Hi everyone. You’d think after being in self-impose exile for the last two weeks I’d have all the time in the world to get this review done on time. I’d like to say it’s still so late because I was swamped with meaningful activities like mega-spring house cleaning, outside gardening or awe-inspiring craft projects that monopolized all my time.
I’d like to say that. But, truth be told, I just couldn’t seem to get myself to write. With what’s going on in the world right now, all the fear and the uncertainty, my head has been all over the place. I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s downright terrified about what’s going on and all the implications of it. Sleeping has become a precious commodity; one I’m not enjoying a lot of these days.
In times of stress, I cling to the things that give me pleasure. That take my mind off troubling thoughts and offer relief and escape to more pleasant and happy ones. For the last ten years, one of those things has been Hawaii Five-0. So, it’s been incredibly hard, especially now when we need it the most, to come to grips with the fact that after this episode there is only one episode left. My eyes fill with tears just typing those words. Only one episode left! Hold me….. 😭😭
Lincoln Cole – how I would have liked to know you better: Even though I really like actor Lance Gross, I was very ready to not like Lincoln Cole. Knowing this character was probably destined to be part of Five-0 in Season 11 and possibly a replacement for Steve as team leader, made it very easy to go into this episode ready to find everything wrong with him that I could.
But, I honestly couldn’t find one thing wrong with this character. Not in the way Lance played him, which was awesome from start to finish, nor in the way the character was written. Naturally, there’s no way he’d have ever been a legitimate replacement for Steve McGarrett, but as a character in his own right, he would have been a great addition to the team if we’d gotten another season.
There are a lot of similarities between Steve and Cole. They have both faced very personal losses on the battlefield. The last, most traumatic of those causing them both to choose to come to Hawaii. For Steve it was Freddie’s death followed by, within days, his father’s murder, the latter of which, brought him home. For Cole, the deaths of members of his team which he feels responsible for. Steve lived with the guilt of leaving Freddie behind for years. The guilt Cole is feeling is something very similar.
Steve may not have run away like Cole did but, as we’re finally seeing now, he really hasn’t dealt with his many personal losses in a constructive way. He’s thrown himself into his work, into the life and the Ohana he’s built around himself, compartmentalized and soldiered on. But he’s never really taken the time to ever fully deal with it all. Other than the weekend he and Danny had on Maui for “couples therapy”, have we ever seen him take any time away to decompress in the least?
The closest we ever came to seeing Steve deal with the traumas was one scene where he attended a PTSD group therapy session where he spoke about Freddie and how that loss affected him. There have been many more losses and, obviously, majorly significant ones, in his life since then. Even though I’m someone who never felt that a full-blown PTSD storyline was feasible for the show, it is unfortunate that scene ended up on the cutting room floor all those years ago.
The scene between Steve and Cole in rendition was incredible. To extremely strong actors giving good material their all was incredible to watch. The heart-to-heart really went a long way in not only understanding Cole but also showed how these two really could have been kindred spirits. When Steve said that Cole “didn’t mind” being in the dark hole of rendition because after Kirkuk “you put yourself there”, Cole’s response of “you know, something tells me I could say damn near the same thing about you” showed that, even on extremely short acquaintance, these two totally got each other.
It’s really a damn shame we couldn’t have met Cole sooner and been introduced to him under different circumstances, without the whole “maybe he’s going to be the new team leader” thing hanging over his head. He’s strong, committed, well trained, loyal and very brave. Danny was 100% right. Going alone to surrender himself to save the woman and her son is exactly something Steve would do.
I don’t know what made TPTB decide to end the series now and, of course, I’m heartbroken that’s the decision they reached. But I honestly think they could have gone on another season with Lincoln Cole. A reboot of the reboot, so to speak. Would it have lasted? I don’t know. I do know there are a lot of people who would have given up on the show if there was no Alex/Steve and/or no Scott/Danny.
I wouldn’t have given up. I would’ve been there because of my love for all the characters on this show, for the joy of seeing Hawaii on my screen every week, and my curiosity at how this character would have worked. Would it have been “must-see TV” for me, like it is now? Of course, there’s no way of knowing that, but I doubt it. But I still would have watched. It really is a shame we won’t get that chance.
Oh Steve: I know there’s been a ton of discussions on Twitter since the episode aired about what’s going on with Steve and I really hope some of those discussions will migrate here because I’d love to hear everyone’s viewpoint on it. I know a lot of folks are not at all happy with the direction his story seems to be going. I’m really trying to do what I always do, even though I know it annoys the hell out of some people and try to take a more positive approach. The only thing that truly bothered me a lot, was Tani’s remark.
The idea that Steve wouldn’t have the backs of his team is simply ludicrous. I don’t know who was responsible for penning that line of dialog but no matter who it was, they need to be horsewhipped. I understand the need to quick track this mood of Steve’s and the team beginning to notice a change in him but to question his ability to back up his team is just dead wrong.
I would have been totally fine with Tani, Junior and, of course, Danny noticing a change in Steve. Danny has already mentioned it to him. How he’s noticed he’s not sleeping and Steve’s admission that he’s had a lot on his mind.
Hell, if we go back and re-watch the episodes since Doris died, we can see the subtle changes as well. The fight with Cole isn’t the first fight we’ve seen lately where Steve didn’t have the upper hand.
Again, going back and re-watching the episodes, Alex’s acting has been superb. He’s been playing Steve as moving toward burn-out so artfully it was extremely easy to overlook even if it was just the way Steve’s been looking more and more tired since Doris died. I honestly don’t think it was anything actually written into the scripts either. If (and of course we don’t know for sure) Alex made his decision that this was his last season a long time ago, he himself was bringing this “feeling” to his performance, adding this layer of depth to bring us to this final arc.
When Danny admitted that after doing the job for ten years, a cop can get burned out and “lose reaction time”, Tani should have expressed her concern. But her concern should have been solely for Steve, not for his capacity to protect his team. She’s been there long enough to know, even with his dying breath, Steve would do everything in his power to protect his team. As a matter of fact, I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if we eventually hear Steve say something to that effect. “I need to straighten out my head, Danny, so I can be there for my team and Hawaii”, or something like that.
For me, being the McDanno lover that I am, I’m totally thrilled it’s Danny Steve’s opening up to. Who else could it be, honestly? It’s always been Danny who’s been there for Steve through every trauma he’s endured and vice versa. It’s Danny who’s been there from the very first day Steve arrived back in Hawaii. These two share a bond that can not be broken no matter what should happen in the finale next week.
I refuse to believe even distance could break the bond between them. Even if Steve does leave the island to try to regain some of the balance he feels he’s lost, in my heart I know he’ll go back. We, unfortunately, won’t be there to see it (unless the gods smile down on us and give us a movie someday) but in my heart, they will grow old together, drinking Longboards, on the beach.
I can see why some people feel this “burn out” arc for Steve is out of the blue, but I keep reminding myself that, originally, these last two episodes were supposed to be the “season” finale, not the “series” finale. I saw someone say (sorry, I can’t remember who it was) that if the show had been renewed, the season might have ended the way Season 7 did. When we saw Kono leaving to go to the mainland. We could have seen Steve leaving and, like with Kono, not found out he wasn’t coming back until the beginning of the new season. But a door could have still remained open. With Alex living on Oahu, it’s possible Steve could have come back, even if it was only for the real series finale, whenever that would have been.
But for now, they needed to find a way for Steve to leave (if in fact that’s what happens next week) without animosity or, God forbid, death so that possible return could happen someday. This “burn out” arc seems like a decent way to do it because it means it’s by Steve’s own decision, not something he’s being forced into. Again, if that’s what happens next week.
It also seems to mirror Alex as well. I’m sure I’m not the only one who felt that many of the words coming out of Steve’s mouth could very well be mirroring what Alex himself could have been feeling. He too hit the ground running ten years ago as Steve McGarrett, and he too has devoted his life, heart, soul and body to this job for those ten years. He’s always said he’s felt a huge responsibility to the show, the cast, the crew and all the livelihoods dependent on it. Steve’s words about protecting everyone except for himself could very well be exactly Alex’s feelings as well. Not a regret for the time spent, just time to think about what he wants to do from now on.
Steve’s feeling that he needs to get away for a bit actually doesn’t seem completely out of character to me. After all, he’s gone off on his own without Danny or the team before. To find WoFat, to bring back Freddie’s body (Catherine was Navy then, not on the team), when Joe took him to find Doris, to Montana, to Mexico. It’s not out of character for Steve to go off on his own for missions he feels only he can do alone without the team. So for him to feel he needs to go off alone to clear his head doesn’t seem that far-fetched to me.
That this was meant as a season finale which, again, could have left a door open, makes it feel, to me, that this isn’t Steve turning his back on Danny or the team. It’s not Steve leaving Danny behind, forgetting all they’ve shared or abandoning his desire that they be together always. It’s just him needing a bit of time away to work things out. If this really were the season finale, I don’t think people would be so upset. Of course, I could be wrong about that.
But, we haven’t seen the end yet. We won’t know how it’s all going to end until next week. Who knows? Maybe Danny’s brush with death will change Steve’s mind to a certain extent. My mind keeps going to their discussion on the beach. It seems funny to me that Peter and David would have written the whole “go to Jersey” thing. Of course, it could just be a throw back to a cargument they had ten years ago about vacationing in Jersey (when Steve said people in Jersey came to Hawaii for vacation but it didn’t happen the other way around and Danny got “all Jersey up in this piece” and started rattling off great Jersey singers) or could it be something else?
Danny has been back to Jersey dozens of times over the years. He went back after Matt died. When his father had surgery. After his ordeal in Cambodia. After he almost died being shot in isolation. Even more times just because Scott had the week off. 😉 From what we’ve seen of the finale, he’s going to have yet another brush with death. Doesn’t it seem logical that he’d head back to Jersey for a bit again? Is it so hard to believe that maybe… just maybe… they’d go there together?
Ok…ok… I’m grasping at straws here, but we have no idea what’s going to happen in the finale other than we know Steve is leaving. We don’t know how it will be done. As always, it’s a wait and see proposition. I really can’t be angry about an ending I haven’t seen yet.
So, I’m going to keep an open mind and see where this final journey leads me. For the most part, in these long ten years, there have been significantly less things that I’ve disliked than things I’ve loved. I’ve reconciled myself to the fact that there are probably going to be some things (or at least one thing) I know I’m not going to like in this finale but I also know that this show has given me more pleasure and more fun than any show I can remember in my life.
Am I going to like the finale? Probably not. Not because of the story. Not because of any actor. Not because of how a story is written or some dialog I may not like. I’m not going to like the finale because it’s the finale. A finale I’m still not prepared to see nor one I thought I’d have to see for a long time. I have no doubt it will be well written. I have no doubt it will be expertly acted. I have no doubt it will be a fitting end to a wonderful series, no matter the differing opinions it’s sure to cause. I’m not going to like that I have to say goodbye, no matter how good it is. That’s just a fact.
One more week. Like always, we’ll get through it together. Aloha. Malama Pono