Since the reboot of “Hawaii Five-0” on CBS, the themes of ʻohana and pilialoha — family and friendship — have been the foundation for much of the team’s actions and methods of operation.
This week’s episode, “Hoa Pili” (“Close Friend”), dealt with four groups of friends, all who become wrapped up in a mystery that starts with an explosion and ends up with several dead — and friendships destroyed.
Expertly directed by Jeff Cadiente and written by Kyle Harimoto from a story by Harimoto and Richard Arthur, “Hoa Pili” gave us several meanings to the idea of pilialoha.
At the start of the episode, we meet close friends Ryan (Brendan Ford) and Liam (Yuri Lowenthal), who seem to be sharing not only a business relationship, but also Ryan’s wife, Allie (Tara Platt). Ryan is not very happy with Liam and is ready to kill him, when the explosion of a nearby boat seems to stop his cuckold revenge.
It’s too bad the set up didn’t continue into the main storyline, because I really thought it would have worked out perfectly if Ryan had fed Liam to the sharks, but the adulterous trio never returned to the episode. Still, it was a nice sexy/dramatic way to start the episode. Well, it was only sexy when I figured out the actors who played the adulterous couple are actually married in real life.
Once we got into the procedural, the friendship motif continued. Brother’s Jason and Craig Brant (Mac Brandt), owners of Oʻahu Shark Tours, whose story seemed ripped from the headlines, have lost three of their boats to arson. When Jason is found dead in one of their shark cages, Five-0 finds a link to a fishing boat company, run by friends Jay Lappert (James C. Victor) and Bruce Kaneshiro (Kelsey Chock). The friends point their fingers at the Kapu, a surf club with a reputation for negotiating with their fists when people “mess with their break.”
McG and Danno head to the North Shore to question Kawika, the Kapu’s leader (played by professional waterman and Mauli Ola Foundation team rider, Kala Alexander), who has helped McGarrett and the Five-0 team on several occasions in the past.
When McG and Danno show up to question him, they find that a house on the Kapu’s homestead lot was mysteriously set on fire. They ask Kawika about his involvement with the Brant brothers and their shark tour operations, but he denies hurting them or wanting them hurt and offers to help McGarrett find out who may have beat up Jason, and led his brother, Craig, to take revenge out on the Kapu by setting fire to their property.
Once Kawika confronts his crew about who gave Jason Brant “lickens,” Levi (played by veteran stuntman Tanoai Reed) confesses to roughing up Jason about feeding the sharks and making them “not afraid of humans.”
Sharks not being afraid of humans may seem a little backwards to many, but it’s true. The reason why sharks “attack” people has more to do with the fact that we look like yummy turtles or seals on our surfboards than the idea that we taste delicious or that they want revenge on us for killing their pups. This is really what Levi is upset about; the fact that the sharks don’t feel threatened around people, and thus made its way to a family surf spot and almost killed Levi’s young cousin.
Personally, if Levi, or Kawika for that matter, showed up even a little bit angry at my shark tour, I would probably pack up my boats and start giving catamaran cruises for charity, as that would most likely be a better, if not healthier, career choice. Tanoai Reed, who also doubles for actor Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, is monstrous, so he was undeniably scary, yet I still found him realistically concerned about his family and a very believable character.
I thought the episode tried to present all sides of the shark tour controversy that really does exist in Hawaii. We have conservationists trying to save sharks from becoming shark fin soup, surfers who would like ocean life to stay naturally balanced, and Hawaiians, who believe that sharks, or manō, are one of the animal manifestations of an ‘aumakua, or family guardian.
“Hawaii Five-0” explained all the sides and didn’t try to get on one specific soapbox to solve the issue. They did show what happens when simple greed becomes more important than friendship. And as the Five-0 team tried to solve the mystery, they began to find more bodies — and body parts — along the way.
Overall, this episode had so many great parts. We had several carguments between Danny and McG and one very great chopperment that really wrapped up the episode. The cool scenes all had to do with the illustrations of pilialoha—all the way to the ending, with Kono and McG helping Brant clean up his last boat, and Chin and Danno showing up to help rebuild Kawika’s homestead.
Even the last moment with the murderer—fisherman Jay Lappert — who not only killed Jason Brant the original victim, but who also killed his friend Bruce, and left his fishing partner Hal to die and be fed to the sharks. When McG leaves him the picture of his dead friends, that just brought home the idea of how even a close friendship can end.
I did also enjoy the scenes that had little to do with the procedural. The scenes with Kamekona learning to fly his “shrimp copter” were hilarious, and even if you were not a “Magnum P.I.” fan, you had to be thinking of the reference when Kamekona was flying McG, Danno, and Max on an inaugural chopper tour over Waikiki. I’m not sure if Kamekona is more like T.C. or “Higgy Baby,” but that scene was absolutely priceless.
I was very happy to see that Cath and McG seemed to have made up, as she seems to be hanging out at the McGarrett home, and at ease with Steve. And I very much liked the scene between Chin and Leilani, and really thought that was handled very well, with a good balance of humor as well as patience. I don’t want Chin to be miserable for too long, so I liked the set up of the door being propped open for Leilani to come into his life.
“Hoa Pili” seemed like a very special episode as it was well steeped in the concept of friendship, perhaps because a close friend of the show, stunt coordinator Jeff Cadiente, directed this one.
In Hawaiian, “hoa” means “companion, friend, associate, colleague, comrade, partner, mate, or peer” and “pili” means “to cling, stick, adhere, touch, join, adjoin, or cleave to.” Cadiente definitely embodies those words — he is definitely all meaning of “hoa pili” to ‘Five-0’ and as he has been with the cast and crew since season one of “Hawaii Five-0.”
While Cadiente is known for directing and coordinating stunts and second unit teams, he said he would prefer to direct character driven episodes to show that he is more than just about action and stunts.
I think with this episode, he definitely succeeded in showing off his skills at telling a story, and showing the characters at their very best. I can’t wait to see more of his directing this season or the next.
Redux Side Note:
This is no April Fool’s joke — the “Five-0 Redux” will be all new next week with a recap of my chat with “Hoa Pili” director Jeff Cadiente. Next week’s “Five-0” broadcast is a repeat of “ʻŌhuna.”
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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Well I think you covered everything!! Wendie great job! I think the only other thing i would add is that I did feel it was a balance of character- not character driven but we saw a bit of each core character. I adored the bookem to Kono and Danno’s “Where’s the love?” again another part of friendship- sharing duties hehehee
This was such and awesome episode. I noticed that one of my fav actors Bruce Locke was on briefly as the Taiwanese mobster that Kono dropped the container on. He is such a great bad guy. Your review is awesome and very enjoyable as always.
I thought this was one of the best episodes of the season. The shark
story was very appropriate. Isn’t this the episode where the local people
who live at that bay didn’t want them to shoot because similar things
(arson on boats) had occurred? So it was very apropos to current events
on the island.
I have to say, Cath’s entrance into Casa McG was awesome. I
LOVED the look she got from both Steve AND Kamekona and how she was a “distraction” during the flight simulator game. I also loved how she
called Kamekona “Kame” LOL And yeah….looks like all is forgiven between Steve & Cath. I’m sure there will be howls of fury from the masses because it was resolved off camera but I’m just glad they’re ok.
Lots of team moments which is always a good thing. Steve and Danny in the
car not once but twice (a bonus). I LOVED the take down scene. First
off, how often do we see the bad guys get a drop on our boys? And Ed’s
right. When we didn’t see Kono for so long you just KNEW she’d be the
one to the rescue. Unbelievable? Why? Chin operate a huge piece of
machinery last season to dig the kidnapped kids/bread truck out of a
mountain of dirt. Why can’t Kono do this? “Book ’em Kono” was
fantastic but Danny’s “Whoa…where’s the love?” was even better.
See…he DOES like it!!!!! LOL
Leilani’s appearance was very heartwarming. It was fun to see Chin be all shy and awkward. I’m very glad they didn’t have him leap at the chance to
go out with her but hesitate and remember that Malia hasn’t been gone
all that long. Leilani’s “when you’re ready” was very sweet. I hope
something comes from this for Chin. He deserves some happiness.
I swear Jeff Cadiente must have paid his stunt crew triple overtime for
this episode. Practically every other scene had some awesome bit of
stunt work and take downs. Jeff did a fantastic job in his first
directorial outing and I hope they give him another shot. Between his
direction and stunts and Kyle Harimoto’s writing, this episode may go
down as one of my all time favorites.
And of course, the ending solidified it for me. I ADORED Magnum when it
was on the air. I was very happy to see there was more to the scene
than just the promo sneak peak we saw on line. I loved how Kame was
practicing his tour guide script on the boys and how Danny was terrified
to be up in the air with him. The sing along to the Magnum theme song
Yes…I have to say…I can’t find one thing about this episode that I didn’t
like. I know…no real surprise there. I can’t wait to watch it again!
Great write up like usual. Really enjoyed the episode with the salt and peppering of many recurring actors. Loved the fab four all together again taking down the bad guys, just enough action. Book ’em Kono! Danno’s reaction was perfect. Great carguments, nice humor, love seeing Kala and the crew, touching ending with the team helping out with clean up and rebuilding, and of course the helicopter ride. Great job by all starting with Lenkov, Harimoto and Cadiente and all cast and crew. They work hard and it pays off!
Great review Wendie! This was one of those perfect episodes that had it all!! I just love when the entire crew is involved in an episode! There’s nothing better than enjoying BAMF Kono and Chin! It was a nice change of pace from the usual “procedural”. Jeff did an excellent job and hope he’s back real soon! There should never be a price for friendship and our guys are the poster children for that theme. Seeing Leilani gave me hope for a new relationship for Chin (and I hope she doesn’t suffer from the “Malia” syndrome) and the “book-em Kono” was fantastic – I just loved Danny’s “where’s the love” face! But the last 5 mins in the chopper had me smiling like a fool! All of them bopping along to the Magnum theme!! Absolutely PRICELESS! I think Kame (love that nickname compliments of Catherine!!) is more like TC – not Higgy baby!! I went to sleep sooo happy having seen Steve in a tank top – oh my my those beautiful arms of his – and JEANS! (can you put in a good word – can we have more of that PLEASE!!!!) Just LOVE LOVE LOVE this show!
This ep was VERY good on all levels as was your review. I agree fully with the previous posts about this ep. Having Kono drop the big container on the bad guys and to get the bookem line was over the top good TV. Can’t wait for the next new ep.
Great review Windie, as always!!
I really liked the episode last night. Everything seemed to flow together last night instead of jumping here and there.
Wendie: Thanks so much for another great review. I always want to go back and watch the episode again when I’m done reading (and I sometimes do). You add so much texture. I hope the show runners appreciate you. We do.
Showrunners: See what you did last night? Do it again. We don’t need random Kardashians or other “celebrities” (except for James Caan, he can come back) to get us to watch the show. We just need more of this refreshing writing and directing and great local actors like Kala Alexander. And thanks for showing us that there is more to Oahu than Honolulu. Please be nice to Wendie, we like her :).
Hi Wendie. Thanks for the review. I agreed with everything you said. I loved that Steve and Catherine seem to go on as ususal. I like the idea of Chin finding someone else, but I’m glad they are showing that he is not just jumping right in. Very few people would after they lost a spouse. Loved that Kono was the one who got to rescue her team. The picture on the guys lap of him and his friends was a great touch. I also loved the ending scene, I was big Magnum PI fan. I would like to see Tom Selleck guest star, it doesn’t have to be as Magnum, I would just love to see him back in Hawaii. I love all the regular characters, but you do need someone to come and enhance a episode every now and then. Life just isn’t a few people and noone else. Looking forward to your next review.
Wendie, love your review of last night’s Hawaii Five-0. It was awesome. The ending with McGarrett and Kono helping with the boat and Danno and Chin helping with the rebuilding of the burned house was very heart warming. The helicopter scene was precious. I used to watch Magnum PI all the time and thought it was an excellent idea to include the theme song. In one of the scenes with Steve and Danno in the Camaro, there was a special look on Steve’s face that was priceless (he is such a handsome man especially when he smiles).
Yes! Yes! I agree 100%, Wendie. About everything, but especially about Jeff Cadiente. I thought about the fact that Jeff has been associated with H50 since the beginning, and it really does make a difference! He comes with fresh ideas, new camera angles and a crisp, sharp focus on the action and the characters. I really, really hope we get to keep him on H50! I dont want him to get so good that NCIS steals him away from us!
Loved everything about this episode. It had a real Season 1 vibe. The Core 4 did their thing to perfection, and the satellite characters all got great screen time this week (I did miss Gracie, though!). As a Magnum P.I. fan, I loved the final few minutes. I’d love to see more episodes of this nature and caliber, if for no other reason than the fact there was nothing to really complain about!
Thanks for a great review, as usual, my friend!
I’ve never left a message here or anywhere BUT this one is worth expressing how good the show was. We watch this show all the time and I always make comments to my girlfriend as we are watching, as to how I would have changed the story or which direction to take it. This show was PERFECT. My two favorite parts, like most others here, was Kono dropping the container on the dude. The other was the Magnum P.I. “tribute” at the end. Excellent writing and execution! One of those times you wish this was a 2 hour show!!
I’m a little late but another great review, Wendie. No episode is complete without reading your complimentary column the next day (or the next week if you are behind in your DVRing like I am). I enjoyed this episode, it gave us a decent procedural that incorporated current events with some sweet moments. It also gave us Michelle Borth in a bikini to start the show (I hate it when she only has a token appearance – but in this case, it was a nice token appearance).
I was also pleased to see that the show is officially renewed for next year. I hope they finish strong this year and I look forward to next year, too.