It is not uncommon for “Hawaii Five-0” to take current issues that affect our islands and use them in a conflict within one of their storylines. This week’s episode had McGarrett (Alex O’Loughlin) and the Five-0 team searching for stolen tanks of chlorine gas which played an important part in a revenge plot against a fictional agribusiness, Agrocore. Much like the controversy surrounding claims that the weed killer Roundup, manufactured by real-life agribusiness giant Monsanto, can cause cancer— the episode presented a similar problem with a deadly twist.
The episode, written by Liz Alper and Ally Seibert, was titled “Hōlapu ke ahi, koe iho ka lehu,” which means in Hawaiian, “the fire blazed up, then only ashes were left.” The title is taken from a ʻōlelo no‘eau, or Hawaiian proverb and poetical saying and refers to the idea that “after the blaze of temper, the ashes of remorse are left.”
Director Maja Vrvilo treated the two storylines, and the return of actor Michael Imperioli as Odell Martin, with a steady and concise hand. The episode clipped along well and stayed focused on the case of the week. Adam’s (Ian Anthony Dale) storyline intersected nicely within the case and didn’t seem too off-base. Vrvilo definitely highlighted the idea behind the title as Adam’s anger and deep remorse bookended the episode in a powerful way.
Anger, as the title refers to, blazes within several characters in the episode– the four men whose spouses and children are battling cancer presumably caused by Agrocore, as well as within Adam Noshimuri. The four men are headed by Doug Manning (Rob Duval) and Kevin Randall (Sven Lindstrom) who met in an online cancer support group and tried to bring a lawsuit against Agrocore. When their legal counsel, Five-0 friend Odell Martin, advises them that it could be years before they get any kind of censure or payout from the massive corporation, they decide to get payback in a different way.
The story of the four men caught in a difficult situation, with no help in sight, intersects with Adam’s undercover operation for McGarrett. Adam, and his C.I. Jessie Nomura (Christine Ko), stole the chlorine gas tanks so that Jessie could keep herself in play as a member of Hideki Tashiro’s (Aaron Yoo) crew. Adam feels responsible, as the tanks have fallen into the hands of people who seem to be ready to use it in a terroristic act.
Even when the team finds eight of the ten tanks at a meth lab, Adam is still filled with guilt, as the other two could be used for something even worse. Lou (Chi McBride) tells him he has nothing to feel guilty about and that he needs to suck it up. “If you don’t keep your emotions in check it is going to cloud your judgment in the field,” Lou advises him.
When Randall and Manning, along with their friends Akani (Andrew Kamoku) and Mitchell (Joel Himelhoch), are moving the tanks– one of them opens and almost kills Randall. The team finds him near death in the transport van, enclosed with the escaped gas. The scene is pretty gross, but after Lou and Tani (Meaghan Rath) meet Randall’s wife, Denise (Ashley Platz)– who is obviously sick with cancer, they wonder if Randall and the others are vying to stage a blackmail situation to get money to pay their medical bills. Yet after speaking with Odell, they think perhaps the men want revenge more than anything else.
With Jerry (Jorge Garcia) searching through the cancer chat group the men belong to, the team finds more evidence of their desire to release the gas into the HVAC system of one of Agrocore’s offices. McGarrett then asks the governor to activate a nuclear emergency drill so that they have time to evacuate the offices. This brings to mind the false missile alert that happened in Hawaiʻi on Jan. 13, 2018 that frightened local residents and visitors for about 38 minutes. While McGarrettʻs desire to alert the Agrocore offices were to lessen panic and help them find the men before they released the gas was for the greater good– it still brought the real-life false alert to mind.
McGarrett and the team, of course, arrive in time to stop Manning from releasing the gas, but not in time to stop him from shooting the corporate lawyer who threatened the men and their families with a countersuit and bankruptcy. McGarrett speaks kindly to Manning, telling him he knows what Agrocore did to their families, but that they needed to surrender to Five-0 and let them go after the company. Manning is not off the hook, but at least he sees understanding in McGarrett and apologizes for his actions. McGarrett understands why the man wanted to commit such a heinous act– to save his family, to save others in our community– and perhaps that is enough to get Manning to surrender.
After the case is solved, Adam is still extremely upset at the people who were harmed because of his actions. He blames himself for playing a part in the canisters falling into the wrong hands. When he confronts a conspicuously absent Jessie about what side she is on, she denies that she is doing anything else but the job he hired her to do. Their argument reveals that Jessie is hiding something from Adam– an affair with one of Hidekiʻs crew, the very one who sold the liquid chlorine out from Hideki’s nose. So perhaps she is hiding something more in order to shield or help her lover, instead of aiding Adam and Five-0.
Adam leaves in a rage, not quite trusting her or what direction he should be going with their undercover work. As he races through the streets of Honolulu he is blindsided by images of his kidnapping and the brutality of what Hideki subjected him to in “O nā hōkū o ka lani ka i ‘ike ia Pae” (“Only the Stars of Heaven Know Where Pae Is”). He screams in anger– just as the screen goes to black.
Dramatic and intense, but it brings us back to the theme of the title– how anger blazes and leaves us with ashes of remorse. Adam is remorseful about what happened to him which caused him to act in a way that put many others in danger. And now, he does not know if his mission is worth the effort.
With no preview for the next episode, fans will wonder what has happened to Adam. While he will survive, there will be repercussions. Just how severe they will be, depends on what happens with Jessie and McGarrett. We can only hope that Adam will be able to rise up from the ashes, make peace with his demons, and with McGarrett and the team.
REDUX SIDE NOTE:
While most of this week’s episode was fairly intense, there were a few bits of humor that helped break the tension of the fast-paced episode.
The team practicing a mandatory emergency drill at the start of the episode was hilarious. McGarrett and Eddie leading the charge to the cement block interrogations room, with McG tapping his watch and keeping the pace. Jerry with his six-person doomsday survival pack complete with freeze-dried Shrimp Fried Rice and Astronaut ice cream; Tani and Junior (Beulah Koale) plopping down on the floor without a care in the world; and Lou lounging in the interrogation chair. Yet it was Danny’s (Scott Caan) late entrance, skeptically questioning McGarrett’s emergency drill zeal, latte in hand in order to toast a fiery apocalypse– was just indicative of their personalities and understanding of their reality.
Steve and Danny continuing their restaurant argument was thankfully short– albeit their banter was classic McDanno. While I love them bantering back and forth– the fact that the episode never mentioned the restaurant again during the episode was a refreshing change of pace.
Danny and Junior discussing possible chlorine gas exposure after they find Randall half-dead after being trapped in a van with all the escaped gas– was quite entertaining. Danny, of course, is worried about having to spend more time in quarantine with the team, and about being exposed to yet another poisonous toxin. Not that we blame him, but his dislike of Junior’s correct response that the likelihood of any of them being harmed, was Danno at his hilarious best.
Tani meeting Odell for the first time was a perfect scene– from Odell calling Tani “Five-0 next-gen” and correctly assessing that Tani had been recruited personally by McGarrett was spot on. When an angry law library patron chastises Odell for his friends speaking so loudly as “this is a library,” gave Tani the best response of the episode– “And this is a badge. You want to see the gun too?” If nothing else, it reminded us why Tani was chosen to join Five-0. Her comebacks rate right up there with the rest of the team.