“It’s just a TV show”. We hear those words all the time. Whether it’s because someone thinks another person is taking it too seriously, or for the love or disdain for a particular character or because some people just can’t understand why it means so much to someone else.
They’ll ask: “How can you get so wrapped up in it?” “How can you feel like you understand, even know these people as if they’re real?” “How can you feel so happy when something wonderful happens to them in a story line or be so sad for them when something bad happens?” “They are not real!”
They just don’t get it. Because, TV show or not, these people come into our homes every single week. For many of us, it’s even more than that. We watch the episodes, watch the re-runs, have them downloaded on our computers via iTunes or Amazon or CBS All Access, have bought the DVDs and whatever other means we’ve taken to make sure we can watch and re-watch as much as we want. Hell, these people are in our homes more than most of our relatives are.
Then there is social media and the wonderful opportunities we all have, to actually interact with the actors who bring these wonderful characters to life. For those who choose to interact with the fans, they give us insight into the characters, behind the scenes pictures and videos that show us life on set and the friendships that have formed there. We feel like we’re part of it, that we belong, just a tiny bit to the shows we love. How can we not begin to feel like they are family?
Of course, we know that it’s not real. We know they’re not really family, but still, when one of them leaves, it’s bound to strike a chord. Sometimes, it’s a happy chord, when we’re more than thrilled to see the back end of a particular character. Other times, like right now, with the departure of Masi Oka and the wonderful character of Max Bergman, it’s hurts like hell.
By the time, Monday, October 18, 2010 rolled around, many of us were already good and hooked on the new version of Hawaii Five-0. We’d met our wonderful new team and had already fallen in love with the bromance between Steve and Danny, the loving familial bond between Chin and Kono and the wonderful Ohana they were beginning to form between them. But on that night, five weeks into the first season, we were about to meet the most unique of characters. Dr. Max Bergman.
It’s funny to think about now, but Max was only in four of the twenty-four episodes in Season 1. E1.05 – Nalowale, E1.11 – Palekaiko, E1.14 – He Kane Hewa’ Ole, and E1.19 – Ne Me’e Laua Na Paio. He was very much a recurring character and one we didn’t see very often at all. And yet, those few short appearances were enough to make everyone fall in love with Max. His shyness, he’s quirkiness, his humor, his cutting wit, his professionalism, his good heart. Just those four episodes and it became obvious that Max added so much to the show, recurring just wouldn’t cut it. When Season 2 premiered, Masi had been elevated from recurring to main cast and Max would forever be Ohana.
I, like pretty much everyone else, knew coming into this episode it was going to be a tear jerker. How could it not be? It started when Peter Lenkov began sharing editing videos and then when the sneak peeks came out and I realized they really were going to devote a major part of this episode to Max and his memories….. our memories of things that have happened over the last seven years. I sat down with my full bottle of wine and my brand-new box of tissues knowing both would be pretty much empty by the time this episode ended. I wasn’t wrong.
It was a wonderful touch to have Jerry “helping” Max pack up his office. The first thing that caught my eye was a wonderful subtle nod to when we first met Max. Although we haven’t seen him play it in quite some time, having the first thing we see be Max moving his piano was a very nice touch. It was at that piano we first met Max all those years ago.
Having Jerry find Max’s journals was also the perfect way to take us all down memory lane since Jerry wasn’t there for any of those memories. It was much better than just having Max looking reminiscently at the journal alone. Having Jerry there to react to the stories and give Max some advice was perfect. Jerry and Max are kindred spirits and have formed a wonderful friendship. I really loved all their scenes together, in this episode and in the past.
Jerry never knew, for instance, that Steve was once a fugitive from the law and sought out Max’s help after he’d been shanked in prison. It was very touching to hear Max tell Jerry how that day was a real game changer for them. Up until that point Max had looked at Steve as a respected colleague. But Steve didn’t need a colleague that day. He needed a friend, one who wouldn’t only help him with his injury but one who wouldn’t feel obligated by his “duty” to turn him in. It was that day, Max and Steve became Ohana.
And it was Kono who, as only Kono can, gave Max the kick in the pants to “man up” and ask Sabrina out. After weeks of Friday paycheck deposits at the bank just so he could see her, it was Kono’s pushing that gave him the courage to finally make his endearingly clumsy move. Jerry was absolutely right. Max owes Kono a lot!
But my favorite recollection was Max telling Jerry why he sold his prehistoric fossil collection and DS9 action figures to buy his “Bumblebee” Camaro. It was because of his respect and admiration for Danny. I want to get this right so I’m going to quote right from Max’s mouth:
“It was because of Detective Williams. Well, I guess, in some ways, I’ve always looked up to him. Detective Williams may have a gruff exterior, but underneath is a very caring individual. I mean, considering the sacrifice he made for his daughter by moving out here, or the fact that he gave up a piece of his vital organ without hesitation in order to save Commander McGarrett. And, at times, he can be quite witty.”
It’s this last remark that has Jerry asking Max if he’s ever actually told the others how he truly feels about them. Has him telling Max that this is the time for him to open up, as uncomfortable as it is for him to do so, because he’s going to be working with the living now and it’s important to let those you really care about know it.
Which brings us to Max’s farewell party and, damn, did I need those tissues now! After starting off with the usual things people say at these things, like thanking Kamekona for hosting the event and assuring his now former colleagues that the M.E’s office will be in very capable hands now that Noelani has been promoted to head M.E. He also made it known that if they ever needed his help on a case, he’d be available. I was so happy to hear that actually written into the dialog because that means there is a chance, even if it’s a slim one, that we’ll get to see Max again someday, even if it’s just on Skype or the other end of a phone call.
When it looked like Max was ready to wrap up, giving the usual “it’s been a pleasure to work with you” type of closing, a glance and small encouraging nod from Jerry gave him the courage to say what was in his heart.
“But what I will miss the most, is my adopted family. And, by that, I mean… you.
Commander McGarrett… as you know, I grew up as an only child, and I always wanted a big brother and when I started working with the Five-0 I finally got one.
Detective Williams…. this might be a surprise to you but I always considered you as something of a role model. I’ve always been on the receiving end of your sarcasm but, truth be told, it never bothered me. I always took them as a token of affection. I’m going to miss your little quips. I hope that you would consider texting me one of those from time to time.
Lieutenant Kelly… nobody understands the meaning of Ohana more than you. And for that reason, among many others, you are going to make an amazing father to little Sara. And, from what I’ve already seen, you already are.
Kono…. without you, I would have never married my beautiful Sabrina. Detective Williams is my role model as an individual but your loving relationship with Adam is something that Sabrina and I hope to emulate.
Sergeant [sic] Grover…. I’ll miss your smile…. yes, that one. I know a part of you will always belong to Chicago but Hawaii has claimed you as one of its sons. And I truly believe that the islands are a better place because you are here.
Jerry…. thank you for being a friend and all your counsel. You’ve changed me in many ways and allowed me to grow in ways I never could have imagined.
All of you will be Ohana to me.. forever. I love you!”
It really is a shame Rumer Willis couldn’t be there. It would have been so great if Sabrina could have been at Max’s side for the farewell but at least we got to see her in what was the most wonderful sendoff for both Max and Masi. It was awesome how the entire Ohana was represented at the party. How the writers included everyone who is important either by them being there, or in Max’s words or in some of the best Max moments of the last 7 years we got to visit via flashback clips.
From Max and Sabrina’s bedside cuddle to their beachside “Time Warp”. From the M.E office reveals to Max’s wonderful Halloween costumes. From Max & Jerry as Elvis & “Colonel Tom” Parker to Max and Lori as “Danny and Sandy”. All accompanied by a wonderful rendition of Jackson Browne’s “All Good Things” by Cousin Flippa, Shawn Garnett. I can’t imagine there was anyone who wasn’t in full blown tears by the time it ended.
Of course, there was a crime of the week, as usual. It was a good story, full of twists and turns like we expect from a H50 case. Honestly though, I must admit, I was so wrapped up in Max, I needed to go back and re-watch to get a good grasp of the case. A few points:
The Police Convention: Other than a short flashback to cops acting like fools at a previous “spring break for cops”, not much was made of this event. One thing I liked a lot was seeing Duke Lukela leading the HPD morning roll-call. It was great to see Duke in this position of authority instead of just the senior cop at a crime scene. I also really enjoyed the fact that Dennis Chun actually got a nice big chunk of dialog to deliver, and deliver very well, I might add.
I’m going to date myself here but I couldn’t help but think back to the 1980’s and another Sergeant at roll-call. Sgt. Phil Esterhaus on “Hill Street Blues”. Listening to Duke caution his cops on what to expect I was really hoping the writers would pay a little homage to that old show and have Duke end the briefing with “Let’s be careful out there”.
The Victim: Miles Barton, a good cop from Milwaukee, who was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. How do I know he was a good cop? Because, he did something he didn’t have to do. Something first responders do all the time. Even on what was essentially a vacation, he ran toward what everyone else was running away from. When the building exploded he, along with other cops from all over the country, ran to the site to help search for survivors. He stumbled across a crime and gets murdered for being a good guy!
The Crime: Like I said, in usual H50 fashion, our crime is a bit convoluted. The explosion was caused by a crew of burglars trying to retrieve a knife which was used in a murder. The knife was being stored in the vault and the burglars accidentally hit a gas line while trying to drill into it. Our victim came upon our thieves when they went back later to try to get into the vault and got knifed for being in the wrong place.
The vault belonged to a shady lawyer, Brian Hadley, who was trying to protect a client who had murdered his girlfriend and asked his lawyer friend to get rid of the weapon. The lawyer, knowing he couldn’t destroy evidence, simply hid it away and hoped the entire sordid business would just go away. Dude, don’t you know stuff like that never goes away?
Alan Mayfield, the dead girlfriend’s brother had hired the crew, originally for a noble cause, to get justice for his sister. Because the knife had never been found, the killer was never charged. But justice turned to vengeance. In Mayfield’s grieving mind, his life was over. His sister was dead and because of his actions, an innocent man had died as well. He decided his only option was to kill his sister’s murderer himself. Thankfully, Steve was able to convince him not to go through with it.
Some fun stuff – The Proper Dunk: Steve sure has come a long way from the days when he wouldn’t touch a malasada “without bypass surgery” to actually dunking them in his coffee and enjoying the hell out of it too. It was hysterical listening to Lou trying to educate Steve on the proper way to dunk and how double dunking is a definite no-no. Lou is absolutely right, of course. Having whatever you’re dunking in your coffee break off and sink to the bottom is not only icky it’s heartbreaking. One less wonderful mouthful of deliciousness to enjoy becomes a soggy casualty at the bottom of the cup. Not good!
Frank Bama: It’s always wonderful when we get to visit with Frank but I was a bit confused as to the purpose of him being there. Apparently, he’s crashing on Steve’s sofa for a bit of R&R after a run in with a “client who turned out to be a budding war lord”. Ok, whatever, but it seemed the only reason he was there was to mention the missing uranium from last week’s episode. The uranium was also mentioned by Chin at the building explosion (no evidence of radiation means the uranium wasn’t involved). We already knew that little cliffhanger would be coming up again eventually but these little mentions make me think we’ll be seeing it’s return sooner rather than later. Perhaps Frank will stick around and be able to help out in whatever chaos I’m sure is coming.
Gerald Hirsch: I knew, of course, that Hirsch was going to be in this episode but I was a bit surprised at the amount of time he actually was on screen. I always get a kick out of him and I, unlike others, like the interactions he has with Kono. She gets him and has no problem with putting him in his place. Trying to sell his services at the Police Expo was classic Hirsch and using his nefarious past to help with the investigation wasn’t a big surprise either. But, damn man, you crashed Steve’s new truck! Poor Steve. Not having great luck with his trucks this season. Well, the Camaro has taking its share of hits over the years. I guess this year it’s Steve’s trucks turn! I will say, though, that I could have done with less of Hirsch at Max’s farewell. His slightly drunken toast was fine, it just went on too long. I would have preferred if someone else had gotten that time.
The very best part of the COTW: We actually got a long ….. very long… overdue “Book ‘em Danno”. Yes!!! Do you realize the last time we heard that was way back in the Season 5 premiere?? Two and a half years ago! My dear H50 writers! Please guys! I realize it’s overkill to use this iconic phrase too much but two and a half years is so incredibly long. Can we get to hear it at least a couple times a year? Please? Mahalo!
I have to say I enjoyed this episode very much. The COTW was mildly enjoyable but, honestly, I would have been thrilled if the entire episode had been about Max. If we could have had all 42 minutes of stories and flashbacks and goodbyes. I know, probably not feasible but one can dream. Also, because, while the onscreen Ohana were saying goodbye to Max so was the real-life cast. It would have given them all more time to interact with Masi on a one-on-one basis.
Oh yes, all those tears and all those hugs, they were real. Great actors that they all are, there was very little need for acting there. Honestly, only those with the coldest of hearts wouldn’t recognize that all those emotions on that screen were 100% genuine! They’re all going to miss Masi as much as we’re all going to miss Max.
Thank you Masi Oka for six and a half years of your talent, your smile, your enthusiasm, your behind the scenes pictures and videos. Thank you for bringing Max to us. I hope what Max said during his speech holds true and we will one day see him again. We’re going to miss you but we all wish you all the success in the world in all your ongoing many endeavors. Aloha `oe. A hui hou kakou.
Have a wonderful week my friends! Aloha. Malama Pono
All screen caps are mine unless otherwise noted.
19 thoughts on “#H50 Review – 7.13 Ua ho’i ka ‘ōpua i Awalua (The Clouds Always Return to Alawua)”
Great review as usual! To me,the COTW was a filler of sorts,but it did have its twists and turns.It’s not uncommon for a lawyer to hide evidence,but it is unethical. I loved the flashbacks and the farewell party and Lou’s attempt to teach Steve how to duck a malasada-very funny! I was like you-I didn’t really understand why Frank was there,but as you say, he may have a bigger part in a future episode! I thought it was a little weird for Jerry to read Max’s journals,but it did help him to understand what Max was all about and at the same time,he understood a little more about Steve & the others as well. Hirsch was Hirsch as usual,but it was nice to see him again. Everyone was emotional during Max’s speech,but it was so touching to see Lou try to hide his tears-what a softie! I will miss Max,but I hope we do see him again at some point in the future!.
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I can see your point about Jerry reading Max’s journals but he did ask permission and Max told him it was fine. If Jerry had found them and started reading without permission I’d feel a lot differently about it. But since Max gave him permission, I loved how it was used to tell Max’s story.
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Thank you so much for this, you put into words exactly how I felt about this eppy, right down to Hirsch’s overlong screen time, seeing the piano and the weird Frank Bama appearance! Thank you for researching the last time we heard ‘Book ’em Danno,’ I knew it had been a very long time since it had been used. I will miss the Max character and so, of course, Masi; I do hope we will see him again in time. Perhaps the writers will give us a Max-centric eppy some day, where our team might have to come to his aid in some way. Mahalo to the cast, crew and all involved in this special episode, letting us all get to say a proper goodbye to our beloved ME.
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Full disclosure…. I didn’t do any research in how long it’s been since the last “Book ’em Danno”. Like you, I knew it had been a very long time but last night, during the live tweet of the episode, the @H50_Writers tweeted that the last time it was heard was in Episode 5.01. So they deserve the accolade for that small fact.
Thanks for reading the blog. I appreciate the support! ♥
Thank you for this wonderfull review. The speech from Max (Masi) was indeed very touching and emotional. Liked the flashbacks and all the ohana moments with Max, and the interaction between the others too. Will miss the character of Max. Wishing Masi all the best in his personal life. Thanks 😊
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Yes…the flashbacks to all the Ohana moments were wonderful. I was so happy the writers managed to include everyone of importance in the flashbacks. It was very well done!
You’re right Linda, the whole show could have been about Max. There have been some great Max moments that have been left on the cutting room floor. When he was sitting on the church steps talking to Danny about his adoptive parents. When he wanted to propose to Sabrina and Kono told him to go for it. It would have been great for everybody to see these, not just people who bought the DVDs.
But I did enjoy the COTW. It reminded me a little bit of Aunt Deb’s husband Leonard when he did the same thing.
I wonder if maybe the script just reads “Chi improvises to Steve about dunking malasadas in coffee.” He is one talented actor. Whether he’s doing a Jamaican accent, or talking Chicagoese, or playing a new car salesman or sparring with Kamekona about the virtues of Spam.
The cool thing about this “Book ’em, Danno!” is that he just said it and neither one of them made any other comment.
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Like you, I also remembered that Leonard also hid a murder weapon for one of his clients. I wonder if this is something that lawyers do regularly in real life? I would like to think it’s just a trope they use on TV but part of me thinks it probably happens more than we’d like to think.
Very nicely done episode. I wondeedr how much of Max’s dialog was writers and how much Masi added – just seemed like he was talking to the cast as much as the characters…..all very heartfelt. Shame spouses/ girlfriends weren’t at the gathering, but I suppose they do have a budget. The “book’em Danno” was much appreciated. It’s been too long! I agree about COTW being a filler, but it was an OK way to move the day along. Next week looks like a total change of pace – I always enjoy learning about Hawaiian culture/ history. Hard to believe we’re already halfway thru the season!
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There were many interviews posted on line this week with Masi. In one, and I don’t remember which one or I’d post the link, he said that some of what he said DID come from him, not the script. So you’re right, he was talking to the cast as much as Max was talking to the Ohana.
Yes, next week’s episode looks intense. I love Lou Diamond Phillips. Unfortunately, it looks like he’s playing a bad guy. Like you, I love learning about the Hawaiian culture and I know there was a lot or research done and help from the local people from that area to make this episode as authentic as possible. I can’t wait to see it even if it does move us closer to the end of the season. Hard to believe!
I agree that the COTW was more of a filler episode. To me the episode was really about Max. He shined in this episode as he usually does. I have never seen an episode that Max was in that I didn’t like. The Max and Jerry scenes were priceless. And Max’s farewell party with him saying good-bye to everyone was a tearjerker. I am going to really miss Max. The only thing that surprised me was Steve. And here I thought he was a man of the world. He had never dunked his donut before. Unbelievable. Well, Lou will educate him. I really hope we see Max again. Maybe they could skype him. Hopefully next Halloween so he can show off one of his costumes. I am happy for the actor. He is a gifted man and I am sure there are great things ahead for him. Good luck, Masi. We all love you.
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Loved the episode and your review. Really going to miss Max.
Great review, Linda! I also immediately thought about the Aunt Deb/Leonard episode — I had always hoped they’d create a story around that mysterious box.
I love that Max’s relationships were told thru the journals. What a great device. I will miss him very much. I thoroughly enjoyed this episode, especially the malasada/coffee scene and hearing the words “book ‘im Danno.” Have missed that! I’m happy that the writers are blending action with ohana more often this season.
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Well everyone is pretty much in agreeance, the COTW was meh and a complete filler. And really, smashing Steve’s truck already! My thoughts about Frank Bama showing up was more along the lines of a “I told you so” from Peter because, as we all remember, it was Jimmy who unceremoniously stated that H5-0 was cancelled. Peter used him as part of the filler.
Oh the feels, the tears, the emotions! It was a wonderful send off for a wonderful, caring actor. I wished the entire show was dedicated to him but what they gave us what perfect. I’ve never been this invested in any other show maybe because it’s a job to those others but on this show, it truly is family, they make you feel it. I cried reading this! All I can say is the Ohana is real. I hope we see Masi real soon. I already miss him.
Great review! I was so happy to hear “Book ’em, Danno” too! I was so emotional over Max’s farewell and thought it was really well done, including the little touches of memories all the way through the episode. Thanks for writing this!
We all knew we were going to cry, but I don’ think think any of us fans from Day One were prepared for how emotional Max’s exit was going to be for us! I mean, sobbing, sniffling, enduring our family’s laughter! Ah, well…it was worth it. This was a beautiful farewell tribute to Dr. Max Bergman, not only from the writers, but also from Masi Oka and his fellow actors.
When the farewell clip started rolling, I was flabbergasted at just how many touching and funny scenes Max had been in over the course of 6 1/2 seasons! Most of the time, Max’s presence in an episode was a side note, but then again, seeing those clips showed me just how valuable his time onscreen has been to move all the characterizations of the team forward.
Anyway, the COTW was okay but I didn’t pay much attention to it (I did better watching the episode for the second time.)
And let me just say, Max’s reveal that Danny was his personal role model might have surprised Danny and everyone else, but I’m pretty sure those of us fans of Detective Danny Williams have known just how caring a person he really is even before he gave his partner and friend part of his liver.
Thanks, Linda, for my KoolAid jolt this week!
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I agree 100%. It takes someone able to appreciate the subtleties of personality to understand and appreciate a person like Danny. The narrow minded and sanctimonious will never understand him. It’s their loss if they’ve never had the pleasure of a man like Danny in their lives. I, for one, have known many like Danny in my lifetime and couldn’t ask for better people to have in my corner.
Excellent, especially the observation that the hugs and goodbyes were 100 % real. I was a mess by the end.
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