Review: ‘Hawaii Five-0′ Season 5 Premiere

Sep. 14, 2014 | 1 Comment

NOTE: This review CONTAINS SPOILERS, so stop reading now if you don’t want to know what happens in the season premiere episode. Click here for complete “Hawaii Five-0″ Sunset on the Beach coverage.


The season five premiere of “Hawaii Five-0” — screened for local fans under the stars at Saturday’s Sunset on the Beach in Waikiki two weeks ahead of its network debut — reaches new heights of ridiculousness, even for such a logic-averse show.

COURTESY CBSFrom left, Masi Oka, Chi McBride, Scott Caan, Grace Park, Daniel Dae Kim, Alex O’Loughlin and Jorge Garcia.


From left, Masi Oka, Chi McBride, Scott Caan, Grace Park, Daniel Dae Kim, Alex O’Loughlin and Jorge Garcia.

And that makes it AWESOME!!!

For starters, short of a Rapture in which you are the only one left behind, you will never again get to see the island’s freeways, hotel lobbies, beaches and streets totally empty and devoid of human life.

Plus, a jet lands on Kalakaua Avenue.

A jet. On Kalakaua Avenue.

And Hurley, er, I mean Jerry, brings the plane down by channeling Luke Skywalker. Oh, yes.

Before I launch into an episode recap, let me first apologize for not being Wendie Burbridge, our dedicated Five-0 Redux blogger who, week in and week out, provides thoughtful, thorough and snark-free breakdowns of “Five-0″ episodes, as well as cast and crew interviews and valuable cultural insight for the Pulse.

Let me also apologize for being an infrequent viewer of “Five-0” who has no business recapping the show. In Wendie’s absence at Sunset on the Beach, I was drafted to review the season five premiere. So I will simply report what I saw and you can provide your own context.

Stay tuned for the real deal when the Five-0 Redux analyzes this episode after it airs nationally Sept. 26 on CBS.

THE EPISODE opens with mind-blowing scenes of cars abandoned on freeways, luggage forgotten in hotel lobbies, meals uneaten on restaurant tables and other evidence of sudden human vanishings — all while a vintage version of “Aloha ‘Oe” is heard on the soundtrack. Nice.

Cut to a graphic: “Seven hours earlier.”

McGarrett and Danno are seated in an office for what sounds awfully like couples counseling, but in truth is some kind of annual psych evaluation for the Five-0 squad. They banter like they always do and it’s cute and funny. The Bickersons are asked by the unseen psychologist to talk about how they first met and how Five-0 was assembled, which allows for a quick reminder via clips of who the players are, old (Danno, Steve, Kono, Chin) and new (Capt. Lou Grover).

This amusing bit goes on for about five minutes and it’s very engaging. I think I’d rather watch a whole episode of these two lovable lugs working out their issues in therapy than what follows a few minutes later: horrifying mass murder by gunfire at Waikiki Beach.

KAT WADE / SPECIAL TO THE STAR-ADVERTISERA scene on the big screen in Waikiki during Saturday's Sunset on the Beach premiere of "Hawaii Five-0."


A scene on the big screen in Waikiki during Saturday’s Sunset on the Beach premiere of “Hawaii Five-0.”

But first, a frisky young couple trail running on Diamond Head is mercilessly gunned down in a hail of bullets fired by an unseen shooter. It is very violent and squib-heavy.

Now we catch up with the gang: Kono gets out of the surf rockin’ a teeny bikini and cuddles with Adam in a very public shower at Kuhio Beach. I think he hints at marriage. Chin leaves his house for work but spots an Internal Affairs guy spying on him from a distance and confronts him.

Lou and Max are already at the Diamond Head crime scene when a helicopter carrying the Five-0 team lands. Very cool entrance. Max’s new medical examiner hottie — Dr. Shaw, I believe — may or may not be a love interest for Danno, based on their immediate disdain for each other.

Fortunately, one of the dead runners had a GoPro-type camera and the investigators press rewind/play to identify the killer: a menacing, trigger-happy drone. Shades of U.S. military policy against terrorists in the Middle East!

Next stop for Steve and Danno: conspiracy theorist Jerry, who surely will know the origin of this lethal military hardware. The two find our favorite kook in Chinatown conducting surveillance on an antique book dealer who just acquired a large collection of old volumes from Europe. (Jerry is suspicious because the pages of the books are made from a type of paper ideal for counterfeiting. Or something like that.)

Jerry recognizes the drone as a weapons prototype, so back at Five-0 HQ, Kono and the magic table provide the necessary exposition that leads the team to a contractor named Venpax, where they learn more about the drone program.

Cut to Waikiki Beach, where the killing machine swoops around coconut trees and begins cutting down beachgoers and swimmers, setting off mass panic. We later learn seven were killed. This is disturbing stuff and points to one of the show’s major failings, in my opinion: the inability to find a proper balance between levity and deadly serious storylines. Either ease up on the humor or lighten up on the mayhem side of things.

Anyway, the terrorist calls Steve and tells him the drone attacks are in retaliation for civilian deaths caused by U.S. action in the Middle East. Civil defense sirens sound as people are told to evacuate and take cover.

Five-0 figures out that an ex-Venpax employee is dealing secrets to a terrorist group comprising former Soviet agents. (Shades of Edward Snowden!)

Five-0 storms his house in Waipahu, and there’s more exposition courtesy of Kono and Chin, along with stunning aerial shots of an empty Waikiki. Then, radar shows a mystery plane coming in for a landing on Kalakaua Avenue — the main drag in Waikiki — and the crimefighters realize the drone attacks were merely a ploy to clear the streets so the ex-Soviets could fly in and extract the Snowdenesque bad guy.

The team heads to the abandoned tourist town to serve as bait to draw out the drone, and Steve and Danno have one of their trademark carguments on the way there. Inappropriate timing for a little humor, wouldn’t you say?

OK, maybe it’s mean but I did get a chuckle when they had to stop their car to save a homeless man sleeping on a bench who ignored the evacuation order. Or maybe they were just trying to enforce the city’s new pee-n-poop law. (Anyone familiar with current events in Honolulu will know what I am talking about.)

Steve gets shot in the leg but still manages to chase down the Snowden guy, Kono gets to crack another baddie, Capt. Lou guns down a baddie of his own in King’s Village, while Danno does likewise to one of the wheelmen.

Now about that sleek, black, CGI private jet that comes in for a landing on Kalakaua: It looks a little cheesy, but in remarks before the screening, exec producer Peter Lenkov noted the episode isn’t quite ready for broadcast and they are still refining some of the special effects.

Let’s hope so. But still, it was a hoot! An audacious plotline for sure.

Jerry uses his own drone — and The Force — to keep the jet from taking off.

Oh, Kamekona shows up (at “King’s Hospital”) with balloons and a shrimp plate when Steve gets out after having the bullet removed from his leg.

And with the case closed, it’s time for cliffhangers at the end of the episode:

» Chin goes to a prison to confront an inmate and ask him to sign an affidavit saying he didn’t take the money. The inmate scoffs at him and says something about why he would do that after what happened to his sister. Or something like that. Anyone?

» Back at home, Kono tells Adam that nothing would make her happier than to marry him, but she can’t because of what they have gone through and the danger they may still be facing.

He stupidly replies: “Nothing’s going to happen to me,” or something to that effect. Translation? Something very bad is going to happen to Adam.

» Danno returns home to find stranger danger in the form of Marco Reyes, a sketchy looking dude who says Danno’s brother took something from him and he wants it back.

» Looks like Jerry isn’t so kooky after all. Cut to the antique book dealer in Chinatown, who is showing Jerry’s photo to an apparent hit man. Oh no!

What does it all mean, “Five-0″ fans?!

Sorry if I got some of the action wrong or out of order, but there’s no DVR-ing on the beach! I now return you to Wendie’s capable hands.

Here’s to another great season of “Hawaii Five-0.” Congrats on your 100th episode, and mahalo nui loa to CBS for giving Honolulu Pulse such great access to the stars at Sunset at the Beach, and to the actors themselves for being so gorgeous and wonderfully gracious to fans.
Christie Wilson is Features Editor at the Honolulu Star-Advertiser. Contact her via email at

  • Sandra

    I enjoyed this ep…nobody does premieres like Five-O even if I have to suspend my disbelief at the door, I thoroughly enjoy watching this show. Well done!