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.