Leave it to “Hawaii Five-0” for always starting off the show with a bang. Or a crash in this case.
While the surfing scene was amazing — kudos to professional surfer Makua Rothman and surfing legend Brian Keaulana for some incredible water shots — the plane crash that lead to uncovering the sale of exotic pets was the last place I thought this episode would go. But what a hot opening, for sure. Way to show off our great surfing talent, as well as the beauty of our Hawaiian coastline in the first five minutes of the show.
(Director Steve Boyum told Hawaii News Now that all the surfing was shot specificially for the show, as he did not want to rely on “stock footage.” Bravo, Mr. Boyum.)
Monday night’s episode, “Lapa‘au,” which means “healing” in Hawaiian, definitely used the theme to its advantage. While the title seemed to be directed toward the healing measures taken by cancer patient Liam Miller (played by Jon Gries) it really was about the healing of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent Jeff Morrison, played by guest star Greg Grunberg (formerly of NBC’s “Heroes”) over the loss of his co-worker, Monica Jennsen.
Healing seems to be the theme of the season this year for “Hawaii Five-0.” As season one’s theme tended to focus on ohana and familial ties either gained or lost within the team, this year started off with trying to heal the hearts of our favorite foursome. All four members of the team — McGarrett with the loss of his family and the tragedy of his past, Danno with the loss of his marriage and his home, Chin Ho with the loss of his HPD family and his good name, and Kono with the loss of her burgeoning career — all needed acts of healing to help mend and stitch them back together this season. And while we continue to watch our Fearless Four grow and change, the healing needed is as important in their character development as well as within the plot structure of the show.
To Hawaiians, lapa‘au can happen in several different ways. It can happen through medicinal plants, through lomilomi or touch therapy, or through a kahuna lapa‘au (a medical priest or practitioner) or kauka lapa‘au (a medical doctor). Healing can be medicinal, physical, or spiritual, but lapa‘au is always a good thing for Hawaiians. We all want a cure, or a treatment, for whatever ails us.
It is also very important for us to heal our na‘au — our gut, where we hold our deepest emotional pain. For our team, and McGarrett in particular, there seems to be huge want for this kind of healing. We’ve seen it in several episodes leading up to this one, and I doubt the theme will end here.
Medicinal plants, like the medical marijuana and various Chinese herbs featured in this episode, seemed to be lumped into this week’s theme of healing. I’d like to clear up any ideas that Hawaiians used marijuana for healing, as it was not a traditional plant utilized by kānaka maoli. According to the book, “The Gifts of Civilization: Germs and Genocide in Hawai‘i,” by Oswald A. Bushnell, “Hawai‘i’s indigenous plants did not yield any hallucinogens.”
So even though Kono was quite convincing as a local stoner girl, we don’t use marijuana for traditional Hawaiian healing.
Much of this episode was very clever, and the dialogue was definitely fast moving and quite funny, all expertly crafted by writer Joe Halpin. Max showing up to eat lunch and deliver a report to McG and Danno at Kamekona’s shrimp truck was hilarious. The look on Danno’s face at the sight of Max’s new “Warp 9” yellow Camaro was priceless. And McG being regulated to the backseat because of Danno’s new best friend, as well as the enemy mine scene on the couch, were some of the better comedy bits we’ve seen all season. I would also be remiss if I didn’t mention Kono calling a very pleased Charlie Fong, played by Brian Yang, a “Geek God,” as one of my favorite moments of the evening.
On a smaller scale, several members of the team go through a bit of healing in this episode. Kono makes amends with Chin Ho about his relationship with Malia, and Danno finds some solace with the new dog, but all in all, this week’s episode was an interesting mix of the entire team getting some great character development and a good dose of comedy, along with trademark Five-0 action.
For me, I’m ready for the healing touch to continue throughout the rest of this season.
Redux Side Note:
There were many local faces in Monday’s episode — definitely a treat for all of us.
The jet skier was played by none other than Brian Keaulana, who is not only famous for his surfing talent but his extensive work as a stunt coordinator on several locally shot television shows, like “North Shore” and “Baywatch Hawaii,” and most recently his work on movies “The Descendants” and “Soul Surfer.”
Makua Rothman, professional surfer and big wave rider, played the surfer almost killed by the crashing plane. Scott Ok, who many of us have seen in local TV commercials, played head shop owner Brody Campbell.
And for you “Lost” and “Heroes” fans, it was a night of reunions, with Greg Grunberg reuniting with Masi Oka in a strangely awkward scene in the morgue, and Daniel Dae Kim and Jon Gries having yet another “Lost” reunion on the “Hawaii Five-0” set. All we needed was Terry O’Quinn to stop by to finish the Dharma circle!
If I missed mentioning any hidden messages or super-secret-handshakes between the actors as a hint to their loyal fans, my apologies. My new motto is, “Save McG, Save the World,” I suppose.
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.