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Five-0 Redux

‘Five-0’ uncovers secrets and Russian spies in their season 8 finale

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    McGarrett and Five-0 discover a Russian spy ring hiding in plain sight when a Russian nuclear attack submarine appears off the coast of Waikiki. Also, Tani is conflicted by her unnerving discovery at Adam’s house.

It is not unusual for “Hawaii Five-0” to uncover secrets and lies while McGarrett and his team investigate all the murder and mayhem that seem to plague the television version of our beautiful island. In this week’s eighth season ender, titled “Waiho wale kahiko,” which is Hawaiian for “Ancients Exposed,” the Five-0 team find themselves face-to-face with a Russian nuclear attack submarine which has appeared off the coast of Waikīkī. After McGarrett (Alex O’Loughlin) boards the foreign vessel, he finds that one of their submariners has escaped after orchestrating a mutiny and killing the captain.

While the translation of the title could refer to the ongoing conflict between Russia and the United States as being “ancient,” the traditional ʻōlelo noʻeau, or Hawaiian proverb and poetical saying, actually means “old secrets are now revealed.” The “old secrets” are certainly exposed by McGarrett and Five-0 as they chase the Russian submariner, Yuri Petrov (played by stuntman and kickboxer, Dennis Keiffer) who continues his killing spree once he reaches the shores of Oʻahu. Petrov is trying to kill the Russians who murdered his family when he was a child, and he knows they are sleeper agents hiding in Hawaiʻi.

Written by executive producers Peter Lenkov and Eric Guggenheim, and directed by Bryan Spicer, the episode is a big test on our suspension of disbelief. The episode starts off with a huge black submarine with the Russian red star emblazoned on its side surfacing off the shores of Waikīkī Beach. While the sight of the submarine popping out of the water and halting a crew of canoe paddlers out for some refreshing exercise, was quite impressive on screen, we are of course wondering how realistic this scenario is in the real world.

After asking an experienced retired Naval logistics specialist about the feasibility of this happening in the waters of Waikīkī, his honest response was that, while visually pretty cool– Waikīkī Beach is just not deep enough to support an emerged submarine at its current depth. We should feel better knowing that the possible appearance of a Russian sub in Hawaiian waters would never happen. It would never even have the ability to get that close to our lovely shores and interrupting our sunbathing and surfing– because the Navy would know it was coming before it was a black shadow near our coral reefs. When asked how close they could possibly get, he gave the standard reply–  if I told you I’d have to kill you. Which translates to mean– close but not in the shadow of the Hilton Hawaiian Village Rainbow Tower kind of close.

Still, if we put our fantasy caps on, it was fun watching McGarrett try and communicate via semaphore to no avail. When Danno (Scott Caan) says there has to be an easier way to talk to them, McG agrees and asks the lifeguards if he can borrow their Inflatable Rescue Boat to make his way to the sub. Danno calls out to him– “Steve, Steve, Steve. He wanted me to name the restaurant Steve’s, I’ll do it now in his memory.” Lou’s (Chi McBride) quip back, “That’s what we love about you Danny, always thinking positive,” is hilarious– and perfectly timed, as they all think it’s a crazy idea to make contact, but McGarrett is– well, McGarrett.

After a tense moment when McG is greeted by three armed Russians and they walk him into the sub– Danny’s repeated. “This is stupid, stupid, stupid,” seems pretty right on. On board, McGarrett speaks to Acting Commanding Officer Vasili Shirokov (Costas Mandylor) and hears a story about a mutiny staged by Petrov and 33 others in an effort to defect to the US. The mutiny was put down only hours before they resurfaced, but Petrov escaped through the torpedo bay.

When McGarrett gets through to his team and tells them what happened on the sub, Grover’s “WHAT?” is the perfect response. Because, who knew the team was going to wake up that day and have to deal with the Russians, defectors, and nuclear subs, oh my.

It was clever that while the storyline was unbelievably fantastical– at least the characters were adding their tongue-in-cheek responses to the feasibility of the case they were embarking upon. Enough so that we could continue to enjoy watching and keep our suspension of disbelief hat on tight. If the characters are shaking their heads in disbelief at what is going on in their world– then perhaps we the viewers can start to buy into the story and continue to be entertained. The saying goes that real life is often stranger than fiction– so perhaps we can just go with the fantasy and let Five-0 once again save the world in their season finale.

So we commence with McGarrett and Danno heading to the Russian Consulate. They question the Consul General Nikolai Malkin (David Meunie) about what the submarine in Hawaiian waters poses for the state, and to find out more information about Petrov. They get very little– except that Petrov suffered a tragedy as a child, and express orders to stay off the sub, or it would be seen as an act of aggression.

Since they think that Petrov did not want to defect, but wants something else– they look for other clues to inform them about his plan. As they are leaving, Lou calls with a breadcrumb. An HPD officer has been shot and killed and his cruiser stolen, and witnesses describe what the suspect was wearing and McG says is a Russian naval uniform. While McG and Danno return to the sub, Lou, Tani (Meaghan Rath), and Junior (Beulah Koale) continue to look at the other clues in the case.

Lou and Junior notice Tani is off her game, with Junior mentioned that her body language is saying she’s not okay. She is struggling with the knowledge that she has found the gun that killed Adam’s (Ian Anthony Dale) sister Noriko (Susan Park) in the junk drawer at Kono and Adam’s house. Yet Tani’s quick response, “Do you study other people’s bodies or just mine?” seemed to deflect the focus on her. And Junior stumbling over his answers is makes us think there might be more than just a fun flirtation going on there. Tani looked a little too smug about Junior’s stuttering response. Lou was right about being saved by the bell when Jerry calls with details about the Sterlings,

Jerry (Jorge Garcia) is back to help them work the tech part of the investigation after being released from the hospital. Jerry is still in a cast after uncovering an FBI fugitive hiding at Kaneohe Psychiatric Hospital and crashing himself, the fugitive, and his accomplice into a dumpster in order to save himself and catch the bad guys. He rolls into Five-0 headquarters on a little knee scooter and takes over the magic table for the team– helping them trace phones, financials, and ping cell towers in order to find Petrov.

Not that Petrov stays underground for long. The team chase Petrov to the home of a seemingly normal couple– who are not who they appear to be. The Sterlings are found tied to chairs and drowned in their pool. After Noelani (Kimee Balmilero) finds that the victims had been tortured before they were killed, McGarrett knows that Petrov was looking for information rather than murder. After he questions one of Petrov’s fellow mutineers on the sub, he finds the reason why Petrov is in Hawaiʻi to seek revenge for his parents being murdered in front of him when he was nine-years-old. He knows the killers became spies for Russia and wants them dead.

As Lou and Tani are searching the couple’s home, they find a secret room with lots of radio equipment that looks like a lot of James Bond stuff, which begins to confirm their suspicions that Petrov is seeking revenge on the agents who killed his parents. Tani calling Lou, “Uncle”– which in Hawaiʻi is like putting “Mister” in front of a man’s first name as a sign of respect– was funny, but not really appropriate as they work together. When McGarrett called the lei maker at the Airport, “Aunty” that is more appropriate. He does not know her, so he respectfully calls her Aunty as a sign of respect. But I really think Tani is just trying to tease Lou about his age. He calls them “Kids”– so she’s going to call him Uncle.

Really, the details of the rest of Petrov’s case got a little murky after they find the Sterlings. They are not the ones Petrov is looking for, so the team wonders how they ended up dead– which leads them back to the consulate. Petrov is also there trying to find a woman named Monica Shore– who got a call from the Sterlings after they were already dead, as well as a call from the consulate– and is hiding out. Jerry thinks she is a sleeper agent and is seeking safety at the consulate with her daughter.

Of course, the team arrives, and chase after Petrov– Lou tries to shoot him and almost gets shot by the angry Russian. But it is McGarrett who engages the killer– and their bare-knuckled brawl was brutal. The fight scene was fists to cuffs and vicious. To the point that McGarrett launches them both out a window and he punches Petrov out cold in a pretty fountain. When Danny looks out the window and asks Steve if he’s okay– the wave that McGarrett gives him is one of exhausted triumph. They find Monica Shore and arrest her– and others around the island as they find other sleeper agents embedded in the military, the university, and other businesses in Hawaiʻi.

Because what would a season finale be like if Five-0 did not save the day? True, I wish they could do it on a more believable stage, but it was fun to watch them chase down Russian murderers and spies, oh my. And like all terrible secrets– even ones about our dearest friends– they must eventually all come into the light.

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

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