Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Thoughts on Hawaii Five-0's "La O No Makuahine"

Around the fourteen minute mark of the season three premiere of Hawaii Five-0, I lost hope in seeing my favorite character serve shrimp. The episode was too sad. Chin-Ho's wife died. McGarrett unleashed years and years of anger on his absentee mother. Terry O'Quinn wandered off after bringing McGarrett to the door. Wo-Fat escaped yet again with the help of Billy Baldwin's Delano in a truly nonsense way. No, my favorite shrimp cook seemed as likely to appear as the chances of the team capturing Wo-Fat by episode's end, or Christine Lahti proving to be trustworthy.

Out of nowhere, though, Kamekona showed up with a bag of shrimp for McGarrett, but he wasn't home, so he gave the shrimp to to McGarrett's mother. Kamekona told a few jokes, smiled a lot, and all ended well in the third season premiere of H5-0.

Oh wait. No, all didn't end well in the episode.

-Christine Lahti did not entice viewers to watch the season three premiere. A benefit of writing about the episode 19 hours after it aired is knowing the ratings for the premiere. They weren't good. Les Moonves might've passed out when he learned an NBC drama crushed Hawaii Five-0 in the ratings. Revolution had 1.3 million more viewers, but the key demographic is where Hawaii Five-0 fell hard. Five-O's steadily dropped in the last couple of months. The show used to average double-digit numbers. I'd like to think Lenkov's insistence on employing Billy Baldwin is directly related to the ratings drop.

-The season three premiere resembled season two's premiere. The action began immediately where season two ended in May. Meanwhile, Chin raced to save his wife's life, and Kono's boy raced to save her life. Kono was saved, but Mrs. Chin-Ho wasn't. A death in the 5-0 family was promised during the summer; of course the death would be a minor character like Chin's wife. Daniel Dae Kim's performance outshined his fellow cast members. Dae Kim plays loss and grief really well, as well as stone-cold anger and resentment. The scene of the episode was when he walked through his home for the first time since his wife passed. The table was set for dinners, the roast chickens were in the oven, and he collapsed onto the ground in tears. Dae Kim and Baldwin also had an anti-climatic show-down, which is a moment one saw coming from the second after emergency medical declared his wife dead.

-Billy Baldwin's Delano is one of the worst villains ever introduced on network TV. 5-0's villains are usually badly written. Since Baldwin is a Baldwin, his terrible character lasted nearly a full season. Baldwin pulled out the tricks that'd make him a success in a direct-to-DVD crime film about an ice cream man gone corrupt. The writing for Delano made no sense. He complained to Wo-Fat of a lack of criminal resources to ransack HPD and run off with $30-35 million in meth. The complaint happened after he rented a huge helicopter to lift an armored vehicle into the air and drop it into the ocean, hire super divers to shoot the officers and pull Wo-Fat out, where they then brought him to a rented boat, also rented by Delano. Lenkov's telling the viewer Delano needs help stealing meth from a police department already hurting from an explosion because he thinks his viewers are idiots.

-McGarrett's familial issues are my least favorite part of the show. Since Delano and Wo-Fat referred to Lahti as Shellburn, I will, too. Shellburn and McGarrett have it out about the last twenty years. McGarrett reacts badly to the news his mom didn't teach school at all; instead she spied on folk. Just as everyone in McGarrett's pre-5-0 life betrayed him, so too does his mom. Danny isn't sure, but he suspects Shellburn intentionally missed Wo-Fat when they were face-to-face with guns in McGarrett's upstairs bedroom. Lahti's already on a plane out of Hawaii by the time McGarrett hears Danny's suspicions. I already think Wo-Fat's overstayed his welcome, but the writers will keep him around because the original series kept Wo-Fat around for 12 seasons or something.

-Danny and Kono aren't doing much. Danny's custody battle with Rachel should be the stuff of the Lifetime Movie network. McGarrett adds a little foreshadowing to Danny's arc during a car ride somewhere: he warns his friend that Grace will be more affected by the custody battle in court than either him or Rachel, i.e. taking the case to court won't be worth it in the long run; inevitably, Grace will be torn away from one of her parents. Danny and his hair are stubborn though. Meanwhile, Kono hugs Chin-Ho and, later, holds hands with her boyfriend. Grace Kelly needs more to do on the show. By 'more to do,' I'm not suggesting Lenkov hire Stephen Baldwin for a 'Kono-might-be-a-dirty-cop-again!' arc. Let's see her surfing and solving cases and being involved in an actual story aside from her usual role as 'girl-who-tracks-criminals-using-high-tech-GPS.'

-One more note about Danny: his relationship with the museum curator, portrayed last season by Autumn Reeser, won't last. Danny acknowledges her as someone he's seeing. Autumn Reeser is in ABC's Last Resort. She'll still be in Hawaii but on a better show.

-Anyway, Season 2 had many lows and some highs. It lacked the adventurous fun of the first season. Season 3 seems on track to be less fun than even in season 2, with the sadness and betrayals and whatnot. Lauren German won't come by, as she's on NBC's Chicago Fire. McGarrett's Navy girlfriend might get more screentime, which I'd care about if the character had a personality. I'm going to check in with Hawaii Five-0 two more times this season.


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Originally, I titled the blog Jacob's Foot after the giant foot that Jacob inhabited in LOST. That ended. It became TV With The Foot in 2010. I wrote about a lot of TV.