Five-0 Redux: Dying is not an option

May. 9, 2015 | 14 Comments

PHOTOS COURTESY CBS

PHOTOS COURTESY CBS

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.”

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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.

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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.”
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Wendie Burbridge is a published author, playwright and teacher. Reach her via Facebook and follow her on Twitter.

  • Dina

    As you can guess I am DEVASTATED how they spun Rachel’s tale. There were so many other ways to get the story – but it is oblivious the writers and Peter wanted to have a means that would NEVER have Danny and Rachel reunite. Really a shame
    I was pretty shocked we didn’t see the wedding happen- Peter responded to some tweet that how we are never gonna see the wedding and his reply was don’t bet on that ( or something) Which I take S6 ( although not announced) will pick up right at the same place – that is a little comfort

  • alex fan

    I loved both the episodes last night. When the show first aired Rachel was portrayed as an evil witch and with the exception of a couple of episodes the writers stayed true to her character. I have never been a big Danny fan because of the excessive whining and snark but this episode makes me see him in another light. Yes, Rachel comes off as a terrible person, a terrible ex-wife but a good mother never the less. Great review as usual Wendie, loved it.

  • Angela Gerstner

    What a great weekend treat for the fans – two exciting episodes to end an absolutely terrific season. While I’m proud to have guessed weeks ago that Rachel would come back because Charlie is ill and needs a bone marrow transplant from his biological father Danno, I was thinking that she had had no idea that Danno was the father and that she had only found out through Charlie’s illness and related blood tests that Stan wasn’t actually his dad. I was definitely shocked to hear her tell Danno that she kept the truth from him intentionally. While I have always loved seeing Danno and Rachel together and have wanted them to get back together, I highly doubt that Danno can ever forgive her. Even I am mad at Rachel right now and I’m only a TV viewer. Don’t worry – I do know that it’s only a TV show with some excellent actors playing their parts very convincingly ;-)

    If I hadn’t already loved Steve and Danno, I absolutely would after this finale. I felt so sorry for Danno who was just adorable with little Charlie and so great in doing the right thing by not letting Rachel’s hurting and belated revelation of the truth affect his children. He’s the best father one could have, and I truly hope he’ll have many years with Charlie to catch up for the three lost years. Steve was just great, too, in lending an open ear to Danno and giving him useful advice and just being a true and supportive friend to him. Their moments together were some of the best in this finale.

    These last two episodes of the season gave us everything we love about the show: A lot of personal moments for the team members, very exciting cases with our Five-0 heroes saving the day (and Honolulu!) – and we got to see our beloved `ohana gathering for the wedding. While there weren’t any “major” cliffhangers as in the first three seasons, I would say there are quite a few unfinished storylines that make a Season 6 more than likely – All the fans want to see the actual wedding take place and, of course, we are all curious to find out what Gabriel has in store for Chin and his colleagues in the future. And, last but not least, we would love to see a happy ending for Steve and Catherine. So let’s all look forward to Season 6 which should get confirmed by CBS this Wednesday, May 13.

    Thank you to everyone on my favorite show for a fantastic Season 5 and “Happy Birthday” to executive producer Peter Lenkov who will, hopefully, take note of the birthday collage posted on the Five-0 Redux Facebook page :-) https://www.facebook.com/Five0Redux.

  • Mary Tomshack

    Wow! Just Wow! Like Danno’s ape friend said, Wow. The conversations between McG and Danno were awesome. The best parts of the show. It was all so fantastic, I don’t even know where to start. I have already watched it three times and it gets better each time I watch it. I’ll hit the high points, ( for me anyway). Danno’s reaction when he found out that Charlie is his son. Danno is always amazing, but an emotional Danno is a thing of beauty. I loved when Steve told Danno he was proud of him. So cute. That is the second time he has told Danno that. He also said that when Grace was texting her boyfriend. I loved when Kono and Catherine were watching them drop the bomb. They both looked so stressed and worried. And when Kono grabbed Catherine’s hand, that
    was truly an Ohana moment. The show was fantastic. The only dark cloud is waiting for an official announcement that the gang will be back next season. I read on facebook once someone said they were praying for a renewal of this show. I also am praying for that. I need this show in my life at least one more season. It would be better if there were more, but I understand nothing lasts forever. But, please, at least one more. After a rough week, we all need the gang there to provide us with laughs,
    action, adventure, bromance, (lots of it) and romance.

  • Ryan Fluck

    Great article! I absolutely agreed with everything you said and I do agree that I hope this is the season finale and not the series, I would be heartbroken if they left it like that.

  • Susan M

    I’m thinking they need to do 2-hour episodes every week…it was like a mini movie! I agree that the slower pace overall, the crossover storylines and the 2 great crime plots worked really well. Great synopsis, Wendie, so to keep this short, I’ll just add that I liked the underplayed reunion between Steve & Cath and their final words to each other that they missed each other. Hopefully, Cath is back as his girlfriend but she doesn’t have to be in every episode. An ongoing, mature relationship would work great, kind of like Marshall Dillon & Miss Kitty. (I just dated myself, didn’t I? :O ) Mahalo to all!

  • pauldunn1

    Wendie,
    Great review as always. I enjoyed both eps, but I am very interested and hopeful that we get news that the series has been renewed for season 6.
    Paul

  • KAD1228

    I didn’t realize how much I missed McDanno until watching them together, in action, again last night! It was so good, and felt so much like s1!! Steve and Danny really are awesome together. That’s what this show needs is more of what they wrote last night, the sit-on-the-edge-of-your-seat greatness!

    I just knew that the boy was Danny’s and figured it was Rachel who was ill, I never expected sweet little Charlie to be sick. It wasn’t right what she did to him. If she was so concerned that her children wouldn’t have a father then why did she marry a cop. She’s going to have to do a lot of groveling to make it right with Danny.

    Funny how everyone’s perspectives are different. I thought quite the opposite about Steve and Catherine. He shock at seeing her was evident and after that it was just awkward. He even seemed at a loss trying to answer Danny’s questions. She had a death grip on him and even for the quick kiss, he pulled away. Her intentions were clear, but not his. To me. She dropped off the face of the earth for a year and still was able to have access to so much intel. Really? Again, my feelings.

    All in all it was a delightful 2 hours. These episodes made up for some of the others over the season that weren’t quite as good. Now to just hear good news about s6!

    Happy Mothers Day to all the lovely ladies on this blog.

  • Eric Fitch

    I’m a big fan of Catherine and McGarrett/Catherine. I have to slightly disagree with some conclusions about Catherine’s intentions. To me, her desire to be back permanently and with Steve was evident in her answer when Steve asked: “How long are you staying?” and she answered “How long do you want me to stay?”. She knows that she needs permission to be “back” from Steve since she was the one who went away, even if it was for good reasons that Steve agreed with. It was a great tease on the writer’s part in not letting us hear Steve’s answer! As for those who think this relationship takes away from McGarrett’s other relationships, I say McGarrett has enough Aloha in his heart for his romantic love (Catherine), his brotherly love (Danno, Chin, Kono, Lou, Duke, Max, etc.) and the rest of the H50 Ohana!

    • Susan M

      I agree, Eric. They have a realistic, mature relationship and this episode was well-written to reflect that. Their last remarks to each other, about missing each other, implies a tentative yet promising outcome for them.

    • edmattes763

      I too agree. We saw Steve and Catherine as a couple almost from the beginning. Also, Freddy Hart, who was Steve’s best friend before Danny, saw that they were good for each other.

  • Robin Jane Bridges

    I agree with what you said, Wendy. I do wonder how Catherine found put about the wedding. I wonder who has been letting her know what is going on back in Hawai’i.

  • Rhonda

    Great review,Wendie! These two episodes were a great day to end the season! I just hope we get a sixth season-I would love to see what happens with Chin & Gabriel!

  • Starryfish

    And it’s a renewal! Yay!