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Hawaii Five-0 – “A’ole e ‘olelo mai ana ke ahi ua ana la” - Review:" Fire Will Never Say that It Has Had Enough"



Things are changing and we would like you to be a part of that.


That’s the offer Danny makes new 5-0 recruit Tani Rey (Meaghan Rath) in the ending minutes of the show’s season eight premiere. It’s not just something he’s saying to get the reluctant Tani on board but a larger message from the writers to the audience. It’s unfortunate when behind-the-scenes issues are so glaringly obvious in the actual series, but there’s no getting around talking about what has happened over the summer.

Although the show would prefer not to talk about any of these issues. As Danny says when he is trying to sell Steve on an Italian restaurant in the middle of Chinatown, “It’s going to be fun.” Fun! Fun! Fun! Is the theme of this episode. We get more than one good old-fashioned Hawaii Five-0 fight, suitably evil antagonists, Steve and Danny bickering, death-defying stunts, and great special effects (and some slightly iffy ones). Steve lifted a house off its foundation with a helicopter! The show desperately wants to show its audience that it can move forward and still keep the same fun-loving vibe as previous seasons.

What’s it trying to move forward from? Chin and Kono, respectively. For anyone who isn’t aware, Daniel Dae Kim and Grace Park are gone from the show. In negotiations for the new season, Kim and Park asked for equal pay with Alex O’Loughlin and Scott Caan. When denied this request, they chose to leave. The show scrambled to cover up their absence by raising four recurring characters to regular status (Taylor Wily, Ian Anthony Dale, Dennis Chun, and Kimee Balmilero) and adding a new recruit in the form of Rath’s fiery (couldn’t help it) police academy wash-out Tani Rey.


How do I feel about this change? Obviously, Hawaii Five-0 lost quite a bit of its heart with the departure of such essential cast members. While Chin didn’t get the best storylines last season (never forget the cartel kidnapping that got wrapped up in five minutes), Kono had a devastating, daring arc that truly furthered her character and brought attention to an important issue. These casting issues also make writing decisions last season feel a little craven. Chin didn’t go off to the task force in San Francisco because it was time to step up and lead his own team. Kono didn’t get on a plane because her desire to take down the trafficking ring outweighed her desire for a normal life. The cousins were given semi-sendoffs because negotiations were either still up in the air or written in stone at that point. In a show that was so much about o’hana and had previously given character meaningful sendoffs, the little lip service paid to two of the most important members of the team in this episode felt false. The scenes where Chin and Kono’s fates are mentioned are rushed through hurriedly and only used to showcase the new cast member.

Not that there’s anything wrong with Rath. Tani immediately endears herself to Steve with her love of fast cars and impresses Danny with her insistence to stay and track down an arsonist through a forest fire. So how about I actually get into what happened in this episode…

Tani first pops up on Steve and Danny’s radar when they begin tracking a hacker named MizChief. Danny is really upset about that “z”. Steve quickly gives the audience the necessary backstory for this new character. Tani was the best police academy recruit ever when her father’s death sent her over the edge. She broke her training officer’s nose (he apparently deserved it) and cheated on her written exams. Now, she works as a lifeguard and tries to protect her sketchy little brother. Tani doesn’t think she’s a good fit for 5-0, but the guys disagree.

The guys are disagreeing about a lot. If there was one subplot that I didn’t expect to make it to next season (like the shadowy government cabal, nationwide sex trafficking ring, or even Kamekona’s branding issues), it was Steve’s – the restaurant, not the person. Danny is looking at a space to begin renovations and wants Steve as a partner. Steve has to ask “is this about my radiation poisoning?!” I hope he asks this about any decision anyone on the team makes. Danny gives a non-answer, and before Steve can make a decision someone breaks a master arsonist out of jail.


The hacker is question is MizChief (Joey Lawrence), who snuck on to Oahu using the name Mick St. John, proving he was a fan of Alex O’Loughlin’s other CBS show (no, not the organ donation one).

In the grand tradition of many Hawaii Five-0 villains, this plan made no sense. Drug lord Randy Tao’s operation center is burned down and his top lieutenant killed. The only way to find the arsonist is to get MizChief to let arsonist Jason DuClair out of prison. Then, DuClair can use his special arson skills to find this other arsonist. The best part of this plan is that the police already had a #1 suspect, even before that poor guy ended up barbequed.


Problem is, as Steve says as he surveys the crime scene, Jason “has got a taste for it now.” He torches his benefactors and goes after MizChief himself.


Like everyone else, I found the Lawrence brothers reunion amusing, but I’m not sure if MizChief was actually supposed to be menacing or not. Joey Lawrence just didn’t bring enough crazy to the role and it seemed strange that he’s hyped up as this big threat because of his *pause for dramatic effect* true identity as Aaron Wright, the long-lost brother of Ian Wright. While Lou probably has a reason to hate the Wright brothers (Lou isn’t the only one who loves puns), it seems a little strange that he would blame some character he’s never met before for someone else’s sins. The drama, especially the scene at the end with Samantha, seems false.


Luckily, Aaron isn’t the chief antagonist, and DuClair is much scarier. When Tani walks in on him about to kill Aaron, they get into a brutal fight that proves that the 5-0 choreographers are still on the top of their game. He manages to get away with Steve, Danny, Tani, and Lou in hot pursuit (ok – that’s the last pun, promise). He starts a massive forest fire to cover his tracks, but ends up getting hunted down anyway. It looks like he and Steve are going to duke it out, but Tani puts an end to that nonsense quickly with a shot to knee. I’m beginning to like her.


The four, plus one arsonist, find shelter in a cabin. Steve does the predictably heroic thing and runs out in the fire for help, and then does the unpredictably heroic thing and airlifts the entire cabin to safety. Although shaken by the experience, Tani decides she wants to be part of the team. Surprisingly (or perhaps on purpose due to deeply felt absences) the episode doesn’t end on an o’hana moment with the entire team. Instead, Steve surprises Danny with a lease for the space and says he’s ready to begin plans for the restaurant. We leave the two with them agreeing “It’s going to be fun,” although not without a little uncertainty.


That’s a good way to take this episode. It’s loads of fun, but pretty uncertain of itself. Unlike the season seven premiere, which did its best to show the strong bonds the team had formed and even called back to the legacy left by the original series, this premiere had to sell its audience on a different version of the team. For the most part, it did a good job, but Chin and Kono are going to cast long shadows over the next season. I’m interested to see what direction this new version of the show will take.

I’m glad to be back this season watching the show with you guys! What did you think of the premiere? How do you feel about Chin and Kono’s departure? Let me know in the comments!

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