Surfing is typically one of the activities most people associate with Hawaii. Ask a someone to name three things about our island home and chances are they will mention the beaches, sunshine, and surfing. Not that those are bad elements, as they are definitely aspects we enjoy, but surfing is a bit more sacred than sandy shores and warm weather.
Surfing is a very important part of our culture and ancient heritage; it was the sport of nā aliʻi, the kings, and in modern times it was made famous by Hawaiian Olympian Duke Kahanamoku. His statue graces Waikīkī Beach, arms outstretched to welcome visitors, his surfboard resting in the sand behind him.
While locals and surfers alike grumble — correctly, I might add — that he is facing the wrong way (a surfer never turns his back to the shore), we do appreciate the idea that Duke is there with us when we head out for dawn patrol or to ride one last wave before we’re pau, or done, for the day.
The title of this week’s episode includes a nod to the men and women who ride those mountains of water. “Ka Nalu Hope Loa” translates “nalu” (pronounced nuh-loo) as waves or surf, “hope” (pronounced ho-peh) as last and “loa” (pronounced low-uh) in this phrase means distance, length or height. “The Last Break” may have been what several of our villains faced in this thoughtful episode.
It also seems to have been the theme for Danny (Scott Caan) and Jerry (Jorge Garcia) as well. Danny caught a break in figuring out the mystery his younger brother Matt (Dane Cook) left behind. And Jerry got a big break with a little help from Kamekona (Taylor Wily) in his continuing investigation — although McGarrett (Alex O’Loughlin) calls it stalking — of antique book shop owner and seeming bad guy Thomas Farrow (Greg Ellis).
The case this week focused on three bikini wearing female armed robbers: Lea (“Ten Things I Hate About You” actress Allie Gonino), Alana (2004 Miss Hawaii Teen USA Sonya Balmores Chung) and Keilani (Hawai’i-raised Japanese actress Sumire). The scantily clad trio hijacked a Waikīkī Trolley led by friendly tour guide Amy Hill (Sue from “Fifty First Dates”) and robbed unfortunate riders as they drove down Kalākaua Avenue.
When one of the tourists fights back, he’s shot and falls to the sidewalk near the statue of Kahanamoku.
The connection to the surfing legend didn’t escape me, nor did the metaphor. The last break for the three girls as well as the other villain on the bus, white collar ex-con Vanessa Hansen (Erica Piccininni), came right about the time the tour guide talked about the Father of Surfing.
While the mystery surrounding our three gun-toting Bonnies was quickly solved, finding them turned out to be a job for Kono (Grace Park) to handle. She donned her surf togs and heads out to catch some waves and our bad girls.
With a little help from the Fonger (so great to see the return of Brian Yang), who DNA tested the wigs the bikini bandits wore, Kono discovered surf wax and sand from the beach near Diamond Head in their hair. It’s enough to tell her where to paddle out, as well as promise Fong a free shrimp plate lunch.
At one point, McGarrett family friend Mamo Kahike (Al Harrington) gave Kono a few tips and a special glimpse into her former life as a professional surfer. Mamo’s trip down memory lane was lovely. My favorite part of the scene had to have been when he looked out at the ocean and told Kono where the swell was coming from.
“If you’re a true kanaka maoli, you’ll know it,” he said, meaning if you’re Hawaiian you’ll know the waves and where to catch your best ride.
Kono’s sweet response of a kiss with her “Mahalo” and a farewell of “Mālama aku no,” was perfect. Thanks and you take care, Mamo. It’s more than just a “Thanks, brah,” it’s a bit of love in return for well wishes for a good break, both with her case and in the surf.
Oh, I could go on about the breaks in the case, the bad girls getting caught and McG, Lou (Chi McBride) and Chin (Daniel Dae Kim) kicking in a few doors and getting into a couple of good old-fashioned shootouts, but that’s what we like about the show. The villains, whether they look good in a bikini or not, always get caught. They don’t get a break, in or out of the water, when Five-0 is involved.
I know, the good guys are always supposed to win. But sometimes, even their win is bittersweet.
Kono spoke about her love of surfing and how she understood why Lea, Alana and Keilani fell in love with it.
“Those girls wanted to ride those waves as long as they could,” Kono said. Yet that love turned them into criminals and “their endless summer is over.”
Danno seemed to have caught a different kind of break this week. It looks like he’s seriously headed for heartbreak as he figures out what baby brother Matty has set up for him. When he discovered the 18.5 million dollars his brother left behind, I wondered if Danno was thinking if Matt left the money to help him raise Gracie, or because Matt knew one day he would have to use that money to save him.
Either way, it looks like all of our questions will be answered next week.
REDUX SIDE NOTE
I spoke to actress Amy Hill in July when she was in Hawaii shooting a scene for “Hawaii Five-0” as well as to teach an Acting Core Intensive class with Pacific New Media.
Hill’s first day on set was also the first day of shooting for season five. She attended the opening ceremony and talked about how “wonderful” it was to see a Hawaiian blessing. She also talked about her time playing the tour guide in a scene that set up the initial crime for the Five-0 crew, saying that while she didn’t get a chance to act with the main cast, she enjoyed her time on the show.
“The character was fun and I got to ride around on a real Waikīkī Trolley bus, which was full of lights and cameras yet tourists still came up to see if they could get a ride to Ala Moana,” she said. “Tourists were going crazy. They kept taking pictures and were all over the place. One fan even tried to buy things off of us.”
We talked a lot about the different roles she has played throughout her career, from the grandma in the Margaret Cho-led television show “All-American Girl” to Sue in “Fifty First Dates” (which was filmed in Hawaii).
Hill said she always believes in creating real and “authentic” characters, and that she based her grandma character on her own mother. Sue in “Fifty First Dates” was a local girl and Hill said her many years of visiting Hawaii and hanging out with her sidekick, Nick (played by Hawaii actor Pomaikaʻi Brown), helped her to portray Sue as a true local.
“I’ve been coming to Hawaii for many years and I have a lot of friends who are here, but I’m not from here,” she said. “But I always feel embraced when I’m in Hawaii.”
Brown also appeared in season one of “Hawaii Five-0,” as the host of the lūʻau in “Manaʻo” (“Belief”) when the remains of Danno’s first partner, Meka, were found in the imu.
Wendie Burbridge is a published author, playwright and teacher. Reach her via Facebook and follow her on Twitter.
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I like the scene with Kono and Mamo a lot. Having them both converse in Hawaiian (even tho it wasn’t translated for the audience) really makes you think that Kono grew up in Oahu. And I also like her voiceover monologue at the end … it tells a little more about Kono and why she likes surfing. Also I’m liking the fact that we are following up on the Matt story from three years ago. I was really surprised that Danny found Matty’s stash. Danny is finding out more bad things about his brother like Chin did about his brother-in-law. Even the good guys have bad guys in their lives.
Thank you for another great review and insights regarding local persons. I enjoyed the ep especially with the return of the Fonger and Kono going after the badies on the surf.
However I did miss Duke as there were a number of interactions with HPD but not Duke. Also is something up with Max or just trying to introduce another person who also has charm and wit?
I believe Masi also works behind the scenes for LucasFilm as a digital graphics artist and he may be away doing that. I also saw that he was in Los Angeles for an award show in the digital arts field recently.
Thank you very much for the update and additional information. Hope he returns in due course.
You’re perfectly right, Wendie: If I had to mention three things that I consider typical of Hawai`i, surfing would definitely be one of my choices – along with the aloha spirit and the beautiful hibiscus. Of course, the beaches and the sun are always associated with Hawai`i, too, but are not unique characteristics of the islands. And while I know that there are surfers in other places of the world, too, Hawai`i has always been the “home” of surfing to me – even before I read now how important it really is and has been to Hawaiian culture and heritage.
This episode, along with its well-chosen title, has obviously touched you emotionally as a Hawaiian.
I could tell by the way you wrote about the break/surf theme – especially that nice little conversation between Mamo and Kono – how much it meant to you that writer Sarah Byrd had chosen the “perfect” words for Mamo and Kono to use and that she had included little details in the story that had a special meaning to you but probably went unnoticed by the average viewer – like the fact that the rich guy who got shot on the bus landed next to the statue of Duke Kahanamoku, right after the tour guide had talked about the legendary surfer. By the way, I totally thought that Amy Hill who played the tour guide was actually Hawaiian. She did a really good job. Maybe those tourists who surrounded the bus (during filming) thought that a documentary about Honolulu and its tourist attractions was being filmed – and wanted to be on it :-).
Overall, I really enjoyed this episode and felt very well entertained. Well, and I’ve always loved to watch surfers, so the surf scenes this week were a highlight for me – the stunt ladies did a great job with that scene of Kono catching the bad girl out on the water. Jeff’s team has again proven that it’s the best.
Mahalo for the great blog, Wendie – I always love it when you write about your home and give us an insight into its culture.
great job as always Wendie!
Breaks… interesting metaphor this week. Breaks in case – breaks of the waves.. and what about putting on the brakes??? Danno putting on the brakes and instead of continuing to stalk Reyes he stops ( putting on brakes) and was able to see the Matt did leave him a clue) Masi even put not he brakes and let his protégée take the lead- a very tough thing for his character to do. Steve put on the brakes an DIDN’T help Danno but let him do his own thing- never abandoned his partner – but gave him space to do his thing. Again Control Freak Steven would of been digging with his partner as season or so ago! Jerry breaks Kamekona down and has him as an accomplice – which also sorta breaks their “trust” with Five- 0 doing it alone. Breaks there were quite a few in this episode but I think TPTB broke out and the season is off to a GREAT start!
I loved the review as always. The show was good for me not great. So many story lines going on at once, bouncing around but done in a fashion that the watcher wasn’t lost. As per usual I don’t think Steve is given enough credit for being as smart as he is and sometimes he isn’t given the respect he deserves but that’s just my opinion. I don’t think Steve is a Control Freak any more than I think Danny is a Whinny Person but it comes off that way at times because of weak writing.
I loved the part last night when Kono was talking about the girls as they were walking toward the prison bus, giving an insight into why the girls did what they did.
The treasure hunt for me was Meh, The crime of the week was good. Not so taken with the new assistant M.E., Max so so much better.
Loved Kamekona telling Jerry a little about himself and Jerry in turn explaining a little about his life.
As usual I loved the scenery, there is a reason Hawaii gets top billing on the show. I just wish we could see more of the islands, it is Hawaii 5-0 not Honolulu 5-0 after all and while I hope the show runs for 10 more years realistically, we know that won’t happen so the window is smaller.
Good Episode. I loved seeing both Fong and Mamo back. I like that we saw a lot of Kono in this episode as well. I missed her last year. The story was good, two crimes in one. Loved the Grover in a speedo line. Jerry is heading for trouble, I’m so glad that McG included him in the Ohana. Once Danny settles the Matt thing, which I’m glad we are seeing back, I’m sure Jerry will need some Five O rescue as well.
Another great review for another great episode Wendie. I enjoyed this one a lot. I am really enjoying how the show is spreading around the stories for everyone. I’m sure we’ll be getting back to the McGarrett family saga soon enough but until we do, I’m really enjoying the others getting some spotlight.
I especially like that Season 5 so far seems to be the season of BAMF Danny. It’s great to see him be the detective we all know he’s always been. I am afraid he’s going to get into something over his head and I also fear Chin will be right there beside him. I am really looking forward to everything the writers have in store for us in the episodes to come.
I really liked the episode, from Kono’s taken down in the ocean to Jerry’s bring in Kam to help him, (I just hope it doesn’t cause problems for Kam), to Danny finding the money for Matt, (Is all there and how did he get that money to Hawaii?), to finale take down. Steve is learning to give people space when they need it. I wonder if the Secret Service people was telling Steve the truth? If not, things are going to go boom.
Came late to the party as I JUST had a chance to watch the episode – and then ran over here to read the Redux! I was pleasantly surprised we saw as much of Danny as we did, since this was the episode filmed while Scott was in LA welcoming his new baby girl! I’m so excited for this Matt Williams storyline, although I’m anticipating ep 5.04 with trepidation as I’m not convinced things are going to go well for Mattie.
The crime(s) of the week were entertaining and held my interest, but I especially loved the Kono highlights, from the stand off with McGarrett and Grover about wearing that Victoria’s Secret-looking bikini, her promise to buy lunch for Charlie, to her convo with Mamo and subsequent surfing takedown. Her solo interrogation in the blue room was rather chilling, but her sniper shot of the gun-toting dude from the moving car was simply spectacular. Finally, her voice over about how the love for surfing gets into your blood and takes over your life, left me aching to know more about the young Kono and her surfing years. I just love it when Grace Park is given the steering wheel – she can really drive it home!
Looking forward to more of Jerry’s story, as well. I like the way the show is taking Jerry’s characterization – keeping him true to his conspiracy theorist identity, and yet creating a real personality that’s smart, sincere and relentless – not just a cartoon character.
Thanks for another great read, Wendie! I’m loving Season 5!