Whatever our thoughts about the good guys and bad guys on “Hawaii Five-0” seem to have been tossed out the proverbial bus window this week. When I read the episode’s title was “Pahele,” translated as “Trapped,” I knew we were in for an overload of enclosure metaphor.
The actual meaning of pahele is “a snare, noose, trap; or to ensnare, or deceit and treachery” — all of which we got in excess this week, for sure. Because trapped is what our Five-0 team seems to be in “Pahele,” and the traps include a snare, a noose, and a sand hill of deceit.
With a busload of kidnapped children trapped in a bus and buried in a quarry, and the team ensnared by drug dealers who refuse to release the kids unless they get the drugs Five-0 confiscated in a harbor drug bust returned to them, McG and crew can either disobey a direct order from the Governor, who doesn’t negotiate with terrorists — and I guess, drug dealers who kidnap children — or find the kids themselves with the help of jailed informant Mateo Vargas (Rick Gomez), all while the noose is tightening and time is running out.
Guest star Ingo Rademacher, who played concerned father Malcolm Schafer, was also the ensnared business partner of bad guy drug dealer and deceitful Five-0 informant Vargas (or maybe we should call him Hugo Castillo?). Schafer is caught between freeing his son and losing his livelihood — and possibly his life. All the while, our team savior Joe White (Terry O’Quinn), even with his forced retirement for the North Korean “Save-McG-Save-the-World” plan, is seemingly ensnared in the web of deceit about the mystery surrounding Shelburne.
I have to point out that I have said very little about Shelburne, because to me it was a concept that was obviously a mystery being set up by the writers, and I adore surprises. (And also because I try to speculate only on alternate Sundays, and this posts on Tuesdays.) But beyond that, I really don’t care what Shelburne is, if it’s a place, or a man, or even a new version ninja Navy SEAL.
I just can’t wait until he or it is unveiled, because you know it’s just going to be an action packed, full-throttle, shoot-em-up-bang-bang episode. And I can definitely speculate on that.
But back to my sand hill of deceit, which in this episode was both literal and figurative: a mountain of deceit was revealed when Joe White and Hiro Noshimuri (returning guest star Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa) had their moment with McGarrett on Tantalus Drive.
I know many of you had nagging feelings about the trustworthiness of the Lt. Commander, but after flying us to Margaritaville and rescuing McG from Wo Fat Jong Il, I know you were all relieved that he seemed to have finally cemented himself as a member of the Five-0 team. That clinched it, right? And during his board of inquiry in this week’s episode, I thought, wow, another team member being pushed out.
Little did I know, that was only a pebble in the hill. If only we had a bulldozer of truth to knock it down.
Yes, I’m a little bitter that Joe has become another character who seems to be turning the corner toward treachery, but if we’re keeping track, we have gotten a few back in the past. Kono came back from playing little girl lost in the sea of ex-cops gone bad, and Jenna seemed to redeem herself with her death, which in the end wasn’t for nothing. Perhaps with this track record, maybe even Joe can slip out of this noose.
And I think the key to him finding a way out is in answering the question, who is Shelburne? And why is Wo Fat so afraid of him? Only then will we perhaps feel the noose loosen for not only Joe, but McGarrett and the rest of the team as well. And I can almost guarantee the ending will not be as happy as this week’s episode was, because no good seems to come to those who cross Wo Fat. Especially when they play for the good guys.
Redux Side Note:
Best part of the episode tonight? Three words: “Book ‘em Danno.” So great that they started that up again.
Former Hawai’i news reporter Linda Jameson played Parent #2, the pretty blonde mom who was in the crowd being briefed by Kono about her missing child. You can read about her experience in Mike Gordon’s “Outtakes Online.”
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.