In Hawaii, many of our school and hula teachers are called kumu by their students. Kumu is the Hawaiian word for teacher, but it also means “foundation, source, and origin.” Hawaiians believe anyone who is an expert and has trained extensively in their field can be given the title of “Kumu.” In this week’s episode of “Hawaii Five-0” the metaphor of the title “O ke kumu, o ka mana, hoʻopuka ʻia,” which translates to “the teacher, the pupil — let it come forth,” is definitely reflected in two storylines within the episode.
The title of the episode is based on a ʻolelo noʻeau, or Hawaiian proverb and poetical saying, which Hawaiians used as “a challenge from a pupil to the teacher who trained him in warfare or sports.” In this episode, Adam (Ian Anthony Dale) and Noelani (Kimee Balmilero) are the “pupils” and they both face former “teachers” from their past.
NOELANI TRIES TO SAVE HER MENTOR
The episode starts with Noelani being kidnapped by Aleki (Alexander Wraith) after she has stolen an aortic valve from a body in the morgue. She is brought to a warehouse equipped with a makeshift surgical theater, where her former medical school teacher Dr. Tara Chu (Page Leong) is waiting. Dr. Chu is being forced to operate on an arms smuggler who needs his aortic valve replaced, and she needs Noelani to assist her during the surgery.
Noelani feigns having to go to the restroom before the surgery starts so she can use a scalpel to disarm her guard, and tries to escape. But Dr. Chu actually works for Aleki and she turns a gun on Noelani and forces her to complete the surgery. While they are operating, Dr. Chu tells Noelani how she went bankrupt after a malpractice suit and was forced out of medicine. Noelani doesn’t understand how the woman who supported her when she went into forensic pathology and didn’t become a surgeon, could become this kind of unscrupulous doctor.
Thankfully, the Five-0 team has been looking for Noelani after Duke (Dennis Chun) informs them that she had not shown up to work. They see that Noelani signed in at the morgue as “Dr. Tara Chu” and take it as a clue. Tani (Meaghan Rath) looks into Dr. Chu and they find that she is a teacher at Noelani’s medical school yet they cannot reach her to question her. They locate her phone — which leads them to the illegal surgical room where Steve McGarrett (Alex O’Loughlin) and the team save Noelani and Dr. Chu.
ADAM AND THE YAKUZA BRIDE
Adam faces a different kind of former mentor — the father of Tamiko Masuda (Brittany Ishibashi). Tamiko comes to Five-0 headquarters in her wedding dress to see Adam, her childhood friend, hoping he can help her find her fiance Kevin. She tells him they were supposed to be married that day, but Kevin did not show up and she fears he was killed by her Yakuza boss father, Masuda (Sonny Saito). She admits to Adam and McGarrett that Kevin is actually an FBI informant who has infiltrated Masuda’s organization.
When Duke finds Kevin garrotted in his car, Adam has to break the sad news to Tamiko and comfort her. He understands what it’s like to lose someone you love to the business that he and Tamiko have belonged to since birth.
While Adam investigates the Yakuza angle of the case, Tani and Junior (Beulah Koale) look into Kevin’s other FBI undercover cases and find that Ron Craft, who Kevin sent to prison four years before, could have killed Kevin. They theorize that Craft figured out that Kevin was actually the FBI agent who built the case against him and made it look like Kevin was killed by the Yakuza to cover his tracks.
When Adam and McGarrett find Craft dead, he knows that Masuda ended Craft’s life for killing Kevin and taking away Tamiko’s happiness. When Adam goes to see Masuda-san he tells him he agrees that Craft needed to be held accountable for killing Kevin, but they have different views on how justice should be served. Masuda tells Adam that he can fool others by wearing a badge, but one day he will have to accept who he really is — and on that day Masuda will be waiting for him.
Both storylines were well suited for Dale and Balmilero as it allowed them to deliver two powerful performances. It also lets their characters make peace with a part of their pasts and gave the actors a chance to show how talented and well-suited they are for their roles on “Hawaii Five-0.”
Adam was able to face an old family friend who might have been a father figure at one time if he had stayed in the Yakuza and not left to marry Kono. And Noelani was able to make peace with not being able to save her former teacher who she idolized.
When McGarrett admits to her that he had to make peace with not being able to save Joe White — we know that he is not only trying to comfort her but also show her that she is strong enough to pick herself up and move on. It will still hurt, but she will always have someone to lean on.