Five-0 Redux: Coming into their own
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
Wendie Burbridge is a published author, playwright and teacher. Reach her via Facebook and follow her on Twitter.