Five-0 Redux: Chasing the dream

Jan. 3, 2015 | 21 Comments

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William Forsythe, left, plays an old-school private detective working with Steve McGarrett (Alex O'Loughlin) to solve the murder of a young woman who was secretly working as an escort in Friday's episode of "Hawaii Five-o" titled "Wawahi moe'uhane." (Courtesy Norman Shapiro/CBS)

William Forsythe, left, plays an old-school private detective working with Steve McGarrett (Alex O’Loughlin) to solve the murder of a young woman who was secretly working as an escort in Friday’s episode of “Hawaii Five-o” titled “Wawahi moe’uhane.” (Courtesy Norman Shapiro/CBS)

BY WENDIE BURBRIDGE / Special to the Star-Advertiser

I don’t know about all of you, but I love classic film noir detective stories, where the private eye is a little cynical, a lot damaged, and sexier than sin. I suppose we could use some (or all) of these traits to describe McGarrett and Danno, but really the entire set up of this week’s episode, “Wāwahi moeʻuhane,” which in Hawaiian means “Broken Dreams,” really worked as an homage to the old-school detective trying to save a damsel in distress story.

I think my favorite parts were the smokey voiced narration of special guest star William Forsythe, as ex-HPD detective-turned-private-eye Harry Brown, as he told the backstory of poor victim Brooke Waiakea (played by real-life hula dancer and entertainer Delys Kanemura Recca). Some may have thought it melodramatic, but I loved the poetic way he analyzed his situation, the murder of Brooke, the way her father would react, as well as the reality of McGarrett and his dedication to all victims in the world.

Really, the voice-overs could have been really hokey, but I thought they were an interesting way to tell a very common story. Like Brown says in the opening voice-over: “The American Dream: Everybody’s chasing it. Some find it. Most don’t. Then there’s the unlucky few who die trying to find it.”

“The unlucky few” include young Brooke Waiakea, who headed off to the big city to find her dream of becoming a star, only to fall into the evil hands of a money-hungry villain and her untimely end. We’ve all seen that story, right? But add in a bit of world-weary narration, tinged with sadness and just a sliver of hope, and I’m hooked. It made the overused plot seem even more interesting — and up until almost the very end, I was still guessing whodunit.

Yet, even though the storyline was nothing new, the episode was, and I very much enjoyed the different take on the case-of-the-week.

In Hawaiian, wāwahi means “to tear down, shatter, wreck, dash to pieces, break into, demolish,” and moeʻuhane means “to dream” or, more specifically, “to soul sleep.” And there was a lot in the story that dealt with dreams, which helped add some really nice depth to the episode.

Steve McGarrett (Alex O'Loughlin) tries to set up his workout partner Ellie Clayton (Mirrah Foulkes) with his "Five-0" partner Danno Williams in the "Wawahi moe'uhane" episode of "Hawaii Five-0" that aired Friday. (Courtesy Norman Shapiro/CBS)

Steve McGarrett (Alex O’Loughlin) tries to set up his workout partner Ellie
Clayton (Mirrah Foulkes) with his “Five-0″ partner Danno Williams in the
“Wawahi moe’uhane” episode of “Hawaii Five-0″ that aired Friday. (Courtesy
Norman Shapiro/CBS)

Written by Steven Lilien and Bryan Wynbrandt, from a story by executive producer Peter Lenkov, and expertly directed by Sylvain White, there was a great deal of revelation about characters and relationships. There was definitely a lot more depth to the investigation of a story that perhaps we’ve heard far too often in our cinematic world, and sadly, in the real world as well.

There’s always a girl trying to leave something behind for something better, who falls into bad luck, spurring some great detectives to try and solve her murder/disappearance/kidnapping. That is perhaps why I thought the film noir aspect of this episode really worked.

I also liked that hula was used as in the plot — albeit please don’t think that when you watch a hula hālau dancing in a lūʻau at your hotel in Waikīkī, that the dancers also moonlight as escorts. That is very far from the truth. Hula dancers train for years and are serious professionals. All hula dancers take their craft, and the stories they tell through hula, very seriously.

In truth, the writers could have made murder victim Brooke a singer or an actress, and the story would have still played the same way. Yet, this is “Hawaii Five-0,” so why not use a profession that is specific to Hawaiʻi? So I did appreciate that this episode really could have worked only here in the islands. And adding an actual hula dancer like Recca, from a known hula family, to play Brooke helped me like the episode even more.

There was a lot to like in this one. McGarrett (Alex O’Loughlin) and Danno (Scott Caan) seemed to be getting along just fine. I did love Danno’s advice on not signing up for being set up by McGarrett’s workout partner, P.A. Ellie Clayton (Mirrah Foulkes). I also liked learning more about Max’s (Masi Oka) new partner, Dr. Mindy Shaw (Amanda Setton). She and Danno had a nice getting-to-know-you scene. Perhaps Danno will be moving on to a girlfriend closer to home, I mean, work?

And yes, I did catch Danno saying how he “didn’t understand surfing.” I personally wondered how much Scott Caan laughed on set as he said that line?

I also liked how the bad guy kept changing, though it would have been nice to just have a couple of bad guys to focus on instead of four. David Waring (Trevor Kuhn) was the first suspect in Brooke’s death, until Chin (Daniel Dae Kim) found him dead. Then poor ex-beau Cody Kaniaupio (Christopher Latronic) turned up with blood on his hands, but was just a “love-lorn kid with a busted heart.” Guest star Eric Roberts became the third suspect, Richard Sheridan, the owner of the boat that took poor Brooke to her watery grave in a marine pod, and then — who would have thought — the father of Waring’s to-be-bride, Robert Young (Doug Savant), was actually the killer.

Oh, but wait, there actually was a fifth suspect — evil madam Kiana Thompson (Andrea Roth), who set the girls up on dates but swore there was “no money exchanged.” I was glad they didn’t make her character a kumu hula. That would have been very insulting to our great hula experts and teachers.

All the Five-0 team members, including Chin Ho Kelly (Daniel Dae Kim), got involved in the case of the week in the "Wawahi moe'uhane" episode of "Hawaii Five-0" that aired Friday. (Courtesy Norman Shapiro/CBS)

All the Five-0 team members, including Chin Ho Kelly (Daniel Dae Kim), got involved in the case of the week in the “Wawahi moe’uhane” episode of “Hawaii Five-0″ that aired Friday. (Courtesy Norman Shapiro/CBS)

It was really great that the entire team got to be involved with all of the investigation: Kono (Grace Park) and Chin shook down Brooke’s roommate Annie (Carlie Casey) and caught Cody red-handed; Grover (Chi McBride) worked a lot of the clues and tracked down people via the magic table. I also loved the sweet Kono scene at the start when Adam (an unseen Ian Anthony Dale) leaves her a trail of flowers to a platter of breakfast and a sweet note. And we had a couple of scenes of comic relief with Jerry (Jorge Garcia) — now Chin’s roommate — who is on the job hunt and involved in the marketing and sale of garlic shrimp plates for Kamekona (an also unseen Taylor Wily).

But, really, the star of this one was Forsythe and his gumshoe ways and everyman poetry as he broke down the suspects and the case. The scene when he comforts his old friend Mr. Waiakea (Byron Ono) as he kisses his dead daughter good-bye was lovely. And when McG tells him he can’t blame himself for Brooke’s death, he says something that I think the entire Five-0 team understands: “Men like us, weʻre born to protect and serve. When somebody dies that we could have saved, then that doesn’t go away.”

So even if you didn’t like the narration by a non-Five-0 team member, or you disliked the hokey detective style poetry, you had to appreciate Brown’s farewell summation of the case and McGarrett: “Time doesn’t heal all wounds. When someone you love is ripped from your life, that scar stays with you forever. But the one bright light in all the darkness is knowing that men like Steve McGarrett are out there making sure the good guys come out on top.”

And that is definitely a good part of the dream — that men like that are out there in our world — on the fictional Five-0 and in real life.

Redux Side Note

I hope you all noticed the adorable Youngaisa Wily who played Jerry’s clever programming mentor Ani in this week’s episode. I’m sure many of you realized that Wily is the son of recurring cast member Taylor Wily who plays the incomparable Kamekona.

Besides actor Wily and actress Recca, other Hawaiʻi actors were showcased in this week’s episode. Christopher Latronic who played ex-boyfriend Cory Kaniaupio most recently played Timo in fellow “Hawaii Five-0” actor Keo Woolford’s film “The Haumāna.” He also played the lead “Billy” in the film “Truth or Dare” written and directed by Hawaiʻi filmmaker Tom Boyle. Byron Ono, who had a heartbreaking scene as Brooke’s Father, was also in “Hana ʻaʻa Makehewa” (“Desperate Measures”) where he played the Bomb Squad Captain.

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Wendie Burbridge is a published author, playwright and teacher. Reach her via Facebook https://www.facebook.com/Five0Redux and follow her on Twitter.

  • Angela Gerstner

    This was definitely an episode I enjoyed very much – and for pretty much the same reasons you did, too.
    First of all, those nice little private moments with the main characters were a pleasure to watch – such as Kono finding the flowers and message from Adam. And Danno was really adorable giving advice to M.E. Mindy. I also liked the scene in which Danno warns his buddy Steve of letting himself get set up with Ellie’s friend – I just found it a bit odd that she was trying to do so, in the first place, but then I’ve never liked it when people try to set up others. Chin’s chats with rommate Jerry were definitely a lot of fun to watch, and it was also nice to see Taylor Wily’s son play Jerry’s IT-consultant. Looks like the boy is ready to follow into his dad’s footsteps as a recurring actor on the show.

    The music, once again, was just perfect, too – I know you didn’t mention that but the score and the selection of songs is something I often find extremely well done on this show – and it also was in this episode. Those rather untypical filming techniques used in the episode were pretty cool – such as in the first scene that was played backwards, or the slow-motion shot of the arrival of the victim’s father at the M.E.’s office.

    William Forsythe was fantastic in his role as Harry, as well as the narrator in those film-noir style scenes. I loved them. The conversation between Steve and Harry at the end may have been short but very meaningful, as those words spoken by William (both in his role on screen, as well as the narrator) about being born to protect and serve, about losing someone you could have saved and never getting over that loss seemed to sum up Steve’s life and feelings so perfectly.
    When the episode finished with Harry’s narrative voice saying “… but the one bright light out there is knowing there are guys like Steve McGarrett who make sure the good guys always come out on top”, I couldn’t have agreed more. I certainly love to see that bright line shining on my TV screen whenever I watch Steve and his awesome Five-0 team book the baddies :-) And I definitely appreciate the work of real-life cops, too.

    P.S.: I knew you would not only love the hula plot, as hula so typical of Hawai`i, but that you would, of course, also set the facts straight by pointing out to your readers that hula dancers usually do not work as escorts. Well done – although I would hope that the average viewer would have guessed that himself.

    • Susan M

      I like this episode and the film noir element! Forsythe often plays a bad guy or tough cop, but his character got to show a softer, caring side that I liked.
      I loved Steve and Ellie boxing–I box with a trainer for the great workout and would love to see Steve in the ring more often. I think Ellie’s trying to fix him up with a friend was a way to let us know they’re not going to create a romance between the two of them per Peter’s recent interview. I like that they’re developing a good, solid friendship and working relationship.
      Everything else was top notch as far as acting, writing, etc. And I, too, liked the rewind segment at the beginning — great way of letting us know we’re flashing back instead of the usual “48 hours earlier” caption!

  • KAD1228

    I enjoyed this episode a lot. Steve was front and center and was Steve, not the silly caricature that the writers have been making him into lately. I even liked Danny, he wasn’t his usual abrasive self and very sweet toMindy. The writers did a great job (even though the cast of characters was large enough to rival a Hollywood epic) and hope they stay this course. I like Ellie but hope they don’t force a relationship between them – you know, once bitten, twice shy on Steve’s part. Though I sort of feel they want her to be a male version of him. Boxing, fishing, fixing cars, I’m not saying women don’t do that but haven’t the 5-0 women ever heard of mani/pedis, shopping, spas/massages and haircuts?? I liked the VoiceOver – I miss Moonlight and Mick desperately – and hope they bring back Harry, he was a great asset to them. 2 more new episodes to come, hope they’re as good as this one!

  • pauldunn1

    Wendie,

    I enjoyed the ep for two reasons: it was a new ep during a holiday week that has featured mostly reuns/specials, and it was a good ep.
    Paul

  • Dina

    YES Wendie I agreed with EVERYTHING!!!! wonderful review- but the one point I WISH Was not true was Danny and Mindy!!! oy another at work romance…. not a good mix IMHO but alas I am still hoping TPTB gives us another Williams reunion coughRACHELcough. Chasing the dream well maybe not so much but last night’s show captured the ratings and its fans ;=) * ppsstt I just keep dreaming of Rachel&Danny ;=)

  • Mary Tomshack

    I thought it was a good episode, Wendy. Yes, I love the bromance and I love Steve and Danny bickering like an old married couple, but I realize that shows have to grow and they can’t do that every week. I thought this was a nice change and I love when the whole team is investigating the crime of the week. I kind of liked the interaction between Danny and Mindy. (sorry Dina) I thought it showed a softer side of Danno and I liked that alot. It was another truly great episode and it’s always better the second and third time around. I love this show and I am ready to accept episodes that are a little different and any changes they make as long as we keep our super cast. Love them all.

    • Dina

      it was a great show- alas I will still hold out hope. But thanks for thinking of me hehehehehe

  • Brenda

    Sometimes I’m a hard sell to the change in format for the show but I really liked this episode. It was different not only for Five-0 but different in general. It was so well written and executed showing again that it seems this crew has been given a green-light to think outside of the typical crime drama box in season 5 and see how the fans react. This one was a hit for me.

    Thanks Wendie for the great recap and your thoughts.

  • Susan M

    I like this episode and the film noir element! Forsythe often plays a bad guy or tough cop, but his character got to show a softer, caring side that I liked.
    I loved Steve and Ellie boxing–I box with a trainer for the great workout and would love to see Steve in the ring more often. I think Ellie’s trying to fix him up with a friend was a way to let us know they’re not going to create a romance between the two of them per Peter’s recent interview. I like that they’re developing a good, solid friendship and working relationship.
    Everything else was top notch as far as acting, writing, etc. And I, too, liked the rewind segment at the beginning — great way of letting us know we’re flashing back instead of the usual “48 hours earlier” caption!
    (Oops, posted this as a Reply to Angela G. by mistake…sorry!)

  • Linda M. Stein

    Great review Wendie…as always. I liked this episode as well, for all the reasons you state. I enjoyed the change in the way the story was presented and as a long time fan of old films and detective novels this one really touched my heart. I loved the voice overs especially. I hope the writers continue to think outside the box to bring us unique perspectives on story telling. It keeps the show fresh and exciting.

    • Mary Tomshack

      You had another good one too, Linda. I have not been able to log in to yours to post that I am enjoying them. It won’t accept my password. Maybe I am not remembering it right. I always have trouble with this stuff. But, wanted to let you know again that I really enjoy them.

      • Linda M. Stein

        Thanks babe. Means a lot that you read my blog too. ♥

  • Rhonda

    Great review,Wendie! I liked the episode for all the reasons you stated! I did like the voice overs,but I wouldn’t want them used again.

  • jlopie1

    I loved the format for this new episode of H50! What a change from the usual intro to the COTW! I thought it was smartly written episode – even if it sounded smarmy part of the time.

    You have to admit, this show does produce episodes that seem to resonate with the older viewer. It’s the viewer beyond the 18-34 demo who enjoys the older guest stars and who understands the TV noir concept without thinking it’s stupid or a bad idea. I love to see the writers and producers being experimental with this show in so many different ways.

    Interesting that this week we see Steve and Danny both building friendships with women. All relationships begin with conversation, but not all relationships become amorous! Work friendships can be just as valuable and satisfying as sexual relationships. Right now, it looks like Steve and Danny are working on different friendships with women who also work in law enforcement and can offer future information and case help. Sometimes just being a friend is more important that being a love prospect. This is what I saw in this most recent episode.

    Enjoyed the COTW and Harry Brown, P.I. Would be fun to see him again in a future episode! Loved Eric Roberts, too, but would have liked to have seen more screen time for him!

    And I really liked Hula dancing being such an important part of the episode. It would never have happened on a show based in New York or Miami! One of the truly enjoyable parts of this show is the creation of stories that would make no sense staged anywhere else!

    This was a good start to the new year on H50. Looking forward to a lot more episodes, and a lot more corresponding Redux reviews! Thanks, Wendie!

    • Wendie Joy

      Hi Lynnette- that’s what I meant about using the Hula as her profession- it made it more specific to Hawaiʻi. But I also don’t want folks to downplay the importance of Hula to our people and culture. Just didn’t want folks to think this is the typical lifestyle of a hula dancer. Thanks for your comment! Aloha, Wendie

  • Robin Jane Bridges

    Because of the ending, it felt like the man was writing a detective story. I really did like the episode. Did they do a caragument?

  • Diane

    Hi Wendie. I liked this episode as well. The reference to the old dectective novels was great and William Forsythe’s portrayal was perfect. I did not think the voice over was hokie at all. As for the hula dancer being an escort. I would think anyone with any common sense would know that the hula dancers are just that, hula dancers, telling a story with their dance. Just as not all massage parlors are a front for prostitution. As a nurse I know that massage is very beneficial for healing. Hula dancers are a tradition and a big part of the Hawaiian culture. In no way does anyone with a brain outside of Hawaii think any different.

    As for Dr Shaw and Danny. I think there is a lot of chemistry there. Danny was so sweet to notice there was something else there. I think this is a very good match, much better than the previous one, who no matter how they wanted to spin it, she was just too young for Danny. I think with the Ellie and Steve reference in the first episode she appeared in when Steve was fixing his Dad’s car and Ellie walked up, showed the writers hand, that they will try to get these two together at some point. I have lost all hope of a Catherine reunion, but I just don’t see these two together. Trying to make her tougher than she should be isn’t helping. It would be nice to see an actual friendship between them, but trying to fix Steve up, seems out of place. I do think that Steve needs a permanent love interest at some point, to show that women in his life would not leave him, give some roots, and a family life that he did not have. At some point Doris has to reappear, she hasn’t exactly been a role model for a good relationship for him.

    I did not know that was Taylor Wiley’s son, I will have to go back and see that scene again. He did a good job. Papa should be proud. Loved the Scene with Adam leaving Kono the flower trail and breakfast. Very romantic. I hope we see Ian Anthony this season, I know he has been busy. Looking forward to another 2 new episodes in a row.

  • wow

    i’m trying to figure out that song (at the end) ..any help???

    • http://www.fiveohomepage.com Mr. Mike

      The song heard at the end during the flashback of Brooke surfing was Possibility Days by Counting Crows.

      • wow

        thanks

  • http://www.fiveohomepage.com Mr. Mike

    The opening shot http://www.mjq.net/fiveo/2010-season5/s05e10.jpg was very similar to the opening shot of the pilot of the original series http://www.mjq.net/fiveo/2010-season5/s01e01.jpg (thanks to Jason from Dallas who pointed this out in the discussion forum on my site).