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Things We Learned About Hawaii From Hawaii Five-0, Episode 216, “I Helu Pū”

February 14th, 2012 by

You know it’s Nielsen sweeps time when TV shows leave you wow’ed week after week.  Writer Paul Z delivered a brilliant, brilliant, brilliant (did I say it enough?) episode in “I Helu Pū”, in which we see a twist to the typical procedural by telling the story via two timelines.

Storytelling

This episode was a refreshing departure from the normal Five-0 procedural from start to finish.  The opening sequence didn’t feature a group of hapless tourists/adventurers/hikers stumbling upon a dead body, who scream in horror right before the title sequence rolls.  We’re left with a stunned and bloody Lori looking in on an emergency room where nurses are rolling in a crash cart for that patient on the bed.  Is it Steve?!?   Based on the previews for this episode, a lot of us were left wondering if it was Steve who went over the edge of the building.  This and other huge misdirects really kept viewers on edge and kept the pace of the story high.

Photo EPR

I loved the telling of the story in two separate timelines, and how they finally meet at the end.  While the writers have done something like this before, it was a bigger feat to tell the entire episode as such.

The biggest plus was that I felt like we’ve caught up on an entire season of character development with the dialog between the characters at  the onset of the investigation.  It felt like season 1 all over again!  The “winners” versus “uppers” banter was brilliant, and I loved the friendly romantic advice that Kono was giving to her cousin.  Danny made a small mention of Gabby, so we know she’s still in the picture of Danny’s life somewhere, and we see the return of Lieutenant Catherine Rollins, who despite her dispassionate “see you later” hug with Steve earlier in the season, seems to have picked up where she left off.

The acting was spot on.  Alex was intense as always, and I’m sure all the Alex fans’ hearts skipped a beat when we went over the edge to save the jumper.  Daniel rocked it with the martial arts against the Russian guards.  Grace, Masi and Scott delivered as well. I thought Sarah Habel was especially great as the victim’s sister, Amanda Chase.

Plugging the locals

A lot of local businesses as well as a local musician got a mention in this episode.  The most prominent feature was ukulele virtuoso Jake Shimabukuro who has a song featured on the Hawaii Five-0 soundtrack album.  The Makani Kai helicopter tour company got some camera time, and Haleiwa Joe’s had a mention as well.

McGarrett is indestructible

You can shoot him, shiv him, hit him with a car, send him over the edge of a building, but that braddah will take a licking and keep on ticking.  He gets plowed by a car going at least 25 miles an hour and all he needs is a filling!  I cry and immediately demand a band aid when I get a paper cut.   Airplane black boxes need to be be made from his DNA to make them completely indestructible.   And when the case is done, there’s still enough McLovin’ for all tha ladeez.  I thought he might sneak in a kiss with Lori, but he saved his box of chocolates for Catherine at the hotel…

Hawaii Five-0, "I Hele Pu" (Photo Norman Shapiro, CBS)

Skyrockets in flight... (Photo Norman Shapiro, CBS)

Normalcy?

With the resignation of Lori Weston for failing to perform her duties of keeping tabs on the Five-0 team, along with the character development in this episode, and the return of Catherine Rollins, I would put forth that we seem to be returning to how things were like near the end of season 1.

Lauren German and the Lori Weston character had a monumental task at the beginning of the season.  The sides and casting call that were released and leaked called for a sexy, savvy female McGarrett.  Media outlets hyped up the possibility of Lori becoming a love interest for Steve.  Actress Lauren German had to fill the shoes of being the new member of the team in the midst of a team broken up by Steve’s recent arrest, Kono’s IA investigation, Chin’s possible betrayal of the team, and Danny’s personal distractions.  So season 2 started with all that resting on Lori’s shoulder’s.

But the fracture of the team extended into the fandom with the coming of Lori.  Some fans, for whatever reason, hated the character from the start, citing a litany of unjust judgements against her, with comments about the character’s appearance, accusations of the character “knowing everything”, and the list went on and on and on.

Fair minded fans gave Lori a chance but found either the character lacking in depth or didn’t see the chemistry with the other characters.  And there are still many fans who loved Lauren’s portrayal on the show.  I myself loved the character, but am disappointed that Lori never seemed to live up to her full potential.   Lori  had a lot of great moments with the team, but could never shake off the fan drama that followed.

Hawaii Five-0, "I Hele Pu" (Photo Norman Shapiro, CBS)

Photo Norman Shapiro, CBS

Fingers of accusation will fly at the writers, the actors, and the fans as to the reason for the drama that evolved around Lori, and I’m not going to start that discussion here.  I asked Peter on the Mike Buck show last year (on a podcast posted to the blog) if fan input has any bearing on the direction of the show.  He stated that shows are written so far in advance that fan input, while interesting, has little bearing on the show’s course.  Some people will be patting themselves on the back for their perception of a job well done for putting pressure on the writers for removing a character they didn’t like, but I’ve always maintained that as fans, we are on a roller coaster, along for the ride.  We don’t tell the ride operator to turn right, left, go up, or go down.  We go where they want us to go, it’s up to us to enjoy the ride or not.  And like roller coasters, some episodes are more memorable and more thrilling than others, but in all I really love the show.

So with sadness, I say “aloha” to Lori Weston, and Lauren German.  The thing about the meaning of  “aloha” in Hawaiian is that it can mean “love”, “hello”, and “goodbye”.  I bid aloha to Lori and Lauren with the hope that we’ll see her again to help the team.

And now, Things We Learned About Hawaii From Hawaii Five-0, Episode 216, “I Helu Pū”

1)  The University of the Hawaii Warrior Football team was formerly known as the Rainbow Warriors.  The word “Rainbow” and corresponding logo was dropped in 2000, and a more aggressive “H” logo with a corresponding Hawaiian tribal tattoo design was adopted.   I think “Rainbow Warriors” didn’t strike enough fear into the hearts of our opponents, who probably thought that the UH team rode magical ponies and sprinkled cheer and aloha to all in the land.

Fabulous!

Aggressive!

Did you notice…?

Local celebrity Kimo Kahoano played Jake Almeda, the governor’s chief of security.  His popular song “Aloha Friday” is the “pau hana” [quitting time] anthem at 5 PM every Friday.

Catherine comments about wanting to drink beers at Haleiwa Joe’s, which is a restaurant chain, one in Kaneohe and one in Haleiwa.  The Kaneohe location sits above a beautiful garden, and has an incredible Sunday brunch.

Navy SEALs still wear the old camouflage uniform, since the Navy had not agreed on what woodland pattern the SEALs should wear.  The rest of the Navy wears the blue digital print, like Catherine.

The UH Warriors play the University of South Alabama Jaguars on December 1st at Aloha Stadium (hat tip @UHPics).

Preview of “I Helu Pū”- Danny and Steve get competitive

February 10th, 2012 by

Youtube clip for you international Undercover Special Agents forthcoming. Great dialog between these two!

 

Talking Story with Mike Buck on AM 690 KHNR for “Mai Ka Wā Kahiko” (Hawaii Five-0 podcast)

February 10th, 2012 by

In this episode of the podcast, AM 690 KHNR Mike Buck and I chatted about Monday’s episode, “Mai Ka Wā Kahiko”.  We dissect the episode, discussed Koko Crater Trail, Telor Grubbs’ performance, Danny’s ability to throw the rules out  the window, James Caan’s upcoming appearance, model Denby Dung, local actress Sarah (@blondeatbeach), Peter Greene as the perfect bad guy, and  the numbers games with ratings.  Sit, download, and enjoy!

Our discussion starts at the 1:30 mark.

Officer 808 on the Mike Buck Show, February 7, 2012

New BTS of the inaugural Hawaii Five-0 Prom Night, “I Helu Pū”

February 10th, 2012 by

Big mahalo to EPR/Erika Kauffman for snapping these shots!  Chin taking down Russian guards, and everyone’s dressed to the nines!

Hawaii Five-0, "I Helu Pu". Photo EPR

Will either of you marry me?

New promo photos of Hawaii Five-0, episode 217, “Kupale” released

February 10th, 2012 by

Check out the new photos released from CBS.  Thanks for the tip mwj01 of Hawaii Five-0 Fans!  Photos by Norman Shapiro, CBS.

Exclusive BTS clip of Danny’s turn down a one way street on Hawaii Five-0

February 10th, 2012 by

Undercover Special Agent Hikaru sent me this bird’s eye view of filming for the Hawaii Five-0 episode “Mai Ka Wā Kahiko” in January 2011.  Note how controlled the environment is.  The production crew has the entire block (from the intersection on the left, to the far right).  Stunt drivers drive the two cars in the correct direction at a slow pace.  By speeding the frame rate and fast editing, the scene appears to be much faster than it’s actually shot. A stunt driver drives Danny’s Camaro in the opposite direction of a one way street.  The building immediately to the right of the camera man’s building is the CBS production headquarters.

And watch the actual scene here at the 3 minute mark:

Extended promo for Hawaii Five-0 “I Helu Pū” (The Reckoning)

February 9th, 2012 by

Prom night for the Five-0 team and it looks like Lori’s in trouble, and a troubled groom has been listening to too much R. Kelly (“I Believe I Can Fly”, get it?).

Things We Learned About Hawaii From Hawaii Five-0, Episode 215, “Mai Ka Wā Kahiko”

February 8th, 2012 by

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.

"Danny if you don't do this, I'm bringing out the Gimp."

Saint Daniel

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.

Hawaii Five-0, Koko Head Trail (Photo CBS)

Songs on last night’s episode include “Stand Up” by The London Souls and “Rapunzel” by Drapht.

Hawaii entertainment legend Jimmy Borges to appear in Hawaii Five-0

February 6th, 2012 by

Jimmy Borges (Photo Jimmy Borges, Olivier Koning)Hawaii Five-0 Godfather Mr. Mike tipped me off last week on his website that local jazz singer and Hawaiian entertainment legend Jimmy Borges mentioned on his personal Facebook page last week that he’ll be in an upcoming episode of Hawaii Five-0:

“Peter Lenkov, Producer, told me about a year ago that he wanted to write me into one of the episodes [of the new Hawaii Five-0]. Last week, I got a call to come in and look at some dialogue and take some camera shots. It seems that all went well on both sides and I’ll be shooting a nice part that could be a recurring part. My big excitement is … I’m shooting with Alex O’Loughlin, Scott Caan and … TAH RAH … JAMES CAAN. He’s one of my favorite actors! We get to bang heads (dialogue-wise). We shoot next week. Thank you, Peter Lenkov, Thank you Rachel (for the hot read) … JAMES CAAN … YAY.”

Jimmy Borges comes from the school of crooners as Dean Martin and Tony Bennett.  Along with Don Ho, he has been a mainstay in local entertainment. He’s appeared in Magnum P.I. as well as the original Hawaii Five-0.  Read more about Jimmy in Mr. Mike’s page.

Update: Honolulu Star Advertiser reporter Mike Gordon also reported the news yesterday.

Mike Gordon grills Peter Lenkov on season 2

February 3rd, 2012 by

Honolulu Star Advertiser entertainment reporter Mike Gordon landed an interview with Peter Lenkov during Peter’s monthly trip to the Hawaii Five-0 set.  Interesting tidbits gleaned out of the interview that most of the die hard fans don’t know yet include:  Kono gets romantically involved, James Caan’s character will possibly be recurring, and Ed Asner’s guest appearancewill bridge the old series with the new. I got a kick out of his admission that he knows what his fan base wants-more shirtless Alex.  A big part of the interview deals with his choice of his selection of Alex O’Loughlin as the lead for the show.

 


 

Q&A with Peter Lenkov
The “Hawaii Five-0” executive producer teases plot twists and big guest stars
By Mike Gordon

The multiple plots inside Peter Lenkov’s head must twist and turn like streets on a map, but somehow the executive producer of the re-imagined “Hawaii Five-0” knows where he is going at all times.

In this second season he’s killed off a double-crossing character, married off Chin Ho Kelly and kept fans guessing about the identity of the mysterious Shelburne.

But last week, as Episode 17 was being filmed, Lenkov took a break from supervising production and writing the season finale to discuss where the series is headed, how the show is doing and how Alex O’Loughlin went from a softie to an action hero.

Peter Lenkov, CINDY ELLEN RUSSELL / CRUSSELL@STARADVERTISER.COM

Peter Lenkov, CINDY ELLEN RUSSELL / CRUSSELL@STARADVERTISER.COM

Question: What’s the story arc for the rest of second season?

Answer:

The whole Shelburne thing comes back into play. That will come back and wrap itself up at the end of the season. There will be a big confrontation with Wo Fat that’s coming up. I think people are expecting something like that, especially since he escaped in Episode 10 (“Ki‘ilua,” Nov. 21). He does show up in Episode 21 in a story that is like a political-thriller episode, which is not really about McGarrett and Wo Fat. It is sort of Wo Fat’s agenda and we happen to want to stop him.

Q: What about the major players?

A: Yeah, everybody has a big story coming up. Especially Kono … There’s a little bit of a relationship that is going to happen and somebody from her past is going to come back to haunt her, literally but not as a ghost. And it plays into what the finale is going to be. Right now I am the most excited about James Caan and Ed Asner because I think both of them have great characters. Jimmy’s character is someone he sort of pitched … a character he wanted to play. He is not playing Scott (Caan’s) father, which I think everybody’s expecting. He is playing a real character with the potential of recurring if he wants to.

Q: Ed Asner is going to play a character he played in the original “Five-0”?

A: I know Ed from a “CSI: New York” (episode) I did a couple of years ago. We sort of stayed in touch and have dinner on a regular basis and I said, “When the right time comes I will get you in ‘Hawaii Five-0’ but I want to give you a special role.” So the idea was to just resurrect a character who in the original “Five-0” gets put in jail for murder and the idea is that he has served his 30-year sentence and now he is out. He’s sort of a mild-mannered ex-antiquities thief who we go to for some help in a case and it sort of takes a lot of twists and turns.

Q: How hard will this be to do?

A: We are not going to show any of the old characters. We’re only showing footage of Ed and we are using that as a flashback device. The only tie is that we are saying that the person who drove Ed Asner to jail when he was arrested was a young cop named John McGarrett — so he’s the father — and that Ed tried to bribe him on the way to jail that day and the father wouldn’t take the bribe. Shows you what kind of man he was. And that’s the only connection to anything with McGarrett’s past.

Q: Who is your audience and how does that influence how you treat your characters?

A: I know we have a lot of female fans and lot of them just want Alex (O’Loughlin) to walk around the show without his shirt on and they are begging me to have Daniel (Dae Kim) walk around the show without a shirt on. They’ve seen Scott once already without a shirt on so I think we’ve satisfied that need. For me, we watched it as a family so I feel like the same goes for this show, which is why I almost wish it was (on an hour earlier) because I do feel a younger audience sitting with their parents could watch the show. It’s not offensive. It’s entertaining. It has laughs. It has all those things you want from a show that can entertain everybody.

Peter Lenkov, Apolo Ohno, CINDY ELLEN RUSSELL / CRUSSELL@STARADVERTISER.COM

Q: What was it about Alex O’Loughlin that made you decide to make him Steve McGarrett?

A: The year before I wrote this pilot, I wrote another pilot for CBS. It was about a medical examiner. It was actually almost identical to what “Body of Proof” is now on ABC. It was about this great brain surgeon who, in this home invasion robbery, ends up getting shot through the hand and he can’t ever perform any more brain surgery or any kind of surgery because he has damaged the nerves in his hand. So he becomes a medical examiner because it’s the only place a doctor can perform on a body without needing malpractice insurance … . So it frustrates him. He ends up being a very hip Quincy. So (CBS Entertainment President) Nina Tassler liked the script very much and introduced me to Alex and said, “I want Alex to play this character.” So I met with Alex. Alex had just gotten off the plane. He had two days’ scuff on him and had on a leather jacket. We were sitting next to each other on a couch and I remember looking at him and thinking he is not a doctor. He’s an action hero. Ironically, he ended up that year playing a doctor on another show (CBS’ short-lived “Three Rivers”). So when I wrote “Five-0” and we started casting … we met and talked about it and I thought, “He’s the guy.” I knew right away.

Q: Has O’Loughlin developed the character the way you wanted him to?

A: Yes, I think he became McGarrett. Physically, everything. He says — and he swears to this and I believe him — that the day he left that meeting he started training because he wanted to look like a Navy SEAL. And he went down to Coronado and trained with the SEALs and he really became that character.

Q: What were you thinking with the Subway ad in the Jan. 16 episode? Some fans said it went too far.

A: I think our idea was to have some fun with it rather than just do a plug in the show … And it just seemed if we were going to do something with that brand, we would do it with Kamekona and we thought it was a fun scene. For people commenting about it, if there is any negativity, I don’t think they realize (product integration) is in every show these days.

———

Mike Gordon covers film and television for the Honolulu Star-Advertiser. Read his Outtakes column Sundays in the Today section, and find his “Outtakes Online” blog at honolulupulse.com. Reach him at mgordon@staradvertiser.com.