One day, my mother told me a story about a young man in our neighborhood who did not want to go to war. This was in the 1960’s and the Vietnam war was going on strong. This young man refused to obey his draft notice but also was not of a mind to flee the country either. He, of course, was breaking the law and, eventually, the authorities came looking for him. They did not find him at his home nor in any of the usual places where he could sometimes be found. No, he was in our local church. The small, neighborhood church were my parents were married and where I was baptized became the news of the day, that day.
I don’t know all that transpired that day. My mother couldn’t remember all the details as the years past. But she did remember that when he left that church, it was not by force but because he had thought better of his situation and left of his own accord. I don’t know whatever happened to him. Maybe he ended up fighting in the war after all. I don’t know. Reading the synopsis of this episode a couple of weeks ago, brought this long-ago story to mind and watching it last night helped me understand the concept of “sanctuary” more clearly.
I have always loved when H50 has included Hawaiian history and culture in their stories. Yes, Hawaii has always been considered as a “character” in the show but when the writers use a historical event or cultural background in a story, it wonderfully highlights how Hawaii isn’t just a pretty postcard of where our show happens to take place. This is a place overwhelmingly rich in ways far beyond sun, surf and sand. In the same way I never knew there were Japanese internment camps in Hawaii before they were highlighted in E4.10 Ho’onani Makuakane, I had no idea there was a small portion of Oahu which is not considered to be part of the United States.
Writer Sean O’Reilly did a wonderful job with this episode. I only wish he’d had more time to actually delve into the history of Hawaiian sovereignty. I wonder if the average viewer, those not in the H50 fandom and therefore not privy to the inside information we are, might have thought that the Nation of Hawai’i was a fictional place, something made up for the show.
I won’t even attempt to talk about it myself here because I am woefully lacking in the knowledge to properly discuss it. I haven’t checked, because I don’t read other blogs before I post my own, but I am absolutely positive my friend Wendie Burbridge will go into full detail about it in her review of this episode. Wendie always gives wonderful insights into all aspects of the Hawaiian culture in her weekly reviews and I know this episode’s theme will be a very personal one for her. Not only is Wendie Native Hawaiian, she’s a wonderful teacher and story teller who brings her love of her native land into every one of her reviews. I will yield the floor to her and her expertise. Check out the Five-0 Redux on the Star-Advertiser website for this review and all her wonderful past reviews as well.
I have posted links below to various websites where I did my research for this review. Along with the main page for Wendie’s Five-0 Redux, there is a link to the official page for the Nation of Hawai’i, as well as a news story from Hawaii News Now on the making of this episode. I have also included the Wikipedia page to the biography of Dennis “Bumpy” Pu‘uhonua Kanahele. I encourage you all to read the pages concerning the Nation of Hawai’i. None of us are too old to learn new things and the information provided on these pages is fascinating.
Speaking of Bumpy Kanahele, were you as impressed as I was with his performance in this episode? When I first heard the Leader of the Nation of Hawai’i was going to be in this episode, I assumed he’d be making a cameo appearance only. Just to establish who he is and not much more. But Bumpy had a significant amount of dialog and screen time and he did a wonderful job with it all. The love of the land and the way he and his people fiercely fight to protect it and their way of life was palpable through the screen. The fact that a refugee, no matter the reason, can find sanctuary there. I was deeply moved by his sense of honor, in the way he was willing to protect the innocent but would never harbor a criminal fugitive. It was all extremely well done and Bumpy, with very little acting experience under his belt, did a fantastic job!
Now, I know I said above that Hawaii isn’t just the pretty postcard where our story is based, but… damn… the scenery overlooking the Pu‘uhonua o Waimānalo and the Nation of Hawai’i is gorgeous It took my breath away every time we were treated to a view of those magnificent vistas in a scene. Thank you to Director Peter Weller for the beauty of this entire episode.
Another actor I must single out in this episode is Lou Diamond Phillips, of course, as U.S. Marshall Wes Lincoln. Phillips played the badass Marshall to perfection. So much so that I wanted to reach into my TV and slap the crap out of him. I understand having a job to do and being committed to it but he was so hard-nosed, he had no compassion for the people he was putting in danger. There are women and children on that land and he had no hesitation in shutting off communications as well as the water, the power and access to food. And, he would have stormed onto the land, guns blazing, to retrieve his man with no consideration to the collateral damage of innocent lives. The little nod between him and Chin when the standoff ended was his only acknowledgment that there was possibly another way to achieve their objective. A very well done performance by Phillips.
Of course, I must mention Chin in this review. He was absolutely wonderful throughout. He and Bumpy have known each other for years, have a personal history going back to Chin’s school days with Bumpy’s niece and Chin’s dad helping to build a guardhouse on the property. As a man with Native Hawaiian blood, Chin has a deep understanding in what the Nation of Hawai’i means, has a deep respect for Bumpy and his people and the life they have. He doggedly works, at every juncture, to mediate between The Nation and the Feds. It was a difficult tightrope for him to walk but he managed the balance between “law” and “rights” magnificently.
The luau at the end of the episode was such a beautiful scene. To see the members of Five-0 in a place where trust and honor mean so much, for them to be welcomed on the land as friends, to be included in the breaking of bread shows, the mutual respect and friendship established between them all. I can’t think of a more incredible place to be considered as Ohana.
I feel the need to mention the McGarrett family here. John McGarrett’s “Five-0s” obviously thought it very important to learn all they could about Hawaiian culture. Steve is not native Hawaiian but he knows the customs and has heard all the stories. With a full heart, he respects the land and the culture. We’ve seen it from the beginning. When he first went to the Kapu and spoke to Kawika way back in E1.06 Ko’olauloa. There may not be Hawaiian blood in McGarrett but he is kamaʻāina through and through.
And, speaking of Season 1, I found it interesting and a nice bit of continuity that Chin’s history with HPD, his being accused of stealing money from the asset forfeiture locker and his being accused of lying about it was referred to not once, but twice in the episode. It resonated with Chin, remembering what it felt like to tell the truth and have no one believe you. It was also a really nice throwback for those of us who have been watching from the beginning.
Of course, there was a crime of the week involved in all of this but I’m not really going to review it. It was a good story, an ex-con accused of murdering his ex-partner in retribution over a prison sentence only one was forced to serve. The accused turning out not to be the murderer, of course. The murder was committed by his boss, the brother of his parole officer, who forced him back into his former life of crime even as he attempted to go straight. Go straight, like his ex-partner, who, when he found out what was going on, threatened to go to the police and was murdered for his trouble. Yes, it was a good story but the ex-con seeking refuge in the Nation of Hawai’i and all that encompasses, was the main thing to me. Learning about the Nation and everything it means and stands for was the important story here, in my opinion.
Now for some fun! Steve’s Driver’s License: According to the Hawaii DMV, all military personal on the island are required to have a valid and up-to-date driver’s license. If you’re from another state, like most of the military stationed in Hawaii are, the license from your home state is sufficient as long as it is current. Also, a Hawaiian resident who is on active duty somewhere else in the world must have a valid license when they return. If it expired while they were away, they have 90 days after their return to Hawaii to renew.
When Steve returned to Oahu in September 2010, he had 90 days to get his license renewed. But wait a minute… he left Hawaii when he was fifteen. Did he even have a Hawaii license to renew? In E2.14 Pu’olo, John told a young Steve he was going to the “Army and Navy Academy” which is in Carlsbad, CA. From there he went to the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD. So, depending on when he got his first driver’s license, it was either in California or Maryland. Therefore, again according to the Hawaii DMV, he would be treated as “any other malihini (newcomer) to the islands” and would need to apply for a new Hawaiian driver’s license.
Let’s be honest. The notion that Steve could go almost seven years without a valid Hawaiian driver’s license is rather ridiculous. Of course, not everyone has a driver’s license. It’s hard to believe but there are people out there that don’t drive and they’re able to fill out employment forms and personal transactions with other forms of identification. It’s pretty obvious someone like Steve would always have a valid passport for ID. But there is auto insurance to consider, if nothing else. He has a personal truck and drives Danny’s car. He’d need insurance for both. Even if both vehicles are considered “official” to Five-0 and the State, he’d still need to be placed on the State’s policy. Obviously, that couldn’t happen without a valid license. In real life, this would not happen…. Period.
But this is not real life. This is fiction. In fiction, the impossible becomes possible. I know there are those who have a very difficult time with the ebb and flow of fiction. Some call it bad writing. Maybe it is, but for me, the ridiculousness of the idea that Steve doesn’t have a license is overshadowed by the wonderfulness of the scene it necessitated. I loved every minute of it… beginning to end.
I loved Danny’s teasing and Steve’s righteous indignation. I loved the way Danny “blessed” the car before they started. I wonder if that was scripted or if it was an adlib by Scott. It’s Scott who comes from a Jewish/Italian household so I wonder if that little bit of song was his personal addition to the scene. It was a really fun touch either way.
Danny sitting on a bench and stressing over the day he’ll have to return to the DMV so Grace can take her driving test and his worry about her being out on the same roads with maniacs like “her uncle” brought back memories of the day I took my daughter for her test. My advice to her was the same advice my father had given me years before. “Drive like everyone else is crazy”.
Every reaction the test instructor had to Steve’s driving was gold as was his remark that he’s used to being judged from the passenger’s seat. And the way she staggered out of the car after Steve got the call about the case. Oh my God…. I haven’t laughed so hard over a Five-0 scene in quite some time.
Of course, we still don’t know if Steve ever gets his license. I’m pretty sure we’ll probably never hear about it again, to be honest. But I really don’t care. It was a fun little scene for just that reason….. it was fun! I can live with that and enjoy it for what it is.
I also enjoyed the cargument between Steve and Danny in this one tremendously. It was a great throwback to the carguments of years past. There was no yelling, nothing mean spirited, just good natured ribbing between two brothers who know each other better than anybody else. I loved how Danny told Steve he was thinking about wings, whether Danny had his wallet on him and his new issue of Guns and Ammo and how Steve, good natured smirk firmly in place, couldn’t tell him he was wrong.
Between this scene and the one where Steve was on the phone with the Governor and Danny knew exactly what was going on strictly by Steve’s body language, it’s clear to see the bond between these two is as strong as ever. It’s simply wonderful to see.
Finally, I know there are people who are going to complain that another week has gone by and we still haven’t seen what happened to the missing uranium. This week there wasn’t even a mention of it. Honestly, I’m throwing this into the category of “I want it … and I want it now” mentality. People just don’t have patience these days and a fast-paced show like this one only exacerbates that feeling.
There is also the fact that this show seems to draw a segment of fans who just aren’t happy no matter what happens. If things wrap up too quickly they complain it wasn’t detailed enough and a quick resolution was silly and unrealistic. If they don’t get resolution in what they feel is a proper timeframe, then the show is slow and lacking in continuity. I feel bad for the powers that be on this show. They are damned if they do and damned if they don’t.
As far as the uranium is concerned, this delay in a resolution makes sense to me. Assuming this is a terrorist operation, they are not going to steal the uranium one day and use it the next. The plotting of 9/11 took years. The fact that those who stole the uranium have gone underground and are plotting their next move makes perfect sense to me. It’s much more logical than having something blow up a day after the stuff went missing. Patience is a virtue after all.
And it seems patience is something we’re all going to need to exercise because there is no new H50 episode next week. This episode will need to satisfy us for two full weeks before we get to see a new one. Luckily, this one was extremely satisfying and that always makes the wait just a tad easier.
Have a wonderful week my friends. Aloha. Malama Pono
All screen caps are mine unless otherwise noted.
Nation of Hawaii on ‘Hawaii Five-0’ – Courtesy of Hawaii News Now http://www.hawaiinewsnow.com/clip/13040514/nation-of-hawaii-on-hawaii-five-0-8a
Dennis “Bumpy” Pu‘uhonua Kanahele – Wikipedia
Official Page for the Nation of Hawai’i
Drivers in the Military in Hawaii
Army and Navy Academy
Five-0 Redux by Wendie Burbridge