In any profession, a partnership has its fair share of ups and downs. In “Hawaii Five-0,” series regulars Beulah Koale, who plays former Navy SEAL Junior Reigns, and Meaghan Rath, who plays fellow Five-0 task force officer Tani Rey, are often partnered together on various cases. Together they work under veteran Five-0 members, McGarrett (Alex O’Loughlin), Danny (Scott Caan), and Grover (Chi McBride), who are always willing to share their expertise with the young ones.
The two “kids” joined the task force after the departure of Chin (Daniel Dae Kim) and Kono (Grace Park) and both were chosen for their unique skill set. Tani has been called a female version of McGarrett because of her physical confidence and fearlessness. Junior, once a homeless veteran who McGarrett took into his home to guide and mentor, brought his SEAL training and combat skills to the team. Yet, regardless of their professional talents, fans have often speculated about a potential romance between the two.
ALL BASED ON TALENT
What makes Tani and Junior so beloved comes from the incredible talent of Koale and Rath, as well as from the strength of their characters. Rath is luminescent as Tani, and she can also flip between being sharp sarcastic humor to being serious and emotionally deep. Koale is the same, warm and full of laughter, and yet, he is even better in his more dramatic moments. Both actors have killer smiles and their faces convey emotion so believably, it is hard to not completely fall in love with them.
And it seems as if the two characters are falling for each other. At the end of season nine, Tani nervously asked Junior to be her plus one at a friend’s wedding. As the two dance at the reception, first dancing as two friends, and then it is as if something clicks for Tani. The two slow dance and a moment between them turn into something more. They dance with their foreheads touching, telling us that perhaps there is more than a friendship between them.
Off-screen, Koale is newly married and a father of twins and Rath seems to be enjoying raising her two Labradoodles. Both seem to be tight friends who enjoy working together if you follow their antics on Instagram. But fans have dubbed their onscreen partnership “ReiRey” — Reigns and Rey — to “ship” the two characters.
Since Tani nicknamed Junior “Joons” early in his Five-0 career, and the two are often paired together to do most of the footwork for the team, fans have seen their relationship change from a friendship based on trust, to one that sometimes seems more romantic than professional.
In the season nine episode, “Hapai ke kuko, hanau ka hewa” (“When covetousness is conceived, sin is born”) Tani shares a childhood story with Junior about how her father told her that mermaids were real so she wouldn’t be afraid of the ocean. After Junior learns of Tani’s little girl dreams of being a mermaid, he surprises her by signing her up for a “Fintastic Mermaid Adventure” and gifting her with a pretty green tail. The scene is more than just sweet — it’s something a boyfriend would do for his girl. It’s one of the many moments when we all thought, could they be more than just friends?
ABOUT BEING PARTNERS
Perhaps one of the reasons ReiRey has not come to fruition yet is the fact that both Tani and Junior work together. Being on the same team, and on the Five-0 task force which is tasked with protecting the people of Hawaii, romance should not be at the forefront of their minds.
But in “Ho‘okāhi no lā o ka malihini” (“A Stranger Only for a Day”) while Junior and Tani are helping the rest of the team rescue a young woman, Junior climbs down a ravine to save the victim. Tani’s reaction to “Joons” almost sliding down the side of the mountain is quite telling, to the point that Danny reassures her that it’s okay to care about Junior, even in a romantic way. He tells her that she will only have a few people in life that she will care about. Perhaps he is telling her that life is too short to deny she has feelings for her partner.
It seems as if all season long, Tani and Junior have been building up to some sort of romantic collision. When they spend the day together in “Mimiki ke kai, ahuwale ka papa leho” (“When the sea draws out in the tidal wave, the rocks where the cowries hide are exposed”), helping HPD tackle 911 calls on the hottest day on record, they seem to bond as they battle the heat. Junior finally admits how his sister was killed and tells Tani, who feels terrible but does not know how to comfort him, that her being there and listening to him is enough.
When it begins to rain and they run like two little kids into the ocean, we’re pretty sure everyone was chanting “Kiss! Kiss!” like middle schoolers as they splashed each other laughing and cooling off. It seems as if that kiss is coming, gentle viewers, our only wonder is what will happen after the two make ReiRey a little more official.