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Five-0 Redux

No longer on borrowed time

This week we celebrated Veterans Day, the day where we thank our soldiers, sailors, airmen, guardsmen and marines, and remember the wars and battles they fought on our behalf. So it seems fitting that this week’s episode would air on Veterans Day — as McGarrett and several of our team sidekicks are veterans. And while Danny isn’t technically a veteran, he is a law enforcement officer and did pay a similar price in his past. Like military veterans, our police force have bravely served our communities and we should definitely thank them for their hard work and service.

This week’s episode, entitled “I ka wā mamua,” is translated as “In a Time Past” by CBS. That’s fairly close to the mark; from the Hawaiian Dictionary, “I ka wā mamua” means “before, in past times, formerly.”

It definitely makes sense this week, as Danno tells the story of his past. Scott Caan’s character may have a sharp tongue and feel anger before he feels happiness — unless you are talking about his daughter — but his story has always been a little thin. Until now.

It was fascinating to me to watch Danno realize he was a certain kind of cop before becoming a father, moving away from his home and partnering with McGarrett. Coupled with the experience he had with his former partner and the tragedy that followed that day, it all made him a better cop, a better father and a better man.

This week’s episode had so many elements I love about the show — the cliffhanger opening of Danno’s story, along with the hot foot chase of their suspect in downtown Honolulu only to find a chest full of bomb, brought me to the edge of my couch. Add the scenes of playful dress shopping with Gracie, the loving ribbing the team gives Danno about his dancing ability, as well as the morbid happiness of Max’s body puzzle at the crime scene — all helped to up the tension and the tempo of this episode.

THIS WAS a hot one, and while I never want to think that terrorists are targeting my island, I know after the events of 9/11 and the ongoing tensions in the Middle East that this is a concrete and real possibility. This I can wrap my brain around.

Last season, we all cringed while we watched McG get the electroshock treatment in North Korea by Wo Fat in “Ki‘ilua.” So I suppose this season it was Danno’s turn for some brutal treatment. All’s fair in bromance and blood, I guess. But I really had a hard time with how brutal it was to watch Danno get pistol-whipped and beaten — even in flashback.

Maybe it was because I expect Vietnam-era torture treatment from Wo Fat, and McG is a trained Navy SEAL, so even though I had to avert my eyes for a lot of McG’s ordeal, I knew he would make it. I know for a fact that SEALs are actually taken through some heavy paces to be able to handle many levels of torture and interrogation, so McG being able to take the pain and escape was very believable.

But Danno — our kind-hearted, Daddy of Gracie, lovably sarcastic Danno — being beaten and tortured gangstah style, was even more difficult to watch. I actually held up my hand to block the screen. I mean, I don’t think they send Jersey cops to SERE (Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape) training, like they do Navy SEALs. SERE is a program that trains SEALs to “survive and resist the enemy,” which roughly translates into “how to live through torture and not give away any information about your country.” I’m pretty sure that’s not normal New Jersey cop training.

So Danno’s story about his toughest case was that much harder to see. And while the flashback scenes into Danno’s past were difficult to watch, the entire episode was so far, the best of this season. The Danno-centered storyline was nicely set up with Danno’s past, present, and his future partnering with McGarrett, and his daughter Gracie. The scenes with Danno and Gracie shopping for a dress and at the father-daughter dance were just too darling. I’m pretty sure I heard a collective “awww!” around the world when he bought Grace her first fancy dress, and when they joined hands to dance. 

Paired with the action and intensity of the scenes with McGarrett and the bomb, juxtaposed with the equally gripping scenes with guest stars Terrence Howard, Rapper T.I., and Sydney Tamiia Poitier as Danno’s unfortunate partner, Grace Tillwell, all helped to make this a strong showing for “Hawaii Five-0.”

Danno’s discussion with McGarrett as they waited out their suspect in their car really hit close to home. The idea that we live in “Fortress America,” that our children do not know a time when we were not fighting a war overseas, and perhaps think of “peace time” as happening a long long time ago — that’s a sobering thought.

But after seeing the outcome of Danno’s story about his friend Grace — his unfortunate New Jersey partner and his daughter’s namesake — and the start of the events of 9/11 in New York City, I can see where his thoughts were born. “Borrowed time,” he called it. The idea that he shouldn’t have this life with Gracie, because he almost lost his life that day back in the past, and that at any moment it could all end.

And then, right after he tells McGarrett this, he meets Mr. Chest Bomb and his 100% Danno promise to Gracie seems to be a false one. Didn’t that make you suck your breath in?

IT WAS scenes like this that made this episode gripping and just a pleasure to watch. This episode seemed to have it all — a strong feeling of ‘ohana, a procedural that I could get behind and more information about a character that I love — which made it a definite home run for me. Add the scenes with the Secretary of Defense at Palm Circle in Fort Shafter, with all those very real soldiers standing in formation, and to watch that all on Veterans Day was more moving than I had expected.

And then Danno came out of that warehouse and saw the black smoke above his New Jersey city, and I remembered the day that I saw the same smoke on my television set, my fifteen-month old son in my arms, my Navy husband on his way to work, and knew just like Danno did that our lives would never be the same.

So this week, of all weeks this episode could have been shown, “Hawaii Five-0” could not have planned it better — and they actually didn’t plan this episode to air on Veterans Day. This episode was supposed to air last week. But “Five-0” needed a bit of luck, and I think with this episode they are back on the right path. Perhaps “Hawaii Five-0” is no longer working on “borrowed time.”

Redux Side Note:

This week the “Five-0 Redux” received a very special message from recurring cast member, Dennis Chun, who plays “Sgt. Duke Lukela.” Chun sent “Hawaii Five-0” and ‘Five-0 Redux’ fans a lovely greeting.

A special mahalo goes out to Dennis and to fellow “Five-0” blogger Amy Bakari for taking the time to make the video. What an amazing treat!

And to all of the veterans, Honolulu Police Department personnel and Honolulu Fire Department members who watch “Hawaii Five-0” and read the “Five-0 Redux,” mahalo nui loa for your service to our country and our community.
Wendie Burbridge is a published author, playwright and teacher who lives and works in Honolulu. Reach her via Facebook and follow her on Twitter.

20 responses to “No longer on borrowed time”

  1. Diane says:

    Hi Wendie, Perfect review. I could not say it any better. I loved this episode. It gave more of an insight into how Danny became Danny. I loved the emotion and friendship that Steve and Danny have, and how Scott and Alex portray it.
    Thank you Peter Lenkov and staff for showing what Danny was doing on 9/11, and how a day that started out with great joy for him knowing that he was becoming a father, to the horror of a personal nature and a national nature. It was shown beautifully without being exploited.
    Grace getting her namesake from Danny’s partner shows what kind of man this character is, and why he is the way he is. Some people are annoyed by this, but I think we see why he worries and nags, and that makes me love him even more.
    Absolutely loved the scene in the store and at the dance, too bad the team could not see Danny, doing a great job on the dance floor with Grace.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Morning Wendie. I’m in100% agreeance with your review. I found this episode to be the seasons best. The backstory told in the present was beautifully written, executed and acted by all of them. I kept closing my eyes every time Danny was beaten. I really never expected Terence to kill Danny’s partner Gracie. Showing Danny on his home turf gives you a better understanding of his gritty, sarcastic and down-n-dirty style. Gracie “Monkey” certainly does her namesake proud. Chin and Kono were prominent too, which made the core4 complete! ChIn is looking good, sporting a new ‘do!! I’m a Sept. 11th survivor and the mere mention of it moves me to tears (yep, I shed a few tears last night too) I found how they incorporated it was very tastefully done. The ending, watching Danny and Gracie dancing was just the icing on the cake for this episode. So heartwarming. Danny said such true words. Aren’t we all on borrowed time. Bravo and kudos all around to the cast for their excellent performances, and to the writers/directors for such a profound and well done episode. This is the show that I fell in love with. I hope that it remains at this caliber forever more. Love, love, loved it.

    • Wendie Joy says:

      Thanks Karen for liking the review!:) As I know you are a New Yorker, I’m glad that you thought the twist in Danno’s story worked:) That’s a good confirm for the “Hawaii Five-0” writers. And I agree- the whole team was great- and I’m with you- this was the show I fell in love with as well! Nicely put! Thanks for reading and commenting:) Aloha, Wendie

  3. Anonymous says:

    Great post and recap. I agree that the final scene of Dannos past where we see the smoke in the distance coming from NYC on 9-11 was exactly true as I recall that image also. It is one I will never forget along with the two towers actually falling down. I think this ep will give a good boost in the ratings as it was a totally great one.

    • Wendie Joy says:

      Hi Paul, I know many of us remember the moment we saw the World Trade Center smoking and falling and where we were when we heard the news- even if we only saw it on television. I really loved how they worked it in- thought that was really seamless and I loved the twist it added to Danno’s story. Thanks for always reading and commenting! Aloha, Wendie

  4. 3DHawaii says:

    Painful scenes with Danno and Terrence Howard/T.I., but compelling. Great detail on SERE, thanks Wendie!

  5. Val Lai says:

    Hey Wendie you captured the right tone for this week’s review. It was truly nerve wrecking watching Danny a beloved character being beaten to a pulp like that and I was visibly shocked when Steve said to Danny “You never told anyone did you?” which meant how close he was to being dead and brutally murdered by the hands of a man clutching that wielding meat cleaver. You could see that the bad guy had it positioned very close to the ropes until we heard the sirens —what a relief it was to hear the sirens, calvary at last but calvary went the other way.

    The cold realization that they were racing off to a far more deadly situation sent chilling reminders of that fateful day. It was awful seeing Danny come out of the warehouse hurt and torn by the loss of his partner and then for him to see the plume of smoke…wow…heart wrenching moment.

    But a nonetheless a glimmer of light shone through in the scene with daddy shopping with daughter Grace and seeing her darling face light up with a smile, its all you can do but want to hug that little actress who is fast learning how to express her little personality more as she grows up. The dance how adorable was that little scene, if only we had a few more minutes of it. Fabulous episode.

    • Wendie Joy says:

      Hi Val- those scenes with Gracie and Danny were priceless, and it so helped to balance the really shocking story with some very sweet moments. Thanks for reading and commenting! Appreciate your reading and taking the time to comment:) Aloha, Wendie

  6. Anonymous says:

    Wendie! What a wonderful review for a beautiful episode! To be honest, my emotions are still completely raw from watching this. There was not a second where I was not totally engrossed in what was happening on screen. My ears were tuned to the dialog, my eyes glued to the action, and my heart could be felt pounding in my chest throughout all the stressful scenes. This is my H5-0! It could not have been better, and I thank each and every person who worked on this episode for devoting your hearts and energies to making this truly unforgettable television viewing.

    CBS might not have planned to air this episode on Veteran’s Day, but watching this last night moved me more than I ever expected to be moved from a fictional television show. Parts of it were undoubtedly hard to watch, parts of it made me remember 9/11 and what I was doing that day, but other parts filled me with a bittersweet joy that a man who has lived on borrowed time for almost 11 years was able to keep his promise and take his daughter to her first dance. If you don’t love Danny, at least now you know where he’s been – and why he’s always wanting Steve to call for back up.

    • Wendie Joy says:

      Thanks Lynnette- your comment is so spot on. Thanks for reading and supporting the Redux! I definitely was thinking about Veteran’s Day while watching it- it was a lucky change that it aired on the perfect day:) Thanks for your comment! Aloha, Wendie

  7. Anonymous says:

    Another great review, Wendie.
    I have to agree that this was the best episode of the season. I would also agree that the violence was tough to take and something I did not want my 12 year-old to see (although he probably sees much worse on his video games). This is the third straight episodes with some really ugly images.
    Still, this was an excellent stand-alone story with some big time guest stars and lots of memorable moments. Good stuff – really looking forward to next week.

    • Wendie Joy says:

      I agree- the violence was really brutal- but, if I was being realistic, bad guys like that wouldn’t have held back IRL- so at least it was honest. But whew! It was rough! Thanks for commenting and your support:) Aloha, Wendie

  8. JessicaB says:

    Catching up on some reviews. Love your take on this ep, but then you really hit the nail in all your reviews. I’m thankful for that. I also hope your last prediction is right and “Hawaii Five-0” is no longer working on “borrowed time.” Thank you for another great read. Scotty was so amazing in this ep & so was Alex with his awesome emotional displays. The whole ep was at this early point in the Season the best and I love how the Ohana feel is back full force. I hope so much word gets around just how great this Season is 🙂

    • Wendie Joy says:

      Hi Jessica:) Thanks for that nice compliment! I really enjoyed this episode and thought Scott was stellar. It was great to get his backstory and also to see the love he has for his daughter as well as his partners- past and present. Thanks for reading and supporting the Redux! Aloha, Wendie

  9. Anonymous says:

    Can you say “Emmy nomination?” Scott deserves it in spades for this episode!

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