For most visitors and locals alike, Hawaii is often thought of as a paradise in the middle of the Pacific. And with the lush greenery of our mountains, the crystal blue seas that surround our island home, all shown in bright spectacular colors on our Monday night television screens, the “Hawaii Five-0” episode “Palekaiko,” Hawaiian for “Paradise,” shows us the beautiful side, as well as a much darker and far more dangerous side, of Hawaii.
Not only do we get everything that Hawaii is famous for in this episode—beautiful scenery, the gorgeous underwater life of our oceans, the amazing views from our mountainous terrain, but we also see how the other half lives with expensive Honeymoon suites—because I don’t know about you all, but I’ve never seen that side of my islands. $5500 a night for a room with a view and a dozen useless pillows on a king sized bed? Kono should be happy to live in the trunk of Chin’s car; at least there would not be a ukulele band in the lobby. Part of me sort of agrees with Kono, cobblestones in former Soviet Block countries seem so much more romantic than faux Polynesian music and silk flowers in your room. Well, maybe more mysterious, and definitely a different kind of romantic.
It was interesting to me the way the writers took the romantic, but certainly clichéd view of Hawaii, which is what Kono was rejecting with her comments about her desired honeymoon, and twisted it as we watched a stalking rejected groom on a revenge rampage. How horrifying would it be to come to Hawaii for a romantic week with your new husband and find yourself trampling through a rain forest and almost being shot like a feral pig? I think I’ll take the Euro and the 24-hour plane ride over that. But then, if I knew that McGarrett and the Five-0 Team were here on the island to track our crazed-lovesick serial killer, I’d certainly book my weeklong getaway on a tropical beach. I wouldn’t care how cheesy the ukulele band was in the lobby.
Because let’s face it folks, our Five-0 Team gets it done. With a little help from our odd Medical Examiner, whose hobbies include helping solve cold case murders online and making pickles in old specimen jars. Dr. Max Bergman (Masi Oka) you are as strange as your non-Asian name. And we know, because this was YET another rebroadcast, that the team solves the case, even flying via helicopter (no Augie Tulba to pilot the chopper?) to rescue an unsuspecting new bride from ending up on the bottom of Waimea Canyon on Kauai. Or was it the bottom of the Pali Lookout? Both places look so much alike.
I did enjoy revisiting some interesting character clues about our fearless four. The contents of the CHAMP box always seem confusing to me, so I did enjoy re-hearing about the different clues, as well as seeing McG and Chin in bathing suits after they did some diving for he‘e, also known as tako or octopus to our sushi eaters. We also got a little background in this episode about what McGarrett believed about his mother’s death, that a drunk driver killed her in a car accident, which we now know is not really the truth. But I had forgotten that McGarrett had lived with that lie for so long.
We also heard about Malia, the woman Chin was going to marry, and his intention to take her to Lanai for their honeymoon—the farthest he could take her on a cop’s salary. That’s a pretty nice honeymoon Chin, as Bill Gates rented out the entire island when he married Melinda. And I think he makes more than a cop, doesn’t he? We also got to see a little more about why Kono doesn’t like Malia, as Kono blamed Malia for leaving Chin when he needed her most—which we also know is not the truth, but Chin does not correct his spiteful cousin. “Easy to judge from a distance,” Chin says. And he said it more like a cop teaching a rookie, than a chastising cousin. I think that is why I like Chin so much; he really is a Zen master with his emotions. Chin doesn’t overreact, yet Daniel Dae Kim doesn’t underplay him either. It’s a nice balance of tension and concern mixed with wise cop knowledge. Chin is the Master and Kono is a very eager, and equally as deadly, grasshopper. Thankfully, both are not playing-Asian, which is also a great touch.
But my favorite lines and scenes have to be with our cuddly buddies Danno and McG as they banter in the car, in a shed, and on a ship. They definitely got around in this episode. We got a Magnum quip, an almost “Book ‘em,” and a run down on why the song “Sexy Eyes” either makes people want to kill themselves, or maybe it’s just catchy. I also learned that the reason why people wear ties on vacation is because then they can hang themselves when they are bored. And yes, Danny, we now know that if we ever make you wear flowers, you will not be happy about it. Who knew?
All in all, it was a far from boring episode and I’m happy I saw it again. I’ll even wear some fake flowers and tip the ukulele band in the lobby the next time I have to visit a beachside hotel and force down a Blue Hawaii, just to prove that Paradise isn’t always what it’s cracked up to be.
Redux Side Note: Next week Five-0 Fans we finally get a new episode! “Na Me‘e Laua Na Paio” airs next Monday, March 21 at 9:00pm HST. Larisa Oleynik makes her “Hawaii Five-0” debut as a CIA agent Jenna Kaye and Wo Fat is back! Local designer Lisa Woo created a few costumes for the episode, which takes place at a Sci-Fi convention, and we’re hoping we see her wearing one of her creations. All I know is that I hope they dress McGarrett either as Aquaman or Super SEAL. Both are costumes I know he could pull off.
Wendie Burbridge is a published writer, playwright and a teacher of literature and fiction writing at Kamehameha Schools-Kapālama.