When I think of treasure, like many of you, I think I’ve been stained by my pop culture celluloid world, and I think of pirates, sword fights, and gold doubloons. But we’ve already had a “Hawaii Five-0” episode with pōwā ma ka moana, so I knew tonight would not be about pirates, but about the treasure they search the world and, in some cases, for which they die trying to find.
In the Hawaiian language, “makamae” means precious, of great value, something highly prized. Many little girls are named Makamae, as it is pretty to say as well as for its sweet meaning. “Mea makamae” means precious object or a treasure, rather than a treasured darling, like a little girl. In this week’s episode, we see that the meaning of the word works both in subject, as Joe White, McG and the Team are all searching for treasure — and for some of them, searching for a little more than just the golden kind that jingles.
The story itself about a young man who ends up dead while searching for treasure at sea, leaving behind a mother who is stricken by Alzheimer’s and has her the precious memories of her son buried in her addled mind, was an interesting twist on the theme. Buried secrets, buried truths, buried treasure — all ideas and themes that made tonight’s episode a fun revelation on character, even without two seasoned guest stars taking some of the Five-0 team’s spotlight.
Patty Duke’s return to network television was a treat for me, as I worked with her in the early ’90s on a television pilot that never aired, yet spawned her short-lived series, “Amazing Grace.” Ms. Duke’s portrayal of Sylvia Spencer, a woman whose mental illness causes her to think that her son is still a child on his way home from school, was touching as well as sincere. Duke is an amazing professional and I was pleased to see that her role on “Hawaii Five-0” was not only a way for her to shine, but reminded us that no matter what kind of screen she is on — she knows how to make an impact. And if you ever have a chance to meet her, she is one of the most interesting women I’ve ever met. (Just make sure you call her Anna.)
Peter Fonda played the usual crusty opportunist role as Jesse Billings, a deep-sea treasure hunter. I’m sure we’ve seen him play this type of role before, but it worked for tonight’s episode — I just wished there had been a few more scenes with him. I guess we can’t just have Joe and Danny play the curmudgeons; may as well throw in a guest star to shake up the carguments.
Well, at least the bromance seems to still be intact — though I know that there were a few women in this episode that tried to break up the McG/Danno bromarriage. There was the return of Michelle Borth, McG’s romantic interest from season one, Lt. Catherine Rollins, and the introduction of Dr. Gabrielle Asano, played by Autumn Reeser, who was rumored this summer to be Danno’s new “love interest.”
Yes, I know that coffee is a beverage, not a relationship, but that is where this storyline seems to be going. Seeing as how some “Five-0” cast members and producers reacted to the questions about rumored romantic storylines, I’ll keep my opinions to myself about this character until it fully comes to fruition. I don’t want to ruffle any more feathers about who’s falling in love with who — someone might send Wo Fat over to settle my naughty writing fingers. And that could leave a mark.
A few welcomed returns to the show, besides Catherine, have to be Kamekona (Taylor Wily) and my favorite, Charlie Fong. Kamekona and his new, 31 flavors shrimp truck was a great way for me to almost want to try shrimp mochi for dessert. And Charlie (played by Brian Yang) was really effective with his concerned friend face when Chin asked him to find out who had accessed his HPD log. His scenes were a nice reminder that many are concerned about our Kono.
I have to say, Kono’s storyline is getting better and better as the episodes go on, as the tension and conflict continue to be ratcheted up. I’m in a few knots thinking about how she’s going to get out of this mess and how the Five-0 team will come to her rescue. But I’m really enjoying watching her conflicted face. It makes me a little sad that she is becoming a bit tarnished by her experience. It makes for a much more complex character and I’m sure Grace Park is enjoying the depth and complexity she gets to explore within her character. I know we are enjoying watching the torment flash across her face whenever Chin Ho comes to her door.
But overall, no matter how much we want to toss around the “Treasure” theme, a lot of what I saw in the episode subtext, is that what is precious to one person, may not be to another. Blake Spencer, our uncredited victim, thought that what was precious cargo was his grandfather’s body, not a cache of Hawaii overprint notes (which currently are going for around $70 to $550 on Ebay).
And what McGarrett sees as precious would be to have his questions answered about his father. And Chin sees that what is precious is his relationship with Kono, no matter what the cost. All of these precious things are important in this episode, but what is precious to some is not always a treasure to another. At times, this is a hard lesson to learn, yet the Five-0 team seems to want to learn these lessons together. Hopefully, this can help their treasured team stay intact for the long run.
Redux Side Note:
JPAC, where Joe and Max took the bones of Sylvia Spencer’s father, is a real place and they do very important work. JPAC stands for Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command, and their mission “involves investigating leads, recovering, and identifying Americans who were killed in action but were never brought home.” Max’s admiration is one I think we all probably share about the task JPAC has to our service men and women who have been considered “unknown” or MIA in any war or war zone. I’m pleased they were highlighted in tonight’s episode.
The Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum is a real museum on O‘ahu and has been designated as the Hawaii State Museum of Natural and Cultural History. It is named in honor of Ke Ali‘i Pauahi and was founded by her husband Charles Reed Bishop in 1889. All of the shots you saw of the museum where taken in and outside of Hawaiian Hall and in the museum’s archival library. The museum is an amazing place that has helped to preserve Hawai‘i’s culture, heritage and artifacts. I encourage you to visit, even if it is to catch a glimpse of Danno trying to find a place to park his Camaro or find a cup of coffee.
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.