After watching the season premiere of “Hawaii Five-0” this week, I completely understand the kaona (hidden meaning) behind the episode’s title, “Aloha Kekahi i Kekahi (Love One Another).”
Having been on the red carpet during “Sunset on the Beach” and gotten another chance to speak with the cast and crew of “Hawaii Five-0,” I believe the title is also representative of the production as a whole. When Alex O’Loughlin, Daniel Dae Kim, Michelle Borth, Chi McBride and other cast members walked the red carpet and met their fans, they definitely showed love and appreciation. I know that for many fans, attending “Sunset on the Beach” is the chance of a lifetime to meet the actors who grace their televisions every week.
And now that I’ve watched the season premiere twice in two days, I’ve had a chance to really wrap my brain around this episode. I’ve come to one conclusion — the season four opener is the best premiere since the start of the series reboot.
Watching on television last night, Sept. 27, was just as great as seeing it on the big screen on Waikīkī Beach. The same excitement and tension accompanied the episode, and I wasn’t disappointed by the action scenes on a smaller screen. For me, the best parts were the more tender moments, like when Kono (Grace Park) and Adam (Ian Anthony Dale) discussed the new path of their relationship, as well as the guilt they both had for the death of Adam’s brother Michael (Daniel Henney). Or when we saw Chin (Daniel Dae Kim) missing Kono at the end of season three, or the scene between McG (Alex O’Loughlin) and Cath (Michelle Borth) when they were reunited after she was kidnapped.
All of these scenes were similar to what happened over the last three seasons, but with more depth. When I spoke to executive producers Alex Kurtzman and Peter Lenkov, they both promised they were going to reveal more depth in their characters and storylines this season.
Borth also revealed to me on the red carpet that her character would be “going through some major life changes.”
“But what I really like, and what I’ll reveal to you, is that everyone is going to have a chance to see (Catherine and McGarrett) really fall in love,” she said.
After seeing the almost wordless scene where McGarrett frees Catherine from her kidnappers, I can see what she was alluding to on the red carpet. It was also perfect in regards to the theme of the evening; loving one another and needing each other seemed to go hand in hand this week.
Overall, this was a season opener that hit all the marks. Not only did we get a police procedural that kept us interested, but we also met some cool new characters and got a glimpse into what awaited us for the rest of the season.
Chi McBride told me on the red carpet that his character was “one of the good guys,” and even though he challenges McGarrett, I think the scene where he bares it all to find out information about the hostages at Five-0 headquarters was not only funny, but telling of his character. McBride’s scenes as Capt. Lou Grover with Sgt. Duke Lukela (Dennis Chun) are very “Five-0.” Watching Lukela deal with someone very much like McGarrett — someone who does the unexpected in order to get effective results — was not only humorous, but telling of all the trials Lukela must go through with the Five-0 team, and will probably also have to experience with Grover.
And that’s another thing — for all the great tension and action in this episode, I sure enjoyed all of the humor. The carguments, as well as the “relationship” discussion Danno has with McG and Danno’s intervention between McGarrett and Grover were moments that made me laugh, even upon a second viewing.
Yet, despite the humor, we also suffered a few loses in the episode. Some were expected, like the deaths of terrorists Ernesto and Flora (guest stars Henry Ian Cusick and Martha Higareda) in one of the several car chases of the episode; as well as the killing of suspect Ricardo Cosi (Luis Carazo) by his own crew and death of his big bad uncle El Condor (Nestor Serrano) when his fall from a stolen helicopter was stopped by a parked car.
But it was the “death” of the Five-0 team’s magic table that was really a sight to see. When I asked Kim about watching the table being shot up — as he usually is the one to work the table — he was quick to mention the table is “almost a character within the show.” I was happy the team returned to the table in the end to pump some life into it, thanks to friendly hacker Toast (Martin Starr).
There were lots of unexpected surprises this week, which I think should have been worked into the episode’s title. While I did see a lot of “needing each other” — especially when McG and the team have to go rogue in order to save Catherine — the other surprises created a cool puzzle of entertainment.
When the terrorists killed their own guy and surrendered to McGarrett — who would have seen that coming? And who would have thought that McGarrett would confront Wo Fat about exactly what we’ve all been thinking the last two seasons? I was definitely surprised he asked Max to find out if they were brothers after grabbing Wo Fat and slamming his head into a prison door for a blood sample.
Finally, some clear answers about the Momma McG/Shelburne/Wo Fat mystery. Well, one can only hope. Alex O’Loughlin told me on the red carpet, that there were two main things that his character faced this season. One was that Steve was going to work to find out about Wo Fat and his mother, why they are so connected and what that means. “And it’s kind of terrifying for him,” said O’Loughlin. The other thing McG will deal with is what is going on with him emotionally because of his mother. “She left for twenty years, and now she’s gone again– it’s tough,” said O’Loughlin on the red carpet.
So even though I am excited about what the writers seem to have in store for this season, I know not to hold my breath for all the answers right away. Like all great shows, they always leave us wanting just a little bit more.
Wendie Burbridge is a published author, playwright and teacher. Reach her via Facebook and follow her on Twitter.