Five-0 Redux: Coming into their own

Jan. 11, 2014 | 13 Comments

BY WENDIE BURBRIDGE / Special to the Star-Advertiser

If all good things come to those who wait, then this week’s episode of “Hawaii Five-0” was an awesome way to start off the new year.

“O Kēlā me Kēia Manawa” (“Now and Then”) was the episode many fans have been patiently anticipating, as there was a lot to like in this episode: meeting Danno’s new love interest, learning a little more of Grover’s backstory, finding Adam alive and well, and of course, the return of Kono to the Five-0 team.

McGarrett (Alex O’Loughlin), right, helps Grover (Chi McBride) investigate his friend’s disappearance after he apparently commits murder. (Courtesy CBS)

McGarrett (Alex O’Loughlin), right, helps Grover (Chi McBride) investigate his friend’s disappearance after he apparently commits murder. (Courtesy CBS)

Thankfully, the Kono and Adam storyline seems to be resolved. When Kono (Grace Park) found a bearded Adam (Ian Anthony Dale) washing dishes in a Canadian hipster coffee shop, I was on the edge of my seat waiting to see their long-awaited reunion. When I finally heard the words we’ve all been longing to hear — “We can go home” — I almost cried along with Kono.

Yet while we all knew Kono would return, I know some of us wondered if Adam would be coming along. So, kudos to the show for not killing off a popular and beloved character. Even though Adam is the “bad-boy-turned-hero,” I often wonder how he escaped jail time for kidnapping in season two and turned into an ally of Five-0 in their pursuit of Wo Fat. I guess Chin Ho has to give Adam credit for saving Kono’s life and helping rid Hawaii of Yakuza.

Yet Adam and Kono’s “Romeo and Juliet” love affair has had us hooked, and since their story could have ended in tragedy, I am grateful it ended like it did — with both of them embraced by their Five-0 ʻohana. Now I just hope they can continue to be together after months of separation while on the run and escaping assassins. It may be hard for the two of them to go back to sharing bubble baths and watching sunsets, but I’m willing to stick around and see what happens next.

It was tough watching Kono cry, however. I know she’s teared up before, but have we ever seen her openly weep? She’s been shot, been beat up and almost drowned. We’ve basically seen her be a bad-ass since day one, so it was lovely to see her let her guard down and be completely vulnerable.

There was a lot going on in this episode, all of it really great. While there was less action and more storytelling going on (basically three storylines running at once), I felt I could keep up, which hasn’t always been the case in some episodes. I’ve said it before: this season seems to be the grown-up version of “Hawaii Five-0.”

Kono (Grace Park) and Adam (Ian Anthony Dale) are finally reunited in this week's episode of "Hawaii Five-0." (Courtesy CBS)

Kono (Grace Park) and Adam (Ian Anthony Dale) are finally reunited in this week’s episode of “Hawaii Five-0.” (Courtesy CBS)

In the past, the show could be compared to an anxious teenager. It seemed as if there was more attention being placed on what the show looked like; it was almost as if producers were saying, “let’s get everything under the sun into one episode! Let’s have a huge procedural with lots of twists and turns, and let’s throw in a few too many red herrings to throw everyone off! It will be fun! And let’s develop the core characters in dribs and drabs and never resolve any major storylines to keep people hanging for three seasons!”

Which, of course, was no fun, not at all satisfying and endlessly frustrating. A lot like puberty, from what I remember (and have not permanently blocked out of my mind).

So now, in its fourth season, “Five-0” seems to have calmed down while not lacking in excitement. There has been a turn toward more thoughtful storylines with the added depth, as well as more well-defined characters.

Written by John Dove and expertly directed by Peter Weller (who also directed and starred in last seasonʻs “Hookman”) this week’s episode was a strong one. I really liked the case, which involved an anonymously generous bar owner and secret fugitive from the FBI played by Karl Makinen.

Makinen was very realistic as a former Green Beret who made a huge mistake earlier in his life and spent the next 20 years trying to make up for it. His character killed a woman while trying to escape the police after a liquor store robbery, but had seemed to have turned his life around since and was obviously trying to live a good, moral life. So when he kills would-be assassin Gus Yamada and goes on the run, of course, McGarrett (Alex O’Loughlin) and his new BFF, Capt. Grover (Chi McBride), go searching for him.

Maniken, second from left, is a bar owner with a secret in this week's episode. (Courtesy CBS)

Karl Makinen, second from left, plays a bar owner with a secret in this week’s episode. (Courtesy CBS)

Grover is a friend of the fugitive, and while he worked with McGarrett and Chin Ho (Daniel Dae Kim) to find out the truth, the episode returned to its bromantic roots. Some of the funnier moments this week included watching McG and Grover traipsing through a forest while McG tried to pry out the reason Grover left Chicago. I’m looking forward to the day when he does share his story with McG, but like the man said, “we ain’t there yet.”

I also found this episode was another good example of how the show has started to come into its own this season. We got to see a lot of Danno (Scott Caan) this week, as he had his own investigation running alongside of McG and Grover.

Danno was a little preoccupied with a strange case involving a woman he met at a gas station after dropping off the “number one most important thing in his life,” his daughter Gracie (Teilor Grubbs) at cheerleading camp in Waialua. We later find out her name is Amber Vitale (Lili Simmons) and she’s new to Hawaiʻi, as evidenced by her absolute butchering of the pronunciation of “Haleiwa.”

I did love watching Danno crying to McG about Gracie doing a “drop and run” with “no kiss on the cheek” and “her innocence floating off into space.” Seeing Danno fret over his little girl growing up and not being able to hold her back from the scary things in the world is always so endearing. And Uncle Steve’s comforting, ”You will always be Danno to her,” was a perfect encapsulation of their relationship.

After talking with Steve and a not-so-helpful Grover, Danno decides to help the beautiful damsel in distress and drives off after her. When Amber starts to swerve and crashes into the side of the road, however, Danno stops and discovers she’s been shot. This leads him to investigate a bikini, guns, and girls photo shoot on the beach, then to a father who had just spent the day in the ocean fishing with a group of teens.

Amber Vitale (Lili Simmons), right, is apparently now Danno's budding love interest on "Hawaii Five-0" this season. (Courtesy CBS)

Amber Vitale (Lili Simmons), right, is apparently now Danno’s budding love interest on “Hawaii Five-0″ this season. (Courtesy CBS)

As it turns out, one of the teens was taking practice shots with a rifle and a stray bullet ended up hitting Danno’s potential new love interest. Good thing she woke up alive and well with Danno watching over her, looking just as beautiful as she did before getting shot in the head. Some girls are just that lucky.

Sgt. Duke Lukela (Dennis Chun) had a few good scenes in this week’s episode — one helping Chin search Yamada’s house and finding out he was a hired killer, and another with Chin as the pair arrested Matt Haley (Zay Harding), the husband of the woman killed by Makinen’s character, Jack Anderson.

One of the best moments of this week’s episode was when Grover and McG brought Anderson back to Five-0 headquarters and he apologized to Haley for killing his wife. I love when “Five-0” allows characters room to breathe and let the story complete itself, instead of just ending it and allowing viewers to come to our own conclusions.

Still, nothing could beat watching Kono and Adam hug it out with the team at the end of the episode. Sometimes a happy ending is all we need to fall in love with the show all over again.

Redux Side Note:

You may have recognized the news reporter on the small television in the bar in the first scene of this week’s episode as former KITV anchor and reporter Mahealani Richardson, who currently serves as Director of Public Relations for the Shriners Hospitals for Children in Honolulu.

And did you recognize the bar itself? A longtime favorite among local residents, The Hideaway Bar in Waikiki is just that — a tiny watering hole tucked into a space behind a laundromat on Ena Road.

TNT continued with their “Five-0” repeats, airing season two crossover “Pāmake Loa” (“Touch of Death”) with special guests LL Cool J and Chris O’Donnell from “NCIS: Los Angeles” and “Ua Hopu” (“Caught”) on Wednesday, Jan. 8.
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Wendie Burbridge is a published author, playwright and teacher. Reach her via Facebook and follow her on Twitter.

  • KAD1228

    Great episode. I started the show wiping tears away and ended the show wiping tears away. The team is back and the ohana was thru the roof.

    The chance encounter w/Amber looks very interesting and I can’t wait to see how it plays out. We know why/how Danny landed in HI. Hopefully, we’ll soon know why Amber and Grover relocated. I’m all for new chances in life! Even Jack may have a another chance at life, his apology to Haley was humbling.

    Watching Danny turn to Steve for comfort is what the bromance is all about. Grover’s commentary was hilarious (and oohh so true). He’ll always be Danno to Gracie! I love the fact that Danny is still a bit jealous of Grover. No worries Danno, no one could ever replace you in Steve’s life!

    I’m liking the direction of the show (the beginning was a bit rocky for me) and the thoughtful use of characters and storylines has cemented it for me. The hodgepodge, scattered feeling is gone. This is the show I fell in love with.

    Uncle Steve hugs! Kono hugs! All is right with the world!!

  • LindaStein

    Another gem Wendie….you’re review and, of course, this episode. I too am very happy they let Kono and Adam have a happy ending…if it’s actually over, that is. For now though..nice to see Kono come home happy. All those Ohana hugs had be opening crying at the end of the episode. I know all of Micheal’s allies have been taken care of but there is still the main branch of the Yakuza out there somewhere. I hope they keep them at bay for awhile so Kono and Adam can rest and be happy for awhile.

    The dynamic between Steve and Grove is fantastic but I’m missing my Steve and Danny time. Please don’t get me wrong, the 3 way cargument had me openly laughing out loud it was so good and very very true. Even my husband was sitting there laughing at Grover’s “put your big boy pants on” and “Father Time is NOT your friend” and “IT GETS WORSE” lines. As the father of a now 24 year old girl he knew Grover was speaking the truth there. But I miss Steve and Danny together, alone, as a team. In the car, in the office, on the beach behind Casa McG. I mean, I am not one of those people who think the show should be a constant replay of Season 1 but I DO love the “bromance” of Steve and Danny and I hope we see more of that in the new year.

    I
    thought Chin was written extremely well in this episode. I loved how
    he got the perp in the hospital to talk with his “torture isn’t my
    style” technique. I found that just as scary or should I say un-nerving
    as the Steve and Grove threat of the day show and just as effective without having to be so in your face about it, ya know.

    AND
    in the blue room later. When the guy asked Chin if he’d ever had
    anyone TAKEN from him, the look in Chin’s face was heartbreaking. The
    fact that Chin knew EXACTLY how the guy felt, having his wife RIPPED
    from him and Chin knew EXACTLY how he felt wanting the person
    responsible for it DEAD was bone chilling. Especially when you think
    that Chin is arresting this guy, basically lecturing him about just
    calling the police when he found the guy responsible for his wife’s
    death and not taking things into his own hands, when Chin did the exact
    same thing. Chin killed Delano, in cold blood. The difference is THIS
    guy will pay the price for his vengeance. Chin never did.

    I fell l say this every week but this season just seems to get better with each episode. Now that Kono is back I am looking forward to seeing the whole team together doing what they do best. I’m also looking forward to some Kono and Cath girl power time. I think they will ROCK together!

    Thanks for another great review Wendie! Aloha!

  • Dina

    I think the writers this season have done a great job and have been overall happy with everything presented. Of course I bias on a certain relationship and trying to remain CALM as Danno’s new gal plays out…. ;=) I enjoyed how the writers have set in motion to the “why” of Grover relocated- and yes I have to say Amber (oy that hurt typing it hehehehe)

    Thanks Wendie for writing such a terrific review!

  • edmattes763

    I too am glad that Adam is a survivor. Romeo and Juliet with a happy result so far. Too many people have died on this show that the main characters care about. The developing stories will be interesting too – why did Grover leave Chicago, and, Amber is a very long way from New York too. I just hope that she only looks young and is not of an age that she could be Grace’s big sister.

  • Angela Gerstner

    Actually, a happy ending was not even needed for me to fall in love with this show all over again since my love for this show and its characters has been growing steadily for a long time and has become particularly strong in Season 4.
    But, of course, the happy ending with Kono and Adam both (!) being welcomed back by their H50 `ohana with lots of good hugs was another one of those fantastic moments that reminded me of why I love this show so much. And, once again, the ending has made me weepy! Is it just me or has everybody else been left in tears by just about every episode in the past few months?! I’m just glad and grateful that the show makes me smile and laugh just as much as it makes me cry. I think the fact that H50 manages to bring out all those emotions in its viewers is proof of the show’s high quality and the cast’s huge talent in capturing the audience with their performance.

    Wendie, I like your comparison of the show to a teenager growing up and maturing over the years. There is a lot of truth in that comparison – however, I wouldn’t go as far as to say that I was ever “frustrated” by such things as endless storylines not being resolved. All three previous seasons were definitely very enjoyable, too, but the show is indeed getting better and better – or “maturing” into an adult version of itself with more depth, better storylines and lots of great personal and character stuff.

    This episode was also very well done from start to finish with a lot to like and enjoy for everyone: The Danno/Gracie and Danno/Amber moments, the bickering between Steve and Lou in the woods (oops, forest – actually both words translate into the same word in German!), a well-written case, the moving scenes with Chin in the blue room and with Jack getting a chance to say Good-bye to his family and to apologize to Haley. And all of this was topped by the much-anticipated return of Kono and Adam.

    Mahalo to the team of H50 for another great episode and to you, Wendie, for an equally great blog.

  • Robin Jane Bridges

    I was crying too and laughing. You never what Hawaii Five-0 is going to do. It seems that they like to make us cry, laugh and yell at the tv all in the same episode. I really like that 3 way carugment they had going. I just hope Amber doesn’t endanger anyone. I wonder what Gracie’s reaction to Amber will be like.

  • jlopie1

    Great episode! Great review! Thank God we’re past the teen years! I love your analogy, Wendie, and it is sooooo true! H50 is riding high on an even keel and steering straight for the best season yet! The writers and producers have taken a deep, calming breath and are following a plan of action that encourages the viewers to settle in for a most enjoyable ride. The new characters are well established now, and coming into their own with their character development. Chi McBride is simply brilliant as Grover, delivering his lines with perfect timing and just the right amount of snark!

    I also love how this series orients towards a set theme each episode. This week’s theme, embodied in the English translation of the title ” Now and then” evolves around how our past is never really forgotten but always a part of who we become and what we do with our lives. There were so many different takes on this theme last night!

    Of course, the main plot, Jack Anderson and his unfortunate past finally catching up with him, was the most obvious example of our past actions never being completely wiped away. Jack became the father and husband, pillar of the community, as a way to make up for his unfortunate lapse twenty years before, but he found out the hard way that his actions still required resolution. The husband had never forgiven or forgotten his ruined life, and craved his pound of flesh in revenge. This plot also reminded Chin of his ruined love and the actions he took to get his revenge.

    Then, of course we have Grover who obviously has a secret reason for leaving a promising career in Chicago to start over in HI. There is something dark in his past that he lives with daily, as well. We’ll get there, I’m sure.

    Amber Vitale is starting over again in Hawaii, as well. I think it’s fair to say the show didn’t just introduce a new love interest for Danny because the poor guy is lonesome. Amber left New York for a reason, too. She’s got some sort of a past that I feel sure she will be confronting in HI before this season ends.

    Speaking of Danny, he’s coming to the realization that the most important thing in his life is growing up and away from him and he can’t stop the spiraling and return to a happier time.

    Finally, Kono and Adam are finally able to put the past behind them and come home. Let’s hope their actions will no longer haunt them — at least for the rest of this season! Interestingly, there didn’t seem to be anything in Steve’s past to dredge up the angst for him this time, but he circled around everyone else’s dilemmas!

    So, lots of variations on the theme of “now and then.” It’s one thing H50 does really, really well – decide on a theme, and build an entire episode around it using different avenues and including all the main characters.

    Thanks for another great read, Wendie!

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

    Not gonna make a big comment because you said it all !!!

    just wanna put forward something I did love too : it’s to see Kono VULNERABLE !!!
    i love how Peter and the writers are showing us a total new side of the characters !!!
    Steve when Cath was kidnaped or when Billy died ans she was hurt, we saw him worried, feeling that even him, even the big BAMF tought and “untouchable” man he is IS vulnerable !!! Danno with his daughter too, Chin we saw it with Malia’s death, and now it’s Kono’s turn …. this season as been amazing, I did miss a little of action, because tbh the 1st reason why I watch the show is for the stunts, but I do love the way they’re putting characters/personal stories forward, in the first row, to show us that the 4, and all the ones surrounding them, are above all humans beings, and not only cops with guns who kill the bad guys !

    mahalo 100+ times for thie review, as always your words are PERFECT hun !
    XO

  • Kimo808

    Tidbit: Mahea’s last words in her stand-up TV report to open the show, and right before Anderson remote-clicks the TV off, are “Mayor Kirk Caldwell . . .”
    Wondering if producers checked w hizzonor to make sure it was ok to use the real name . . .? I’m sure it would be and was . . .

  • Diane

    Hi Wendie. I agree with you on this season. Although season 1 got me hooked, the other 2 seasons, even though there was a lot to love, had their problems. I won’t list what they are, you mentioned some. This season has “grown up”, the three different stories had a beginning and an end, in one episode, and they all were easy to follow.

    I am so happy to see Grace Park back, I missed Catherine in this episode, thought she should have been there, but Kono finding Adam, and the great acting full of emotion in that scene, was worth the wait. I loved that Amber being shot was not someone after her, but was an accident. I looking forward to seeing her back story, I hope this works out for Danno. Always love the scenes where Scott plays Dad. The three way cargument was great. Grover has been a great addition, looking forward to his back story as well. Someone telling McG, “we aren’t there yet” is perfect, now he knows how frustrating everyone else gets when he does it. Great review.

  • pauldunn1

    Wendie,

    Great review and ep. I appreciate the added info that you always provide and get the background items that help to understand the total ongoing story.
    Paul

  • Kate J

    Great episode, great recap! And I love your words about how it’s grown up over the years. I’ve been a diehard fan since the Pilot and I think you hit the nail on the head with that analogy. Show seems to be in a good place this season. :)

  • badgerly

    Nice review, Wendie. Thank you. I’m really enjoying Season 4, but I’m wondering about the storylines that have been abandoned, particularly the Wo Fat/ Doris McGarrett connection. Will Mark Dacascos be in at least one more episode this season, so that Steve can find out the truth?
    One thing about Steve’s obsession with finding his fathers’ killer, was that we knew his final battle with Wo Fat would be epic. The fans will feel cheated if it doesn’t happen, but the writers will have to ramp up new momentum first. I hope that is still one of the final scenarios before HF-0 ends.