This week, as “Hawaii Five-0” returned to filming, fans were extra excited to see their favorite leading man, Alex O’Loughlin, working on the ninth season of the action drama. As the series is just getting back to business, they are working at different locations around the island and gathering establishing shots and scene for new episodes. Pictures surfaced all week on Instagram and Twitter, causing a flurry of enthusiasm about the upcoming season. The first week of shooting is always heavily anticipated — especially when fans start to see O’Loughlin and the rest of the Hawaii Five-0 leads hard at work.
Many of the images shared via social media this week featured glimpses of series star O’Loughlin, who is often the main focus of fan ardor. Last season, fans watched O’Loughlin’s character, Steve McGarrett, embrace mentoring Tani (Meaghan Rath) and Junior (Beulah Koale), and continue to struggle with the effects of radiation poisoning and caring for his Danno (Scott Caan) donated liver. We also began to see signs of loneliness and a desire for more companionship. McGarrett has had only one serious relationship, with Catherine Rollins (Michelle Borth), then a more casual relationship with girlfriend Lynn Downey (Sarah Carter).
After McGarrett received part of Danno’s liver at the end of season six, and then was poisoned when he diffused a dirty bomb in season seven — his health has become more of a concern to the Hawaii Five-0 team. Danno has been hyper-focused on McGarrett’s penchant for taking physical risks, especially since he went through both situations with McGarrett, and as he often reminds us — it is his liver that now resides in McG’s body.
In “Mōhala i ka wai ka maka o ka pua” (“Unfolded by the water are the faces of the flowers”), Danno and the Hawaii Five-0 team — Lou (Chi McBride), Jerry (Jorge Garcia), Tani (Meaghan Rath) and Junior (Beulah Koale), as well as their friends Kamekona (Taylor Wily) and Dog The Bounty Hunter (Duane “Dog” Chapman) — orchestrate a health intervention in order to impress upon McGarrett to take his health more seriously. As the team sits in McGarrett’s living room trying to counsel him to change his ways and take better care of his donated liver and continue his treatment for his radiation poisoning, Junior reminds them that, as a SEAL, McGarrett knows very well how to care for himself physically.
But the question remains: What is the long-term damage McGarrett has suffered because of both the transplant and the treatment for the radiation? The team seems concerned about both his overall health as well as McGarrett’s stress levels — so they send him to a stress management counselor. And while Dr. Chloe Gordon (Jolene Purdy) makes a good point that McGarrett should get a plant for his office, he might not need a treadmill desk, as he often seems to start his day swimming in the ocean and then going for a run. Stress may not be McGarrett’s problem, it might be his penchant for jumping off of bridges, climbing off balconies, or leaping off of rooftops that might be the real problem.
It seems as if with Tani and Junior on the team, some of that crazy physical activity has been given to the young ones to handle, which is much better for McGarrett’s body. Still, everyone is worried about the fate of McGarrett — and it’s nice to know that he is just as scared as they are about his health and his future. He recognizes in Danno that he wants children and he wants his own family. And he knows caring for himself is key to making that wish come true. It will be interesting to see how his health and future is handled in the new season.
For someone surrounded by people — his team, his friends, his partner Danno and his children — McGarrett showed a few signs of a man trying to find a bit of companionship. First, he brings home Eddie the detection dog, after Eddie is shot in a DEA ambush, and his handler is killed. Eddie needs a place to recover, and as McGarrett was the one who found him and helps find who killed Eddie’s partner — it was only natural for Eddie to move into McG’s house.
Eddie and McGarrett share a common bond — they both could not save a friend’s life during a mission. McGarrett lost his SEAL brother Freddie Hart (Alan Ritchson) in the season three episode “ʻŌlelo Paʻa” (“The Promise”), and Eddie’s DEA partner, Paul Lazio (Stephen Oyoung), is killed in “Nā lā ʻīlio” (“Dog Days”). Both understand what it’s like to lose someone they were meant to protect.
Yet, while Eddie needed a place to stay, it seems as if it was McGarrett who needed Eddie just as much. Eddie joins the Hawaii Five-0 team as a detection dog, but he also becomes a companion for Steve — joining him in his morning workouts and becoming part of the Hawaii Five-0 ʻohana.
So perhaps it wasn’t much of a stretch when McGarrett offers fellow SEAL Junior Reigns a place to live after he finds Junior living in a homeless shelter. He tells Junior it’s because he’s a team guy and they stick together. He tells the rest of the Hawaii Five-0 team that Junior is going to be staying with him for a while and doesn’t make a big deal about it. But while it may seem that McGarrett is being a good commanding officer and taking care of his people, when Junior begins to make arrangements to find an apartment and move out, McGarrett seems disappointed about his leaving.
It’s touching to see how much Junior has come to mean to McGarrett. In “Ka lālā kaukonakona haki ‘ole I ka pā a ka makani Kona” (“The Tough Branch that Does Not Break in the Kona Gale”), McGarrett joins Junior’s SEAL team as they are called to help rescue a friend and fellow SEAL, Joe White (Terry O’Quinn). After they find Joe and are trying to escape the enemy compound together, McGarrett thanks Junior for showing up on his doorstep seven months before. It is obvious that he needs Junior in his life as much as Junior needed him to give him a helping hand. It will be interesting to see if having his two teammates living with him is enough to fill in some of the emptiness of the McGarrett home– at least for a little while.
McGarrett’s love life
While McGarrett may not be physically alone any longer, he still has one part missing in his life — and that is a female companion. Last season, we did not see McG’s current girlfriend Lynn in an episode, but she was mentioned, specifically in “He lokomaikaʻi ka manu o Kaiona” (“Kind is the Bird of Kaiona”), when McGarrett’s former love, Catherine, returned to ask for McGarrett’s help. We last saw Cath in the 150th episode, “Ka Makuahine a me ka Keiki kāne” (“Mother and Son”), when she helped McGarrett’s rescue his mother, Doris, and we last saw Lynn in the season six Valentine’s episode, “Pōniu I Ke Aloha” (“Crazy in Love”).
When Cath returned and asks McGarrett to help her find a clue on Kahoʻolawe the two have a chance to catch up and Cath asks about Lynn. Steve admits they are good but are just keeping it casual. So while the two admit to dating and seeing other people, after discussing the fact that McG had planned to propose to her, and she would have said yes — it seems like they still have some lingering feelings for each other.
After a year without a girlfriend in his life, the discussion with Cath about marriage, and his talk with Danno about wanting his own family, really shows how much McGarrett wants a real relationship in his life. If nothing else, it does open the door for one of these important ladies to either return to his world, or for someone new to enter.
Wendie Burbridge is a published author, playwright, and teacher. Reach her at Five0Redux@gmail.com.