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Five-0 Redux

‘Five-0’ hits the mark with its latest season finale

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    McGarrett risks his life when Five-0 attempts their most dangerous rescue yet of young girls trapped in the sex trafficking ring they have been tracking this year. Also, Kono, deeply affected by the case, makes a life-changing decision.

When “Hawaii Five-0” ends a season, we are usually left with casualties — often of the literal kind, but even more likely, ones of the heart. This year’s season ender took us on an epic car chase and helped wrap up the human trafficking case that started in “Pukaʻana” (“Exodus”). The entire team bands together to save ten young girls who have been forced into prostitution before they are shipped off the island and sent to Nevada. Five-0 deduces that the girls are being moved to connect with an even bigger trafficking circuit and away from the pursuit of their determined task force.

This season finale has a rather familiar title. “Ua mau ke ea o ka ʻāina i ka pono” which is Hawaiian for “The Life of the Land is Perpetuated in Righteousness.” It is the Hawaiʻi state motto. It connects to the episode as the Five-0 team are determined to help the girls and make their lives right by taking them back from the traffickers. Written by executive producers Peter M. Lenkov and Eric Guggenheim, who together wrote this season’s opener “Mākaukau ʻoe e Pāʻani” (“Ready to Play?”), the writers play on the Hawaiian ideal that the “life of the land” metaphorically could also mean the lives of na kamaliʻi, its children.

The episode was really well done– fast-paced and expertly handled by director Bryan Spicer. While Spicer is no stranger to Five-0, as he has directed 28 episodes and been co-executive producer since season three — the episode had both a sense of familiarity and an air of sharpness because of the extended action and stunt chase.

It was the action in this finale that helped make the knowledge, that it would be the last new episode weʻll see for four months, a little easier to swallow. Most likely because we’ll have to get over holding our breath for most of the hour. The stunt sequence was the whole action package — complete with exploding HPD cars, a mid-chase rescue which mimicked the hostage rescue off the bus in “Speed,” as well as McGarrett (Alex O’Loughlin) making a daredevil jump from the Tetsuo Harano Tunnels onto a speeding semi-truck. It’s definitely one way for “Hawaii Five-0” to go out with a very big bang.

Still, the episode left us with a cliffhanger, which they have not really done since season three. There was the Christmas cliffhanger last December when we didn’t know if Chin (Daniel Dae Kim) was going to live after he traded himself for little Sara’s (Londyn Silzer) life. But really the last time we had a cliffhanger was when McGarrett visited Wo Fat (Mark Dacascos) in prison and Wo Fat asked McGarrett to save his life in exchange for telling McG how he is connected to Doris.

I think I was surprised that an episode that was heavily promoted as non-stop action, also included so many great scenes between the characters. It was almost like a couples episode.

We see Danno (Scott Caan) and McG entertaining Charlie (Zach Sulzbach) at Five-0 headquarters, as Daddy Danno is watching Charlie while Rachel is busy with her D-I-V-O-R-C-E attorney. I love how Danno tells Charlie that Uncle Steve’s office is set up in the corner, away from the rest of the team, because “he is in a constant state of time-out.” Charlie is so cute when he says that Uncle Steve is a “bad boy”– because of being in time-outs all the time. C-O-P-Y-T-H-A-T Charlie.

It’s also darling how McGarrett and Danno continue their bromantic bickering about several topics — his/their/my liver; Danno and Rachel’s relationship as Rachel will be divorced soon; and Danno’s restaurant plans if and when he retires. Steve even buys him a Chef’s hat with his name embroidered at the top to show Danno how much he supports his retirement plans. Danno, always worried about the state of McG’s healthy and how he takes care of himself or doesn’t take care of himself. Steve might have a point when he implies that Danno is always such a “poopy-head.”

Cute kid scenes were pretty plentiful in the episode, as Kono (Grace Park) shares a sweet scene with Sara, shopping for party supplies for Uncle Jerry’s (Jorge Garcia) congratulations for getting his Five-0 badge party. Kono does take a moment to purchase a pregnancy test during their shopping trip. And of course, the plot thickens. Sadly– this just adds to the cliffhanger ending.

As Kono babysits Sara, Chin and Abby (Julie Benz) are getting reacquainted, as Abby has just returned from San Francisco. They sure do make a sexy couple– I just want to see a bit more of that sexiness when they talk to each other when they have their clothes on. They are just so very polite. I know they care and are super hot for each other– but there needs to be a bit more of a relaxed playfulness between them — when they have their clothes on. I see the playful (read: hotness) between them, but if Chin is going to propose soon– they need to stop talking to each other like they are still on a first date.

Yes, folks, we do eventually all get the team back together to chase bad guys. Kono gets a call from the girl she saved from the trafficking ring while she’s with Sara, Moani Amosa (MacKenzie Aladjem), who we met in “Pukaʻana” (“Exodus”). She has a sketch of a man she calls Deon (Rick Otto) to give to Kono. Deon is the one who would move the girls around the island using his trucking company. Moana wants to help get Five-0 more information to prosecute Emilio, the man who forced her into prostitution.  

Of course, once Kono has the sketch, Jerry finds him, and the team heads out to storm his house, only to find it weirdly empty. The luxury house is basically bare, several mattresses on the floor, clothes thrown around, the kitchen a mess — but the coffee pot starts on a timer. McGarrett figures they left in a hurry.

This starts the chase, as they trace Deon to a truck on H-1 and move to stop his escape. They set up a road block with Duke (Dennis Chun), with a helo in the air. The pilot (Kaleo Agsalda) confirms, using thermal imaging, that there is one person in the cab and eleven bodies in the bed of Deon’s truck. On the freeway, Abby holds up her badge and Duke sets up a roadblock of HPD vehicles, and Deon rips through the cars and almost through Abby. If it wasn’t for Duke yelling for her to get out of the way, Abby would have gotten more than just a gash on her arm. The truck gets away leaving behind a fiery explosion and several mangled cars.

Still, the pièce de résistance of the entire action sequence has to be McGarrett’s jump onto the trailer after it passes through H-3’s Tetsuo Harano Tunnels. And not only does he make the jump while Danno is berating him about risking his life all the time– lovingly, of course– he then uses a portable welding torch to open the top of the trailer, and then has to fight the eleventh body in the truck. The eleven heat sources that the pilot identified was ten girls and one accomplice. And this guy has a gun, causing McGarrett to fall off the side of the moving semi-truck. Yes — it looked completely awesome. No wonder the production team had to close H-3 for two days to shoot this sequence. It was extremely amazing to watch.

But it doesn’t end there — while McG is trying to stay on the truck and then having to fist fight it out with the second real bad guy — Danno, Chin, Kono, and Abby are driving a rescue truck up to the semi. There is a metal platform over the rescue truck in order to get the girls. They crawl over the cab of the rescue truck to the safety of the truck bed in the back. Crazy and super dangerous– but Jerry has suggested that the truck won’t stop for three days with the amount of gas he has in his tanks, and McG thinks that if Deon feels cornered he will keep to his promise of driving the truck off a cliff– killing the girls in this event.

So they do it — but they can only save half of the girls before Deon figures out what they are doing and speeds up to get away from the rescue truck. So it’s up to McG to save the day. And he does, because he is McGarrett. He tells the girls to hang on, and he detaches the trailer from the cab, causing the trailer to crash into an embankment. Deon sees what has happened and stops the truck to shoot McGarrett and the girls — but McG is ready for him and gets his man. It wasn’t really a cliff, but Deon definitely was sent off to where he belongs.

Yet, even though the team saved the girls from being sent to the mainland to be moved around the country, Kono is devastated that they have only cut off the head of the Hydra. They may have shut down Emilio and Deon, but there are other men just like them in other cities and countries. She knows, for the most part, that nothing will be done for the other girls in their ring without the resources and dedication that Five-0 has for saving the trafficked girls.

So as the sun goes down and Five-0 gathers to celebrate Jerry joining the team — Kono is nowhere to be found. She is on a plane headed to Carson City, Nevada — which is where Deon had been trying to take the ten girls he had in his truck. Right now, what she plans on doing when she gets there is up in the air, and she is by herself. Adam is not with her, and she seems to be acting alone.

And here is the cliffhanger — has Kono quit the team? There is no official word from CBS or “Hawaii Five-0” that Park is not returning, but if she doesn’t return, what does that mean for the Five-0 team? Perhaps Chin’s comment to Abby, “you can always join Five-0” might come true.

Even without Kono leaving, there are lots of hints about the changes coming next season —  Chin maybe taking on his own task force in San Francisco; Danno thinking of retiring; Kono being pregnant; Lou’s daughter going to college in a city that hates Grovers; and McGarrett suffering from radiation sickness. Lots to worry and think about.

Still, I did appreciate the little party at the end of the episode. Most of the gang was there —  Dr. Cunha (Kimee Balmilero), Officer Pua Kai (Shawn Thomsen), Nahele (Kekoa Kekumano), Duke, and Kamekona (Taylor Wily), all joining the rest of the Five-0 team. It was darling watching Abby and little Sara dancing as Flippa (Shawn Mokuahi Garnett) sang “The Wind Beneath My Wings” for Jerry.

The only person missing was Kono —  and that might be something we have to get used to in season eight.

Wendie Burbridge is a published author, playwright, and teacher. Reach her via Facebook and follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

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