One thing I love about “Hawaii Five-0” is that they never forget their roots. Even the little reminders, like the use of the Mercury Marquis once driven by Jack Lord, who played Steve McGarrett in the classic version of the series, to the presence of Dennis Chun, the son of Kam Fong who played the original Chin Ho Kelly — they all serve as markers that honor where the reboot came from.
This week’s episode, “Poina ʻOle” (“Not Forgotten”), also played out several storylines that many fans have never forgotten.
Remember Paul Delano (Daniel Baldwin), who kidnapped Chin (Daniel Dae Kim) in season three and dropped him into Halawa Correctional Facility as revenge for Chin killing his brother Frank (William Baldwin)? Frank was the one who not only killed Chin’s wife Malia (Reiko Aylesworth), but he also kidnapped cousin Kono (Grace Park) and almost caused her death as well.
Another storyline brought back to the surface was the aftermath of Grover’s (Chi McBride) daughter Samantha’s (Paige Hurd) kidnapping by blank-faced villain Ian Wright (Nick Jonas) in the season four finale. Although Samantha was rescued by Wo Fat (Mark Dacascos), she is still dealing with some post-traumatic stress from her ordeal.
Even the murder investigation McGarrett (Alex O’Loughlin) and his team investigated this week delved into a bit of Hawaii history and the fate of four long-forgotten reform school boys.
I often wonder where the writers get their ideas. This episode, written by John Dove and directed by Brad Tanenbaum, mirrored the real-life story of the Waialeʻe Industrial School and an escape by four boys in 1946. According to the Historic Hawaii Foundation, the school was known to have a history of abuse and neglect of their charges. Much like the fictional Wailea Reform School in this week’s episode, there is very little information available about the school; the only buildings that still exist are a burnt out shell of a dormitory and a graffiti-covered music hall where students once practiced for parades.
The Five-0 storyline trimmed off 30 years, allowing characters who lived and worked at the reform school to not have to be in their 90s. Veteran actors Wings Hauser, who played former Wailea warden Walter Russell, and Gregory Itzin, who played the aptly named former guard Huhū (which really does mean “angry” in Hawaiian), were the right age to have been at the reform school in the 1970s.
The episode started with the murder of a neurosurgeon, Dr. Christine DuPont (Sarah Jane Morris, best known for her work on “NCIS”), who coincidentally was supposed to perform surgery on Chin’s nemesis, Paul Delano. That detail added a layer to the theme of not forgetting Chin’s past.
It was also a good way for viewers to see while Chin has not forgotten Malia or who caused her death, he seems to be able to handle being faced with his sad reality. And it’s always nice to see Chin ready to continue the battle and show his strength.
It was really great to see Max (Masi Oka) more active in an episode than normal. He helped put the pieces together and link Dr. DuPont with dead Halawa inmate Mana Tahni (Rodney Oshiro), which eventually led the team to the story of the four escapees who were never seen again.
While the boys were considered to be “useless worthless punks” no one cared about, the Five-0 team worked to find their bodies and bring their killer — the guard they called Huhū, Alex Mackey (Gregory Itzin, best known for his presidential work on “24”) — to justice. Mackey also killed Dr. DuPont because she tried to find the four boys to help a dying Tahni and ease his conscience.
This case really showcased the team as they worked like a well-oiled machine. McGarrett is always in charge, but Grover took the lead on having to break the news of Dr. DuPontʻs death to her husband (Brian Letscher). He also had a very cool action scene disarming the very unstable warden Russell.
I also loved the scene where Grover shared details of his daughter’s nightmares with Chin, and Chin’s resulting advice.
“Knowing she has a father who loves her and will do whatever it takes, that’s exactly what she needs right now,” Chin said. In return, Grover basically gave this same advice to DuPont’s husband.
It’s always lovely to see the team holding each other up in times of need, and this week was no exception. All had a hand in the investigation of the case, and like last week they all worked seamlessly together. Chin and Kono worked the technology and evidence, but still were present in key scenes and it didn’t feel like they were just on the sidelines. Danno (Scott Caan) was back this week, and while giving McG a healthy dose of goodnatured grief, he also took the lead on questioning Mackey and trying to get him to confess his 40-year-old sin.
I do love when Danno questions a suspect who has harmed a child. His farewell to Mackey was priceless, as he threw Mackey’s words back in his face: “You are going to die in prison a useless worthless punk.” McGarrett’s smirky smile was a perfect comment on Mackey’s pending fate.
Still, the best part of the episode had to be the secondary storyline that paralleled the main case — McGarrett’s precious car being stolen. And not just any car, but the Mercury Marquis that once belonged to his father. We’ve seen the car a few times this season, more than we have in previous years. It’s always a very cool touch.
Okay, so Danno called it a classic piece of junk, and after it was stolen and stripped it did look pretty junky, but McG loves it. And of course, because of its connection to his father, it does mean a lot to him. Yet, when he caught the car thief with the help of Duke (Dennis Chun) and Kai (Shawn Thomsen) and found it was taken by a homeless, parentless young man named Nahele (Kekoa Kekumano), who stole the car because he was hungry and needed money to eat, McG did what we know is in his heart.
It’s hard to not imagine that Nahele reminds McG of the pictures of the four forgotten boys he just found in a grave at the old reform school, their skeletons still shackled after 40 years. And we also know McG believes in second chances and he truly is a fair and good man. He didn’t have a useless, worthless punk in his office crying because he was caught; he was with a young man who had no other options except trying to survive, and was sorry for what he had done.
So like a half-baked cookie, all gooey on the inside, McG got Nahele cleaned up and fed and made a deal with the young man. Help rebuild the Mercury with McG, keep his nose clean, and McG will keep the felony charge for auto theft in his desk.
McGarrett also knows washing his hands of a situation and forgetting those who truly need help is never a way to solve a problem, which is why fans love him and won’t forget this episode for a long time to come.
REDUX SIDE NOTE
There were several Hawaii actors in this week’s episode besides our recurring actors: Dennis Chun, Shawn Thomsen, Taylor Wily, and Teilor Grubbs.
Grubbs had a great scene with Uncle Steve training for the Presidential Physical Fitness Medal, and Wily had a nice moment with McG who thanked Kamekona for giving Nahele — fellow Hawaii actor Kekoa Kekumano, a job at the shrimp truck. I hope Kekumano returns in a future episode so we can see him grow and succeed under McGarrettʻs mentorship.
Rodney Oshiro, who played Tahni, is a voice over and stage actor, and makes short films and documentaries.
Veteran Hawaii actor Esmond Chung played Dr. Chad ʻEwalu, the replacement surgeon for Paul Delano. Chung is most famous for role as the Sheriff in “50 First Dates,” but he also appeared in “Lost,” and had a recurring role in “Magnum P.I.” as Sgt. Kenny Chung.
Wendie Burbridge is a published author, playwright and teacher. Reach her via Facebook and follow her on Twitter.
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I’d like to quote Danno to express how I felt about this episode and Steve’s actions in it: “That’s why I love you, babe!” 🙂
It is, indeed, episodes like these that make me love not only Steve, but also the team and the show as a whole. I loved and enjoyed every single minute of it – up to the absolutely perfect `ohana ending. You just gotta love these guys!
Once again, Alex was fantastic as Steve – especially with Nahale. I was glad to read on Twitter that Peter Lenkov mentionned that Nahale will be back on the show. The interaction between Steve and Nahale reminded me of one of my favorite scenes on the show in the Season 3 Christmas episode 3.11 (Kahu) when Steve talked to the cuffed boy at the HPD after “handing over” the unlucky carjacker to Duke. Anyone who’s seen that episode will know what I mean. Steve is simply adorable when he shows his soft core – especially when he’s helping young people who’ve gotten into trouble. Nahale is not a bad guy, at all, and deserves the second chance Steve has given him.
Chi’s performance was awesome, too. I certainly hope that Lou’s daughter will get over those nightmares soon. The one comforting thing to know is that both, Ian and Wo Fat, are dead and can’t cause any more harm. It would be even harder to overcome those nightmares if Ian was still alive or, even worse, on the run. The thought of Ian “lurking around the corner” would haunt Samantha even when she’s awake. But, sure enough, what happened to her won’t be easy to forget – despite those causing the nightmares being dead.
All of the old storylines that were picked up in this episode – including Chin’s past with the Delanos – involved experiences for the main characters that are really too hard to forget. The murder of Malia will probably always haunt Chin – and waking up in those prison overalls in Halawa after getting kidnapped by Delano must be an eternal nightmare for a thoroughly good guy and cop like Chin.
The writers did an excellent job at blending all the old and new storylines in this episode. And the cast delivered some excellent performances, too, which were moving and making me both laugh and cry – and love the main and recurring characters even more. This show definitely deserves to be among the top 3 shows in the U.S. – according to recent TV ratings (I’m not considering NFL football games as “TV shows”).
By the way – I love your excellent blog, too, Wendie 😉
My very favorite part of this whole episode was the whole team together at the end of the show. I always love when they close the show this way. And having the kids there at the end was an added bonus. So it seems Samantha and Grace know each other.It was nice the way they were all congratulating Grace on her win. Someone said one time that Hawaii 50 is their fantasy world and I guess it’s that for me. The characters aren’t perfect, and they have their arguments, but in the end they are always there to support one another. And I did like the case. I like when once in a while a crime drama investigates an old murder. There is that feeling of nostalgia that goes along with it and I felt that last night. And, I was glad to see Danny back. All of Steve’s broken toys were together again last night. Thank you for the review, Wendy.
It was so nice to see an episode where the writer seems to have followed the show from season 1 and went to the heart (in my opinion) of why we love the show. It hit so many high notes and it was great to see the *Broken Toys* together at the end. In his own way Steve did take a group of maybe not broken but dented and dinged people, give them purpose and bring together and make a family of highly trained, intelligent people who now are highly respected for who they are and what they do. Perfect writing last night and perfect review this morning Wendie.
Hi, Wendy – always enjoy your reviews that add so much insight into the cast, characters, story lines, etc.
Couple of things (not related to this week’s episode):
Is Dr. Bergman (Max/Masi) losing weight? He looks ‘slimmed down’ (to me) in this episode.
Also – might want to pass the word that according to national listing services (Zap2it) the “Pearl Harbor episode” (Ho`onani Makuakane) re-runs next Friday, Jan 23. This was a biggie . . .
Mahalo Kimo808- Thanks for the reminder- hereʻs my review if anyone needs a refresher:) http://www.honolulupulse.com/2013/12/honoring-our-fathers/
Thanks Wendie for another great review!
There was A LOT of great lines and moments that the writers put together so we don’t “forget” things from the past- how the characters work thru and “continue” to struggle with emotions and connections…… no no I am not gonna say it!!! but YOU KNOW WHAT I AM THINKING.. hehehehe
I like that Dealano is still around! and I adore how the writers have made this show more than the crime of the week- the “heart and issues they deal with personally is much more what draws viewers in IMHO!
Wendie, this may be my favorite reviews you’ve done. There were so many details in the episode and you highlighted them so well here. I always enjoy your take on the show as well as what you add in the local details.
It was a good episode and had so many of the H50 things I love. Thank you again.
Great review! Loved how the team worked together to solve the crime! Really loved Steve’s attitude towards the young boy who stole his car-I mean,he could have had him put in jail,but he gave him another chance and I don’t believe the boy will take that chance for granted! Don’t know why they let Delano live,but maybe there will be some purpose for it somewhere down the road!
Great review Wendie. I loved every moment of this episode…start to incredible finish. Like the others have said, I especially loved the interaction between Steve and Nahale. I am very happy to know we will see him again. I thought having him work for Kamekona was inspired. Kame knows what it’s like to screw up and what it’s like to get a second chance. He will be a great mentor for the kid. Thanks again for a great review!
Thanks for your review too Linda. I left some comments on the 50 Ohana website.
Great review for a great episode! This one had everything that has made H50 special through the years. I enjoyed the return of Paul Delano, and I certainly expect him to return again – I don’t think his value to the storyline is used up yet!
Great COTW, too! Loved that the plot was pulled from an historical event in Hawaiian history, albeit not a very happy one!
Lots of good scenes with all the main and supporting characters, including the precious Marquis’.
This season is going along so strong – can’t wait for the second half! I think we are in for quite a ride!
I enjoyed the epi a lot. The COTW was very sad, the poor dr was just an innocent victim and no good deed goes unpunished. What goes around comes around and the warden and guard both got their long, overdo punishment. I loved that science Steve was back and that Nahele will be back and Steve will get a chance to fix another broken toy (and may start fixing himself too!) And Danny was back (with lots of snark). His half-baked cookie comment described Steve perfectly. Great seeing the team working together we really need lots more of that! But I loved the ending and the entire crew together, even Gracie and Sam, enjoying themselves! Ohana at its best.
I agree with all your review Wendie. Not much to add. Love the moments when they all are there for each other. The writers are showing that Grover is really a big teddy bear, the scene with him and Chin was perfect. Danny knows what the car means to Steve, its like what brothers do, they make fun of each other. Danny telling Steve he’s an unbaked cookie, who likes fixing broken toys and thats why he loves him is why this show is the best at portraying the personal relationships.
Excellent review as always Wendie. I especially how you point out connections of the actors to either other shows, or back to previous eps and the original 5 O. This was a very good ep.
I liked the episode. The lost boys story is similar to an on going story here in FL, as reform school, that wasn’t a reform school. One of the schools are doing a search for the remains of the boys, who died from beating or illness. I like how everyone worked together and how Steve is letting the boy have a second chance. I hope that the car that was striped was stunt car, because I would hate for the Mercury being harmed. When I saw the creep warden guy running and Steve wasn’t I knew it going to end badly and closed my eyes.