“Hawaii Five-0” has had an interesting third season; one week they are up, another week they are just so-so, and sometimes they are on fire.
This week I’d say they are on an upward slope, with a pretty solid episode melded with a thread of realism that would soften even the most strenuous Team Five-0 naysayer. Between the intense moments of a heart-wrenching case, and a deeper look into Danno’s Daddy psyche, we got to see the team really work a good procedural, as well as get some movement in the Kono-Adam storyline.
This week’s episode, “Hoʻopio” (“To Take Captive”), for the most part centered on the murder of Amanda Morris (Kanani Rogers), who had been kidnapped 10 years earlier and found dead in a shallow grave. Her murder leads the Five-0 team to uncover clues about a recent kidnapping of another little girl, Ella Bishop (Mykayla Sohn). Both Amanda and Ella seemed to have been kidnapped by the same person, and Danno and McGarrett use everything within their power to find little Ella — as well as Amanda’s murderer.
I think the best part of the episode, besides the really intense moments when Scott Caan really had a chance to shine as not only a sympathetic cop, but as an empathetic father, was the “ripped from the headlines” aspect of the case. The kidnapping of both Amber and Ella is a reminder of Maile Gilbert, who was kidnapped and murdered in Hawaii in 1985.
Maile’s name was used to create Hawaii’s MAILE AMBER Alert. MAILE stands for “Minor Abducted in Life-threatening Emergency” and has been referenced before on “Hawaii Five-0,” most notably in “Ua Lawe Wale” and when Danno’s own daughter Gracie (Teilor Grubbs) was kidnapped in “Mai ka wā kahiko.”
The moments when Danno recalls the inner panic he felt while they tried to find Gracie when she was kidnapped by his former partner, and when he shakes the hand of the Harley-riding, Good Samaritan father of Maile, Tip Gilbert, who plays himself in the episode, was Scott Caan at his best.
I know some of you will take issue with the fact that he used his fists to get information out of sadistic scam artist Ray Beckett (played with creepy weirdness by former punk rocker and spoken word artist Henry Rollins), but as a mother, I understood his extreme action. I did appreciate how McGarrett instinctively knew that Danno needed to get that information, and that in order to protect his partner — he needed to take Danno’s badge and just walk away. Not because he was punishing Danno, but to protect him. They needed Beckett to tell them where Ella was hidden, and it looked like it couldn’t be Detective Williams who would get that information out of their suspect, but Danny Williams, father and concerned citizen, who would get him to talk, no matter what.
Often I wonder why “Hawaii Five-0” uses the “red herring” as much as they do — the one character who is a shoe-in for the suspect, but who is, of course, not the real killer/kidnapper/villain. But I guess it is so we can see a famous face for a few minutes, and this week was no exception.
Don Swayze (yes, brother to the late Patrick Swayze of “Dirty Dancing” and “Ghost” fame) played this week’s not-quite-our-guy, Lloyd Grimes. Grimes is a perfect suspect with a long rap sheet coupled with the team’s proof he was near the scene of the crime—but alas, he was just a thief not a kidnapper. He did look the part, and when McG plays chicken with Grimes’s van to catch him and then Danno breaks the hinges of the interrogation chair to make him talk, it was all good Five-0 action to keep us guessing.
Too bad Swayze didn’t have more lines and could have offered Danno some relaxing dance lessons to loosen up. That would have really been a way for Swayze to utilize his guest star moment to its fullest potential.
A good portion of the episode was used to further develop the side story of Kono and Adam. Kono and Catherine have a couple nice scenes where Kono asks Catherine to investigate Adam’s dealing with a man named Sato. It’s not really what we want to hear for our romantic couple. What happened to hot shower and bubble bath scenes? I guess when your boyfriend used to be in organized crime and you’re a cop, it can get tricky, but it doesn’t mean you should lie to your cousin and search your guy’s house. I know he’s not answering your calls, but that just means you have to stalk him through your BFF who can use her Navy intel connections to hook you up with good info.
At least now Kono knows where Adam is and who he’s been hanging out with — albeit it’s in Japan and he’s hanging with the Yakuza — but Chin did say to let Adam explain first before she decided if she could trust him. And it looks like Adam has a lot of explaining to do.
Besides the intense moments of the procedural and Kono trying to figure out what’s up with Adam, there were many sweet moments in this episode as well. The good-natured ribbing of McGarrett’s super short hair, which was a smart way to let actor Alex O’Loughlin ditch the horrible wig he had to wear in last week’s episode “ʻImi Loko Ka ʻUhane.” And Danno taking time to get a hug from daughter Gracie during her cheerleading practice, was a moment we needed after seeing two sets of demolished parents, as well as watching the difficult minute when Tip Gilbert offers his services to McG and Danno with a picture of his lost daughter Maile pinned to his leathers.
The ending voice over by Kanani Rogers reading Amanda Morris’s journals as her parents weep and Danno looks on was nicely done. Many times television shows go too far, and have characters use melodramatic screaming and sobbing to portray sadness and suffering. But I thought the tears and the pain was very realistic in this episode and evenly handled. Nice direction by “Hawaii Five-0” veteran Steve Boyum, based on a great story by Peter Lenkov and teleplay by Noah Nelson.
If the last two episodes are like this one, we could end season three with a bang.
Redux Side Note:
This week, several Hawaii actors — as well as a Hawaii Olympic athlete — were featured in the episode:
» Jodi Jarvis and Brent Scott Dupuis played Joyce and Don Bishop, the parents of the missing little girl, Ella Bishop.
» Kanani Rogers, who most recently was seen in Manoa Valley Theatre’s “Next to Normal,” played brave Amanda Morris, the girl who had been kidnapped and held captive for ten years.
» Former newscaster and current Star-Advertiser blogger Diane Ako was seen on Henry Rollins’s television reporting on the death of the alleged kidnapper Helen Cantera.
» U.S. Olympic wrestler Clarissa Chun, who is credited as “Petite Young Woman,” help separate Shawn Mokuahi Garnett, Kamekona’s cousin Flippa, from a shrimp dinner as well as his dignity.
» Dennis Chun shined yet again in a short scene with the team finding Amanda’s body and catching McG and Danno up on the chain of evidence.
Wendie Burbridge is a published author, playwright and teacher who lives and works in Honolulu. Reach her via Facebook and follow her on Twitter.