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Five-0 Redux

Remembering Pearl Harbor

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For many of us who watch “Hawaii Five-0,” December 7, 1941 — “a date which will live in infamy” — is a day we mostly heard about from stories told by our grandparents and teachers, or from the films and television shows we watched growing up.

If you live in Hawaii, it is hard to escape the reminders of the events of that day. Many of us drive past the Arizona Memorial, Ford Island (where the USS Missouri is berthed) and Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam on a daily basis, and there is nary a family member or friend who doesn’t have touring Pearl Harbor on their list of things to do when visiting Hawaii. The fact that one of the most iconic World War II memorials sits in our waters and the ship that helped bring the end to the war in the Pacific looks over the last remnants of the attack on Pearl Harbor really hits home every time you see the white arch and 16-inch guns of the Mighty Mo.

One of the many elements about “Hawaii Five-0” I admire is how they honor and respect the armed forces. It looks like next week’s episode, “Ho’onani makua kāne” (“Honor Thy Father”), will not disappoint. Executive producer Peter Lenkov said on the KPRP 650 AM’s “The Amy and Friends Show” that fans should be ready to “experience a wide range of emotions” when the episode airs on CBS. It will focus on the attempted murder of a Pearl Harbor veteran and centers on the events of December 7th as well as Japanese citizens who were interned at Honouliuli on Oahu.

If past storylines are any indication, next week’s episode should be another fan favorite. One of the most popular episodes from season three was “ʻŌlelo Paʻa” (“The Promise”), which saw Lt. Commander Steve McGarrett (Alex O’Loughlin) returning to North Korea to find the remains of his best SEAL buddy, Freddie Hart.

Not only does “Hawaii Five-0” depict the positive impacts made by our military men and women, the show also highlights the unique nature of fighting for our country by showing several of their series regulars in active service as part of their ongoing character arcs.

We have the SEALs represented most notably by Steve McGarrett (Alex O’Loughlin), Joe White (Terry O’Quinn) and Wade Gutches (David Keith); Navy intelligence is represented by Catherine Rollins (Michelle Borth) and Billy Harrington (Justin Bruening), who was also a SEAL. And while the US Navy is strongly represented by these characters, the show has also utilized Marine Corps, Army, and Air Force personnel as extras in many episodes since the start of the series.

When I interviewed director Jeff Hunt last season, he mentioned how he was so “humbled” by our troops and “grateful for their service.” So when he was given the opportunity to direct a scene which depicted a military-style training operation (a helicopter drop off, search of an enemy stronghold and major gun battle), he shared his excitement about being able to accurately portray what they do every day.

I don’t think Hunt is alone in making comments about being humbled and wanting to honor our service men and women when given the chance. Star-Advertiser reporter Mike Gordon’s recent story about reenactment scenes at the Honouliuli Internment Camp includes quotes from director Larry Teng on how much of a “responsibility” it was and how they “went to really great lengths to pay attention to details.”

And that is one thing “Hawaii Five-0” is good at doing — paying attention to details and getting their information right, or as right as it can be for 44 minutes on network television. If nothing else, their obvious respect and admiration for the military and the battles they face today and in the past makes the show a pleasure to watch. I’m sure many current and former military members appreciate their efforts.

When I think of Pearl Harbor, I think of not just the attack, but a place where many significant events of my life occurred: My son’s first Cub Scout outing on the admiral’s barge when we got to see the remains of the USS Utah and where my husband retired from the US Navy after 26 years of active service. I am fully aware it is where history happened not only for America, but for a small island in the middle of the Pacific.

The attack on Pearl Harbor changed everything for Hawaii. And even though the tragic events of 1941 happened 72 years ago, our veterans and survivors of the attack on Pearl Harbor work very hard to remind each generation to never forget what happened, but to also find peace within our world.

If a weekly network television show can help spread that message, then more power to them. “Remember Pearl Harbor” may have been a 1940’s military recruitment slogan, but next week it will be an amazing theme to really help illustrate a lesson of forgiveness and hope.

Redux Side Note

“Hawaii Five-0” fans and visitors to the USS Missouri will be able to preview next week’s episode with paid admission to the memorial today, Dec. 7, through Friday, Dec. 13. “Ho‘onani Makuakane” will be screened in its entirety on a continuous basis from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily (11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Dec. 13) and projected onto a large video screen inside the memorial’s educational classroom.

Wendie Burbridge is a published author, playwright and teacher. Reach her via Facebook and follow her on Twitter.

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  • Thank you Wendie for another amazing review !
    3.20 remains one of my fav (if not my fav) episode of s3 and in the top of the show for sure !
    5-0 has a strength to highlight real heroes and they put them forward in some episodes! And I love it !
    This one looks fantastic, not only with the amazing plot (and probably the awesome writting done by the writers) but what impress me it’s the quality of the historical reconstruction they did on set !
    I saw some pictures of the set, with EP Peter Lenkov, or DDK and I was really amazed and very suprised to see them using real archivals, and to do the camp exactly the way it was !
    This event is in everyone’s memories, specially if you live in the USA, Hawaii or if you’re linked in anyway to this event.
    I’m really proud to be a fan of a show that isn’t only commercial, it doesn’t try to pleased to the biggest number, BUT it keeps being faithful to the main ideas of this show : honoring history, culture, respecting the Hawaiian lifestyle, with a little of action, bromance, romance and all this
    This show is UNIQUE, and THANK YOU to Peter and all the one involved to stay down to earth, to honor real life heroes through the best episode of the show 🙂

    Thanks Wendie, as usual, what can we say except u rock !!! 🙂

    • Nadia…my favorite scene in 3.20 was when they were lowering Freddie’s casket from the plane and everyone was saluting. That was to be expected, of course, but I LOVED how they filmed it, showing everyone else, the airport crews, the luggage handlers, even the passengers getting off the plane, seeing the casket and the military honor guard…they all stopped, paying their respects. It was extremely moving. I trust this episode will be more of the same.

      • Hi Linda ! 🙂
        My fav one actually was when Steve discovered that Freddie had been mutilated and with Freddie’s daughter (I can’t choose btw those 2 lol)
        Alex acting was PRICELESS !!! Just in writting those words I have all the feelings coming out …. in IMO it’s Alex’s best performance 🙂
        BUT I do love the one you sited and a few more, this episode is really one of my fav of the entire show and you’re right in all you’re saying !
        I’m pretty sure this episode is going to be even better than 3.20 for a reason that’s it’s a bigger thing, it’s not only about 1 SEAL but about a huge attack and with all they did on set, the camp …
        And I saw some pix of Keith, David … rehearsing the music with an orchestra … it’s a movie quality episode they’re doing ! Not to mention Larry directing !!! he is so so great !
        and these kind of episode makes me love even more the show (mmmmhhhh is it possible ??? lol lol)

  • Thank you, Wendie! This was another great article on my favorite show.

    And yes, I completely agree, 3.20 was one of the favorites, and one of the best episodes so far. They did a great job showing Steve’s background and honoring the armed forces at the same time. That episode had some truly perfect scenes in it. Perfect in their execution, and evoking an emotional response. A true gem on US television.

    I’m sure this episode will be equally good in its execution. If I will love it the same remains to be seen. If they will find a good balance between scenes from the past and present Five-0, I’m sure I will love it. But honestly I am a bit apprehensive about it too. No matter how important this part of history is, and how important it is to keep it alive for future generations, I don’t want ‘my’ Five-0 to become a documentary playing in the past for the major part of the episode. That might be selfish, but I would be disappointed if there would not be enough actual Five-0 in Five-0.

    But knowing this show so far, they will most likely find the right balance and give us another mind blowing episode. I’m looking forward to it.

    And what a wonderful idea to show it for a whole week on the battleship. Kudos to CBS for that.

    • Actually Sam, while I’m sure we will see our team in this episode, I’m not sure exactly how much. I have read there will be no crime of the week, that is episode will be 100% this story. Since it includes flashbacks and flashbacks which they put a great deal of time and expense into re-creating, I suspect we won’t see a ton of the current team. However, since this is what Peter likes to call “event television” I think we can accept less team for this one week. I don’t think any of us will be disappointed.

      • I’m not too sure about that one, Linda! The crime of the week will be solving the cold case of what happened 70 plus years ago in the concentration camp! There is no other, current crime. But I think we will see plenty of the 5-0 team (at least everyone currently on the Island), with enough flashback to bring the whole story together. We won’t have too much longer to find out!

        • What I meant was that there will be one story in this episode instead of a crime of the week AND a background story. For instance, the Thanksgiving episode had a crime of the week AND the story concerning Aunt Deb. This one will be 100% the Pearl story/flashback. I just didn’t state it properly.

  • Traveling to Hawaii was a dream of mine from when I was a kid. A dream I tucked into the farthest reaches of my mind until Hawaii Five-0 came along and it became a possibility and then a reality. The choice of Oahu as our destination island was a no-brainer (I’m a Five-0 fanatic, after all) especially with so many people who live there who I now consider friends, even Ohana. Sitting down and planning our trip, the item at the top of our “to-do” list was “visit Pearl Harbor”.

    I guess I could be considered a military child since daddy served in the Army during WWII. Daddy also worked as a civilian for the Navy from the early 50s through his retirement in the 80s. I also worked for the Navy for several years after college. I have been hearing stories about Pearl my whole life. Many of the men I worked with while on base in Philadelphia were in the Navy at the time, although I never knew anyone who actually served at Pearl. No matter. The event and the stories were no less touching and memorable as heard from afar. My dad used to tell the story of he and his brothers huddled on the floor around the radio listening to President Roosevelt’s speech, hearing the words “a day which will live in infamy” and the chills it still gave him decades later.

    Sitting on the ferry, heading out to the USS Arizona Memorial, seeing that majestic white arch moving closer with the Mighty Mo anchored behind it gave me chills. Stepping onto the deck of the memorial, looking down and seeing the great ship, the oil still rising from her and the names of all those who lost their lives there engraved on the wall, knowing many of them were still there, entombed with their ship….. it is a feeling I really can’t describe. Extremely rare it is to find me, of all people, at a loss for words but as I walked around the memorial I was awed into speechlessness. It was a truly memorable experience I will never forget.

    For those who live there, for those who were there, for those who remember it and for those who survived it the coming Five-0 episode could be an apprehensive thing. But I have faith in Peter and TPTB at Five-0 to do their utmost best to treat this story with dignity and pride and respect. They have always been driven to do no less when representing our military. I see no reason to expect less now, in fact, I suspect it will be even greater!

  • This is the perfect blog for Dec. 7 – the anniversary of the Japanese attack, and it is the perfect topic for you to write about as the wife of a Navy chief and a true Hawaiian. Needless to say that the outcome (your blog) is perfect, too.

    It speaks for H50 that you’ve always liked and appreciated the way H50 portrays the Armed Forces on the show. H50 has quite successfully striven to achieve a realistic portrayal of the military by cooperating with the Armed Forces on the islands – an approach that benefits both sides, in my opinion. The show definitely gives a very positive impression of the military – not least because of very likeable characters, such as Steve and Cath who “represent” the Navy on H50.

    It’s quite brave of the showrunners to go one step further in ep. 4.10 by focusing on a rather delicate historical subject because of all the emotions involved in it for both sides – the U.S. and the Japanese.
    I’m not much of a fan of war movies/shows – which could be owed to the fact that I’m German and have good reason to be opposed to the “insanity” called war and, therefore, don’t usually like watching movies about it. However, I am very much looking forward to this episode because it is likely to be one of those very special, very emotional episodes that will move us fans to tears. I’m also quite confident that there will be no glorification of any of the events back then but that the episode will rather give a “lesson of forgiveness and hope”, as you put it.

    The pics released for ep. 4.10 so far, remind me a lot of the movie “Pearl Harbor” which dealt with the same historical events – however, not including the internment camps. I guess Bruckheimer wasn’t as brave as Peter 😉
    Even though I didn’t like a few things about that movie, I loved most of it – not only because it so perfectly showed the abrupt transition from the totally idyllic life in paradise (Hawai`i) to the total devastation and despair caused by the air-raid. Within minutes, life changed completely – and those devastating effects of war were pointed out very impressively in this movie.
    Now you may wonder why I’m mentionning the movie. Well, it’s because I actually think that ep. 4.10 of H50 will be equally impressive even though it is “only” a TV show. To me, however, it is obviously the best – thanks to its brave and brilliant writers and, of course, an extremely talented, committed cast that brings the fantastic scripts to life on screen and makes the viewers “feel along” with the characters. That’s why I’m convinced that ep. 4.10 will be a truly memorable, moving episode loved by the fans (like ep. 3.20).

    PS: Sorry for making this so long 🙁

  • Thanks, Wendie – I’m always happy to see a new Redux on Saturday mornings!

    I’ve been to the Arizona Memorial and the USS Missouri twice now, and each time has been a moving experience. I went the first time with my husband and was left feeling bereft – I felt so much fear and terror from what happened there that day, and so much sadness for what the memorial embodied. But the second time was with my children, and I paid more attention to their reactions to seeing the memorial for the first time. They went their separate ways, stood at the wall reading the names, looked quietly over the side at the hull and the bubbles of fuel still escaping. Needless to say, I was pleased that I had been able to give them the opportunity to experience such an important memorial to a time in history they will never have to live through but which helped to shape the lives they do have today. As Americans, we are all indebted to the servicemen of every era for their bravery and service.

    I am certainly looking forward to the next H50 episode, and I intend to have my box of tissues handy! Having watched this series since the beginning, I have learned to expect emotional experiences on a regular basis, so the tissue supply is always ready to go! Looking forward to next Saturday’s Redux!

  • thanks Wendie for reminding us how much this event- day is to those in HI.. its easy to mark a calendar, watch a show , say a prayer thank a vet when your not “living” in a time of history- walking past, driving past this location on a daily bases. We look forward to next week episode

  • Wendie, thank you for writing on this. I have been waiting to see this episode ever since it was announced.
    My grandfather, my mother’s father, served in the Army in the South Pacific during World War II, in fact, the picture my sister and I identify with him is a picture of him standing next to a palm tree. My grandfather passed before I was born and when my sister (8 years older) was very small so neither of us remember him but what we do remember is what he did and how greatly the entire country was affected after the bombing of Pearl Harbor.
    When I was cleaning out my mother’s house, I kept finding pictures of my grandfather wading ashore on some island or in conversation with other soldiers or things that showed him doing his job and I was just blown away. Being from that time, my mother did not share much of what her father did. I understood and still do. My mother was 15 when it happened and the stories from her of what happened in her life were always fascinating.
    I teach U.S. History to college freshmen at two local community colleges and I make certain to get up to World War II and to cover, not only the bombing at Pearl Harbor, but also the internment of the Japanese/Americans as well. It’s something that EVERYONE in this country needs to know and not a lot of people do. My students know about Pearl Harbor but they’re usually shocked to hear about the internment. This time around some of the questions were “How was that legal?” and “Couldn’t they sue?” It certainly gave them something to think about.
    I had no idea, although it makes total sense, that there were internment camps in Hawai’i. How else was the state going to keep the workers it needed but not let out into public. It is a VERY sad and dark chapter of the U.S.
    I have told my students when the show was going to be on and what it is about. I saw them writing the information down so, hopefully, some will watch. They might learn something else! 🙂
    Thank you again for your post and thank your husband for his service and yours as a Navy wife!

  • what can i say Wend?? just AMAZING & great word using 🙂 this is really an honoring piece you wrote here, my English words way fail me on praising your WONDERFUL article, but im sure you’ll get my point 🙂
    MAHALO NUI LOA for this beautiful remembrance Wendie xoxoxo

  • Aloha Wendie. It’s kind of nice to have your review before the episode. I am really looking forward to watching. Growing up in Tucson and attending the University of Arizona I feel a kinship with Pearl Harbor. The ship’s bell is in our student union and I have studied in a room filled with artifacts from the ship and her sailors. Strangely enough the architecture of the union is supposed to represent the bow of the ship. And even stranger, the section of I-10 that goes between Phoenix and Tucson is the “Pearl Harbor Highway.” Visiting Pearl Harbor, (2X) and especially the USS Arizona was like coming full circle. It’s one of those places where you can actually “feel” the anguish (Gettysburg and The Tower of London were the others). I don’t think my family said a word while we were there. Mahalo for this article, you have the background to write it like none other my friend and you have offered a fitting tribute.

  • Thanks Wendie. I am looking forward to this. I always love the way H50, honors the military. I think that they will also honor those who were put into the camps. I was not there and I don’t know the horror the people went through or how afraid they were, but placing people in camps just because of their ancestry was not right. This is why we should never forget, so we don’t repeat. I’m sure the H50 writers will try to be fair to all sides.

  • Its hard to comment on a show that hasn’t aired yet, but I’ve been anticipating this one ever since it was announced. I wasn’t taught a lot about the Detainment Camps in History Class, probably because it wasn’t one of the most shining moments in our country’s history, but the fact that the Navy is going to show this episode on the Mighty MO in the foreseeable future speaks volumes on the military’s opinion of it. Thanks, Wendie for this story.

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