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.
Wendie Burbridge is a published author, playwright and teacher. Reach her via Facebook and follow her on Twitter.