Carrying a burden is usually difficult — it can warp even the strongest person if the weight is too heavy. Even if the burden is purely metaphorical, the strain can do more than just cause pain and suffering. In this week’s “Hawaii Five-0,” titled “Ka Luhi” (“The Burden”), a terrible secret severely damages the life of young Reese Holland (Joey Luthman) who carries the story of a murder in the dark recesses of his brain.
Yet, once the young man unburdens himself — McGarrett (Alex O’Loughlin) and the Five-0 team come to his aid. Reese is going through PTSD therapy, and when he suddenly remembers where a body is buried in the woods of Maunawili, he helps the Five-0 team gather new evidence to solve the 2006 disappearance of a Kukui High School star athlete, Maggie Reed (Nativa Law).
The episode, written by Helen Shang & Zoe Robyn and directed by Carlos Bernard– was expertly plotted and maneuvered with an experienced hand. As usual, I loved how the team all worked together to solve the murder of Maggie Reed, as well as how they helped the HPD detective who headed the investigation ten years prior, Pearson Yang (Charles Rahi Chun).
I was glad to have seen Sgt. Duke (Dennis Chun) in the woods where Reese led the investigators to Maggie’s shallow grave. Duke is always one to protect the innocent, and when he stops Reese from getting too close to the uncovered skeleton of Maggie, it reminds us of how shocking the scene is for not just the young man, but for everyone working the case.
There was a really nice moment with Max (Masi Oka) and Dr. Noelani Cunha (Kimee Balmilero) who tell McGarrett and Lou (Chi McBride) about the found remains. I liked how Max shared what happened to the victim, and how Cunha explained that the DNA confirmed that the skeleton was really Maggie Reed. It was almost as if they are beginning to overlap Max and Dr. Cunha, as fans may already know that actor Masi Oka will be leaving the show in the new year. It was a good sign that perhaps Balmilero will take over the reigns left behind by Oka.
Another element about the episode that I appreciated was the change of scenery. There seemed to be more scenes done in Steve’s office and Five-0 headquarters in this episode, versus just the typical magic table scene where the team analyzes evidence and suspects. Usually McGarrett and the team spend a lot of time driving around the island to find clues and chasing down leads. Of course, every time a scene can be shot outdoors–especially in Hawaii — I’m sure we all appreciate that choice of location. As the east coast is experiencing a cold front, and Hawaii recently cancelled a Tsunami watch, just watching the beauty of Hawaii unfold on our television screens is a cause for small kine (pidgin translation: “a little bit of”) celebration.
While we spent a lot of the investigation in headquarters, we did get a few cargument scenes between McGarrett and Danno (Scott Caan) — which have been few and far between lately. The scenes between the two pals were thankfully not as catty as they have been in the past. They were more introspective about Danno’s relationship with his sister, Bridget (special guest star Missy Peregrym).
Bridget is in Hawaii attending a corporate convention with her company and Danno takes McGarrett to meet her. It was cute to watch the two bond over their mutual awareness of Danno’s borderline surliness. While Bridget is in town, Danno notices that her work friend, Spencer (Daniel Bess), is paying very close attention to his sister, and big brother is concerned about the impact of this relationship on her marriage and her children. It was really sweet how he also shares his worry with McGarrett — and very funny as he explains how Spencer touched her lower back as he lead Bridget away. The scene between Danno and McGarrett demonstrating the different back touches and their meaning — only to be caught in the act by Kono (Grace Park) — was priceless.
I do like when McGarrett and Danno spend their time ribbing each other versus snipping at each other. It seems as if we spent a good bit of the last two seasons arguing more than carguing. If you have been watching since season one, you understand the difference. Arguing is just that — a disagreement that is filled with more anger than mutual respect of each other’s differences. Carguing is two friends giving each other a good natured bad time and giving us a bit of a laugh. After an argument I always wondered why the two are friends and after a cargument, I always feel like they really do love each other — in a bros before girls kind of way.
Yet Bridget’s tear-filled confession to her brother about being lonely and unhappy– about thinking that she is invisible, and Danno’s realistic reaction to her predicament, was really well done. Both actors handled that scene well — it wasn’t overly melodramatic and was quite realistic. Caan is always good in these kind of scenes, as he allows his emotional restraint to make the scene sound natural and be far more effective.
I also very much enjoyed how we watched McGarrett unravel the mystery of Maggie’s death, and who really killed her, all while trying to prove that what Reese is seeing while under hypnosis, is the truth. I loved watching his McGarrett-Sixth-Sense kick in as he doubts the confession of Travis Wilson (Trent Garrett), Maggie’s boyfriend at the time of her disappearance, who Detective Yang still believes killed his victim. I loved how he reenacted the details of the case by digging a three-foot grave to test Travis’s possible timeline — all to be able to prove that Travis didn’t actually kill and bury Maggie.
While O’Loughlin is never a slouch when it comes to playing McGarrett — I do love when we watch him think and bring about a strong resolution. I especially love when he goes with his theory — that Reese’s father accidentally hit Maggie with his car and then buried her body to cover up the murder.
It was still even more perfect when the truth of the case dawns on him, as it snowballs in real time, as Reese goes under hypnosis in front of his parents. We all thought it was Reese’s father, Fred (Paul Ganus) and yet, (spoiler alert) when Reese’s mother, Monica (Cathryn De Prume) is revealed as the killer, it made even better sense. Of course, a child would block out watching his mother bury a girl covered in blood. All children want to protect their parents– especially their own mother. Reese buried that thought almost as deeply as his mother hid her deadly secret.
In Hawaiian, “luhi” (pronounced loo-hee) means: “weary, tired, fatigued; wearisome, burdensome, tiresome, laborious, tedious; burden, wearisome or tedious task; labor, work, pains, toil.” While this definition really details the kind of burden that Reese and his mother carried for ten years. It also explains how Travis felt not knowing what happened to the girl he loved; how Detective Yang felt not being able to solve his own case; and how Bridget feels in her life stuck trying to care for her children, her distant husband, her parents, and herself.
Yet I think the better term would have been “hāʻawe” (pronounced HA-ah-vey). This Hawaiian word means “to carry a burden on the back; a bundle or burden so carried.” While this might be more literal (it also means backpack), it does connote a carrying of a weight — which is what many characters in “Ka Luhi” struggled with — the weight of consciousness, the burden of secrets, and the pain of regret.
REDUX SIDE NOTE:
Next week’s “Hawaii Five-0” will be the last new episode of 2016. “Kāʻili kū” (“Snatchback”), will deal with Chin (Daniel Dae Kim) and the team heading to Mexico to save his niece Sara (Londyn Silzer) who has been kidnapped. The set-up for this story was introduced in this week’s episode, as Chin could not get a hold of Sara’s Aunt and Uncle in order to speak to her. Chin is worried, and while cousin Kono gave him a dose of harsh reality, I’m sure she will jump right in to help save Chin’s last tie to Malia.
It looks like the entire extended Five-0 ohana will be in the episode: Sgt. Duke, Kamekona (Taylor Wily), Flippa (Shawn Mokuahi Garnett), Gracie (Teilor Grubbs), and Charlie (Zach Sulzbach), as well as Duane “Dog” Chapman, Sang Min (Will Yun Lee), and Officer Pua Kai (Shawn Thomsen). George Takei will also return as Chin’s Uncle Choi.