Leave it to “Hawaii Five-0” to start off their fifth season with one of the biggest productions since they launched their epic reboot four years ago. Or, to quote McGarrett, “three years, eleven months, and two days ago, to be exact.”
No matter how you count the years, last night’s season premiere — “ʻAʻohe kahi e peʻe ai,” translated as “Nowhere to Hide” — gave me an interesting perspective on not only my island home, but also about how far bad guys will go in order to make a buck. Well, several million bucks, but who’s counting?
Obviously, the bad guys are. And they’re counting not only dollars, but the dead as well. Thankfully, our favorite team was there to keep the body count from rising, to stop our national secrets from escaping on a black jet taking off from an empty Kalākaua Avenue, and give us several new intriguing questions that will hopefully be answered by the end of this season.
Two weeks ago, a live audience watched this episode on the same beach a killer drone shot up and terrorized. While I tried very hard to skip the spoilers in Christie Wilson’s witty and thorough review after the Sunset on the Beach festivities, I had to know what was going to happen.
I have to agree with Christie that the vision of Waikīkī emptied out was completely far-fetched. I know, I know, it’s “Five-0” and as the seasons progress the cases get bigger, and I do like how they take ideas from real life and work them into their writing.
But seriously, when the sirens go off in Hawai’i, the only action we take is to drive to Costco to buy toilet paper, SPAM, bottled water and beer. We don’t move that fast, or at all, when those sirens blow, because really — where are we going to go? It’s an island. Nowhere to run to, nowhere to hide.
Still, I thought about what those scenes would look like on the big screen and I’m pretty sure those of you who saw the episode sitting on the beach probably will say that it looked pretty damn cool.
So I have to give “Five-0” a bigger helping of suspension of disbelief this week because those special effects were pretty over the top. But they were amazing and the entire episode was movie quality. If I produced this premiere knowing the episode would be screened like a film, I would have definitely thrown in all the big-budget effects in order to entertain a crowd that may have included more casual viewers than die-hard fans.
Don’t get me wrong, I know there were many hardcore fans on the beach, but if the show wants new viewers they have to show them lots of cool and lots of slick in order to sell them on what many of us already know is a sure thing on Friday nights.
Still, with all the television politics aside, I have to say it was an awesome episode. It was fun and exciting. I was on the edge of my seat. Seriously, the sheer logistics of emptying out Waikīkī just to film those scenes had to have been an awesome task.
And the plane. Landing. In Waikīkī. That was definitely a first for me.
THIS EPISODE really had all of the elements we love about “Hawaii Five-0.” The bromantic banter between McG (Alex O’Loughlin) and Danno (Scott Caan) was back and perfectly timed with the annual psych evaluation as well as the cargument while Danno lamented he was officially “chum.”
My favorite part was during the therapy session when they took a trip down memory lane and reminded us how the team met and became an ʻohana. It’s those little touches that really set apart this season premiere, with or without the drones and jet.
The action and stunts in the Waikīkī scenes really were top notch. McG trying to save the homeless guy and getting shot in the process, then continuing to chase after the Snowden-esque Lawrence Turner was McG at his Super SEAL best.
And Danno fighting it out with a bad guy and a car was so bad ass. When he tossed out his clip and reloaded, calmly walking toward an on coming car ready to kill him, I’m sure I heard women swoon around the world.
Jerry (Jorge Garcia) channelling his inner Luke Skywalker to take down the drone, as easily as if it were a mini-monster truck, was hilarious. I loved Lou’s reaction to Jerry, as if he were watching a kid open his presents at Christmas.
I thought the team, now five strong, was really cohesive, with everyone getting a shot to help work the case. Lou (Chi McBride) worked seamlessly into the crew, Max (Masi Oka) was back with a cute new assistant, Dr. Mindy Shaw (Amanda Setton), who seemed to have pinged Danno’s radar. Which of course, should be interesting since he ended last season with a new girlfriend. We’ll have to see how that plays out.
Kono (Grace Park) and Adam (Ian Anthony Dale) look like they are more serious than ever and shared two really sweet scenes together. But I have to agree again with Christie; I think Adam’s promise to Kono means he may not live long this season.
I hope we are both wrong, but when he said, “You’re not going to lose me,” it was like he put on the red Star Trek uniform. And you know what happened to those guys.
Chin (Daniel Dae Kim) is always so cool, and even more so when he got into a new red Mustang. While I love him on his motorcycle, I do love his new wheels. And when he stopped to tell the IA creeper where he was headed, I had to stop and think about why they were stalking him. Yes, I know, they think he has money. Are Mustangs really that expensive?
It was good to see the ending scene when he confronted Gabriel (Christopher Sean) at Halawa about signing an affidavit to prove Chin didn’t take the $25 million bribe from his wayward brother-in-law. I’m also glad Gabriel turned him down, because that means we may see more of him. Sean is awesome, and I’d love to see his character turn into Chin’s version of McG’s Wo Fat.
AND I’M ALWAYS happy to see our other cast regulars, even if it’s just for a short while.
Gracie (Teilor Grubbs) got to talk to Daddy Danno when he called to make sure she was okay during the evacuations.
Kamekona (Taylor Wily) and Flippa (Shawn Mokuahi Garnett) had both a serious scene and a funny one. Serious when they cleared out the shrimp truck and Kamekona told everyone to “keep your keiki close” during the evacuation. Funny when they told McG that the gunshot wound in his thigh— “didn’t count.” At least they brought him balloons and a shrimp plate. That should heal all wounds, especially a balloon that says, “Get Bettah.”
Sgt. Duke (Dennis Chun) had a few scenes, at the two crime scenes on Diamond Head and on Kūhiō Beach, as well as with rookie HPD officer Pua Kai (Shawn Thomsen). I am so appreciative of the fact that “Five-0” continues to bring back local actors and also seems to be allowing Thomsen’s character to grow. Chun is always great as Duke, and even though we only catch a glimpse of him in some scenes, it’s comforting to see a friendly face among the many uniformed officers at the different crime scenes.
I’m always a fan of comfort, so it was nice to see some of the original “Five-0” comforts return in this episode. But like the great drama it is, a few uncomfortable reminders have been re-introduced. One with Jerry and what his surveillance of a book store in Chinatown may lead to, as well as the return of a dark spot from Danno’s past. Seems as if brother Matty has brought some bad action to darken Danno’s door. And if we have learned anything about Danno, mixing danger and his family is a bad match — for the one who’s bringing the danger, that is.
Overall, the season opener made me excited for 24 more episodes and a long “Five-0” season. Regardless of what you thought about the fantasy behind the episode, if it makes you want to watch, then everybody wins. That’s what a season opener is supposed to do.