For most “Hawaii Five-0” fans, season five was yet another great year of watching McGarrett and crew saving each other from all sorts of bad characters and threats of death and imprisonment. We all loved watching them bounce back each week and showing us they could survive another day — even if their bodies, and often their hearts, were too bruised and often bloodied.
So this is it, my friends, the home stretch. Only a few short weeks until the season premiere of “Hawaii Five-0” and only one more week until the epic Sunset on the Beach red carpet event in Waikīkī. Many fans are busy packing their bags, getting ready to catch long flights and dreaming of their chance to meet their favorite stars. Hawaii fans are getting ready to welcome those who have become part of the “H50hana” in the last five years.
In anticipation for the sixth season premiere, I thought it was only fair to ask fans again for their favorite season five episodes. More than 150 fans answered my online survey, and while their number one pick was not a surprise, I did think some of the episodes that made the list were interesting.
I asked fans to give me their three favorite episodes and took the top five highest ranked episodes of those choices by percentage.
1. EPISODE 507: ‘INĀ PAHA’ (‘IF PERHAPS’)
No surprise, right? It’s my choice for the best of the season as well. This episode really moved fans on so many levels. The acting and the storyline helped elevate it to a fan favorite as well as this season’s number one episode. 70 percent of those who responded choose this as one of their favorites.
“The 100th episode was just fabulous. I loved how we got to see familiar faces again how things played out in Steve’s (Alex O’Loughlin) mind,” said Mississippi fan Shelby Proaps.
One of the things fans loved about this episode was seeing the return of long dead characters and being able to see the alternate version of Steve’s life. Fans also commented many times about the quality of Alex O’Loughlin’s acting.
“Alex was phenomenal in that episode,” said Arkansas resident Kim Harper. “The amount of emotion and energy that he had to put into that episode was amazing!”
Karen Dritto from New York added: “Watching Alex act and the range of emotions he showed throughout the episode without saying a word was beautiful and heartbreaking.”
Other’s loved the acting of the entire cast and the episode as a whole.
“Great acting by all the cast. A very clever episode, with a bit of everything. Action, humour, and some sadness,” wrote Tracey Chandler from the UK. Linda Stein of Philadelphia added, “The writing, acting, direction, the well choreographed fights, the music — everything was just wonderfully done. Add to that a tour-de-force performance from Alex O’Loughlin and the fantastic Mark Dacascos. An episode not to be forgotten!”
Several fans mentioned the acting of Dacascos and how they will miss Wo Fat.
“Knew he had to die but will miss this villain,” Utah fan Susan Morrell wrote.
Still, Florida fan Cheryl Frick Moreland captured her thoughts most succinctly.
“(It was) the most intense, dramatic and best writing of any episode.”
2. EPISODE 517: ‘KU KA’OWALE’ (‘STAKEOUT’)
The second favorite episode, with 47 percent of the respondents choosing it as one of their favorites, was also no big surprise. Most fans love the bromance between McGarrett and Danno (Scott Caan), and this episode gave them everything they adore about the duo.
“(The episode) really solidified the amazing bond (between) Steve and Danny,” wrote fan Sarah Schmool. “Of course, it’s always there, but (the) episodes that really bring it to the forefront have always been favorites of mine. I especially loved Steve opening up to Danny about his past and his weaknesses — which he never does. It shows the trust he puts in Danny and I love that. I also loved how Danny bought him a guitar in the end, encouraging to pick back up on something he gave up. The relationship between these two has always been my favorite thing about this show, and this episode really showed it best this season.”
Besides the Steve and Danny dynamic that fans loved about the episode, several mentioned the fact that the episode was funny and lighthearted.
“I loved the (mix) of humor, emotion, action, great guests, and the relationship between Danny and Steve” Italian fan Elisa Fabbi wrote. Catherine Dinsmore from the UK added, “Everything that I love about Alex and Scott’s relationship was apparent in this episode. Humour, vulnerability, and friendship! Great guests, great direction from Daniel Dae Kim, and of course the fabulous Mr Pickles — What’s not to love!”
3. EPISODE 525: ‘A MAKE KAUA’ (‘UNTIL WE DIE’)
Fans commented that the season finale was one that again reminded them of the bond between Steve and Danny. With a 33 percent share in the vote, this episode was one that folks loved because of the ʻohana feel between the team. As they all came together to save the island from sure nuclear destruction. Yet again the fans seem to choose the episode more for the ending when the tuxedoed pair took off in Kamekona’s helicopter to play James Bond with a rogue nuke.
“Loved seeing the friendship between Steve and Danny. They are funny, serious, and are there for each other no matter what,” Kim Stavish wrote in her survey response.
Fans also loved almost seeing Kono (Grace Park) and Adam (Ian Anthony Dale) get married, and how the team rallied to find the bomb. All in a day’s work for the Five-0 Team.
4. EPISODE 518: ‘PONO KAULIKE’ (‘JUSTICE FOR ALL’)
This episode made me crazy mad, but I loved it as much as the fans seemed to as well. With a 23 percent share in favorite episodes for the season, this one was one of Scott Caan’s best. It also freed our new villain, Gabriel Waincroft (Christopher Sean), from prison and let him loose to terrorize Chin Ho yet another day.
But the most compelling part of the episode was Caan’s acting. Fans could not stop mentioning his stellar performance.
“Watching Danny protect Steve and accepting his fate for shooting Reyes was riveting television for me,” wrote Donna Balardi. “Scott Caan can convey so much emotion in a shrug or look. I could feel Danny’s emotion as he took his ‘penance’ without a fight. And the phone call to Grace — well, that was just the icing on a subtle emotional performance by Caan.”
For me, that was the clincher to the entire episode — the scene when Danno speaks to Grace (Teilor Grubbs) and thinks he is about to be beaten to death by the Columbian prison guards. There were many heartbreaking moments in season five, and that one was at the top of my list.
5. EPISODE 504: ‘KA NOE’AU’ (‘THE PAINTER’)
This episode was early in the season, and I definitely agree with the choice as one of the best. While it only had a 16 percent share, it was still a few points ahead of the runners up. Many liked the storyline that brought the entire team together in order to save the families that mob hitman Nick “Valentine” Mercer (Timothy V. Murphy) wanted to protect.
But really, fans mostly commented about Caan’s performance when he goes to Columbia to retrieve his brother, Matt, from Columbian drug dealer Marco Reyes (Anthony Ruivivar).
“This is such a strong Danny episode, and Scott Caan did a fantastic job playing the multitude of emotions required. The episode also demonstrated the great ʻohana of the Five-0 team, with McGarrett going with Danny to Colombia, and through Chin Ho offering to effectively sacrifice himself morally and professionally to help Danny out. (We got) to see a darker side to a character normally known for being comic relief. The mood is set beautifully with the camera work, and that pretty iconic shot of Danny pulling the trigger and his pained expression after killing Reyes. Brilliantly done,” wrote Belinda Hession.
I thought early on that this episode was one of their best, and was happy to see that fans thought so as well.
MY PICK FOR best episode is “Inā Paha,” but I have to mention episode 523, “Moʻo ʻŌlelo Pū” (“Sharing Traditions”) as well. While it only had an 11 percent share, it was the one episode that really spoke to me and showed genuine Hawaiian culture and beliefs. The stunts and action were so well done and Grace Park’s acting was so believable and strong. If the men of “Hawaii Five-0” get all the mentions of heartbreaking scenes and amazing acting, Park deserves one as well. Plus, anytime stunt coordinator Jeff Cadiente gets big props for an episode is always a plus.
The episode was full of love and ʻohana, something I think fans love in any episode, in any season.
Wendie Burbridge is a published author, playwright and teacher. Reach her via Facebook and follow her on Twitter.