In seven seasons and 162 episodes, “Hawaii Five-0” has only crossed over with another CBS show twice– once in season two with “NCIS: LA” and last week with the rebooted version of “MacGyver.” A “crossover” in television language just means that two shows will share characters and a special plot in an episode; or they will start a storyline in one series and crossover to wrap up the story in another.
Sometimes a crossover is planned when one show is new to primetime or to help boost the viewership of one or both of the shows. When Five-0 filmed “Pāmake Loa” (Hawaiian for “Touch of Death”), a crossover with “NCIS: LA”, Five-0 was in their sophomore season. “NCIS: LA” was in their third season, but as they were the first spin-off of the mega-hit television show “NCIS,” their audience outranked Five-0’s.
The 2012 crossover event started on Monday night, in the original “Hawaii Five-0” time slot, and finished on Tuesday with the “NCIS: LA” episode, “Touch Of Death.” In both episodes, Danno (Scott Caan) and Chin (Daniel Dae Kim) join forces with NCIS Special Agent G. Callen (Chris O’Donnell) and NCIS Special Agent Sam Hanna (LL COOL J) in order to find nine vials of Smallpox stolen by a fanatic who wished to create a worldwide pandemic. The investigation brought Callen and Hanna to Hawaiʻi to work with the Five-0 Task Force, and then Chin and Danno followed the pair back to Los Angeles to help NCIS save the world from a sure and painful death.
The episodes aired toward the end of a turbulent season for “Hawaii Five-0,” as series star Alex O’Loughlin had just taken a leave of absence from the show in order to deal with personal health problems. The event seemed to help bring a fresh audience to Five-0, as well as to boost viewership during a time when their star was obviously absent.
Yet, this season’s crossover with “MacGyver” seemed to have been well-planned and expertly maneuvered by executive producer and showrunner Peter Lenkov– who helms both shows. The set up has been gradual, but purposeful. Jack mentions his buddy Steve McGarrett might have information a Dr. Madison Gray, who is mentioned after he and Mac stop a serial killer who likened himself after the Zodiac Killer from the 1960s. In “Hawaii Five-0” Chin does a search on the Phoenix Foundation as if both shows exist in the same “universe”– which Lenkov has suggested. So it wasn’t much of a surprise when a crossover of the two shows was announced in early February.
This became the episode “Flashlight,” written by Lindsey Allen and directed by Jonathan Brown, which aired last Friday, March 10, in the regular “MacGyver” time slot before “Hawaii Five-0.” Last December I wrote how “MacGyver” is the perfect lead in for “Hawaii Five-0,” and that the “pairing” of the two shows has created more buzz and viewers for both. Still some fans were a little concerned about a mix of the two action shows. Especially since McGarrett would not be in the “MacGyver” episode and he seems to be the clearest connection between the two shows. In the Five-0/Phoenix universe, Jack, an Army Delta Force soldier, has obviously worked with Navy SEAL McG on a few covert op missions. Before “MacGyver” premiered in September, Lenkov released many “behind the scenes” pictures from the set, and one included a rifle with “ALOHA” painted on the barrel. The rifle was set in a flashback scene of Jack in Iraq, which was supposed to allude to his relationship with McGarrett.
While the episode paired the entire “MacGyver” team– Mac, Jack, Riley, and Bozer– with Five-0 Task Force members, Chin Ho Kelly and Kono Kalākaua. They get paired together in Hilo after an earthquake rocks Hawai‘i Island. While the teams work together to help with the search and rescue efforts, and after a couple of pretty strong aftershocks have shaken the team– they also learn that there are a group of scientists trapped four stories below the surface in a building that is about to collapse around them. Add to these issues a group of Chinese special forces who are not lending their good samaritan hands to help in the efforts, but are there to steal a high-tech super-secret-spy bullet.
This leads Mac and Kono to try and save the scientists, while Jack and Chin search for the Chinese mercs. I did love how both pairs chat naturally to get to know each other, as well as reveal information about themselves.
Still, we all tune in to see Mac create something out of nothing. And Mac really does come through with his “macgyvering”– creating a way to recharge a generator using a defibrillator; making a concrete cutter with water, sand, and a liter bottle; and rigging up a radar gun in order to find bodies behind concrete. He also creates an ascender rig out of wires and stuff– sorry, he’s the Science Guy, not me– in order for the scientists to climb up the elevator shaft to get to the lobby from where they are trapped in the basement. I love how smart he is, but he still doesn’t make the scientists feel silly for not figuring out a way out of their deadly predicament.
On the flip side, Jack is perfect as the “muscle” on the Phoenix team. At first I thought that this was more of a position he plays on the team, but when concrete needs to be moved, he sort of pushes Mac to the side and he, Kono, and Chin move the heavy piece. And when Mac says “I don’t like guns, but I love lasers,” I realized that he really was Mac’s protector. His constant questions about Mac’s birthday throughout the episode was really sweet– and I was happy when Jack got to throw Mac the birthday party he deserved.
And yes, Kono and Chin are right– Mac and Jack do remind us of a certain “Hawaii Five-0” couple. They perhaps do not “cargument” as much as McG and Danno, but they are pretty close. I loved when he told Chin and Kono to give McGarrett a hard time and called him a big crybaby. They all laugh, and so do we, because we know it’s true. But we wouldn’t have McG any other way.
The other two members of the team also help with the earthquake relief– Riley re-creates the internet for the islands with a small computer and a muscley local boy (Rome Flynn). And Bozer adorably saves a dog by “Boz-gyvering” a small leg splint for the injured and lost pup. Bozer also makes friends with the other Five-0 ‘ohana member who joined the rescue efforts– Kamekona (Taylor Wily)– who brings his super ‘ono shrimp dishes to feed the workers.
There were a lot of great moments in the crossover, and the end, when Mac, Jack, Chin, and Kono are all on the beach together, and Kono takes a bullet for Mac– that’s true friendship. And when Mac creates a way to divert the smart bullet by using Chin’s laser sight to change its direction– well, that’s invention at it’s best. I loved that he does promise Chin to fix his sight with a couple of resistors and chewing gum, which I would have stuck around to see.
But instead, hugs are exchanged– well, at least between the men, as well as Kono and Mac. It was so cute when Jack said to Kono– “we should hug,” and she just sticks out her hand for a shake. I’m sure there will be a time when Jack might get that hug– because I think Five-0 is going to pay the Phoenix crew a visit at some near future.
REDUX SIDE NOTE
There seemed to be a bit more Hawaiian language in the “MacGyver” episode than I was expecting. Here are a few translations from “Flashlight” that some of you may have missed.
>> When they are searching for the scientists and think they hear someone calling, Kono calls “Kulikuli!” which means, “be quiet!”
>> Chin’s “prayer” when they have to figure out a way get the scientists out and try to keep the building from falling upon them, Chin says: “Ha‘aheo i ka miki‘oi o ke kai o Lehua.” This means, “Ha‘aheo dances because of the clear calm waters of Lehua” or “one can do things well when calm.” Kono says: “Literally, itʻs a warning not to undertake what you have not the ability to accomplish” which I suppose is similar in sentiment.
>> When Kamekona is trying to cheer up Bozer who is upset that Riley seems to really like Kalei, the IT guy, at the base camp, he says: “Ka he’e o kai uli kā pae ka ʻalaʻala.” Which really does mean: “The squid of the deep has a peculiar bulge.” It is meant “to poke fun at excessive corpulence.”
>> When Kono and Mac are in the building trying to save the scientists, and the aftershock brings down part of the building and separates them, he tells her to get out and let Jack and Chin know what he’s going to do. She says to him: “A hui hou MacGyver,” which means “until we meet again.” This is a common phrase we use to say goodbye in a way that is not so final. I think she used that instead of “aloha” as she wanted to give him a little bit of hope that he was going to get out of that building and would be seeing her very soon.
>> Kīlauea Iki, the hike the scientist who volunteers to go first up the elevator shaft, is actually a day hike at Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park.
>> Vog is Volcanic Smog or “smog or haze containing volcanic dust and gases.” It is pretty prevalent in Hawaiʻi and while I don’t know if it can stop radar from working, it sure is pretty terrible to breathe in and see on our horizon. But like most types of pollution, it does create the most beautiful sunsets.