Five-0 Redux: Sifting through the ashes
BY WENDIE BURBRIDGE / Special to the Star-Advertiser
I love when “Hawaii Five-0” presents a case that reminds me of the good old days. With McGarrett (Alex O’Loughlin) and Danno (Scott Caan) taking the lead on a case and Chin (Daniel Dae Kim) and Lou (Chi McBride) adding their investigative skills and big guns to the chase. Usually Kono (Grace Park) is right long for the ride, but she was a little busy this week rehabbing her new husband and being stalked by the Yakuza.
No matter the line up — which this time included Catherine (Michelle Borth), who added her “free” help to the team — this is just how fans like them.
“Lehu a Lehu,” which in Hawaiian means “Ashes to Ashes,” was a strong police procedural mixed with a healthy dose of the team’s personal drama. Add in two explosions, complete with flying stunt men and killer visuals, as well as a bomb squad robot in action and a McG style car chase, and you have the makings for a season favorite.
The case brought back serial arsonist Jason Duclair (MMA fighter and former UFC Champion Randy Couture), who the team caught last season. That also helped to increase the applause meter. How writer John Dove brought him back was pretty clever; I loved the cat and mouse game he played with McGarrett. Director Sylvain White did a great job with Dove’s script, as I do love an episode that keeps me guessing, doesn’t play by the rules and then leaves me laughing, albeit a bit darkly, in the end.
After a car bomb killed a member of the Honolulu Police Department’s bomb squad, McGarrett and Danny were eager to find the cop killer. They’re sent a message via a second decoy, which was placed in the newsroom of Hawaii News Now. It held a flash drive with articles and pictures of the suspect’s favorite serial arsonist, Jason Duclair, as well as a creepy altered-voice reciting a version of the nursery rhyme “Ladybug, Ladybug.” (The poem, ironically enough, includes a line that goes: “your house is on fire and your children are gone.”)
Chin explained it was an old rhyme about farmers burning their fields to get rid of bugs, and that once the fields were burned, ladybugs could fly away but their larvae would be left behind to die in the fire. The poem was changed to mention Duclair: “Except for Duclair, who sits in despair, weaving his laces as fast as he can, release him from prison or more will be damned.”
Just a perfect bedtime story for an arsonist and his new pupil, right? Chin further deciphered that perhaps the Poet (what the team starts to call Duclair’s protege) was planning to break Duclair out of prison.
McG and Danno head to Halawa to ask Duclair to help them catch the Poet. They know it’s a long shot that he’ll give them any info without wanting a bit of Lecter-like quid-pro-quo action, but they are willing to try. When that goes south, McGarrett promised Duclair, “You will never see the light of day.”
Of course, McG had to eat his words when the Poet forced McGarrett to walk Duclair out of Halawa the following morning. Chin wired up a pair of boots for Duclair to wear on his grand exit from Halawa, and the team tracked him so they could catch the Poet as well as put Duclair back behind bars. After the Poet derails them a bit by wiring a van to go boom outside of Five-0 Headquarters, McGarrett and Danno leave Duclair in Maunawili and drive off.
Yes, I’m not kidding. They really do leave him and watch his orange jumpsuit get smaller in their rearview mirror. I definitely did not see that coming. The Poet arrives, and he’s actually a fish — well, his name is Andre Trout (Rob Welsh) — and he doesn’t want to be Duclair, he wanted to kill him. I guess he saw himself as someone who would become even more famous than Duclair if he died with him.
Yeah, let’s just call this a new brand of crazy. Firebugs who want to die in the same flames as their favorite flame-makers. I guess I can’t judge.
And what a great way to wrap up the Duclair story. He gets away from Trout, and so McGarrett and Danno charge into trying to find him. Even Sgt. Duke (Dennis Chun) tried to tell McGarrett everyone was looking for Duclair and his number one fan to no avail. They had birds in the air, dogs on the scent, all the acronyms beating the bushes for the two fire loving crazies, because the worst place they could be would be in a rain forest full of wet wood and water-soaked leaves.
Yes, I’m being sarcastic. I’d want them to be found too. It was just kind of cool to see how quickly McG could get everyone motivated to find a killer. We all want that to happen all the time, right? But it is not always an easy task if you know how often hikers get lost in Hawaii forests, especially in the Maunawili area.
But like a great story, the twist comes quickly and unexpectedly. Duclair basically turned himself in, and gave McGarrett the key to what happened to Trout, all while enjoying a last supper at Hy’s Steak House (an amazing restaurant on Kūhiō Avenue in Waikīkī).
Duclair, gave the best ending to the case. When McGarrett asked what happened to Trout and he gives McG a long-winded tale about how after being free, he now understood himself and that freedom was his prison. I loved that. But what I loved even more was the gift he gave McGarrett: Troutʻs ashes in a jar. What a perfect ending for the arsonist to give his own biggest fan.
While the story wrapped up nicely, there were a few personal dramas that did not end well for the home team.
Kono and Adam (Ian Anthony Dale) seem to be working on being a married couple who now live in Kono’s small, but adorable, single family home in Mānoa. Gone is the big house in Portlock with the $10 million dollar view. Well, I’m sure our newlyweds don’t want to return to that house where Gabriel (Christopher Sean) tortured them and ruined their honeymoon.
While Adam is healing, the couple must also deal with a strange car watching their home. Kono, frustrated by the lack of Gabriel sightings and the fear that the Yakuza could kill them at any moment, seems a little on edge. While Adam tried to reassure her they won’t hurt them — they want their money, and if the couple dies, they will really never see it — it still doesn’t seem to sit well Kono.
And it seems she has a right to be suspicious, especially when she finds the two Yakuza goons dead in their car late one night. That does not bode well for our still very much in love couple. I so adore them. They both know the perfect thing to say to the other to calm and soothe. It’s lovely and so very real. I just hope it continues to work out for the two of them. If nothing else we know they have been through a lot, what’s one more threat to their lives? Not like they haven’t dealt with that kind of thing before.
While we’re on the couples discussion, two couples seemed to be getting along famously as well this week. McG and Danno had some great bromantic moments. I’m always a fan of that. Their discussion about proposing to Cath as an “op” was spot on perfect. Any military man who saw that scene probably nodded their heads in agreement and thought there was absolutely nothing wrong with asking a woman to “join him in a lifelong mission” as a way to propose marriage.
And what about that proposal? Cath and McG seemed to have a few sweet moments this week. Now fans are wondering when he’s going to ask, and if she will say yes.
REDUX SIDE NOTE
In case you missed it, Hawaii News Now anchors Stephanie Lum and Keahi Tucker played themselves in this week’s episode. I love seeing Hawaiʻi people on “Hawaii Five-0.”
The best part was watching Tucker as he practiced reading the news behind the anchor desk in a jacket and tie, while underneath his desk he wore surf shorts and slippers. Tucker is local boy from Kauaʻi, who graduated from Waimea High School and went to the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, which makes me wonder how much of that scene actually plays out in the newsroom on a regular basis!
Wendie Burbridge is a published author, playwright and teacher. Reach her via Facebook and follow her on Twitter.