Five-0 Redux: Balancing out the bad
BY WENDIE BURBRIDGE / Special to the Star-Advertiser
After the explosive 100th episode two weeks ago,it was nice to see “Hawaii Five-0” end in happy tears versus tears of sorrow this week. “Ka Hana Malū” (“Inside Job”) featured so many of the elements fans love, including a sweet ending that focused on the love of ʻohana that has become a strong part of the show.
For me, the best part of the episode was the wedding of Aunt Deb, played by fan favorite guest star Carol Burnett and her fiancé, Leonard Cassano, played by the former frontman of The Four Seasons, Frankie Valli.
It was such a lovely way to end the episode, as well as to give fans something they wanted: an answer to what was going to happen to Aunt Deb. After her return into Steve’s life last Thanksgiving when she told Steve and Mary Ann about her brain tumor and her decision to not face any painful treatment, many fans hoped there would be some kind of reprieve for Aunt Deb. And while her epilogue wasn’t the miracle cure we had been hoping for, it sure was a sweet way to send her off into the beautiful Hawaiian sunset.
I love weddings. The last “Five-0” wedding we experienced was Chin and Malia’s in season two. And we all know how that ended.
But this wedding seemed a little different. Maybe it’s because we already knew the bride and groom were doomed that made it very bittersweet to watch. When the groom said that “being diagnosed with stage four cancer” was the best thing that happened to him, we pretty much knew their happily ever after wouldn’t last too long.
Every bit of it was so darling; McGarrett (Alex O’Loughlin) walking Aunt Deb down the aisle and standing up to give her away, Leonard saying that Deb held his hand during chemo, but she was his real treatment. And Aunt Deb singing “’S Wonderful” just made the ending so perfect. I found it a tiny bit ironic to see Burnett sing and not Valli, but Burnett’s character is a former singer and Valli’s character is a mob lawyer, so it made a lot more sense.
Of course, the entire episode was just as great as the ending. Written by Moira Kirland and directed by Jerry Levine, this episode really kept me guessing and I loved the twists that had me thinking I had it all wrapped up — only to find I was wrong at every turn.
The episode’s Hawaiian translation — “Ka Hana Malū” or “Inside Job” — alluded to the inside job set up by Kate Kealoha in order to kill her husband and herself to get her sons a $20 million dollar insurance policy and set them up for the rest of their lives.
It also made reference to Aunt Deb’s Leonard supposedly destroying evidence he was given by his mobster client in order for him to avoid being convicted for murder. In Hawaiian, “hana” means “work, labor, or job” and malū means “secretly, confidentially, clandestinely, illegally, stealthily, or furtive,” which makes perfect sense, especially when Leonard gave McGarrett a wrapped box he had been ordered to “not open and to destroy.”
I was so with Danno. I wanted to know what was in that box! But I’m also with McG and understand Aunt Deb deserved to be happy for as long as she and Leonard had time together. And if that means McG stuffed that box into a locker and will forget about it for a few months before turning it over to the FBI, I think I can live with that.
There were so many sweet moments in this episode I almost missed two cool McG stunts that were, as usual, well-executed and super fun. McG chasing their first suspect Tai Gable (Wilke Itzin) over a row of parked trucks was so cool. And his crash landing through a sunroof to shoot the Kealohas’ paid assassin was super hot.
I love how “Five-0” gives viewers different types of stunts and action and tries to mix it up so it’s not all shootouts and car chases. Not that any of that is a bad thing, but thanks to stunt coordinator Jeff Cadiente we get to see different action scenes every week.
My only complaint was that if the victims’ sons had to be named Kealoha, couldn’t they have at least looked or perhaps sounded Hawaiian? It reminded me too much of “The Descendants” and how viewers were supposed to believe George Clooney had descended from Hawaiian royalty because he wore aloha shirts and slippahs.
But I digress. I did really like the case; I thought it was clever and gave the entire team a chance to get involved with the investigation. It was one of the first cases where I thought Chin (Daniel Dae Kim) and Kono (Grace Park) were actually involved versus just gathering evidence and hanging out on the sidelines, which has happened all too often in a few episodes this season.
I also liked how the show addressed what happened to Catherine and why she has not returned to Hawaiʻi. As most fans already know, Michelle Borth will not return to “Hawaii Five-0,” so it was good to get an explanation about Catherine’s decision to stay in Afghanistan. She also told Steve to not wait for her, so the issue has been addressed completely and fans can just move on.
Aunt Deb’s line, “You are so willing to risk your life, when are you going to be willing to risk your heart?” was telling. Will Steve take another risk with his heart now? I hope so. Just to see him happy again would be nice.
There were other great lines this week. Lou (Chi McBride) had a few, especially in his cargument with Danno. While they raced through Chinatown and Danno accused him of “taking driving lessons from McGarrett,” his retort — “You ever been to Chicago? This is how we drive in Chicago. In the snow.” — was perfect.
I’m sure fans also loved when McGarrett, Danno and Lou were getting ready for the wedding and Danno told McG he was “a big marshmallow stuffed with testosterone.” Their banter as they sat in McG’s living was great and it reminded me about the moments that really firm up the team’s love for each other. The topper was seeing all of them sitting together at the wedding, smiling and happy as an ʻohana again.
It’s so nice when they share a sweet moment together. It just makes all of the bad moments they also share balance out.
REDUX SIDE NOTE
Next week is a repeat of the original Aunt Deb episode from Thanksgiving last year. Fans can watch the original episode that brought Aunt Deb back into Steve and Mary Ann’s life, and celebrate a little Five-0 Thanksgiving with the team.
Wendie Burbridge is a published author, playwright and teacher. Reach her via Facebook and follow her on Twitter.