I think the the fans are pretty unanimous in agreeing that this is one of the best episodes of the season, and perhaps of the series so far. Everything came together perfectly in terms of cinematography, storytelling, and most importantly, the acting.
D is for Danny
After a strong run of Danny-centric episodes in season 1, Scott Caan deservedly earned a Golden Globe nomination. However, the tales of Danny Williams were temporarily shelved in season 2 with the introduction of Lori and the addition of Jenna and Max to the team. “Mai Ka Wa Kahiko” finally picks up where a lot of fans want to see the story go- escalation of the Williams family dynamic. This episode delivered, and we saw angry Danny, worried Danny and vengeful Danny. Scott covered the run of emotions so well in this episode, I wouldn’t be surprised if he earns himself another nomination if he and the writers continue at this pace.
I once told a friend that as much as I enjoyed Battlestar Galactica, the show stressed me out. He gave me a dismissive, “You’re taking the show way too seriously.” I disagreed with him, saying that if a show doesn’t make you laugh, or gets you emotionally involved with any of the characters, then the actors and writers have failed to engage the viewer. Last night’s episode of Hawaii Five-0 managed to get fans emotionally involved. We’ve seen Danny lose a friend before, so the death of the Marshall didn’t exactly tug at the heartstrings. But the game changer for Danny started when his former partner Peter kidnapped Grace. I think most parents probably had a difficult time watching naive Grace misplace her trust in someone whom she thought she could trust. Danny was no longer a smug, smart talking Jersey cop, but a helpless father. Later, watching Danny first shoot Stan and then Rick were truly jaw dropping moments in the episode that showed he was willing to risk everything to get his daughter back. I think the most wrenching part of the episode was having to see Danny pull poor Gracie from the dark, cluttered storage locker. The relief soon sets in as we see she’s ok, but what kind of human being locks a child in a sweltering storage locker? Any father who has a little girl must have felt some empathy in the last few minutes.
Speaking of Grace, for the first time in the series Teilor Grubbs had a significant part to play in the episode. I think she did incredibly well, considering the toughness of her scenes.
Peter Greene nailed his part perfectly as Danny’s former partner and crooked cop. Hands down, Peter’s performance was one of the best guest performances so far. He wasn’t a passing character as some other guest stars ended up being, but scored big in his scenes with Scott Caan and played the morally confused cop perfectly. I found it fascinating that his frame of reference was so skewed- that Danny’s testimony was a betrayal despite being a “good cop”…a good cop who happened to steal from crime scenes. I really would love to see Peter Greene on the show again.
What I love about the Danny Williams character is that it has changed significantly since the beginning of the series. Danny was the “foil” or character that sharply contrasted another character. In his case, Danny was a by the book cop who tried to keep Steve on the straight track of police work, and not to resort to SEAL tactics of crime fighting. In season 1, he had to dissuade Steve from hanging suspects off buildings, roughing them up, and also breaking down doors without warrants. These instances were examples for fans to cite Danny as the moral compass of the group, and for Danny to do anything other than noble was out of character. I think the mistake of putting Danny on this pedestal makes it hard for fans to realize that despite Danny’s desire to do the right thing (further evidenced by ratting out his partner Rick Peterson), Danny is still a human being, and a hot headed one at that. When it comes down to children, or his friends and family, all bets are off, and Danny will resort to the “I’ll do whatever it takes to finish this” school of action. Dunking a suspect in the pool? Perfectly acceptable for Danny if it means getting information on his friend’s killer. Shooting a detained suspect in the leg? Perfectly fine if it means finding out where his daughter is located. Some will argue about police brutality, and if it’s realism you want, “Law and Order” is the show for you. Most of us watch Five-0 just to see what crazy stunt the team will pull to get the job done. Having said that though, there may be some reckoning coming down on Danny for taking it to the limit. And what about Stan? I’m sure he’s not going to be too happy that Danny shot him, he’ll be even less happy if he finds out that Danny and Rachel were together while he was gone.
In all, this was an incredible episode, and probably a pivotal point in Danny’s story arc this season.
And now, Things We Learned About Hawaii From Hawaii Five-0, Episode 215, “Mai Ka Wā Kahiko”
1) Not so much about Hawaii, but am I the only one who now knows how to unlock an airplane lavatory door?
Did you notice…?
Denby Dung (the flight attendant) who discovers the body is a local model, actress, actual Hawaiian Airline employee, and friend of the Kia Hamsters.
Friend of the blog and occasional Hawaii Five-0 background actor Sarah (@blondeatbeach) was the woman in the red dress at the mailbox store. I’ve lost track as to how many episodes she’s been in!
“Wala’au wale” in reference to the name of the phone company means “to talk” or “chatter” in Hawaiian.
I guess I’m a lucky guy. When I wake up every morning and look on to the outside world from my bunker, I see the towering peak of Koko Crater. Pu’u mai is the Hawaiian name for the crater, and the “stairs” are actually an abandoned railroad. This episode of Hawaii Five-0 again did an incredible job of making Hawaii look beautiful.