Five-0 Redux: Blood brothers
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.
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.
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.
Wendie Burbridge is a published author, playwright and teacher. Reach her via Facebook and follow her on Twitter.