From the first minute of Saturday’s rebroadcast of “Malama Ka ‘Āina,” which CBS said is Hawaiian for “Respect the Land,” I knew I was in for a rocky night.
Maybe rocky isn’t the right word. Maybe I should use stormy — as in stormy relationships. Or maybe turbulent — as in turbulent seas. Or intense — as in intense situations. Whatever the word, I was definitely in as soon as I saw the Kukui High School football team and Kono telling off the ref. Go stormy sister, tell that man how the game is played — you know all about kicking ass.
Now, this was the third episode of the show and in it we learn that Chin Ho’s stormy affiliation with the HPD extends to his relationship with his own cousin, Sid, an undercover cop played by local actor Sidney S. Liufau. The revelation through Chin Ho’s conversation with Sid, and lack of conversation with Sid’s wife, was telling of Chin Ho’s troubles prior to joining McG’s team. Kind of like an ex who keeps popping up in your life. Thankfully, Chin Ho is now currently with a new — and hotter — significant other, so he’s sitting in the proverbial jackpot seat. Chin Ho does try to make up with his cousin, by doing a little thing like saving his life, which as we know in retrospect is Chin’s typical M.O. I’m hoping we see Sid back in another episode so he can apologize to Chin Ho for being a jerk—but I think that will happen as much as I think we’ll see Jack Lord doing a cameo.
Speaking of cameos there were two worth noting. One by Max Casella who played Joey, the unfortunate New Jersey pizza man, who was tossed into the much-discussed turbulent sea filled shark cage. McGarrett and Danno sent him in the tank to find his ‘aumakua. If you missed McG’s explanation, an ‘aumakua is a family god that sometimes would take the form of a shark. In Hawaiian culture, your family ‘aumakua is serious business. It protects us, it guides us, and it shields us from evils. We in turn would not hunt or eat a family ‘aumakua and we often would feed our deified ancestors and care for their habitats. I suppose McG just wanted to feed a family ‘aumakua with a little Joey bait. Nice of him to be thoughtful. Let’s not give AOL too much guff for his stress on the “au” sound, I’ve heard Hawaiian words butchered worse and without a stab at sounding authentic. I give the actors and the writers credit for working authentic Hawaiian culture into their scripts and for making an honest attempt at saying the words properly.
The other memorable cameo was of Helen Torco, or Helen Kuoha-Torco, who played the Mother at the football game. Danno asked her to care for Grace while he went to investigate the two gun-toting bad boys who walked into the football stadium at the start of the episode. According to TV.com, Ms. Kuoha-Torco is also the same woman who gave us the shaking hula hips in the opening credits of the original “Hawaii Five-O.” I know many of you remember those hips, and it was great for the new show to pay homage to another tie to the roots of the show.
My favorite part of the evening was seeing Danno and McG all dolled up in suits sans ties. Wait, Danno not wearing a tie is now considered dressy? Loved the look. And Danno looking longingly at a carload of pretty girls was fun and sassy. Too bad McG had his SEAL watch on, or perhaps they would have been late for their undercover op. Magnum would have at least stopped and gotten a few phone numbers. Ponch and John as well.
But the most intense part of the episode was Danno making a plea for more time with his daughter, and pouring his heart out to—an intercom. And the Governor’s car driving away tells us all too well that McG made a few strategic phone calls to help a buddy out. Ah, how our clever writers keep reminding us how the Governor-McGarrett relationship is really going to be important in more than one part of the Five-0 team’s lives. I can think of 28 million reasons why we needed a reminder in this third episode of the season why Governor Jameson will come to McG’s aid, and then some.
And we can’t forget our favorite scene when McG names the team- Five-0—for the 50th state. I really love the writer’s touch of adding the fact that McGarrett’s dad called their family “Five-0’s” so that they “belonged someplace.” Well, we know that they belong. The team belongs to Hawaii and now makes up Steve’s new family. The name “Five-0” for the team is much better than Kono’s idea of “Strike Force.” Nice way for the writer’s to address the actual cultural phenomenon of the term “Five-0, which after the original show was what most people called local HPD and, on the continent, cops in general.
All in all, a fun repeat of an early episode. I love weekend reruns. I’m not sure how I am going to handle three weeks of Monday night repeats until March 21. Three weeks of rebroadcasts. Well, if memory serves, we’re still in for a few intense nights with our Five-0 Team. I will definitely be tuning in, as I’m sure many of you will as well. I guess we’re not alone out there.
Redux Side Note: The title of this episode is Malama Ka ‘Āina is translated on the CBS website as “Respect the Land.” I’m not sure if they meant it as respect the land because of the idea of New Jersey gangs headed to Hawaii to take over would start another “haole’s taking over” debate, but malama ka ‘āina really doesn’t mean “respect the land.” Malama means to take care of, to preserve, to protect, and of course, ‘āina means land or earth. But McGarrett and the Five-0 Team “protect the land” on a daily basis in “Hawaii Five-0” and we can’t have every episode with the same title, can we?
Wendie Burbridge is a published writer, playwright and a teacher of literature and fiction writing at Kamehameha Schools-Kapālama.