comscore Five-0 Redux: Shaving it close - Honolulu Pulse
Every act of aloha counts. Click here to DONATE to the MAUI RELIEF Fund.
Five-0 Redux

Shaving it close

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

They say confession is good for the soul. While we are always looking for good in the world, sometimes confession can do more than just cleanse a conscience.

“Hawaii Five-0” often experiences confessions — some good, some bad, and some very evil — yet all help to set the truth free.

And what a truth it was this week.

While the truth is always something McGarrett (Alex O’Loughlin) and his team search for in their investigations, he got into a couple of close shaves, with Chin (Daniel Dae Kim), Kono (Grace Park) and Grover (Chi McBride) working hard to get Jerry (Jorge Garcia) out of one as well.

I always love when the writers play with the theme of the episode on more than one level, and Steven Lilien and Bryan Wynbrandt did just that in “Kahania” (“close shave” in Hawaiian). It was fun to watch McGarrett get a literal close shave from friendly neighborhood pacifist barber Odell Martin (Michael Imperioli from “Pōwehiwehi”) as they talked story during an early morning appointment.

It’s always a treat to be able to see McGarrett have a chance to relax and enjoy a bit of normalcy in his life. Those moments are so rare in this show. And of course, it was quite short-lived, as just before Odell was about to give him a “high and tight, don’t touch the burns” hair cut, trouble walked through the door.

Isn’t that always the case? Trouble always seems to knock on McGarrett’s door. Yet, this time it showed up with a bullet to the leg and a fairy tale on its lips.

Trouble this time was Eran (Steven Krueger), who had just witnessed an automatic-weapon-toting Armenian gang kill a man in an alley near the bakery where he works. He told McGarrett and Odell that the gang was out to kill him so he couldn’t talk.

I suppose this should have been my first clue. Why would an obviously well-supported gang who controls the neighborhood where Eran lives and works want to kill him so badly? Most gangs would just threaten to kill his family or cut his tongue out if he talked — you know, something scary enough just to keep him quiet.

But why would they waste their time shooting up a barber shop, killing a uniformed HPD officer and threatening the head of Five-0 in order to get a kid they could obviously control with a few harsh words and threats? Why even waste a bullet on him?

Okay, hindsight is 20/20, so while I watched McG and Odell barricade themselves and make homemade molotov cocktails from hair dye and aftershave, I was distracted by the friendly banter that included some of the truths McGarrett revealed about Doris and Wo Fat.

I did enjoy how McG and Odell seemed to become better friends. All of the details about their respective pasts was a nice touch. Odell was particularly revealing about his life as a rich and privileged kid who went to the right schools and grew up to be became a lawyer like his ambitious defense attorney father. But he gave it all up to live like his hero, grandfather Jack, who was a barber and seemed to have taught Odell more than just how to give a good shave and haircut and make his two bits. I’m just glad what Odell learned seemed to help McG get them out of his bullet-riddled shop in one piece.

Yet, Odell’s motto of “wela ka hao” or “life’s too short” seemed a bit too ominous while people tried to kill them. The actual translation of the phrase is more along the lines of “strike while the iron’s hot.” In Odell and McG’s case, this seemed a little more relevant. They had to strike fast and hard to get out of the jam they were in.

I know you are going to argue with me about a few details I let slide as bullets and chainsaws threatened McG. I know I shouldn’t give him a pass on forgetting his cell phone, but as a woman who has her entire life on her phone, I too have forgotten it in my car, and usually on the days when I needed it most. It’s believable to forget your phone in your car when you’re getting a haircut and you’re parked just a few feet away.

But as an officer of the law, it is not okay to forget your gun. McGarrett thankfully had his. I know, I know, many of you will say it’s not believable, yada yada yada. But really folks, need I remind you this is a television show? Sometimes we have to let characters be human and forget phones, have guns and overlook a few minor inconsistencies.

So while McG and Odell dealt with the Armenians, Chin, Kono, and Grover worked to get Jerry out of a bind. He looked an awful lot like a man committing home invasions that have left victims in the hospital. Jerry agreed to be a plant in a lineup, and a victim identified him as the man who invaded her home.

While Jerry is of course, innocent, as he was gambling with Max (Masi Oka) at a Magic The Gathering card game, Chin assured him he would be cleared of the charges.

I love when Chin and Jerry get to have some bro time, although Chin seems to be more of a big brother to Jerry. I also liked that Grover talked to Chin about Gabriel’s phone call and Chin’s feelings about “owing” his brother-in-law for making Coughlin go away for good.

I’m glad Chin does not have any reservations about what he will do if Gabriel comes back in his life. Really, he owes Gabriel nothing. An eye for an eye, so to speak. Chin saved his life twice. Gabriel paid him and saved his career. They are pretty much equal, don’t you think?

Speaking of all things being equal, I liked how both stories wrapped up and everyone caught their man. The twist in McGarrett’s case really got me, however, especially the fact that I missed all the clues McG and Odell had on the real bad guy the entire time.

While I did sort of admire Eran’s father, Armenian gang leader Garig Dobrian (Mark Ivanir), I was horrified at the reason why Dobrian wanted to kill his own son. McGarrett finding the proof of Eran’s crimes was heartbreaking. O’Loughlin was amazing in his reaction to the photos of Eran’s victims as he portrayed horror and sorrow with no words and real tears. It wasn’t overwrought or unnatural. It was sincere and told viewers more about what makes McGarrett the man that he is. It also reminded fans why we root for him week after week, regardless if he forgets his phone or survives hundreds of bullets being shot at him at once.

His face at the end of this week’s episode was enough to excuse the little details that were completely insignificant if you wanted to see true human emotion played out on TV.

So I confess, while the stunts and action make “Five-0” super fun and entertaining, it’s really about how I feel and think about the characters — how much I believe in them and want them to succeed. If I love them, I’ll come back and watch again and again. I’ll stick around to see them get out of every close shave they get into, real or metaphorical, and even if it’s shot full of holes. It’s always worth it.


Lots of Hawaii talent in this week’s episode. Thanks to CBS for the insight into our local actors.

Keo Woolford returned as Det. Chang, who runs the lineup where Jerry was identified. Woolford has played various versions of Chang in four other episodes of “Hawaii Five-0” and he was last seen in “Kupouli ‘ia” (“Broken”) when he was bitten by a zombie victim.

Chris Kim, who played Officer Eric Nohona and was shot by the Armenians outside of Odell’s shop, is an actual Honolulu Police Department officer. He is a detective in the Criminal Investigation Division.

Paulette Franco, who played the City Mill cashier, was in the classic “Hawaii Five-O” in the episode “Man on Fire” and in “Magnum P.I.”

Jill Kuramoto, former local news anchor and reporter, played attorney Chelsea Reed. Kuramoto now serves as public information officer for the City and County of Honolulu’s Board of Water Supply.

Pogi Tevaga played Tauna Lahani, the real home-invasion robber. Tevaga was Mr. Polynesia 2013 and works as a fire knife dancer.

Two local businesses where also featured this week. City Mill is a locally owned and operated hardware store started by Chung Kun Ai in 1899 and still run by his family. His grandchildren currently operate the business.

Rainbow Valley Supermarket, the Armenian front owned by Garig Dobrian, is a real mom-and-pop grocery store on Palolo Avenue. My grandmother grew up in Palolo Valley and Rainbow Mart has always been Palolo’s version of 7-Eleven. Spam musubi, ice, beer — if you need something quick while back in the valley, Rainbow Mart is your stop.
Wendie Burbridge is a published author, playwright and teacher. Reach her via Facebook and follow her on Twitter.

Comments (24)

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

  • Loved the review as always. It was so nice to see a little fun added into what could have been a very dark story. Steve did tell Odell he left his phone in the truck because he was in the barbershop. I know it sounds like a lame excuse but when I go to the salon or spa I don’t take my phone, it’s a time to relax even if for a short time so I guess guys would do the same. I always try to figure out what’s going on and “who did it”, in this case I can truly say I did not see Eran as the monster he truly was. The ending really tore me apart, from seeing the little shoe to seeing the genuine tears on Alex’s aka Steve’s face when he looked at the pictures, I cried, yes I did. Alex O’Loughlin is great in the action scenes but in the emotional ones and this one in particular he was superb. Great writing, great directing, great acting and I can say S5 is in my opinion amazing.

  • Wendie, I agree with your review, and your reasons for continuing to watch this show right through the inconsistencies and plot holes. Who the heck cares about that when we have this superb team of crime fighters and compassionate, sympathetic characters to root for each week?

    I loved the episode! We had action, we had drama, we had comedy and we had gripping emotion – something for everyone. Why do we have this “need” each week to try to rip apart an episode, as if some people are not happy unless they can find something to complain about. Yes, everyone IS certainly entitled to their opinions, and not every episode is going to be a hit for each person watching. I know that and I understand it, but for me, I watch the show for the big picture – the Bromance, the action, the stories and of course, the scenery. As such, each episode is a variation of a hit for me, some a bigger hit than others, but all give me something to love each week.

    I hope Danny was home recovering for his sojourn in a Colombian prison! As Steve told Odell, “he’ll be back next week.” I bet even Steven missed his back up in this one!

    BTW, I did not question the fact that Steve left his phone in the truck. I’ve done it many times. Also, I see Odell as a free spirit who does not feel the need to be continually plugged into the World Wide Net, hence he doesn’t have a need for a cell phone. At least the show addressed the fact that no one had a cell on them – just because you can’t buy their reasons doesn’t mean they are not valid. People do things all the time that someone is going to think is crazy.

    Got on my high horse there for a bit! I’m climbing down now! 🙂

    Masi was so good as Max this week! Loved his little attempt to hide his gambling. Poor Jerry – he was so sad-looking in that line up! Loved his bro hug with Chin, who is so understanding and sweet to Jerry!

    Let’s make Larry Imperioli, as Odell the barber, a new recurring, shall we? He was awesome! Especially appreciated his uncertainty and disbelief over the about face at the end with Eran. “What did he do?” Really well done.

    The final couple of minutes where Steve has to tell Eran’s father than his son was dead, coupled with Steve finding the room with Eran’s souvenirs of his conquests were chilling, painful and oh-so-sad. Alex can really bring the emotion to the forefront. This is only the second time in five seasons we’ve seen him actually break down completely – I don’t know if this means PTSD is finally taking hold, or if Danny would say that Steve is evolving from Neanderthal to Cro Magnon Man!

  • Wow! This was one nerve-wrecking episode which left me clinging to my chair while the bullets flew around Steve’s and Odell’s heads. And yet it made me laugh out loud a few times, too.
    While I was very surprised to hear that Steve left his beloved cell phone in the car, Odell gave us the perfect reason: A barber’s shop is the last refuge for a man to go to and relax. I definitely enjoyed seeing Steve get that relaxing treatment with a good shave. I really hope we’ll get to see more of Odell in the future because anyone who has a calming, relaxing effect on Steve and even manages to make him open up about his mother and Wo Fat, is highly welcome on the show and in Steve’s stressful and often sad life.

    Odell’s reference to Munich put a smile on my face. I swear I was not the “beautiful Fräulein” who gave that mug to Odell though 🙂 But if he ever comes back to Munich, I’ll get him a replacement for that mug – just because he made my favorite Steve relax and look happy for a few minutes. At least until the big trouble started…

    This was one of those fantastic episodes that seemed to be tailor-made for the fans of Alex because he got to shine as an actor by expressing emotions with just a look on his face. His performance in the shop with the bad boy’s father when he finds out the truth and, most of all, in the final heartbreaking scene, was simply perfect! While I didn’t need this episode to remind me of why I am one of his biggest fans who “roots for him every week”, I certainly appreciated and absolutely loved this episode – mainly because I got so much of Alex at his best, which he always is if the scripts give him the right material to work with. I also liked the storyline with poor Jerry though and enjoyed the scenes with him and Chin a lot.

    I sign every word in the last paragraph of your blog about why we watch this show and that it’s so worth it!

  • Wendie,you nailed it on all points! Like you,I missed the clues to Erin’s true story also and when his father told the story to Steve and why he wanted to kill him,I was shocked. While I can understand,to a point,why Steve would not have his cell phone with him,it made no sense to me why Odell would not have a phone in his barber shop.I liked how Chin was able to help Jerry out of his situation. The real robber may have looked a little like Jerry,but not that much. The scene at the end with Steve crying was heartbreaking-proved that he has a heart and feelings!

  • First of all, I absolutely believe that Steve could leave his cell phone in his truck while relaxing in the barber chair on his ‘time off.’ I just did the same thing when I got a mani/pedi! Some of us haven’t had our phones attached as a permanent appendage yet and want it to remain that way! (His gun, however, is an appendage of his for sure!)

    That being said, I agree, agree, agree with everything you said, Wendie!. This was one of my favorite episodes on so many levels. I loved the banter between Steve and Odell and the little reveals about each as part of their natural conversation. A much more mature interchange than the redundant Steve/Danno carguments. And, yet again, I didn’t even miss Danny in this week’s episode…sorry, Scott fans, but as much as I love him, his character is annoying me lately. I hope Odell is a recurring character.

    The counterbalance between Jerry’s humorous predicament and Steve’s super-violent shootout was well played. Didn’t even need a car chase or other high-tech action…all reduced to a barbershop and holding cell! And, of course, the final scene just blew me away and, as Peter predicted, brought me to tears along with Steve. Wonder what Alex thinks about to put him in that frame of mind to react so genuinely tearfully as he did. So moving and eerie!

    Great job, cast, writers and crew! Can’t believe you’re starting on the final (25th) episode already…much too soon!

  • I generally don’t get to watch the episodes until they air in the UK but I’ve watched the heartbreaking scene with Steve crying over those victims and it shattered me to watch it. Alex’s portrayal is so amazing and you can feel his emotions come through the screen. Steve needs someone he can lean on more than ever now, he needs his ohana as I think he’s going to break sooner rather than later after everything he’s been through.

  • Great review Wendie. I’m going to be one of those who have a problem with Steve leaving his phone in the car but then again, I’m one of those who has had the damn thing surgically attacked to my head. LOL I never leave my phone anywhere because I’m always terrified I’m gonna lose it so it’s with me all the time.

    But you nailed every other point right on target. Alex ROCKED this episode. I have said this a million times…the man can deliver pages of dialog with just his eyes. That last scene was a 1000 page novel. Great great job by Alex and the writers for giving him such wonderful material to work with. Thanks Wendie for another awesome review.

  • This epi had everything I love about the show: action; tongue-in-cheek humor; rip my heart out emotion; hot guy getting shaved (ooops sorry). I seem to take each show on its own merits now and try not to focus too much on the path it may or may not take. I have my preferences but I am always along for the ride. I seem to watch and accept an awful lot but that’s my world that I choose to live in.

    In my weird mind, I feel the comments we are making are being heard and I see the writing and direction incorporating some of the criticisms and trying to “explain” more. But that’s me.

    I miss Scott…. no one can take his place on the team for me.

    Thanks for the recap Wendie. You get a few weeks break – like a vaca ha. Looking forward to the season wrap-up. Not that it is ending but hopeful for some awesome things to come.

  • It was an excellent episode – seeing Steve front and center and in full SEAL mode is always a treat. Having emotional Steve is an added pleasure. No one does emotion like Alex.

    Jerry’s storyline was a much needed break from the Armenian vampire. The main storyline was a bit over the top, especially the shoot-em-up scenes at the barbershop, but it’s tv, so poetic license is a given. The ending was emotional and upsetting. I’m not sure how/why 5-0 was never aware of those gruesome happenings but again it’s tv and you have to overlook some of the holes.

    I’m with Brenda, I feel that the writers are more in tune with the fans feeling and thoughts. I wonder if the live tweets on Friday nights have given them a better insight to us!

    I do hope Michael makes a reappearance – he has a great chemistry with Alex and would be a welcomed addition to the team. Steve needs a safe haven and a non-judgemental ear to listen! Btw, I don’t take my cell w/me all the time either.

    Truthfully I didn’t miss Scott. I do like Danny and the McDanno dynamic but not this season. Danny’s way to mean and nasty to Steve. Maybe after his run-in with a Colombian jail he might return to the snarky, funny Danno of old. Hope so.This season started off a bit slow with a few clunkers but has made a nice turn around. Now, if we can get a renewal notice it’d be perfect.

    • Agree on all counts! Nice to see I’m not the only one who (a) doesn’t take my cell phone EVERYWHERE as if it were a part of my body; and (b) didn’t miss Danny and his sniping. The more mature banter between Steve and Odell was very enjoyable. As for why H50 didn’t know about missing kids, I figure this has been going on over a few years and is being handled by the HPD since no bodies/deaths were reported. H50 doesn’t handle EVERY crime on the island after all, but that doesn’t mean they weren’t aware of it in general. So that justified it to me anyway.

  • Wendie,
    I enjoyed this ep like most of the others. I guess at this point in time I am concerned about the renewal of the show. Some sites are reporting that CBS needs to open up a few slots for new shows. This may come at the expense of shows that are doing well in their time slots this season (Five-0). Mentioned also is Elementary.

    • I also heard Blue Bloods and The Good Wife as well. It took them a while to get rid of 2 1/2 Men and the Mentalist. they should look at CSI instead of the newer, more enjoyable shows (H50)!

  • Hawaii Five-0 is never realistic but the shark jumped extremely high on this one. McGarrett is NEVER off duty and even takes his phone outside when he goes for a swim, so that was the first blunder but OK, I’ll roll with it. But then, there’s a 20 minute shoot-out in Honolulu and finally one solo police officer shows up? Seriously? Sorry, but I think the shark not only jumped but made a slam dunk score on that one. Then it seemed like Odelle was a Danny substitute with he and McGarrett taking soft jabs at each other. Let’s try something new, writers. I did enjoy being completely surprised to find out that Eran wasn’t the innocent victim in this, but it sure seems like there would have been an easier way to take him out that would also draw less attention to your illegal organization. But nonetheless, Steven Krueger did a great job as did Mark Ivanir as his father. Of course Michael Imperioli is always believable no matter what he’s doing.

    I’ve really enjoyed the past couple of episodes but this time I felt like the writers came up with a good plot but just didn’t bother with the details.What is worth doing, is worth doing thoroughly. I’m afraid that McGarrett getting emotional at the end just wasn’t enough to save this one for me.

  • I’m really having a lot of trouble with this episode. I’m a huge fan of the show, and most of the time the sloppiness is easy to overlook, but so much of this one didn’t make sense. I can accept that for once, Steve didn’t have his phone. No big deal. When the shootout began, and thousands of rounds are being fired, only one cop is sent? I don’t care how quiet the neighbourhood was. Why didn’t those thugs just tell Steve why they were after the kid, and why did they have to shoot the cop? It’s like they were working on a whole different script. The father should have dealt with his son, himself.
    Amazingly, someone actually approved this scenario for production. If Peter Lenkov and company are fine with treating their audience like fools, maybe HF-0 should be cancelled, so the cast can move on to better things.
    I’ll end with the only positive things I can. Steve and Odell were great together. Steve’s final scene was amazing, and showed why Alex is such a great actor.
    I didn’t miss Scott one bit.
    P.S. Steve looks great clean-shaven !!!

    • very true that if the original “bad guys” were out for vigilante justice, they shoudn’t have been ready to ambush a cop. Although, the dad seemed to distance himself from them when questioned by Steve. The lone cop responding to that call was the biggest problem for me in the episode, but what you mentioned may be more significant .

  • Hi, Wendy
    This guy Odell should be an almost-regular. Very smooth, very natural, interesting character.
    Just for the record (you might have missed it), Jill Kuramoto left the Board of Water Supply last month to become communications director for the Hawaii State Senate – just kind of walked diagonally across the street. A great addition, I might add! And she was really good in this episode.**
    **With Jill Kuramoto, Jodi Leong and Yasmin Dar now at the State Capitol it’s become the Channel 4 Alumni Clubhouse!

    • Hi Kimo- thank you so much for adding that tidbit about Jill Kuramoto. On her profile she still has Brd of Water Supply listed and the State Senate. And she was great! Thanks for sharing;) Aloha, Wendie

  • This episode kept me in the dark until the very end. Like you’ve said before, things aren’t always as they seem on 5-0, and this pedophile Eran was a prime example. In hindsight, it helps explain why the Armenian thugs never managed to shoot McGarrett despite a hail of bullets – they didn’t really want to kill him, it was ERAN they wanted. And maybe Eran’s father didn’t tell them why he wanted his son dead, so the thugs couldn’t tell McG what they didn’t know. I can definitely believe McG not bringing his mobile phone into the shop; he’s not the kind of person who is chained to his tech toys. I enjoyed all the twists and turns, although I missed seeing the whole team work together – I kept expecting Chin, Grover, and Kono to rescue McG.

    Thank you for the review and all the side notes!!

Click here to see our full coverage of the coronavirus outbreak. Submit your coronavirus news tip.

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