As many of you may already know, I have spent the last 14 years of my life in an elite, albeit rarely mentioned, unit of the US Navy.
We are a group that serves without fanfare, medals, or badges of valor. We may not know how to make swinging log traps, or how to spot a trip wire, or even have experience jumping out of airplanes, but we definitely have our own brand of special ops experience. We are the select few who can call ourselves Navy Wives, and while that may not be as exciting or as needed as our US Navy SEALs, we are very fierce in our loyalty and protection of our sailor husbands and our families.
And like Navy SEALs, we never want to be called “hero” for any reason, for that usually happens posthumously. If you have never met a Navy SEAL, or if your only experience with a SEAL is with our own Super SEAL, Lt. Commander Steve McGarrett, let me tell you, from my experience — SEALs are pretty bad ass in whatever they do, even if we only hear about it after a major terrorist cell has been infiltrated and the SEALs have eliminated a major threat to our country.
In actuality, when the SEALs do their job, we never hear about what they have done, until someone dies, of course. Then the medals and fanfare are splashed around, all things SEALs would prefer we keep to themselves. They are a private group. They don’t talk much. Hell, most don’t talk at all. Much like Navy Wives, they suffer their casualties and their pain with their team and in private, only with those who would understand their loss. And if they need help, they only reach out to their own.
Much like how Joe White (Terry O’Quinn) reaches out, to McGarrett and his team, to help him solve the mystery that surrounds the supposed suicide of a fellow SEAL. White would only ask a fellow SEAL to help him — a brother who understands and has gone through the same training and lived the same lifestyle that most people would not deem comprehensible on a normal day. And this is where we start “Kame‘e,” which should be split into two words, “Ka Me’e” for “The Hero.”
Now, we’ve seen many episodes in this past year that deals with brothers — brothers in arms, brothers by blood, and brothers in blue, but this one deals with more than just the themes of pili and ‘ohana. And while friendship and family are common elements in “Hawaii Five-0,” we can also see how these themes were engrained into McG long before he joined up with the Five-0 team.
Friendship is a cornerstone for McG and once a friend asks him for a favor, he brings in the big guns to help him out. I loved how Max (Masi Oka) got to show off his investigator skills in this episode — Inspector Gadget, indeed. And this episode also included a scene with our favorite forensics analyst Charlie Fong (Brian Yang). I was excited to hear McG give him a familiar mention; so hopefully, this will mean that we’ll see more of Charlie in the future.
Another friend who seemed to come to McG’s aid was Lori Weston (Lauren German) who seems to be getting along well with the team. She had a nice bonding moment with Danno in his car as they shared some marriage horror stories, and the last scene when she agreed with Chin about McG being on their team, really helped me to see her as a definite friend. She may have been forced onto Five-0, but she no longer seems like the Gov-appointment babysitter.
Now as for the family, little cousin Kono seems to have gone off the deep end. I know I’m not the only one who would rather see her surfing than wearing black and hanging out with bad boys in underground gaming rooms drinking whiskey. And add a Baldwin boy (William Baldwin as Frank Delano) into the mix and we have a recipe for “Good Girls Gone Bad.” Almost too much of a cliché for me. So I’m hoping the rumors of Kono being hired by Fryer to be an I.A. informant comes true — and quickly, I want her back on the team. Don’t get me wrong; I think our new friends are great. I really like Joe and Lori, and love Max’s increased action with the Five-0 Team, even his quirky wardrobe is growing on me, but I think I’m a purist and would like our Fab Four back together.
“Ka Me’e” was an action filled episode, and regardless of a mid-flight skydive save of a SEAL team member, or a secret viewing of a cartel takedown, perhaps reminiscent of what may have taken place overseas in a secret compound in Pakistan, I can see why this episode was called “The Hero.” SEALs like McGarrett, Joe White, and Wade Gutches (David Keith), may not like the title, but we all can agree on the fact that a hero is usually one who refuses to be recognized as such. And that is what makes us worship them, want them by our side, and glad they are on our team.
Redux Side Note:
While I am a Navy Wife and not a Navy SEAL, I have spoken to a SEAL who served nine tours in Afghanistan and a Marine Corps intelligence analyst who did three tours in Iraq. I interviewed both gentlemen for my short story “The Cave Man,” which was published in‘Ōiwi Volume 4: Kūpaʻa Mākou Ma Hope o ka ʻĀina. They, of course, prefer to remain anonymous because they are still currently serving in the Pacific. But I thank them for their candor and willingness to give me a little glimpse of what their lives in combat truly entail.
Thank you, Senior Chief and Staff Sargeant, for your service and for sharing your vast knowledge of special ops and stories of your experiences in hostile situations. Fair winds and following seas, my friends.
A few local shootouts — Joao Caegano, the marijuana grower, was played by Hawai‘i actor Troy Ignacio, whose credits include the film Beyond Paradise and the television shows “Hawai‘i” and “North Shore.” He had a small role, but I was happy to see that they got a real local boy who sounded authentic speaking “bird.”
And if you were wondering what McG said for “Hang Loose” in Hawaiian, he said, “‘Ōkole Maluna” which is a loose translation for “Bottom’s Up.” I can neither confirm nor deny that I know the real meaning to ‘ōkole maluna, but I will say, be careful what or who you call an ‘ōkole. Roger that?
Wendie Burbridge is a published writer, playwright and a teacher of literature and fiction writing at Kamehameha Schools-Kapālama. Reach her on Facebook and on Twitter.