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.
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.
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.
REDUX SIDE NOTE
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.