Last week’s season Premiere episode of Hawaii Five-0 had a scene early on in which Steve (Alex O’Loughlin) and Danny “Danno” (Scott Caan)were in therapy — for some it may have felt contrived or awkward, but for others, those who had missed some episodes, or were first time viewers, it was actually a nicely done episode. In the course of one scene the writers established the hilarious manner in which those two characters relate to one another through bickering, and gave a very basic run down of who all is on the team.
Modern television is full of shows where the audience feels as though you have to watch the show from the very first episode to understand who people are, to know the various plot points that matter, and be able to follow along. While Hawaii Five-O did not reset by any means, they came very close to announcing for those who have not been watching all along, “this is an easy entry point, be welcome new viewers, we want you to join in the fun of watching our show.”
For those who like purely episodic shows, the episode made it clear this season is going to have some very definite arcs. Clearly there will be some serial aspects, and there are going to be some plot lines they hope you will follow from start to finish. That said, several of them look interesting. Jorge Garcia, who joined the cast as Jerry Ortega this season, was in several episodes last season, and is a fun conspiracy theorist with a potentially interesting arc for the season. While I admit to having high hopes for his character, I hope that Kamekona’s role (Taylor Wily) does not suffer, as he has been one of my favorites since the series began, and there have been a few times already when I have felt the writers were torn between those two characters when trying to decide who to give a line or scene to, making me wonder if their function on the show is a little too similar. I hope as Jerry appears more he and Kamekona will diverge more, and their separate functions as part of the Five-O family will become clearer.
The season premiere was, overall, a very strong episode, but faithful viewers seemed to be called upon to remember several details, for instance, why someone was keeping an eye on Chin-Ho (Daniel Dae Kim), a fact that finally explained, somewhat, at the very end of the episode, leading me to wonder if the season will be self-contained enough for new viewers. (Again, I hope that is the case.) Given how much effort the show went to to give new viewers a primer on the characters I believe they will continue to offer memory jogs to long-time viewers, and subtle information drops to new viewers so no one is left feeling like they missed an episode or need to go back to last season and re-watch an episode or they will be lost.
From the moment this incarnation of Hawaii Five-O hit the air it has been a strong show, with action filled scenes and intricate enough plots to keep the audience waiting through the commercial breaks to find out just where the show is going, and how the case will turn out. (There is nothing worse than a show you are so sure you’ve already solved the who-done-it of that you can flip away from it during the commercial break and feel like you will not miss a thing. This is NOT one of those shows.)
Grace Park is back with the team full time, where she belongs, and while her time abroad was acceptable and understandable for those who heard Grace Park had a baby in Vancouver and simply could not get back to Hawaii in time for shooting to begin last season, it is great to see her back on the island with the rest of the team, taking down the bad guys, helping solve the cases and fight for what is right.
Masi Oka was an excellent addition to the show, it is hard to believe he merely recurred first season, since his being a regular part of the show feels like he is where he belongs. His character, Max Bergman, is quirky and unique in a way that a lot of actors could not pull of with the charm and style that Masi brings to the character.
Lou Grover (Chi McBride) did not have a lot to do in the season premiere, and I fear many first time viewers may have been left wondering exactly why he is on the team. For them I would say ‘fear not, he will show his true value, he just needs one of those SWAT moments.’ That said, I was disappointed, and found myself wondering if with the cast increasing in size each season, and becoming more and more of an ensemble show, the writers are finding it harder and harder to keep everyone in play. It will be interesting to see how things balance out for the characters over the course of the season.
Danno and Steve are great fun to watch together, especially when they get to bickering in the car. That said, when Lou and Steve have a difference of opinions about tactics one starts to wonder just how many seconds it will be before they want to pull a gun on one another instead of the bad guy — and somehow that is just hilarious and charming. It is this dynamic that makes the show so entertaining, the fact that these people are not in perfect harmony, but work so well together because they bring vastly different perspectives to the table to get the job done, and listen to one another, work together, and will go to any length, and do anything to protect and serve.
Season Five of Hawaii Five-O airs Fridays on CBS at 9 PM / 8 C.
Official CBS Website: http://www.cbs.com/shows/hawaii_five_0/
CBS Tweet: https://twitter.com/CBSTweet
IMDB: Hawaii Five-O
Cast on Twitter:
Daniel Dae Kim @DanielDaeKim
Jorge Garcia @JorgeGarcia
Masi Oka @MasiOka