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Five-0 Redux

Strengthening the ʻohana

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After four years of drama and action, “Hawaii Five-0” has matured nicely into a show that seems to have outshone their competitors, quieted naysayers and outdone themselves with quality storylines and characters.

Out of all the finales, I’d have to say this one left me the most excited about the upcoming season — and yet strangely satisfied. In the past, season finales have left me as frustrated as Danno riding in the passenger seat of his own car, watching McG drive his Camaro like he stole it from a NASCAR track. Friday night’s finale was the pièce de résistance of the magnum opus that was season four.

According to Hawaii Island Film Commissioner T. Ilihia Gionson, “ʻO Ka Pili ʻOhana Ka ʻOi” means “family first, or literally, the bond of family is the best.” And we definitely saw this theme play out in the episode between Grover (Chi McBride) and his fierce desire to rescue his daughter, Samantha (Paige Hurd), from the woodenly callous Ian Wright (Nick Jonas), as well as within the entire team and the strengthening of their own bonds with each other and the ones they love.

Jonas returned to reprise his role as the computer mastermind, and I guess he didn’t hit up Donnie Wahlberg for advice on how to make an awesome transition from boy band to hit drama series. His performance in November’s “Akanahe” (“Reluctant Partners”) was two-dimensional at best, and this week’s return was not much better.

“Hawaii Five-0” has been known for their cruel and calculating villains, yet they have always been interesting enough that we like them in a strangely ironic way. Yet, all I really wanted was for McG (Alex O’Loughlin) and Danno (Scott Caan) to take Wright out to sea and feed him to the sharks. (It’s not like they haven’t tried that before.)

Thankfully, there was a villain to save the episode. The return of Wo Fat (Mark Dacascos) was more than I had hoped for, and not just because we love seeing Mark Dacascos, even with his face half-burned. We finally got a few more breadcrumbs to follow on the whole McGarrett/Wo Fat connection mystery.

I know, they were small breadcrumbs, but at least we know Doris is still out there misdirecting McGarrett from clear answers. But the enigma that is Wo Fat is even more profound, as now we are left to wonder if Wo Fat is really a villain. He came to the rescue this time, killing Ian Wright — did you all cheer like I did when that happened? — and freeing Grover’s daughter.

Have I mentioned how much fans love Mark Dacascos? He plays a villain we all can admire as well as loathe. Perhaps it’s because Dacascos himself is such a kind and humble man, but also because his portrayal of Wo Fat gives new meaning to the “less is more” acting technique. Wo Fat gives the camera one look and tells us so much about his feelings, what he’s thinking and what he might do in his fight for his own kind of twisted justice.

He is most assuredly a villain we love to watch, and dare I say, root for? Not that we want Wo Fat to beat McG, but we sure love when he shows up. And this week was no exception.

Sure, I’d love to have had more information about what Wo Fat wants and more of a wrap up of Momma McG’s role in the grave site in Cambodia, as well as all of the CIA shenanigans that have derailed McG in his search for the truth. But just knowing that Wo Fat is in the wind and will most definitely come back to stir up trouble for McG and the Five-0 team is sweet anticipation for yet another amazing season starting in September.

And what a season this has been! The finale has definitely put more of a spin on the makeup of the task force, but has also given me some hope that season five will be just as strong. Adding Grover to the Five-0 team was something I figured would happen, and I hope he doesn’t get sidelined like Cath did when she joined. Perhaps his SWAT experience he will be put to good use; I just hope he and Chin don’t have to fight over who gets to carry the biggest gun.

The finale was one heck of a ride written by Peter Lenkov and Ken Solarz. They incorporated all the aspects that we love about “Five-0.” The humor and McG/Danno banter was fun and entertaining, especially in the opening scene with the two of them racing through Waikīkī on three wheels. I was glad a few moments were given to the men to discuss the loss of Catherine and how it affected McG.

Caan and O’Loughlin are always good at the bromantic jabs, but it is the quiet moments between the two that seem to click so well. When McG says to Danno, “She’s not coming home until the job’s done,” we get that McG has made peace with her decisions. While he may not like them, he understands her need to be separated from him.

We may not understand, but I was glad last week’s episode was discussed one more time. O’Loughlin was stellar in that episode, and while the focus was on Grover and his playing puppet to Wright this week, he still handled having a gun held to his head — as well as focusing the team’s aid for Grover — in a way that reminds us that he is the commander. Still, his obvious angst at how to help his friend, as well as his obvious distaste for Wright, added to the drama of the finale.

Kono (Grace Park) and Chin (Daniel Dae Kim) also had a good scene, where we learned a bit more about Kono and Adam. So much of season four was spent with the two on the run, as well as the team’s work to clear them to return home, that I was glad something was said about their relationship and where it stands.

Chin’s advice to his cousin was bittersweet. When he told Kono he wished he had not waited to marry Malia, we remembered his heartbreak and understood when he said, “this life we live is unpredictable.” We know he did not have a chance to live the life he wanted with Malia, and as Kono has also experienced a separation from Adam and wondered if she would ever see him again, this was sage advice from a man who is more experienced than he should be about the loss of a loved one.

Grover was just as strong, channelling his huge stature of tough Chicago cop into a man who was almost broken by the thought of losing his beloved daughter. McBride nailed his dramatic and heart-wrenching scenes of despair and I was sucked in by his intensity and palpable frustration. Danno’s stepping in to comfort, as well as encourage Grover to snap out of his sorrow and get back into the game, was perfect.

These are the kind of moments where Caan particularly shines. His ability to empathize with parents who have children who are lost or suffering remind us of his obvious love for his daughter, Grace (Teilor Grubbs) and the times when he too imagined a different outcome for her well-being. Both men showed the juxtaposition of fathers who must set aside their love and paternal bonds in order to focus on getting the job done and their children home, even in the midst of fear and danger.

Overall, I was left satisfied and excited for season five. In the past, I’ve always felt bereft, wanting more and desirous of better information and answers to questions posed throughout the season. While I still don’t have the entire story, I still got enough intel to keep the hiatus from not being as torturous as it has in years past.

But who am I kidding? I’m still going to be chomping at the bit waiting for September to arrive. Not only because I want to know more, but because I know the show will be heading into another season stronger than ever before.


I always try to point out Hawaii actors in “Hawaii Five-0,” and this week is no exception.

Two of the recurring Hawai’i actors returned this week — Taylor Wily, who plays Kamekona, had a funny scene at the shrimp truck trying to talk Grover out of his “spare” shrimp plate.

And Dennis Chun was in several scenes as Sgt. Duke Lukela, helping the team catch a bank robber on the run in Waikīkī, plus a sweet scene with Samantha, comforting her as she waited to be reunited with her father.

Surfer and Hui O Heʻe Nalu (Da Hui) founder Eddie Rothman played Inoke Makuakane, the leader of the group that helped rogue agent Novak (Richard Burgi) smuggle $100 million out of Hawaii.

Interestingly enough, Burgi also has a slight connection to Hawaii; many may remember he played detective Mack Wolfe on “One West Waikiki” in the mid-1990s.

Other local actors featured this week included Nolan Hong and Chad Burch as state sheriffs in the airport scenes; former University of Hawaii football player and Denver Bronco Ma’a Tanuvasa played the sheriff who escorted Ian Wright into Five-0 headquarters; and Keala Kahuanui-Paleka played the tattooed soldier unceremoniously handcuffed to himself when the team stormed the Makuakane homestead.
Wendie Burbridge is a published author, playwright and teacher. Reach her via Facebook and follow her on Twitter.

Comments (23)

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  • YEAH Wendie- I agree on practically everything….. I happen to like Jonas performance- he is no Walberg for sure (either Mark or Donnie) BUT for the part he played I loved the calm and calculating evil. No not the sophistication of WoFat but was fine for what it was called for. I am a bit perplexed we got more questions than answers YET again! Why did WoFat kill IAN? was he looking to chump favor with 5-0 for something later? Was Ian just a threat? and HOW the HELL did he know where and how to find Ian at the time he did?? Will we see more of Agent Novak- is he the “missing link” to gov and WoFat?? I could go on but we have all summer to discuss this!
    Chi gave a masters acting class but I expected no less of this “movie giant”- as you say this is where Caan shines as well- Five-0 is blessed to have these extraordinary caliber of talent- and it is wonderful to enjoy opportunities for them to show their “stuff” and not just discuss murder of the week over the table. BRAVO!
    So for me BRING on S5!! now just a reminder Peter and TBTB you have tweeted- interviewed the following and thus MAYBE we can see the answers to these:
    Rachel story not done
    MB hope so – for her return
    Rt of Sang Min
    Just a friendly reminder hehehehe

  • I thought this was a really good episode with great scenes like the one between Lour and Danny and the teamy feeling we’ve come to expect of our show. I especially like that Lou shot the guy who was about to kill McG and Danny telling Steve he needed the sofa after discovering the news about Doris visiting Wo Fat and not her own son. While I’m relived we were not given a gimmick cliff-hanger ending, it felt like any normal episode to me. Not really finale material.

    I don’t watch the show for logic, Wo Fat getting from CO to HI for instance, but how and why did he even know about Ian Wright? Why have him escape at all if it didn’t lead to anything? I love Wo Fat and I think he’s a great antagonist for Mcg, but it’s poor storytelling when we’ve learned next to nothing new since 3.01 in regards to Wo Fat, McG, and Doris. There’s trying to keep viewers excited and stringing
    them along for less than a single bread crumb.

    I’m glad they mentioned Catherine in the eppy, like her or not, the audience needed to know that while not happy, Steve has accepted the fact she’s going to be gone a long time. I was very disappointed that after mere weeks of being tortured and almost beheaded, Steve seemed 100% physically and emotionally fine. And like the events of 2.10, he’s made of Teflon without any repercussions. We can have our Super SEAL and show that things like trauma affect him. I’m hoping that the PTSD plotline that was hinted at will have some continuity
    despite missing this plum chance to show it.

    Like I said, it was a really good eppy for the season with some fine acting and wonderful moments. I love Lou. But, I can’t help feeling little left down in the answer department and emotional fallout from 4.21.

  • I loved the episode and thought Nick Jonas did a GREAT job!!!! He was extremely believable! I was waiting for the big cliffhanger, so I was a bit disappointed at the end.

  • I liked last night’s episode. I think last week’s episode and this week’s episode was part 1 and part 2. Maybe Woo knew where that money was going and he killed Ian to stop that. Grove will had a balance to the team. Steve can bounce between Danny and Grover when he needs too. Sam and Gracie can compare kidnappings and Gracie can tell Sam she still has a carjacking and crazy guy in woods to go thru before she is caught up with Gracie. LOL!!

  • Fantastic episode…did not disappoint, even if we still have questions about the Wo Fat/Mama McGarrett storyline….you can’t answer everything in 42 minutes of air time. Glad Steve and Danny discussed Cath’s situation to keep that alive and loved their car chase in the ‘clown car.’ Loved hating Ian Wright (Jonas’ stiff acting only made it easier!) and that Wo Fat took him out and saved Samantha as a way to get a message to McGarrett that they had to meet. Slimy but classy! Grover on the team…yeah! “Mature” was a good way to describe the episode and adding Grover shows how the team has matured into a strong entity in Hawaii whose original team of four won’t be challenged by a new member, only strengthened. The dynamics are really good. Finally, ending on a happy note instead of a cliffhanger is a nice change and we all deserve it after last week’s tense show so we can relax over the summer as we wait for our favorite show to return in September. I’ll be on Oahu then and hope to attend the SOTB affair…yeah!

  • True, there are a lot of questions out there, as others have said. The biggest one for me is, what is Wo Fat’s motivation to seek out and kill Ian Wright? (along with the one about his relationship to Doris) But this year we aren’t faced with the question “Is Grace (Park) leaving?” Kono was not part of a lineup, plunging to the depths of the Pacific Ocean, or crossing it on a ship headed to China. (She had better stay – she’s the only woman left.)
    A “tradition” that also didn’t continue this year was that the last thing we saw was a close-up of Steve’s face.

  • THANK YOU, WENDIE! I was beginning to think I was the only one who felt satisfied by this finale! I agree with you on all fronts, except, maybe, I don’t think Nick Jonas was quite that bad, LOL! I think he played the deeply flawed sociopath with no redeeming qualities quite well – I mean, we ALL ended up cheering when he bit the bullet!

    I particularly agree with your insight about Season 4 being a completed story arc – from premiere to finale. Some fans might say (and they are) that 4.22 was a good episode, but not “finale” quality. I disagree – to me, a finale does not have to be explosions, major character deaths, huge reveals or mega cliffhangers. A finale can be just as satisfying when it is the culmination of a theme that is carried out through an entire season. In my mind, this season’s theme has included the idea of changing and developing relationships through experience. Grover was introduced as the by the book Chicago cop totally opposed to all that is Five-0, but through his experiences over the season with McGarrett and team, both he, as well as the Five-0 team, learned to respect and appreciate each other. So Grover is the newest Five-0 member. I bet Grover didn’t see that one coming at the beginning of the season (I sincerely doubt that Steve did, either!) We’ll see what that new dynamic on the team will bring to the screen next season.

    Love what Mark Dacascos brings to WoFat’s character. The little snippets we get of him, when we get them, always get me excited and puts my crazy theory-building mind in over-drive!

    So, to finish – I’m completely satisfied with the s4 finale, and like you, Wendie, I am not dreading the hiatus this summer, but I am already looking forward to the premiere of s5 in Sept.! Thank you for another season of fun, educational and thought-provoking reviews!

    Thank you to Honolulu Pulse for giving us the Redux, too! This gal’s a keeper ( but you already know, that, right? :))

  • I really liked this episode, I just wished we had seen McGarrett jumping into the clown car, with his long legs not an easy fit. That scene while comical it had all the elements from the “clowncargument” with Danny’s funny angst written like season one without the whining that has sadly ticked me off lately to the chase which was fantastic and actually to me more enjoyable than their regular chase to McGarrett telling him he should just get out and made me laugh so hard when Danno replied about the lack of doors. The powerful, strong, solid Grover, turned momentarily into a crushed, and vulnerable Dad tore at my heart. The ending with Wo-Fat taking out Ian and basically rescuing Samantha was genius. I think the addition of Grover to Five-0 was expected and I personally loved, for some he is the now the new whipping boy who is on the receiving end of the hate that was given Cath for getting in the way of “The Core Four” and the bromance. Some have wondered how two alpha males will interact (and it should be fun) I think McG & Grover will butt heads but there is only one leader of 5-0 and that’s McGarrett, Grover appears to be loyal to the core and I think he would have a problem following anyone else, he respects McGarrett and maybe not follow blindly, will respect where he is coming from. For me at least season 5 is shaping up to be exciting and I’m looking forward to see what’s in store next.

  • Great review Wendie pretty much every thing you said is what I would have said. I agree I was shocked on Wo Fat being the hero killing the villain and saving the damsel I was in shock and yes I was cheering LOL did not see it coming.

    I’m glad Peter didn’t decide to leave us with the season finale cliffhanger I hate facing them and trying to guess for the whole 4 months figuring out what’s going to happen but well there was a slight little one with Wo Fat has something to say to McGarrett has got us asking what is he hiding?

    And Kodam OMG I can’t believe he nearly proposed to her soo happy that it looks like there will possibly be wedding bells on the horizon for S5 can’t wait!

    And Grover joining the team couldn’t be anymore happier Chi is a great addition and the way he played the character in the episode was 5 stars amazing!

  • I always have to sit and think about the show when it’s over because my favorite show requires that respect. And my feelings usually change as I try to figure out each one’s meaning.

    After last week’s huge movie-like storyline we got a somewhat quieter finale. I get that we need the balance. My take away from the finale is that H50 is not just another cop show going from case to case. It’s a story about characters and their life journey and interaction with each other. We debate the plot because we care about these people as characters. S4 finale set up the “Grover is here to stay” and now is part of the ohana. Chi killed it with his performance and we as fans love having him part of the cast. Have I mentioned how great I think the actors on this show are ☺️ ???

    Finales should always keep us wanting more and wishing for answers but then who would need another season. So I wanted more (with a big smile on my face). I always want more. Hurry up S5, we are waiting.

    Thanks Wendie for the wonderful write-up and Happy Mother’s Day to you.

  • Excellent blog, Wendie! Even though we agree on almost everything, I don’t quite agree with your criticism of Nick Jonas’ performance. I’m not a fan of Nick but I think he did a pretty good job at playing the cold-blooded, unemotional villain. The mere fact that viewers like you and me even welcomed his death, could just mean that Nick played his role very well and convincingly.
    It took me a long time to acknowledge the fact that Mark Dacascos is a super-nice person in real life – and that was owed to the fact that he plays Wo Fat soooo well. I’d be lying if I said I “like” Wo Fat after everything he did to Steve. I like seeing him on the show because his storyline and interaction with Steve are always very interesting and thrilling but I don’t like Wo Fat as I like (funny) Sang Min, for example. I think it’s proof of an actor’s talent if you don’t like his character (if he plays a bad or unfriendly guy, of course) while the actor himself is a genuinely likeable person – which I assume Nick is, too.

    It probably comes as no surprise to anyone who knows which “ingredients” I love about this show, when I say this finale has left me fully satisfied. And if we still don’t know what’s up with Wo Fat and Mom McG – so be it! The finale was so fantastic and truly enjoyable that I don’t mind this one unfinished storyline – actually I’m starting to believe that we will never find out the whole truth about these two characters as long as the show runs – which, hopefully, well be for a long time.

    Steve and Danno’s short conversation about Cath was so welcome in this episode – and it would’ve been kind of odd if Cath hadn’t been mentionned at all after last week’s heart-wrenching episode and its ending. I also very much liked the cousins’ talk about marriage, as well as Danno sharing his paternal feelings with Lou and convincing him to not give up at hunting down Ian and saving his daughter. All those very personal moments for the team members are what I love most about this show. But I just as much enjoyed the humor and the boys’ fun ride in the red “clown car” as naggy Danno called it – or the surf scenes in between etc. etc.

    While I’m not sure if the Governor will approve of Steve’s choice of the new Five-0 team member, I definitely very much welcome Lou to the Five-0 `Ohana! Chi is a lot of fun – both on and off the screen – and an excellent actor, which he has clearly proven in this finale.

    When Steve said “The only way we do this is together”, I thought this was a really great and fitting motto for the Five-0 team, in general. I’m definitely looking forward to these Fabulous Five doing a lot of stuff together on Season 5 and beyond 😉

  • Great review Wendie. I just finished watching it a 2nd time and I have to agree with you. At first, I felt like others do that it was a great episode but a so-so finale. I do still kinda see it that way but not because the episode was a disappointment in any way, but because I’ve come so used to finales where I am scared to death to watch for fear of what’s going to happen to my favorite characters and long summer’s agonizing over whether some one is dead or dying or never to be seen again. This just took me by surprise and I felt a bit let down. But having watched it again and reading different perspectives from others I can see now that my disappointment was displaced. This episode was very very good and a worthy ending to a fantastic season.’

    I’m glad WoFat is back and I’m looking forward to the new season to see where that road leads. I am not expecting answers, at least not in the short term. I persevered through 6 years of LOST so quick answers are not something I long for. I look at it like a very good long 1000 page mystery novel where the murderer is revealed on page 999. I’ll just enjoy the entire book until the end. But WoFat a good guy? Hmmmmmm yes he killed Ian (smug little punk) and let Samantha go but he torched that poor man who’d car he stole as he was getting away. We’ll have to see on just which side of the line WoFat truly resides on.

  • To continue:

    Chi McBride’s performance was fantastic. Something about watching a big strong man loose it like that just rips me apart every time. And I LOVED how Danny comforted and grounded him to get back in the game so he could help Sam. I am very curious to see how Lou fits into the dynamic of Five-0. As a SWAT captain both in Chicago and in Oahu he is a man used to giving orders and having them followed. Now he will be subservient to Steve. That’s going to be a huge adjustment for him. Will he be off on his own or pared with Steve and if he is, who rides shotgun since both have already established they don’t.

    Yes…it’s going to very interesting to see how this plays out. I’m not concerned that he will be shuttled to the side as other 5th wheels have been. First off, he is a MAJOR personality who fills a room with his presence in more ways than one, not someone who can blend into the background. And since it’s a fair assumption no one is going to be labeling him Steve’s “new love interest” he won’t be attached by the “NO HE’S MINE” contingent and therefore immediately hated.

    All in all, this was a great episode and the more I think about it, the more I’m beginning to see what others have seen…it was also a great finale. It’s nice to go into the summer looking forward to the new season with hope instead of worry and apprehension.

  • Love Seeing Mark back in action and cannot wait for Season 5. Wish I had enuff money to come to the premiere. I love how u added the other actors who don’t always get credit where it is deserved. Mahalo for another season. Nicole

  • Awesome episode, Chi McBride delivered a fabulous performance, best cargument ever, I can’t wait to see what will happen with Wo Fat and McG next season! Thanks for a great review!

  • Hi Wendie. I agree with all you said, except Jonas, who I thought did a pretty good job both times. I was surprised they killed him off, but was happy to see Wofat back. I know he killed the bad guy and yet I did cheer that, but he did set that guy on fire in Colorado when he carjacked his car. So we have to remember this is truly an evil guy. But yet I tend to root for him to continue because of how Mark plays him. He is the perfect villian we love to hate. I think its the anticipation of McG at some point getting rid of him once and for all, hopefully, many seasons from now.

    Chi is truly a good actor, I’ve always liked him in whatever he has done. I would have preferred he had stayed on SWAT, but I think he should do well on the team. My only concern was the similar personality to McG. I certainly don’t think this will come between the bromance of Steve and Danny. The writers know what makes this show what it is, and that is the friendship between them. I’m not one of those who wants the original 4 only. I’m also very glad we had a reference to last weeks Catherine leaving, and hope we continue to check in with that every so often. It gives me hope Catherine will be back, because I still think she is perfect for Steve. Very excited by next season, I’m happy we should be seeing Doris back. We need all the answers. I was surprised but pleased that the ending to this season was a little more relaxed than the other seasons.

    I hope we get to read something from you now and then over the summer break, if not have a great summer Wendie.

    • Hi Diane- Thanks for your comment:) Redux will be back next week and all through the hiatus. I have actor interviews planned as well as our usual hiatus wrap-ups. Hope you come back every Saturday morning for a post:) Aloha, Wendie

  • I enjoyed this episode. I actually like the fact that there wasn’t a cliffhanger. But we know something more is going to come from WoFat’s, killing Ian and freeing Samantha. He wants something and we know it’ll be at Steve’s expense. I just wonder how he knew where to find him! I was a bit surprised they killed Nick off – I thought he was a pretty good villan.

    Grover joining the team is no surprise. With Scott’s impending fatherhood as well as his continued work on his outside projects, they needed him. I’m just hoping that the too much of a good thing scenario won’t backfire. Tho I don’t see the rabid fandom spewing their hate on his and Steve’s relationship. Hopefully the beginning of s5 will bring closure on the Cath front this way everyone can move on.

  • Sorry, computer has a mind of its own! Pt. 2

    I think it’d be great if we had another wedding on 5-0. But what I’d really love is if the Mom arc ended. Enough. Steve has suffered enough and it’s time for him to be happy and at peace with his life.

    It’s going to be a long, Steve-less summer. Is. It. September. Yet??

    Mahalo nui loa for all you do!

  • I don’t get it…the ending of this episode made absolutely no sense what-so-ever: 1) For what possible reason would Wo Fat have for rescuing Grover’s daughter?, 2) Why would Wo Fat kill Ian, who obviously had no idea who Wo Fat was?, 3) How did Wo Fat know where Ian and Samantha were?, and 4) How would Wo Fat even know Samantha had ever been kidnapped in the first place? It would have been MUCH better if Samantha had escaped, called her dad, and Grover catches Ian and puts him behind bars. Wo Fat killing Ian and rescuing Samantha was stupid and lame…VERY poor story telling if you ask me. The writers got lazy on this one, and put an ending to Ian that made no sense at all.

  • Wendi,

    Loved both your review and ep. I agree with many of my fellow posters below. I did like it that there was no urgent cliffhanger, but still a lot of open questions to be resolved. I still want the moma McG arc shutdown early next season.

    On a brighter note Wendi Happy Mothers Day, and I will look forward to your summer school posts here.

  • This did not feel like a finale at all. I’m a little disappointed with how this season ended cause they had a nice string of really good episodes that I felt actually connected with the audience. I’m sorry but I felt no connection whatsoever with Grover and his daughter either because Chi McBride isn’t that great of an actor or just cause it was another case of trying to build suspense with a main actor and knowing nothing bad can really happen to him. Although it has happened in the past, maybe it’s just that I don’t care much more about Grover other than his little competition with McG.

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