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Five-0 Redux: Playing the game
BY WENDIE BURBRIDGE / Special to the Star-Advertiser
Vince Lombardi once said, “People who work together will win, whether it be against complex football defenses, or the problems of modern society.”
Thanks to the man who not only lent his name to the Super Bowl trophy, but who also won two Super Bowls himself, we have the overall theme of this week’s “Hawaii Five-0.”
“Pā‘ani,” which CBS translates as “The Game,” centered around the Pro Bowl, which was held last month at Aloha Stadium on O‘ahu. The NFL all-star game, which matches the best players from the AFC and the NFC, gave “Hawaii Five-0″ an opportunity to meld sports into the action of the show. And since the Hawaiian word pā‘ani really means “to play, sport or game,” what better way to bring the two favorite pastimes of men — as well as it seems, of McG and Danno, together as one.
Sports (in this case, football) and action (in this episode, murder). Gives new meaning to tailgating, wouldn’t you say?
The Pro Bowl was held in Hawai‘i for 33 straight years, from 1980 to 2009, as well as the last three years. 2010’s Pro Bowl was played in Miami, and the Pro Bowl’s future will be decided in April. It is typically a week when professional athletes come to bask in tropical weather with their families and end their vacation time with a friendly game of football.
This year, Houston Texans player Arian Foster got a chance to not only play in his fourth Pro Bowl, but also to play himself on “Hawaii Five-0.” He gave the Five-0 team a much-needed clue and gave Danno a chance to figure out his fairy tale football team — much to the chagrin of McG.
There was a lot of sports banter in this episode (who is the greatest quarterback of our generation, who is the better team among the Cowboys, Jets and Redskins, and who should McG go to the Pro Bowl with). It’s too bad Danno didn’t stick with Cath, since she got to meet his favorite quarterback, Payton Manning. Maybe it’s the girls who really know how to play the game.
But perhaps McGarrett is right; some people are sometimes busier playing real games than fantasy ones. And the fantasy has to do with the business Davies was involved in before someone killed him. Computer chips, digital intelligence, Internet espionage, whatever you want to call it; it’s all based in fantasy.
Davis had been warning his boss, Redding, that the chips that they are making are not worth anything. And of course, Chin finds out that because of insurance, Davis is worth more to his company dead than alive. So it was the boss who killed his prize employee with the gun at the faux play-soldier compound. Good thing McGarrett and Danno caught him with a flying escalator tackle to end the game.
And what a win, with both McGarrett and Danno taking one for the team! McG suffered a shoulder injury, while Danno has to watch Cath and Kono on the sidelines from a hospital waiting room. But, in a sense, the entire Five-0 team made it to the game — cousins Kamekona and Flippa (Shawn Mokuahi Garnett) sat with the ironically dressed Max enjoying Danno and McG’s seats, while Chin and Duke (who looked like he pulled through after being shot by the “Hookman”), discussed Kono’s better offer from Cath.
Last night’s episode had a several special guest stars, not only Arian Foster, but also Train lead singer Pat Monahan, who played the very anti-rock star, Neil Redding, the boss of Scott Davis, the victim whose murder the Five-0 team worked to solve. The episode started with a more real than simulated training maneuver, complete with paint guns, good guy camouflage, and a chopper drop off.
More games and more guns — all very “Hawaii Five-0.”
Veteran actor Larry Manetti returned to his Hawai‘i roots, playing a character very similar to his King Kamehameha Club managing, Orville “Rick” Wright from “Magnum P.I.” In the “Five-0″ timeline, his character, Nicky “The Kid” Demarco, is a lounge singer at the very real La Mariana Sailing Club, and was nicknamed and trained by Frank Sinatra. He is also an old friend of “little Stevie” McGarrett’s dad, Jack.
Nicky helps Danno and McG find the link between their victim and the woman who seemed to have set up Davis’s death. I did love how they created a very large opening for Manetti to return to “Five-0,” as a link to McGarrett’s dad, as well as perhaps an informer. I just hope in future episodes he doesn’t have to sing.
Manetti’s acting was great — it was such a homecoming of sorts to see him in the show. They’ve already had T.C.’s chopper in the episode when Danno helped Kamekona buy his helicopter, so now all we need is Roger E. Mosley, who played T.C. in “Magnum P.I.” to show up to give Kamekona flying lessons, and Tom Selleck, who is currently playing NYPD Police Commissioner Frank Reagan on “Blue Bloods,” to visit his fellow brothers in blue — and it will be a “Five-0″ and “Magnum” crossover on an epic level.
Director Jeffrey Hunt had a very interesting script to work with this week. Writers Kyle Harimoto and David Wolkove gave him a big chunk to chew on by incorporating three special guest stars, a confusing procedural, as well as some major action and stunt scenes to work into the mix. But I wasn’t disappointed in the episode or how Hunt expertly wove all of that into a fun episode, which included a lot of the cast, as well as some nice bromantic moments between McG and Danno.
Actor Dennis Chun, “Sgt. Duke Lukela,” said that Hunt “is the kind of director who gives an actor room to create and try things.” And that was evident in the episode. The epilogue to the procedural seemed very much like a scene Hunt would feel comfortable enough to let his actors do what they do best, and he would just enjoy being there to capture them on camera. So McGarrett throws a nice forward pass to Danno, with a Payton Manning signed ball, while a generous Cath looks on.
Sometimes Danno, it’s not whether you win or lose, but how you play the game. And Hunt definitely knows how to play “Five-0″ games and give us a strong episode without much fuss or extra drama. I can’t wait for more.
Redux Side Note:
Daniel Dae Kim is reaching out into the local theatre world and producing a play, “Hold These Truths,” which plays through March 2 at Tenney Theatre. “Ke Koa” actor Joel de la Fuente (Shane Kawano) stars in the production; click here to read more about the production.
Next week’s “Hawaii Five-0” is a repeat of “Lana I Ka Moana” and a special episode will air on Saturday, March 2 — a replay of season two’s “Kālele.” I’ll be back here next Tuesday with an interview with director Jeffrey Hunt.
Wendie Burbridge is a published author, playwright and teacher who lives and works in Honolulu. Reach her via Facebook and follow her on Twitter.