Five-0 Redux: A ‘Five-0′ Kalikimaka
BY WENDIE BURBRIDGE / Special to the Star-Advertiser
Christmas in Hawaiʻi is a pretty interesting affair. We don’t have snow; very few fireplaces to hang stockings; and Santa wears red shorts and rubber slippahs rather than black boots and snow pants. Yet if you are one of the many who has spent Christmas in the islands, you know that we still celebrate like the rest of the world. We may not head out into the snow to cut down our own tree or bundle up in our Christmas best to weather the cold— but we still decorate our homes with too many lights, hang our ornaments with care, and hope that Santa surfs up to our door with presents and aloha to spare
After watching this week’s repeat of the season five episode “Ke Koho Mamao Aku” (“Longshot”), I started thinking about how the Five-0 team has celebrated Christmas over the last five seasons. And while they have embraced both traditional and Hawaiian holiday customs, they have certainly come a long way from the first time they wished each other Mele Kalikimaka in 2010.
In season one, the team celebrated Christmas for the first time in “Hana ‘a‘a Makehewa” (“Desperate Measures”). Written by Carol Barbee and Kyle Harimoto, based on a story by Peter Lenkov, this Christmas episode introduced us to Danno’s deep desire to always make Christmas perfect for his daughter, including dressing up like Santa and having a traditional tree.
Overall it was a pretty heavy episode— Chin Ho (Daniel Dae Kim) is kidnapped by Victor Hesse (James Marsters) and held captive via electronic noose in front of the Five-0 Headquarters. The team race to get the $10 million Hesse demands for Chin’s freedom. McGarrett (Alex O’Loughlin) raids the asset forfeiture locker for the money to save their friend— which, of course, just opens up a whole new batch of problems with the team’s real nemesis— Wo Fat (Mark Dacascos). Season one set us on the “all roads lead to Wo Fat” course, and this episode was just the start of the assault on McGarrett and the team.
Luckily, everyone was able to celebrate Christmas once the neck-bomb was deactivated. It was nice to see the team happily gather at Danno’s (Scott Caan) place to celebrate with little Gracie (Teilor Grubbs). It was a sweet ending after a long, and terrifying, day. Director Chris Fisher paced the episode well, keeping the tension of Chin’s deadly predicament the team’s main focus, but still included the ʻohana elements that we have all come to love in a Five-0 episode.
The last episode in season two was a little different, as there was no real mention of Christmas. The real focus in “Alaheo Pau ‘Ole” (“Gone Forever”) was Chin and Malia’s (Reiko Aylesworth) wedding. The episode was a sweet one, as it helped confirm the love between the pair whose relationship had once been another loss Chin suffered when he was accused of stealing from the HPD and was forced to resign. Written by Elwood Reid and directed by Jeff T. Thomas, the episode can’t really be called a “Christmas” episode, but the wedding did give it a festive feel and helped 2011 end on a positive note for the team.
In season three’s “Kahu” (“Guardian”), directed by Bryan Spicer and written by Noah Nelson, Christmas was back on for the Five-0 team. McGarrett and Catherine (Michelle Borth) start off the episode talking about their Christmas plans, until they are unceremoniously interrupted by a tweaker (Kainalu Hecomovich) who I think only wanted their ‘ono Rainbow Drive-In plate lunches.
The episode’s procedural was one that focused on McGarrett being a sort of father figure to a wayward young boy. If we think about Christmas, helping others and bringing families together are two major tenets of the holiday— and this episode does both. The episode ended with the entire team sitting with Santa Kamekona (Taylor Wily) passing out presents and McGarrett whisking away Cath for a romantic surprise. All in all another Christmas episode that brought the team together to celebrate the season.
2013 ended with a really interesting Christmas episode. “Pukana” (“Keepsake”), written by Bill Haynes and directed by Bryan Spicer, focused on a really messed up serial killer who liked to keep the fingers of his victims. Unfortunately, Chin happens to find himself at the right house at the wrong time and is almost the killer’s next victim.
While I wasn’t a fan of the procedural, I loved the side story of Danno and Gracie’s Christmas together, and their search for the owner of a Japanese puzzle box and the locket secreted inside. The ending was lovely as Danno and Gracie travel to Japan to return the box to a tsunami survivor who lost his wife and daughter. If anything, this Christmas episode reminded us of just how lucky we are to be able to spend the holidays with those we love.
Last year’s Christmas episode “Ke Koho Mamao Aku” (“Longshot”) was not as heavy as other end of the year shows, but I loved that fact that it took us to another island for the world to see. Written by Sue Palmer and directed by Bryan Spicer, the episode allowed us to see Mauna Loa in the HI-SEAS (Hawaiʻi Space Exploration Analog and Simulation) scenes at the start of the episode, as well as the world of horses and ranching. Some viewers may not associate either images with our island state, as many only think of Diamond Head and Waikīkī Beach when Hawaiʻi is mentioned.
While the Christmas references in this episode were a little stretched— tree shopping on the beach and Officer Kai’s (Shawn Thomsen) bulldog investigation into McG and Danno cutting down their own tree in a protected reserve— I did love that the Five-0 ʻohana came together in the end to gather around the tree and sing Christmas carols. I think that is the best part of any Christmas episode, when the team is whole and happy.
This seasonʻs Christmas episode “Ka Mākau Kaʻa Kaua” (“The Sweet Science”), written by John Dove and directed by Bryan Spicer (who has directed every Christmas episode since season three)— was probably my favorite episode out of all the Christmas episodes. But like “Alaheo Pau ‘Ole” (“Gone Forever”), it was light on the Christmas elements.
Yet it did have a great mention of Hanukkah from Max (Masi Oka) and the Jewish traditions surrounding the holiday. I did appreciate their use of the menorah and the yarmulkas and Max’s patient explanation to the team about what it all meant to him and his family. The fact that Max is ethnically Japanese made it even better, as so many people in Hawaiʻi are mixed racially and religiously.
Still the episode focused on family. The case itself was about the murder of Ben Nakano (Joseph Kim), the older brother of Hawaiʻi boxer Luke (Lewis Tan) who is facing his biggest opponent for the welterweight championship. Five-0 friend, Nicky DeMarco (Larry Manetti) acts as a father figure to Luke. Add in the heartbreaking ending with the team coming to comfort Kono (Grace Park) after she says good-bye to Adam (Ian Anthony Dale)— and we have more than enough evidence of the deep aloha the team has for each other.
If we really think about it, Christmas is a great way for the team to celebrate not only the holiday, but also to solidify their bonds of friendship and ʻohana. Yet, even if it wasn’t Christmas, these elements are always present— no matter the time of year or season.
REDUX SIDE NOTE
The “Five-0 Redux” will continue with new posts every Saturday in the New Year. We hope you all had a lovely Mele Kalikimaka and wish you all a warm Hauʻoli Makahiki Hou! Mahalo for all of your support in 2015!