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175 is a magic number for ‘Hawaii Five-0’

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Junior (Beulah Koale) and Adam (Ian Anthony Dale) backup McGarrett (Alex O’Loughlin) when a bank heist in progress forces Steve to make a potentially heartbreaking mistake.

Last weekend, “Hawaii Five-0” debuted their 175th episode on Waikīkī Beach at their annual “Sunset on the Beach” red carpet event. Hawaiʻi fans and others who traveled to Oʻahu specifically to attend the occasion were thrilled to experience the television milestone a week before it was scheduled to air on CBS.  

This week’s episode, “Kau ka ʻōnohi aliʻi i luna” (“The Royal Eyes Rest Above”), written by Peter Lenkov and Eric Guggenheim, and directed by Bryan Spicer, included a case of the week with a bang of a plot twist, and the return of Adam Noshimuri (Ian Anthony Dale). The storyline also incorporated more of Junior Reigns’ (Beulah Koale) backstory as we got a glimpse into what Junior left behind before joining the Navy and becoming a SEAL. Tani Rey’s (Meaghan Rath) rocky relationship with her troubled brother Koa (Kunal Sharma) seemed to unceremoniously slam into her new position with Five-0. Luckily, Lou (Chi McBride) was there to counsel and guide Tani as she struggled with how to deal with her rookie misstep.

The title is an interesting ʻōlelo no‘eau, or Hawaiian proverb and poetical saying, which translates to more than just “the royal eyes rest above.” The deeper meaning behind the phrase is described as “a rainbow– a sign that the gods are watching the chiefs– is now visible.” Of course, McGarrett (Alex O’Loughlin) is our “chief,” the aliʻi, in the phrase– but the rainbow in this episode is not as bright as what we normally envision.

Some might know that the Hawaiian word for rainbow is ānuenue, yet the title does not use that word– it uses ʻōnohi, which means “patch or fragment of a rainbow.” This helps with the episode, as the twist in the plot is more of a relief to McGarrett than a reason to celebrate. His release from the guilt of thinking he killed an innocent, is like a patch of a rainbow, rather than a full arc of color.

From the start, the episode was a bit different than the regular Five-0 police procedurals. Junior, who is out for a morning run, stumbles onto what he correctly perceives as a bank robbery in progress. McGarrett, who has just picked up Adam from the airport, arrives on the scene to investigate. Adam has come home to Hawaiʻi without Kono, who has stayed behind in Nevada to continue her work trying to break up the sex trafficking ring she and Five-0 originally investigated in season six.

McGarrett and Adam’s discussion as they drove to “find some grinds” about why Adam chose to return home without his wife was very revealing. Adam’s reason is that he didn’t want to continue to follow her as she tracked down leads. He needed to come home to find some semblance of a life. McGarrett tries to comfort Adam’s obvious distress about Kono’s desire to work this case, rather than be with her husband. But McG explains that Kono’s desire to save young girls from these traffickers more than just a job, it’s her legacy. He promises Adam that it will end– but even Adam is not sure about the truth of that statement.

Still, it’s pretty heartbreaking to hear Adam talk about having a family and McG telling him that their kids will have to call him “Uncle Steve,” knowing that Kono is most likely not coming back. We know this because Grace Park, who played Kono for the last seven seasons, is no longer with the show. I suppose they could re-cast the part, but I doubt that will happen. So I guess soulful conversations about missing Kono and everyone showing admiration for her continuing her quest, will have to suffice for a while.

While Adam is having a good heart-to-heart with McG, Tani is dealing with a different kind of family matter. Her brother Koa is holed up with a couple of obvious druggy bad guys, and Tani motor scooters in to save him from being picked up by Vice, who is on their way to raid the house where he is resting his sorry self. When he says to her “You don’t think I’ll hit you?” I really wanted her to pull her gun and stick it in his stupid face– but I guess Tani is more of a lady than I am. He reluctantly follows her directions, but only because he sees the mass of patrol cars heading their way. In Hawaiian, “hūpō” means “ignorant, foolish, or stupid” and that is really what Koa’s name should be– rather than “koa” which means “brave, bold, or fearless.” He certainly does not live up to his noble name.

I did love the fact that Lou steps in to help Tani. She’s lucky that Papa Lou is looking out for their new young one on the task force. But I think her decision to come clean with McGarrett was a smart one. She still feels bad about her mess up with Aaron Wright (Joey Lawrence) in “E uhi wale no ʻaʻole e nalo, he imu puhi” (“No Matter How Much One Covers a Steaming Imu, The Smoke Will Rise”), and telling McGarrett– no matter the repercussions– show what kind of cop she will soon become.

The episode was one that helped us learn more about the characters of our new season regulars–Adam, Junior, and Tani– but it also included a pretty exciting case. After Junior tells McGarrett about his suspicions, the three go into the bank to rescue the hostages and chase four armed and masked suspects. The bank robbers– led by returning bad guy Dave Lockhart (Kila Packett)— have stormed their way into Oʻahu Savings and Loan, found their way into the bank’s main vault, and stolen $10 million via underground tunnels. The team speculates it is to launder drug money– but they have no leads on who the money is for and who is behind the heist.

Of course, McG tells his police academy student Junior and civilian friend Adam– to “wait here for back up.” A command they both ignore. The trio works together to get into the bank, only to find the vault booby-trapped, and tunnels readily available for escape. When McGarrett follows the tunnels he instructs his on-the-spot recruits them to get Lou, Tani, and Jerry (Jorge Garcia) to help. The two take off and with the help of Jerry on the magic table, drive off in McG’s truck to find the tunnel exits and hope to catch the four bank robbers and recover whatever they stole from the vault.

Cue the cool race through Chinatown to find McG– and help him save the cop he accidentally shoots thinking he is a bank robber. It’s a nail-biter of a scene as Adam has to think quick on his feet, and both he and Junior are technically not supposed to be helping McGarrett, as they are not police officers or members of Five-0.

But we know that’s probably going to change, sooner than later.

When they find McG, carrying out the wounded officer, they race to try and save the cop’s life. When he dies in the ER, McGarrett is shattered– thinking he shot an officer who he was supposed to be working with, and not one of the bad guys. It was difficult to watch McG’s reaction to the death of the officer, but it really is a testament to the kind of person and leader McGarrett is to his team.

So when Tani finds a bit of video clip which shows that the “cop” McG shot, was really one of the bank robbers– who disguised himself to make his escape from the tunnels and be able to blend in and not be questioned– didn’t we all feel like McG? He visibly seemed to breathe a sigh of relief at the knowledge that he did not shoot a “friendly”– which is what Junior called the shooting of the “cop”– friendly fire. Friendly fire is when you shoot a member of your own team while attempting to engage with the enemy– either by misidentifying who you are shooting at or because of not following procedure.

I liked when Lou tried to convince McGarrett to not be so hard on himself, but it would have been great to have Duke (Dennis Chun) speak to him, as it would have seemed as if McG had shot one of his uniformed men. We got a little bit of Duke tonight, helping Lou and Tani secure the bank after the hostages were released and placing more manpower at the axis points of the tunnels– but he could have really helped add more wisdom and experience in the scene with McGarrett.

I think my favorite part was when Dave Lockhart waltzed into Five-0 headquarters, gave a little jaunty salute to the officers at the metal detectors, and confidently entered the elevator to find the interrogation rooms. He and his crew just robbed a bank in downtown Honolulu of $10 million in drug/underworld money, and they are all on the run– but let’s stop by the Five-0 task force as bold as brass in order to plug up the hole in their well-organized plan. He has to silence the inside man the Five-0 team has handcuffed to their interrogation chair, bank teller Bobby Akamu.

Lockhart has been in the interrogation rooms before, so he knows where the rooms are, and he needs to find Akamu before the teller tells Five-0 about Lockhart’s operation. Lockhart has a history with the team– as a suspect in a case from 2011, and as one of Chin’s tormentors when he was kidnapped and thrown into Halawa.

Once Lou and McG realize that one of the bank robbers are in the building– the hole in Akamu’s head gives them the head’s up– they race outside to exchange gunfire with the three remaining suspects. Gunfights right outside of Five-0 headquarters are always so cool, but this one was even better as the shootout causes Lockhart’s getaway car to flip over and land in a way that every bit of the $10 million pops right out of the trunk. Lockhart and his last buddy are taken away in handcuffs, and with the money found– the case is solved. A surprising ending to what started out as an interesting day.

Perhaps some will say that the magic of the 175th episode of “Hawaii Five-0” was not as strong as the 100th episode, “Inā Paha” (“If Perhaps”), or even the 150th episode, “Ka Makuahine a me ka Keiki kāne” (“Mother and Son”)— but it certainly was one for the record books. I know fans are hoping to see the next milestone for McGarrett and his crew– the 200th episode, next year in season nine.

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

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