Five-0 Redux: Serving justice
BY WENDIE BURBRIDGE / Special to the Star-Advertiser
Sometimes after watching “Hawaii Five-0” I wonder how I make it through the hour each week. Rarely do I find myself cursing death and other means of pain on the makers of the show.
I was mad. Spitting fire big time, completely and justifiably angry at writers Peter Lenkov and Ken Solarz along with director Larry Teng.
Sorry, gents, but while I watched the much-anticipated “Pono Kaulike,” which in Hawaiian means “equal rights and justice for all,” I was so incredibly angry that our heroes were put into a situation in which I truly felt there was no way out.
As I watched the episode I kept writing notes about my feelings of incredulousness. How could this possibly happen? How could Danny (Scott Caan) and Chin (Daniel Dae Kim) both be arrested? And how on earth could McGarrett (Alex O’Loughlin) not be charged along with them? And how could the very folks who made them heroes bring them down in one fell swoop?
Perhaps I’m still a tiny bit upset. And I know I shouldn’t be, because how the story wrapped up was so incredibly satisfying. What a way to twist me up all in knots and white hot rage and then have me cheering for everyone — including the bad guy?!?
Really. I was cheering. At the same television I had just called a blue streak of very bad names.
Thankfully, my abused television will bounce back. And hopefully, viewers will too. I think what will help is remembering all the good moments in this week’s episode. I’m still trying to figure out how we got a pretty happy ending, even with a peek at the sinister view of what is to come.
But I digress. Let’s start with what really ticked me off and then wrap it up with what had me singing a few hallelujahs toward the end of the episode.
First of all, I had a hard time with the reality of Danny’s arrest. Really, would federal marshals arrest a police detective at a school where he is speaking to his daughter’s class about police work? Most investigative branches have a certain level of respect for their fellow brothers in blue. I would think if federal marshals knew they were going to pick up a fellow cop, they would pick him up in a way for him to at least save face in front of his own daughter.
I know it was a way to get Gracie (Teilor Grubbs) into the storyline and it was a funny scene with Danny and Max (Masi Oka), so that was a way to lighten things up before a lot of the major tension occurred.
Still, to call Danno a murderer and handcuff him in front of a bunch of kids? Not even a, “Can we step outside to talk, Detective Williams?”
I guess it should have been my first clue that this was going to be something more than just a misunderstanding.
I did love how excited Max got about sharing the goriest details about being a coroner and working on dead bodies with middle school children. And I can attest, they really would ask that question about the anal/rectal cavity and use that obviously childish term for that same cavity. Still, the scene just lit my anger on fire and it kept burning through the rest of the episode.
It really flamed up when I saw HPD internal affairs Detective Coughlin (Robert Knepper) and his goons waiting for Chin outside of his house. I seriously hate that guy. While I found him completely unbelievable last season in “Hana Lokomaikaʻi” (“Favor”) and in this episode he was still a jerk, but at least I sort of understood him better.
I still couldn’t figure out why he had it out for Chin, as that was again not made clear. He obviously had more anger for Chin than the “you’re a bad cop and I’m going to prove it” mantra he kept spewing. And for him to make a deal with Gabriel Waincroft (Christopher Sean) really made me view him as a bad cop, more so than what he thought of Chin.
One thing that did not spur my anger was Gabriel. He is a great villain. Like Wo Fat before him, he really is evil, but not so evil that I dislike him. He is going to be very fun to hate. I loved when he killed Coughlin. No kidding; I cheered when he put that pen in that sneaky IA cop’s eye. There was something so Shakespearean about Gabriel killing the man who could make his life easier, as well as help him get revenge on the one man who made his life so tough.
How ironic that Gabriel, yet again, would be the one who saved Chin. When Gabriel called Chin at the end of the episode just to say “You’re welcome,” it spoke volumes because we know it wasn’t really just a courtesy. It was a, “I know what I did for you, and you haven’t heard the last of me.”
What that means for Chin, we’re not sure, but I can’t wait to see how Gabriel returns for his payback.
Another thing that made me really mad, besides Danno being arrested in front of Gracie and Chin being arrested by the smirky faced Coughlin, was CIA agent Sam Alexander (Raphael Sbarge). My anger went from hot to white hot as he talked to Danno and told him he was going to be extradited to Colombia.
I think they heard my screams all the way in South America.
I wasn’t angry at Danno, though, because when he started talking I knew he was going to do whatever CIA Sam wanted him to do if he could protect Gracie and McGarrett, who should have been arrested with him. Not that I wanted McGarrett arrested, mind you, but really — if the arrest had been legitimate, McG would be going down with Danno, too.
But I knew just from looking at Danno’s face, that in some way Danno wanted to be tried for Reyes’s murder. When Danno shot Reyes point blank, I said I was left in a moral quandary because that was what Danno was going through.
Now CIA Sam gives him an option: pay for your crime and save your friend.
Danno, of course, is going to choose to do this because that is the kind of man he is; he believes people should pay for their crimes. I think he was trying to tell Amber about how he felt when he talked about having nightmares. Now, I don’t think he deserved to be thrown to the Colombian prison wolves or sent to die in a foreign country by his own government. But how amazing was it to watch Caan show fear as well as relief when he realized that he was going to pay for what he freely admits he did to Marco Reyes?
Caan had several amazing moments, like the one with Gracie on the phone as he is basically telling her goodbye and that he loves her because he thinks he is going to die in that Colombian prison. It was just heartbreaking. And the moment talking with McGarrett before he reunites with his daughter was another scene that revealed not only more about Danno, but again showed how good Caan is as an actor.
McGarrett had several great moments as well. The sweet scene at the start of the episode with Nahele Huikala (Kekoa Kekumano), the young man McG gave a second chance to after he stole his Mercury Marquis, as well as the scene with Gracie when he told her he loved her and would bring her father back. McGarrett also had a great moment with Kono (Grace Park) when they discussed how they are going to fight to get Chin back. It was a sweet, brotherly hug, and a way to show that no matter what, Chin was not going to be forgotten for what he did for Danno.
This episode definitely reminded me that McGarrett is not anyone to mess with. When he confronted CIA Sam and told him he was in the room with Danno when he murdered Reyes, I knew he was putting himself on the line. When he told Sam he would find the missing cocaine to trade for Danno, then showed him video of the team burning that same cocaine while he held a flash drive with evidence that would ruin not only CIA Sam’s life, but many many others — that was McGarrett at his best.
The fact that he focused the team on their mission — with a little help from Uncle Joe White — made this episode spot on. O’Loughlin is definitely the leader of this group, and his ability as an actor and the way he can be emotional as well as an awesome action hero makes watching him so satisfying. It’s far more than just his good looks and his natural physical ability to handle the stunts and action scenes. It’s about his strength as a leader on and off screen.
Luckily, the team didn’t end up in a South American prison. And thankfully, this episode left me completely anger free and happy that Chin and Danno were out of harm’s way. I especially loved how the unrealistic start got very realistic with the explanation of how all of it happened and where their top secret CIA level intel came from.
Of course Momma McG would be the one to not only help McGarrett’s team, but to save her son as well. I did love that I didn’t really see that part coming. I guess since she has not been in an episode since season three, I haven’t really thought about her still being out there in the wind, still trying to make amends to her son.
Like all good dramas, “Five-0” definitely keeps a few tricks up their sleeves. And I think I am not alone in being very pleased with how they use all of their tricks to create a lot of great magic.
REDUX SIDE NOTE:
Hawaiʻi fans got a big treat when actor Christopher Sean attended a fan meetup hosted by local bloggers Lisa Woo and Amy Bakari two weeks ago at at Big City Diner Pearlridge.
Sean spoke to fans outside the state via FaceTime and watched “Nānahu” (“Embers”) after taking pictures and talking story with everyone.
Wendie Burbridge is a published author, playwright and teacher. Reach her via Facebook and follow her on Twitter.