The start of spring is usually the time when some of the best storylines, character conflicts, and great guest stars start appearing on “Hawaii Five-0.” There are six episodes left of season seven, and while the date for their finale episode has not been officially released, viewers have come to expect the season to end around the first week of May.
This week, fans have been thrilled with behind the scenes pictures and video clips from the set of the finale, as well as the great news that their favorite show was renewed for an eighth season. So the countdown has begun. Six new episodes will build us up to what will most likely be an explosive and exciting finale. Usually this will help to keep us satisfied– for the most part– during the long summer hiatus.
Still the seventh season has been a strong one. Ratings have kept steady, and the Friday night lineup of “MacGyver,” “Hawaii Five-0,” and “Bluebloods” has kept CBS in the ratings lead. Most weeks, all three shows make the top 20 of all broadcast shows.
There are a couple of external reasons that “Hawaii Five-0” has done so well this season. “MacGyver” is a strong lead-in for the show, helping to raise its viewing audience, and giving it a good setup of action, comedy, and buddy bromance. Likewise, “Five-0” also helps to give “Bluebloods” the same kind of appropriate lead-in. The three shows set each other up quite effectively– all uniquely their own series, yet they share enough similarity that once fans tune into CBS on Friday’s– they don’t change the channel. Which is what matters for ratings, and to the survival of each series.
I think what makes “Hawaii Five-0” such a success, is because of the creative leadership of showrunner and executive producer, Peter Lenkov. The show’s success also relies on the strength of the actors– especially series leads Alex O’Loughlin, Scott Caan, Daniel Dae Kim, Grace Park, Chi McBride, Jorge Garcia, and Masi Oka (who sadly left halfway through the season). The other recurring actors like Dennis Chun, Taylor Wily, Ian Anthony Dale, Shawn Mokuahi Garnett, Teilor Grubbs, Julie Benz, Andrew Lawrence, Kimee Balmilero, Chosen Jacobs, and Londyn Silzer– just to name a few, also helps to keep the show consistent and well-loved.
Add in an amazing crew, great writing, continued support of the main character’s storylines, and the beauty and unique culture of Hawaiʻi. Even with all of these positive attributes, it’s Lenkov at the helm that helps the show keep a much straighter and focused path. Lenkov also holds the same position on “MacGyver,” which could be why both shows pair so well together. Their series crossover episode “Flashlight,” showed the strengths of both shows, all neatly wrapped into a pretty exciting and effective episode.
The seventh season started off with the introduction of a serial killer who kills serial killers. Five-0 feels the pressure to quickly find “The Chess-Piece Killer,” named because of the killer’s penchant for leaving medieval chess pieces in the dead serial killer’s mouths. The case was interesting and it brought former FBI Profiler, Alicia Brown, played by the amazing Claire Forlani, to work with Five-0. It also introduced us to one of the most monstrous villains Five-0 has ever faced, Dr. Madison Gray (Elisabeth Rohm) who was revealed to be “The Chess-Piece Killer” in “Hū ʻaʻe ke ahi lanakila a Kāmaile” (“The fire of Kāmaile rises in triumph”).
While the mystery of the serial killer was solved early in the season, Dr. Gray and Alicia Brown returned in “Hahai i nā pilikua nui,” which appropriately means “Hunting Monsters” in Hawaiian. This time, Dr. Gray tries to convince McGarrett (O’Loughlin) that she does not know that she is a serial killer, but that she is a tourist named Lauren Parker. This leads to her getting Alicia Brown to travel with her to Wisconsin in order to find who Alicia thinks killed her daughter. Yet in fact, Dr. Gray leads Alicia to her still alive daughter, Sienna (Ashleigh Domangue).
For the most part, this was one of the more rewarding extended plotline of the season. Another storyline that fans seem to love, is the story of Chin (Kim) and his niece, Sara, played by the talented young actress Londyn Silzer. The fact that Chin has fallen in love with the sweet girl, and after she is kidnapped by a drug cartel who blames Five-0 for his death, Chin sacrifices everything to get her back. Luckily for Chin, the Five-0 team frees him before he’s served for dinner, and he and little Sara seem to be living together quite nicely. Stuffed rabbits named Newton and Aloha Girls cookies are just a few things that help to remind us how sweet Chin’s latest love works in his character arc.
On the relationship front, Kono (Park) and Adam (Dale) are still working out a few kinks. Mostly having to do with Adam not being able to find a suitable job and being able to help support their household. This all stems from Adam’s 18 month stint in prison for committing manslaughter. Kono has even spoken to McGarrett about how they want to start a family, but they can’t begin until Adam has a job. Lou (McBride) and Danny (Caan) seem to be sharing their children with each other as Will (Chosen Jacobs) and Grace (Teilor Grubbs) are not just going to school together, they are a dating.
I think the saddest moment so far has been when Dr. Max Bergman– played with such truth and sincerity by Masi Oka– said aloha to his Five-0 ʻohana in “Ua hoʻi ka ʻōpua i Awalua” (“The Clouds Always Return to Awalua”). This was a hard episode, to say goodbye to a beloved character, as well as a popular actor. Thankfully, Five-0 sent him off on the small screen, so that even the fans could attend Max’s farewell, and have a chance to say aloha to Oka.
The McGarrett and Danno moments have been pretty great this season. The dual Valentine’s Day celebration was funny and sweet– but seemed to be devoid of chemistry between Lynn (Sarah Carter) and McGarrett. The episode showed how much McG and Danno care about each other than they do for their ladies. Yes, Danno had a few sexy moments with Melissa (Lili Simmons) but for the most part, it was McG and Danno who made that episode work.
One of the biggest elements that came out front and center this season, is more of an infusion of Hawaiian history and culture. Between the episode that presented the issue of Hawaiian independence and sovereignty, and the visit to Kalaupapa which explained the history behind the isolated Hansen’s disease colony on Molokaʻi– Five-0 has tackled several issues that are often overlooked and not often brought to light.
While I was a little underwhelmed by the 150th episode and a couple of other shows that seemed to be more silly than creative– the entire season has been really entertaining, exciting and action-packed, as well as heartwarming and full of aloha. The theme of ʻohana still prevails every week. This would definitely make season seven a favorite for even the most casual of viewers. I’m sure everyone is looking forward to the last six episodes, as well as curious to know what is in store for us in season eight.
REDUX SIDE NOTE
Next week, “Hawaii Five-0” returns after two weeks of NCAA Men’s Basketball preempted CBS’s Friday night lineup. Fans are excited about “Huikau nā makau a nā lawaiʻa” (“The Fishhooks of the Fishers Become Entangled”), which brings back a favorite guest star, William Forsythe.
Forsythe plays ex-HPD detective turned private-eye, Harry Brown, who helped McGarrett and the team solve the murder of Brooke Waiakea (Delys Kanemura Recca) in “Wāwahi moeʻuhane” (“Broken Dreams”) from season five. This season, he helps the Five-0 team with a case that deals with the kidnapping of a wealthy woman whose husband seems to be hiding something.
The secondary plot line brings back Claire Van Der Boom, who plays Danny’s ex-wife Rachel Edwards. Rachel tells Danny that she is divorcing her husband, Stan. Which leaves Danny in an interesting situation as Rachel is the mother of both of his children, Charlie (Zach Sulzbach) and Grace (Teilor Grubbs). It will be interesting to see how this conversation plays out for Danny and Rachel. I don’t think I am alone in thinking that he has never really stopped loving her.
Next week’s episode is number 720 (the twentieth episode of season seven) and begins the countdown to the season finale in May.