It’s been a long month without a new episode of “Hawaii Five-0,” but after this week’s latest from season eight, the answers fans have been waiting for seem to be close on the horizon. The episode was a mix of two strong storylines, one the case of the week, and the other dealing with Adam’s and his undercover work for Five-0.
The episode title, “O nā hōkū o ka lani ka i ‘ike ia Pae,” is Hawaiian for “Only the Stars of Heaven Know Where Pae Is.” The phrase is the first part of a ʻōlelo no‘eau, or Hawaiian proverb and poetical saying. The entire saying is: “O nā hōkū o ka lani ka i ‘ike ia Pae. Aia a loa‘a ka pūnana o ke kōlea, loa‘a ‘oia ia ‘oe,” which means, “Only the stars of heaven know where Pae is. When you find a plover’s nest, then you will find him.”
The proverb refers to “something so well hidden that it will not be found.” The actual meaning behind the saying is a story about a priest to the Chief ‘Umi, named Pae, who was very lucky at fishing, so much so that ‘Umi desired his bones for fishhooks after his death. When Pae died, his sons hid his bones so that none of the chiefs and priests could find them. The sons would say, “When you find the nest of the plover, then will you find him.”
Hawaiians believe that even after death our bones hold our mana, our own personal power, and spirit. If anyone found our bones– they would then gain our mana. Of course, that would mean that any fishhooks made from Pae’s bones would give the chief his man– and thus, his same luck at fishing. The sons of Pae would not want their father’s bones to be used for sport, even by a chief.
It seems as if the title serves as a proper metaphor for the two main storylines of the episode. Both the case of the week and Adam’s continued investigation into the Yakuza, seem to reflect the meaning of the ʻōlelo no‘eau. Both cases dealt with something hidden that was never meant to be found. Like the bones of Pae, both were precious and had great meaning– perhaps not in the same way as sacred bones, but the impact of finding what was hidden created even more distress to those who buried them.
The episode, written by David Wolkove and Matt Wheeler and directed by Jerry Levine, started off reminding us where we left off– Adam (Ian Anthony Dale) stuck in the middle of nowhere tied up and chained to a rusted out shipping container, and how he got there. For some reason, a secret that former Yakuza boss lady Michelle Shioma wanted to tell him days before she died in prison, has come back to haunt him.
Still, I wondered why they had to cover Adam with ants other than just wanting to up the gross-out factor– did we really need to see that? It was completely superfluous– the guy is chained and tied up and no one knows he is there– I think that shows how much he is suffering without adding a few thousand ants to the mix. Yes, I’m sure they were computer generated, but we still could have done without watching that awful scene.
Once we got through the ant nonsense, the episode did pick up with the main investigation of a missing headmaster from an exclusive private school. In order to investigate what might have happened to Headmaster Waller of the well-heeled Lawrence Academy (fictional, but probably based on a few private schools on O‘ahu), McGarrett (Alex O’Loughlin) and Danny (Scott Caan) send “the kids,” Tani (Meaghan Rath) and Junior (Beulah Koale), undercover as wealthy young parents trying to get their son into the school.
The case ends with the team uncovering that the husband of the head of the PTO, Jared Barton (Robert William Campbell), whose company was building the school a new gym, was laundering fundraising money for a Venezuelan drug cartel. The headmaster found out and ended up in a coffin of concrete. This is was the first hidden thing that was never meant to be found as the title suggests. Barton thought that by covering the headmaster in a concrete form set to be used to build the gym, that no one would ever find him.
The team arrests Barton who confesses to the murder and asks Five-0 to protect his family from the cartel– right around the time the cartel kidnaps his wife and daughter as they stop for Waiola Shave Ice. The team has Barton take the cartel their money, and they storm the warehouse to save Barton’s family. And it seems as if it is Junior who has stepped up to be our new sharp-shooter.
But that part of the case was not as important as watching Tani and Junior in action as a young married couple. It was hilarious watching them chat up a bunch of rich people who are more than willing to spill about all the juicy tidbits of affairs, expulsions, petty jealousies, and embezzlement surrounding the school. Tani is a firecracker with her veiled sarcasm and caustic comments about wealthy parents and their halitosis and ignorance about personal space. While she makes it clear that she doesn’t think she and Junior can pull off being parents– they seem to fit right in, milking every dirty secret out of a group of Academy parents at an expensive fundraiser. Junior plays her straight man perfectly, and with his spot-on facial expressions, made the two young ones extremely entertaining to watch.
As the team investigates the lives of the rich and murderous, Adam is being forced by Yakuza boss, Hideki Tashiro (Aaron Yoo) to lead him to a treasure of $20 million. Hideki believes that Michelle Shioma told Adam where her father buried this money on the island. This is the amount that Adam was supposed to have given her father so that he could be released from the Yakuza. Hideki seems to think Adam knows where it is, and he wants it. Of course, Adam tells him he does not know where the money is– but Hideki brings in his female henchman Jessie (Christine Ko) to brass-knuckle beat Adam to spill the secret.
Adam thankfully pieces together a plan– based on another hidden thing that was never meant to be found– and Jessie, thankfully, tries to help Adam as they really are working together to figure out who Hideki actually works for. Hideki’s boss is the mastermind of the murder of all the organized crime bosses in “Ka hopu nui ʻana” (“The Round Up”), and that is really who Adam and Jessie are essentially after– as McGarrett asked them to find this “big fish.”
Adam leads Hideki to a buried lock box that holds, not $20 million, but a gun. The gun had been given to Adam’s father to get rid of by a wealthy man who had killed someone. Adam tells Hideki that the man will pay $20 million for the gun so that no one will know his secret. Again more correlation to the title.
Still, it was really the only way that Adam could have gotten himself out of the situation and keep his operation going so they could eventually hook Hideki’s boss. McGarrett picks him up and tells him he’s going to pull the plug on their plan and Adam tells him that he’s not backing out– he’s going to see this through and find their new nemesis. I know I’m not alone in wondering who this potential series bad guy really is. He seems as diabolical as Wo Fat (Mark Dacascos) and Gabriel (Christopher Sean)– and it is high time “Hawaii Five-0” has a series villain as strong as the others.
There was one subplot in the episode– the restaurant. There was a couple of bright spots in the very tired McDanno’s Italian Restaurant Bar and Grill Bistro storyline. One was with Uncle Vito (Vincent Pastore) and Kamekona (Taylor Wily) arguing about cheap labor and electricians over a Boba Tea. And another scene was with Uncle Vito trying to East Coast wiseguy negotiate with no-nonsense-take-no-bribes Mr. Lee from the Liquor Commission. Lee was played by Hawaiian actor, Clyde Yasuhara, who had perfect timing with Pastore’s comedic delivery, and gave a bit of personality to a character who was supposed to in come off as a basic bureaucrat.
Meanwhile, as Steve, Danny, and Lou (Chi McBride) played master of ceremonies with Tani and Junior going undercover, it was nice to have a few scenes that felt needed. There was a day of reckoning with Uncle Vito, who finally said what we all are thinking– what are you two doing opening a restaurant? This scene happened in the Five-0 Headquarters, which led Vito to see a picture of a man he knew from New Jersey– the face of the man who shot Danny when the team was in quarantine. He tells Danny that he innocently told the man about his nephew who had worked with the New Jersey Police Department, and was now a Detective in Paradise.
So now we understand why Uncle Vito is really in Hawaiʻi– he’s the connection they need to figure out why the man in the hazmat suit wanted Danny dead. Now we just need to know why he wanted Danny to die.
Like in the episode, the conclusion of the proverb did not end well for those hid what they never wanted to be found– like the sons of Pae. After they hid their father’s bones, the chief, ‘Umi, enlisted the help of a noted priest of Kaua‘i, who saw the ghost of Pae drinking from a spring in Waimanu Valley. Thus were the bones of Pae found and made into fishhooks for the chief. The sons of Pae were reminded that the chief was using their father’s bones for hooks by his constant cry, “O Pae, hold fast to our fish.”
Perhaps the moral of the episode is that nothing can stay hidden, no matter how long or how deep it is buried. Secrets always rise up and sometimes all anyone can do is to hold fast– and hope that it brings out something good for those who dug it up.