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Five-0 Redux

Not so happy Mother’s Day

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After a Sunday of star-studded red carpet glamour at “Sunset on the Beach,” the wait for the start of the third season of “Hawaii Five-0” has finally come to an end. And that end came flying in like a helicopter with a magnetic claw ready to rip your heart out.

If you weren’t sitting on the edge of your living room couch, wiping the tears of sorrow — alternating with tears of laughter — off your cheeks, then perhaps you need to rewind that DVR and watch this episode again. Maybe you weren’t ready for a show about mother-son angst and great personal loss for Chin and the “Five-0” team, but large doses of gunplay and action did seem to help alleviate some of the sadness and death.

And death comes quickly doesn’t it? Poor Chin loses his lovely Malia right from the start. I felt sorry for those EMTs — they are lucky Chin chose to punch a wall instead their faces. There was a lot of anger in this episode, and for some reason I wasn’t quite ready for it.

I was ready for Chin’s anger, but didn’t realize how hot it would burn. He burned all episode, and it was not until the end when he saw Malia’s beautiful wedding photo and he broke down, did I realize that perhaps this season we’re going to get more emotion and less stoic, keep-a-stiff-upper-lip kind of acting.

I really loved Daniel Dae Kim’s range of emotion this episode. His sorrow, his anger, his shame at leaving Kono to be saved by Adam Noshimuri, someone he didn’t necessarily like — but had to trust.

The other anger which surprised me was Steve’s anger towards his mother, Doris, played with strength and nice sarcastic wit by Christine Lahti. I guess I have been watching too much Disney Channel, because I thought they would hug it out and Steve would just be thankful she was alive, so he would overlook the fact that she faked her death and lived away from her children for 20 years. What was I thinking?

I thought that perhaps Steve would be a little happy to see her — if for no other reason than to be able to get some of his questions answered. But in true “Hawaii Five-0” fashion, why answer questions in one episode when you can stretch it out and string viewers along. Right?

The Shelburne storyline seems to now be reaching into the third season, and while we have had some of our questions answered, we really still do not know the “why” answers.

Why did Momma Doris kill Wo Fat’s dad, why did Joe White help to hide her, and not tell his best friend and brother-in-arms Jack, that his wife was alive and well and hiding out? Again, we are faced with more and more questions. I only hope we are hooked enough to stick with this storyline and see how it all turns out.

But beyond all the heavy issues we had to deal with in this episode, there was a lot of great action with bulletproof vests and big guns to keep us engaged. The escape of Wo Fat — while a bit unrealistic — was really cool to watch. I thought it played better on the huge “Sunset on the Beach” screen, but it was still pretty awesome. I found it a little weird that Wo Fat wasn’t in on his own escape, and that Delano didn’t say something like, “We both want the Five-0 team dead, so let’s work together.”

But hey, the “I broke you out of jail because I need your drug contacts” works well in most underworld circles, I suppose.

Kono’s rescue by Adam Noshimuri (Ian Anthony Dale) from drowning was not that much of a surprise for me as it was a hope. I’m sure I share a similar desire with most women who have eyes, who really wanted to see Adam return in a scene that would require him to remove his shirt. Thank you for not disappointing us, writers. If we can’t get McG to take off his shirt, we’ll gladly take Adam as a substitute.

The climax of the episode was the shootout at the end, after the team figures out Delano’s dubious plan to steal millions of dollars worth of drugs out of the narcotics room at HPD. It was pretty slick, and I loved that we got to see more of two Hawai‘i actors, Dennis Chun and Karl Herlinger, in the action scenes.

Chun returns this season as Sgt. Duke Lukela, and helps to put the final cap on why HPD was blown up in the closing episode of season two. It was all a plan to steal the drugs so Delano could retire on a nice tropical island not run by pesky, law-abiding coppers. McGarrett and the team got to storm HPD and chase after the bad guys — who unfortunately run into the only traffic we’ve ever seen in three seasons — and have an automatic weapon shoot out on Ala Moana Blvd.

Herlinger reprised his villain role of Toothpick to add a lot of bullets to the action, but alas, comes to his own bloody end with Kono jumping onto the hood of his stolen car to shoot him center mass. I was, of course, saddened by Toothpick’s death, but as Herlinger said, “no body bag, no coroner,” so who knows if he’s really dead — right?

Toothpick had a mouthful of something to tell McG and it wasn’t a bunch of his signature toothpicks, that’s for sure. He hung on long enough to turn into a good guy to warn McG that Wo Fat had gone after Shelburne.

Delano’s last monologue telling Chin he wasn’t a dirty cop, hoping to save his own life, was the pièce de résistance of the episode. I for one was hoping Chin would end his miserable life, but Delano had a point. Chin isn’t a dirty cop, but he is a pretty pissed off cop. I cheered when Chin pulled the trigger, as well as many others who watched it during “Sunset on the Beach.” I only hope that the inquiry McGarrett alluded to earlier in the episode doesn’t come back to haunt Chin, but I’ve been watching this show for two seasons and I know they wont let Chin off that easily.

The ending scenes with Mama McG and Wo Fat were a bit confusing. The big question that Danno leaves McG with — why Doris would purposefully let Wo Fat get away — still lingers, and I have a feeling it will linger throughout this entire season. I’m only hoping I’m wrong, but the Shelburne question is like a bad rash that shows up at the end of an illness — it means the end is near, but you are irritated right before you get any kind of relief.

Oh, I don’t mean to doom and gloom. I loved Michelle Borth in her expanded role as Catherine Rollins. She was pretty tough in her fight scene with Wo Fat’s henchman, and after asking her about it on the red carpet, I can see why she’s doing martial arts training three times a week.

There was also a lot of signature “Five-0” humor, with a great “cargument” between an overprotective Danno and Mama McG on parenting and relationships. And Danno’s “Evil Woman” ringtone brought me back to the first episodes, when the knife slashes from “Psycho” qualified Rachel’s persona.

McGarrett calling Danno “Boo Boo” was priceless, and Kamekona calling Doris “Auntie” and asking for pics of Little Stevie McG in camouflaged footie jammies, were just the things we needed to lighten some of the heavy emotion of this episode. I was glad to see touches of the “Five-0” trademark characteristics that we all love.

Lā o nā mākuahine means “Mother’s Day” in Hawaiian, but I did notice that they left out ‘hau‘oli,’ which would turn the phrase into “Happy Mother’s Day.” And while McG does come around to calling Doris “Mom” in the end, I think leaving off “Happy” from “Mother’s Day” should have been our first clue that there would be little happiness when mother arrived into the scene.

Let’s just hope they can find other things to be happy about in season three. But we may just have to continue to hold our breath.

Redux Side Note:

Next week’s episode is “Kānalua,” which in Hawaiian means “to doubt.” Ed Asner returns as August March, and if they title connotes anything, we’ll be back to wondering if ole August is a good guy or a bad guy.

I think I might already have an answer to that question, but I can’t wait to see for sure if my thoughts are correct.
Wendie Burbridge is a published author, playwright and teacher who lives and works in Honolulu. Reach her via Facebook and follow her on Twitter.

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  • Wendie,
    I cannot believe I happen to be the first to comment upon another of your excellent posts. Yes this was a really good opener to the season with a ton of questions for answers as the year unfolds. I am sorry to see the end of Toothpick but glad that Sgt Duke Lukela and the Ice Shave guy are both back with long time on screen. I hope we see much more of them. I guess “momma’s” screen time will be very spotty during the year.

    • Yay Paul! You’re #1! Great additions to my post. I agree- sad that Toothpick is gone- but he sure did go out with a cool scene! I wasn’t expecting the shootout and his bloody confession when I talked to him for my last post before the premiere. I’m partial to seeing Duke and Kamekona- two of my faves and local actors as well- so I agree it’s great to see them back. Thanks so much for commenting! Aloha, Wendie

  • Great review, Wendie, as always. Again, your translation of the episode’s title is fascinating and unique to your column.
    I thought it was a great epsiode and I was relieved that the Delano character won’t be around to bother us anymore (but very sad that Chin had to lose his wife in the process). I also liked the intrigue created when Wo Fat and Doris apparently chose not to shoot it out. This opens the door to all kinds of possible story lines involving the McGarrett and Wo Fat families, including the possiblilty that Wo Fat is actually Steve’s half-brother (maybe your translation of the title comes into play here).
    My only quibble with your post: if you want to see male characters take their shirts off then guys like me would like to see Kono in a bikini an equal amount of time. It’s only fair.

    • Oh, I’m with you on Delano being gone. I swear, I had to wipe the grease off my television screen every time he was on. But so sad that Malia had to die. The potential for a Wo Fat/Doris storyline is very intriguing to me, and yes, the possibility that Wo Fat could be related to Steve has been suggested– I just hope that the story surrounding whatever the truth could be, is a bit more believable than how they broke Wo Fat out of jail:) And point taken on the shirts off suggestion- I believe a few Kono and Catherine in bikini’s will be coming to you soon enough:) Thanks for commenting! Aloha, Wendie

  • ok well critics and ratings be damned. that was the most enjoyable hour of TV ive seen, well, since last may. awesome casting for christine lhati–wow perfect- she can hold her own against steven and even smart alec Danno and she bought layers to the show i never knew existed. im in for her being a regular- or at least alot more than 6 episodes. she really brings a different feel to an already great show.
    I think it was flawless the way michelle slid into a regular role. some folks felt the character of lori last year or even jenna the year before (see a trend here aol obsessed female fans?) was forced and didnt work out (although i blame Joe White for taking the feel of team away if anyone) i personally loved those characters and think fresh blood is important on a show like this. Michelle is here to stay and I for one am thrilled. if what we saw last nite is any indication of what were in store with her this show is gonna be off the map!! DDK was superb and I cant wait for the dark side to emerge as his emotions carry into the season. he is a superb actor and really hasn’t had alot of hard material so im looking forward to it! kono rocks as always and her and Adam are great together. Adam, another untapped resource — so much backstory and easy to connect the dots to shelburne and the yakusa there can be some powerful stories with him. ALex?Steve is the cog in this big wheel and has been my favorite actor for years so any character driven stuff he gets he nails dead on. hes so fun to watch! my only complaint is lets kill the domestic drama in dannos life. he is such a better character and scott has the skill to really make him something big(as i suspect well see in his flashback episode) .have rachael and ken doll crash over the pacific and give him gracie already and lets move on–lol. This show is the best and Peter and co really are top notch!! continue on guys these episodes are great. the action is awesome and there is a great balance between character stories and procedurals. it is what makes u guys unique. love ya!!! and thanks to peter and masi and michelle for making it a fun nite on twitter– you guys are always so generous to us and we love u for it. #H50 S3 is gonna ROCK

    • Wow five0phans – its about time we got to read your review. Your comments are usually brief and short but it sure is nice to see you give your valuable time to let us see your views on the show. There have been many drawbacks, upsides and downsides but at the end of the day its still great to have this show back after a long hiatus!!

    • Great comments Joey:) Excellent points about Lahti. I was focused more on Chin story that I didn’t get to comment about her character- I agree– she’s great. I hope I will get to write more about her and we get to see more of her as the season progresses. Mahalo for reading and commenting! Aloha, Wendie

    • Gr8 review and I have to agree with you hands down across the board! (ok so i disagree with ONE aspect..hehehehe ) The fact that Danno has the domestic drama ADDS to the level of his character and Scott playing it KILLS it. That type of drama is what Scott has been quoted as enjoying and thriving on…and yes i know you wont believe it but i do think some sorta of solidity needs to come from the custody battle this season. It may not play out to what I hope for but I have to have faith in the writers and creative team. Yes season 3 looks like the best yet 😉

  • Great review, Wendie! Enjoyed seeing your on the Red Carpet and listening to you on Aloha Bruce’s streaming for SOTB3! Looked liked everyone had a wonderful time!

    I completely enjoyed the premiere last night! I “awwwed” for Chin, clapped for Adam and Kono, “oooohed” over WoFat’s helicopter extraction, “ah hahed” over the actual reason for the HPD’s blow up, covered my ears during the big shootout, laughed out loud during the cargument, and wrinkled my brow when neither Mom nor WoFat did the other in. In other words, I ran the whole gamut of emotions!

    I am going to say Mom McG has brought a new wrinkle to the Shelburne quandary! Christine Lahti has breathed some life into a storyline must of us wished ended last season! My curiosity has been peaked and I’m looking forward to more from Christine (who, by the way, is a PERFECT Mom McG!)

    Poor Chin – great DDK! Can’t wait to see what dark places Chin travels to this season!

    It’s going to be a great season, I have no complaints about the premiere!

    • Thanks Lynnette! Great comments- it was really a wonderful time. Thanks for your thoughtful comments. I completely agree about the “wrinkle” to the Shelburne quandary. And loved Christine Lahti as Mama McG- she is pretty perfect. Thanks for always reading and supporting the Redux. Aloha! Wendie

    • I thought that too! But I don’t know if I can work out the age thing….
      Wo Fat at times seems lots older than McG…. but maybe not. Would make
      for an interesting twist. Thanks for commenting! Aloha, Wendie

  • Wendie…you looked so awesome on the red carpet! I’m sorry I missed talking to you when I called into to Dana’s and Bruce’s coverage. We talked for over 40 was a blast. I soooooo understand why you and Dana enjoy doing her podcasts so much and why they are so good. I wish I had been able to talk to you too sistah!

    I too don’t give a damn about the critics or the ratings. It’s the first episode of the season. I’d like to enjoy the buzz for a bit it they don’t mind.

    I felt every actor brought their A game to this episode especially, obviously, Daniel. I enjoyed watching his acting range for six years watching LOST and I am so glad he will be given some meat this season to show what a great actor he is. Christine aced Doris. I can definitely see her as a CIA operative gone underground even if I don’t agree with letting her husband and especially her children believe she was dead. Alex played the hurt, disappointment, shock, confusion, anger just right. Not too much and not too little.

    All in all I really enjoyed the episode and I LOVED the helicopter with the hook. Over the top…hell yeah! Nothing boring about this show!!!

    Thanks again for the great review and for all your coverage during SOTB! So thrilled to be starting a new season with all my Ohana! Aloha babe!

    • Thanks Linda! The red carpet was fun and not as stressful as it was last year. I felt like I knew what I was doing and how to handle it. The actors were so warm and great- it was a treat! Thanks for being with us on the livestream with Bruce and Dana- that was fun!

      And I agree with your comments about the episode- it was fun and great and I think Lahti is terrific as Doris. She was well cast. Thanks for always reading and supporting the Redux, Linda. Aloha, Wendie

  • I was happy that Kono survived (of course!) but it sure was awfully *convenient* for Adam to be right there. How did that happen? At the very end, when Steve found out his mom let Wo Fat go, why didn’t he radio the pilot to turn the plane around?? I expect to see Joe White soon but not sure how far I will believe him. It’s wonderful seeing your reviews again, Wendie!

    • I was happy Kono survived as well- I really wanted her to save herself, but I was also glad to see Adam, as that makes it possible for him to continue to return to the show. I like his character and Ian Anthony Dale is a very strong actor- so all good things that he saved Kono. Yes, convenient- but they did have that little scene with Kono and Chin that explained how Adam saved her. But all that aside- I agree with your future possibilities about “what happens next”- good ideas and scenarios. I’m not sure why they killed Malia. Perhaps she has other obligations as an actress? I think it was to add more drama, but as I asked DDK on the red carpet- when is Chin going to be allowed to be happy? Thanks for your comments! Aloha, Wendie

  • As I already mentioned on Twitter, awesome review, recounting of the episode. I loved what you made of the missing ‘Happy’ in Mothers day.

    This ep had everything I need in a H50 ep, darkness, hurt, lightness, banter, action (even if said action is sometimes a little bit over the top…claw) and of course Carguments.

    I loved it and from all that we’ve heard and teased about so far, it’ll be an amazing ride.

    Thank you, Wendie 🙂

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