If you are still on the fence about McGarrett needing a little couch time to deal with his mother issues after watching last night’s episode of “Hawaii Five-0,” you need to head back to your DVR and re-watch “Na Kiʻi.”
Translated as “The Dolls,” McGarrett didn’t find a cursed voodoo figure on a SEAL mandated hike in the Koʻolau Mountains, but he sure found enough trouble between having to deal with Momma McG, his relationship with Catherine and roller derby babes involved with this week’s case.
While there were enough beautiful women on-screen this week, the idea and concept of the “dolls” theme had more to do with the incorporation of a roller derby team, the Leahi Diamond Dolls. Catherine (Michelle Borth) is tasked by McGarrett and crew to join the team in order to find out who killed one of their members — and she reluctantly agreed.
The common image of a doll is of something fragile and sweet, and while Catherine is all kinds of lovely, she is definitely not a porcelain damsel in distress needing a McG savior to swoop in and save her.
The Hawaiian translation of “kiʻi” doesn’t really lend itself to that image as well. “Kiʻi” also means “image, statue, likeness, idol, or doll.” Most Hawaiians think of kiʻi as wooden or stone images representing our ʻaumakua or family gods, or the larger and more famous kiʻi of Kū, the ancient god of war.
The women in this episode were definitely more like the Hawaiian conception of “kiʻi” — fierce, strong, warriors in their own right.
Between Momma McG defending herself against what she told McG was a “robbery gone wrong,” and Catherine keeping time with the Diamond Dolls, there was enough girl action to blow the “dolly” image out with the trade winds. I very much enjoyed all the roller derby scenes and especially appreciated that “Five-0” showcased the very real Pacific Roller Derby club and highlighted two of their teams — the South Shore Sirens and the Diamond Dolls.
While “Crimson Bride” (Tiffany Dupont) and “Sugar Stix” (New Zealand actress and stuntwoman Zoe Bell), may have been transplanted into the team for the show, looking at the cast list, some of the other girls were played by actual derby girls; Rachel “Mistress Lovehit” Lee played “Hot Lips Honolulu,” and Lisa “Miso Rowdy” Hogue played “Silk Slayer.” It also looked like many of the other derby girls filled out the rest of two teams in the championship tournament.
There was a lot to like about this episode, but there were a few things that really made me pause. I thought Dog the Bounty Hunter’s cameo in the opening scene was a fun way to start the episode — especially his exchange with McGarrett and Danno.
In the “Five-0” world, it would make sense that McG and crew would run into a character like Dog. When Dog’s son Leland chased their perp along the wall of “Aloha Family” graffiti art, I couldn’t help but think about the idea that “Five-0” is all about family, as was Dog’s former A&E show. I did have a bit of an issue with the victim’s boyfriend being a lifeguard without a tan (in Hawaii you can get a tan just by driving in your car).
Zoe Bell (Sugar Stix) played a doctor who leads a double life as a derby girl, which seemed very similar to her character in the movie “Whip It,” where she played “Bloody Holly,” a medical technician by day, and derby goddess by night — albeit with a New Zealand accent.
I saved the best issue for last of course, and that is the fate of Momma McG and the status of McGarrett and Cath’s relationship. Finally, Cath’s deal with the devil that is Momma, has come to light, as she told Steve of her promise to conceal Doris’s tangling with Mangosta.
McGarrett’s very plain statement at the start of the episode “I have trust issues, Mom,” comes back to haunt us when Cath confesses her cover-up. I said it in my midseason wrap-up, I didn’t want Cath to fall into Momma’s trap. Steven doesn’t like lies and secrets. It has hurt him his entire life.
Trust is definitely still an issue that McGarrett has to deal with regarding the women in his life, and I hope he and Cath can get through the rest of the season intact. I also hope Doris doesn’t leave McG and his family torn apart like she did 20 years ago.
She may be McG’s Momma — but McGarrett needs to stay alert and on his toes. Like the derby girls, Doris plays rough and she plays to win.
Redux Side Note:
If you are on Oʻahu and would like to see the Leahi Diamond Dolls in action, on March 22 the Dolls have a match against the South Shore Sirens at 7:30 p.m. at Palama Settlement Gym.
Come out and support the Pacific Roller Derby ladies and see them in action!
Wendie Burbridge is a published author, playwright and teacher who lives and works in Honolulu. Reach her via Facebook and follow her on Twitter.