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Five-0 Redux

An alternate vision

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I should have known “Hawaii Five-0” was going to knock me for a loop with its 100th episode. I just did not see that kind of ending coming, nor did I think that I was going to be as moved as I was by the acting and storyline. I’m torn between crying and cheering, which means that “Inā Paha” (pronounced ee-nah pah-ha) is going to be an episode fans will be talking about for a long time.

This episode completely surpassed my expectations. I mean, I knew it was going to be good, but it was more than that — it made me fall in love with the show all over again.

As the opening five minutes of the series pilot replayed, I hoped for another ending. There was McGarrett (Alex O’Loughlin) getting ambushed in South Korea as he transported Anton Hesse (Norman Reedus) while listening to his father (William Sadler) being tortured by Anton’s brother, Victor (James Marsters).

And then my wish was granted. Danny (Scott Caan) delivered the stunning news: “No, your father’s not dead.”

If perhaps that really happened, what a show it would be. Yet that’s exactly what “Hawaii Five-0” presented to viewers this week.

A few hours after watching this episode, I am still pondering it. There was just one part I didn’t like, but it’s something that could be chalked up to the fact I’m not one for torture. Yet, the acting, especially by Alex O’Loughlin, Scott Caan, William Sadler and Mark Dacascos, along with the rest of the cast, was stellar. Director Larry Teng did an amazing job marrying the abilities of his actors with heart-pounding drama and action. Teng always produces quality episodes that keep viewers entranced and leave fans satisfied.

The script, written by executive producer Peter Lenkov, was the perfect mix of all the elements fans love about “Five-0.” Humor mixed with love of friends and family, as well as a dramatic payoff at the end. I loved how the story went from the pilot and gave an alternate view of what could have been. All of it stemmed from the idea of what life would be like for Steve if his father had never been killed by Victor Hesse.

In Hawaiian, “inā paha” means “if perhaps” and that theme was the crux of the episode. If perhaps John McGarrett had been saved by Danny and lived. If perhaps Danny “Danno” Williams was still married to Rachel and worked as a happy detective in love with his life in Hawaii.

If perhaps Chin Ho Kelly (Daniel Dae Kim) had never been disgraced and had moved up the ranks to make Captain in the HPD, like he seemed destined from the start. If perhaps Kono Kalākaua (Grace Park) had never blown out her knee and continued on her surfing trajectory and become a professional surfer.

If perhaps Commander Steve McGarrett had returned home to find his father alive.

If perhaps Steve killed Wo Fat (Mark Dacascos) instead of Hesse, would his life been different? I thought about that a lot during the episode, but it did not distract me from many of the great moments in the show.

As this was the 100th episode, I knew we were going to get several treats. I especially loved all the returning characters they spotlighted.

I loved when the team introduced Sang Min (Will Yun Lee) to new team member Grover (Chi McBride), who Min greeted with a loving, “You’ve been out in the sun too long, McGarrett.”

The last time we saw Sang Min, he had cut off his beloved mullet and slipped out of Halawa Correctional Facility after “helping” Chin in season three’s “ʻŌlelo Hoʻopaʻi Make” (“Death Sentence”).

Thankfully, he appeared to be in one piece with his lovely mullet all grown back, just in time to help rat out his British replacement, Johnny Moreau. Musician Gavin Rossdale of rock band Bush, who performed at this year’s Sunset on the Beach season premiere, played the doomed Moreau, set up by Min (who became a Five-0 informer). It was great to see him back interacting with the team.

While they broke apart yet another crime syndicate, they realized Steve had been captured straight out of his father’s Mercury. While they searched for him, McGarrett was psychologically and physically tortured by Wo Fat and his sidekick, Eris (Tracy Ifeachor).

The only part of the episode I did not enjoy was watching McGarrett being tortured. I’m not a fan of pain, nor watching someone else being used as a human pincushion — or being waterboarded as if he was back in BUD/S training. I know Steve is a SEAL and trained beyond what a normal man could take in this kind of situation, but it was very difficult to watch. I suppose it was a way to make it more plausible for Steve to end his torture by killing Eris and ultimately reach a showdown with Wo Fat, but I just didn’t enjoy witnessing him being beaten, drugged and electrocuted.

It did lead to an interesting plot point — McG was under the influence of some sort of truth serum, which allowed his mind to imagine what would have happened if his father had not been killed. Maybe under severe torture, victims allow their minds to think about what life would be like if it had gone in a different direction?

As McG hallucinated, McGarrett saw his friends living other lives and reunited with his father, who he seemed to have not completely mourned. It was bittersweet to see McG hug his father and meet Chin Ho — who is now Captain Kelly.

He also experiences a very happy Danno, clad in aloha attire, who has fully embraced island living. He loves the sun and the ocean, the ‘ono eats and drives his own car. He even told McGarrett perhaps he should shed his formal attire. This Danno has lost his neckties, his hatred for Hawaii, and seems to have taken on a bit of the un-altered McG when it deals with finding out information from a suspect.

We even got a glimpse of Lou Grover as a golfing tourist who had his clubs stolen and was bullying a gentle Sgt. Duke Lukela (Dennis Chun) into investigating his case. When Lukela interrupted Grover’s angry tirade to greet McGarrett and pass him off to Danno, it was an ironic moment when Danno said to Duke: “We say mahalo, don’t we, Duke?” after Mcgarrett shook his hand to thank him for saving his father.

Many parts of McG’s past come up in his hallucination. When they visited Victor Hesse in the hospital, he got a glimpse of the long-dead Jenna Kaye (Larisa Oleynik) asking a nurse about her fiancé — who was very much alive, but had been in a bike accident. Max (Masi Oka) interrupted Danno’s interrogation of Victor Hesse — who has also been dead since season two.

It’s as if the pain and heartache McG experienced in his life was being exorcized by his subconscious. It was almost as painful to watch as the physical torture he experienced.

Not all of McG’s alternate reality encounters were happy ones. We saw Jerry (Jorge Garcia) as a paranoid homeless man. Kamekona (Taylor Wily) was behind bars and unfortunately had a strange mustache and head tattoos — and sadly, yearned for shrimp as he was no longer the free and successful shrimp truck entrepreneur he is in reality.

And Wo Fat met a quick end in a dockside shootout that McG originally had with Hesse in the pilot. Wo Fat dies with McGarrett asking him, “Why did you try to kill my father? What did he ever do to you?”

It’s as if he has always blamed Wo Fat for his father’s death. It seems even in his drug-induced mind, Wo Fat is the cause of much of his pain.

The story Wo Fat told McG about how he and McGarrett are “brothers” gave me a bit of a shock, but it answered many of the questions about the connection between Momma McG and Wo Fat. The idea that Doris McGarrett raised Wo Fat after accidentally killing his mother when he was a baby was pretty original and helped make sense of some of Doris’ actions.

So Wo Fat and McGarrett share more than just good fighting and shooting skills. They were both robbed of their mother at a young age. Steve grew up thinking Doris died when he was a teenager, and Wo Fat was abandoned by Doris once her government found out she was raising the son of the man she had been ordered to kill. Both men are tortured by more than just their pasts, but by the abandonment of the only mother they ever knew and loved.

That was a stunning piece of information, yet what was even more shocking was when McGarrett shot and killed Wo Fat. Even after Wo Fat asked him, “You’re not going to kill me are you? Brother?”

I’m not surprised McG killed his arch nemesis, the man who truly turned his life upside down. I’m just surprised his character was allowed to die.

I still can’t believe it. Who is going to be our villain now?

Maybe I’m even more upset because I love Mark Dacascos so much. He’s such a likable actor and his portrayal of Wo Fat was so perfect. Wo Fat is cunning and so delightfully scary. He is such a great villain, I really did not want him to die.

Yet, as William Sadler has returned in all five seasons even though he died in the pilot, perhaps Dacascos will return for flashbacks and to help us understand the entire story surrounding Doris and her years underground.

We all can say “if perhaps” in our lives. If perhaps I had done this or that, would my life be different? I’m sure we all can say yes to that question, but different in what way?

Different doesn’t always mean better. If perhaps Steve had returned to Hawaii and wrapped up his mission so neatly, would we have the Five-0 team we know and love?

In Steve’s alternate vision, I’m not sure I liked how his life — and to an extent, the entire Five-0 team’s lives — ended up. I think I like our McG, Danno, Chin, and Kono the way they were from the very start.
Wendie Burbridge is a published author, playwright and teacher. Reach her via Facebook and follow her on Twitter.

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  • Great review, Wendy. I agree, I like the Five-0 team just as they are.
    I believe we haven’t seen the last of MD, would be a shame if we had.
    Maybe his father can step in now. 🙂

    The torture scenes were hard to watch, but they bring out the best in Steve. It’s part of the show, and it was done in a spectacular way. I wouldn’t wish any pain, physical or psychological, on any real life person. Heck I wouldn’t even hurt a fly. BUT I have no problem with these kind of scenes on a fictional character, because I know no real person is getting hurt. So, bring it on. I loved it.

    We finally got some great hand to hand combat. I truly missed that in the last couple of years. Steve/Alex is so good with that stuff.

    But he knocked it out of the park in the emo department. Just wow.

    Great job all around. All the others were great too, but Alex was phenomenal.

  • Wow! This episode simply blew me away! Although Steve suffers quite a lot (which we had to “expect” after the previews though), I absolutely love it – the episode, not the torture!

    Alex’s super-awesome, stunning performance, combined with those flashback “what if” moments that made me laugh out loud quite a few times (especially when Danno acts like Steve and vice versa) and the great ending with the very fitting song “All for one” were the perfect treat for long-time fans like me to enjoy and celebrate the 100th birthday of our favorite show.

    After having met Mark at the meet&greet with fans here in Munich, I’m a little torn between being quite satisfied with the overdue end of the Wo Fat storyline and, on the other hand, missing the wonderful actor Mark on H50 in the future – but Peter and his writers love flashbacks, so there’s a good chance that we’ll get to see Wo Fat again from time to time. Besides, fans can always follow Mark’s career, anyway – and watch his film “Ultimate Justice” that comes out in a few months 😉

    It was so much fun (and a true relief in between the scenes in which Steve was tortured!!!) to see all my favorite characters on the show play slightly different roles in the flashback scenes. I had a feeling that the cast enjoyed those humorful moments, too – Scotty taking over the role of Alex/Steve as the out-of-control, tough guy, or Grace playing sexy surf-girl Kono in the lip-gloss commercial.

    Mahalo to everyone on “Hawaii Five-0” – especially my favorite actor Alex, as well as Peter who had the idea for this excellent episode! While other fans have critized inconsistencies or illogical storylines in the past, I actually never mind those, at all. I simply enjoy watching this show for what it is – 40 minutes of fantastic entertainment every week that make me laugh and cry and forget “real life” for a while – thanks to the highly talentd cast, a hard-working crew and stunt team and, last but not least, Peter and his writers who have come up with a lot of great and compelling stories, twists and surprises over the years – and I’m sure it’s not always easy to develop logical, consistent storylines over several seasons, with different writers working for the show. So a huge “Thank you” for 100 very enjoyable episodes – topped by this 100th episode which definitely made me fall in love with the show all over again – just like it did with you, Wendie.

    I also want to thank you, my friend, for all your excellent blogs over the years – I hope there’ll be many more episodes and blogs for me to enjoy!

  • This was a great episode Wendy. There was just the right amount of drama and
    humor as always. I agree, it was hard to watch Steve be tortured but it did showcase his amazing skills as an actor. I think that one day after this series ends, which I hope is not for a long time, these actors are all going to continue with great careers. I think we will see them all in some great roles in movies someday. I thought Kamekona was hilarious in prison. Not that I would want to see him there every week, but seeing the characters in a different light was awesome. Of course, you know Danno is my favorite character, and I loved seeing him play bad cop. Steve imagines him being happy because maybe that’s what he really wants for him. And I loved towards the end the subtle humor. Steve said he would enjoy being driven around all day and Danny said call me Danno, all my friends do. I always record it and then watch it a couple more times. I enjoy it more the second and third time around. Thanks for the review, Wendy. It’s part of what makes this show fun; discussing it the next day.

  • I thought I would hate it so much if McGarrett and Wo Fat were brothers. (But they aren’t related by blood.) Wo Fat thought it would be his ace in the hole and Steve couldn’t kill his “brother” but he was wrong.
    I also liked the way Wo Fat said “Doris made me what I am today” or words similar to that and then he immediately tortured Steve in the same manner that Doris tortured the spy Mangosta in season 3.

  • Stellar performance by Alex O’Loughlin who deserves more praise and credit than he is given. The emotion he expresses in his facial expressions alone tear at my heart. I think Peter Lenkov delivered one of the best scripts in the entire 5 seasons. I loved the entire show but for me the torture scenes (although hard to watch at times), and the fight scene between WoFat and McG made the show, everything else did a great job of setting the stage.

    • Wendie’s focus has ALWAYS been on the positives of the show and she doesn’t make any secret of that. However if you read again, you’ll see she criticized the violent torture scenes.

  • Many people are absolutely in love with this one but people like me (and there are others with the same POV) absolutely hated the “McGarrett torture of the year scene” and that put a negative spin on the whole episode for me. And I have to believe those fight scenes left Alex with some of those injuries that he referred to on ‘The Talk.’ I know that many fan’s favorite episode was the one where Steve is captured in North Korea and subsequently tortured. They enjoy seeing a gorgeous, shirtless man in pain and I’m sorry, but that is just beyond strange to me. To each his/her own but geez, shouldn’t a Navy SEAL be able to keep from getting kidnapped on a regular basis?! IAnd if this is the only way they can create drama for McGarrett or get emotional acting from Alex, they need new writers.

    I thought Alt-Danny was hilarious if a bit ridiculous. Danny’s personality is Danny’s personality and he wouldn’t be such an extremely happy guy just because he wasn’t divorced. But still, it was a bit of over-the-top fun. And his hair looked awesome.
    Another thing that made no sense to me – why would the fact the John McGarrett lived mean Kono didn’t graduate from the police academy? Am I maybe forgetting something from the early episodes?

    I’m not going to lie (why start now?) I’m really disappointed that Wo Fat was killed off, but I know many viewers were tired of the story line. But I don’t understand why Wo Fat, who had recently spared McGarrett’s life, suddenly was convinced that Steve knew where his father was. And will Wo Fat’s death mean Doris McGarrett will return to own up to this lie? If she does, I certainly hope the writers handle it in a realistic manner.

    Something a little different for me occurred last night. Normally I find the really sentimental scenes to be just too cheesy for my taste, but the montage at the end with the John Ondrasik song penned for this show was a perfect recap of what this team has been through, and I’m glad they included clips of Catherine, illustrating her importance in Steve’s life. It was a perfect ending with just the right amount of sentimentality.

    • i appreciate the different perspective. i unfortunately know i look forward to the Steve torture scenes too much, but it is really the emotional angst that i like to see. His emotions after saying goodbye to Catherine were the same. His sobs after asking for his father were almost too much for me.
      I also agree with your perspective about John McGarrett’s living affecting things so much. The description by the producers was not really accurate in that respect. Obviously, John living did not create any of the differences in the AU. A world where things were already different (for some reason, the police arriving at the house in time) enabled him to live. Then again, none of that stuff had to make sense in a drug fueled dream.
      Again, it is always nice to hear from someone who analyzes things similarly to myself.

  • This was H50’s thank you to it’s loyal fans for supporting the show through 100 episodes. Wow, they sure know how to say thanks – so much better than a card in the mail!

    The AU fantasy was so much fun, seeing all the main characters in a different light ( what about that lip gloss model, Kono?) but the AU Danno/Steve moments were priceless. This AU world completely turned the two characters upside down. Every characteristic and idiosyncrasy was switched and then blown up to the ridiculous stage, and I have to say it worked like a charm for me. I admit I have never experienced a drug-induced hallucination before, but I’ve had some pretty vivid dreams where the subject of said dream has done some over the top, out of character escapades.

    I’m done with the kidnap and torture Steve stories though, and I hope the show is, too. I know Alex can act the socks out of these scenes (as he certainly did in this ep) but let’s give the poor man a break! I do realize that in order to have this AU story, Steve had to undergo psychological and physical torture, and I accept it wholeheartedly. But it is certainly hard to watch and it has served it’s purpose, so let’s move on from it.

    WoFat’s reveal is not such a big surprise, we all knew there was some sort of a Doris/WoFat connection. Unfortunately for WoFat, thinking Steve wouldn’t kill him after telling him they were “brothers” was his final mistake. Good bye and good riddance, WoFat! I, too, loved Mark Dacascos as WoFat and I hope WoFat has entered the realm of the undead and will return in future episodes in flashbacks just as William Sadler has as John McG.

    Best part of the ep for me is the team coming to find Steve. Here is where our Danny shines. Taking point, blasting anyone in his way, racing to get to his brother before it’s too late, opening the door and finding both men flat out on the floor. You could hear the fear in his voice as he calls out Steve’s name. You could feel the love and compassion he had for Steve as he had to tell him his father had died four years before. It was Alex’s show, but it needed Scott to bring home the brotherhood shared by the present day team. The final montage playing to the beautiful, haunting new song All For One sealed the deal.

    I never fell out of love with this show, but I do feel as if we’ve renewed our vows with each other!

    A heartfelt mahalo to the ENTIRE cast and crew for this amazing 100th episode. A very special mahalo to you as well, Wendie, for a beautiful review and for giving the H50 fans a place each week to share our personal reflections of what we have taken from the show.

  • Alex was just amazing in this episode, but then, he is always great !! He’s the only reason I watch HF-0.
    With the demise of Wo-Fat, his father will become the new arch-enemy !!

  • Wendie,
    Thank you for another great review. This was a great 100th ep and hope to see at least another hundred. I enjoyed seeing many of the cast in the AUs. Love the part the Merc played.


  • Great review Wendie. Like almost everyone else I loved this episode. It was a great and fantastic thank you to the loyal fans who have not only followed this show from the beginning but also accept and embrace it for what it is. It’s a fun roller coaster ride, not intended to depict 100% reality but the fictionalized world of these characters. I feel sorry for those who can’t grasp that concept because they are missing out on the fun by always being overly critical. But…to each his/her own.

    I too really hope we are done with the kidnap/torture scenes with Steve. He’s been through enough. I do think that in each and every case where this plot devise has been used has been appropriate even when it is extremely difficult to watch. It’s not about “creating drama” it about trying to get a fully trained Navy SEAL to give up information. I suppose the bad guys could say “pretty please” and not touch a hair on his handsome head and that would get the bad guys what they want. Of course, to keep a certain segment of the fandom happy this would still have to happen with his shirt off.

    I really enjoyed the alternate reality too. Of course, it was a bit over the top and ridiculous but it wasn’t real…wasn’t supposed to be logical. It was the disjointed, rambling thoughts of a tortured, drugged man. Of course it was all over the place. The fact that it was illogical is what made it logical. All in all, one of the best episodes of this show ever!

  • It was an excellent, emotional episode. Like everyone else, the torture scenes were very hard to watch and I hope that this will be the very last time Steve is subjected to such treatment. There really has to be other storylines that’ll grab ones attention without physical torture involved.

    I’m glad that WoFat met his demise because maybe now Steve can find the peace and healing he so deserves. Funny how Doris’s “mothering” skills created one stellar, upstanding citizen and one creature as base, low and despicable as herself. Hopefully her story will end very soon too.

    I happen to like 5-0 just the way it is but loved the twist last night. I really got a good laugh at poor Kamekono sporting that fake ‘stash and awful head tatts. A relaxed, Hawaii-loving Danny was also funny. The entire cast and crew were superb. And I love the song – I’ve already downloaded it! It was perfect with the montage.

    Kudos to Alex – he’s truly a very underrated and underappreciated actor. Maybe this episode will finally give him the recognition he so deserves.

  • ok let me get this out of the way LOVE LOVE LOVE Danno and Rachel moment!!! and yeah it may never happen and alternate reality – but I got say that scene and the hospital were AMAZING Scott moments!! and I would TOTALLY watch show if reality was that. Happy Danno here was FAR from BORING DANNO!!!

    Now Wendie this is why I LOVE you! your most interesting review was how you compared Steve and WorFat – how you did it made me think of how JKROWLING separated and played out the paths of two boys- both lost their mothers early and both took very separate paths. IT was a brilliant remark and I don’t think anyone else focused on their choices or how their lives were parallel. Just fantastic!

  • I was very happy to see Catherine in the montage. Seems like she shouldn’t be forgotten just because she went off to Afghanistan, and I expect that storyline to be continued or concluded eventually. Oh, and Larisa Oleynik was good to see again – can’t forget her character ultimately gave her life to save McG!

    It was heartbreaking to have McG be rescued and ask about his father. William Sadler has made his character memorable in just the few appearances he has made. I hope Mark Dacascos returns somehow – perhaps his father, who resembles an “older Wo Fat” – will come searching for the man who killed his son and the woman who killed his wife. Dacascos needs more meaty roles.

    Thank YOU, Wendie, for your years of thoughtful reviews of our favorite show!

  • You don’t watch much television,do you? Young people live in lovely expensive homes because viewers want escapism. Nothing would ever be accomplished if characters spent 43 minutes stuck in traffic, and yes, there is an inordinate amount of crime. That’s TV in the 21st century.

  • Question for you. Why do you bother watching if you don’t like anything about the show. Your time would be better spent elsewhere, like at another site.

  • Thanks for the review Wendie. I loved this episode. I’m glad first of all that Kono is not the fluff they portrayed her being without Five-O. Danny would not even be in Hawaii if Rachael had not divorced him and moved Grace out. So the mind does goes to places that don’t always make sense when under duress or in a dream. I loved all the acting. Alex deserves so much more credit than he gets for his emotions. Scott with his Danny being concerned Steve was dead. All of these actors always knock it out of the park when it comes to emotion and kicking butt.

    I am sorry to see Wo-Fat go, I too, loved Mark D.’s portrayal of him. Maybe we will see some flash backs. I’m looking forward to Steve’s and Mary’s reaction to the fact that their mother abandoned them to raise Wo-Fat. How she did such a bad job as well, which eventually put her son in danger. I’m sure another villian will come along, but Wo-Fat was the best.

  • I’m repeating the comment below. Why do you bother watching? The McGarrett family lived in Hawaii at the time of the Pearl Harbour attack in 1941, so the family home could have been purchased by Steve’s grandfather or even great grandfather, and would have been paid off long ago. Incidentally, for an ‘estate’, the house looks pretty ordinary to me. It’s a dumb thing for you to obsess about anyway !!

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