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'Hawaii Five-0' Season 1, Episode 2 Recap

by Ryan McGee, posted Sep 28th 2010 6:15AM
Grcae Park in 'Hawaii 5-0'['Hawaii Five-0'' - 'Ohana']

When you've got a huge budget and a feature film director, it's often easy to make a pilot episode that's not representative of the episodes that follow. In the case of 'Hawaii Five-0,' the follow-up edition, entitled 'Ohana,' traded some of the flash for a smaller, but in many ways better, episode. This show will never reinvent the wheel. Rather, its success lies entirely on how smoothly that wheel spins. For the second straight week, it spun in an energetic manner.

"Really? Is that gonna be a thing now?" With those words, this reboot sought to stake its claim in the ground. "Book 'em, Danno!" is part of the old version of this show, not the new one. Having this iteration of Danny Williams cut off that line of dialogue was a small but important step in trying to establish its own voice and rhythms. 'Ohana' essentially ignored the overarching story of corruption within the Hawaii Police Department in favor of getting its strike force fully assembled.

That's a good thing, because the weakest aspect of the pilot was its sudden, jarring montage that showed the four members drinking beer and trying to come up with cool names for their collective. Not only was it tonally off, but it didn't feel earned. This week sought to justify a question many might have asked by the end of the show's pilot episode: Why, of all of the available officers at his disposal, would McGarrett choose to include the inexperienced Kona Kalakaua as part of his inner circle? It seemed like a fairly poor choice, both within the world of the show (where it slightly reeked of nepotism) and from the comfort of one's couch (where it slightly reeked of eye candy).

Rather than wait to explain her inclusion, or feel that satisfactory reason had already been given,'Hawaii Five-0' instead pulled a bait-and-switch on audience expectation, turning what seemed like a perfunctory, stereotypical baby-sitting role into the key for cracking the week's case wide open. Kona's fight with the Serbian girlfriend? Completely killer. Straight-up 'Alias'-esque, which is high praise indeed. But more than just being a buttkicker, Grace Park's Kona also showed calmness under fire, and intelligence as well. Those with any doubts about her competence going into this week should have found those concerns quelled by the end of the hour.

And yes, that end of the hour: Far more compelling than anything involving the rather rote case of the ex-NSA agent kidnapped to exploit his cyber skeleton key was the impromptu graduation ceremony held by the three male members of the strike force. By building up a "will she, or won't she?" around Kona attending her police academy graduation, the show snuck in other option: Her compatriots bringing the graduation to her. In this moment, the title's true meaning came forth. The word "ohana," after all, means "extended family." And by honoring Kona's contributions by displaying their full dress uniforms, the four became one in a truly meaningful sense.

Then again, this ohana wasn't only important for Kano on a professional level. It's clear that each member needed this surrogate family on some level. McGarrett needed it in the absence of his father. Danno needed it in the prolonged absences from his daughter. And Chin Ho needed it in lieu of a place on the police force. Given the thin blue line against which they will inevitably battle, 'Hawaii Five-0' had to establish this unit as rock-solid and interdependent. Mission accomplished.

A few coconut-shaped thoughts about tonight's episode:

-- 'Freaks and Geeks' fans, rejoice! That was Martin Starr as stoner hacker Adam. Usually the hacker character is a boring plot device who types, but Starr's laconic style should bring some added pep to the show in future weeks. (Assuming he's returning to the show. Which he should, as anyone from the late, great 'Party Down' deserves to be working constantly.)

-- That elevator scene was far funnier than it had any right to be. Honestly, Alex O'Loughlin's genetic inability to be consciously funny had more to do with it than Scott Caan's God-given timing.

-- McGarrett's dangling of the Serbian gangster did two things: 1) it established that he has an instinctive ability to know how to break down a crime scene and employ the best method available, no matter how extreme, and 2) it established that beneath Danno's bravado lies a man with strict adherence to police procedures. Showy storytelling that also imparted character insight. Perfect. More, please.

-- The tape recording of McGarrett's father felt far too close to John Teller's manuscript on 'Sons of Anarchy' for comfort. Let's hope the show tones down any beyond-the-grave narration pushing Steve forward as the season progresses.

What did you think of the show's second outing? Leave your thoughts below!

'Hawaii Five-0' airs Mon., 10PM ET on CBS.

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What did Daniel Dae Kim give Grace Park at he end of the episode when he was giving her a gift? It was engraved and black.....

October 03 2010 at 11:38 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Gordon Werner

I never realized that Hawaii was such a hot bed of international terrorism and intrigue

September 28 2010 at 7:32 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Can I just give a totally shallow observation? Very hot casting--both male and female characters, oh and the beautiful state of Hawaii.

September 28 2010 at 5:46 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Two episodes in, I still feel as if the new Hawaii Five-0 is a better-than-average "elite task force" cop show hammered into place in its Hawaiian setting. I realize that the original was like that as well, but I hope the show takes advantage of its opportunity to tell stories that couldn't be told on the mainland.

Also, what's up with this new "Well Known Guest Stars in Roles That Don't Really Justify Their Presence" trend? I understand that James Marsters is likely to return, but did Peter Stormare need money that badly?

September 28 2010 at 1:38 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to George's comment

I hope James Marsters returns!! I love him! I am a Buffy/Angel junkie, though. Do you know who the blonde serb was on episode 2?

September 28 2010 at 3:54 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Mei Lan

Alex O'Loughlin is perfect as Dirty Harry channeling Steve McGarrett: tough on baddies but also a team leader who lets his crew be themselves.

The shots of Alex O'Loughlin coming out of the water would be gratuitous except Alex has best 6-pack abs in primetime! The show is fun and the cast has great comedic timing: what's not to like on Monday night?

September 28 2010 at 10:51 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

It's KONO not KANO.

September 28 2010 at 10:01 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Still enjoying it very much, tho a bit of a "Starsky & Hutch" vibe slips into a few scenes.

The product placement is becoming too noticeable. McGarrett drives a cool Camaro with blue grill lights, and that Chevy at the end of the big climax scene was almost on a pedestal with spotlights, it was so prominently placed. Oh, and apparently EVERYONE in the islands has an iPhone!

September 28 2010 at 9:55 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Alex99's comment

I agree, product placements are just overkill. Last week dano was driving a mustang suddenly this week he's on a camaro?! and yeah, iphone everywhere!

But overall I like this episode! More please...

September 28 2010 at 10:46 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Loved this episode!...Grace Park was awesome.

September 28 2010 at 9:35 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Keith L.

Loved it...thought the danno/mcgarrett dialogue in the camaro was great...Danny got his point across ...
as how to handle things..
great show...beautiful scenes of Hawaii...will they ever hop islands for a case...???

September 28 2010 at 9:17 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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