For seven seasons, “Hawaii Five-0” has always done a great job reminding us that above all else– ʻohana is key. And while this week’s episode, “E mālama pono” (“Handle with Care”), mainly focused on McGarrett (Alex O’Loughlin) and Danno (Scott Caan) saving the island from a dirty bomb, the theme of protecting their ʻohana was definitely in the forefront. Add in that they were hit with several unexpected situations and still seemed to prove that caring for each other was the most important aspect of their team, really helped to make this episode a strong one. Written by Zoe Robyn and directed by Eagle Egilsson, the episode had the Five-0 crew facing terrorist bomb maker, Desmond Abati, played by special guest star, Darius Rucker.
Fans may remember that country singer and songwriter Rucker, formerly of Hootie and the Blowfish, was the concert performer at this year’s “Sunset on the Beach.” In the last few years, “Hawaii Five-0” has featured their season premiere musical performers in a guest starring role. Nick Jonas played recurring villain Ian Wright after opening season four with the rest of The Jonas Brothers. The British rock band, Bush, played the season five premiere and lead singer Gavin Rossdale played a small part in the 100th episode “Inā Paha” (“If Perhaps”). Rucker joins this group as yet another Five-0 villain– unfortunately, one who meets a rather abrupt end.
Rucker plays a ruthless bomb maker, who comes to Hawaiʻi to put together a dirty bomb using the uranium the team didn’t recover in January’s episode, “Ka ʻaelike” (“The Deal”). I’m really not a fan of the “let’s disarm a nuclear bomb” storyline, but this time around, the episode wasn’t completely outer limits. Perhaps because the story of how the uranium that Rucker’s character, Abati, uses to build the bomb was set up in another episode. This helped me to have a little more time to digest the real possibility that such a major terrorist plot could happen in Hawaiʻi.
The episode starts off with the entire Five-0 Team trying to clear a warehouse, and in the process a huge explosion interrupts their day. The special effects in this scene are amazing– very Matrix meets X-Men, all slow-motion and flying shrapnel– and completely not real. The explosion scene cuts to McGarrett and Danno actually presenting at a Tactical Teamwork Seminar at the HPD Police Academy.
During their presentation, McGarrett goes on about maintaining situational awareness at all times, to expect the unexpected, to communicate your actions, and trust your team members. Of course, in the middle of their instructions to the HPD recruits, the partners begin to “discuss” their level of trust in each other, with Danno pointing out that trust is important, but it’s hard to maintain when one partner invades your personal space. Danno is pretty steamed about McG going into his office and reading what seems to be his retirement bucket list.
It’s always fun to see a cargument play outside of a car– and McG and Danno’s bickering banter did not disappoint. I did love how Sgt. Duke Lukela, who is obviously instructing the academy class, kindly steps in and gives McG and Danno a few fatherly pats and positive feedback, all while trying to get them to move on. “I think we all learned a lot today” he says to the recruits– just as he gives the Five-0 partners his trademark “that’s enough, boys” Duke look.
You can’t beat an opening scene like that. Exciting, funny, a reminder of our love of all things McG and Danno. And at first I thought that was going to be hard to top in the episode. But in the next scene, McG walks into his house and finds blood smeared all over his walls. He tactically clears his own house, and follows the blood trail to his kitchen which is filled with blood and Sang Min (Will Yun Lee).
I probably laughed a lot more than I should have while Sang Min bled all over McG’s floor and cracked wise about how he had been shot. Dr. Noelani Cunha (Kimee Balmilero) patches him up, and even though the guy has a through-and-through gunshot wound in his chest, he still asks for “Spicy,” his pet name for Kono (Grace Park), to come and babysit him. It’s a wonder he had the energy to ask Noelani, “Sweet Cheeks”– if she is single.
Love having Sang Min back. I’m not sure when he turned from scary to our friendly neighborhood ex-con– but I’m glad that he did. He’s so easy to like, regardless of the mullet haircut and bad eye-glass fashion. As he is getting first-aid from Noelani, he tells McG about the refugee family he was helping to smuggle into Hawaiʻi, who turned out to be Abati (Darius Rucker’s character). Abati is happy to be out of the container he has been camping out in for the last few days, but he greets Sang Min and his smuggler friend Xander (Davy Malaythong) with bullets instead of aloha.
As the team investigate Abati, they begin to see that he’s not in Hawaiʻi to sit on the beach and drink Blue Hawaii’s. They trace him to a remote part of Waimea Falls jungle and deduce that he has come to build a bomb. And he’s probably using the uranium the team has been looking for these last couple months.
Since Abati is somewhere in the wilds of Waimea and time is of the essence, McG figures the fastest way to get to their man, is to skydive into the valley. Tandem skydive. Danno isn’t a fan of McG’s mode of transportation. But it was great to see a skygument for the first time. And to see Oʻahu from the air.
Danno whispers “I hate you” over and over after they jump and McG seems to be enjoying Danno’s obvious discomfort. You know they don’t really hate each other. They just seem to disagree about when Danno should retire. McG is taking Danno retiring very personally, as if Danno doesn’t want to spend time with McG in any way. So once they hit the jungle, after walking around still arguing about Danno’s bucket list, they are picked up by Abatiʻs bomb making crew.
Of course, McG and Danno move to make an escape and in the process find the missing uranium as well as a ready made dirty bomb. Abati takes off before they can stop him.
As they clear the camp, they shoot Abati’s employer, Nadim Taha (Faruk Amireh). His plan was to actually create a training camp for terrorists– the polar opposite of the HPD Academy recruits from the start of the episode. Before he dies, he arms the bomb and McG and Danno find themselves without cell or satellite phone in order to call for the bomb squad or the rest of the Five-0 team for help.
McG decides to drive the bomb through the jungle– that is set to explode in 60 minutes. It is full of uranium and TATP, which can explode if subjected to heat, friction, or shock– basically the most volatile substance that you can expect to kill you. Danno is right, the plan is crazy, but it is the best one they have.
So after McG says “I love you, bro,” they start the truck and make their journey toward cell service. As the song “Slow Ride” by Foghat plays, McG tries to distract Danno from thinking that he is never going to retire and open an Italian restaurant because he is going to be blown to bitty pieces. Danno confesses that he was thinking about retiring because Charlie (Zach Sulzbach) sees him as a hero, indestructible, and that if he retires, then Charlie won’t have to see him get hurt or be afraid when his cop father goes to work each day.
While McG and Danno work their way to help; Kono, Chin (Daniel Dae Kim) and Lou (Chi McBride) continue searching for Abati. Unfortunately, Abati has found Sang Min’s safe house, and tears him away from watching a nature show about bears catching big fish, so that he can get off the island. The team tracks Sang Min to the harbor where he is going to get Abati on a boat to Hawaiʻi island, and Lou and Chin confront Abati who threatens to kill Sang Min. Lou tells him to go right ahead– knowing that super sniper Kono is ready to take her shot.
But Sang Min is shocked by Louʻs answer and yells, “What? I thought we were ʻohana?” Poor guys– both McG and Sang Min are hurt by those who deny their association with their Five-0 family. Thankfully, Sang Min gets his chance to confront Lou, and smash out his true feelings– via dinner rolls. I guess whatever works.
McGarrett has a different way of ironing out his feelings– or perhaps blowing out his feelings is more appropriate. I suppose if you and your best friend figure out how to dismantle the uranium from a dirty bomb and survive the explosion– you have more than made up. Brothers until the end, right?
While the episode had many unexpected scenes– Sang Min’s arrival, the skydive, the dirty bomb, Darius Rucker as a bad guy, Danno wanting to open a restaurant, and McG wanting to call it Steve’s– I think that the ending was still the absolute kicker. Because of Sang Min, McG and Danno unexpectedly saved the Five-0 crew, many HPD officers, as well as the Governor, from certain death.
The dirty bomb was supposed to have been planted across the street from Five-0 Headquarters at the same time the Governor was scheduled to be there. While McGarrett himself had said to “expect the unexpected” this attack was definitely not on his radar. Still, when the team works together, they can sometimes divert the unexpected, and save the day– and everyone in their ʻohana.
REDUX SIDE NOTE
Fans were very sad to learn this week that “Hawaii Five-0” stunt coordinator, Jeff Cadiente, was leaving the show for new adventures. Cadiente was nominated for an Emmy Award three times for outstanding stunt work, and had been with the show since season one. Fans will miss his amazing work and his willingness to share pictures and behind the scenes details from the show. We wish him all of our aloha and good wishes on his next journey.