There are many people around the world who think that Elvis Presley and Hawaii are almost synonymous. Like the original version of “Hawaii Five-O,” the mere mention of Elvis brings up many of the same images of classic Hawaiian scenery, sunsets, and beaches.
Television and film may have brought Hawaii into our homes long before it was affordable to vacation on the same beaches we saw on screen, but Elvis’ face and music brought a soundtrack along with it.
I admit there are times when I’ll watch “Blue Hawaii” just to see my island home during a much simpler time. Elvis shot two other films in Hawaii: “Girls Girls Girls!” and “Paradise, Hawaiian Style,” as well as his famous concert telecast, “Elvis, Aloha from Hawaii.” I heard stories growing up of my mother catching a Elvis-sweat-soaked towel at that very concert, as well as magical tales about his visits to The Coco Palms Resort on Kauaʻi.
The Coco Palms was a favorite destination for Elvis and fans traveled from all corners of the globe to see where he shot the famous wedding scene from “Blue Hawaii.” Many more came to be married in the same wedding chapel where his character married Malie Duval (Joan Blackman) after serenading her with “The Hawaiian Wedding Song (Ke Kali Nei Au).”
So an Elvis convention in Hawaii is not that far-fetched, but this time it was set in modern Hawaii with a quite different Five-0 team investigating the murder of an Elvis impersonator and the theft of a costume studded with real diamonds — because if you’re going to hide a fortune, why not hide it in plain sight and on something that could walk through TSA security without an agent blinking once they saw the slicked back pompadour and extra-large sideburns.
Not that people don’t dress up and impersonate Elvis all over the world, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen the same type of diversity amongst Elvis impersonators (Elvii?) like the ones in this week’s “Hawaii Five-0.”
“Ua Helele’i ka Hōkū (Fallen Star)” was the kind of episode fans love from the “Five-0” team. And not just the fictional team of McGarrett (Alex O’Loughlin) and crew, but from the team behind the screen, including writer David Wolkove and director James Wilcox.
The episode had all the elements — the entire team working together to solve the crime of the week, McGarrett taking the lead, funny lines and hilarious guest stars to go with cool action and a sizzling hot ending. I especially enjoyed the effort to try and wrap up storylines from previous episodes, like Grover’s investigation into the death of his former partner’s wife, as well as the Gabriel (Christopher Sean) vs Chin (Daniel Dae Kim) tango that was ratcheted up in “Pono Kaulike (Justice for All).”
I could probably write an entire blog just on the Elvii. And about Jerry (Jorge Garcia) and his fabulous singing. Fans loved his sing-a-long to Dean Martin’s “Ain’t That A Kick In The Head?” in “Pōwehiwehi (Blackout),” but his ending rendition of The King’s “Love Me” this week was even better than his car tune.
Along with his singing, I loved how his conspiracy spidey sense gave the team the key to the case. Jerry’s immense knowledge for all that is Elvis helped them figure out the bejeweled costume worn by former local rock star and current ETA — Elvis Tribute Artist — Lane Collins (Peter Dobson, who also played Elvis in “Forrest Gump” and “Protecting the King”) was really covered in $3 million in diamonds.
The murder case was wrapped up very quickly as the team figured out an obsessed fan wanted Lane dead in order to make him “a legend” in the rock world. Funny, I think of Elvis as a great legend, but I guess Jane Miller (appropriately played by Alice Cooper’s daughter Calico, who also dances and performs in his rock operas) wanted Lane to be more than just a king.
While the case had several twists and turns that were fun and full of action, it wasn’t hard to figure out. It was far more light-hearted (as much as a murder investigation can be) than previous episodes this season. I love when resident cynic Danno (Scott Caan) can make snarky comments about the obvious, and I really enjoyed this weeks real funny man, Barry Burns (former “Saturday Night Live” standout Jon Lovitz).
Barry was on house arrest after his role in the diamond heist and getting busted by stakeout buddies McG and Danno. He was perfect as a self-proclaimed scumbag criminal. As most viewers really enjoyed him in “Kū kaʻawale,” I’m glad they brought him back this week; he added to the Elvis humor without having to don a flared pantsuit.
While we didn’t see a lot of McG and Danno bromance this week, there was a bit of a car discussion. Sadly the Cargument has seemed to fall by the wayside on the show. But there was a bit of I-got-your-back patting when McGarrett picked up Grover (Chi McBride) at the airport after he spent a week in Chicago trying to find evidence to charge his former best friend in the death of his wife.
I do love when McGarrett tells a friend, “Anything you need from me, you let me know.” It shows his aloha as well as the trust he has in Grover. It’s like he’s saying, “I trust that you are right, and I’m sticking by you, no matter what your former friends in Chicago think.”
That’s McGarrett through and through.
And even though fans didn’t get the bromantic banter, they sure got the action back this week. There hasn’t been a shootout involving the entire team for several episodes, and I do love a good gun fight in the middle of a fancy hotel with a hostage and a big gun in a guitar case held by a guy dressed like Elvis.
Add in Kono (Grace Park) telling McGarrett, “Good shot, boss,” and I knew the scene was going to be one of viewers’ collective favorites. McGarrett always knows how to get around and take the bad guy by surprise without shooting too many holes in the walls.
I would be remiss if I didn’t at least talk a little bit about this week’s cliffhanger. Chin had a blast from the past show up and unceremoniously invade his thoughts, as well as his home. Gabriel returned and Chin wasn’t waiting with open arms.
It was obvious he was coming and what he would ask for, but fans surely didn’t know he would leave behind a bit of a puzzle — photographs of Kono’s fiance Adam (Ian Anthony Dale) and an unknown older Asian gentleman.
While everyone loves bad boy Gabe, who is that man next to Adam in the photos? And why would this image cause Chin to suddenly help an escaped convict evade capture?
All I know is that even though Elvis may have left the building, conniving Gabriel has not, and I fear he may just break Chin’s faithful heart and tear it all apart.
REDUX SIDE NOTE
“The Amazing Race” will air for two hours on April 17 and fans will have yet another week without “Hawaii Five-0.” But don’t miss a special event on April 18 at Barnes and Noble Ala Moana when Lisa Freeman, daughter or “Hawaii Five-O” creator Leonard Freeman, reads from her debut young adult novel, “Honey Girl.”
Emme Tomimbang will also moderate a panel of “Hawaii Five-0” recurring actors, including Taylor Wily, Dennis Chun and Al Harrington, who will speak about Leonard Freeman’s legacy. Other scheduled participants include Jimmy Borges and cultural historian Kamaki Kanahele.