comscore Balancing out the bad | Honolulu Star-Advertiser
Every act of aloha counts. Click here to DONATE to the MAUI RELIEF Fund.
Five-0 Redux

Balancing out the bad

Honolulu Star-Advertiser logo
Unlimited access to premium stories for as low as $12.95 /mo.
Get It Now

After the explosive 100th episode two weeks ago,it was nice to see “Hawaii Five-0” end in happy tears versus tears of sorrow this week. “Ka Hana Malū” (“Inside Job”) featured so many of the elements fans love, including a sweet ending that focused on the love of ʻohana that has become a strong part of the show.

For me, the best part of the episode was the wedding of Aunt Deb, played by fan favorite guest star Carol Burnett and her fiancé, Leonard Cassano, played by the former frontman of The Four Seasons, Frankie Valli.

It was such a lovely way to end the episode, as well as to give fans something they wanted: an answer to what was going to happen to Aunt Deb. After her return into Steve’s life last Thanksgiving when she told Steve and Mary Ann about her brain tumor and her decision to not face any painful treatment, many fans hoped there would be some kind of reprieve for Aunt Deb. And while her epilogue wasn’t the miracle cure we had been hoping for, it sure was a sweet way to send her off into the beautiful Hawaiian sunset.

I love weddings. The last “Five-0” wedding we experienced was Chin and Malia’s in season two. And we all know how that ended.

But this wedding seemed a little different. Maybe it’s because we already knew the bride and groom were doomed that made it very bittersweet to watch. When the groom said that “being diagnosed with stage four cancer” was the best thing that happened to him, we pretty much knew their happily ever after wouldn’t last too long.

Every bit of it was so darling; McGarrett (Alex O’Loughlin) walking Aunt Deb down the aisle and standing up to give her away, Leonard saying that Deb held his hand during chemo, but she was his real treatment. And Aunt Deb singing “’S Wonderful” just made the ending so perfect. I found it a tiny bit ironic to see Burnett sing and not Valli, but Burnett’s character is a former singer and Valli’s character is a mob lawyer, so it made a lot more sense.

Of course, the entire episode was just as great as the ending. Written by Moira Kirland and directed by Jerry Levine, this episode really kept me guessing and I loved the twists that had me thinking I had it all wrapped up — only to find I was wrong at every turn.

The episode’s Hawaiian translation — “Ka Hana Malū” or “Inside Job” — alluded to the inside job set up by Kate Kealoha in order to kill her husband and herself to get her sons a $20 million dollar insurance policy and set them up for the rest of their lives.

It also made reference to Aunt Deb’s Leonard supposedly destroying evidence he was given by his mobster client in order for him to avoid being convicted for murder. In Hawaiian, “hana” means “work, labor, or job” and malū means “secretly, confidentially, clandestinely, illegally, stealthily, or furtive,” which makes perfect sense, especially when Leonard gave McGarrett a wrapped box he had been ordered to “not open and to destroy.”

I was so with Danno. I wanted to know what was in that box! But I’m also with McG and understand Aunt Deb deserved to be happy for as long as she and Leonard had time together. And if that means McG stuffed that box into a locker and will forget about it for a few months before turning it over to the FBI, I think I can live with that.

There were so many sweet moments in this episode I almost missed two cool McG stunts that were, as usual, well-executed and super fun. McG chasing their first suspect Tai Gable (Wilke Itzin) over a row of parked trucks was so cool. And his crash landing through a sunroof to shoot the Kealohas’ paid assassin was super hot.

I love how “Five-0” gives viewers different types of stunts and action and tries to mix it up so it’s not all shootouts and car chases. Not that any of that is a bad thing, but thanks to stunt coordinator Jeff Cadiente we get to see different action scenes every week.

My only complaint was that if the victims’ sons had to be named Kealoha, couldn’t they have at least looked or perhaps sounded Hawaiian? It reminded me too much of “The Descendants” and how viewers were supposed to believe George Clooney had descended from Hawaiian royalty because he wore aloha shirts and slippahs.

But I digress. I did really like the case; I thought it was clever and gave the entire team a chance to get involved with the investigation. It was one of the first cases where I thought Chin (Daniel Dae Kim) and Kono (Grace Park) were actually involved versus just gathering evidence and hanging out on the sidelines, which has happened all too often in a few episodes this season.

I also liked how the show addressed what happened to Catherine and why she has not returned to Hawaii. As most fans already know, Michelle Borth will not return to “Hawaii Five-0,” so it was good to get an explanation about Catherine’s decision to stay in Afghanistan. She also told Steve to not wait for her, so the issue has been addressed completely and fans can just move on.

Aunt Deb’s line, “You are so willing to risk your life, when are you going to be willing to risk your heart?” was telling. Will Steve take another risk with his heart now? I hope so. Just to see him happy again would be nice.

There were other great lines this week. Lou (Chi McBride) had a few, especially in his cargument with Danno. While they raced through Chinatown and Danno accused him of “taking driving lessons from McGarrett,” his retort — “You ever been to Chicago? This is how we drive in Chicago. In the snow.” — was perfect.

I’m sure fans also loved when McGarrett, Danno and Lou were getting ready for the wedding and Danno told McG he was “a big marshmallow stuffed with testosterone.” Their banter as they sat in McG’s living was great and it reminded me about the moments that really firm up the team’s love for each other. The topper was seeing all of them sitting together at the wedding, smiling and happy as an ʻohana again.

It’s so nice when they share a sweet moment together. It just makes all of the bad moments they also share balance out.


Next week is a repeat of the original Aunt Deb episode from Thanksgiving last year. Fans can watch the original episode that brought Aunt Deb back into Steve and Mary Ann’s life, and celebrate a little Five-0 Thanksgiving with the team.
Wendie Burbridge is a published author, playwright and teacher. Reach her via Facebook and follow her on Twitter.

Comments (13)

By participating in online discussions you acknowledge that you have agreed to the Terms of Service. An insightful discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. If your comments are inappropriate, you may be banned from posting. Report comments if you believe they do not follow our guidelines.

Having trouble with comments? Learn more here.

Leave a Reply

  • Lovely review even your digressions! heheh they are always fair and right on!
    I adored Frankie Vali and WISH we could have more of him! Yet again another casting we only get to enjoy once!

  • I loved the review, it expressed so very much how I was feeling. I am so glad that Carol Burnett was back as “Aunt Deb” and I really hope this isn’t the last we see of her. I have always been a big fan of Catherine and sadly things did not work out for H50 and Michelle Borth, was the explanation what I wanted to see no but at least it was addressed and in a way that that at least for brought closure.

    I think the show did a good job of including all the cast last night and making it look like a cohesive unit.

  • This was a good episode, but not the terrific episode I had hoped for. I’m glad Deb decided not to give up. I realize that she and Leonard won’t have much more time together and so there was a quickie wedding which could not include Mary. I wonder if we’ll ever find out what Steve did with the box. Probably not, but I do hope we get to see Aunt Deb again.

  • Great review, Wendie. The COTW did have a lot of turns and twist. Grover even made the magic table work, that table hates Danno. LO! Was Kono at the wedding? I don’t remember if she was, but Grover was cute when he told Steve and Danny they better not argue all the way to the wedding, because he could handle that and I guess they fixed his SUV. Another chase with Scooter. It was something to pull the fans down the ceiling and give something to smile about. I notice Steve’s cut on his forehead didn’t make it to the finale scene.

    • Robin I think we were supposed to believe that Kono was there, as there was someone hidden behind the post who was wearing a dress, but we never saw her face. I would have thought Grover would have brought his wife, though.

  • Great review, Wendie! I was definitely intrigued with the COTW — and I was kept guessing right up to the end, too! My thought was why in the world did the mother put a hit out on herself, too, or did she just happen to be in the line of fire by accident! But she had been suicidal already, and as her sons said, both their parents were always about the money, so I guess it makes sense that a depressed, suicidal mother would think the only way to give her sons a chance in life is for them to start out with $20,000,000.00! Whacked reasoning? Sure, but Mom had some problems!

    Older son “in love” with the cougar mother of his best friend — a little trite and definitely forced, but it added another twist to the plot, so I’m okay with it. The actress portraying that mom was very good, and persuasive.

    Loved Aunt Deb and Leonard’s storyline. I hope Leonard lasts more than a month for Deb. The wedding was so sweet!

    As far as Catherine goes, sorry to see it end, but not surprised in the manner in which it ended. Catherine needed a purpose to her life – retiring from the Navy and then Billy dying and leaving her jobless so quickly left her floating and unanchored. I don’t think joining the Five-0 Task Force really fulfilled her yearning to make a difference, it was just a stopgap necessary to give her time to find what she needed to do with her life.

    Yes, she loved Steve and was content with their relationship – until her Afghan friends needed her. She found what she wanted to do with her life. I’m happy for her. Let’s let her enjoy her life. Steve will get over it. Whether he finds true love before the series ends, I don’t know, but I think it’s extremely fair to say Catherine’s storyline is now complete.

    (Of course, I’m not a writer for this show – their loss, LOL – so I could be completely off base with my rationale for why Catherine is not coming home anytime soon, but theorizing is such fun!

    Thanks Wendie, Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

  • The ending kept me guessing all the way to the end, but I am 100% sure that the Cougar is not good for that young man. I am sad to see McG’s heart broken by Catherine’s “don’t wait for me”; she should be killed off so he can make a clean new start with someone new. It was nice to see Aunt Deb finally marry for love; I just wish Frankie Valli could have sang to his new bride – would have fit into the storyline perfectly, that he and Deb have a shared love of music.

    Happy Thanksgiving, Wendie! Thank you for your wonderful reviews each week.

  • Wendie, once again you were reading my mind and expressed my thoughts beautifully. I was lucky enough during my September vacation to happen upon the location in Chinatown on September 24 when they filmed the bike chase on the road and through the farmer’s market. From 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., watched the hard-working crew, extras and stuntmen do incredible, and often, tedious work. Alex, Scott and Chi showed up at 3 p.m. for an hour of filming to “catch the bad guy!” (Of course, they’d been at the studio during the day working themselves.) I was amazed but not surprised by the dedication and hard work of the H50 behind-the-scenes staff…and special Mahalo to Sean and Regina for keeping my informed and answering all my questions!

    Final note, while I’ll miss the Cath/Steve relationship, I’m glad they let us know that she found Nabir and is safe. How she could choose Afghanistan over McGarrett-stan is beyond me, but makes sense since she was looking for something purposeful since she’d left the Navy…working with Billy and for H50 seemed like ‘fill in’ jobs for her. I also loved that Steve admitted he’d loved and lost and was still feeling the disappointment…realistic reaction. Now, when he’s ready to move on, I’d be more than happy to fill that role…as would thousands of other ladies reading this, I’m sure!

  • Wendie,
    Great review and added points for the summary. I regret the Cath arc ending, but do any of them really end? We shall see. I agree that it was good to see Deb again. I also want to know what is in the package, and hope that is resolved this season.

  • Wendy, my favorite part of the episode was Danno’s socks. Lol And, boy, Chi is really growing on me. I loved his comments when they were going to the wedding that he didn’t want to listen to them fighting. He is perfect the way he relates to these two. I really loved the twist at the end of the episode. I thought maybe it was one of the boys but not the other. I never even thought about the mother but it makes sense. She did it to ensure her boys futures. And I thought it was great the way they portrayed the boys, not caring about the money at all. A very good episode. Had everything I love about Hawaii 50.

  • This episode was just what we needed after the cruel torturing scenes in the last episode and seeing Steve suffer. I loved to see Aunt Deb return and bring a smile back onto Steve’s face. Carol Burnett is definitely one of my top-favorite guest stars on the show.

    The wedding was the best part for me, too, as I always love to see our smiling `ohana together. Even Steve was smiling again. I only felt sad for him when he told Aunt Deb about the way Cath ended their relationship. I highly doubt that any woman loved by Steve would break up with him voluntarily to spend years of her life in Afghanistan – shortly after he had finally told her that he loved her. But, at least, Steve can move on in his life now – theoretically, anyway. I highly doubt that he will fall in love again quickly and easily, but if he does fall in love, I hope his feelings won’t get hurt all over again. This guy just doesn’t seem to have any luck with the women in his life.

    The episode had a good mix of everything I love about this show: Steve’s cute smiles are always a welcome treat – and the funny scenes with Danno, Lou and Steve made me laugh out loud. I also thought those stunts were quite cool (Kudos to Jeff and Justin!). And, like you, I was surprised by all those twists in the case, too – that was well-written.

    Once again, you’ve expressed my feelings and thoughts about the episode just perfectly. Maybe I should just write “Ditto” instead of a comment next time – just kidding 🙂

    P.S.: I laughed at your comment about “The Descendants” – a movie I didn’t like, at all. The only thing I did like about it were the beautiful views of Hawai`i in it 🙂

  • Great review Wendie. I really enjoyed this episode. After the gut wrenching of #100 this was a nice sweet story with Deb and Leonard. I really can’t find anything seriously wrong with it. I adored all the humor sprinkled throughout especially from Lou who I am loving more and more each episode. I also love the way they are writing Danny this season. Getting all kinds of Season 1 feels from it.

    I, for one, am not sad to see the Steve/Catherine story come to an end. I like the way they did it. Since it looked extremely certain that Michelle would not be returning even for one episode, this was the best way. It gave her a purpose again and as a strong, intelligent, well trained woman, she deserved that.

  • Loved seeing Aunt Deb Again. I so hope that she comes back again. I think she is a much better Mom to McG than his own mother. I know a lot of people think it should of been Frankie Valli singing, but they did play 2 of his songs. Carol did a great job and the wedding was beautiful. I also think that the female next to Chin, was suppose to be Kono, although they never really showed her. Grace Park must have had another obligation while filming that scene.

    As for one of the biggest Catherine/Steve fans, I think they did the best they could since Michelle Borth probably won’t come back. I however, think it was not the greatest reason that after a truly long term relationship, she just never returns. I will move on though. Steve needs someone in his life. I think the jury is still out on the DA attorney, who was raised in Hawaii, but still has a strong Australian Accent, is a little strange. But, if they show some chemistry, then I hope they show their friendship grow and fall in love. I would love to see McG as a Dad, he’s a great uncle to Grace.

    I guess we go into that time of year when we get one new episode and then repeats. I’m hoping this means we get more new episodes in a row in April and May. Thanks for the review Wendie.

Click here to view ongoing news coverage of the Maui wildfires. Sign up for our free e-newsletter to get the latest news delivered to your inbox. Download the Honolulu Star-Advertiser mobile app to stay on top of breaking news coverage.

Be the first to know
Get web push notifications from Star-Advertiser when the next breaking story happens — it's FREE! You just need a supported web browser.
Subscribe for this feature

Scroll Up