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Five-0 Redux

Cleaning up, Hawaiian-style

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Kono Kalakaua (Grace Park), right, is questioned by her cousin, Chin Ho Kelly (Daniel Dae Kim), as Steve McGarrett (Alex O'Loughlin) looks on during this week's episode of the hit CBS television show. (Courtesy CBS)

“Hawaii Five-0” can definitely start off their episodes with a bang and then keep the ball rolling for the rest of the show. And this ball kept us bouncing most of the episode. Sometimes when a ball is bounced around, it knocks things over, messes things up. And then it’s sometimes hard to figure out what to clean up first.

Here in Hawaii, there’s been a fair bit of coverage about this episode because the opening scene that got the proverbial ball rolling was shot at the University of Hawaii’s Stan Sheriff Center and utilized Rainbow Wahine fans for a special “Hawaii Five-0” volleyball game. Unfortunately, because of NCAA rules, the real team could not play themselves in the game, but it was a great treat to see so many local faces in the stands during the show, even if it was as deep background.

Local actor Joe Toro, right, plays the role of UH Rainbow Wahine head coach Brian Scartelli in this week's episode. At left is former Hawaii resident and now Los Angeles-based actor/comedian Cathy Tanaka. (Courtesy

Local actor Joe Toro played head coach Brian Scartelli, and while he was not the normal face we see with the Wahine, he did look like a volleyball coach. It was also great to see Hawaii News Now Sunrise anchor Ramsey Wharton playing a role she has a definite talent for — a news reporter — even if it was just a short clip on a television. I know, not much of a stretch for our Ramsey, but it’s always great to see another familiar face on “Hawaii Five-0” and she did a great job, as usual.

I’d love to see her play another type of role; perhaps a politically-driven career woman running for Congress? They do say to play what you know.

Or perhaps it’s write what you know — and it’s obvious to me that what Peter Lenkov said at the Hawaii International Film Festival’s “Afternoon with Hawaii Five-0” is true — that when you write what you know, everything looks and sounds real, and feels real for the actors. And in “Ma‘ema‘e,” the emotions as well as the strength of each character was put to the test.

There has been a lot said in these last few weeks via social networking sites about the fate of our Five-0 team, Kono in particular.

We have been very worried about our girl, if she is headed down the wrong path toward the opposite side of the fence and if she will ever come back with her rookie charm intact. At the HIFF panel discussion, Grace Park herself commented on the change within her character, saying that she loved “going to the dark side.”

That being said, Monday’s episode (“Ma‘ema‘e” meaning “clean”) gave us great insight into not only Kono’s character, but into her actions for the last few episodes.

Kono shows where her allegiances truly lie in this week's episode. (Courtesy CBS)

Clean up she does, in more ways than one. Perhaps the symbol of cleanliness lingered throughout the entire episode, but I think this is why many of us like the use of Hawaiian words and terms to name each episode.

According to my Hawaiian language expert, T. Ilihia Gionson, “in Hawaiian language, ‘to clean’ would be to ho‘oma‘ema‘e. That which is unclean will come into a state of cleanliness, ma‘ema‘e.

“Poetically, Hawaiian language equates cleanliness with a pure beauty; clean and free of flaws, if you will.”

We saw a lot of this symbol throughout the episode, a coach who tried to clean up for people he cared about — one of his mislead players and a woman who he considered a friend in trouble; a man who laundered money for dirty cops; Chin Ho’s ex, Malia, trying to clean up Kono’s relationship with her cousin; a cop who was seen as dirty and one who was — made clean by the actions of Kono. All ways the writers worked the theme into the episode.

There’s a lot of badmouthing about “Hawaii Five-0” out there, I know. People stop me in stores and in my office at work and tell me why they just cannot watch the show — but I ask them to name me a show that works a metaphor into their scripts for every episode, and “Five-0” joins the ranks. It usually wipes those dirty looks right off their faces.

Returning tonight was Reiko Aylesworth as Chin Ho’s former fiancée, Malia, Tom Sizemore as HPD Internal Affairs officer Vincent Fryer, and William (formerly Billy) Baldwin as Frank Delano. I have to say that I was dreading Sizemore’s return to the show, as I really disliked his character — not Sizemore, he’s really a terrific actor, regardless of his personal problems and addictions — but Fryer is about as greasy as his name. And I was proven right — McG’s good effort to clean his clock was very satisfying.

In the end, when Kono cleared the air, she brought the team back together. And though the Five-0’s may not be free of flaws, they definitely can no longer be called dirty. And if nothing else, that is worth cleaning up the house.

Redux Side Note:

The University of Hawaii Rainbow Wahine is one of the foremost women’s volleyball teams in the nation, in large part because of their legendary head coach, Dave Shoji. Shoji has coached the Wahine’s since 1975, and has four national titles under his belt.

Local folks know that the crowd you saw in “Hawaii Five-0” is a common occurrence for Wahine games — one of the most beloved pastimes in Hawaii.
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.

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  • this was awesome ! so was your take on it wendie! i loved the episode- they really heated things up- i think the lauren german critics will decrease after this episode – she is holding her own and that says alot! i loved the dialogue with chin! “daddy issues” it was so funy – ive been saying it to my ohana for weeks, “whats with all the daddy issues” lol. she was terrific-and it seems like she has a bit of a crush – funny dont go any further with it the tension is fun–. kono was dead on and as we all really figured out a while ago was undercover but she played the bad girl very well. alex was terrific as always -hes really bringing the emotion and madd acting to his role- there is definetly an angry edge to him this season we havent seen before. loved danny and steves cargument and the prequel to the odd couple episode promised later on – that will be a blast danny sleeping on steves couch!! the interrigation scene with kono and steve and chin and then fryer was intense and fun! loved how steve popped him in the end – standing up for his team and just walking rite past kono like she was still in trouble with the boss.very intense episode and they did a better job this week of intermingling the procedural with the charachter issues. top notch- they really delivered. and critics be damned dont watch it if you dont like it – really , seriously , noone is forcing you ! loved the previews for next episode looks like steve takes a good beating will be fun to see that fight! edge of my seat the whole time! bravo

  • so lady in office says “that lori charachter is ice cold i think shes gonna go casue shes not in the opening credits” i couldnt take it anymore so i say ” listen min– its a tv show and its a tv charachter and its a good one, steve/alex is never gonna date you and hes never gonna date the other million drooling ladies who live vicariously through the tv!! so get over it and just enjoy the show” — just got stared down — i mean, really – get a life!

  • Aloha! Awesome article for an equally awesome episode of Hawaii 5-0. The show is always going to have its critics but I’m betting that the H50 fan’s devotion to “our” show is 1000% more powerful than the haters could ever be.
    So happy to see the team clean up and the ending was one of the most “feel good” moments I’ve seen in a long long time on TV. By the time the picture faded to black my heart was about to burst inside my chest.
    Mahalo Wendie!  

  • Agreed, it’s been fantastic having Tom Sizemore on. Just a great, gritty actor. Loved McG’s punch delivered to Ray Mapes that sent him airborne, too — nicely shot. I wish I was watching the downtown shoot when they filmed that, but I only caught the ending scenes with the hugs… not that there’s anything wrong with that.

    Hilarious comments on Twitter last night about how Dave Shoji suddenly got young and beefy. Of course he’s always been handsome.

  • Wen, did I ever tell you that you’re AWESOME!!!?? I especially loved the hero shot at the end of the episode, where you saw Kono, Chinn, Danno, mcG AND Weston in the photo… now we just need space for Max and Kamekona, although I don’t know if there’s a wide angle lens big enough to fit Kamekona… hahaha!!  Anyhoo, a wonderful article from a wonderful person, about a wonderful show.  Thanks so much for letting us all come along for the ride!

  • Another great blog Wen!!! This was the episode I’ve been waiting for all season.  One that totally knocked it our of the park.  I had trouble tweeting cause I had to keep focused to keep up.  Loved the end shot with the team back together, but my fave scene was McG knocking out Fryer.  Keep up the good work on the blog and don’t worry about the haters cause that’s all they are X)

  • Great point Wendie – what other nationally broadcast television shows weave in Hawaiian language with the theme? For each reason that people have for not watching or liking H50, I have one for why I do. However, we ALL have to admire the inclusion of the language and the way the beauty of our Hawai’i is captured. Anoddah winnahs Redux, sistah! Gina Fontillas

  • As always Wendie….fabulous write-up.  I have the same encounters you and Jowey have mentioned.  “I just don’t see what you see in THAT show!!!”.  I always say the same thing.  “I obviously see what you’re not capable of seeing”.  I am not drinking the Kool Aid.  I see the flaws and address them when I feel they are there.  This episode had NO flaws whatsoever.  It was well written, extremely well acted and Grace Park was just  awesome.  And I have to say I just ADORE angry Steve!!!

    Keep up the great writing Wen!  Can’t imagine enjoying this show as much without the Tuesday morning wrap-ups from all my favorite writers.  You all know who you are and Wendie, you’re right there at the top!!!

  • Fantastic blog, Wendie – but I’ve come to expect nothing less! Your insights always lead me down a slightly different path in my reactions to each new 5-0 episode. I don’t feel so agitated or pumped up when I read your blog, but more at peace and calm.  Does that make sense?  I know it’s why I save your blog for last each Tuesday! 
    Yes, it definitely was the cleansing episode.  Agreed, we may not be back to where we were at the end of ep. 23 of Season 1 – everyone hugging and happy – but this episode put our team back on an even keel.  The final scene – I felt like standing up and singing the Halleluja Chorus! That was some powerful television!
    Great defense for the show, Wendie – I have some Engish writing devotees I know who I will have to use the metaphors argument on – I get tired of their eye-rolling, and the “only show that’s worse on tv is the new Charlie’s Angels show – and that was just cancelled. Ha Ha.” comments.
    Thanks for sharing your time with us devoted H5-0 fans (I kind of think we are now Wendie Burbridge/Redux fans, as well!

  • I was totally geeked out to see this episode as two of my favorite worlds crossed paths: Hawaii Five-0 and UH Athletics. Let’s get this out of the way first: there is no way the announcer would be talking that much while the match was still in play – but for TV purposes they needed to add it to add context and… well have you tried watching volleyball on TV with no sound? It’s just wrong.

    I’m very interested to see the dynamic between Lori and Kono. Sisterly bond or *rawr* catfight? Is Kono going to feel like she’s been replaced already? Is Lori going to feel like she was just a substitute teacher of sorts?

    I must admit there are a lot of haters out there but what show is without its foibles? Take it for what it is – an enjoyable way to spend an hour of your Monday night. It’s not high art. And I don’t want it to be.

    And was The Shoj anywhere in the episode? Would have been nice to see him in a cameo role. Perhaps as one of the loyal fans in the stands, but shown more prominently of course. Maybe it would have been an NCAA violation too?

  • Thank you again for wonderful blog.  This was the episode I was waiting for—when the whole team gets back together.  Future episodes will continue to be interesting with Kono and Weston, Fryer and Wo Fat, Kamekona and Bergman and, of course, Daddy-O (played by O’Quinn).  Now, we need to see the return of Danno’s girls.   

  • Another great blog Wendie, as always. 

    I’m curious though, who is doing the bad-mouthing of the show and why?  Is this coming from a local perspective?  I live on the mainland and I have more than a few friends who really love Five-0.  I have not heard anyone say that they “just cannot watch the show”.  Five-0 showcases the islands and provides exciting crime drama in a gorgeous setting – how can that generate bad-mouthing?  Please try and touch on this further if you can – I just don’t get it (and it would seem that there are about ten million other people who don’t get it either).  

  • Hi Wendie sorry for the delay but it was a terrific episode.  Wow my heart was pounding hard and like everyone else I suspected she was doing dirty work for Fryer against her will but how far did she have to go scared me alot especially when she used Chin’s password to get intel for Delano from the HPD data base, that worried look on her face gave me hope that she was doing this against her will which made me to dislike Fryer even more.  I felt so bad for Chin as he was so worried about her.  Grace Park really did a fantastic job at convincing most of us that she could be tough as nails if she needed to be and of course for a minute there when Chin told her that he was going to be there for her no matter what – thought she might crack and tell him what was going on – but she never did not even when Steve yelled at her – I swear I would have broken down but not Kono, she really didn’t cower under his glare until Fryer walked arrrogantly into the room to take Kono rudely out.

    I was never so happy to see Steve’s livid anger aimed at the man who caused all this trouble for Kono – I was “hugging Steve” and waving my finger angrily at my tv pointing at Fryer and hearing Chin’s raised voice in an anger we have never seen before made me applaud.   Luckily I can do this since I’m the only one watching on my living room couch.   

    Wendie I am so relieved that he truth is finally out and you know what Fryer in the end wasn’t all that bad when he was willing to let Five-0 back up Kono and knowing Steve he would never endanger Kono which is exactly what Fryer would have done unflinchingly.  How dare that man compare his values and morals with Steve’s – boy that made me dislike Fryer even more.  Steve may cross the line if it means saving a life but he would never endanger anyone…so that punch to Fryer’s face was very satisfiying indeed.  Tom Sizemore is quite a character and a great actor and addition to the show and by the way thank you very much for standing up to defend our wonderful show – you do it with such grace and passion.

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