Here we go, “Hawaii Five-0” fans — the episode everyone has been talking about for the last few weeks — the 150th episode of the series, “Ka Makuahine a me ka Keiki kāne” (“Mother and Son”). And I’d like to say it was as amazing as the 100th episode — but it seemed to lack the shock and the punch of the 2014 episode “Inā Paha” (“If Perhaps”).
I’m not saying that it was a bad episode, it really was great. I loved many parts of it. Yet, for some of it I felt as if it was just “a little too late.” Maybe I miss a Peter Lenkov driven and written episode. And while we did have a good team behind the creation and execution of it — Eric Guggenheim and David Wolkove wrote and Bryan Spicer directed this episode, it skims the surface to answer some of the questions we’ve basically have had answered. Albeit, in between some witty banter, ʻohana action, and cool fight scenes.
Still, after waiting over three seasons — we finally have the groundbreaking, earth-shattering, pulse pounding reason of why Doris McGarrett (Christine Lahti) has kept her son Steve (Alex O’Loughlin) in the dark for so long about her connection to Wo Fat (Mark Dacascos).
Here’s the answer — spoiler alert — Doris wants to atone for killing Wo Fat’s mother and save his father, Yao Fat (George Cheung) who has been imprisoned for 20 years in order to keep him quiet. As in, Yao Fat knows too much, we can’t kill him, so we have to keep him alive just in case we need 20 year old intel.
But we knew that, right? I’m pretty sure it was all revealed when Wo Fat kidnapped McGarrett and tortured him in the 100th episode. Or perhaps in details that were revealed by McG after he was taken to Morocco to sit down face to face with Yao Fat.
This is the story as I can recall from the five seasons over which this story has arced. Doris was sent to kill Yao when Wo Fat was a baby. We know from “Inā Paha,” Doris raised Wo Fat because she accidently killed his mother, and felt terrible for leaving Wo Fat without a mother. And for some reason, she and Yao Fat had a good relationship — even though both were spies for their own countries — and Doris was his designated assassin.
Still with me? No questions yet? Put your hands down, folks, as while I don’t have too many answers, I promise you, if the episode does nothing else for you, it will wrap up a few loose ends. It won’t really answer your questions — like why Yao and Doris seem so emotional when they finally see each other. There is a huge hole in their story. Were they lovers? Did she fall in love with her intended target which is why she stayed to take care of his child? And how long did she raise Wo Fat? She’s home by the time he’s ten — but McG has never spoken about Mom being gone before she “died” in a car crash.
In the course of the episode, Steve has several flashbacks, and it seems as if Doris’s sadness and guilt is there when Steve is ten. When he finds her crying, he doesn’t seem to know why. The adult Steve only can guess it is because she couldn’t handle the guilt of killing Wo Fat’s mother. Could it be that she also couldn’t deal with the pain of being in love with another man and having to leave him to return to her “real” family and life?
Perhaps I’m going too deep — but I’m still trying to reconcile all of the angst, anger, and emotion that surrounds Doris’s actions — and likewise, Wo Fat targeting Steve. Wo Fat was McG’s nemesis since the first season of “Hawaii Five-0.” He was the one who orchestrated Victor Hesse’s assassination of John McGarrett, and then he was the one who was a pretty consistent thorn in McG’s side. Wo Fat kidnapped McG — twice, really — and both times tortured him to find out where his father was. Really, no one knew — even Doris it seems.
We learn more of this story when Catherine Rollins (Michelle Borth) returns during a romantic dinner whipped up by SEAL Chef Steve for his new lady, Lynn (Sarah Carter). Cath comes to tell him that Doris had been captured at the CIA Blacksite where Yao Fat is being held. Doris’s op went “sideways” and they are holding her until they figure out what to do with her. Cath convinces Steve to look past his hurt and his anger at Doris and help his mother. Of course, Steve agrees, and reveals that he knows where Doris is being held. As Cath reveals more about what Doris had planned on doing — to free Yao Fat — McG begins to see that his visit to see Yao Fat was really just set up so Doris could follow him and find the blacksite.
Poor Steve, always feeling used by his Momma. We’ve never really trusted Momma McG, and we’ve always had good reason not to. I can see why Steve hesitated to sign up to help save her. Yet Cath is correct — he would have regretted his decision if he had not left with Cath to help her.
Besides Cath’s heartfelt begging to help Doris — I did like the entire scene with Cath’s arrival and breaking up his romantic date with Lynn. I also found it pretty clever how they revealed to Cath that Steve was going to propose to her before she left. Lynn lets it slip when the two women are talking — rather politely considering Steve’s ex-girl is in the same room with his new girl and after Cath has ruined Lynn and Steve’s rendezvous — complete with homemade chantilly cake covered in macadamia nuts. Still, both women are very adult about the entire situation — which was really a breath of fresh air. Does that still happen on television — women not getting into some weird “he’s my man” kind of catfight? Don’t think too hard about that one, gentle friends. It was also a good way to give Catherine some intel that she would never have learned except from Lynn or maybe from Danno (Scott Caan).
Sadly, Danno was absent in this episode — though he was still involved in the case as he “called” from New Jersey to check on his buddy. The excuse this week was that Danno was helping his father who was having surgery. Danno still took the time to not only check on and convince the team to help track Steve after he abruptly leaves the island with Cath. Of course, Danno is worried because it’s more than Steve helping out an old friend, who they all know is working for the CIA after saving Cath when her cover was in danger in the season six episode “Waiwai” (“Assets”). Danno is concerned for McG, but he also calls to get Lou (Chi McBride) to do a little side investigation into who Gracie’s (Teilor Grubbs) new boyfriend could be. Since Lou’s son, Will (Chosen Jacobs) goes to school and seems to be friends with Gracie — Lou asks his son to help with the Boyfriend Investigation. This does not sound like a good deal to me — and Will wants nothing to do with helping his dad get the dirt on Gracie. The plot thickens as in the previews and promotion for next week’s episode, “Hana Komo Pae” (“Right of Passage”), it seems as if Will is the new boyfriend his dad wants him to catch and turn over to Danno.
But I digress — the episode did have it good points — I did love that Doris tries to clear everything up a bit by apologizing to Steve for leaving him. I thought the scene when she explains that she has to save Yao because he has been illegally in prison for so long — it wouldn’t be fair after all he’s lost. He’s lost his family (taken by both McGarrett’s I might add — Doris killed his wife, and Steve killed his son), and all the years he’s been locked up — she’s not going to leave without setting him free.
The moment she walks into Yao’s cell — the look on Yao’s face told me a little more than perhaps should have been there. I saw love among the astonishment. And Doris says “I never stopped looking for you.” I wish there was more background on that story — it just seems so unfinished. But perhaps I have to live with that — the unsatisfactory way the Doris story wrapped up. Yes, it’s done — Steve has the journals and the details of his life that he needed to hear and learn from Doris. And the team is safe from repercussions for freeing Yao Fat. I suppose after the violent end of Wo Fat, their family deserves a sort of uneventful end of their connection to the McGarretts.
I guess I wished for a few more explosions — besides the wall of the Blacksite so they could escape. I’m on the fence about the plane exploding. Come on now — I know some of you wanted that to happen. Not just for the awesome action that would have added, but it would also mean that finally the Doris and Cath story would be done. For good. No coming back from an explosion. And Cath and Doris fans — don’t send me hate mail for wishing them dead. I don’t wish anyone’s death — I just really want a final END to their stories. I just hate the hanging loose ends that STILL exist in their story arcs. It’s frustrating.
Yet, if there were any explosions at the end — it had to do with the revelation that Cath would have said yes to McGarrett’s proposal. That was unexpected. And really sad. The what could have been. The “if perhaps” that Cath’s confession gives us for both of them.
And the last explosive moment had to have been watching Chin in little Sara’s (Londyn Silzer) room, trying to let her go. It seems as if Chin fought Sara’s adoption by her Aunt and Uncle in Mexico. During the episode, he lost his appeal, and while he is in Morocco with the team, Sara leaves to return to where she was born. It was so very sad to see Chin lose his love a second time.
I suppose overall those two scenes at the end helped me to say yes to this 150th episode. It might have been about mother and son, but in the end it was all about love and ʻohana — and that is what makes any episode great.