“Hawaii Five-0” fans are still reeling after last week’s sad news of the departure of two main cast members, as well as the lack of press coverage of the traditional Hawaiian blessing that normally launches the new season. But this week a few good things have happened for fans– first, shooting started for season eight, and behind the scenes pictures and videos began to flood social media, and second– Five-0’s Ian Anthony Dale returned to the small screens in the new summer drama “Salvation” on CBS.
Created by “Five-0” executive story editor and writer Matt Wheeler, who also wrote the “Salvation” pilot with Liz Kruger and Craig Shapiro, and directed by Juan Carlos Fresnadillo, the first episode titled “Pilot,” premiered on Wednesday, July 12. It also aired two days later in the regular “Hawaii Five-0” Friday timeslot. “Five-0” executive producers Peter Lenkov and Alex Kurtzman also are listed as “Salvation” executive producers, along with Kruger, Shapiro, Heather Kadin, and Stuart Gillard.
“Salvation” is a suspense thriller that is slated for 13 episodes. The show centers on Liam Cole (Charlie Rowe), an MIT grad student, who discovers an asteroid is set to collide with Earth in 186 days. He teams up with tech billionaire, Darius Tanz (Santiago Cabrera), who try to get Deputy Secretary of Defense Harris Edwards (Dale) and his secret lover, Pentagon Public Affairs Officer Grace Barrows (Jennifer Finnigan), to work with them in order to stop the asteroid from destroying the planet.
It reminded me of “Armageddon,” without Bruce Willis and his crew of roughneck drillers, and “2012” with the arks to save select members of the human race. Tanz wants to create an ark that can save 160 select people, while Liam and Grace want to save the entire world. And Harris seems to also want to save the world, but he’s torn between his duty to the government to keep the peace, all while trying to find a viable plan to stop the asteroid from hitting Earth.
It’s a lot to wrap your brain around in an hour long show. But this was just the start– and from what unfolded in the pilot, we have several conflicts to follow. Not only about the asteroid– which should be our focus– but there are several other complications that surround the characters. Really it’s these conflicts that are far more interesting to watch than thinking about a big rock that will kill our planet.
Still, when Liam barges into Tanz’s elevator and blurts out “Sir, my name is Liam Cole, I’m a student at M.I.T. In a 186 days, an asteroid’s going to collide with Earth and we’re all going to die”– it definitely caught my attention. Yes, he says it as if he is asking Tanz for the 13th floor rather than delivering pretty bad news, but it for sure encapsulated the series conflict in a simple way. If nothing else, the show keeps the story thoughtfully simple. Asteroid coming, yes there’s scientific research and data surrounding it all, and yes, there is actual proof that it is headed our way, but what do we do now that we know? I’m hoping the series will answer that fundamental question without boring me to tears with a lot of numbers and trajectories and mind numbing data.
Thankfully, my worries about being blinded by science, is helped by all the cool toys that Tanz uses to visualize Liam’s research. A holographic projector shows that Liam is on the right track, and that there is a 97.2% probability that the asteroid is a planet killer. Tanz questions his data, of course, because someone has to be the level headed skeptic. Yet when Liam couples his assertion with the fact that after he shared it with his advisor, Dr. Malcolm Croft (Dennis Boutsikaris), big scary goons chased him from his Professor’s house after Liam found it empty, trashed, and his advisor’s eye-glasses left behind. Liam wisely figures that it’s not a coincidence that just as he finds the proof that the world is ending, and that someone– perhaps even folks like Harris Edwards– don’t want this news made public.
So Tanz and Liam head to Washington D.C. to see Harris in the Pentagon and straight up ask him– is this science or fiction? Harris tells him it is true, but assures him they have the brightest minds working on “Project Samson.” Samson is what they have named the incoming asteroid, and it is also the name of the secret Pentagon operation between NASA and the D.O.D. It seems as if Harris has known for three months, and is helping the project to find a Delilah to end the Samson planet killer.
And there the plot thickens. How will the Harris and his “Project Sampson” group work to save the world, and how will Liam, Tanz, and Grace create a viable plan to save more than just a select few? Really, I was more interested in the personal relationships and conflicts of the show, rather than if an asteroid will destroy us in less than 6 months. I know, my priorities are skewed, but I’m with Liam, if the planet is going to explode in 186 days, I want to live a little.
So I was more interested in trying to figure out if Harris Edwards is a hero or a villain and if he is going to share the truth of the situation with Grace, the woman he loves. And in turn, will she turn around and share all of her intel with Darius Tanz, who will use it, because, as he says, “we’re not going to wait for the government to save us, we’re going to save ourselves.”
Dale plays Harris as a man carrying a huge weight. He wants to save the world. And he thinks the “Samson Project” plan, using one of Tanz’s rockets to send up a gravity tractor, to deflect the asteroid from hitting Earth by using gravitational pull, will work. He needs all of this to not get out into the public and to carry on with business as usual. As Deputy Secretary of Defense, his other job is to keep societal panic and mass chaos from happening. As the asteroid is headed for the eastern coast of the United States, his want for this plan to work is even stronger.
But sometimes holding onto this kind of secret, puts a strain on even the closest of relationships. And since his and Grace’s affair is hush-hush, he not only has to keep his distance, but he must also keep the truth of everything he knows from her as well.
The weight of this knowledge plays out on his face every time we see Harris. Even as he carries the knowledge that the test flight of the Genesis II rocket, the vessel that will take the gravity tractor to space, fails– he tells Grace that they are “right on schedule.” He grapples with the cost of keeping this secret from the woman who handles the press for him and the D.O.D., but also keeping this bad news from the woman with whom he has promised there would be “no secrets.” How does he keep her safe, as well as try to solve this massive, world ending issue?
The conflict is great, and I love watching Dale work to handle it. Whether or not Harris is the hero or the villain, I believe he wants to “do what is best” for the world. On the flip side, Tanz seems to be the kind of character that seems to be the hero, but may just be saving the world so that he can make more money or gain more power. I know I’m not supposed to trust Harris, but I trust him a little more than I do Tanz. Both of them have hidden agendas and it will just be interesting to find out who has the right agenda. And which one will be executed in “Salvation.”
If nothing else, I really enjoyed being able to see one of my favorite actors from “Hawaii Five-0” back on television– even if it’s on a new show. It’s no secret that many fans are sad that with the exit of Grace Park, the future of Ian Anthony Dale as Adam is no longer a sure thing. We’d all like to see him return to the Five-0 ʻohana, but if that cannot happen, let’s hope that “Salvation” will at least erase one loss for viewers. “Salvation” returns to their regular Wednesday timeslot at 8:00 p.m. HST on July 19.
REDUX SIDE NOTE
Shooting started for season eight this week on Oʻahu and fans were thrilled to see Alex O’Loughlin and Scott Caan back on set. Pictures taken by fans at the Hilton Hawaiian Village made the social media rounds on July 11 and showed the male leads working with an unnamed actress. Many have begun to speculate that this actress might be the new cast member “Tani.” The actress caught in the behind the scenes pics from Tuesday, looks a lot like Canadian actress Meaghan Rath, last seen on the FOX television shows “Cooper Barrett’s Guide to Surviving Life” and “New Girl,” as well as the ABC’s “Secrets and Lies.” However, CBS has yet to release the name of the actress who plays “Tani,” so we are not sure if Rath is just a guest star or has officially joined the “Hawaii Five-0” cast. The eighth season premiere of “Hawaii Five-0” airs Friday, Sept. 29 at 8:00 HST.