Christmas in Hawai‘i is understandably very different than it is anywhere else in the world. The temperature usually tops out at around 80 degrees, we don’t have to worry about snow days or hail and ice storms, and most folks spend the day barbecuing at the beach after finding out what Santa stuck under their tree.
Sure, we have pine trees shipped in so we have somewhere to stash our presents, we cover our homes with lights and wreaths, and yes, Santa still wears the full red-velvet suit complete with white beard and tall black boots. But really, it’s sunny and warm, and when we dream of a “White Christmas,” it’s more like what Chin Ho called “Pineapple Powder” on Mauna Kea.
While last week’s episode had me in tears, this week I was alternately gasping and wondering out loud when Chin Ho would ever catch a break. “Hawaii Five-0’ seems to love making him suffer.
When I spoke to Daniel Dae Kim on the red carpet at this year’s “Sunset on the Beach,” I asked if anything good would happen to Chin this season. His good-natured laughter in response to my question was reassuring, and he did agree that while his character seemed to have had a difficult time in season three — like losing his wife, being dumped in Halawa Correctional Facility and having to say “aloha” to his cousin Kono — he assured me Chin would have a chance at happiness this season.
So I suppose happiness includes Leilani (Lindsay Price), the nurse he met during his unfortunate prison stay, who returned in this episode to warn the Five-0 team she hadn’t heard from him in hours — which alerted the team Chin could be in trouble.
Again? I swear, Chin has a perpetual “Shiv Me” sign on his back.
This week’s episode title, “Pukana,” means “keepsake, memento, remembrance or souvenir” in Hawaiian. And while I don’t think CBS meant “Chin Ho remembers when he was shanked the first time” as the theme of this episode, it did refer to the keepsake Grace (Teilor Grubbs) and Danno (Scott Caan) found washed up on the beach during a beach cleanup. Gracie finding the Japanese puzzle box, which contained a locket with a picture of a sweet faced young Japanese girl, and Danno trying to find the person connected to the little girl was, of course, more of what we love about “Hawaii Five-0.”
All of the Danno and Gracie moments this week, including Gracie teasing Danno about a thrice-divorced mom flirting with him and Danno teaching a New Jersey born (but Hawaii raised) Gracie the finer points of east coast hockey with in-line skates and no snow, really helped balance the violent attack on Chin.
I suppose it was Chin’s turn to be kidnapped by serial killer Gary Nathan (creepily played by veteran character actor James Urbaniak), kicked to a pulp and shanked in the process. Only this time, Chin was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. Good thing Gary’s girlfriend Emily (“Real Housewife of Orange County” star Heather Dubrow) stopped by to bring our killer some Vietnamese noodle soup. Otherwise Chin would be dead — with one less finger.
Thankfully, Emily kept her cool and slid Chin his gun during a scuffle so he could stop Gary from adding both of them to his collection of photos and fingers. I found it incredibly gross that Gary kept a finger from each of his victims as a memento. I guess we figured out what McG was looking at when he opened Gary’s safe, despite viewers never being actually shown what was inside.
I so love when “Five-0” brings everything full-circle. The original case the Five-0 team investigated had to do with serial burglar Victor Dobbs, who we saw at the start of the episode opening Gary’s safe. When a look of shock and disbelief covered his face, we obviously thought he was upset because the safe was empty; now we know it was filled with more horror than the burglar was ready to see.
I’m not sure I was ready to see Chin get beat up so bad, nor was I ready to see him saved by a “Real Housewife.” Still, I was glad to see him recover enough to relax on the beach with Leilani. But if that’s how DDK sees his character “finding happiness,” I’m hoping Chin wins the lottery, starts driving a Rolls Royce and treats everyone to Side Street Inn every day, just because he’s so darn happy.
Something needs to give for Chin. We like him too much for it not to happen for him. And soon.
Overall, there were a lot of the classic “Five-0” elements we love in this week’s episode: Danno and McG carguments, Danno giving McG some healthy ribbing about being cheap, and a touching moment when McG suggests the puzzle box Danno found could belong to someone who was affected by the tsunami. Of course, that led Danno to seek out the Fong’s (Brian Yang) help in order to find the family of the little girl in the locket.
We got to see some nice moments with Danno and Fong, and Fong actually got out of the lab! I loved when he showed up at Danno’s house and told him, “I couldn’t sleep” after he found the owner of the puzzle box — the father of the little girl and the only survivor from his family. How could we not love the closing scene when Danno and Gracie travel all the way to Japan to return the box?
That’s definitely how I wanted this episode to end, with hope and some cheer. That’s a keepsake we can all treasure.
Redux Side Note:
“Hawaii Five-0” is on Christmas hiatus for the next two weeks, but CBS has three great repeats lined up. Don’t miss a special rebroadcast of “I ka wā mamua” (In A Time Past) tonight, Dec. 21, at 8 p.m. on CBS.
On Dec. 27, one of the best episodes from season three, the re-imagined version of the 1973 classic “Hawaii Five-O” episode “Hookman” will air during the show’s regular Friday night timeslot.
And a fan-favorite episode, “Huakaʻi Kula” (“Field Trip”), with the amazing Lesley Boone as Gracie’s Aloha Girls leader will repeat on Jan. 3, 2014.
The “Five-0 Redux” will continue with new posts every Saturday. A very warm Mele Kalikimaka to all of you from “The Five-0 Redux” and the Pulse. Mahalo for all your support in 2013!
Wendie Burbridge is a published author, playwright and teacher. Reach her via Facebook and follow her on Twitter.