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Five-0 Redux

Aloha ‘oe, Wo Fat

Last week’s 100th episode left me with a host of conflicting emotions. While I loved the alternate vision of what life could have been like for McGarrett and the Five-0 crew, I was also saddened to see the demise of one of my favorite characters, Wo Fat, played by Mark Dacascos.

Wo Fat has always been a fan favorite. Viewers love to hate him just as must as they love when he returns to wreak more havoc upon McGarrett (Alex O’Loughlin). I once wrote that Wo Fat is a “juxtaposition of grace and evil.” That mix of martial arts aggressiveness, along with his stoic face, made him a hard character to read — and an even bigger enigma to unravel.

But fans loved him. They wanted more. They wanted to know what his connection to Doris McGarrett was and why, oh why did he seem so monstrously determined to make McG’s life hell?

Fans also wanted to get to know the actor who brought Wo Fat to life. Dacascos has always been kind to fans and is so genuine in person.

I almost wept when I saw Wo Fat dead at the end of the 100th episode, because I knew it also meant Dacascos would no longer be on “Hawaii Five-0.”

I know, I know. It’s just a TV show, but if you’re lucky enough to have met Dacascos, you know he has an inner joy he shares with anyone who meets him. And while he never got a chance to show that kind of joy on “Five-0,” off-screen he definitely has shared his love for fans all over the world.

Not only is Dacascos a Sunset on the Beach favorite, he even took a moment to say aloha to fans while filming a movie in Germany. Not bad for an actor who knew during his Munich meet and greet about a month after shooting the 100th episode that he was no longer going to be on “Five-0.”

I think we can all agree that Dacascos is definitely a class act. It’s not hard to say I will miss seeing Wo Fat’s return. I think what I will miss the most is the intrigue Wo Fat brought to McG’s life. If nothing else, “Five-0” strung us along about Wo Fat, and for the most part it was an interesting and exciting storyline.

When Wo Fat returned in the season four finale to kill Ian Wright (Nick Jonas), I was so happy to see him. One, because I couldn’t stand Jonas, and two, because I knew his return meant perhaps we would finally get some answers to all of our McG/Wo Fat questions. And it’s always fun when Wo Fat comes back to put McG and the Five-0 team on edge. Wo Fat always ratcheted up the tension.

When McGarrett found out early in season four that Wo Fat was not his half-brother, I was a bit stumped. It was a theory that made the most sense; the only reason secret agent Doris (Christine Lahti) would not have killed him and why she let him escape from her room in the season three opener.

The short story he told McG in the 100th episode about being raised by Doris after she killed his mother cleared up a lot of the questions about Momma McG. Now we understood more about why Doris let Wo Fat go and why she helped him escape the supermax prison in Colorado.

But did it really? We still don’t know where Wo Fat’s father is, or why Wo Fat would chase after McG for four years. Was he jealous of his brother from another mother? And what will McG’s actions do to the already strained relationship with his mother? How will she react to her blood son killing her adopted son?

Hopefully, we’ll have more answers to those questions if Doris ever returns to Hawaii. Perhaps she will return to bury her other son. And what a son Wo Fat has been. McG’s evil twin — both men are powerful and aggressive — yet Wo Fat’s determination had an evil bent, while McG works only for good.

Both are foils of each other, two characters who mirror each other but differ on one fundamental aspect. McG may have his flaws, but he always tries to do what is moral and good. Yet Wo Fat is really almost perfectly evil.

Still, his story of being abandoned twice by two mothers is almost heartbreaking. It is not an excuse, however, for turning evil. McG was abandoned as well, and he didn’t rise up to become a cold-hearted killer.

But he could have, couldn’t he? What if after he went about becoming a Navy SEAL — learning all that he could about survival, fighting, weapons, and killing — and then turned, like Wo Fat, to a life of crime and power?

It’s as if now I see what could have been if McGarrett had taken being alone in the world in a completely different way. Would he have become an American version of Wo Fat? Deadly ruthless and on a mission to avenge his mother’s death?

What stopped him from going in that direction even later in life when his father was brutally murdered in his own home?

Of course, McG is the hero, and Wo Fat, who did go down that vengeful path, is the perfect villain. And that is why fans love their story. They want to know how their paths diverge and meet.

So it’s a sad day when we have to say aloha ʻoe, farewell to thee, Wo Fat. We won’t miss your torturous and murderous ways, but we’ll sure miss the drama you bring to McGarrett’s hardly boring life. And we’ll definitely miss the man who breathed life into such a unique and iconic character.

We can only hope to see Dacascos in other shows, films, and maybe a few flashback episodes in order to really answer all those questions about his role in Doris’ life.

Aloha ʻoe, Mark. Mahalo nui loa for four years of amazing work and a fantastic character we’ll all miss.

REDUX SIDE NOTE

There’s a new episode next week, and for those who loved Carol Burnett as McGarrett’s Aunt Deb in last year’s Thanksgiving episode, she returns bringing friends. Crooner Frankie Valli guest-stars as Aunt Deb’s fiancé.
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Wendie Burbridge is a published author, playwright and teacher. Reach her via Facebook and follow her on Twitter.

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  • Thanks, Wendy. Mark Dacascos surely deserves a post of his own. He portrayed Wo Fat in a perfect way. I will miss the actor.
    I will however not miss Wo Fat. That story-line was never that interesting to me in the first place, and I think it was a dead horse long ago. Wo Fat escaping over and over again was simply getting ridiculous. Like Alex said in an interview let’s just shoot him already. 😉
    I’m really glad they ended when they did. Even though the story about him being raised by Doris in his early years is really thin. I guess they maneuvered themselves into a corner and just couldn’t come up with some mind-blowing truth about Wo Fat, Doris and Steve. I guess at one point we will see Wo Fat senior, maybe seeking revenge for a son he never knew.
    And Doris coming back and giving Steve any straight answers? I wouldn’t hold my breath. But frankly, I don’t even want to know. But I’d love to see Christine Lathi again. She and Alex are great together on screen. So, I’m very conflicted about her. I want to see her again, but I don’t really care about her. 😉
    I hope that this phenomenal episode will finally bring some episodes where Steve will struggle with all the issues that must be bugging him. It is way overdue.
    Anyway, great article on a great villain, and a wonderful actor who was always very gracious with the fans of the show.

  • Mahalo Wendie! I too am going to miss seeing Mark’s wonderful smile at SOTB even if I only ever got to see it over my computer. I am going to miss seeing Mark but I think it was the right time for WoFat to go. I will miss him, of course, but I think they probably ran out of ways for him to be captured, escape, hurt, recover, capture, escape…….. Time to move on. I really DO hope we’ll begin to really see Steve deal with his PTSD after this latest encounter between him and WoFat’s cattle prod. Watching those torture scenes is….well….torture… I’d like to see it lead to new and great storyline. Alex will ROCK a PTSD storyline. I really hope they go there.

  • I don’t know of many other actors who can play such a convincing despicably evil villain and yet be a complete sweet heart in real life! What a nice man! It’s a sad day to have to say good bye to Mark on H50. I wish him continued success in his new endeavors.

    But I can’t say I’m sorry to see WoFat bite the dust! I think Peter Lenkov explained it very well this week. When writing this episode, he said he didn’t start it thinking Wo Fat would die, but as he got into the story, he realized the only outcome had to be for WoFat’s end. If he escaped again, it would have been a complete out-of-the-water jumping the shark farce. (Those are kind of MY words, but, well, you know…)

    Really, it was indeed time for WoFat to bite the dust. There’s only so many times he could kidnap and torture McG, or get caught and escape from maximum security prisons (did I miss something? I didn’t know Doris had actually helped WoFat escape from the Colorado prison, although I do remember she visited him there, too).

    WoFat revealed to Steve his connection to Doris, so his usefulness to the story is done. There are still tons of questions to wade through about Doris and her CIA years and even her time running/hiding from…who, exactly? We thought it was WoFat, but that doesn’t make any sense now. Papa Fat? But then, why did WoFat think Steve would know where his father was being kept? IS his father in a CIA prison somewhere? I hope the storyline continues and we do get some answers from Doris. I actually would like to see Danny use a little of his own personal aggression on her to get some answers for his partner!

    WoFat was a broken, deranged man. As I said last week, there was no redemption for him. Steve might have felt a little sorry for his mother killing WoFat’s mother, but the pain he caused Steve by ordering his father’s death and his sadistic torturing hardened Steve’s heart. In order to stop WoFat’s evilness, Steve had to kill him.

    Good bye Mark Dacascos! It’s a testament to your talents that the majority of the fandom is very sad to see the demise of WoFat – because we all hated WoFat, but loved you for creating such a villain to despise! Thank you for 4+ years! You’ve left behind some very big shoes for the next arch villain to fill!

    Thank you, too, Wendie for NOT taking the week off!

  • I loved Wo Fat in that he was such an amazing nemesis, knowing exactly how to press Steve’s buttons. He was a brutal villain and an opponent that evenly matched Steve both physical and intelligently. I’ll miss him as an adversary, but not the plotline.

    “And what will McG’s actions do to the already strained relationship
    with his mother? How will she react to her blood son killing her adopted
    son?”

    Their strained relationship is all on Doris. She allowed Wo Fat to escape despite his string of vicious murders, he even plotted to buy the material for a dirty bomb in one of the earlier seasons. He cut Adam’s father to pieces in a bath tub, set a man on fire, and did she know he tortured her son just for info on Shelbourne? That is my burning question.

    She should be begging Steve for forgiveness for all the Hell Wo Fat put him through, (and Marry) not to mention the murder of his father, her husband. I really hope we see Doris again, if anything, to finally see some catharsis. Because at this point she’s almost an unforgivable character no matter the tragic circumstances.

    Oh, Wo Fat. I did love hating you. Marc was outstanding and he and Alex had great chemistry.

  • wonderful piece on Marc and Wofat! It is a shame and yet relief that this character has bit the dust. Looking forward to some flashbacks and some answers to the NEW bigger questions the writers have created for us now ;=)

  • Great article Wendie. You are spot on as usual on your breakdown of what makes Wo Fat so lovable. I will really miss Mark. I never had the chance to meet him personally but he has always appeared so gracious and kind to the fans. Nothing has been any bother to him and it has been great interacting with him on twitter. I wish him continued success and happiness.
    Wo Fats reveal to Steve didn’t suprise me a great deal, in fact I yelled “I knew it!” at the TV. My theory had always been that getting close to WoFats father for Doris’s mission made her close to the boy as well and she raised him like a mother. When we found out that it was his mother in the grave and his father was alive I adjusted my theory. I have said all along that I felt sympathy for Wo Fat and how his life turned out and you are right in saying Steve could have turned out the same. I guess in a way he did although his brutality was sanctioned by the government. He did have some positive forces in his life so perhaps that stopped him from progressing down the same road as Wo Fat. Plus meeting Danny in his father’s garage that day was the stable influence he needed not to declare undying revenge and retribution. Danny has saved Steve in more ways than they realise. I guess thats why I love their bond so much.

  • To be honest, Wendie, I wasn’t sad to see Wo Fat killed – although I wouldn’t mind seeing him in flashbacks. It would even be conceivable to have Mark, the actor, return to play Wo Fat’s father. But this death was perfectly timed and well-deserved.
    When he told Steve “You’re not going to kill me, brother”, I actually thought to myself “Are you kidding me?!”. He dares to call Steve his brother after he tortured him for hours? I can’t think of anyone who would torture his own brother like this – especially since Steve wasn’t responsible or guilty for the losses Wo Fat had experienced in his life. Wo Fat not even had a reason to be jealous of Steve because Doris had abandoned her own children, too!

    And let’s not forget that Wo Fat was thoroughly evil and caused a lot of pain and trouble in Steve’s life: First he got John McGarrett killed, then he shot the governor and framed Steve with the murder and got Steve into Halawa – where he ordered Victor to kill Steve. Later he kidnapped and tortured Steve in North Korea, only to do the same thing with his “brother” again in the 100th episode. I’d say if anyone deserved death, it was Wo Fat – even just based on what he did to Steve. And Steve wasn’t the only one suffering from Wo Fat’s evil deeds since this super-villain also slaughtered Adam’s father and killed Victor Hesse in cold blood.

    If Doris was to come back and actually blame Steve for killing Wo Fat, I would be through with this woman once and for all. Steve killed Wo Fat for self-defense. Doris has no right to blame Steve for anything. She owes her son a very big apology for all the bad she’s caused in his life. While I like the actress Christine Lahti and think she does a great job at playing Doris, I’ve never really liked Doris, the character, much. I’m just glad that John McGarrett was such a thoroughly wonderful guy and a much better person than his wife – which, however, makes it even sadder that he was killed by order of Wo Fat. But, at least, Steve got his best character traits from his father and turned out quite the opposite of his “adoptive brother” Wo Fat.

    After naming all those reasons why I think it was a good thing that Wo Fat was killed, I need to point out that I think entirely different about the extremely likeable actor Mark. The mere fact that I hated Wo Fat for what he did to Steve, while I love Mark as a person, is clear proof of this man’s enormous talent. Since I’m one of the lucky fans who had the pleasure of meeting Mark in person here in Munich, I can clearly say that Mark has nothing in common with the emotionless, stoic-looking, evil villain he played on the show.

    I’ll finish by saying “Aloha” to Wo Fat and welcome back to Mark because we can still enjoy the actor on screen – it doesn’t have to be as Wo Fat 😉

  • Must bring back Mark Dacascos in other roles – surely Wo Fat’s father will want revenge on the family that killed his son and wife. Wendie, thank you for being a voice of the fans!

  • Great article. Sorry to see Mark Go. I too, wish that there was a way to bring Mark back, not as WoFat, I think we have had enough. Although, there are a lot of questions left in this story. If Doris helped escape, knowing how he would go after her own son, what does that say about her. Did John know anything about his wife’s secret life, or did he find out anything while looking into her death. Is that why he sent his kids away? Still a lot not answered. I hope we have many more questions answered.

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