If I made any kind of resolution for January, it had to be that I would not give up hope in this new year. This thought might have been inspired by the shocking cliff hanger “Hawaii Five-0” left us with on Dec. 16, 2016– when we watched a scary Mexican cartel drag Chin Ho Kelly (Daniel Dae Kim) away, pull a black bag over his head, and let us all wonder if Chin was going to come out alive. Way to wish us a Merry Christmas, Five-0.
In this week’s episode, “Ka ʻaelike” (pronounced Kah Eye-lee-kay) which means “the deal” in Hawaiian, we finally got the conclusion we have been waiting for these last three weeks. Talk about a long cliffhanger– and sadly, one that was wrapped up within minutes. It was all so very anti-climactic. The rest of the episode sort of went off into La La Land– which never bodes well for a Five-0 episode. Still there were a few moments within the episode that helped salvage my feelings about the latest offering from season seven.
I did love that the Hawaiian theme of the episode– “The Deal” was woven nicely into the episode. We also got a few more “deals” than I think we had originally bargained for, and the episode ended on a better note than I expected after getting such a swift wrap up of Chin’s Mexican Cartel ordeal.
The episode was written by David Wolkove and Matt Wheeler and directed by Joe Dante– all veteran Five-0 crew members. Wolkove– currently a co-executive producer on the show– has been involved with writing at least 27 episodes since 2010. He also has been a story editor since the start of season two. Wheeler started as a story editor at the end of season four and his first writing credit was coincidentally, the last episode Dante directed for Five-0, the season six Halloween episode “Na Pilikua Nui” (“Monsters”).
Wheeler also wrote two popular season six episodes– “ʻO ke aliʻi wale no kaʻu makemake” (“My Desire Is Only For The Chief”), this one with executive producer Peter Lenkov, and also the fan favorite Valentine episode “Hoa ʻĪnea” (“Misery Loves Company”). Currently Wheeler is an executive story editor and wrote two other episodes with Wolkove this season– “No ke aliʻi wahine a me ka ʻāina” (“For Queen and Country”) and “Ka Hale Hoʻokauweli,” (“House of Horrors”). He solo wrote last week’s “Kāʻili aku” (“Snatchback”) which led into this week’s “Ka ʻaelike.”
If anyone could pull off this episode, it would have to be a director like Dante, who did a good job keeping the three different storylines moving along and not tripping over each other too badly. The violence factor was pretty high– but as Dante is known as a veteran horror film director– this helped me understand where it came from. I know, it’s an action show, there’s always action, and violence, and killing– yada yada yada. But still, did we have to kill a cop who is just doing his job, in such a shocking way? He wasn’t even a cop we disliked or was working for the Yakuza or anything that would justify literally hitting him with a truck mid sentence. Even for someone who has directed three of the six “Hawaii Five-0” Halloween episodes– that was really gross. And didn’t August March (Ed Asner) die the same way in season three? It was really the first thing I thought– “oh, they killed August March like that too.”
Which means one of two things– I have watched too many episodes of “Hawaii Five-0” (well, all of them probably too many times) or I have a low tolerance for gory killings on TV. All bad omens for someone who writes a weekly column about a television show.
But I digress– the episode itself had parts I loved and parts I wasn’t a fan of considering that it was the first episode of the new year. So I’m going to focus on what I loved and let you just watch the episode so you can see the rest.
Things I loved about this episode:
1- Loved how Adam (Ian Anthony Dale) showed up in Mexico to help get Chin back. But really– couldn’t we have seen him get in the action a little more?
2- Loved how McGarrett (Alex O’Loughlin) came out of the forest in all his tactical gear and big gun to assure Chin he was saved. And then took the time to return Chin’s badge without giving him a hard time. Add in my love for a good McG/Chin bro-hug and it was perfect.
3- Loved Chin and Sara’s (Londyn Silzer) sweet reunion. And while her Aunt and Uncle signing over guardianship to Chin was a bit sudden– I’m glad that all worked out, albeit a little too neatly.
4- Loved Lou (Chi McBride) posing as a car salesman. Really– a perfect role for him to go undercover. He did a nice job using his big personality and his mega-watt smile to impersonate a successful car salesman.
5- Loved Max (Masi Oka) coming clean with McGarrett. It was so sweet and sad when McGarrett tells Max how proud he is of him. We’ll all be sad to say goodbye to Max in next week’s episode “Ua hoʻi ka ‘ōpua i Awalua” (“The Clouds Always Return to Awalua”) on Jan. 13. But that ending scene pretty much made the episode.
6- Loved that Jerry (Jorge Garcia) and Kamekona (Taylor Wily) added humor to the episode that helped the case and led McG to find out about Max’s plans. Jerry’s admission of “sleep eating” was just perfect. And Kamekona asking Paul Burnett (Ron Melendez) about seat warmers and to hold the wheel while he sent a text was hilarious. Jerry does need to get an apartment, and that was a perfect lead into finding out that Max was moving out of his.
7- Loved how Chin and Adam mended some fences with a friendly talk and a backyard beer. I suppose it was worth Adam violating his parole in order to prove to Chin once and for all that he loves Kono (Grace Park). It was a perfect moment as we all love Adam and Chin, and we want them to love each other as well.
Really all of what I picked out helped to make the episode. The rest of it was so strange and unrealistic. Nuclear material smuggled in a car that was sold at the car dealership where Lou had been undercover was just too out there for me to buy. I know– I know– it’s a television show– but it can still be based in reality, right? Sure, it was clever how the team figured out what the bad guys were smuggling the radioactive material into Hawai’i and how this wrapped back around to Max who uncovered this secret, but I’m just so over the whole “save the world” storylines that Five-0 is expected to solve. Can’t they just work cases that make sense for Hawaiʻi? And can’t they just work cases that focus on the team? I think there’s plenty of drama and action to be had if they stopped trying to be an FBI group or CIA operatives or anything other than Five-0.
I’ve said this before, sometimes the cases want to be bigger than they need to be– and really we just want them to focus on five things– namely McGarrett, Danno, Chin, Kono, and Lou. We don’t need the team to have to save the island from being blown up in a mini-mushroom cloud. We just need them to save each other, and themselves, for us to tune in each week.
So while this episode had the team making a deal to save Chin, then Chin making a deal with Jorge (Felix Solis) and Maria (Diana Chavez) to bring little Sara home to Hawaiʻi, as well as Lou wheeling and dealing while undercover– the biggest deal for me was when Max told McGarrett about his plans to leave. It about broke my heart when he said that Hawaiʻi is his only home. And when McGarrett tells Max he will always have a home– in Hawaiʻi and with the Five-0 ʻohana– this is exactly why we watch, to see the team support each other.
Because it doesn’t no matter if they are coming back to the ʻohana, or making plans to leave. The deal is– they always have a home, no matter what.
REDUX SIDE NOTE
CBS released more information about their ratings and said yesterday in a press release that their network is “averaging more viewers across multiple platforms this season than during the comparable period 16 years ago, when only live viewing was measured.” They looked at the first six weeks of the 2016-17 season where they held an audience of 12.62 million viewers. They compared this to their 2000-2001 season, where they only had live audience ratings available, and they averaged a similar 12.61 million viewers.
“Hawaii Five-0” was ranked 7th during this early six week time period– giving more fans more fuel in their battle against Five-0 naysayers. Last week, CBS ranked the show 18 out of 25 for the first half of the 2016-17 season.
CBS ratings now take into consideration live viewing, as well as “plus 35 day” viewing to take into account DVR, video on demand, and streaming viewers. Five-0 had 13.45 million viewers and their lead in “MacGyver” was ranked 11th with 11.79 million viewers. “Blue Bloods,” which airs after Five-0, ranked 4th with 15.32 million viewers.