Hawaiians know that saying “aloha” has many different meanings and intentions. Most understand that it’s a standard greeting or salutation, but aloha also means “love, affection, compassion, mercy, sympathy, pity, kindness, sentiment, grace and charity.” This week’s “Hawaii Five-0” is titled “Aloha” which is one of the ways Hawaiians say goodbye. It is the perfect title for the final episode of the series, as it not only embodies the meaning of aloha, but it is also a sweet farewell from the popular and well-loved show.
Directed by Duane Clark and based on a story by Peter M. Lenkov, with teleplay by David Wolkove and Matt Wheeler, the episode returns to the ending of the March 27 episode, “A ‘ohe ia e loa’a aku, he ulua kapapa no ka moana” (“He cannot be caught for he is an ulua fish of the deep ocean”). In truth, this week’s episode was originally the second hour of the series finale, but when the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament was canceled, CBS chose to split the two-hour finale into two episodes in order to fill some empty airtime.
FLASHBACK TO THE START
The episode circles back to the very first case McGarrett (Alex O’Loughlin) investigated after being given full immunity and means by the governor of Hawaii to start the Five-0 task force with Det. Danny “Danno” Williams (Scott Caan). When Danno is kidnapped in this week’s episode, McGarrett has no idea that the reason why Danno has been taken has anything to do with that first case. It will also lead him back to his biggest nemesis, Wo Fat (Mark Dacascos). Wo Fat’s wife, Daiyu Mei (Eugenia Yuan), who is as dastardly as her long-dead husband, is continuing his crusade against McGarrett.
McGarrett’s first case was the murder of his father, John McGarrett, played by William Sadler, who returns this week to play Papa McG in the last moments of his life. Along with Sadler, James Marsters returns to reprise his role as Victor Hesse, who kidnapped the elder McGarrett with the help of Wo Fat. Fans were thrilled when they heard that Dacascos would return in the series finale to play Wo Fat.
In the flashback scenes, we see Victor, Wo Fat and Daiyu Mei plan out the very first scene of the series — where McGarrett’s convoy, which is escorting international arms dealer Anton Hesse back to the states, is ambushed. Victor has reached out to Wo Fat to help get his brother out of McGarrett’s clutches, and Wo Fat tells him that McGarrett will agree to trade his father for Anton because, “Blood is blood.”
We needed a reminder about what happened in the pilot episode, as it really helped to explain why Daiyu has resurfaced after 10 years. Perhaps her hatred for him comes from the fact that her husband was killed by McGarrett in the 100th episode “Ina paha” (“If Perhaps”). Her desire to get Doris McGarrett’s cipher, which leads to thousands of dollars Doris has hidden in her crypt — an inheritance for her children — is based on both revenge and greed.
Daiyu believes her husband is Doris McGarrett’s son. Doris faked her death and left John, Steve and MaryAnn in Hawaii and raised Wo Fat after she accidentally killed his mother. This is the story that drives Daiyu to want Doris’s inheritance in honor of her long-dead husband. It is also why she kidnaps and tries to kill the person McGarrett loves the most in this world — his partner, Danno.
As McGarrett and the team move to save Danno’s life, the action and drama we know and love about “Hawaii Five-0” is definitely delivered. Danno knows that even if McGarrett gives Daiyu Mei the cipher, she will kill him. It’s a nice twist to have Danno work to save himself, instead of waiting to be saved by McGarrett. Danno kills most of his captors except for one who catches him off guard and shoots him in the shoulder. Thankfully, McGarrett and the rest of the Five-0 team arrive in time to rush him to the hospital.
Really, McGarrett didn’t care if he turned over the cipher, as he would have given anything to save his best friend. What made the scenes so emotional was the team’s response to Danno being kidnapped and shot. When they wheel Danno into surgery, they all are concerned about Danno surviving and about McGarrett’s well-being.
The scene has the kind of impact you want from a season finale, with the Five for Fighting song “All for One” plaintively playing in the background as McGarrett stands over Danno’s hospital bed. When Danno wakes up and sees McGarrett at his bedside, McGarrett is upset and he tells Danno, “She used you to get at me. She almost killed you.” But Danno brushes him off and assures him he’s OK, just as McGarrett admits that it was like what he went through when he lost his father.
A HUI HOU, MCGARRETT
The episode ends on the beach in McGarrett’s backyard and Danno asks him if he’s packed and ready to go. McGarrett assures him that this is not a forever goodbye. They hug on the beach and tell each other that they love each other. It’s a sweet moment, but one that tells us their friendship is far from over.
The tears don’t really start until McGarrett says goodbye to Eddie. As he kisses Eddie’s muzzle he tells the dog he loves him and will miss him, but to make sure he looks out for Danno. As he finishes petting his dog, the rest of the team arrives to say aloha. Lou (Chi McBride) is the first to cry as he tells McGarrett how “you saved my life when you met me” and Adam (Ian Anthony Dale) hugs him and thanks McGarrett for giving him a second chance. After Tani (Meaghan Rath) hugs him, McGarrett tells her to be good, and she promptly says, “No.” Even when she’s in tears, Tani is still a firecracker.
Noelani (Kimee Balmilero) gives him a tearful hug and thanks him for believing in her; and Quinn (Katrina Law) thanks him for giving her a family. But his farewell with Junior (Beulah Koale), as they share “ha,” or breath, is the most moving. Ha is what gives aloha its deeper meaning, and in this case, it is a sharing of friendship and brotherhood.
It wasn’t until McGarrett says, “A hui hou,” which means “until we meet again” that really made his exit feel a little hopeful. Not that the show will come back, but that these friendships that we have grown to love and adore, will continue and endure. We want McGarrett to find peace, and as he sits in a window seat of a departing airplane, his seatmate arrives, and we see it’s Catherine (Michelle Borth), who seems to always arrive when McGarrett needs a hand or some kind of emotional support.
Perhaps McGarrett can find peace somewhere out there in the world. And if nothing else he always has someone who has his back — either Catherine, Danno or the rest of the Five-0 team.
In any case, until they meet again, we are left with 10 years of amazing memories and endless aloha.