Five-0 Redux: Dying is not an option
BY WENDIE BURBRIDGE / Special to the Star-Advertiser
“Hawaii Five-0” season finale episodes are usually packed with a lot of cool action, hot gunfights and quite a few sentimental tears, all forced into a speedy hour of television. They leave fans feeling unfulfilled and wanting, because it always seems as if it is just never enough. And when it comes to the season finale, fans know it will be nearly four months until they get a new episode (and it feels multiplied by a thousand times!).
I thought there was enough time this season to breathe and really let the story and the action sink in. I didn’t get overly anxious about the ending, nor did I feel like something was left out. I loved the two hours they spent wrapping up a stellar fifth season.
Fans actually got two episodes played back to back this year — “Luapoʻi” (“Prey”) followed by “A Make Kāua” (“Until We Die”). They worked well together and actually provided more details and information than the last four season finales all rolled into one. The episodes shared the set up of Kono (Grace Park) and Adam’s (Ian Anthony Dale) wedding, the mystery behind the pictures Gabriel (Christopher Sean) gave to Chin (Daniel Dae Kim), a secret Rachel (Claire van der Boom) tells Danno (Scott Caan) and the unexpected return of Catherine (Michelle Borth) into McGarrett’s (Alex OʻLoughlin) life.
“Luapoʻi” dealt with the case of fugitive serial killer Andrew Pelham (Michael Rodrick), a Long Island cop hiding out in Hawaiʻi after killing three young women. He’s being chased by two experienced New York bounty hunters. McGarrett and Danno meet bounty hunter Richie Malloy (Brad William Henke), who tells them about Pelham’s crimes and what he’s wanted for. Malloy fails to get McGarrett to let him help the Five-0 team catch Pelham, who has been tracked to an apartment near Waikiki. A gunfight and McG foot chase ensues and Malloy intervenes. He shoots Pelham with his pepper spray gun, tases him for good measure and dumps him in his car before McGarrett can stop him.
When McG and Danno check Malloy’s financials and discover a six-figure wire transfer, they get help from Duane “Dog” Chapman (who played himself) to track him down. Dog, the most famous bounty hunter in Hawaiʻi, tells them to check Transair, a cargo company used to move bail jumpers with no questions asked.
When McG and Danno find Malloy waiting for a flight, he admits taking a payoff, but not from Pelham. Malcolm Leddy (Robert Curtis Brown), the father of Pelham’s last victim, who plans on making Pelham suffer as much as his daughter.
Of course, McGarrett and Danno arrive in time to save Leddy from the evil Pelham, and McG promises the grieving father he would make sure Pelham spent the rest of his life in prison paying for his crimes.
While the case wraps up neatly — as much as catching a serial killer who ripped off his own thumb to be free of his torture chains can — I almost think this episode dealt with bounty hunters just so that Max (Masi Oka) could make a Boba Fett joke.
Still, writer Eric Guggenheim and director Maja Vrvilo really did a nice job incorporating an intriguing case with two continuing character arcs from the start of the series as well this season. The episode folded in the story of Chin questioning Adam’s continued association with the Yakuza, as well as the bomb Danno’s ex-wife Rachel launched — which also answered some of the questions from season two.
Rachel has not been seen since “Mai ka wā kahiko” (“Out of the Past”) and she returns to tell Danno what many fans had deduced — Charlie (Zach Sulzbach), the child Danno helped Rachel deliver in season two’s “Pūolu” (“The Package”), is his son. Rachel also reveals that Charlie has an immunodeficiency disease and needs a parent to donate bone marrow in order for him to live.
So not only has Rachel lied to Danno for three years, his son is sick and could die. It’s a lot for Danno to take in. If nothing else, I did love the banter that developed between McG and Danno about relationships and exes. Danno told McGarrett to move on from Catherine, and instead of checking out the picture of a cute friend of Amber/Melissa (Lili Simmons), McG instills a “wall of silence” between himself and Danno — as if a wall of silence would quiet Danno about McG’s happiness and need for love. And likewise, McGarrett is there to talk Danno through his anger at Rachel for lying to him and stealing three years he could have had with his son.
While I understand Danno’s emotions, I had a hard time understanding Rachel’s motives. As the writers probably didn’t think of this storyline during season two, her excuse that Danno’s job kept her from telling the truth has to suffice. Danno is darling with the boy, though it was a bit heartbreaking thinking of how much time he has lost. I hope we see him with both Charlie and Grace in the future.
CHIN’S INVESTIGATION into the pictures Gabriel left for him in “Ua Helele’i ka Hōkū” (“Fallen Star”), led him to confronting Adam and asking him if he is still wrapped up with the Yakuza in “A Make Kāua.”
It seems as if the Asian gentleman in the pictures with Adam is family friend and business partner Goro Shioma, an oyabun (head) of a Yakuza family. Chin told Adam if he is still in the Yakuza, Chin doesn’t want him to marry Kono. Adam admits the meeting was to cut his ties with Goro, but it also meant would be left with nothing.
It seems as if Adam is broke, or at least not as wealthy as he once was. I suppose it is a good thing Kono is “never one for material things.” Let’s just hope this doesn’t come back to haunt them as they start a new life together.
While the title of the episode is related to the Five-0 team’s search for a rogue nuclear warhead, it also tied into the vows Kono and Adam were going to say to each other — if Kono ever got herself to the ceremony. Throughout the episode, Kono is asked, “What are you doing here? You’re getting married.” Yet she stays to work the case because “if you all are working, I’m working.”
And because, well, a nuclear bomb going off in Waikīkī might put a huge damper in a brideʻs day, so she might as well help the team find it.
So they work the case together, right up until Kono’s ceremony. Even Catherine gets involved, using her Navy intel contacts to gain information about possible buyers for the nuke. The team finds out that the warhead was stolen in North Dakota by homegrown terrorist Josh Bennett (Jeffrey Nordling). Under the ruse of selling it to a head of Al Queda, Bennett actually wants to start World War III on the same island where World War II began for the United States.
Some terrorists are really good with their history. Sometimes I wish they weren’t so they would forget about starting wars in Hawaiʻi.
I did like the twist, but not as much as I enjoyed watching McGarrett and the entire crew, including Sgt. Duke (Dennis Chun) and Kamekona (Taylor Wily), help work the chase for the nuke dressed in tuxedos. I have no idea if it what happened after the bomb went off was accurate or true to life, but it definitely was a cool set up.
I especially loved the interplay between McGarrett and Danno in the chopper. The best part was when McG said, “You have two kids now Danny, you’re not going to die today.”
Really, the best parts were the dialogue between McGarrett and Danno. I felt as if the conversations they had in these two episodes were the best conversations they have had all season. Fans love them together. They want them together. They need them together. It’s what makes the show really work. Credit writers Steven Lilien and Bryan Wynbrandt and director Bryan Spicer for creating an episode that was not only fast paced and exciting, but worked the true nature of the characters into the episode.
While the team dealt with a potential nuclear incident, Kono still had to get to her wedding and McGarrett had to wrap his brain around the return of his own ex. While Catherine’s return was not a secret to fans, it still was a bit of a shock to see her. I suppose the show is not done with her yet. Cath’s reason for returning was to attend Kono’s wedding. She was hard to read in this episode, as if she still has many secrets. Perhaps it was because she has been gone a year, but I also wasn’t sure if she still had feelings for McG, or if she just felt an obligation to stop and say aloha to her old boyfriend.
And Gabriel showing up at the very end to add more torment into Chin’s life — what a way to end the episode with a last minute twist! I really thought Gabriel was going to shoot Chin, but there was something holding him back.
Is it love? Is it guilt? Is it family obligation? This is one relationship I’m dying to find out where it is going.
I really enjoyed the pace of these episodes. It was if they said, “we got time!” and allowed viewers to really chew on the story, taste the plot, savor the characters and enjoy their last season five meal.
Of course, fans hope it is only the last episode of the season and not the series. For the faithful, dying is not an option for “Hawaii Five-0.”
Wendie Burbridge is a published author, playwright and teacher. Reach her via Facebook and follow her on Twitter.