I suppose if I were headed to North Korea to save the man I love, I’d definitely be begging Steve McGarrett to come with me. Of course, I doubt McG thought it would get him stranded in the jungle with his arch-nemesis, sporting the new rope-as-a-scarf fashion look and being electrocuted just enough to make his hair curl.
But if Jenna had been a smarter woman, she should have also asked Joe White to help get her fiancé home. Joe sure seems to know his way around the world, as well as some interesting characters that could help any team headed into enemy territory — even one who’s more familiar with places like Margaritaville.
So even though this week’s “Hawaii Five-0” took us on a ride all the way to Southeast Asia and revealed the deceiver within the Five-0 team, it ended with everyone flying off into the sunset, because it’s five o’clock somewhere, right?
Jimmy Buffett, who played the Huey pilot Frank Bama, really added a great bit of character and fun to the episode, with his snappy one-liners, delivered like a typical American ex-pat living in Asia. He made a perfect addition to the Five-0 rescue team. His infusion of humor really helped add a bit of balance to the pretty horrific beating and torture McGarrett had to endure from an overly silent Wo Fat. I think Mark Dacascos did not speak until the last 20 minutes into the episode. And of all the “Hawaii Five-0” episodes featuring Wo Fat, this one has been the longest Dacascos has been seen on camera.
It’s almost unnerving how little he speaks yet how prominent he is in the scenes. The mystery of Wo Fat continues.
Back in April, I wrote a blog deconstructing some of the theories from the first season of “Hawaii Five-0,” a few of which have come to fruition this season. In “Deconstructing ‘Five-0’ theories,” I wrote, “Agent Kaye is a Wo Fat plant to keep McG and the Team away from Jack McGarrett’s original investigation.”
So when Jenna was the one who whisked Wo Fat away from the prison after plugging up his Victor Hess-style leak, I don’t know if I was more shocked that Jenna was a double-agent or that I had been pretty close to the truth. I’m sure there were several thousand fans that probably agreed with me. (Or maybe it’s millions — like close to 11 million?)
However many fans out there agreed or disagreed with me on Jenna, I know there are just as many of you out there who agreed tonight’s episode was a mix of justice served with a side of bittersweet. And a healthy dollop of — yes, Kono— what the hell?
It wouldn’t be an episode written by Peter Lenkov and Paul Zbyszewski if it didn’t leave us wanting in the end, now would it?
Wanting more, of course, goes without saying. But this time I found myself wanting a little more information about Wo Fat. I guess I am getting used to Wo Fat’s entrances and exits, and like the player he is, I am always wondering what part he will play in each episode. He has been judge, jury, and executioner so many times, I suppose I shouldn’t be shocked when he kills yet another member of the Five-0 team. But I also wanted to know how he got to be the man that he is. He is so cold blooded, it’s frightening.
But evil isn’t born, it’s created, and I want to know how evil was manufactured in this man’s blood and veins. I’m sure the story is safely housed within Peter Lenkov’s super-sharp writer’s brain, but I’d like some of it to ooze out onto Mark Dacascos face — or even better, out of his stiff upper lip — a few times during some future episodes. I’m sure that story will be fascinating and so fun to watch.
In Hawaiian, “Ki‘ilua” does mean “deceiver,” but it also means “two-faced” and “liar,” all themes we saw in this week’s episode. Between the two-faced turn of Jenna, as well as the many lies and layers of deception set up by Wo Fat, the theme is well woven within the storyline and characters.
My friend and Hawaiian Language expert T. Ilihia Gionson also revealed something interesting that he asked me to take into consideration. He said that if you split up ki‘ilua, “ki‘i” means “face” and “lua” means “two,” which is where two-faced comes from. But “ki‘i” also means “to fetch,” which could also relate to Jenna wanting to fetch her fiancé from Wo Fat’s clutches.
Hawaiians tend to be more poetic in their criticisms of others, so the idea that calling someone “ki‘ilua” would be kinder than calling them a liar, yet I think “deceiver” really covers all of our bases in this episode. And after seeing all the deception surrounding McG and his team, I wonder if he will ever trust anyone who comes to him for help.
Let’s hope that his belief in people and his trust in his friends have not been permanently damaged.
Redux Side Note:
“Hawaii Five-0” will be taking a Thanksgiving break next Monday, Nov. 28, as CBS airs a rebroadcast of “Pōwā Ma Ka Moana.” I wrote about that episode in my post, “Pirating in Hostile Waters.”
And I’m sure I’m not the only one who is looking forward to seeing a Chin Ho and Malia wedding — with McG as best man. I think the best moment of this week’s episode was when he finally got his brown-eyed girl. Another win for the Five-0 team!
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 the best episode yet! absolutely hands down. peter and co have made tv fun to watch again! the jenna story was tragic i felt for her in the end. hard watching our hero get tortured. loved the team coming together to save him- that is true ohana! and lori, well, she rocked! kono rocked! dannos love for steve rocked! chin rocked! it all rocked! joe white was fabulous in this! wow! i hate wofat!
It’s hard to imagine how Mr. Lenkov and his team are ever going to top this one. It was like watching a high-budget action movie unjustly littered with commercials (though they do help pay for the show, plus I’m kinda glad we had a few minutes to catch our breath and digest all that was happening since the hour moved at a breakneck pace).
Admittedly, some of this episode was very hard to watch. I know it was designed to take the audience (and the actors) out of a comfort zone, and it worked. It’s crazy how watching Wo Fat, you see none of Mark Dacascos. This character isn’t so much deliciously evil as he is purely demented… a total monster. There was at least some justice to see him tucking tail and retreating by show’s end. Seeing him cut down by a bullet wasn’t going to happen in this episode, nor is a quick death good enough for him … not after what he did to Steve.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, I was surprised at the level of empathy I felt for Jenna at the end of this episode. Her betrayal of Steve was unimaginable, but yet at the same time I don’t think she did what she did with any sort of clear conscience. She was clinging to the smallest shred of hope of seeing her fiance alive again, and even though it was terribly (terribly, terribly) stupid of her to get no proof of life before rushing off to North Korea, I don’t think she ever wanted to see what happened to Steve actually come to fruition. That she did the right thing in the end (or as close to the right thing as one can do in such a situation), seeing her body left on that concrete floor was disheartening. I hope there’s some mention in 2.11 that they were able to get Jenna and Josh back on American soil.
On a final note, I was really happy for Chin and Malia. The show has been so heavy this season that it’s nice to see something good and pure come out of everything. The scene between them was really romantic… didn’t think I’d be reaching for the tissues two minutes into the show instead of in the closing five 😉
I agree with all of this! One more thing, I need a scene between Steve & Kono acknowledging what they’ve both been thru & how they value one another. (more than just the look after the sniper shot in 2.09) I know @PLenkov had to cut a bunch of time out but I sincerely hope one of those deleted scenes is of Kono reuniting w/ the team and sharing in the victory. Her role was critical in the rescue. Sometimes we need to see that, not just have it implied. Is that a woman thing?
Was a great ep of Hawaii Five 0 all around. Peter Lenkov and Paul Z did a great job with the writing and the action in this ep- could have been 2 hours long and still kept me on the edge of my seat. Scott Caan & Alex O’Loughlin’s Danny and Steve have a short hand of looks and comments between then right now that have cemented them as the Bromance of the decade. There is some controversy on how the women in this show keep getting interchanged. Kono out- Jenna in- Jenna out- Lori in. And then “the hug” and “the look” at the end. I prefer to focus on the great moments between Scott and Alex. The concern in the office, the “don’t speak” when Danny found him, and the banter on the copter. That is what makes H50 great for me.
ps- regarding Wo Fat- I love how he is like a dark shadow that floats in and out of episodes- he is McG’s Moriarity- he will not be gone soon and he will continue to menace the 5-0 task force for a long time. And I love it.
You could feel the sense of urgency in this episode. The acting was sharp.
But, didn’t really care for it. North Korea? Really? NORTH KOREA??? Wo Fat is Chinese…the darkest, most Filipino-ish, round-eyed Chinese I’ve ever seen, and now his home-base is in North Korea? Peter!!!
This episode mainly served as the contract termination of “jenna”. It did it in spectacular fashion, but when she appeared early on in the hour, it was obvious what was coming before the credits rolled. I felt sorry for Larisa, I thought she was going to become a regular, but it didn’t work out. I guess the execs thought they needed a “prettier face”.
I enjoyed the episode but thought the cliche of the ex chopper pilot character didn’t add much to the story. It just seems like I’ve seen this character before somewhere who is an expert in something and is familiar with the area. He’s a kind of lone ranger, march to the beat of a different drummer type who owes some friend a favor because of something from the past where he is willing to risk it all.
Also, why didn’t they choose a location in the story that matched the scenery of Hawaii? Most of the shots were close ups of the chopper with very little shown of the wider landscape. I don’t even think there was any digitally enhanced landscape that could at least give the impression you were north of the Korean DMZ. Also, why weren’t there any resistance from the regular N. Korean army units?
Still an entertaining episode though and looking forward to more with this level of action.
Nicely written — “It wasn’t for nothing” Jenna repeated when she tossed McGarrett the pin when she knew Wo Fat would kill her, echoing her earlier story about her fiance who said the same thing to her when he proposed. Perfect that there’s a kinder interpretation of ki’ilua — we’re meant to sympathize with Jenna after she betrayed McGarrett.
The episode lastnight was so good. It kept you on the edge of your seat. I liked how tied the reporter to Jenna and then knew McG. was in trouble. I thought she was in with Wo Fat in Season 1 because I never could figure out how she got McG.’s dad’s recorder. So I wasn’t to shocked to see it revealed in the opener but lastnight they kind of made her out to be not so bad. Any women would probably do the same thing to find her man. Especially with McG. tagging along. I also thought the big news was Chin Ho getting married. That will lead to some fun episodes in the future. I really like how the writers take us on a journey each week. Hope this show stays on for a long time.
Great episode and your review Wendie. Buffett was great as the chopper pilot. I am missing the Shave Ice guy, but thought this was a full action plus humor one hour. Thank you for your insights.
Wow, I think I might be one of the few people who didn’t empathize with Jenna. The willingness to sacrifice others because only your needs count, makes you a sociopath. OK yes, she felt a twinge of guilt but too little, too late for redemption from me. Admitting that you destroyed someone who cared about you and treated you like family, just to get what you want is deplorable and she may have actually assisted Steve just to get back at Wo Fat, not to help McG at all.
Yes, what she did to Steve was deplorable. It was a complete and total abuse of his trust and it did sicken me. But I’m not sure she saw another choice given that the ransom was, as she believed, her fiance’s life. She probably believed Steve had the ability to escape the situation she put him in, or possibly thought it would never get as bad as it did. I had an empathy for her helplessness in the situation. I couldn’t imagine being put in a situation to ever make the decisions she did. But I did not have a sympathy for how her life ended. She made her own bed. This makes for really good discussion though. I know a lot of people will also feel the way you do, Terry, and I can’t say I disagree.
Beautiful recap Wendie! I admire your compulsion to get to the deep dark why of Wo, but alas, I think some evil is born (!) so we may never “get” him. Probably for story-telling purposes though it’s better Wo Fat has some reason for being the way he is, a good backstory (I can’t remember the orgininal well). I’d personally like it to be something really trite and insipid, like his mom didn’t buy him a cabbage-patch doll or an easy-bake oven. As for Jenna, and with all due respect to Terry, I think she was more ‘naive’ than anything else. I think she truly believed that McGarrett would get out of it, fix it, kill it, rescue it, escape from it–whatever super man-heros like him do. Because he always does. And really, can anyone who’s watched H50 blame her for that? I was sorry she got plugged, and will miss her nerderrific, constantly worried expression!
Another great post, Wendie. I really look forward to your take every week.
I could not help but like the episode, even though it was a bit of a stretch to suggest that several American law enforcement officers and members of the military could just jump on a plane and hop on over to North Korea to extract another American – and all in just a day or so. Still, the show continues to surprise us and keep us guessing while providing movie-quality action and drama. I am hooked so I will go wherever the show takes me.
Keep up the good work, Wendie.
Thanks, Wendie, for another great review! The title is truly the most telling aspect of this week’s episode. The “deceiver” – really does represent both Jenna Kaye and Wo Fat. Wo Fat is a truly despicable villain, and the most cold-blooded liar currently on television! Poor Jenna, the two-faced cameleon. There were enough hints in S1 that Jenna was not what she presented herself as, but I, for one, was diverted into believing she was one of the good guys when she saved Danny from the sarin death and helped get Steve exonerated for Laura Hills and Gov. Jamison’s murders.
Wendie, you question if Steve will ever be able to trust another who might come to him for help. Yes, he will, because in this episode Steve learned one very important lesson. His team is more than just his co-workers. They truly are his family – his Ohana, and they really will put their own lives, reputations, jobs, whatever – on the line to come to his aid in his most dire need. Steve’s smile of pure joy, in the helicopter – was something we’ve waited one and a half seasons to see – so worth the wait!
Every part of this episode was spectacular, right down to the duct tape and the chicken nests on the helicopter and the Margarita joke! The Ohana was in top form! The concern, loyalty and love for their leader and friend at the end brought tears to my eyes and a lump in my throat. And if anyone finds the music for that final flight into the sunset, please post it?
This episode will undoubtedly go down in the annals as one of the very best of the new H50!
Revealing the Deceiver? Aptly named in this week’s episode. We were never quite sure what we were getting when Jenna first arrived at McGarrett’s office door with Steve’s father’s tape recorder with an order to hand over all his father’s private files to her. Steve did. Its chilling to wonder if she gave everything Steve had from his father to Wofat. Steve knew nothing about Wofat until Jenna showed up. When Wofat showed up at the noodle house, it bothered me that he picked the same night that Steve had dinner plans with her. Coincidence?
I know that he didn’t have anything that could help him with his father’s investigation into his mom’s murder and so he took a tactical risk into letting an outsider apart from the team look into his father’s private affairs and he trusted Governor Jamison too who deceived him with her meetings with Wofat and his father.
I wrote on the undercover page that “she (Jenna) never wanted Steve’s help, she went along with Wofat’s plan to lure Steve into his dungeon to buy her fiance’s freedom. Her fiance may have given her a ring and said it wasn’t for nothing, she cheapened his life by bargaining with another man’s life”. I felt that she turned to Danny and helped Steve when she realized that she had been deceived by Wofat too. Perhaps that’s where the “two face” scenario came into the story.
That cold nasty interrogation about “Shelbourne” scene was text book “red army” style interrogation which had this been a movie to watch would have been even more brutal to see. Wofat’s a big mystery for me too!! He’s not just a cold blooded killer but a “business man” – what kind of business is he into? Arms dealing, drugs or something more sinister.
I think Peter and the writers are keeping us all in the dark about Wofat and whatever nastiness is in the script – it would most likely be very frightening and interesting.I have a feeling that the smooth ride we have in season one is leading us into a lot of bumpy ones as we get deeper into the story and so brave Ohana friends we just have to tighten our “seatbelts” not just “diapers” and hang on for what’s coming next.
Ok Wendie…it’s been almost 24 hours and the first 3 attempts to post still have not made it past the moderator so I am trying again.
As always, your blog is a welcome continuation of a great Five-0 episode and this episode is definitely one for the books. Deceiver is right and I am forced to admit that I was not one of those who didn’t trust Jenna. I was totally shocked to see her in that car with WoFat. It did bother me that WoFat knew about the dinner meeting between Jenna and Steve at the noodle house. I never did work that out in my head but I really didn’t think she would turn out to be a bad guy. Kudos to all of you who did.
This episode was everything and had everything that makes Five-0 the wonderful show that it is. The writing was fantastic, the photograph, the lighting, the music, exceptional and the acting, by EVERY SINGLE PERSON, was phenomenal!!! I can not for the life of me figure out how they can ever top this!!!
I really enjoyed the episode. Even better than I have some big budget action movies that I have seen in theaters.
I really loved the Chin Malia re-engagement scene hopefully we will have a Hawaii Five-0 wedding next year. I was very impressed by Larissa’s acting she went through the emotional wringer.
I loved the bantering between the Keith David character and Joe White. Anybody get the feeling that we are getting a glimpse of future Steve and Danny? I really liked that they included Seal Team 9 in the “humanitarian relief effort”. I agree that Jenna was naive when she didn’t first get proof of life but didn’t she mention something about pictures to Steve? We don’t know how long her fiancee was dead so there is that.
I’m glad that in the end she did give Steve his chance to escape even if it failed. I was cheering when the team took down the convoy and was relieved that Danny found Steve first. I just don’t understand the thinking to have Lori on the op and Kono running comms though.
I laughed out loud with the divorce joke in the chopper. Jimmy Buffet was great in this ep and I hope that he shows up again someday.
Small correction for you Wendy. You wrote that the team head to SouthEast Asia when North Korea is in North East Asia. Happy Thanksgiving to you and everyone on the blog. LEO