Christmas is less than two weeks away and “Hawaii Five-0” usually delivers fans a healthy dose of holiday cheer. I think for those who watch from the continent and beyond, being able to experience Christmas by the sea — stolen tree and all — is always a welcome respite from cold weather. Throw in the additional treat of seeing the sights on two Hawaiian islands, and this week’s episode was a much anticipated one.
I knew after talking with Big Island Film Commissioner T. Ilihia Gionson about “Five-0” shooting on his home island that we would see some awesome sights. And in that regard, we were not disappointed. But for the most part, “Ke Koho Mamao Aku” (“Longshot”) was pretty tame in comparison to the last few months of the show.
I guess we can’t always have shows at the level of the 100th episode. And Carol Burnett can’t show up to guest star every week. But it would have been nice to have ended 2014 with a bit more of a bang. I think this week’s English meaning behind the episode title was telling; “Five-0” took a chance with the script and some of it worked, but also fell a bit short.
I’m not sure if I’ll be on Santa’s naughty or nice list this year, but in order to get everything I want on Christmas day I’ll try to stick to what that I enjoyed about the show and keep some of the lava rocks out of my stocking.
The best part of the entire episode has to be seeing Hawaii island featured. The overhead shots of Pele’s molten heat flowing through inky black rock and steaming into the blue-green ocean was amazing. If you have ever seen Chain of Craters Road on fire at night or walked out to where the lava flows into the Pacific Ocean, you know of the amazing power of Kīlauea. I loved seeing the juxtaposition of the black ropey lava fields of Kalapana Gardens, as well as the red, Mars-like terrain of Mauna Loa in the HI-SEAS (Hawaii Space Exploration Analog and Simulation) scenes at the start of the episode. It was great to see a different part of Hawai‘i featured in an episode.
Not that Oʻahu is hard to look at, but it was a nice to see the team working cases on other islands and incorporating other ways Hawaiians live and work into the show. The Big Island is known for its farms and ranches as much as for the volcanoes. And while it is common to see paniolo (the Hawaiian word for cowboy), it was good to have the story revolve around that topic instead of focusing on a crime that could be set anywhere in Hawaii — or the world.
For the most part, I liked how the case was about horses and ranching. It was still about murder and greed — as most crimes are — but I did like the different kind of crime that would make more sense being set on the Big Island rather than the big city life of O’ahu.
I also loved how the episode spent some time on Max (Masi Oka) and his back story about his rivalry over a “woman” with Big Island Medical Examiner Dr. Sanjeet Dhawan (Ravi Patel). It was so funny in the end when their geek love for a vintage Yeoman Janice Rand action figure from the classic television show “Star Trek” helped both characters bury their pride and solve the case.
I don’t know what I laughed at more, Danno (Scott Caan) and Grover’s (Chi McBride) reaction to their excitement over a “Barbie” or their Vulcan farewell. But it was the kind of “Five-0” humor fans know and love. I have actually seen grown men fight over action figures and believe me, it’s nothing to laugh at. But on TV, with a bit of tongue in cheek irony, it was all so much fun.
It was also great to see a few good scenes between Danno and Kono (Grace Park). Who knew Kono could catch and hog tie a perp in less than a minute? Their chat about Gracie growing up and Danno lamenting that the “cat was out of the bag” in regards to the truth about Santa was sweet. It’s been a while since we’ve had a good Danno/Kono heart-to-heart.
I did enjoy the focus being on different characters with Danno, Kono and Grover heading the Big Island investigation as McGarrett (Alex O’Loughlin) and Chin (Daniel Dae Kim) aided them from Oʻahu. I just wish we had a bit more McGarrett. And it does lead me to wonder, what was the “big meeting” with the Governor about? As they say in all good mysteries, the plot thickens!
The entire Christmas tree debacle with HPD Officer Pua Kai (Shawn Thomsen) investigating McG and Danno cutting down a tree on preservation land was not as funny as I think it was supposed to be. It was actually a bit irritating. Would a lower ranking cop really go through that much time and legwork just to issue a citation to a member of an elite HPD task force? And what newly minted officer would want to issue a citation to those in a group he seemingly wants to be a part of at some point in his career?
Right. No cop would do that. If it was supposed to be funny, it just fell flat.
Other parts of the episode fell flat for me as well. I wish there were Christmas tree lots on the beach. McGarrettʻs heart was in the right place, but you can find trees until Christmas day on Oʻahu that look a heck of a lot better than what Christmas Pine had for sale.
I know, I know, the episode was filmed in September and Christmas trees don’t arrive in the islands until right around Thanksgiving. And yes, Danno’s Charlie Brown comment was perfectly timed. Still, it was just too forced to really work.
I always love the ʻohana style endings with the team. This time, Grace (Teilor Grubbs), Duke (Dennis Chun), Kamekona (Taylor Wily), and Flippa (Shawn Mokuahi Garnett) joined the core Five-0 team around the Christmas tree. It would have been nice to have spent a little more time hanging out and sharing some Christmas cheer. And the Hawaiian language version of “Silent Night” would have been a perfect way to end the episode.
Alas, like Danno’s tree, the gathering was a bit tainted by Officer Kai showing up to serve his citation.
Still, much like Danno forgiving Pua for disrupting his Mele Kalikimaka, we too can be thankful for a fun evening with Five-0 and wish our favorite show a very Merry Christmas and hope for a strong New Year.
REDUX SIDE NOTE
There is no “Hawaii Five-0” scheduled for Dec. 19, but the Christmas episode from season four will air Dec. 27. The thrilling episode features Chin bringing down a sick serial killer and Danno and Gracie giving some long distance Christmas cheer to a Japanese Tsunami survivor.
Wendie Burbridge is a published author, playwright and teacher. Reach her via Facebook and follow her on Twitter.