Everyone needs to start off somewhere — and at times that start can be well planned and executed, or it can be rocky and difficult. Still, once you set a plan in action, it’s hard to stop without further repercussions. This week’s “Hawaii Five-0” had us watching McGarrett (Alex O’Loughlin) and Danny (Scott Caan) basically back at square one with their restaurant plans, and Adam (Ian Anthony Dale) launching his investigation of Hideki Tashiro (Aaron Yoo) with his young protégé, Jessie Nomura (Christine Ko).
With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, most people are looking for a way to give their hearts to those they love. So after this week’s “Hawaii Five-0” “He pūkoʻa kani ʻāina,” (“A Coral Reef Strengthens Out into Land”) — the only new episode the series will air this month — some fans might be wondering how they are going to show their love for their favorite show with three weeks of no Five-0.
And this episode is one that might be hard to love. While there were a few moments that showed us glimpses of what we enjoy about the show — they were few and far between.
The case of the week was straight out of the 80’s TV and movie guidebook, complete with a David Koresh-style cult leader (Daniel Buran), hiding out with his guns and his people in Kalihi Valley. The McG and Danno restaurant storyline, which needs to end sooner than later, seems to have been given a transfusion of hope with the introduction of Danny’s Uncle Vito, Vincent Pastore from “The Sopranos.” Uncle Vito has come all the way from Jersey to help the boys get their restaurant back on track. I think his idea of burning it down for insurance money, was probably the best bet.
Yet this week’s episode title is based on a ʻōlelo no‘eau, or Hawaiian proverb and poetical saying, which actually means “a coral reef that grows into an island.” The poetical saying refers to “a person beginning in a small way gains steadily until he becomes firmly established.” Writers David Wolkove and Matt Wheeler seem to have used the ʻōlelo no‘eau to symbolize certain characters who are moving toward more solid ground.
The episode was directed by Bryan Spicer, a “Hawaii Five-0” director since season two, who used his vast series knowledge and directing talent to work the three storylines in a way that helped keep the episode moving. If Spicer didn’t know and understand all of the characters and the history behind their character arcs and storylines — this episode might have fallen completely flat. Thankfully, Spicer gave us a few things to love about this one.
One of the biggest problems with the episode was that the case of the week was just so overdone and stereotypical. Does anyone think a compound of people could live and exist in the forests of our island without police intervention? With a cache of guns and growing a hallucinogenic plant? I know that cults still exist, but perhaps we need to see a more 2018-style polygamist or Scientologist-like cult. I would have bought a husband with ten wives more than a bunch of Branch Davidian wannabes hanging out making plant-derived LSD. Because cults now deal with money and manipulation more than they want to camp out in the forest where anyone can surprise them in the middle of the day. Really — it was just too unbelievable to swallow.
Another issue is the restaurant storyline. Right now, even Uncle Vito can’t save McDanno’s Bar and Grill Italian Ristorante and Bistro — or whatever they are going to call the place if it ever gets up and running. I love McGarrett and Danno hanging out and spending time together while not working on a case, but either that restaurant has to open or they need to take Vito’s advice and burn it down. It’s dragged out too long and I want them hanging out and being bros — not arguing like little boys who need spankings and naps. Vito needed to deliver booths and tableware, not tools to keep fixing and building. It’s fixed, it’s built — buy a stove, get a chef, cut the ribbon, and open the place. I want to see them run the restaurant — because that is going to be much more satisfying to watch.
So while we were watching the Five-0 team search for Devin Walsh (Buran) the cult leader they think killed not only a local private investigator and the ex-husband of a local woman who has been missing for two years — we also watched Adam and Jessie start to infiltrate Hideki’s gang. This was pretty exciting as Adam continues to up the action — this week, he steals Hideki’s BMW i8 with a cool electronic codebreaker which lets him unlock and start the car. And then he drives it like he stole it in order to hook it up with cams and surveillance. All very slick and cool. But when Jessie takes it back to Hideki as a ploy to basically get a sit down to join his gang — that all felt so forced.
We have to remember that this is supposed to be the Yakuza. They don’t appreciate women for their criminal skill set. Women are girlfriends or wives and mothers — they are not bosses, they don’t work with the crew. We can’t look at the Yakuza with American beliefs. Jessie could infiltrate much more effectively if she were to act like she wanted to date Hideki, not be his henchwoman. She would get into the crew faster and it would be a more believable storyline. The Yakuza are old school gangsters — no matter what the year. Sure, once she’s his woman she can steal, main, and kill like she’s a member of his crew. This is not sexism, it’s just the truth about Japanese culture which is reflected of course, in the Yakuza.
I did like the fact that Adam is making things happen and that Jessie is on board with him. And while he cares about protecting her, I don’t see it as a romantic kind of care — which helps as Kono is still in the picture — even if she is not physically present. But why do we have to kidnap Adam and stick him in the middle of nowhere? I only hope this means we are getting closer to the “big fish” he and McGarrett are trying to catch. If Hideki is supposed to lead him to the criminal mastermind — I just hope it doesn’t mean at the expense of Adam — or Jessie. I think she is growing on me.
Overall, it seemed as if this week’s “Hawaii Five-0” was more of a filler to get us to next month’s March 2 event — which is the next time the show returns with a new episode. It’s a month with reruns if we’re lucky — and it looks like some weeks we are not. I don’t know if I can wait four weeks to see Tani (Meaghan Rath) call Junior (Beulah Koale) “Juns” and have him tease her about being tastier than he is — which goes without saying. Because how cute is that watching the kids flirt a little? And yes, I’d like to see how Vito and his new pal Kamekona (Taylor Wily) help McDanno’s get off the ground. And seriously — four weeks is way too long of a time to wait to find out how Adam gets out of his predicament of being tied up and chained in a shipping container in the middle of the jungle. Poor Adam, he just can’t catch a break.
But I’m hoping that since we are going to be deprived of a Valentine’s Day episode — it will be well worth the wait.