One interesting element about “Hawaii Five-0” has to be their ability to divide and conquer. As their team has many different talents and strengths, they can investigate in different ways using their many talents and areas of expertise. In this week’s episode, the team is brought to a crime scene where three first responders have been killed when an injured hiker turned violent during a medevac flight to Kings Medical. As the team divides to search for the killer, Ben Tam (played by Hawaii actor Garret T. Sato), they run into DEA agent Richie Gormican (Jesse Johnson), who is also looking for the Tam, and $100 million dollars’ worth of heroin he left in the jungle.
This week’s episode, “Neʻe aku, neʻe mai ke one o Punahoa” which is Hawaiian for “That way and this way shifts the sands of Punahoa,” is a traditional ʻōlelo noʻeau, or Hawaiian proverb or poetical saying, which is “said of a group that divides, or of an undecided person who shifts one way and then other.” The episode takes McGarrett (Alex O’Loughlin), Adam (Ian Anthony Dale), Junior (Beulah Koale), Tani (Meaghan Rath), and Quinn (Katrina Law) in different directions in order to solve their case. It also gives them an unexpected lead into the team’s ongoing mystery about Wes Cullen (Rob Morrow) and the “bigger conspiracy” that surrounds him even after his death.
Written by series star Chi McBride and Matt Wheeler, and directed by Carlos Bernard, the episode leads the team to a killer and to a DEA agent who has shifted over to the bad guys. An interesting subplot of the episode has Lou Grover (McBride) welcoming his niece Siobhan (played by Broadway star Nia Holloway) to Hawaii so she can try out for the University of Hawaii basketball team. Lou asks his friend, former NBA star Metta World Peace, to host a workout so that Siobhan, “Bonnie” to her Uncle Lou, can impress the UH coach.
MCGARRETT IN MOURNING
The episode starts with McGarrett still dealing with the aftermath of his mother’s death. While everyone mourns in different ways, for McGarrett, it seems as if he needs to distract himself with work and Five-0 business to deal with losing Doris (Christine Lahti). His pain is very evident — as we see him sitting on his bed, remembering his last moments and last words to her, just as his phone fills with worried texts and missed calls from Danno. Then, suddenly, we see his steely resolve as he opens his eyes to his new reality.
So when he arrives at the medevac crime scene to help Adam, Tani, and Quinn, they all tell him that they can handle it, if he still needs some time off. He thanks them, but says he needs to get back to work. Later, when Agent Gormican (Johnson) tells McGarrett that he “heard about what happened with your mom” and apologizes, McGarrett seems to take his condolences in stride.
Perhaps it’s because Gormican is as dirty as he comes across, as both Quinn and McGarrett voice their distrust of him. When the team realizes that it is Gormican who wants Tam’s heroin for himself and not to make the career-changing drug bust that he tells McGarrett he is after, it confirms McGarrett’s suspicions and explains McGarrett’s emotionless response to Gormican’s sympathies about Doris’ death.
ROLE MODEL LOU
While McGarrett and the rest of the team are searching the jungle for Tam and the missing heroin, Lou (McBride) and his wife Renee (Michelle Hurd) are trying to help Bonnie (Holloway) start her future based on her basketball talent. The secondary storyline helped to highlight the theme of family that is so important to both McBride as well as his character. The addition of the talented Holloway as Bonnie and Metta World Peace, who played himself, was surprisingly delightful.
Bonnie has had some troubles back home in Chicago, and even though she is a talented basketball star, gang associations and her loyalty to a troubled friend has put her on track to fall through the cracks. Lou and Renee want her to succeed — but Bonnie has different plans. She wants to be a cop and tearfully tells Lou her dream after Lou scolds her for having a gun at school. When Bonnie tells him she took the gun from another girl to protect a friend, and then took it to the police station and turned it in — he sees that she is serious about her life and beyond loyal to those she loves.
The scenes between McBride and Holloway were heartfelt and emotional enough to tug on our heartstrings without being overwrought or melodramatic. The backstory to why Bonnie wanted to be a cop — after Lou took her home after her mother overdosed in front of her at five-years-old — was heartbreaking, but it also solidified McBride’s strength as both an actor and a writer.
Sand in Hawaii is pretty ubiquitous, and the idea of shifting sand is a many-layered metaphor for Hawaiians. It can mean both good and bad, as it connotes change and movement. For McGarrett, as he continues to deal with the repercussions of his mother’s death, as well as all of his emotions surrounding her loss, it seems as if he will rely on work and his friends to help him continue to move forward.
As the episode ends with McGarrett finally talking to Danno, telling him “I just miss her, Danny,” as an assassin enters the hospital room of Wes Cullen’s fixer, Sam Bishop, we can see there are more changes on the horizon. Killing Bishop ends yet another possibility of Five-0 getting the answers they need to solve the conspiracy that Cullen predicted. And it tells us that the sand is still shifting, no matter how resolved McGarrett is to find the answers.