Five-0 Redux: Blood brothers

Apr. 12, 2014 | 13 Comments

Steve McGarrett (Alex O'Loughlin), left, and Danno Williams (Scott Caan) are as close as brothers on "Hawaii Five-0." (Courtesy CBS)

Steve McGarrett (Alex O’Loughlin), left, and Danno Williams (Scott Caan) are as close as brothers on “Hawaii Five-0.” (Courtesy CBS)

BY WENDIE BURBRIDGE / Special to the Star-Advertiser

The concept of blood brothers comes from the tales of great warriors and knights, when a soldier would swear to protect and defend another as if they were birthed by the same mother.

For four seasons we have seen McGarrett (Alex O’Loughlin) and Danno (Scott Caan) go from adversaries forced to work together, to friends who share more than just a job and a partnership.

In Hawaiian, “pili” means “to cling, stick, adhere, touch, join, cleave to, associate with, be with, be close.” It is the root of the Hawaiian word for friendship — pilialoha — as Hawaiians would see the relationship of two people who stick together (pili) in love (aloha) as an apt description for the word.

And this would be my description of the friendship between McGarrett and Danno. Friends who have stuck together through difficult times, love and loss, triumph and sacrifice.

Yet, pilialoha may be too simplistic to describe the nature of the relationship between our “Hawaii Five-0” heroes. This week’s episode, “Kū I Ka Pili Koko,” which basically means “Blood Brothers,” helps to better define the deep bonds they share as partners and friends.

If we break down the Hawaiian title a bit more, “kū” means “to stand, stop, halt, anchor or moor,” and “koko,” which means blood, only adds another dimension to their relationship. Both will be a complete support, stand by their friend, stop or halt anything bad, as well as be an anchor of strength and protection for the other.

I know this is nothing new for fans of the show; McGarrett and Danno’s relationship is the cornerstone to what we love about “Five-0.”

So this week’s episode, while excellent, thought-provoking and full of great action and suspense, was still no real shocker for fans who trust in the strength of the relationship between their favorite SEAL and Jersey detective. Written by Steven Lilien and Bryan Wynbrandt from a story by David Wolkove and directed by Maja Vrvilo, “Kū I Ka Pili Koko” was the episode fans needed to confirm the McG and Danno bromance was still very much set in concrete.

I just don’t think they wanted it to be covered in concrete. The episode starts off pretty routinely, as the Five-0 team, with the aid of Grover and SWAT, storms a parking garage looking to bust a huge weapons deal, only to find a beaten and bloodied man in a maintenance shed who warns them about a bomb — which then goes off and traps McG and Danno.

McGarrett and Danno spend most of this week's episode covered in concrete. (Courtesy CBS)

McGarrett and Danno spend most of this week’s episode covered in concrete. (Courtesy CBS)

While the episode was set mostly in the claustrophobic rubble of a bomb damaged building, I loved how we were flipped back to the start of the story once McG and Danno were trapped after the explosion. I think when an episode starts during a tense moment, only to find out that there’s more tension to come, makes for better action and a more exciting hour of television.

While McG and Danno are trapped and trying to find a way out of their mess (including the trauma of Danno’s claustrophobia, which he humorously deals with by reciting the starting lineup of the 1986 Mets, and so on, until he calms himself, as well as Danno finding a piece of rebar stuck in his belly), the rest of the team helps to free them and investigates who set them up to die.

Chin (Daniel Dae Kim), Kono (Grace Park), Catherine (Michelle Borth) and Max (Masi Oka), along with Capt. Lou Grover (Chi McBride) worked tirelessly to find not only a way to save their guys, but to solve the case. I love the split story as a way to solve the crime. It allowed Chin and Kono to get some good scenes in and gave them a few moments to shine.

When “Hawaii Five-0” deviates from the formulaic nature of a police procedural, I’m always on board for the diversion. I can also ride the suspension of disbelief wave and gloss over some of the impracticalities of getting a cell signal or being able to make a Skype call while under 3,000 tons of concrete.

Yes, I know Cath used her Navy intel training to McG some sort of super strong signal so they could send clues and commands back to the team. But when Max figured out from a grainy image in the relative darkness that the victim was Marcus Dekker (Hawaiʻi actor Joseph Kingsly), I had to just chalk it up to Max really knowing his way around deceased bodies.

And when McG used a strange bottle of peroxide to disinfect Danno and pull out the rebar, I just told myself that SEALs know all about fixing wounds on the run and everyone knows duct tape can fix anything.

McGarrett and Danno are still able to share a lighthearted moment while buried in tons of concrete. (Courtesy CBS)

McGarrett and Danno are still able to share a lighthearted moment while buried in tons of concrete. (Courtesy CBS)

Besides a few moments like those, this week’s episode left me guessing as to who the real villain was. I thought I knew who set them up at least three times!

At first, I thought it was Wo Fat, because he still has a beef with McG, right? Or is that over? I’m still hoping we find out more about what makes our favorite villain think.

And then I thought it was Doris coming back and getting McG caught in the crossfire. But when it came back to the CIA wanting McG out of the way — or to at least stop asking questions — I was pretty surprised. Not shocked, but surprised Wo Fat’s mother was in the grave in Cambodia, not Wo Fat’s dad.

But I’m still left wondering, why don’t they want McG to know this?

Oh, folks, so many question marks this week. I’m definitely hitting the dislike on that, but not on the episode. It was definitely another strong one for this season. A lot of that had to do with the McG and Danno interaction. I know we all loved their good natured ribbing and all the, “We’re going to do that now?” as if arguing or making McG confess that he was wrong while trapped underground and slowly suffocating to death was the right time for Danno to gain a small victory.

Still, I know all of you had to enjoy when McG and Danno confessed their love for each other. Danno’s “No matter what happens, I really really hate you” line was almost too perfect, because we know he doesn’t hate McG. They are brothers, in every way real brothers are: bickering, testing, teasing, helping, supporting. Whether they share blood or have faced blood together, these two are truly brothers at heart.

REDUX SIDE NOTE

Girlfriend talk just didn’t seem to fit into the flow of the Redux this week, so in this side note, I must mention how much I loved Danno meeting up with Amber (Lili Simmons) again and Gracie (Teilor Grubbs) busting Daddy for having an unauthorized sleepover guest. I think McG has it right — Danno needs to bring Amber in closer and allow himself to be happy for once.

And while many of us were sad to hear Michelle Borth will be leaving “Hawaii Five-0” at the end of this season, the scene with McG telling Cath to make reservations at their favorite sushi place while they weren’t sure if he and Danno would get out from under the rubble was so sweet. I’m not sure how they are going to explain Cath leaving, as their relationship seems as strong as ever. Still, that does give Cath’s fans some hope the door will be left open for her to return in the future.
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Wendie Burbridge is a published author, playwright and teacher. Reach her via Facebook and follow her on Twitter.

  • Dina

    Well you didn’t even discuss Amber… well I don’t hate her believe it nor am I screaming and yelling that the EP and writers have destroyed the show and they don’t know what they are doing….. actually the opposite.. yeah I know the whole Danny would NEVER not answer his cell- he has a daughter yadayada argument is going on, however, I think the whole age and how she was brought in to plot was done “well” I knew the second she showed up to collapse site it was official Amber will be Danno’s new gal and Rachel will never return to show- sad really as well as the whole thing was written- including all of how Danny set up his “own” divorce and how Steve told Danno how to take it small positive places and bring Amber in…. I still feel they had a missed opportunity not to reunite another williams couple… oh well
    I think that the “mc dannos” will be dancing away with this episode. The fans who see Steve and Danno as brothers/ partners will as well. It was some wonderful interchange with our favorite bromance deeper then we have seen in some time.
    Yes Catherine’s leave will be interesting to see – and I KNEW KNEW the “ending” was gonna be nothing to do with collapse – per say- wonderful twist and awaiting to see how they take this??!!!

  • Ryan Fluck

    Great job as always Wendie! I do have to agree that this episode wasn’t as big as what they claimed it would be in the trailer (They have been doing that a lot this season), I swear this whole “McDanno” Fandom has gotten to the point it has almost become predicatable, I counted four separate “gument” moments last night I created on twitter during the episode, frankly, I want to see Kono get some decent screen time this season.

    I do agree it is a shame to see Michelle go but I am glad they’re keeping the door open. Plus the whole Amber thing….I’m just kinda like “yeah, he’s in another relationship” kinda feel about it, I can see concern but also there is something there it just hasn’t come out yet, who knows, maybe Danny and Amber will be the new “McRoll” for season five.

  • KAD1228

    Great review Wendie. I love learning all about the Hawaiian culture!!

    It was an excellent episode. Good enough to be able to gloss over amazingly strong cell signals and Skype capabilities and a woman being able to pick up a child from school that she just met.

    Seeing the team work together was perfect, it’s been way too long. The hug that Steve shared with Catherine was the best and most realistic interaction between them in episodes. I can’t imagine how’ll they’ll write out Catherine but I know it’ll be an emotional episode. I have to admit to being pleasantly surprised that it was Steve, not Danny, saying I love you. Every season, every episode brings out Steve’s humanity more.

    I like Amber and think she just might be the one to cure Danny of some of his phobias! Maybe she’ll (be allowed to) stick around to help Jersey out

    I was hoping for an ending to the mom arc but finding out that Wo Fats father is still alive means more of her. But on a good note, between mom and Wo Fat, they being out the BAMF in Steve.

    Wow, only 3 episodes left! Can’t believe that! Wishing Michelle well in her future and looking forward to s5!

  • edmattes763

    Amber is becoming a little bit interesting. We still don’t know why she ran away from New York, and it may be a while before we do (next season?). I like the way she still calls him “Jersey,” I hope they don’t change that. I also like Danny admitting that their age difference could be a problem.
    Its also interesting that we’ve made a little bit of progress in each of the last three episodes in regard to the McGarrett family/Wo Fat saga. I like progress.
    Thanks again for your great review Wendie.

  • jlopie1

    Lots of good things happening in this episode! I thoroughly enjoyed it (I know, I say that a lot!)

    Excellent episode! Just what we needed – a reaffirmation of the bond of friendship between the two partners. Aside from the “I love you’s”, which were great, we got to see a little bit more of the conflicted Danny – the guy we always knew had issues, just never had seen them laid out before. Danny learned from Steve to let the good into his life. Steve, as well, learned a little something about himself, too -his impulsiveness definitely led to the two of them being trapped in the remains of the building.

    Really enjoyed the twist at the end concerning the McGarrett Family Saga! I was happy to see it wasn’t WoFat’s father in that Cambodian grave, but his mother. Now, why did Doris kill her and then go into hiding for 20 years? Is it possible Papa Fat is still alive and was the one chasing down Doris? Does Wo Fat know where his father is, and we still need to know why WoFat and Doris did not shoot each other in the S3 premiere. I, for one, am still interested in this story line — but I would like some answers to be forthcoming!

  • Terry FiveOs

    Excellent, excellent observations, Wendie Joy. Thanks for what you do.

  • alex fan

    I was prepared to dislike the episode because of the events of the past couple of weeks but I was pleasantly surprised that it was the same old same old but very different and that’s what made it good for me. I’m sad Michelle is leaving and there will be another void in McGarrett’s life, seems everyone leaves him. Happy to see the character Amber who though young, hung in there and was strong and supportive and didn’t fall apart, I like her much more than the character of Rachel. I kind of thought it was the CIA involved because of the last episode when McG went to an empty office but was totally and delightfully on the edge of my seat with the ending. I didn’t see that one coming that’s for sure. All in all S4.10 still my favorite but this has to be my number 2 choice.

  • SaintsMeachum

    Oh and now on top of that. Steve McGarrett, whom I don’t even need to explain his credentials, just so happened to shoot the ex-CIA agent right in the heart. The guy who we all know is smart enough to have been aiming at a spot that wouldn’t kill him.

  • Susan M

    Ditto to what’s been said…great episode. Regarding Danny, like his admission to being a glass-half-empty guy all his life and hope his decision to be more positive sticks. His constant argumentative attitude was getting annoying. Didn’t see his character evolving like Steve’s was and seemed stuck in negative. Maybe now the writers will lighten up his lines…but still keep his Jersey sassiness…and get him smiling more.
    Bittersweet watching Steve and Cath knowing what’s coming. Going to miss their mature, realistic relationship. Hope they don’t match him up with some bimbo during her absence…like Lori from season 2.
    Like the weekly Wo Fat storyline updates. While I want answers, too, I also don’t want to see him gone…he’s such a good bad guy!
    P.S. Steve looks great in that wet suit…Alex is in his best shape since the show started and recovered so well from that shoulder/meds incident.

  • Diane

    Well said Wendie, as usual. I look at Catherine and I just feel so sad that Michelle is leaving. I’m glad that we both agree that Steve and Catherine’s relationship is strong, There is such an opposite opinion on another site, obviously a difference of seeing what a real relationship is like. I’m not real confident she will be back, but I hope she will. I will miss Cath and Steve together, and I’m sure the tissue box will need to be close for her last episode.

    As for this episode, its been awhile since we had such a great bromance episode. I love that they both actually said it. They truly are brothers, and you’re right, brothers do bicker, tease, joke, love, etc. As for Wofat’s mom being in the grave, that was one I did not figure on. I assume we will be seeing Wofat’s Dad sometime in the future. I love it when I get fooled, shows a good script by the writers. So, some bad ones in the CIA are trying to shut Steve out and even willing to kill him. I wonder if they were actually the ones after Doris and thats why Doris let Wofat go when she had the chance to take him out. He let her go as well. We already know that Wofat and Steve are not brothers by the DNA test Max did. I’m looking forward to finding out more, and I’m glad they did not take too long to tell us.

  • Robin Jane Bridges

    I loved it!!

  • Angela Gerstner

    Thanks to the writers for giving us an episode dedicated almost exclusively to our favorite bromance. After a season with several episodes that had no Danno at all in them, it was great to see our two boys together, behaving like true brothers and even saying out lout that they love each other.

    Wendie, I love how you described their special relationship so well by explaining the various meanings of the episode title. These two have become much more than just best buddies after having gone “through thick and thin together” (a little reference to my latest H50 collage), supporting and helping each other like blood brothers.

    I know that some fans mistake this bromance for a “romance” which is really not what their relationship is about. After all, the boys do have romantic relationships with females – and in the scenes involving Cath and Steve, you could clearly see how much these two love each other and care about each other. It makes me sad to know that Cath will be gone soon (even though it might not be forever) because it means another loss of a loved one for Steve. Even though he is strong, all those losses in his life might turn out to be more than he can bear – We all know how much the loss of Freddie has affected him already. I’m quite sure that Danno, who hopefully and finally allows himself to enjoy some happiness in his life, will soon be the one who has to comfort his brother and friend Steve.

    As could be expected, I loved this episode because I love seeing Steve and Danno together. Definitely no complaints from me – except that the episode went by too fast.

  • Kimo808

    Question about location: was that the press building behind the former Advertiser Building (and later Five-0 hqtrs) that was demolished recently for highrise construction?