Each week “Hawaii Five-0” transports us to a fantasy island full of sunshine, sandy beaches, and beautiful people who are constantly in threat, but always safe while Five-0 is on duty. Yes, we know the setting of the show is certainly not make-believe, so we are okay with suspending our disbelief for 42 minutes so that we can watch Five-0 shoot ’em up in Kakaako or Portlock or in front of Aliiolani Hale and the King Kamehameha statue. We enjoy the technicolor tune-up of our aina while watching McGarrett, played by the equally beautiful Alex O’Loughlin, catch the bad guys in order to keep Hawaii safe from harm, hackers and the occasional North Korean operative.
This is exactly the case of this week’s “Hawaii Five-0,” titled “ʻUkuliʻi ka pua, onaona i ka mauʻu,” which is Hawaiian for “Tiny is the flower, yet it scents the grasses around it.” The title is a traditional ʻōlelo noʻeau, which is “said of a small person who gives happiness to others.” While the meaning of the title is the complete opposite of the villain in the episode — Yumi Chun (Kirstin Leigh) — it does metaphorically represent her actions.
SPIES ARE NOT LIKE US
While Yumi is definitely not a tiny flower, she is a very talented North Korean spy, who starts off a chain of events that impacts not only the murder statistics in Hawaii but also threatens the safety of the nation. Because that’s how we roll in the land of fantasy Five-0 — if we’re going to have an episode about threatening national security — we are going to go big or go home.
Written by Zoe Robyn, the episode wanted us to swallow the premise that the seemingly innocent Yumi Chun, is really a North Korean spy. She is masquerading as a sophomore in high school so she can gain access to classified documents through the encrypted DOD account of her best friend’s dad, a major general. And for the most part, we can roll with this part of the storyline.
Peter Weller’s direction of the episode definitely helped. Weller has Leigh react like a well-trained and methodical agent, and everything she does is expertly calculated and precise. The idea that she has no room for error, no piece of compassion or care for anything except the mission, is readily evident on Yumi’s face. Her fight scenes were well-done and saved the episode from going completely into the land of the ridiculous. After Yumi kicks the butt of both Tani (Meaghan Rath) and Quinn (Katrina Law), she jumps out of a balcony window to escape and then takes out five CID agents with a pen — we could at least sit back and enjoy the action.
MCGARRETT’S NEW LOVE INTEREST
One plotline fans seem to be struggling with was again part of the secondary storyline this week — McGarrett’s search for a new girlfriend. Because really, on what planet would that man need assistance finding a date?
But it seems as if “Hawaii Five-0” wants you to be able to relate to McGarrett as a regular guy, who can be awkward and nervous around beautiful women. If they have ever hung out with or dated a Navy SEAL, the only thing I’ve ever seen them get nervous about is having to pick up a newborn or dealing with a crying child or woman.
But sure, we’ll go along with the fact that McGarrett can’t seem to find himself a lady. So Danny (Scott Caan) has to coach him, and Eddie the dog plays his wingman. It did make for some humorous moments to dispel the more serious scenes with Yumi the Evil Flower who is intent on destroying our American way of life. And, yes, the scenes between McGarrett, Danny, and Eddie are funny — except the part where they made a beautiful English Mastiff seem like a mean dog.
Perhaps that is why McGarrett has Eddie, so the dog can temper the reaction fans typically have when McGarrett has a girlfriend. Right now it looks as if McGarrett is going to date random ladies (the veterinarian he asks out was not even credited in the press release) until they perhaps find an actress who can play his new love interest. So until then, we just might get Eddie playing wingman until that right lady comes along — or returns, depending on which camp you are in regarding McG’s love life.
QUINN’S FIRST DAY ON THE TEAM
Last week, McGarrett offered Quinn Liu a spot on Five-0, and this episode marked her first day on the job. While Danny quips that like a rookie she is early and hopeful, Quinn’s day progresses from finding three dead guys in a van, to her getting beat up by Yumi the spy, who Quinn thinks is a victim. When she and McGarrett find evidence that Yumi has stolen an encrypted password and has access to “the classified cookie jar,” they are forced to take drastic hacking measures.
Lou (Chi McBride) and Adam (Ian Anthony Dale) head to Halawa to bribe Aaron Wright (recurring cast member Joey Lawrence) with a caramel double-shot cappuccino, to help them stop Yumi’s ticking time bomb. Under pressure from Five-0, Wright is able to stop Yumi’s program that would release sensitive DOD documents onto the dark web. Really, the return of Wright is pretty underwhelming, but it does make for a good “first day on the job” story for Quinn.
Still, the best part of the episode is when the entire team meets at the Tapa Bar at the Hilton Hawaiian Village for pau hana beers to officially welcome her to the team. Because that’s how we like an episode to end — with the spies dead, and the hackers still in jail, and being able to celebrate being alive in a real-life paradise.