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Five-0 Redux

A smart change of pace keeps ‘Hawaii Five-0’ on top

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    McGarrett (Alex O’Loughlin) and Five-0 take on the mob when a former boss is killed and Junior’s (Beulah Koale) friend Cammy Lin (Cindy Chu) is on the run after witnessing the hit. Legendary actor James Hong guest stars as Triad Boss Jin Leung.

Funny thing about children– they tend to be as unpredictable as an erupting volcano. Luckily, most kids tend to settle down as they grow up, and with the help of their parents, begin to focus their angst and anger in more positive ways. “Hawaii Five-0” has frequently highlighted common struggles between parent and child. The rift between McGarrett (Alex O’Loughlin) and his deceased father John (William Sadler) was one of the major conflicts the show delved into from the start of the series.

Yet since the pivotal 100th episode “Inā Paha” (“If Perhaps”), the younger McGarrett has found a kind of peace about the issues with his father. This has also seemed to settle Steve in a way that has made him into a strong father figure for Nahele (Kekoa Kekumano), and a good uncle to Danny’s (Scott Caan) children, Grace (Teilor Grubbs) and Charlie (Zach Sulzbach).

This doesn’t mean that the episodes have pushed conflicts between parent and child to the wayside. This week’s episode, “Ka hana a ka mākua, o ka hana no ia a keiki” which is Hawaiian for “What parents do, children will do,” focused on the murder of a mother, and the suspected murder of a father. Written by Peter Lenkov and Matt Wheeler, and directed by Jim Jost, the episode focused solely on the case of the week, which after weeks of episodes with dueling plotlines, was a very nice change of pace.

While we love fast-paced episodes, sometimes trying to keep up with two or three concurrent plotlines is exhausting. So having one solid storyline to follow in an episode was truly refreshing. There were still all the elements we love about a good episode. There was a glimpse into Junior’s backstory, a good dose of humor, several McG and Danno moments, and one bullet-filled action scene with Junior (Beulah Koale) and Tani (Meaghan Rath).

Add in a scene where Danny pulls a McGarrett and sheds his shirt to reluctantly throw a few punches and several smart retorts, and we had the makings of an entertaining episode. Sure, a couple scenes seemed completely superfluous– but at least they were fun to watch.

There is always quite a difference when Lenkov has a hand in the writing of an episode– everything seems to be tighter, and while there is always a healthy dose of humor and action– it all has meaning and seems effortless. The case doesn’t seem forced, the finding of clues and information is smooth and makes sense.

The case of the week involved the murder of a Chinese acupuncturist, Mei Lin (Karen Huie), and the search for her missing daughter Cammy, (Cindy Chu), a friend of Junior’s from high school. Nalani (Kimee Balmilero) finds out that Mei Lin was shot with the same gun that killed former Boston mobster, Tommy Boyle (Randy Thompson), whose death is deemed a suicide– which makes it look very suspicious to Danny and McGarrett. They investigate both deaths while searching for Cammy. They find that Boyle’s son Conor is laundering money and is being watched by the FBI. When McGarrett learns that baby boy Conor went to see a local Triad (the Chinese version of the Mafia or the Yakuza) Boss to front him money for the deal– they realize that Conor had a motive for his father’s murder. Now they just have to find Cammy who seems to have been a witness to the elder Boyle’s murder.

Like in past episodes, there were several McG and Danno scenes– which fans refer to as “McDanno.” It was refreshing that the McDanno chatter, as they drove around to question suspects, did not devolve into snarky carguments. There was mention of the restaurant, but we didn’t get a petty bicker-fest disguised as a supposedly funny argument. For the first time in a while, it was quite enjoyable seeing McG and Danno together. Sure, they gave each other gas and teased each other a bit– but it wasn’t annoying and mean. It was brothers poking at each other, but it’s all in fun and love.

The shirtless Danno scene was pretty silly, even though the view was great, but as Caan is an experienced martial artist (he and O’Loughlin train with Hawaiʻi jiu-jitsu and MMA practitioner Egan Inoue) it wasn’t a stretch for Caan. Legendary actor James Hong as Triad Boss Jin Leung was hilarious– a Chinese Godfather making his nephew mimic the famous Bruce Lee vs Chuck Norris fight scene from “Way of the Dragon” and sending Danny into a time-out, while whispering clues and insight into McGarrett’s ear, gave the scene more meaning.

Super dog and fan favorite Eddie had a cute scene with McG and special guest star Will Sasso who played Eddie’s veterinarian, Dr. Shaw. Everyone loves seeing Eddie, and if it gives Sasso a job for a few minutes– by all means. Dr. Shaw tries to give Steve a checkup as well and tells him to take up golf to relieve his stress. Maybe we’ll see McG and Grover (Chi McBride) hitting the green one day. But it seems as if McGarrett may not know how to use his clubs correctly, as he tells Danny that beating him with a five iron “sounds pretty relaxing.”

Junior is a little different in this episode as well, as he is determined to find his friend and who murdered her mother. He blames himself for not taking her call and letting it go to voicemail. He tells Tani that he didn’t want to rehash his past with her over the phone, as he thought she was calling to talk about his ex-girlfriend and his time in Iraq– not knowing that she was calling for help. As he and Tani race to find her at an old high school hang out, old railroad cars in Ewa Beach, he tearfully beats himself up for not being there for his friend.

Tani comforts him and tells him she understands why he didn’t pick up Cammy’s call. It’s sweet how she calls him “Juns” and then a few minutes later turns into a fighting machine during the shootout, knocking out Conor who has arrived with his goons to kill Cammy. Junior, in turn, fights with Conor’s bodyguard, and together he and Tani save Cammy– and catch the real killer. Both of the “kids” really are the ones who pull a McGarrett with their fists and their shooting skills. It was refreshing how they were the ones to solve the case and bring in the bad guys. It was nice to have the young ones save the day this time.

But like most children, who learn well from their parents, Tani and Junior know what needs to be done. It’s interesting that while the case dealt with the death of two parents– one who sacrificed her life so her daughter could live, and one who died at the hand of his son– the real parental figures were the elders on the Five-0 team. While Tani and Junior may not be ready to take the reigns just yet from their parental figures– McGarrett, Danny, and Grover– they are excellent students. And like most parents who are willing to let their children handle the family business when the time is right– when it happens, Tani and Junior will be quite ready for the challenge.  

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

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