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Five-0 Redux

Seeing the signs

Many Hawaiians believe in signs. They are sent to us by our ancestors, mainly through dreams or visions.

The appearance of an ʻaumakua (family god), changes in weather and phases of the moon and the tides often warn of impending danger, yet just as often deliver good news. Dreams can reveal a name for a child; a vision can ease suffering from heartache or grief. Seeing signs sent by those who came before us is a good thing because they always come with deep aloha.

For “Hawaii Five-0” fans who have been impatiently watching repeats the last three weeks, signs that this week’s episode was going to be a very special one were very clear. The hype surrounding Melanie Griffith’s casting as Danno’s mom, Clara, the return of Daryl Hannah as real estate maven Cherie Tranton and the hint that the story behind Chi McBride’s character would be revealed were all good omens for fans.

Scott Caan, left, and guest star Melanie Griffith in a scene from this week's episode of "Hawaii Five-0." (Courtesy CBS)
Scott Caan, left, and guest star Melanie Griffith in a scene from this week’s episode of “Hawaii Five-0.” (Courtesy CBS)

All in all, “Pale ʻia,” translated by CBS as “Buried Secrets,” was another strong episode. While the police procedural was a bit pedestrian, it was a clever way to use the title.

“Pale ʻia works well for the concept of buried secrets,” said Hawaii Island Film Commissioner and Hawaiian language expert T. Ilihia Gionson. “‘Pale’ (pronounced pah-lay) can mean to cover or defend, so pale ‘ia (pah-lay ee-ah) means covered or defended, like a good buried secret would be.”

“Pale” also means “to thrust aside, fend off, bar, defend, shield, protect; and to ignore a command or law,” all elements used in this episode.

Clara Williams (Griffith) saw all the signs and felt thrust aside by her husband, Eddie (Tom Berenger, who will make an appearance in “Malalo o ka ʻili” on March 14). So she came to Hawaii to break the news to Danno (Scott Caan) that his parents were splitting up after 38 years of marriage.

Meanwhile, McGarrett (Alex O’Loughlin) worked to bar intrepid Honolulu Register reporter Sean Hutton from writing about Lou Grover (McBride). McG tried to defend his new friend from the reporter, and in the end worked to protect him regardless of the cost.

Danno wanted to shield himself and his sisters from his parents divorce and also keep his parents from suffering more than they already had. As always, Danno fundamentally wants to protect Gracie (Teilor Grubbs) even if it’s just from make-up and staying up too late reading under her covers.

In this week’s Five-0’ investigation, defense attorney Gerard Burns (real life Hawaii attorney Michael Green, who also played Aaron Brenner’s attorney in season one’s “E Mālama”) ignored the commands of the law and his position as an officer of the court in order to gain an untraceable gun and kill his adulterous wife and her lover. And then bury their bodies in a horrifying way.

All in all, not a bad title for an episode that ran deep with emotion and angst. The scenes between Danno and his mom were bittersweet. Clara is right; it doesn’t matter how old you are, when your parents get divorced, it hurts. I loved how Danno’s reaction wasn’t all about himself, but about how he was concerned for his mother and having to break it to her children, much like how he felt when he had to tell Gracie he and Rachel were splitting up.

“You and Pop are my anchor,” he said, yet it seems Danno is now Clara’s anchor. It was a nice departure from Momma McG, because while I like Doris, I don’t really like her as McG’s mother. I like Clara as Danno’s mom a lot more, but calling her Momma Williams doesn’t seem to fit her character. I think she’s just going to have to live with Clara.

Guest star Melanie Griffith, left, with Teilor Grubbs in a scene from this week's episode of "Hawaii Five-0." (Courtesy CBS)
Guest star Melanie Griffith, left, with Teilor Grubbs in a scene from this week’s episode of “Hawaii Five-0.” (Courtesy CBS)

I have to admit, I was a bit trepidatious about Griffith playing Danno’s mom. The last thing I wanted to see was Griffith channelling her “Working Girl” accent and going more Jersey than we’d like. I’m very glad that while she definitely has a “big personality,” she’s great as a newly divorced woman who seems to want to live life and find out who she is besides being just a “Mrs.” or “Mom.”

The McG-Danno-Clara cargument was the best we’ve seen in a while, and I loved how quick she was to pick up on the nuances shared between her son and his bestie. Humor always helps carry us during the tough parts of the episode.

And it was tough to watch the scene between McG and Grover. To watch the emotion ripple through his face and a single tear fall down his cheek made his recall of the night when he made a decision that cost him more than just the death of a little boy even more riveting. I know many “Five-0” fans are enjoying the addition of McBride to the cast, but after his story and the way he held his hand out — not just for help, but also to help McGarrett — well, that may have solidify the fans’ love for good.

There was so much to really enjoy about this episode, not just the dramatic scenes and the further revelation of McBride and Danno, but of McGarrett and his fierce protection of his friends. Maybe McG needs to rent out his couch, because he advised Danno on how to help Clara (in between the two of them bickering over who’s mother-son relationship was worse than the other) and then listened to Grover pour his heart out, all the while revealing that he may have to face a few of his own demons. We may just get more of McG’s inner workings in the next few episodes.

Also in this week’s episode, we got a bit of the dynamic duo of Chin (Daniel Dae Kim) and Kono (Grace Park) kicking some bad guy butt and working the magic table, and Max (Masi Oka) turning dead body recovery into a hilarious game of “Guess Which Serial Killer I Am?”

We also got a short scene with fan favorite, Sgt. Duke Lukela (Dennis Chun), as he helped Kono in the HPD evidence locker. While all those scenes were short and to the point, it was nice to see a few more members of the team we have not seen in a while.

There are seven episodes left this season, and after all the signs revealed in this week’s episode, I’m excited to discover more of the secrets “Five-0” writers have come up with.


According to “Booking Hawaii Five-O: An Episode Guide and Critical History” by Karen Rhodes, in the classic “Hawaii Five-O,” the part of Clara Williams (who was Danno’s aunt in the episode “Retire in Sunny Hawaii — Forever”) was played by Helen Hayes. Danno, of course, was played by James MacArthur, and while Hayes played his eccentric aunt, most know she was MacArthur’s real-life mother.

Hayes received an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Lead Actress for a Single Appearance in a Drama or Comedy Series for her turn as Clara. Mahalo to Dennis Chun for loaning me Rhodes’ book from his personal library.

Newly appointed Hawaii Island Film Commissioner T. Ilihia Gionson would very much like “Hawaii Five-0” to film on Hawaii island.

“I look forward to working with the producers and creative team to bring a few episodes to Hawaii Island,” he said.

I would love to see Danno and McG chasing a suspect in the Thurston lava tubes at Volcano. Or how about Chin and Kono racing dirt bikes over stark lava fields, only to be stopped where the lava hits the ocean?

Kamuela is known for their ranches and horses; maybe Joe White should buy a ranch there and settle down. It’s much easier to help the team out if he’s just a skip away on another island rather than being in Montana.

Anyway, just a few thoughts from an intrepid blogger.
Wendie Burbridge is a published author, playwright and teacher. Reach her via Facebook and follow her on Twitter.

12 responses to “Seeing the signs”

  1. Dina says:

    YES so much going on in this episode!!! 1st yes THANK GOODNESS the writers didn’t gloss over Rachel or Matt- I am very interested to see what else is revealed with Clara here… the hopeless romantic in me would love to see one of these Williams reunite- siigghhh
    Grover WOWOWOWOW what a great talent- nice story . It was a brilliant tribute to ALL policeman who have to make that split second decisions – you never truly know how the situation will turn out. Nice nod by Grover to McG- that he needs to vent and not keep all his “stuff” inside. Nice “hint” by the writers.
    The crime of the week yeah you kinda “let it go by” but once the Lawyer become the suspect- EXCELLENT!! and of course he comes from one of my all time favorite episodes (the jungle rescue of the witness AND the car jacking with Rachel – the beginning of the Danchel)
    Kono and Chin working together was lovely and Kono hanging out with Steve again- threatening the perp with letting his arm rot.
    Danno- and Steve’s discussion in office was something I think the fans of the show have been waiting for a long time… a heart to heart- no crime just their feelings and emotions about a family matter.
    I await – happily- for the remainder of the season think the writers and TPTB will have quite a lot for us to talk about

  2. LindaStein says:

    Great review Wendie about another great Five-0 episode. There was so much wonderfulness going on I almost forgot what the crime of the week was for a while. I thought they hit every scene out of the ballpark. LOVED Clara! I agree with you. I can totally see Clara the mom toiling around her kitchen in Jersey taking care of her husband and her kids. Loved how she took Gracie out of school for some girl time bonding. She hasn’t seen Gracie for a very long time and I totally understand her impatience for the end of the school day so she could see her grandbaby! Completely believable. I am really looking forward to seeing more of Clara. Oh and can I say I ADORED the scene with Steve and Danny arguing over their mothers. Really brought the old “how long have they’ve been married” inside joke back home!

    What can I say about Grover? Every time I see this man I like him more. I totally believe the friendship which is evolving between him and Steve even if I think it’s happening a bit too fast. But this is TV, not reality and relationships move much more quickly on TV. The story of the little child murdered in Chicago brought tears to Grover’s eyes and mine too. Between that and the scene between Danny and Gracie at the end just proved to me again that this show is determined to bring tears to my eyes practically every week. So far they are succeeding. Great episode especially after such a long wait.

    Oh…and BTW.. Gerard Burns wasn’t just Aaron Brenner’s attorney…he was Dr. Olivia Vecter’s attorney in 3.08 (Evil Women) too!

  3. Robin Jane Bridges says:

    I loved last night’s episode. I loved when Chin said “Did I tell you I’m glad your back?” Darryl Hannah thinking they were a couple.LOL. Grove said he punched his best friend, does that mean Steve is going to punch Danny for some reason? I wonder in the coming episode that Danny is hurt, but could Steve be trapped and Danny won’t leave him. Any way, loved the episode. Also my library system has the other Hawaii Five-o and our Hawaii Five-0 in the system and one my patrons checked out season 3 of out H50.

  4. pauldunn1 says:


    Thank you for the great review. I also especially liked seeing some of the other actors, especially Duke. I would like to see the Ice shaved man and the Fonger. I enjoyed this ep totally.


  5. alex fan says:

    Finally someone Danny tied to but couldn’t boss around, Melanie played Clara to perfection. I usually love Chin and Kono together but last night it just seems off for some reason.

    For me the best part of the episode was McGarrett and Grover. In a previous episode Grover told McGarrett “We ain’t there yet”, well last night the were there and it was nice that he trusted Steve enough, but sorry Lou, McGarrett “ain’t there yet” with sharing his hidden demons.

    My opinion and only my opinion, it doesn’t matter who is trapped it could be anybody and Steve wouldn’t leave them because he feels for ALL his friends. I also think part of Steve’s problem is he tries to make everything better for all of his friends and that burden added on top of his own demons must be taking a toll.

    Steve and Danny might be best friends but again my take away from the show is, Steve doesn’t treat any friend better than the other, he would go to hell and back for any of them or all of them, that’s the way he is.

    I really missed Catherine last night, for me the show needs another female to help balance out the testosterone. I like Kono better when she isn’t trying to be so macho and think the dynamics of Kono and Catherine with the guys is perfect.

  6. Angela Gerstner says:

    What a truly enjoyable episode! When it was over I felt like time had just flown by. I’m glad the writers didn’t focus too much on the crime of the week – of which the best part was the scene with Dr. Max and his drill. This guy is so funny! I also loved Kono and Chin together and Chin telling her how happy he was that she was back.

    Since I’m always the happiest when H50 gets “personal”, this was a fantastic episode for me. Before I watched it, I had slight doubts about Melanie being the right choice as Danno’s Mom but I agree with Peter who stated in an interview that he immediately saw the chemistry between them – it’s definitely there! They are so great together as Mom and son. And I agree with you Wendie – I like Clara much more as a mother than Doris.
    I loved their sons’ discussions about their mothers, Steve giving advice to Danno and, of course, I loved the cargument with the boys and Clara. All of these gave us a lot to smile and laugh about.

    But Peter kept his promise again because there was not just a laughter – I was also moved to tears when Grover told Steve about his backstory from Chicago.
    Chi was really the perfect addition to the show. Not only is he a terrific actor but there’s great chemistry between him and Alex. Even though I don’t know for sure, I think these two are probably good buddies off screen. And their on-screen bond is getting closer and closer, too – It may have to do with the fact that they understand so well what each other is going through in their daily work as cops where they have to make the most difficult decisions within seconds – decisions that could result in someone’s death.

    Sometimes, I feel like I’m repeating myself here but the writers and the entire cast did a fantastic job AGAIN. Mahalo to them and to you, Wendie, for your wonderful blog.

  7. KAD1228 says:

    Excellent episode. I had misgivings about Melanie Griffith but she portrayed Danny’s mom perfectly. Hey, which one of us doesn’t want to feel needed and appreciated, and fall in love all over again with our significant other? Of course, there’s nothing like Danny and Gracie together!
    Kono’s back and the ease and comfort of working with Chin and Steve was so natural. The chemistry is still there and so is her BAMFness! Like Chin, I’m real happy she’s back. Darryl Hannah, on the other hand, should hang up her mermaids tail for good. Time hasn’t treated her well at all.
    Watching Grover fight his demons was superb. Chi is the best thing to have happened to 50. I love him more and more and hope he’s here for good. There’s an old saying, it takes one to know one, and Lou knows that Steve is constantly battling his own demons. Knows what it’s like to live with the decisions you’ve made, good, bad and indifferent. Life-altering decisions. If we get to see some of Steve’s demons, it will be nice to know that he has Grover in his corner now too.
    For me, watching Steve and Danny discuss their families was priceless! Mommy Dearest vs. Mrs. Cleaver!! It’s this that makes the show! The procedural was pretty lame and silly but who cares! We got to learn more about our guys and that’s what matters!!

  8. Susan M says:

    Great episode on so many levels, and you nailed them all so I won’t repeat. I loved Melanie as Clara…she did a nice job of being feisty and fragile. The writers did a great job with her dialog explaining why she needed to leave her husband…talking about how they were supposed to ‘fall in love’ again and enjoy time together once the kids had grown and he had retired. Then how all his new hobbies are just for him…did not include her. So she displayed this fragile strength of stepping out to claim a well-deserved life for herself. Brava!
    I would LOVE to see a “cargument” between Clara and Doris, maybe with Danno and Steve also in the car, just watching and listening to themselves basically. I can just imagine their facial expressions!
    I like Grover. The character is a nice counterpoint for Steve’s tough guy act…similar personalities that come to support each other.
    Ah, so nice to have the Core Four back! Mahalo, CBS, cast and crew, for a great show!

  9. Kimo808 says:

    Five-0 and Blue Bloods had the highest numbers of viewers for the night . . . though not the “best” for those youngsters 18-49. But 10.44 million viewers before ‘adjustments’ is great.
    Griffith was good, but I think this was McBribe’s night. Great show.

  10. jlopie1 says:

    Thoroughly enjoyed this episode! So much going on! Chi McBride almost stole the show – but meeting Clara Williams was a complete delight! A long time ago, a group of fans spent the hiatus between S1 and S2 guessing which actresses would best portray Danny’s mom. Melanie Griffith was a name tossed around (along with Stockard Channing). I wasn’t surprised at how good a job Melanie did – I’ve always liked her and I knew there was great chemistry between Scott and Melanie from their acting together in Scott’s play. So, I wasn’t disappointed at all!

    There was a lot of love in the Willians household, and it’s obvious that Danny considers his parents his rock. I really appreciated the story line connecting Danny with his mom as well as with his daughter.

    There was a crime of the week? Well, Chn and Kono had to have something to do while Steve bonded with Grover and Danny dealt with his family issues! They did an admirable job working together again!

    I definitely believe we are going to see some repercussions from The journalist’s investigation – Grover telling Steve he needs to let his past go is foreshadowing what we will see at the end of the season! There will be a troubled road ahead for Steve! I don’t suppose it’s right to say I’m looking forward to it… 🙂

    Always fun to read your review the morning after, Wendie!

  11. Diane says:

    Hi Wendie. I agree this show was a good one. Loved meeting Danny’s mom. I’m so glad she is opposite Momma McG. Loved that she made a decision to live her life for herself in her last 3rd of life. Somehow with Danny’s Dad coming, they may get together again. Loved all the scenes of Danny with his Mom and Grace. The cargument and Steve being so happy that Chin called. The argument over the moms. Getting to know Grover’s past without waiting a year or so was great. Chi McBride is another great actor. Glad to see Max back, missing Catherine. Looking forward to McG finally coming to terms with some of his own demons, time to show that he has needs and help himself. The crime could have been better, but there was so much in this episode there probably wasn’t much time for it.

  12. Cultdiva says:

    Watching Melanie Griffith in H5O is so painful. It appears that she is trying to act whilst on something like lithium. Terrible casting decision.

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