I know there are many people in Hawaiʻi who saw the previews for “Hawaii Five-0” and immediately recalled a real life elephant who rampaged through the streets of Honolulu, some 22 years ago. Tyke was her name, and she faced an ending that was not as sweet or satisfying as the one Mazie, the elephant we saw in the opening scene of Friday’s episode, experienced with Five-0.
This week’s episode, titled “Ka Haunaele” (“Rampage”), written by Sean O’Reilly, from a story by Steven Lilien and Bryan Wynbrandt, and directed by Jerry Levine, followed two parallel storylines surrounding a rampage of sorts, with the plot threads only interconnecting because of the episode’s title theme.
In Hawaiian, “haunaele” (pronounced how-nah-eh-leh) means “panic, riot, roughhouse, brawl, tumult, commotion, confusion, hubbub.” I do like when a theme makes so much sense within the episode and encompasses the subplot as well. The main storyline delved into the theft of a prototyped tactical suit of armor built for the U.S. military by Universal Exports CEO Clark Brighton (Ted King). McGarrett (Alex O’Loughlin) and crew have to find out why it’s been stolen and how they can stop it. This is a suit that has liquid skin that hardens when hit and there seems to be no firearm that can damage it, or stop the wearer– it is basically indestructible. So Kono (Grace Park) is right– the team is basically chasing after Iron Man.
Luckily for Five-0, even though Iron Man is seemingly unstoppable, he is also, part man. So he’s bound to make mistakes. But first, the crew has to decide what it is that Iron Man wants– and the answer is almost Shakespearean in nature. Basically, the suit is stolen for money and revenge. Ah, what fools these mortals be!
So while the main story focused on the Iron Man suit and finding who stole it from Brighton and Universal Exports, an obvious shadow company that deals with top secret defense contracts– it of course, gets the undivided attention of our resident Five-0 conspiracy theorist, Jerry.
Jerry wants to find out what the Hawaiian version of Area-51, Universal Exports, is really producing behind its bland, non-descript walls. And yet because he has no Five-0 credentials– a fact that is brought up by himself and Grover (Chi McBride), back to work and seemingly unscathed after taking his family on the lam last week— he can’t see all the cool top secret slim shady stuff that Brighton has locked up behind a retina scan and a blanket non-disclosure agreement.
I had to laugh when Danno (Scott Caan) said that giving Jerry a badge would be a bad idea as he believes in the existence of aliens. Groverʻs quip that they wouldnʻt give Jerry a gun was probably a good piece of advice to McG.
Which leaves Jerry to lick his wounded heart– as he still can’t play with the Five-0 big boys, yet he not only helps McGarrett figure out who wanted to steal the Iron man suit, he also spends the episode entertaining his baby sister, Isabel (Zuleyka Silver), a UCLA Law student who has turned her life toward animal rights activism. Isabel, ironically nicknamed “Chunk” because of her 12 lb. birth weight and not her obviously flawless current weight, has used her trip home to see big brother at work with Five-0, and turned it into a rescue mission of circus elephant Mazie.
Which brings us back to the opening scene of the episode, where we see NFL players and brothers, Michael Bennett of the Seattle Seahawks and Martellus Bennett of the New England Patriots, who guest starred as themselves, in a cab in Waikīkī. As the Bennetts help the Taxi Driver (Hawaiʻi actor and entertainer, Hanale Kaʻanapu) with a few insider tips for his son’s fantasy football team, they lament about the awful traffic, which is just another day in paradise. When they try to get to there destination on foot, thin their tracks when they see something that is not normal coming toward their stuck in gridlock cab. A 6,000 lb. elephant running and trumpeting headed down Kalākaua Avenue.
Yet once the beast finished terrorizing the two huge NFL players and the rest of the Waikīkī revelers, it seemed to have disappeared, and Five-0 is, of course, tasked to find out what happened to the circus act.
And it turns out that baby sis, Isabel, is the one who kidnapped big Mazie, and is determined to send the overworked and abused animal to an elephant refuge in Thailand. I guess she thinks that life will be better for the elephant if she just has to carrying around tourists and paint pictures with her trunk, than being chained and forced to perform tricks for little kids under the big tent.
She’s caught by Eric (Andrew Lawrence) who has been tasked by his Uncle Danno to look at the surveillance video of the elephant’s kidnapping. Jerry asks Eric to help him buy some time– and not tell McGarrett that it is his sister who is the animal-napper– so he can figure out what little Chunk is up to. When Isabel brings big bro to visit Mazie and makes her case about what brought her to give up law and save animals, one touch of her trunk gets Jerry to make the decision to help her– no matter what it will cost him with McGarrett and his position in Five-0.
I was happy to learn more about Jerry and his childhood growing up in Hawaiʻi. The story Isabel told of their dad taking them to Mākaha Beach was a sweet one, and it was good to learn more about Jerry and what he was like before he started signing documents with an X to fool forgers. But the story about missing the circus when they were kids because of the escaped circus elephant Tyke, was so very sad– both for the siblings storyline, and about the elephant and what happened to her as well.
The story Isabel told is absolutely true, and happened in Honolulu in 1994. Tyke escaped from a circus that was performing at the Blaisdell Arena, and had crushed her trainer and severely injured a groomer, before going on a rampage through the streets of Kakaʻako. She was shot 87 times in order to stop her terrifying rampage. She was a terrified animal, and the controversy that surrounds her death continues until today. Many people were horrified by how she was killed, and Isabel is right, parents would want to shield their children from something as scary and sad as what happened to the elephant.
I did like the way that the horrific story of what happened to Tyke, was a sort of impetus for Isabel to want to rescue animals, and not just strays and feral animals– but big beasts that are not as easy to save. I also liked the fact that Mazie’s story had a happy ending, and that the entire team got behind Jerry and Isabel to save the elephant. Eric helped by “crashing” his computer so he couldn’t tell McGarrett who the kidnapper was in the video, Max (Masi Oka) created the sedative to calm Mazie, enough to get into the truck provided by a skeptical Kamekona (Taylor Wily). The four Five-0 friends help Isabel get Mazie onto a ship headed for Thailand.
It was a team effort on both sides, as McG, Danno, Chin (Daniel Dae Kim), Kono, and Grover chase the Iron Man after he rampages through HPD headquarters and takes Officer David Atowa (real-life Honolulu Police officer Emmanuel DeJesus), the property clerk in the evidence locker, hostage. Atowa is forced to give him the key piece of evidence in a high-profile murder case– which Iron Man uses to bribe the defendant’s attorney to buy it from him for $50 million.
Of course, Five-0 is waiting for him at the drop, and McGarrett figures that the only way to stop an Iron Man, is to bulldoze him with an police SUV. Once McG gets the suit’s helmet off and finds that in truth, the thief is Hugh Foster (Hawaiʻi actor Nicholas Barnum), a disgruntled ex-employee who wants revenge because he thinks Brighton ruined his life.
While a lot of the episode was a bit far-fetched– Iron Man, another rampaging elephant on the streets of Honolulu, it was full of action and fun. The sweet moments helped to balance the believability of the episode. And the McG and Danno humor was perfect– Danno saying that the indestructible suit would help in continuing to keep him alive as McG’s partner– was really perfect. And McGarrett letting Jerry know that he knew what had gone down with Isabel and Mazie– was priceless.
Now if only we could know that Kono and Adam (Ian Anthony Dale) would be able to work out their trust and Gabriel issues. Then we would have had a perfect ending to this episode. But I have a feeling, that Kono and Adam are in for more of a bumpy ride. But at least Kono now knows that Gabriel (Christopher Sean) is still in the mix, and she and Chin (and the rest of the team as well) can figure out how to help Adam sever all his ties to the underworld so that the two of them could possibly be happy together once and for all.
REDUX SIDE NOTE:
Loved seeing Hawaiʻi actors this week– namely Dennis Chun, who plays Sgt. Duke Lukela, who helped the team in the stand-off with the Iron Man outside of the HPD headquarters. I loved how McGarrett allays his obvious worry over getting Officer Atowa back alive.
There were other interesting Hawaiʻi actors who basically played their own roles in this week’s episode. Leslie C. Maharaj, who played attorney Kelly Akela, is really an attorney who practices law in Hawai’i. Spam Laupola, who played Solomon Tuasopo– the guard Kono confronts about Adam’s conversation with Gabriel– is an actual prison guard. Laupola has played guards on several “Hawaii Five-0” episodes since the season two premiere “Haʻiʻole” (“Unbreakable”) in 2011.