Each year, after a cold hard winter, we look for signs that Spring is soon on the way. Groundhog Day, the opening of Spring Training, the swallows returning to Capistrano. After a long sweltering summer, we do the same except for those of us who are part of a particular fandom, we’re not just looking to turn off the air conditioning and watch for the changing leaves. We look to the third week in September and the start of our most favorite season of all. Time for a new season of Hawaii Five-0.
And as usual, this year’s premiere episode, written by Peter Lenkov and Eric Guggenheim and directed by Bryan Spicer, was a real winner. It had everything I love about Five-0 and then some. Ohana, bromance, touches of comedy, a kick ass chase to go along with an interesting crime and a surprise ending that looks to propel us into an intriguing story arc that I hope lasts for a while. It was an episode worth the long wait over the summer.
Peter Lenkov said in numerous interviews that this season was going to be a very personal one for our team. Personal in the way they deal with each other, with the loved ones in their lives, how they view their legacy and how they move forward. This episode was a great stepping stone for all of that.
As usual, these observations and opinions will not be in any particular order. Just the ramblings of a fangirl’s mind…..
The Chapel – I want to start with the scene of Steve in the chapel. I really loved this scene even if I didn’t love the execution. We already knew that Steve was going to be in a very reflective mood after his brush with death but I’m not entirely happy with the time frame of those reflections. That being, the six years he’s been with Five-0.
To me, it shouldn’t strictly be Steve’s “job” that he’s reflecting on but his “life choices” in general. These include Five-0, of course, but also go all the way back to his military days when his “job” was his only life. Years spent on ships, in deserts, on classified and clandestine missions, being sent all over the world at a moment’s notice and not seeing his home base for weeks/months/years. He’s edging toward forty and wondering if, had he made other choices, would he have had a more normal life. It seems more logical to me that those are the years that shaped the course of Steve’s life, those are the years that cost him that normal life. Not the six years he’s spent with Five-0. He hasn’t lost anything because of Five-0. But, perhaps, the writers just didn’t want to delve into Steve’s entire adult life and made the less complicated choice to concentrate only on Steve’s Five-0 years. Not the choice I would have made but that doesn’t mean I can’t understand why they made it.
Steve has had a life altering experience and contemplating one’s legacy and choices is natural. It’s also natural for one’s thought process to be all over the place, replaying events and thinking and rethinking decisions which can never be changed. Sometimes a person needs someone else to center them, to help clear the clutter of a brain that’s over thinking things. The use of the stranger in the chapel was a great choice. Making him an ex-cop was inspired. Steve is wondering if it’s all worth it and this wise gentleman tells him things I’m sure Steve, in his heart, already knows but things he still desperately needs to hear.
Steve is seeing another version of himself. A man who’s lived a similar life and yet was able to find the “normal life” Steve feels has passed him by. This man is in the chapel praying for his sick wife, a woman he’s been happily married to for forty-five years. Amazed, Steve asks how he managed it, and the man tells him truthfully, “I just met the right gal”. When Steve, still in that reflective mindset asks “What if I already met the right woman and couldn’t hang on to her?” The gentleman gives him another truth, this time a hard truth. “Then she wasn’t the right woman”.
I truly hope that all of Steve’s reflections help him realize just how right the man was. Five-0 hasn’t cost Steve a normal life nor has it cost him the right woman because she was never the right woman in the first place. As for Steve’s statement that he doesn’t have a girlfriend at the moment, I’m disappointed he said that but not really surprised. He was with Catherine for a decade and never could call her his girlfriend, could never say I love you, could never make a full commitment to her (and vice versa…. Catherine couldn’t do it either). The fact that, in this moment of doubt, regret and reflection, he’s not willing to put a label on his relationship with Lynn, is totally understandable.
I truly hope the gentleman’s last words to Steve sink in, and he realizes that just because his life hasn’t been what he considers “normal” it’s still been a damn good life. The lives he has saved, the horrible people he’s put behind bars or helped take out of power, all the good difference he’s made to Hawaii, in the world and for his country. Not to mention all the “broken toys” he’s brought together to form his Ohana, his friends, the team that always, no matter what, has his back. Yes… it’s worth it.
“What we do can’t be quantified. Your worth is measured in the closure you bring, the people you save. That’s your real legacy. The best legacy a man can leave behind is the people whose lives he’s changed. Trust me.”
I thought this scene was inspired and the sentiment displayed very touching. But the execution? That left something to be desired. It would have been so wonderful if the real Jack Lord was still with us and able to play this part for real. As I said, I felt Steve was seeing another version of himself and who better to play that than the man who originated Steve McGarrett?
But the CGI used to create this Jack Lord was lacking. I think about seeing Andy Serkis transformed into Gollum in Lord of the Rings and know CGI is so much better than this. This Jack wasn’t completely awful but it did look pretty fake and not just a little bit creepy. Add to that, the fact that many younger viewers or those who had never seen the original Five-O had no idea who this creation was supposed to be. I wonder why someone didn’t look at the final product of this experiment and just veto it before it hit our screens, just brought in a wonderful actor to play the part. No, it wouldn’t have been Jack Lord but the scene would have been just as touching. But they were so excited to play homage to the original Five-O and to Jack Lord. The sentiment was admirable and paying homage is always a fine goal and should be praised. Their hearts were definitely in the right place and I loved the entire scene even if the CGI could have been a bit better.
Steve and Danny – God I love these guys! I’ve loved them from the first time Steve barged onto Danny’s crime scene and I love them even more now. These two will forever be the glue that holds this show together for me. I’ve been hoping all summer that the interactions between these two can return to wonderful banter and leave the hateful bickering behind. I thought this episode struck a good balance for them in working toward that goal.
Let’s start with the wheelchair race. Totally unrealistic and inappropriate and I loved every minute of it. I mean, guys? Competitive much? And I loved that Danny won. About time Steve didn’t come out on top especially when he tried to cheat. Seemed only fair Danny won by doing the same. Yeah, I admit, it was totally ridiculous. No hospital would have permitted it. They would have put a stop to it in an instant. But it was still a hell of a lot of fun to watch especially Danny observing “that felt good” when he won. Lou and Kono making bets on the winner and contributing to the fun was really great too.
So it’s been two weeks and the boys are just out of the hospital and Steve isn’t listening to any advice the doctors have given him about his recuperation period and Danny is not happy about it. What a surprise! I wish these guys could just say what they really want to say instead of always dancing around it. Danny is concerned for Steve. He wants him to rest and give himself time to heal. He wants him to follow doctor’s orders. But he can’t just say that and probably feels he shouldn’t have to, that his actions in saving Steve in the plane and donating the organ should be enough for Steve to just know it and do as he’s told.
Of course, Steve is as stubborn as they come and thinks he knows his body better than the doctors. He’s completely bull headed and that just grates on Danny something fierce. So of course it degenerated into bickering. But here is where this episode had a nice balance to it. Yeah, they ended up bickering in the car (with Chin, hysterically ending up behind the wheel) and again at the hotel but in the end they end up talking it out and, after some “I love you’s” and a long overdue “thank you”, Steve does do what he should. Instead of heading out with the team for drinks and wings, Steve heads home for some much needed rest and even a few days off. I loved Kono’s little tease… “they in love again…”.
Chin and Sarah – Chin is completely enjoying his time with Sarah and the way Sarah smiles at him and is completely at home with him shows she’s developed a true loving connection with her Uncle Chin. But Sarah has family in Mexico, family that wants to adopt her. Who can blame Chin, with Five-0’s resources to begin a background check on these people he doesn’t know before he lets this little girl, who is stealing his heart, go with them. It’s going to be fun to see if Kono’s observation and Chin’s non-denial that he’s “got the bug” leads to Sarah permanently staying with Chin. They are so incredibly cute together I really hope it works out for them both.
And Abby too. She’s on the island to stay, it seems. She’s now a HPD detective, which I totally approve of. There was no indication in this episode that she is living with Chin but it was implied at the end of last season. I completely approve of this pairing especially since we’ll only be seeing Abby periodically either with Chin or when HPD is on a case and we won’t see her every episode as a member of Five-0. Just the way I like love interests on a cop show.
The new Governor – I absolutely love that Steve is checking in with the Governor again. I loved Denning and his interactions with Steve. The mutual respect between two former military men and the bond of service. I’m really sorry to see Denning go but we really haven’t seen him in ages and after five years, it’s logical it be time for a new Governor of Hawaii. I already love Keiko Mahoe. First off, I’m really happy the new Governor is a woman but even more than that, I’m thrilled that she is Asian. On an island where over 60% of the population is of Asian and native Hawaiian decent, it’s about time we had an Asian Governor. Great choice here!
Straight forward and to the point she sort of reminded me of what Governor Jamison was like at the beginning. She’s one tough cookie, yet she is also fair and open to the advice of her predecessor to not underestimate Five-0. I think this dynamic will be cool to watch. I know we’re not going to see the Governor all the time and that’s as it should be. We should only see her when the situation warrants it. But I sure hope we see her more than we saw Denning. And I honestly never realized how much I missed hearing Steve say “Yes ma’am”.
Our New ME – We also met our new Medical Examiner, Noelani. Again really cool, another Asian woman. It looks like they couldn’t get Amanda Setton back as Dr. Shaw which is really a shame. I loved Mindy and her interactions with the team, especially Danny. I wonder if Noelani will stick around once Max gets back from overseas. I kind of hope she does and that Eric gets his wish and meets her. It might be fun, every once in a while, to see Eric finally in a mature relationship that will help him to finally grow up.
Kamekona – Our wonderful island entrepreneur is at it again with a new venture. The Kamekona Club… spreading the Aloha to the world on a monthly basis, through malasadas, garlic shrimp, local grown coffee and, by some as yet to be determined process, shave ice. You got to hand it to the big guy. Even though his last venture ended up at the bottom of the sea, he’s still out to spread the brand. Lou may not be quite ready to dip into Samantha and Will’s collage funds to provide capital but as for me, just the idea of malasadas showing up at my door is enough to make me want to subscribe!
COTW – This week’s crime was really interesting. First off, for the first time ever, our guys weren’t called to a crime scene, the crime scene was brought to them. To see the light hearted bunch, fresh off the wheelchair Olympics, strolling into HQ to find a dead body waiting for them was something I never expected.
It’s not a new concept for a cop show. The vigilante who sees himself as the only person who can stop the killers by becoming a killer himself. The serial killer who kills serial killers. But I’m enjoying the way this particular story is being laid out. The chess pieces being left with the victims is an intriguing part of these crimes. Were these killers simply pawns being used by someone else? Or do the pawns, the lowest pieces on the board, represent the killers view that these men are the lowest of the low of humanity? Only time will tell because, the surprise ending that looks to propel us forward is the fact that they didn’t actually catch whoever is responsible for it all.
This guy is also extremely bold. He not only left the first body right on the Five-0 logo on the floor of HQ, he left the second body in Lou’s car. Lastly, as Steve arrives home for his much deserved rest, the guy is in Steve’s house. Steve hears him moving around but he manages to slip away, leaving behind yet another chess piece in his wake. How is this guy getting into what should be secured places? Ok, so maybe Lou left his car unlocked but HQ? And Steve’s house also has security (at least I think it does). What is this guy trying to do and more specifically, what message is he sending to Five-0?
The Chase – I can’t let this episode go by without talking about that chase! Oh my God, for a show that prides itself on some of the most spectacular chase scenes this one was one for the ages. I had never heard of Parkour before and didn’t know there were people who are considered “professional free runners”. The choreography of the chase was amazing. We all know the extraordinary ability of Jeff Cadiente and the way our show benefits from his expertise but I wonder if Parkour athlete Jesse La Flair didn’t do most of this choreography himself. I don’t know, I haven’t read one way or the other. It was spectacular no matter who planned it all out.
I couldn’t help but be impressed with the way Steve (until he took that one incredibly stupid leap) and then Chin and Kono were able to keep up with suspect Pierre Shaw as he scaled buildings and jumped rooftops. My husband was laughing at me because I kept yelling at my TV “Oh… for God’s sake… just shoot him for crying out loud”.
I do wonder what would have happened to Pierre if Five-0 hadn’t shown up at this apartment when they did. He, undoubtedly would have killed the young woman he was terrorizing. And what if he hadn’t fallen to his death? Would he have then become our killer’s next victim himself? Would he have been left on Five-0’s doorstep as well?
And what of that last chess piece, the one left in Steve’s kitchen? From the looks of the picture Jerry showed the team of the stolen chess set, the piece looks like a knight. In medieval times the knights were the King’s guard and the nobles of the realm. It was the duty of a knight to learn how to fight, to guard and protect the castle and to support his King in warfare. On a chess board, the knight is the only piece which can leap over other pieces to take its enemies.
So what is our killer trying to say? It seems clear he doesn’t view Five-0, or at least Steve, as pawns but as what? Allies? Or was it meant as a challenge, a “catch me if you can”? A battle of wits to see who comes out on top? Personally, I love that there was no closure at the end of this episode and that we’re in for what looks like, I don’t know how many episodes of, a good old fashioned “Who done it”. I can’t tell you how much I’m looking forward to seeing where this is going.
Welcome my friends to Season 7 of Hawaii Five-0! Aloha. Malama Pono
All screen caps are my own except were noted.