For most people, when they say “it left a bad taste in my mouth,” they are usually figuratively referring to something distasteful. In a way, the title of this week’s “Hawaii Five-0” perfectly alludes to this common idiom. The episode, titled “ʻAi no i ka ʻape he maneʻo no ko ka nuku,” which is Hawaiian for “He who eats ʻape is bound to have his mouth itch,” wisely reflects the ʻolelo noʻeau, or Hawaiian proverb and poetical saying.
This week, the Five-0 team has to handle a murder investigation which involves the secretive world of steroid use, and Steve McGarrett (Alex O’Loughlin) and Danny (Scott Caan) have to diplomatically deal with Danny’s ex-mother-in-law, Amanda Savage, played by the legendary Joan Collins. While the team investigates the death of former minor league baseball player Brad Chen (Alexander Rogers), Tani (Meaghan Rath) and Junior (Beulah Koale) go undercover at a gym to track down the deadly batch of steroids that killed him.
LEAVING A BAD TASTE
The title of the episode refers to the way Hawaiians would plant ʻape, a large taro-like plant, around their homes “because the irritating sap of the leaves was thought to ward off evil spirits.” The deeper metaphor of the proverb is that people “who indulge in something harmful will surely reap the result.” While we know that steroids are harmful, the title might also refer to Danny is tortured by Savage’s belittling treatment.
Written by Matt Wheeler and David Wolkove and directed by Eagle Egilsson, the episode is a good mix of a tense case of the week, coupled with the humor of McGarrett and Danny as they act as bodyguards for Amanda, a famous romance novelist, who has come to Hawaii on a book tour. In typical mother-in-law fashion, she is the bane of Danny’s existence. Danny, of course, recruits McGarrett to help him, agreeing that they are now even — Danny gave him a part of his liver, and now by McGarrett working security for his snobby and demanding mother-in-law — this settles their debts.
At the start of the episode, the team is focused on finding out why Chen flew into an uncontrollable rage, and as Five-0 team member Lou Grover (Chi McBride) puts it — tried to stop a semi-truck with his face. His father, played by Tim Lounibos, tells Grover and Adam (Ian Anthony Dale) how Chen was trying to rebuild his body after a career changing injury.
Lounibos plays Chen with the kind of believability we don’t often see in a guest star. His heartfelt reaction to his son’s death was completely convincing. His character gave the team the rationale for working a case that seems to just be a murder brought about by illegal dealing of steroids. Five-0 usually investigates major crimes, so when the case turns toward a shady ex-doctor, Niles Werner (Juan Monsalvez) who is dealing a kind of steroid that is more like PCP than a performance enhancement drug, it is the kind of case the team usually works.
Some of the more humorous moments of the episode had to be when Tani and Junior are undercover. Junior has to chat up all the gym rats to see if he can buy some “juice,” and Tani is forced to fake her way through teaching a “Booty Boost 101” class. But Junior gets a break in the case after showing a couple of muscle heads how a Navy SEAL gives a proper beat down. They find out it was Werner who was supplying the steroids and experimenting with the blood of several gym members in order to create an elixir of life for his wealthy clients.
While the team works their steroids turned to a fountain of youth case, McGarrett and Danny have their hands full with Savage. The black-suited gents, looking like old school Five-0 dressed as her protection detail, accompany Rachel as she shops, stand by as she signs books for fans, and take her to lunch at the best eatery in town — Kamekona’s Shrimp Truck.
Danny goes out of his way to ask Flippa (Shawn Mokuahi Garnett) to make sure everything is fresh, otherwise “we’ll all be killed.” But Savage praises “Steven, darling” for making an excellent choice. This is the last straw for Danny and he leaves them to eat. Savage seems shocked, even after McGarrett tries to tell her that Danny “is the best of the best.”
Yet it seems as if McGarrett’s talk, and Danny standing up for himself, finally sinks in for Savage. With McGarrett’s help, she tricks Danny into meeting her for a drink. She tells him how she was jealous that Rachel found someone as good as her father. She asks Danny to not toy with Rachel’s affections. He agrees to not hurting Rachel, and nothing else.
Collins is really perfect as the star novelist, and she is just as feisty and beautiful as she was when she tore onto the screen as Alexis Carrington. She is wonderful as Savage and played off Caan and O’Loughlin perfectly.
Overall the episode left us with no bad taste in our mouths — while the action was tamer than usual, there was enough drama to entertain and satisfy viewers.