Five-0 Redux: Protecting the ‘ohana
BY WENDIE BURBRIDGE / Special to the Star-Advertiser
After last week’s full-octane season premiere full of intrigue and spectacular special effects, this week’s episode was more along the lines of the “Hawaii Five-0” we know and love.
While the focus this week was more on the drama and police work rather than backstories and character arcs of the main characters, we did see how the team has started to become a cohesive group with the incorporation of new series regulars Chi McBride (Lou Grover) and Jorge Garcia (Jerry Ortega).
We still got our fair share of the elements we love. McGarrett (Alex O’Loughlin) taking to heart the kidnapping of the daughter of a fellow SEAL, daddy Danno (Scott Caan) reaching out to two fathers in distress and Grover taking to heart the loss of a child are all character traits that help turn “Hawaii Five-0” into more of a drama than just an action show. It’s those moments fans love and the reason they keep watching.
We love the action too, of course, but it’s those human moments and touches of realism that keep me tuning in on Friday nights after a long, busy week.
This week’s episode, “Ka Makua Kāne” (three words, not two), translated as “Family Man,” focused on three different fathers. In Hawaiian, “makua kāne” actually means “father,” and the storyline focused on the reaction of three fathers, as well as the two fathers on the Five-0 team.
Overall, I really liked this episode. It was deeper than I had expected it to be. I will take quality over quantity any day. I did love the inclusion of Danno’s subplot, involving his dealings with Marco Reyes (Anthony Ruivivar) and the aftermath of his brother Matt’s betrayal.
I also loved how Chin (Daniel Dae Kim) brought Jerry into the investigation and how he called McG “Captain America” — because don’t we all think of McGarrett as a superhero?
We also got to see Chin break down a suspect as well as a few doors with Grover, which are always fun scenes to watch. Kono (Grace Park) going undercover as a mail drop gal and her questioning of little Maggie Porter (Ocean Riley), the true target in this week’s episode, were great examples of why Kono is so easy to like.
Sgt. Duke (Dennis Chun) had a few short scenes, the best when Danno told him, “Duke, I just sent you someone that needs to go through booking. Please make sure he’s very uncomfortable,” referring to his interrogation and arrest of Marco Reyes for burglary.
Duke’s almost cheerful “I’ll take care of him” was just perfect. I really love watching them all work together as a team.
Yet the bulk of the episode really revolved around the kidnapping of Sophie Larkin (Marina Fonseca), the 7-year-old daughter of Navy SEAL Lt. Jeff Larkin (Cuyle Carvin) and his wife, Angela (Anne Leighton). Lt. Larkin was overseas fighting in Afghanistan and Angela was busy taking care of Sophie and her little brother, Davey (played by Hawaii actor Ryan Hynd). After Sophie is kidnapped from a hula recital, the Five-0 crew stepped in immediately to help find her and negotiate her ransom.
Seems like a pretty cut-and-dry case at first, but in typical Five-0 fashion, the red herrings started to pile up.
At first, McGarrett and Danno suspected Sophie was taken because of a mission her father was working. Of course, as they just dealt with a huge international terrorist organization and had to shoot down killer drones and watch a plane land on Kalākaua Avenue, I suppose that’s why they would be thinking about national security right off the bat.
After doing a background check on the squeaky clean SEAL and his beautiful family and finding no dirty laundry, however (and still thinking about those Russians who had just emptied out Waikīkī), I completely understand why they went in that direction.
It was lovely how McGarrett told Angela Larkin, “You and your husband are ‘ohana to me and I’m going to do everything I can do bring your daughter back.”
When Grover told McG and Danno to keep Angela in the loop because “not knowing how things stand tears you up the most” as Danno looked on knowingly, it also hit home. All of these men have lost someone or watched someone close to them suffer, and that backstory is evident in how they deal with their investigations.
I love how writers Steven Lilien and Bryan Wynbrandt let their reactions come from experiences the characters had in past seasons. Such wonderful layers for the actors and characters to use in their performances and to help the viewers become more invested in the show.
I also really enjoyed when the writers brought back characters to remind us of past episodes and build an even better “Five-0” world for us to sink into. When McG and Danno visited Vice Admiral Rhodes (Patrick St. Esprit) and got the Navy runaround (which of course, McG and Danno are used to), as well as a reminder of McG’s help in dealing with the Chinese spy satellite, I had a feeling of deja vu when Rhodes said, “The Navy is sensitive to the situation.”
Perhaps it’s just because I’ve heard that statement from a Naval officer in my own life, but it did give the scene an interesting sense of realism.
But the scene that was even more real was the softened cargument when McG told Danno, “We take an oath, Danny. Right now, his team needs him focused on the mission.” SEAL McG would say this and, as he has lived it, mean it.
Danno’s response was the real kicker: “A parent senses when their child is in trouble, so don’t you think that puts him and his team in danger?”
He’s right. What family man, especially one as trained and as intuitive as a SEAL, wouldn’t sense his child was in danger?
While the plot thickened, we were introduced to two more family men: Eric Porter, (played by “Lost” actor William Mapother) and Jason Hollier (Brian White). Porter was the real target of the kidnapper, as he and his wife are worth millions. But their daughter was safe at home, only a witness to her friend Sophie talking to the man who kidnapped her.
Still, the kidnappers want Porter to cough up $1.6 million. I agreed with Danno when he asked McG, “why such a specific number?”
Oh, just to keep us guessing, of course.
Still, the family issues just kept coming and the family man idea didn’t stop there. The Porters owned a childrens toy and product company, and through a series of events involving faulty latches, one of their car seats malfunctioned in a crash and killed Hollier’s young daughter.
While it took me almost to the end of the episode to realize Hollier was the kidnapper ( I thought Porter was in on a scheme of some sort or their former colleague Alan Pollard (Gareth Williams) was in on something together), I was still struck by the family man theme.
What makes a man a good father? Is it protecting your child by fighting for your country, or making safe car seats and strollers? Or is it avenging your child’s death? Is it being able to tell another man to do what is right to save someone else’s child and not let yours die in vain?
While this episode doesn’t straight out give us an answer, I think watching the team unravel the mystery and discover the real villain was Caroline Porter (Natasha Henstridge), who really just wanted to protect her company and her family from ruin, was resolution enough.
Or perhaps the message was that many people — men and women alike — would do anything to save their own from ruin, heartache and death, and hopefully without causing the same to happen as a result.
REDUX SIDE NOTE:
German fans got a special treat when “Hawaii Five-0” recurring cast member Mark Dacascos attended a meet and greet there last weekend. Fans brought Dacascos gifts and took pictures with the infamous Wo Fat at The Bavarian Film Studios. Dacascos stars in an upcoming German martial arts feature, “Ultimate Justice,” due for release in 2015.
“Five-0” fans Angela Gerstner, Babette Rhein, and Silke Schmeissi met with Dacascos in Munich and got a chance to experience a big dose of aloha all the way in Europe.
“It was a great taste of ‘Hawaii Five-0’ since all three of us can’t afford to travel to Hawaii,” said Gerstner. “It was really awesome to have someone from our favorite show take time for us here in Munich. It meant a lot to us!
“We had an absolute blast with Mark. He is so nice and grounded. I hope none of the ‘Five-0’ fans ever believe that he’s anything like the villain he plays, because he definitely is nothing like Wo Fat.”
Dacascos was equally thrilled with meeting the German fans, according to a Twitter update posted Monday.
Aloha! Great to meet you yesterday at the Meet & Greet at The Bavarian Film Studios. Thank you for your time, handahakes, hugs, and smiles.
— Mark Dacascos (@Mark_Dacascos) September 29, 2014