Welcome to 2016 and the start of the second half of Season 6 of Hawaii Five-0. After 4 long weeks since the last episode it was wonderful to sit back, glass of wine in hand and enjoy a brand new episode of my favorite show.
This episode had two distinct and totally unrelated stories. Having read the spoilers, seen the behind-the-scenes photos and the promos for the episode, I was absolutely certain I was going to adore the “Steve and Danny go to Maui” story more than anything. And while I enjoyed that part of the episode very, very much, I found I was more intrigued in Kamekona’s story. Go figure! LOL
The flashbacks to the life young Kamekona was living was very eye opening. A kid, basically homeless, living in a tent with his mother and little brother, cooking breakfast and skipping school to sell knockoff Hawaiian “treasures” to tourists with his cousin Flippa. A kid with a big heart who wanted nothing more than to take care of his family. It’s so easy to see how a kid like that could get roped into a life of crime, with its supposedly easy money.
I really loved how Kame’s story brought us right back to how we started in the Pilot. Chin introduced Kame to Steve and Danny as a “former confidential informant” and with this episode we got to see how the relationship between Chin and Kame grew from those early pre-Pilot days.
And it was that big heart we saw in him as a kid that had him agreeing to be the CI for Chin in order to save his little brother. It was one thing for Kame to be running drugs but when his brother is caught and about to be sent to jail, Kame sacrificed himself to keep him out of Halawa. Kamekona’s “personal sense of responsibility” triggered because if he hadn’t gotten involved with Levi in the first place, his brother wouldn’t have been in trouble.
I especially loved the scene between Chin and Kame in Halawa when Chin gave him the book “Think. Grow, Rich” and told him he’d be his first customer if he opened a shave ice business. It was in that moment when it became apparent that what Chin told Lou at the beginning of the episode was 100% true. “Kamekona is more than just a CI to me—he’s Ohana” and has been for a very long time. Kudos to Taylor Wily for bringing it for this entire episode. It was wonderful to see him get the spot light after all these years and he did not disappoint in the least. Bravo Taylor!!!
Now, before I go on to the rest of this episode I’d like to ask one simple question with regard to Kono and Adam and, of course, Gabriel. I loved the little scene between Kono and Adam at the beginning. It’s so heartbreaking to see these two having a marriage through Plexiglas and Adam counting down the days until they can be together again. But please tell me, how the hell can Gabriel simply walk into Halawa and sit down in the same chair Kono sat in earlier…. just like that? I mean, are the members of Five-0 and Duke the only law enforcement who know Gabriel is the most wanted person on the island? As much as I love whenever Gabriel shows up on my screen, that little scene didn’t make sense to me.
Ok so…. here we go…. Steve and Danny on Maui. There was so much to talk about here, I’m not sure where to start. Oh well, let’s start at the beginning. On the plane. First off, I’d have loved to have been Alyssa (I defy anyone to say they wouldn’t) sitting between these two goofs as they bicker over headphones and movie choices. But I do have to admit that Danny’s logic that he needed the window seat because he’s claustrophobic and doesn’t want to climb over Steve to go to the bathroom was a bit ridiculous though. I mean, those are reasons for wanting the aisle seat, not the window. But I did enjoy the back and forth between them with Alyssa in the center failing to be a buffer, not that she looked like she was suffering. LOL
These guys really DO have issues though. I don’t know when it happened or why but somewhere along the line the relationship between my two favorite characters changed. I don’t hate it, because this is Five-0 and I will never hate it, and I will always adore anytime I get these guys together on my screen. But at some point, Steve stopped being entertained by Danny and his negative attitude and began actively reacting to it more forcefully then he did in the beginning. If I’m remembering correctly, it’s what some in the fandom wanted. For Steve to stand up for himself against Danny’s negativity. To basically put Danny in his place. Well, here we are.
Personally, I miss the old days when the back and forth between them was “banter” and not “bicker”. When Danny would say something about pineapple on pizza or the obnoxiously sunny Hawaiian weather and Steve would, for the most part, snicker and indulgently smile. Now they are doing exactly what Danny said couples shouldn’t do. They are picking at each other, chipping away at all that’s good. I don’t know… maybe familiarity and the knowledge that they are solid has made them take the friendship for granted a bit. That they can say anything they want, even if it’s a bit hurtful, and the other will still be there no matter what. Come to think of it, that sounds a lot like real brothers to me, actually. “You only hurt the ones you love” type of thing.
Whatever the reason, this relationship does need some help and this weekend away was the perfect opportunity for them to get it. No matter if it was “couples therapy” or not, the venue wasn’t important. The opportunity to work on their friendship was there. I didn’t mind the therapy classes at all. I actually thought they were pretty funny. I thought the one guy’s description of them was just too perfect! “They’re stuck in a relationship they can’t get out of, they fight all the time, and they don’t have sex. Sounds a lot like our marriage.” ROFL
The one thing that did bother me about the therapy sessions, the whole weekend on Maui actually, was the completely missed opportunity to really do what they said they wanted to do. Steve said he wanted them to have some fun away from work, to reconnect a bit. I didn’t see that happen until the very last scene when they shared that $25.00 burger. I loved the little talk they finally had between them.
But there was no set up to that point. There was no soul bearing moment like the one from Danny under the collapsed building or from Steve about why he doesn’t play guitar anymore. Danny sharing his burger with Steve is a similar gesture (even if much less expensive) as him buying Steve a guitar but without the soul bearing moments that should have let up to it, it felt like an abrupt about face.
There were plenty of opportunities. For instance, Danny tried to talk to Steve in their room but the writers chose to have Steve fall asleep instead of having what could have been one of those soul bearing moments. Like I said, missed opportunities to make this really good episode into a truly special one.
Lastly, let’s talk about Steve. There is much talk on Twitter that Steve behaved completely out of character in this episode. I’m afraid I have to disagree with that to a certain extent. There is a difference between acting differently and being out of character. Yes, he was acting differently. He was light and happy and ready to have a good time. In five and a half years Steve has only had steady female companionship for one year and pretty much none for the last year and a half. So he decided to cut loose and have some fun. He only recently started dating again after being in a monogamous relationship for years and I think he’s enjoying that bit of freedom he hasn’t had in a long time. It made him act a bit silly. Is that different for him, sure, but I don’t see it as out of character because we’ve never seen him in these types of situations before. We have no way of knowing he didn’t act just like this when he was young and first meeting women.
I thought his attempt to get out of the therapy session by having Danny fake an injury was pretty funny, until, of course, Danny actually got hurt. It’s more than obvious Steve didn’t intend to hurt Danny on purpose. He pulled them both down to the floor to give the fake injury some validity. When Danny went down clutching his ankle Steve thought it was part of the fake injury. He didn’t realize he was really hurt until he got back.
I also have absolutely no problem with Steve going out for a few drinks with Alyssa and her friend. I see nothing wrong with two sets of friends deciding to get together for a few friendly drinks after dinner. It was unfortunate that Danny couldn’t go because of his ankle. People are angry, saying that Steve “abandoned’ Danny to go out. That’s just silly. Yes, Steve could have cancelled the evening and stayed behind with Danny. But Danny’s ankle wasn’t broken, so it’s also true that Danny could have gotten a set of crutches and gone along despite his ankle if he really wanted to. Steve chose to go out and have fun and Danny chose to stay in the hotel room and sulk. Sound totally in character to me.
And, please, let’s not try to make Steve into a cheating man-whore because he came back to the room tipsy with a bit of smudged lipstick on his face. Did you take notice of the amount of lipstick Alyssa was wearing on the plane? I’m sure she went all out for her night out with friends too, as would be understandable. It wouldn’t take more than one energetic good night kiss to get those smudges. And they were very small smudges as it was.
It seems to me that it’s not the H50 writers who are destroying Steve’s character. No, if anyone is tarnishing his character it’s those who profess to be his biggest fans, who swear they only watch the show because of his character, who are taking a few drinks and a bit of a smudge and turning it into a night of sex or even a threesome. So much for how much you think of your hero!
I enjoyed this episode a lot. Yes, there were things I thought were silly, things I thought were just ridiculous and things I thought could have been done much better. But I also saw a fantastic performance from Taylor Wily and a wonderful backstory into his character. And I enjoyed my two favorite characters trying their best to reconnect and keep their established friendship going strong. Is there still more for them to accomplish? God, I hope so that way we get more episodes like this one!
Have a great week my friends. Aloha. Malama Pono
Photo credit: Pictures of Gabriel, Alyssa, Steve & Steve/Danny from the last scene are my screen caps. Other photos are promo shots courtesy of CBS