comscore Returning friends help to keep ‘Five-0’ on track | Honolulu Star-Advertiser
Five-0 Redux

Returning friends help to keep ‘Five-0’ on track

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    Five-0 enlists the help of an old friend, Harry Langford (Chris Vance) when the boss of a major crime family is murdered. Also, McGarrett (Alex O’Loughlin) and Danny (Scott Caan) begin sorting out particulars in their new restaurant venture.

Just because a guy is a super spy, doesn’t always mean that he’s an expert on everything– and that includes being retired. Yet, this spy is still very good at catching bad guys and backing up Five-0, which helped make the latest episode of “Hawaii Five-0” quite entertaining. This week’s episode, “Kāu pahi, koʻu kua. Kāu pū, koʻu poʻo” which is Hawaiian for “Your Knife, My Back. My Gun, Your Head,” brought back a popular season seven favorite, British MI6 Agent, Harry Langford. We met the “very British” character, played by English actor Chris Vance, last season in “No ke aliʻi wahine a me ka ʻāina” (“For Queen and Country”). Vance is billed as a recurring cast member, which could mean that he might return again to visit his friends in Hawaiʻi. As a fan favorite, he would certainly be someone many viewers would love to see again.

Vance’s character seems to have gone through quite a change since we saw him in season seven. Harry is back in Hawaiʻi after taking an early pension from the British Secret Intelligence Service, more popularly known as MI6. He’s traveling the world and enjoying his golden years, he tells McGarrett (Alex O’Loughlin) and Danny (Scott Caan)– directly after he runs out of the ocean like only James Bond could, in short shorts and his hair perfectly in place. He seems to be living even more of a Bond lifestyle, flying in private jets, staying in five-star resorts, with a beautiful woman on his arm– yet this time, without a care in the world. He’s retired from the spy business, and now all he has for his Five-0 friends are a wet hug and an invitation to fancy lunch.

But all this soulless luxury and fine living have left him feeling that his retirement is a bit premature and is wearing thin– so he asks McGarrett and Danny if he can tag along as they work to find out who killed mob boss Jimmy Okada (Hawaiʻi actor Eric H. Mita). He decides to swap a cabana and relaxing poolside with the beautiful Veronique (Jessica Heller)– if Five-0 will have him. And thus, the games begin.

I think Vance is a fine actor, but his Harry character is trying much too hard to be like Bond. He’s ‘ono– and I can say that because that means yummy in Hawaiian– but really, that’s about it. And don’t get me wrong– I like the idea of Five-0 having expert friends who come and help them from time to time– especially ex-spies or former detectives and the like– but I still want it to be believable. I mean, who gives up a life of luxury to get shot at and chase bad guys? Yes, I’m sure it’s fun for a former agent to go undercover again, and get to fight and shoot up the bad guys– but it was still a big stretch.

I know– it’s television, it’s supposed to be a whirlwind of fun, and I should suspend my disbelief for the entire show and just enjoy the ride. I get that.  And while I did enjoy watching Harry deal with Loto Manui (Peter Jae) and two of his henchmen in a moving vehicle– I still need more than just a little speech–even if it is said in an English accent– to convince me that Harry is sincerely bored and just wants to help his friends.

The episode was written by the same duo that introduced us to Harry Langford in “No ke aliʻi wahine a me ka ʻāina” (“For Queen and Country”), David Wolkove and Matt Wheeler. Directed by Eagle Egilsson, the episode continued the “new girl” Tani Ray (Meaghan Rath) story, which was introduced in the season opener, “ʻAʻole e ʻōlelo mai ana ke ahi ua ana ia” (“Fire Will Never Say that It Has Had Enough”).

Even Harry chimed in on Tani’s shiny new badge and sparkle behind her eyes. She, of course, handled him quite well, and not like the rookie she is within the team. I continue to really like Tani and love how she is fitting in. Even when she is partnered with Lou (Chi McBride) and they are cornered by Okada’s men seeking revenge for the hit on their boss– he tells her that he knows she’s shot her weapon before, but this time when she shoots, she needs to make sure they don’t get up again. For some reason, I think any advice the team gives Tani– she doesn’t need. She’s really good at what she does. De rigueur shoes and all.

The episode focused on both Harry joining his mates as well as the murder of the head of the Okada Crime Family. The hit took place right under the nose of the FBI, and Five-0 has Kamekona (Taylor Wily) help them figure out if the hit was orchestrated to start a war to take over Okada’s organization. They also introduced Harry to Kamekona’s famous shrimp– which causes Kamekona to remind McG and Danno that he is an expert on food as well as the selling of food.

Interspersed between the case are the many discussions about McG and Danno’s new business adventure. Kamekona even comes to their aid, giving them a jump start on the branding of their restaurant, which he has aptly named “McDanno’s.” The funniest part of the episode was when Kamekona unveils his “McDanno’s Bar and Grill” t-shirts, complete with a caricature of McG and Danno eating spaghetti à la “The Lady and the Tramp.”

I think the fandom gasped collectively at the mention of “McDanno” which is the nickname and hashtag fans use for those who “ship” McG and Danno. Most fans see the “ship”– think of a relationship between two fictional characters– as a deep friendship or bromance between Steve and Danny. Yet some see McGarrett and Danno in a more romantic way, which is very popular on social media. The term “McDanno” is fairly well-known within the Five-0 fandom. I think it’s great that the show used the term to perhaps name their new partnership. But I’m with Danno– it’s not going to be a bar and grill– I mean, they are going to use plates and silverware and have garnet colored booth seats.

Still, besides all of the hilarious banter about the restaurant and Harry joining in the fun of chasing down the killer– who turned out to be a vengeful John Walcott (Steven Brand) the father of a young boy who was killed by Boss Okada in a hit and run accident– if we hadn’t had Harry and the restaurant talk, the episode was just like watching an 80’s television show without the contemporary update.

Wolcott was yet another plot twist we’ve seen in other episodes. The vengeful father who has done everything to make himself invincible to defeat the killer of his child. He even had an impressive secret room, full of guns and other weapons, a room he trained and learned to fight, as well as all the gear needed to break into Derek Okada’s (Derek Mio) high rise. Derek is the son of Boss Okada, and he was in the car with his father when Wolcott’s son was killed. So after killing Derek’s father– Wolcott goes after him.

But huge difference– Wolcott kills him in front of the Five-0 team. With all big guns pointed at him, he pulls the trigger and destroys the last bit of reminder of who killed his son. That was a little different. Usually, the team can rationalize with the villain, especially when they can relate to their pain. But this time– the devil got his due.

I’m not sure how I felt about the ending– but at least out of the entire episode– that made it a little different. I like episodes that keep me guessing and wondering what’s going to happen next– not episodes where I’m looking at the clock and wondering when they are going to talk about booth fabric and Tani’s shoes. Or if the restaurant is going to be named “Steve’s” or “McDanno’s.”  Either would work for me.

If nothing else, I did enjoy the return of Harry and hope that he might come back when he’s bored again. Perhaps next time, he’ll come to help his mates open a new restaurant.

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

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