Five-0 Redux: Averting doomsday

Jan. 31, 2015 | 14 Comments

PHOTOS COURTESY CBSFive-0 must find a kidnapped patient infected with a contagious and lethal strain of bird flu which the bad guys intend to weaponize.

PHOTOS COURTESY CBS

Five-0 must find a kidnapped patient infected with a contagious and lethal strain of bird flu which the bad guys intend to weaponize.

BY WENDIE BURBRIDGE / Special to the Star-Advertiser

In this week’s episode of “Hawaii Five-0,” McGarrett (Alex O’Loughlin) and the rest of the crew — along with old friend Joe White (Terry O’Quinn) — were able to avert a global calamity by thwarting a very bad guy set on weaponizing a deadly case of bird flu.

“Lā Pōʻino,” meaning “Doomsday,” was filled with hot action and stellar stunt work, along with a few interesting special effects. Executive producer Peter Lenkov, who created the story, and writer Sarah Byrd, who crafted the teleplay, presented a scary premise while director Maja Vrvilo used tension and excellent pacing to keep everyone on edge.

There are several ways to define the word “doom.” In Hawaiian, “pōʻino” means “misfortune, disaster, calamity, damage, injury, and peril.” In English, doom pretty much covers it all.

If nothing else, the episode couldn’t have employed a more explosive way to kick things off. Hitting a SUV with a huge wrecking ball a couple of times? That’s a pretty awesome way to get the storyline rolling.

The entire opening scene of the C-17 landing at Hickam with its precious cargo of the first American affected with the H5N4 avian flu virus and Joe White watching over him set me up for the ride. When McG met the plane and Joe hopped out with promises of a loco moco and shave ice, it had me suspicious.

I guess that’s what Joe does to me. He makes me wary. I trust him as much as McG does. My actual thought when the wrecking ball tossed McG’s SUV like a Matchbox car was, “What has Joe done NOW?”

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I wouldn’t put it past Joe to have set up something like that, just so he wouldn’t have to answer McG’s questions or come clean about all the lies and stories he has told over the years. Of course, it’s all in the name of protecting McG and Mary Ann — or so he says.

Sorry, I don’t mean to sound bitter. I think poor Joe is just the fall guy to my “I’m so tired of the Shelburne/mystery of Doris/Momma McG issues/please wrap this up” headache.

But beyond how I feel about Joe, I did enjoy the episode. It was pretty intense, especially after the last few months of Ebola talk on the news.

After the wreaking ball smash, which was a set up to get the infected patient away from the armored motorcade so bad guys could use his infected blood to create a bioweapon, I loved watching McG in action. I know fans call him the Super SEAL and love when he jumps into action to get the job done, so watching him shoot one of the bad guys and free himself from the car while hanging upside down before jumping on a motorcycle to chase the kidnappers was awesome.

I don’t care if people say it was unrealistic because he had blood all over his head, was injured and he didn’t have a helmet on… yada yada yada. It was completely cool and fun to watch. He’s McGarrett; he can do that kind of stuff and totally get away with it.

How did Homeland Security put it? 1,400 cases reported and 1,315 dead? Yeah, McG can afford to forget to put on a helmet in order to stop that from happening, right?

I’m just glad it’s a TV show, because all that “transmitted through direct human contact” and “the patient is dead within five days” before watching the virus’ projected path from Oʻahu to cover the rest of the world was scary enough.

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While the tension remained high, I did enjoy moments of Five-0 levity that helped make the episode less disturbing. I think my favorite moment was when Danno anxiously walked into Tripler Army Medical Center, his facial expression a mix of anger-laced worry.

“Why don’t you get an apartment next door? Because you are here so often,” he remarked.

They sure love each other, don’t they? It’s that kind of moment that helps me get over my Joe White irritation, that’s for sure. McG’s quick quip, “I’m fine thanks for asking,” was a nice topper to the scene.

I also liked Kono and Danno’s scene after they talk to the assistant to Dr. Rennick, Dr. Jill Loi (Elaine Kao). Rennick was also kidnapped and seemed to be the lucky doctor forced to work for the bad guy, Michael Carson (Mikal Vega), an ex-CIA operative and creator of the “all-star team of scum bags” weaponizing the virus. Once Dr. Loi explained how the virus could become a biological nightmare in about 12 hours, viewers needed a softer moment to get through the rest of the episode.

After she freaked me out, I loved how Kono suggested that Danno call Grace.

“To say what? ‘Hey honey, there’s a nut job who wants to decimate the population to make some money,’” he responded.

It was a nice moment; not too weepy or overly sentimental, and it was a little funny, yet still got the message across — they needed to find where the virus was in order to save everyone they love.

While I loved the team moments, there weren’t a lot of them in this episode. The explanation of how to weaponize the virus with details on how to deliver it — and making it a weapon — took a lot of time. Add in scenes with Joe dealing with the patient’s family, the making of the weapon and cultivating of bees (the potential delivery vehicle) kept team moments short and sporadic.

When McG, Chin, Lou and Joe stormed a house, killed the bad guys and freed a the kidnapped doctor’s wife, Lou’s comment about how McG “wasn’t born a crazy son of a b—h — this is the guy who taught you,” as Joe crawled up the side of the house to enter the second floor, was perfect.

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It’s true, Joe did teach McG all the tricks. He was McG’s SEAL trainer and family friend. John McGarrett put Steve in Joe’s care after Doris allegedly died. But McGarrett isn’t really crazy, and he seems to know his limitations better than Joe does. There were moments when I thought Joe was trying to relive his old Navy days, especially at the end when he drove a truck full of infected bees into the ocean.

I have to say, I thought they were trying to kill Joe. His statement to McG halfway though the episode — “Don’t worry, I won’t die before I tell you what you want to know.” — had me thinking it foreshadowed Joe’s death. So when he popped up in the water, I was about as relieved as McGarrett was; he really does love Joe, no matter how much he distrusts him.

How does the saying go? Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer. And in Joe’s case, I think he’s a bit of both.

So McG, keep an eye on him. You have three weeks to unravel the truth. I just hope it takes you — and the viewers at home — where we want to go.

REDUX SIDE NOTE

There were a few Hawaiʻi actors who had nice parts in this week’s episode, but two stood out for me. Clare Nono played Dr. Nalani Dyer, who started the ball of doom rolling. Nono’s resume includes “MASH,” “L.A. Law,” “Knots Landing,” and “Cagney and Lacey,” just to name a few of the many television shows in which she has appeared. She was also in the films “48 Hours,” “Cujo,” and “Cobra.”

Cole Horibe, who is best known as the second place finisher from the ninth season of “So You Think You Can Dance” (which is rumored to be Alex O’Loughlin’s favorite television show), played the doomed Mr. Kula. Horibe starred in David Henry Hwang’s world premiere of “Kung Fu” in New York City after people realized he really did think he could dance.
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Wendie Burbridge is a published author, playwright and teacher. Reach her via Facebook and follow her on Twitter.

  • Angela Gerstner

    Wendie, I’m totally with you and Steve about Joe White – I still don’t trust him. He might have been the hero who saved the world this week by drowning the bee-infested van in the ocean but he’s lied to Steve way too often – or, at least, kept the truth from him. Steve deserved to find out the truth a long time ago and shouldn’t have learned about it the way he did through Wo Fat. All those lies from Joe and Steve’s own mother are the reason why both characters are admittedly not among the many favorites I have on this show. The mere fact that Mom McGarrett has disappeared again right after Joe promised to find her, tells me that Steve is just being fooled again – and it doesn’t really matter if it’s Joe or Doris that is fooling Steve because both have been in league with each other over the years when it comes to hiding the truth from Steve.

    But enough about Joe and Doris! I definitely loved this episode which I found quite exciting. This show seems to be getting bigger and better every week. The storyline, the stunts and action were all awesome and couldn’t have been much better or more impressive in a feature film.
    And, yes, who would even think of putting on a helmet after having survived a major wrecking-ball attack and having to chase down some seriously bad guys on a motorbike to avert the potential eradication of mankind by a deadly virus?! I’m sure our Super-SEAL Steve had more important things to think about than finding a helmet before he jumped onto the dead cop’s motorbike. I agree with you again – Steve and all that action and the motorbike chase were just really cool and a whole lotta fun. I guess one of the reasons why I loved this episode so much was because of Steve being so awesome in it. Well, as a super-fan of Alex/Steve I might be a little biased though when it comes to this guy :-)

    As usual, I highly appreciated the funny moments and lines (of which you quoted a few) in between all the thrill and action and the truly scary crime of the week. Since reality has repeatedly reminded me of crimes on the show, I certainly hope that this week’s scenario with the weaponization of a virus will not come true.

    Wendie – In your Redux side-note you mentionned that “So you think you can dance” is rumoured to be Alex’s favorite show. Well, it’s not just a rumor – Alex himself said live and on camera (in a Q& A session for CBS) that this show is his “guilty pleasure”. However, I’m still not quite sure if he wasn’t just making fun when he answered that fan question – you never quite know with this guy and his great dry sense of humor (which I love about him though).

  • alex fan

    Love the review Wendie. I think Steve went automatically into Seal mode after the accident. He extracted himself and Joe and used the means at hand to try to get the job done. Yes he didn’t put on a helmet but I don’t think stopping to find a helmet that fit when valuable moments were passing by was expected by anyone, again he was putting the job before his own safety and I loved it. I have to say I just wish Danny had asked “are you okay” before making the snide sarcastic comment. I like the Danny that was working with Kono, no snark, no sarcastic comments no whining just a cop with feelings.
    I think I may have yelled out loud when Joe went into the water and love him or not I was so happy to see his smiling face pop up. When he told Steve he was like a son to him made me happy in one way then I was like don’t say it if you are trying to distract him from finding out the truth. Time will tell.
    I have to say I loved this one.

  • KAD1228

    It was a great episode! It was high octane, a good story and fun. I enjoyed watching Steve go into full-blown “Steve the Seal” mode – it’s been a while since we’ve seen him like that. I miss him! As an aside, I often wonder if in the real world criminals could/would do something like this. I guess ignorance is truly bliss! I’m glad I don’t know and hope to never find out!

    I loved Kono’s concerned look when she saw the condition of the truck and Chins comment that it would take more than a wrecking ball to do Steve in! Even Danny’s comment, while snide, was funny, especially when he told the doctor “don’t forget to punch his card”! I love when they mix up the teams. Danny and Kono are wonderful together. I think Lou has a new found appreciation of Steve’s commitment after seeing Joe in action!

    I thought the same thing when Joe drove the truck into the water, that he was being killed off! I’m glad he wasn’t. I love Joe but don’t trust him. Neither does Steve. Everytime he’s around Steve gets hurt. And my heart breaks for McG. Though I can’t wait to see how it plays out and if Steve will finally get the answers he needs and deserves (and finally ends the long, drawn-out misery of the mom/Shelburne saga).

    Thanks for the great review Wendie! I think we need to petition PL and the writers to think about making an action movie! An hour isn’t enough!

  • Dina

    I absolutely thought the same thing Wendie! I was convinced Joe was gonna die JUST so Steve wouldn’t find out more about Doris. When Joe went into the water I said to my husband ( a military vet) That is it – Joe is dead. He laughed and said “There is no way a Navy SEAL gonna die in the water. ” True but I reminded him this is not reality TV!!!
    Yes the team was juggled quite a bit but in a REAL task force that is what they do – chasing down all the info and divided to cover more time and leads.

  • edmattes763

    I’m glad to see Steve start spying on Joe. I can think of a couple of times in the past where he should have done that and maybe he would know more than he does now.

  • jlopie1

    This season just keeps getting better and better! I can’t find a single thing to dislike about it!

    I do have to say I love Terry O’Quinn, but I really despise Joe White. (Terry must be doing a good job making me feel this way about Joe!) Joe White might be a great 60 something specimen, a Super SEAL in his own right, but he’s a sleaze ball. The man boils my blood! I mean yeah, sure, at the start of the ep, it seemed like he was all repentant and and gooey -“you’re the closest I’ve ever had to a son” ” you deserve to have answers now” etc. Thankfully, Steve had a REAL father, Papa McG, to raise him to be a man who could be honest, truthful, heroic, AND tell the difference between right and wrong! Joe might have trained Steve to be a SEAL, but not how to b a decent human being. AND we need to be glad that Doris disappeared from Steve and Mary’s lives during their impressionable years – we have proof she didn’t do so well “raising” WoFat! I’ve never been so happy than to see Steve lie to Joe that he trusted him. High five, McGarrett! Keep that attitude and we might get this story line finished this season!

    This really was a great bridge episode from the first half of the season to the second. We know there is a lot of intense action coming up as well as answers to questions we’ve had since season 1. I am so ready for this!

    Thanks, Wendy!

  • pauldunn1

    Wendie,
    Great recap especially about the local actors. This was another great ep.
    Paul

  • Robin Jane Bridges

    Ditto! I screamed ‘NONONONOOO! at the tv when Joe went off that pier. I was thinking that Steve was going to lose the one person he needed answers from and then Joe popped up, grinning from ear to ear.

  • Rhonda

    Great review,Wendie! I’m with you-I don’t like Joe either. He has lied to Steve way too much to ever be trusted,but at the same time,I guess he loves Steve too much to see him get hurt. The thing with the virus and the bees was a bit scary for me as was the SUV getting tossed around and turned upside down!.

  • Brenda_stlouismo

    Love the action packed episode and felt it stayed true to it’s H50 roots. I think my take away was how impressed I am that a TV series can so quickly pull a story line from current events. It reminded me so much of what happened with the Ebola outbreak.

    Great job with the recap Wendie.

  • TerrysaGirl

    I’m with you Wendie, I don’t trust Joe and each time they bring him back, I think “Not again.” I’m so over the “is he or isn’t he lying” scenario and it’s really sad that Steve has two people he loves (Doris and Joe) who he can’t trust at all. Thankfully, at the end we find that McGarrett really wasn’t fooled by Joe’s sweet words.

  • Mary Tomshack

    I also have to say I loved the way Danny walked into the hospital. You could see he was angry and worried at the same time. Scott is fantastic. He shows every emotion in his expression. I thought “Oh no, Steve’s in trouble again.” I too am sick of Joe White and all his lies. I can’t stand him and, oh wait, that’s the way I’m supposed to feel. Another great actor on the show. LOL What I love about this show is it deals with people being people. We all can think of someone in our life that we just don’t know if we can trust them. Not on a large scale like this but you know what I mean. The co-worker who acts so nice to you that you want to trust them, but then you find out that they were telling everybody every word you said at the water fountain. If everybody on this show was perfect, it would be boring. But they do bring out your emotions. For me, when Danno is yelling because he’s worried, I feel all warm and fuzzy. He’s showing he really cares.I am not sure how Joe White makes me feel. Maybe, confused. He keeps stringing Steve along while looking like a real hero. He drove his car into the water to save everyone else. I cringe when I hear he’s going to be on and at the same time wonder what lie he’s going to tell Steve this time and can’t wait to see what happens. I think that things are going to start moving after this. But I also like that in the last scene, Danno was there ( in the passenger seat, of course) to support Steve. The nice thing about his scenes with Kono, we get to see him drive.

  • Diane

    I think we all agree. Joe is not to be trusted. I also want the Doris mystery solved at the very least by the end of the season. Steve’s team are the ones he can truly trust. I also loved Danny’s expressions while walking thru the hospital looking for them, as well as Kono’s concern when she was looking at the crash scene. Great episode, well written.

  • KokoKele

    I like Joe White. I believe that he is honoring as many promises as he can as well as protecting McGarrett from harm. In the military things are frequently related on a “need to know” basis, and I think Joe has that philosophy ingrained in him. We should also understand that he has an enormous amount of affection for Steve, so he truly feels he’s doing the right thing for him. Apparently McGarrett believes the same thing, or he’d tell Joe to take a long walk off a short reef. He doesn’t allow Joe to hang around just because he needs him to solve the problem of his mother. On a deep level he trusts Joe. It’s a complex relationship, I get it, and I enjoy it. I actually look forward to his appearances on the show. The only real problem with him being in the mix is that it diminishes the time we get to watch other members of the 5-O team interacting.