Five-0 Redux: Saying farewell

May. 3, 2014 | 18 Comments

BY WENDIE BURBRIDGE / Special to the Star-Advertiser

Steve McGarrett (Alex O'Loughlin) and Catherine (Michelle Borth) in a scene from "Hawaii Five-0." (Courtesy CBS)

Steve McGarrett (Alex O’Loughlin) and Catherine Rollins (Michelle Borth) in a scene from “Hawaii Five-0.” (Courtesy CBS)

“Fair winds and following seas” is a common phrase for those in the United States Navy, where it’s used to say farewell to those retiring or leaving for deployment. It is a common gesture of goodwill and good luck to those we love and care about, friends we will miss and sailors who have served their country with honor, courage, and undying commitment. It is goodbye, farewell, and amen.

This week, “Hawaii Five-0” used it so very appropriately for Michelle Borth’s farewell as Catherine Rollins. “Makani ʻOlu a Holo Mālie,” which in Hawaiian means “fair winds and following seas,” makes for a kind sentiment for a well-liked character.

In Hawaiian, makani means “wind”; ʻolu means “cool and refreshing”; holo is “to sail”; and mālie is “calm” — which makes up the bones of the phrase, “fair winds and following seas.” The idea is to basically wish all sailors good weather and safe travels when they head out to sea. And as both Rollins and McGarrett (Alex O’Loughlin) are Naval officers, it seems highly appropriate to say goodbye to Catherine in the same tradition that the Navy has used for centuries.

Of course, “Five-0” couldn’t just wish her well and have a nice party to send her on her way. No, writers Peter Lenkov, Ken Solarz and Eric Guggenheim had to surround the episode with such drama that by the end of the hour my head was spinning. Not because of any confusion, but because of how much they packed into the hour-long episode.

Director Jeffrey Hunt handled the complexities with expert skill, keeping the tension moving with the police procedural and secondary storyline of Catherine taking off to Afghanistan to rescue the child of a Pashtun man who saved her life. Both storylines seemed very streamlined and almost truncated, but I would guess it would have to do with the fact that there was a lot of story to cover in less than an hour.

Steve McGarrett (Alex O'Loughlin)and Catherine (Michelle Borth) travel to Afghanistan to rescue a young boy from the Taliban whose family saved Catherine's life years ago. (Courtesy CBS)

Steve McGarrett (Alex O’Loughlin) and Catherine (Michelle Borth) travel to Afghanistan to rescue a young boy from the Taliban whose family saved Catherine’s life years ago. (Courtesy CBS)

While I thought the police procedural was superfluous with McG and Cath heading to Afghanistan, it did help to keep Danny (Scott Caan), Chin (Daniel Dae Kim), Kono (Grace Park), and Grover (Chi McBride) in the episode. Still, if we were going to spend time with the team, the opening poker game could have taken up the entire hour if fans had their way — just seeing McG beg Danno to spot him some cash and Kono beating the boys at their own game was enough to entertain us for most of the night.

We got a glimpse of several of our favorite recurring characters: Nicky “The Kid” Demarco (Larry Manetti) and Duane “Dog” Chapman (playing himself) returned to play cards with the team for charity, and Kawika (Kala Alexander) and Mamo Kahike (Al Harrington) also joined the crew for some friendly competition.

Max (Masi Oka), Kamekona (Taylor Wily), and cousin Flippa (Shawn Mokuahi Garnett) added more comic relief to the start of what would become a pretty heavy episode. Add in Chin, Grover, Lukela (Dennis Chun), and Cath, and the entire set up of the episode helped to balance all the fear and dread that was quick to come to the team.

When I say fear and dread, I don’t really mean what the characters felt. I mean what the audience probably felt watching McG and Cath head to Afghanistan without proper military clearance and not knowing what faced them when they landed. All we knew was that Cath was headed to help her friend Amir Khan (Mido Hamada) find his son Najib (Christianno De Lugo), who had been kidnapped by the Taliban. Amir and his wife, Farah (Bollywood actress Mallika Sherawat), saved Cath’s life seven years earlier when she had been separated from her unit and badly wounded.

As she tells McG, “It sounds crazy, but I’m going.”

Well, yes, Cath, it sounds really crazy. But when McG calls her “stubborn” before he joins her on the flight out of Hawaiʻi headed to Kabul, I thought, “Takes one to know one.”

But really, McGarrett, can we stop heading over to foreign countries because women ask you to? Seems like the last time McG headed overseas to help a woman find someone, he was captured and tortured almost to death there as well. Yet, unlike Jenna Kaye (Larisa Oleynik) who took McG to North Korea and delivered him to Wo Fat (Mark Dacascos), this time McG is heading into territory that he understands and where he knows the game. This time McG is helping Catherine because he loves her and he wants to keep her safe.

And what about that love? It seems as if the writers have left the door open for Cath to return, but I wonder if the door is open wide enough. McG seemed genuinely crushed when Cath called to tell him that she was not going to come back until she had found out where Najib was being held. Perhaps it was the fact that McG was almost beheaded by “high-level target” Umar Hassan (Farshad Farahat) that made him so emotional. Or perhaps it was because fear-of-flying Danno had flown on a military transport without a beverage service to help save him.

Whatever it was, McG was torn up knowing that Cath was staying in Afghanistan, and he was powerless to help her.

Steve McGarrett (Alex O’Loughlin) says farewell to Catherine, who has stayed behind in Afghanistan. (Courtesy CBS)

Steve McGarrett (Alex O’Loughlin) says farewell to Catherine, who stayed behind in Afghanistan. (Courtesy CBS)

As we know that Borth will not return next season, the way she rode off on the back of a motorcycle into the Afghan sunset seemed a bit odd. Yes, it was a good way to write Cath out of the show and still have a way for her to return, but it seemed very unrealistic that a former Navy intelligence officer would be able to hide out in Afghanistan to look for a boy who had been captured by the Taliban. Perhaps I need to brush up on my covert ops/rogue agent research.

I know some folks will say it was also very strange that McG didn’t stay in Afghanistan to find her, and I guess we’d all like to think that being threatened by the brig and two big sergeants-at-arms sent by the CIA wouldn’t scare our McG, but I’ll just ride with it that it did. Or maybe he was too beat up (and then some) to fight Danno about going home.

It was even stranger to me that Cath seemed sad to say goodbye to Steve, but not devastated. Perhaps her mind was already on the mission in front of her. Which is a good thing, because it is going to be a difficult one.

Overall, I thought the episode was a good one. O’Loughlin just gets better and better with all the stunts and action he has to handle, as well as the dramatic moments he nails when needed. While we love to call him Super SEAL, he showed genuine fear when a sword was held above his head. When the SEALs grabbed him and asked, “Are you Steve McGarrett?” and he hesitated to answer, the look of terror on his face was absolutely palpable.

Danno coming to his rescue always warms our hearts because we love the two of them ribbing each other and giving each other grief, but we also love the brotherly love they share more than the humor. I think their relationship has definitely matured and progressed into something far more than a bromance. All good things as the team heads into season five.

Still, we wish Borth a fond aloha ‘oe until we meet again. Fair winds and following seas, shipmate.

“Throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor, catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

REDUX SIDE NOTE:

 Trainer Egan Inoue as "Taliban Fighter" in "Makani ʻOlu a Holo Mālie." (Courtesy Egan Inoue)

Egan Inoue as a Taliban fighter. (Courtesy Egan Inoue)

There were several Hawaiʻi actors in this week’s episode that you may have missed during all the drama.

John A. Weaver played the suit who demanded to know why Chin and Danno were arresting his CEO and CFO at the conclusion of the murder case the team investigated. Weaver is a local magazine art director and webmaster for several businesses. He began as one of the Others on “LOST” and studies at Scott Rogers Studios with fellow Hawaiʻi actor Dennis Chun.

“What a thrill and honor it was to work with Dennis in a ‘Five-0’ scene,” he said. “And with Daniel Dae Kim after ‘LOST.’”

And I hope you all noticed trainer Egan Inoue as one of the Taliban fighters. Inoue was in the scene when the Taliban search Amir’s house for Catherine, as well as in the gunfight with McG and Cath. Unfortunately, Inoue was taken out by Cath during the scene. Too bad, as we’d all love to see him in a future episode. Perhaps the next time, he won’t have to wear a disguise.
———
Wendie Burbridge is a published author, playwright and teacher. Reach her via Facebook and follow her on Twitter.

  • edmattes763

    You’re right Wendie, they packed a lot into a one hour show. I think this would have been better as a two-hour season finale, but I imagine they have other ground they want to cover next week.
    I guess that I will always quibble when they make it look like a trip from Hawaii to Afghanistan (or Korea, or Japan or Cambodia) is as simple as flying from Oahu to Maui with no apparent jet lag. But Michelle is leaving (for whatever reason) and this was a good sendoff for her. I for one hope that she will be back in some way. Aloha Cath.

  • alex fan

    Yes, this was action packed and yes as usual Alex O’Loughlin gave 100% which he always does. Great underrated actor with unbelievable emotional range. For me the emotional scene at the end was only about McG & Cath, nothing more nothing less than him feeling that he might never see her again knowing the area of the country she was in and the problems she would face.
    The procedural was interesting to me especially since Alex is a big supporter of organ donation and it would have been nice if CBS would have done a promo at end of episode on this, another opportunity missed.
    Moving forward, I hope we see more interaction between McGarrett and the other cast members.
    At the end of the day Alex O’Loughlin showed why he is the star of the show, he is more than a handsome face and great body and it’s nice to see the show acknowledging this. As much as I like a shirtless McG, the heartbroken one was more powerful.
    I felt the poker game was kind of like a farewell party with everyone there and that was nice. I don’t know why Michelle left the show and it’s none of my business but I do feel the character of Catherine filled a place in McGarretts heart that he needed and still needs,

    • Susan M

      Your words are so true about Alex’s acting abilities! I think this show has helped him develop his range so much…perhaps it’s the compactness of the weekly episodes that have helped him hone his skills beyond the pretty face (and, yes, body!). I would love to see him on the big screen where he could get more recognition for his talents — but not at the expense of H50 ending. That’s me being selfish and I admit it!

  • Angela Gerstner

    I’ve already watched the episode repeatedly and I’m still blown-away and crying for “torn-up” Steve at the end. I don’t know why some fans find it so odd how Cath/Michelle leaves the show. While the ending might lack some “realism” – which is something I can easily forgive (especially in a TV show) after getting one hour of super-exciting top entertainment with some absolutely brilliant, Emmy-worthy acting by Alex – I’d rather see Cath as the (for now) surviving heroine that she got to be in this episode than to have seen her die. At least, this leaves a ray of hope for her return in the distant future and a little comfort – for the fans of Michelle/Cath, and most of all for devastated Steve.

    As for the secondary storyline involving the organ theft – which some viewers found superfluous – I assume the writers just wanted to make sure that everyone on the Five-0 team got their fair share of screen-time. They even started the episode with a few moments of fun and happiness with just about all the favorite characters on the show, so nobody in the audience could complain. After all, there had been complaints by viewers before who thought they didn’t get to see enough of Kono or Danno on the show – even when the actors playing them had very good real-life reasons for their absence. So the writers, in turn, had good reasons for bringing in the usual “crime of the week”, too.
    The show can never please everybody but they try very hard, indeed! Personally, I was very glad that the topic of organ transplants was mentionned on the show. Those who are fans of Alex know that he has been an ambassador for organ donation organisations since his previous role on “Three Rivers”, and quite a few of his fans (incl. myself) have joined him in promoting organ donation, so I welcomed hearing Chin say “There’s a life at stake” – because there are lives at stake and 18 people die in the U.S. alone every day due to the shortage of organs. Any prime-time show that draws just the slightest bit of attention to this sad fact deserves praise instead of criticism.

  • Nardia McPhee

    Also noticed a couple of familiar faces from the ep. Extra regular Rachel Yasui was one of the soldiers with Cath when they retrieved the soccer ball for the kids I think that was the scene. And TJ Thompson I’m pretty sure looked like him that was one of the Seals that offered a drink to Danno on the flight to Afghanistan.

    Great episode and the final scene with Michelle was wonderfully done I was in tears loved it!

    • Wendie Joy

      The SEAL who offers Danno a drink is Gary Fritts who is one of the SEAL/military advisors on the show. Thanks for commenting Nardia;) Aloha, Wendie

      • Nardia McPhee

        You’re welcome :)

  • Nardia McPhee

    Question for me for S5 how much will it affect Steve with Five-0 now that he can’t do anything as a seal and how much his PTSD has been affected after what happened in Afghanistan and with Cath staying

  • Nardia McPhee

    I thought the organ case was a great addition to the episode was a surprise to have it in the episode and the shocking twist in the case I didn’t see coming just love it when there are 2 stories in 1 episode just keeps you guessing till the end

  • alavenia

    Just loved this episode, phenomenal performance by Alex O’Loughlin, I agree with you, he gets better and better!! Thanks for the review, excellent as always!!

  • pauldunn1

    Wendie,
    Thank you for another great review. We are really getting close to the end of this season. I do hate to see Michelle Borth leave the show as she added to the cast a backup to Steve. Has anyone gotten any information as to why she is leaving? While it may not be our business, it does impact the show itself. I loved the first scene where we got to see almost the entire cast (minus Fong).

  • jlopie1

    Great review, Wendie! I appreciate the chance to learn more about the significance of the title. “Fair seas and following winds” has such a beautiful meaning when used to send off shipmates to retirement or deployment! Thanks so much for explaining that, and for enlightening your readers on just how poignant it’s use is as the title for this emotional good bye to a beloved character – beloved by the fans, of course, but also, FINALLY to have it expressed by McGarrett!

    I enjoyed this episode, even though having heard and read about it for weeks (maybe months?) I was parked in front of my screen with a sense of trepidation and dread, too! The truncated storyline was confusing, I will agree. Hard to imagine everything that happened taking place at warp speed, but it’s H50! It’s always been larger than life, and I accept that whole heartedly!

    I cried right along with Steve when he realized she was staying in Afghanistan. Another woman in his life has walked away from him for her own agenda. That’s got to be tough, and I sincerely doubt there will be another love interest for McGarrett anytime soon – whether or not we ever see Catherine again.

    I also think if anyone says: “I need your help, Steve,” again, Danny will knock Steve out and throw him in the blue room (changing the lock code, of course) to keep him out of trouble – there has to be a limit to the number of times Danny is willing to traipse around the world for the big goof! ;)

  • Linda M. Stein

    I did post a comment this morning Wendie…just so you know. Your moderator hates me! LOL Hopefully it will show up later today or tomorrow like the last one did. Great great review, as always! ♥ ya sistah!

  • KAD1228

    Great review! This episode was Alex’s and his alone. He shone brighter than sun in it. He gets better and better. The beginning was fun, the procedural was meh. After watching Steve get tortured in s2 in N. Korea, it was extremely hard to watch it again and this time it was much more violent. At least the one constant in Steve’s life is Danny – he’s there for to him through thick and thin. The ending left me sad for Steve. Here’s hoping next season bring some different storylines with no more tortures or kidnappings.

  • Dina

    I LOVE LOVE that you and I watch the SAME Show! You have a great talent for stating it as it is – with out kissing up or belittling anyone!!! XOXOX I had the same “issues” with show as much as I enjoyed the same things too. I never LOVED Catherine- but I never HATED her either… I am not sure where Peter and writers are taking us with this story arc ( being Steve really more than Steve and Catherine) and some other story arcs- but I’ll stay strapped in my seat for S5 ;=))

  • Diane

    I will miss Catherine/Michelle very much. I don’t know the circumstances and none of us ever really will. Catherine was a stable person in Steve’s life, they had been apart before and always seemed to come back to each other. That’s what a love story is.
    I’m glad they finally said the “I love you to each other” even though it was through heart wrenching circumstances. The emotion by both actors was perfect. I saw Michelle’s expression as being someone on a mission, who had made a decision, even though her heart was breaking as well. Plausible situations in a TV show have never mattered to me, its the story itself. I know a lot of people look for that in a show, but it rarely happens in any show. Thanks to the H50 writers for sending Michelle off as a heroine and leaving a possibility that she will return. Even if it is a slight chance. I think that final scene made the entire show.

    I did love the poker game for charity, seeing all of them together is what this show does so well. Theres reality for you, friends getting together for whatever. Danny going all the way to Afghanistan for Steve was perfect. Danny adding a little comedy to the situation was what I surely needed. It’s exactly in character for him and Scott plays him exactly the way he should be. The brotherly love between these two characters is always great to see. I feel this is the glue to the show.
    As for Alex and his acting all I can say is “not just a pretty face”, truly underrated.

    Thank you Wendie for continuing posting reviews of my favorite show. Its a great place to visit each week during the season.

  • fact275

    I hate to see Michelle Borth leave as she’s been tremendous playing female military characters either on H5O or the ill-fated Canadian series Combat Hospital.

    That said, I have serious issues with the story of this episode:

    1. The writers seem to keep forgetting McGarrett and Rollins are in the reserves. This, when the SEAL commander says Steve’s a “civilian” when he leaves the islands he is not totally correct. Steve could easily be activated and subject to the UCMJ or at the very least, prosecuted for violating the National Security Act.

    2. I am a former USAF historian so I love it whenever the series has footage of 15th Wing C-17s. But there are plenty of NATO SOF already in country. They would not be flying SEALs from Hawaii on such a time sensitive mission.

    3. No way would Danny get to accompany them. And if he did, surely someone would tell him to but some 5.11 clothing rather than his Abercrombie and Fitch getup.

    4. McGarrett comes off as a huge d-bag when he refuses to tell the SEAL and CIA man where he got the intel on the HVT whom the SEALs killed. Why not tell? To protect Catherine? Who is on a rogue mission that could possibly take her own life or put more NATO forces in jeopardy trying to rescue her? Also any quick survey of the West Coast NSW community is going to tie Catherine to Steve and make CIA/SOCCOM wonder where she’s at.

    • Dina

      oohhh yeah I have my “questions” when it comes to some of the military hehehhe family member was protocol officer so I totally understand your statements- HOWEVER, this is TRULY a fictional show although they do “real” stuff it is fiction. The producers and writers are AMAZING in highlighting soooo much of what our military stands for and achieves – thus I give them a “pass” on a lot and enjoy the show for what it is entertainment ;=)