Five-0 Redux: Toughing it out
BY WENDIE BURBRIDGE / Special to the Star-Advertiser
After a long, rather crazy week at work, it’s great to see “Hawaii Five-0” dish up a fun episode, full of really cool motorcycle tricks, a killer car chase and a Tough Mudder competition to fill in any gaps for the night.
I know fans want to read about the Tough Mudder scenes, as they were the big tease for the last few weeks. Fans loved seeing promo pics with McGarrett (Alex O’Loughlin), Danno (Scott Caan), Chin (Daniel Dae Kim) and Kono (Grace Park) in their Five-0hana uniforms getting down and dirty — as ʻohana should when faced with a tough competition.
This week, “Ka ʻalapahi nui” (“Big Lie”) followed the Five-0 team as they trained for the Tough Mudder competition in order to support the Honolulu Police Department’s “Widows and Orphans” fund. In actuality, there’s an organization called the Honolulu Police Relief Association (HPRA), while the Kauaʻi Police Department has the ʻOhana Blue Kauaʻi Police Relief Association. I’m sure many police departments no longer call their internal relief organizations something as old fashioned, but I bet it was a quick way for the team to explain who they were supporting in their charity efforts.
According to its website, the Tough Mudder competition is a “team-oriented 10-12 mile obstacle course designed to test physical strength and mental grit.” And while I’m sure many of us would agree that the Five-0 team has little need to prove their physical strength and mental grit, it was fun to watch a bit of the obstacles as the team raced through them at the end of the episode.
It was cute when Kono shoved Danno into the mud pool during training; the smile on his face was priceless. All in good fun, and good spirits; that’s probably what I loved the most about the Tough Mudder scenes. They really did show how much the team helps each other and relies on each other, all while giving each other hell.
I loved how they made Max (Masi Oka) their team doctor and Lou (Chi McBride) their coach and trainer, although it would have been fun to see Lou get covered in mud. But his great speech before the competition said it all.
I found it interesting that Danno got hurt during the race. I suppose it was because he had mentioned he wasn’t going to stretch to McGarrett, so of course, he bachi-d himself (in Hawaiʻi “bachi” is a Japanese term that means the same as what goes around comes around; a bit like karma). I thought it ironic as we know that Caan is extremely athletic and fit. Still, it does go along with his character as the Jersey boy who doesn’t like the water. And, I guess, exercise.
I kind of hoped they would show more of the course, as I was very intrigued. I really wanted to see King of the Swings, the Funky Monkey and Electroshock Therapy — all real events in a Tough Mudder challenge. Still, if the team is only as strong as their weakest link, according to Lou, then this team had very little to worry about.
Yet, that wasn’t quite the case for our victim of the week, Kevin Harper (Joseph Palmore). Harper, who at the start of the episode was set to give what seemed to be a damning deposition, was gunned down by a machine-gun toting motorcycle madman just after he raised his hand to testify. Not to be morbid, but the entire scene with the motorcyclist riding into the elevator and through the offices, then making his getaway by jumping from one building to another, was super cool.
But so unrealistic. Only a true stuntman could do that, right? Jeff Cadiente and his crew outdid themselves this week. The motorcycle tricks were so exciting to watch; all of the riding in between cars, popping wheelies (do they still call it that?) and speeding through the H-3 tunnels was amazing. And when McG and Danno chased the victim’s daughter and her killer boyfriend along H-3 (not H-1 as the newscaster reported) that was one of the best car chases I’ve seen in a while.
Last week, we got an amazing motorcycle ride with Chin and the Ko’olau, and this week we got a lot of that same awesome view, just with trick motorcycles to watch as well. I loved how Chin had a bigger part in this episode. His scene with motorcycle stuntman and performer Robbie Knievel, who aptly played Mike, a Montgomery Powersports (a real motorcycle dealership on Oahu) mechanic and good buddy of Chin’s, was a good set-up as Chin has ridden a motorcycle since season one and would most likely be the one to investigate where the killer’s bike came from.
I also loved seeing Chin and his big gun take on the motorcycle gang as well as the truck hijackers. When Chin shows up with his big guns, you know there’s going to be hell to pay.
While the team chased the Warrior808 motorcycle gang, who were too young to catch a “Top Gun” allusion, and interrogated a Samoan gangster (who stated the obvious truth when he said to Kono, “Sistah, does it look like I can ride a motorcycle off a building?”) as they tried to find the motive behind Harper’s murder, I kept thinking that Harper was paying off Messer because of a big secret. It’s the only reason why you rip off your own business to pay someone $800,000.
And what a secret it was: Another family. I’m sure many saw that coming, but did you guess it was his own daughter who killed him? That part I had a hard time buying. Why would she kill her own father? Oh, I know, it’s been done before, but most motives come down to money.
I think the killing would have made a lot more sense to me if she had been set to inherit or at last get something financial in the future. The fact that she wanted to protect her mother by killing her father, and then walk away — effectively leaving her mother with nothing — seemed far-fetched. Still, she was only 17 and in love with a bad boy, so perhaps that was also part of her characterization. I only wish the motive could have been a little stronger for patricide.
Perhaps it’s still just another cliché to have a character kill because of money, but really those are the reasons behind most murders. Love, money, and of course, big lies. In the end, even if you have a family, if your relationship with them is based on nothing but lies, one day your bonds will be broken. And no matter how much love there is, once the mud starts to sling and everyone gets dirty, it’s very difficult to clean up that kind of mess.
REDUX SIDE NOTE
I always enjoy seeing Hawaiʻi actors on “Hawaii Five-0,” and while Dennis Chun, Taylor Wily, and Shawn Mokuahi Garnett had more humorous scenes this week, others had their own moments.
Hawaiʻi actress Darcie Mayo, who has trained with Scott Rogers Studios and is represented by ADR, played the paralegal who swore in our bigamist victim Kevin Harper. She shared the scene with real-life Hawaiʻi attorney John Choi, who played Harper’s lawyer.
Returning for another episode was another fan favorite, Keo Woolford as Det. James Chang. He was the officer who shut down the building as Kevin Harper gave his testimony. Woolford has been in several episodes as Detective/Sgt. Chang since he was first seen in the season two opener, “Haʻiʻole.” If you have not seen his film, “The Haumāna,” you are missing an amazing movie. The film was written and directed by Woolford, who is a talented hula dancer himself, having trained under kumu hula Robert Cazimero as a member of his halau, Nā Kamalei o Lililehua.
Recent Hawaiʻi transplant Anna Klein, who played Harper’s Maui wife, Lisa Messer, is a seasoned stage and film actress who has trained in Los Angeles and New York.
And I hope you didn’t miss the sassy scene between Kono and local recording artist Siaosi, who played Samoan bad guy Ira Laulu. Siaosi is best known for his reggae and R&B music and will perform at the Mai Tai Bar at Ala Moana Center on Friday.
Wendie Burbridge is a published author, playwright and teacher. Reach her via Facebook and follow her on Twitter.