BY WENDIE BURBRIDGE / Special to the Star-Advertiser
Faith seemed to be in short supply for “Hawaii Five-0” fans these last few weeks. After trying to follow the roller coaster of bad news — Alex O’Loughlin in rehab, the “NCIS: LA” crossover episode being shot without McG; the suggestion that perhaps there will be a shortened second season, coupled with two weeks of repeats — fans were ready for a new episode. And while the release of the great news that “Hawaii Five-0” was renewed for a third season seemed to bolster viewers, this week’s episode, “Kālele” (or “Faith”), was a much needed salve for fans.
The episode, featuring a much-hyped guest appearance by Ed Asner, started off with a great scene that put the faith back into faithful for “Five-0” fans. I swear I heard sighs from millions of living rooms across the nation when McGarrett and Danno came out of the waves at Queen’s Beach in Waikiki. I loved the irony behind McG instructing Danno on proper etiquette for “dropping-in” on a wave, since in reality Alex O’Loughlin is relatively new to the sport and Scott Caan has been surfing most of his life. (And Caan probably would not be caught dead dragging his board in the sand.)
But if nothing else, we got to see our favorite star healthy and in good spirits — which definitely helped to put our faith in the show back on track.
Asner, in a fantastic homage to the original show and his role as diamond smuggler August March, was another strong guest star. While some viewers have not been happy about the concentration on guest cast members versus the core Five-0 team of McG, Danno, Chin, and Kono, the addition of seasoned actors who have great parts written for them really adds to the flavor and appeal of the show.
I loved how writer Joe Halpin not only brought Asner’s character back and made it work within the established plot structure of the reboot (a young Jack McGarrett drove March to jail and refused to take a bribe from him), but also brought back March’s signature line from the original show.
“Never turn your back on the buyer.” This was the perfect way to tie the classic to the reboot!
And what a way to end this week’s episode — I have not been this excited about an ending since the season opener when Jenna Kaye drove a getaway car for Wo Fat and we saw a good guy instantly turn bad. I know, later we found out that Jenna wasn’t actually bad (just misguided by love), so perhaps we may see March back to atone for his dastardly ways. Perhaps fans of the original would like to see more classic references in future episodes of “Five-0.” I, for one, would not complain.
There was a lot I really enjoyed about this episode, not only the August March character, but also the return of a few other characters — Taryn Manning as Steve’s wayward sister Mary Ann, Jason Scott Lee as ex-cop and current Halawa prisoner, Kaleo, and Tom Sizemore as Chief Fryer.
Mary Ann should be nicknamed “Pua Ting” (say it slowly, non-pidgin speakers), because she sometimes steps in it so much that I wonder if she has a “Kick Me” sign on her back. But, I suppose it makes her that much more endearing to television fans. I do like the fact that she may be in more episodes, so that she and Steve can actually build more of a sibling connection rather than just a McG-as-bail-bondsman kind of relationship.
Scott Lee and Sizemore are the epitome of what real officers probably don’t want to be compared to when cops are portrayed on television. Both left a slimy film on my flat screen. I did feel a little sorry for Kaleo when he was sent into general population in prison, but after threatening Danno’s daughter, he probably asked for it. I guess Kaleo didn’t get the memo that Danno would literally shoot anyone if Grace was threatened.
Perhaps we should change the line to “Break ‘em, Danno,” because if you didn’t believe he would break every bone in Kaleo’s body for threatening Grace, you are not watching this show carefully enough.
As for Sizemore, he is growing on me. I’m not a huge fan of his Fryer character, but I am a fan of the actor, and I have to say, he plays good cop/bad cop well with the Five-0 team. He helped Danno punish Kaleo for killing Danno’s old partner, as well as setting up the death of two innocent officers. Unfortunately, he really wasn’t the true mastermind of the operation, which made the entire episode end with its fantastic twist.
All in all, there was a whole lot of faith in this episode: sibling faith, cop faith, as well as some misplaced faith — perhaps one should never trust an ex-con, no matter how sweet and grandfatherly he seems. As for me, after this episode, my belief in the show has definitely been renewed. I guess I’ll have to give thanks to the original for helping me keep the faith.
Redux Side Note:
Local radio personality, Devon Nekoba, made his “Hawaii Five-0” debut as Myers the TSA agent who gives McG the replay of Mary Ann’s arrest. Nekoba may be a familiar face to Hawaii residents as he is often seen in local commercials and plays around town.
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.