in both ways, to show HI is a GREAT PLACE to film local AND foreign shots!!!

  • Angela Gerstner

    Even though this episode could, of course, not top last week’s epic one, it was some sort of emotional roller-coaster ride again:
    After I’d smiled and laughed quite a lot about the boys and their quirky, funny conversations in the first ten minutes of the episode, I “suffered” with poor Chin in the hands of the serial killer – and, in the end, I was crying when Danno and Gracie returned the only “pukana” of his family to the survivor of the tsunami. I think, some day I’ll have to send an invoice for tissues to Peter & Co. since my stock of tissues has been diminishing rapidly while watching the last few episodes of H50. I’m just kidding, of course – I actually love all the emotions on the show.

    While I would have preferred to not see Chin suffer quite this much again, I thought the episode was well-balanced and gave me everything I love about the show – humour, emotions, suspense, those cute and very nice moments with Danno & Gracie together – and I even got a glimpse of Seattle which I always enjoy seeing since it reminds me of a very dear person living there. And, of course, it’s much appreciated that the writers always give us a little “sign of life” from Kono who (I think) will be back full-time in the next new episode 4.12 that airs in January. Hopefully, having his cousin back in Hawaii and getting some romance with Leilani will finally bring happiness back into Chin’s life. He so deserves it!

    Mahalo for another great review, Wendie and Mele Kalikimaka!

  • Angela Gerstner

    Even though this episode could, of course, not top last week’s epic one, it was some sort of emotional roller-coaster-ride again:
    After I’d smiled and laughed quite a lot about the boys and their quirky, funny conversations in the first ten minutes of the episode, I “suffered” with poor chin in the hands of the serial killer – and, in the end, I was crying when Danno and Gracie returned the only “pukana” of his family to the survivor of the tsunami. I think, some day I’ll have to send an invoice for tissues to Peter & Co. since my stock of tissues has been diminishing rapidly while watching the last few episodes of H50. I’m just kidding, of course – I love all the emotions on the show.

    While I would have preferred to not see Chin suffer quite this much again, I thought the episode was well-balanced and gave me everything I love about the show – humour, emotions, suspense, those cute and very nice moments with Danno & Gracie together – and I even got a glimpse of Seattle which I always enjoy seeing since it reminds me of a very dear person living there. And, of course, it’s much appreciated that the writers always give us a little “sign of life” from Kono who (I think) will be back full-time in the next new episode 4.12 that airs in January. Hopefully, having his cousin back in Hawaii and getting some romance with Leilani will finally bring happiness back into Chin’s life. He so deserves it!

    Mahalo for another great review, Wendie and Mele Kalikimaka!

  • LindaStein

    Thanks for the great review Wendie. I know you spent a majority of the day on the road again heading to happy places for the holiday yet you still turn out a stellar review. You’re amazing sistah!

    I liked this episode very much. As Lynnette says, sometimes the episode following an “event” episode feels like a bit of a let down but this one had me on the edge of my seat. Obviously, we know Chin will get out of his predicament but I always love to see how they will do it and this one didn’t disappoint. I like the fact that the killer’s girlfriend helped Chin during the fight instead of just sitting there like most women in this situations are written. Honestly happy to see a woman be strong and brave and not just sit there waiting to be saved.

    I adored every moment of Danny/Gracie time as always. Teilor is becoming quite the actress and watching her tear up when the Japanese father broke down over the locket shows just how much she’s matured as an actress. I don’t really find it so far fetched that Danny and Grace flew to Japan to give the locket back. I mean, it’s only a 9 hour or so flight from Honolulu to Japan. There was no notation on the screen that said “later that day” along with the location so it could have been a couple of days later when they were in Japan. The fact that the man said “Merry Christmas” could just as easily been a nod to the generosity of the season rather than the actual day. It was really wonderful of Five-0 to recognize the event of the tsunami and the aftereffects of debris still washing up on the shores of Hawaii after 3 years. As always Five-0 touches on something relevant to real life in Hawaii. Well done.

    There was drama, humor and sentimentality in this episode. All the things that make Five-0 my favorite show. It’s been a great first half of the season and with Grace coming back full time in January it promises to only get better. Mele Kalikimaka me ka Hau’oli Makahiki Hou

  • KAD1228

    Mele Kalikimaka to you and yours! Happy new year!

    I loved the Danny/Gracie time! Teilor’s grown up right before our eyes! The puzzle box, locket and trip to Japan was the perfect touch for this giving season. I was upset by Chin’s brutal treatment. I do hope he catches some slack real soon! Though the shirtless scene and time w/Leilani made up for it just a bit! Of course seeing Kono is a great Christmas gift!

    Overall though, this episode didn’t quite cut it for me and I’m sure the greatness of last weeks had a lot to do with it. The procedural was ok and so were the guest stars. Nothing shone brightly. The bromance was there, but Danny calling Steve a putz wasn’t nice and rather rude. I think I was also disappointed that the team didn’t spend the holiday together as in the past. But that’s just my take – I also think my being sick played a part – maybe a re-watch is in order.

    Looking forward to 3 of my favorite repeats and anxiously awaiting Kono’s return in January!

    Till then, be safe and enjoy!

    • Amy Denton

      I think Danny calling Steve a ‘putz’ wasn’t meant to be rude but it’s all how you perceive it. I’ve called my friends a putz and been called one myself and it was always meant to be affectionate, not nasty. However, I can see how it could be seen as being rude. Putz is Yiddish, I think, and with Yiddish, it’s really hard to tell sometimes how the word should be used.

      • KAD1228

        Putz is a Yiddish word. I’m not Jewish but as a native New Yorker, Yiddish words are a big part of our lingo. Affectionate isn’t quite the definition associated with Putz but anything is possible. It struck a chord with me (maybe because I’m not used to it being used “lovingly”) and just thought it a rather strong word to be used.

  • Amy Denton

    This was a really good episode and I LOVED the ending when Danny and Grace go to Japan. That was a real eye opener for Grace , I think. She is growing into quite the young lady!
    I have one comment for Charlie’s shirt in that scene with him handing the box over to Danny. YIKES!

  • https://twitter.com/FanmisaN Fanmisa (Nadia)

    Another great review Wendie !!!! THANKS :)
    I agree with all you said
    i really love this episode because we had a lot of different things : action and suspens, emotion, cuteness ….
    I really enjoyed it a LOT – watching it for the second time now
    Gracie back yeaaaaaahhh i love so much those father/daughter moments !!!
    I’m loving more and more Leilani :) she is great for Chin !
    Poor him though, he seems to never catch a break ! lol
    the entire end was great !!!!
    And now looking forward to see Kono back ! wanna see how they will do it :)

    well, an amazing episode ! … and here is an amazing review !!! ;)
    Mahalo hun !
    Merry Christmas to you and your family ! Have a great time ! XO

  • Terry FiveOs

    ” I’m not sure I was ready to see Chin get beat up so bad, nor was I ready to see him saved by a ‘Real Housewife.’ ” Ha!! But seriously, I found Chin’s beating to be gratuitous and upsetting. And let’s be honest, he wouldn’t have been standing up, smiling afterwards with no more than a bruise and a bandage after that. Now that I think about it, I’m beginning to think that our team is a special race of super heroes because no matter how bad of a beating they take, they get up, brush themselves off, and go get a beer.

  • Diane

    The previous episode was great, and we can’t expect them to top that. This weeks episode was good. A little harsh for a Christmas show, but then this is what 5-0 investigates and why they exist., Chin really does need to get a break, but I thought the actor that played the serial killer, did so very well. Loved all of the conversations Danny and Steve have, they show what real friends do, argue, but are always there for each other. Gracie finding the puzzle box was a nice Christmas touch and Danny always feeling for the parents of children was totally in character for him to go all the way to Japan to give the box to the father of the little girl who’s picture was inside. He was also showing his daughter what is really important in life. Looking forward to Kono’s return. Great season so far. Happy holidays to all.

  • Mari Ippolito

    great review, as always and great episode. poor chin, glad to see him have a moment of contentment at the end.

    I love Grace, Teilor is getting to be more accomplished each time she’s on screen. Danny taking her to return the locket was,so Danny, i loved it.

    Steve opening the box when Danny couldn’t was priceless, and Danny busting Steve about money was so perfectly “New Jersey” I applaude the writer of those lines. As I always say, we are a snarky bunch here and Danny is the best Jersyan on TV. that is EXACTLY how we’d bust on a best friend here.

    thanks sis for another great read!!

  • Dina

    Great review Wendie!

  • Kimo808

    Hi, Wendy
    “Best” part for us was the very beginning with the iconic Honolulu City Lights shots that are the true representation of the holidays on Oahu.
    Hope you and the `ohana have a great holiday season!