We all watch Hawaii Five-0 for our own reasons. Many watch because of the love they have for one particular character or actor. Others watch for the over the top stunts, the action sequences and the explosions. Others watch for the police procedural crime of the week, while others enjoy the interplay between the characters and the Ohana moments. Some of us watch for all of the above.
And all are extremely valid reasons. But there are times, and this week is one of those times, when the show gives us so much more. This week’s episode gave us a gruesome yet intriguing crime of the week, with all the twists and turns we’d expect from H50 but it also gave us an education on two topics many of us were completely unaware of. Add to that a touching, heartfelt, emotional story of honor, duty and self-sacrifice which also gave us insight into two of our Ohana which we’ve never had before. All in all, it was an extremely well balance episode from start to finish.
Crime of the Week: Black market sand and Mahu. Two things I’d never heard of in my life. Leave it to H50 to find something totally unique as the center piece for a crime of the week and to delve once again into wonderful Hawaiian culture.
Sand. At first, like Lou, I thought, seriously? Who on earth needs to steal sand?
Well, as a matter of fact, a whole lot of people. If you have time, check out this article. It goes into great detail about the $70 billion industry of black market sand and the people who make a living and sometimes die because of it.
The Deadly Global War for Sand
But, of course, the sand ends up not really being the center piece after all. Writers Talia Gonzalez & Bisanne Masoud weaved a wonderful story which, ultimately, turned out to be a routine tale of a man who hires a killer to dispose of his wife so he can run off with another woman. But the convoluted way they come to that conclusion is pure H50.
Seabed dredgers inadvertently pull up a dead body, sans feet, with the sand. Steve and Danny, while looking for the feet left behind on the sea floor, find a second set of feet. After Noelani identifies both victims, everyone is puzzled because both victims have the same name. Kaimi Alana.
And here we come to our second educational element of this episode. One Kaimi is female and the other is male. But, in actuality, he is not male. She is Mahu. Like Lou, my first thought was, “ok, so Kaimi was transgender and this was probably a hate crime”. I really enjoyed learning how wrong I was about that.
I was very touched by the explanation Tani supplied about how the Mahu, people who identify as both male and female are honored within Hawaiian culture. Honestly, I have to tell you. Every time I learn more about the culture of Hawaii, the more I fall in love with it. What a beautiful way to view others. If only the rest of the country could learn to be as beautiful as the Hawaiian people.
So, in a case of mistaken identity, Kaimi is murdered by mistake by the inept hired killer. After weighing down her body and dumping her in the ocean, the idiot then manages to kill the correct Kaimi. We never really see how Steve and Danny finally knew it was Mr. Alana who hired the killer but that’s ok. I didn’t see the conclusion of the story as being the important element. It was learning about the Mahu that grabbed my attention.
I’m not going to even try to go into any detail about the Mahu. As a haole mainlander I’d probably get it all wrong anyway. Besides, my friend Wendie Burbridge (@WendieJoy) a true daughter of Hawaii will, undoubtedly, go into more detail in her wonderful weekly Five0Redux blog. Please, do yourself a favor and make sure you check it out. As a matter of fact, it’s a blog you should be reading every single week because she is awesome!
In the meantime, my friend Jeffrey Allen on Twitter (@JeffreyAlan1) found this gem on YouTube. “If you are intrigued by the Mahu story line, a history lesson and a contemporary story: PBS Hawaii Presents: A Place in the Middle – The True Meaning of Aloha”. It is truly a beautiful video!
Sgt. Duke Lukela: I absolutely loved both scenes with Duke and Steve. It was wonderful to see Laura Mellow as Nalani Lukela again and even better that this time, she actually had lines.
And Cidni Romias as little Akela is absolutely adorable.
I will never, ever, get tired of watching kids excitedly running into the arms of their “Uncle Steve”. I keep thinking back to the guy at the beginning of Season 1 who had no clue how to act around kids. It didn’t take long for his soft marshmallow middle to come forward and even by the end of Season 1 he was an entirely different guy around kids. Now, he’s everyone’s honorary uncle. Oh… my heart! ♥♥
Dennis Chun was absolutely marvelous in these scenes. Of course, I simply love the guy so it’s hard for me to ever see him as anything less than marvelous! I was a bit concerned when Duke said he wasn’t going to go to his reinstatement hearing. I just can’t imagine Five-0 rolling up to a crime scene and not seeing Duke there in uniform commanding HPD. He did make a very compelling argument for early retirement though. Hell, I’m counting the days until I can retire so I’m totally on board with his thinking. Personally, I wouldn’t give a damn about “going out on my own terms” but I can certainly see why a man like Duke, a man who has given his entire life to the job, would ultimately decide to fight to get his good name back.
I really liked how it was little Akela who changed his mind. Taking money from her mother’s wallet to buy a new backpack for a classmate; doing the wrong thing for the right reason, just like her Grandfather had done. Duke doesn’t want Akela to grow up knowing he was driven off the force. He wants his legacy to be one of honor. A legacy she will be proud to live up to. I’m just thrilled we’ll get Duke back in uniform where he belongs.
Steve and Danny: In the last three episodes, I’ve found myself saying over and over how much I’m enjoying the return of the wonderfulness between Steve and Danny. Now, here we are on Episode 4 and I’m going to say it yet again. I must admit, I was getting a bit worried when 14 minutes of the episode had gone by and we hadn’t seen Danny yet but the rest of the episode more than made up for it. They were positively golden. Once again, except for the first 14 minutes, they worked the entire COTW week together. Honestly, I haven’t enjoyed these two so much since Seasons 1 & 2 when they were exclusively partnered together.
The give and take between them has also gone back to the wonderfulness of the early years. Yes, they still snipe at each other, but the animosity is completely gone. They are back to bickering like the loving brothers they are without the sharp-edged knife that cut for a few seasons. I am loving every moment of the two of them together these days.
There were so many great scenes with them throughout the entire episode. Watching the two of them chasing the sand thief on foot was fun as was Danny’s reaction when Steve jumped into the sand after the thief. “If you die, I got three bodies and no partner”.
And he was hysterical as Steve began to dig around in the recovered feet for the orthopedic pin needed to identify the victim. “You’re just gonna dig in there like an animal? Disgusting. Just getting all in there, huh?”….. “Winner, winner, chicken dinner. One surgical pin.”….. “Only you could refer to food after doing what you just did.” 🤣 🤣
But the best part was when Danny decided the best time to continue their earlier conversation about Duke, as well as, the type face (or is it a font? 🤣) for the restaurant menus was while Steve was diving and couldn’t talk back. Leave it to Danny to choose such a moment and Steve’s underwater reactions were simply priceless. We’ve always said Alex can act dozens of lines of dialog with only his eyes. Well, now we can add underwater reactions as well. You could literally “hear” every word in his movements.
Danny made a very valid point about not putting one’s self into Duke’s shoes with unsolicited advice. Duke is a grown man who can, obviously, make his own decisions. I have always believed if Danny had never brought it up, retirement would have never entered Steve’s mind. Like… ever! I think he’s always believed he’d just keep on keeping on until he either physically couldn’t do it any longer or he was “killed in action”. Perhaps he’s projecting that mindset onto the decision Duke is making. You don’t just walk away.
Danny, on the other hand, looks at things entirely differently. “There’s something to be said for knowing when your time is up and not fighting it anymore”. That says a lot about Danny’s mindset. He’s the one who contemplated retirement at his 20 years. He’s the one who proposed opening a restaurant, so they could have something together when they retire. Danny doesn’t think Steve should make Duke’s decision about himself but, subconsciously, he’s thinking about when the day comes when he too, will decide enough is enough.
The Return of a Fallen Hero: One of the best things about this show is the way they have, from the very beginning, taken great pains to not only accurately portray the military but to honor them. Alex has trained with SEALs from the moment he was cast in the Pilot because he wanted to be as true to them as he possibly could. They have military personnel on hand to advise and train whenever needed for an episode. The show has paid tribute to those who perished at Pearl Harbor and to those who are still serving and/or rehabilitating after tours overseas. We’ve seen flag draped coffins given the upmost respect upon returning to American soil numerous times. This episode went one step farther by having Junior, in the company of Jerry, selected to accompany a fallen serviceman home to Hawaii.
This was, without question, the best part of this episode and Beulah and Jorge were incredible throughout. Peter Lenkov said we were going to need tissues for this one and he sure was right. By the time the episode came to an end, I was a sniffling mess.
Junior, accompanied by Jerry, is tasked with bringing Staff Sgt. Christopher Kaliko home to Oahu. While greatly honored to do this duty, Junior can’t help by ask himself why Kaliko requested him for the honor. Everything that follows in this story was extremely heartfelt and touching.
Over the course of their trip from Dover AFB back to Hawaii, Junior and Jerry really open up to each other. Junior recalls when he needed to name who would accompany his body home should the worse happen. How he’d chosen his cousin, a Marine.
Jerry told Junior how, after 9/11, he and his friend, Mika had wanted to enlist because they wanted to do their part to help the country. But Jerry didn’t make the cut, due to anxiety, while Mika went on to serve and die in combat.
Once they get back home, Junior opens up even further, telling Jerry that he’d really wanted his dad to bring him home but that he’d turned him down. He never wanted him to serve and actually told Junior that if he died over there, he wouldn’t even attend his funeral. It was so touching the way Jerry tried to soothe that hurt by telling Junior that sometimes people just say hurtful things and encouraged Junior to try to make things right. It’s something we’ve seen Junior struggle with for quite some time. I hope he does reconnect with his dad someday. It’s something that obvious still weighs on him.
The best part, or the most heartbreaking part, was when Junior and Jerry pull up to the cemetery and Junior sees the Kukui High School bumper sticker on the car of Kaliko’s parents.
He suddenly remembers the teenaged Kaliko, in the audience when Junior gave a recruitment speech at the school. How Kaliko had come up to him afterwards and told him how much he’d enjoyed the speech. Junior realizes, the same way Jerry convinced Mika to join up, that he’d been the reason Kaliko enlisted, why Kaliko is now dead.
It’s Jerry who convinces him that he must meet with Kaliko’s parents, to finish the job he was sent to do. I loved the better insight we get of Jerry in this episode and the view of his huge heart and compassion. He wanted to accompany Junior because, while he was deemed unsuitable for the military, his friend Mika went overseas and was killed in action. Jerry has blamed himself all these years for that death since he was the one who convinced Mika to join up with him. He never even attended the funeral. He is here with Junior trying to make up for that just a little bit.
It was amazing to see this friendship form between Junior and Jerry. Two co-workers who always liked each other have now formed an incredible bond over what turned out to be many shared experiences, not just this dignified transfer. I really hope the writers continue to show us this new friendship in the future because it’s always wonderful to see the Ohana solidify even more.
The letter Kaliko left for Junior was both heartbreaking and joyous. When Junior first opened the folder with Kaliko’s service record, we got to see all the honors he’d received for his service.
But, that’s not what he wanted to point out to Junior. He wanted him to know that the day he heard Junior’s speech was the day he “found his life’s purpose” and he wanted to tell him about his proudest moment. It wasn’t a ribbon, medal or award, but the day he and his unit liberated a village from Taliban control and the look of gratitude on the faces of all those villagers. “Serving my country was the greatest privilege of my life”.
That did it. Thank goodness I had those tissues close at hand. H50 once again did what it has always done so incredibly well. Honoring those who make the ultimate sacrifice for us all.
Thank you to writers Talia Gonzalez and Bisanne Masoud and especially to Beulah and Jorge for giving us this incredibly touching story. It was absolutely wonderful.
Well, that’s it for this week my friends. I hope you all have a wonderful week. Aloha. Malama Pono
All screencaps are mine.