CHiPs, for those of you born during or after the early 80’s, was a popular cop show about two California Highway patrolmen named Frank “Ponch” Poncherello and Jon Baker. One was a dark haired ladies man and the other was his blonde by-the-book best friend. Sound a little familiar?
It was a perfect reference and the running gag for the night, which helped balance the horrific storyline of a murdering and blackmailing wife who literally cuts her dying husband off. Well, she cuts off his head. I supposed divorce papers would have been anti-climactic. Local lady Amanda Schull played black-widow Nicole Duncan. It was not difficult to see that three men (her unfortunate husband, her co-conspirator lover, and her rich daddy) would do just about anything for her. She was beautiful and calculating; even in the few minutes she was actually in the episode. And boy, did she give new meaning to the phrase “Oh, that’s cold.”
Another chilly moment was Kono’s reception of “Chin Ho’s Ex” Reiko Aylesworth as Dr. Malia Weston. After the change of pace opening with the cousin bonding between Kono and Chin Ho, it was interesting to see the usually friendly Kono be UNfriendly with someone. That was cold. I did enjoy more development of Daniel Dae Kim and Grace Park’s characters. I guess we can’t always start the episode with a Danno and McGarrett snarky bro fest.
I have to give “Hawaii Five-0” credit for their stellar car chases. If we didn’t live on a small island, where our traffic is likened to bad “big city” traffic on a daily basis, then I probably would not be as impressed by the talent of the Five-0 film crew and how spectacular their chase scenes turn out on the small screen. Then the car chase ends with not just a regular “get the bad guy and cuff him, Danno” ending, but a suspense driven, semi-cringe of an ending. I only say semi because you know they are not really going to do anything to Kono’s pretty face, right? We all know she’s the rookie and sometimes rookies die, but not on McGarrett’s watch. And I really wanted to see what was in the box. Until I saw what was in the box. Poor Kono, she’ll be having “Seven” nightmares for a few years after opening that present.
I know that folks will mention Alex O’Loughlin’s Mandarin speaking performance tonight, but for his character, it’s fine. McGarrett is a Navy Seal who probably had to learn other languages to communicate and survive, and when you learn a language that way, it may not be pretty. I think I had a harder time separating Waipahu from Chinatown. That was a strange visual juxtaposition for me. Going down Farrington Highway and finding a fruit stand I normally find on King Street. Way to cross-town. McGarrett must have passed the HPD test for pursuit driving.
Not to disappoint, Scott Caan wins, perhaps not a well deserved Golden Globe, but for his share of episode zingers. I’m sure we all enjoyed the “CHiPs” references, but comparing Alex O’Loughlin’s McGarrett to Larry Wilcox’s Jon Baker? Not even close. His naming the vic Jack in the Box? Sarcastic hilarity at its finest. Not too soon, bro. Ladies love Estrada and yes, they love you both, Scott Caan and AOL. But I think I agree with Kono. I like the blonde. And I don’t care which one of you is which. Thanks for another great episode. McGarrett and his Five-0 team always clear the innocent man and tonight they did not disappoint.
Redux side note: Don’t you love the opening theme song with the clips of Hawaii and the cast superimposed onto big waves, palm trees, and blinding sunshine? The classic beat of the drums and the horn section from “The Theme of Hawaii Five-O” makes me feel like an excited 10 year-old waiting to watch McGarrett catch the Bad Guys. Now, I’m a little older and our Good Guys look and act a little differently, but I’m still just as excited as I was when that black Mercury came on television and Jack Lord turned on the balcony of the Ilikai to look stoically into the camera.
Wendie Burbridge is a published writer, playwright and a teacher of literature and fiction writing at Kamehameha Schools-Kapalama. Most recently, her story “The Cave Man’ was published in “‘Oiwi 4, Kupa’a Makou ma hope o ka ‘Aina (We Stand Firm Behind the Land) — Kanaka Maoli Voices on Annexation, Statehood, and Ceded Lands.” As a student at Gonzaga University she studied Theatre Arts and acted in and directed productions in Spokane, Wash. She also worked in Extras Casting for NBC and Warner Brothers on various television shows and films in the Pacific Northwest.