Ah, “Hawaii Five-0,” you have revived me. You stopped my drifting into a sea of television dramadies or into police procedural doldrums and given me a lifeline back to what made me start watching in the first place.
This week’s offering, “Lana I Ka Moana,” or “Adrift,” was, of course, a comment on the basis for the episode. The “lana” in the title, “Lana I Ka Moana,” does mean “adrift” in Hawaiian, but it also means “floating or afloat.”
“I Ka Moana” adds “ocean or open sea” to the title, so really the title translates as “afloat in the open sea.” Which is what happened in the episode with McG and Danno. But according to T. Ilihia Gionson, Hawaiian language speaker and expert, “adrift sounds more like a statement that there’s no direction. Afloat, which is how I translate ‘lana,’ is a statement that despite all that could pull one down, one perseveres and is still floating.”
I think this is a beautiful way to describe the first part of season three. In the third episode of the season, the show was adrift — but now seems to have found a lifeline and will persevere. From the start of the episode, we found our heroes, McG and Danno, set adrift at sea after their deep-sea excursion to catch a tuny fish goes weirdly wrong.
Who would think that the head of a law enforcement task force and his intrepid partner would find themselves in a leaky dingy off the coast of O‘ahu without their guns and badges? I can’t decide whether it was bad luck for McG and Danno or worse luck for the guy who decided to mess with them. But, regardless if we find the set up feasible or not, the sea-guments (or boat-guments? Dingy-ments? How do you translate “car-gument” if it doesn’t happen in a car?) were classic McGarrett and Danno bromance at its best. I didn’t care if the boat-jacking or the procedural around what happened to them was believable or not, I had an excellent time watching and bobbing along until they caught their killer — thankfully, on dry land and not while under arrest — or as guests on “Shark Week.”
Besides the great dialogue, I loved how writer/executive producer Elwood Reid streamlined the procedural and gave several characters time to develop their relationships, and for some, time to exercise a few of their demons. We saw more of Danno’s backstory — why he hates the ocean, or perhaps why he is afraid of it — along with McGarrett’s clarification about his “thing” with Catherine, as well as his delineation between “spying and locating.” And Chin was able to mourn a little more for his recently murdered wife. These were all elements I asked for in my review of “Kānalua.”
I have to say, one my favorite parts of this episode was watching McG and Danno adrift. When Danno caught the tuna and yelled at McG to “stop backseat fishing,” his distinction that it is not manly to smile in a picture with a large fish, as well as his mistaken use of “be all that you can be,” for Navy SEAL McGarrett. And Danno’s “Shark Week” instruction to punch the shark in the nose, and his declaration that McGarrett is a “danger-magnet,” was everything we were all thinking right?
Yet all the scenes at sea were great — terrific interplay between the two friends, as well as a bit of good-natured ribbing, mixed with a bit of serious discussion. It was more about two friends bonding, as well as surviving a potentially harrowing situation, and then, in typical “Five-0” fashion, processing a crime scene and then being arrested.
I know, I know, how many times do our guys have to be arrested for something they obviously didn’t do? I’m sure some of you like seeing McG and/or Danno in handcuffs, barefoot, and semi-shirtless — separately or at the same time — but the show’s called “Hawaii Five-0” not “Five-0 Shades of Grey.”
The scene when Chin and Kono are staking out the killer’s apartment was great — the moment Chin takes to look at his wedding picture with Malia and then their discussion about Adam is a nice bit of foreshadowing of what could potentially be coming in the future. There are many of us rooting for Kono and Adam to work out their professional differences, and I think Adam is a “good guy,” but I agree with Chin — it’s not Adam I’m worried about, and I think Kono may get burned before her relationship even has a chance to really warm up.
Chin’s McGarrett-like stunt off the side of the building, as well as Kono’s nice swipe of the perp’s leg to bring him down, added some nice action to the episode. Perhaps we didn’t have car chases or shootouts in the middle of downtown, but the touches of action still added to the drama.
I thought the wrap-up of the procedural portion of the episode was well done. For once, the case the team works to solve doesn’t overtake the character development set up from the start. And the ending scene with Kamekona turning Danno’s “tuny fish” into poke, plus the salute to Billy Selway, Danno’s friend who died in the riptide that made him dislike the ocean, as well as Chin’s declaration that he still wants to take care of Kono, was perfect.
Like most Hawai‘i families, sharing a meal and teasing and sharing are prime ‘ohana moments. Which only confirms how we all see the “Five-0” team — as a family. And in this episode, the family seems to no longer be adrift.
Redux Side Note:
The actor who portrayed “Coast Guard Officer #1” in Monday’s episode — the officer who announces that there was a dead body below deck, was played by real life USCG Petty Officer 1st Class Ekahi Lee. I love how “Hawaii Five-0” tries to use actors who are the real deal when portraying the military. Nice way to support the troops, “Five-0.”
A recap from last week’s episode: many fans were fascinated by Kahu Kordell Kekoa’s Hawaiian prayer chant during the opening ceremony when Chin scatters Malia’s ashes at sea. Kahu Kekoa was kind enough to send me the Hawaiian translation of the prayer, which was Psalm 121:1-2. The Hawaiian is as beautiful as the verse.
E leha aku au I ko‘u mau maka I nā mauna,
I will lift up my eyes to the hills,
Ma laila mai ko‘u kōkua e hiki mai ai.
From where comes my help.
Mai Iehova mai ko‘u kōkua,
My help comes from the Lord,
Nāna nō I hana I ka lani, a me ka honua.
The Maker of heaven and of earth.
Amene no ke Akua apau. Amene.
Amen to the Everlasting God. Amen.
The song that played in the background of the paddle out scene was “The Sound of The Sea Surrounds Me” by The Brothers Cazimero, a Hawaiian music duo made up of brothers Roland and Robert Cazimero. The brothers have written, recorded and performed Hawaiian music for more than 35 years and are credited for helping revive and popularize not only contemporary Hawaiian music, but also traditional mele (songs and chants) and hula.
Wendie Burbridge is a published author, playwright and teacher who lives and works in Honolulu. Reach her via Facebook and follow her on Twitter.