It’s a brand new year for “Hawaii Five-0,” and it looks like all the changes the show has made this season has paid off in the ratings game, as well as in popular opinion. This week’s episode, “Ka hopu nui ʻana” which roughly means “The Round Up” in Hawaiian, was no exception. Written by David Wolkove and Matt Wheeler, and directed by Eagle Egilsson, the action, and character development, was intense and fast-paced. This first episode of the year definitely helped to launch the series firmly into 2018.
Five-0 ended 2017 on a very strong note with a two-hour block of “Hawaii Five-0”– which included a possible glimpse into Five-0’s future as well as a stellar Christmas episode. The first episode of the year continues on the new tangent the series started with their eighth season. It is almost as if the new characters have given the writers new direction and energy.
Fans who have stuck with the show are loving the changes. Many are surprised at how much they are truly enjoying the addition of Tani Rey (Meaghan Rath) and Junior Reigns (Beulah Koale) to the Five-0 Team. Both are rookies and while they have past law enforcement experience– Tani left the HPD Academy before graduation and Junior is a former Navy SEAL– they still need the veteran guidance of McGarrett (Alex O’Loughlin), Danny (Scott Caan), and Lou (Chi McBride). Sgt. Duke Lukela (Dennis Chun) seems to also help guide them during investigations and is often a source of information the young recruits rely on as they report to McGarrett and the rest of the Five-0 team.
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This week’s episode sets Junior on his first official case as the newest team member. At the end of the Christmas episode, “ʻOni kalalea ke kū a ka lāʻau loa” (“A Tall Tree Stands Above the Others”), Junior received his Five-0 badge from McGarrett. He has helped the team on several occasions, and McGarrett reveals that this acceptance into the team was not a gift, but something deserved.
So when the team is faced with investigating the bombing of the home of FBI Agent Fischer (Kip Pardue), soon after he publicly announced that he would be starting a special FBI task force against organized crime in Hawaiʻi, Junior and Tani take on more specific roles within the case. The repercussions of this added responsibility are heartbreaking, but both learn a valuable lesson and find a way to lean on each other. There has been some speculation that Tani and Junior are headed toward a romantic relationship– and there have been a few scenes that correctly point in that direction– but when Tani offers a hand to Junior after he mourns the death of an HPD officer he could not save, it is one of friendship and care than romance. It is a sweet gesture and one we have seen within the Five-0 ʻohana on many occasions.
The episode focuses on McGarrett and the team staging a big roundup of organized crime bosses and baddies in order to figure out who killed Fischer, his wife Laura (Alexandra Hasenbank), and their six-year-old daughter. Fischer was on the same mission as Five-0, and his death seems to move McGarrett to do something surprising and drastic. McGarrett only met the FBI agent once, after Fischer asked Tani to basically spy on her team to give the FBI information about Adam Noshimuri (Ian Anthony Dale), who the FBI suspect is not as trustworthy as McGarrett and the team make him out to be.
Fischer tells Tani that the escalation of organized crime around the island seems to have started six weeks before the launching of his task force, which also corresponds with Adam’s return to Hawaiʻi. What was telling about his reveal, was that another incident seemed to coincide with both Adam’s arrival and the ramp-up of organized crime incidents– the jailhouse murder of Yakuza lady boss, Michelle Shioma (Michelle Krusiec).
It may have been a stretch that Fischer looks at Adam as the reason behind the escalating organized crime. Adam’s ties to Five-0 should have helped clear him– as McGarrett tells Fischer, Adam married a member of his team with his blessing– why would McGarrett put his own team in danger by allowing someone dirty within their midst? It seemed odd that Fischer didn’t seem to even consider that someone else was trying to destroy all arms of organized crime in Hawaiʻi in order to take over. Why else would Michelle Shimona get shanked in the shower? It would create a power vacuum, and with gangs all vying for power and killing each other off– a smart person would just sit back and watch them all get rid of each other– and then swoop in to wear the crown.
Which is what McGarrett realizes after rounding up and interrogating several gang leaders and bosses. Since he is intent on finding out who killed or ordered the hit on Fischer– McG sends Duke and HPD, SWAT, and the National Guard to pick up as many suspects as they can, and Kamekona (Taylor Wily) and Jerry (Jorge Garcia) give Five-0 some insider information to pick up two high-value targets. Junior is sent as back-up for HPD to pick up a low-level suspect, much to Junior’s chagrin. McGarrett convinces him that it’s baby-steps toward having more responsibility within the team.
It seems as if Junior is always trying to do more to prove himself, yet McGarrett holds him back a little. He, of course, proves himself over and over again. This time saving the life of HPD Officer Ojoa (played by real-life Hawaiʻi police officer Nelson Omandam) and taking out the suspect who had just killed Ojoa’s partner. He’s injured in the shootout with the suspect, but he is hurting more because he was not able to save the officer or bring in the suspect alive. It’s what leads him to lean on Tani after he laments that he could have done more.
Tani is sent by McGarrett to pick up a high-level target, Damien Bautista (Jon Chaffin), who seems to be an ex-boyfriend. She asks to go alone to not set off any alarms, but when she arrives at his place– he already knows she’s probably not there for a lovers reunion. As his gang is heading up the stairs to save him and kill her– Tani pulls a McG move and shoves Damien off his balcony into the pool below. It works like a charm and she brings him in after their refreshing swim.
Meanwhile, McGarrett, Lou, and Eddie work to find another crime boss, Hector Garcia (played by Hawaiʻi actor Marcelo Palacios). Eddie seems to not like the fact that Uncle Lou has taken his seat in McG’s truck and Lou seems awfully hurt by the dog’s rejection. It’s a cute scene that is really needed within the intensity of the episode. Eddie’s doggie stink eye at seat-stealer Lou was spot on.
Eddie saves the day by following Hector through a crawl space in order for McG and Lou to save the man’s arm and take him into custody. It’s nice that they allow Eddie to not only “act” but to also perform as he was trained as a DEA agent. Along with Tani and Junior, he’s another strong addition to the team.
Once the team brings in all the big bosses and interrogates them, McGarrett figures out that they know nothing about Fischer’s death and they all seem to be telling the truth– they have just been trying to stay alive during their turf war. With the help of Jerry’s research, he realizes that the acting Yakuza boss Kenzo (Lanny Joon) seems to be sitting back somewhere safe after his oyabun Michelle Shioma was killed in prison and the gangs are trying to vie for power.
McGarrett wants Adam to help him find Kenzo, but when he doesn’t answer his phone they find that Adam is with the FBI being interrogated by Fischer’s second hand Agent McNeal (Gonzalo Menendez). McGarrett storms in and angrily tells McNeal that Adam has nothing to do with organized crime or the Yakuza anymore– but McNeal gives him a picture of Adam visiting Michelle Shioma on the day of her murder.
Adam admits to McG that he went to visit Michelle– who begged him to use his Five-0 contacts to help find her children. Adam leaves without taking Michelle’s promise of getting all of his money back (the money he was supposed to give to her father in order to come clean before he married Kono), or without learning the secret she has about Adam that “could change his life.” McGarrett is pleased that Adam stayed solid and didn’t fall for money and promises, and asks him to help him find Kenzo. Of course, Adam comes through with all of his knowledge of how to work the Yakuza system.
Once the team finds Kenzo– they realize he’s just an opportunistic snake and he was just waiting for all the gangs to fall so he could step in and really take over. He didn’t kill Michelle but he was okay if people thought he did. He is really a prince among men. But even though Five-0 has caught Kenzo and his team– they are no closer to catching Fischer’s killer.
Things go from bad to worse for Five-0 after realizing that Kenzo is not their man. Jerry, who is watching all the camera feeds at headquarters, reports to the team that eight hostiles have taken over the holding cells, removed all the bosses, and executed them. Five-0 arrives too late to save them, but the team does take out one of the assassins and finds that he has no connection to Kenzo or anyone they are aware of– he’s just a hired mercenary.
As the team debriefs the scene, Tani is upset by Damien’s death– as she feels responsible for putting him where he could be killed. Noelani (Kimee Balmilero) gives Tani his personal belongings and Tani tells her she is going to see his mother and inform her of Damien’s death. Junior is in the next exam room and he and Tani share a moment together– of loss, sorrow, disappointment in themselves. It’s the kind of moment we’ve seen before with McGarrett and Danno, even Lou, but with these young ones– it just seems to hit a bit harder.
So while the episode doesn’t have a happy ending– McGarrett still does not know who killed Fischer and his family, nor who assassinated all the island crime bosses, but he does know that there is a new player in town. And that might be more dangerous than what they have bargained for. It does have him reaching out to Adam and asking his friend to help him and the team by heading a special division of Five-0 that will focus solely on organized crime. With Adam’s connections and knowledge, he would be perfect to work on finding this new player for Five-0.
Adam does not hesitate and tells McG that he doesn’t have to convince him to take the job– “I’m in,” he says. Whether he is saying it because of their friendship, or because he wants to feel useful, or he just wants to do something Kono would be proud of– is not clear. But whatever the reason– Adam is now part of Five-0
What a great way to start a new year– with the team complete with new members– and friends they can trust and lean upon in any situation.
Wendie Burbridge is a published author, playwright, and teacher. Reach her via Facebook and follow her on Twitter and Instagram.
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