“Things We Learned About Hawaii From Hawaii Five-0” Episode 7, Ho’apono, updated rerun edition, with bonus post!

Originally posted November 4th, 2010 with some minor edits today.

Recap of “Ho’apono”

Alex O'Loughlin, Adam Beach, Hawaii Five-0, "Ho'apono"


This episode stood out a little better than the previous few before it…no clunky pidgin lines, and not as much bantering as the other episodes.  I myself liked because it showed a little more of the military presence in Hawaii.  Unfortunately, it featured the post deployment consequences on a Navy SEAL (Adam Beach) just returning from overseas.  Conversely, guest star Robert Loggia reminds us what we respect and admire about the military- honor and duty.  As Boatswain’s Mate 1st Class Ed McKay, he initially comes across as a wanna be action hero holding on to his glory days, but the truth of the matter is that he bears the regret of surviving the Pearl Harbor disaster that his shipmates didn’t.  More revealing was the fact that he personally knew McG’s father, which I hope is an angle the writers revisit.  Oh and yes, a shirtless McGarrett doesn’t hurt the ratings, either.

Alex O'Loughlin shirtless again, Hawaii Five-0

Despite the rumors, he'll deny that his pecs are CGI enhanced, Photo: CBS, vidcap by alexoloughlin.org

I love McG’s hostage negotiation method…razzle dazzle the hostage taker with a lot of big words and guilt:  “Dammit Graham, he’s bleeding from the head and he needs a band aid for his boo-boo for God’s sake!  He needs to have his cat scanned too!  And can’t you see he’s overweight, he needs some nutritional counseling, his blood sugar monitored and his blood pressure checked!  And look at this poor woman, she obviously needs to have some Spam and eggs or she’s going into a diabetic coma!  Graham, you’re a SEAL for God’s sake…so put down the gun, and let’s settle this like real men.  I’ll take off my shirt, and we’ll negotiate by arm wrestling.”

Quotable:  “Who’s that, your wife?”  -Ed Mckay to Steve McGarrett on the phone with Danno.

And now, “Things We Learned About Hawaii From Hawaii 5-0” episode 7, Ho’apono

1)  If anyone turns up dead in Hawaii, again suspect the Triad, Sons of Samoa, human traffickers, Filipino Sinn Fein, or the Russian mob/arms dealers/psychotic business execs.   They are the only perpetrators here in Paradise.

2)  “You must be this tall to ride and/or join the HPD”.  Did you notice the SWAT team members who escorted the handcuffed SEAL outside of the Battleship Missouri?   Braddahs might have been the SWAT team’s sewer, tunnel  or air duct specialists.  (I kid!  Nothing but love and respect for those HPD officers.)

3)  Skip the Battleship Missouri Tour and go on the LOST Tour instead.The day you show up for the Mighty Mo you might end up a hostage.  However if all hell breaks loose on the LOST Tour, there’s a big black smoke monster coming after your ass.

The following Pearl Harbor post was originally posted December 6th, 2010, “A date which will live in infamy”.

Remember Pearl Harbor…

Sunday, December 7, 1941 – A mother in Manoa puts a flower in her daughter’s hair as they get ready to go to church.  A gas station owner flips his sign over to say “OPEN” in Pearl City.  A farmer in Kailua throws feed to his chickens.  A sailor on the USS Arizona rubs his eyes in his sleep rack and wonders why he woke up so early on a Sunday morning.  Little did they know that high above them, the Japanese bombers with their monotonous drone descended on the waking island from the north, east and west…their target, Battleship Row at Pearl Harbor.

If the initial metallic raps of machine gun fire didn’t rouse the sailors, the shattering jolt of torpedoes hitting broadside and bombs scoring the decks of the ships did.  My grandmother told me that as a young teen, she remembered being awoken by the sound of explosions rolling across the harbor, rattling her plantation house in Waipahu.  Looking outside the window, she saw the explosions in the harbor and rolls of black clouds stretching into the sky.

…through the eyes of Steve McGarrett, Sr.

But how brilliant would it be, to deepen the rebooted Hawaii Five-0’s mythos, to actually tell the tale of the last few days of Steve McGarrett, Senior’s life?  Did he help Chin Ho Kelly’s grandfather solve a case?  Could he have defended Kawika’s (Kala Alexander, “Ko’olauloa”) grandfather against an attack from drunken sailors?  Or maybe he helped to protect Kawika’s grandmother.  Did Mighty Mo tour guide Ed McKay (Robert Loggia, “Ho’apono”) have a hand in any of the elder McGarrett’s adventures…?

In narrowing the degrees of separation between the current characters, the writers have a great opportunity for strong storytelling by telling the elder Steve McGarrett’s story in the days leading up to the attack at Pearl Harbor.  Racial strains, police corruption, crime…to see all that transplanted to another era with the predecessors of our Five-0 team could potentially be a huge success.  Yes, it takes a play right out of the Lost playbook with flashbacks, but the writers have unlimited potential and I do hope they pay further tribute to those who died at Pearl Harbor.  They’ve already mentioned in three separate occasions that Steve McGarrett, Senior was aboard the Arizona…but what exactly did he do…?

Pearl Harbor Attack in the Honolulu Star -Bulletin
Pearl Harbor Attack in the Honolulu Star -Bulletin

We still Remember Pearl Harbor

In the end, more than 3000 Americans died or were injured.  In Hawaii, if your family goes back at least three generations, someone in your family could tell you what they were doing that day or give you a first hand account of taking action.  Because of that, we in Hawaii may have a more intimate attachment to the war rally “Remember Pearl Harbor”.  Take a minute tomorrow, December 7th, to remember those who died that day.

Pearl Harbor news of interest:

Pearl Harbor survivor Dorwin Lamkin returns to memorial after 71 years

Battleship California veteran recalls raising flag during Dec. 7 attack


About officer808

Investigating Hawaii Five-0 from the inside.
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13 Responses to “Things We Learned About Hawaii From Hawaii Five-0” Episode 7, Ho’apono, updated rerun edition, with bonus post!

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  2. textbook says:

    I’m glad you repeated the Pearl Harbor entry, it’s really good. And you make me wonder even more about what it’s like to be Hawaiian. I’ve always been interested in what it’s like, not just to live in a different place, but to be of it – and Hawaii is a hybrid place, so it’s different in more ways than one. There are the original (rightful) inhabitants, plus us Americans, and a large contingent of Japanese, yes? – and what else I don’t know. Your family goes back at least to your grandmother. Are you of Polynesian background? Something else? Do you feel a completely American identity? Watching H50 you can’t help but think there must be a sense of being a Hawaiian “nationality” that’s way more ingrained than even being a Texan. It’s probably one reason the show is so successful, and its predecessor, and before that “Magnum PI,” and even “Hawaiian Eye” in the 60s. We (over here) look at this gorgeous place and think, “Hey, that’s us too – look how exotic, and they’re part of us.” It’s fascinating.

    I look on a map and think, “It’s so far away – how do you make an American place out of somewhere so different in less than a hundred years?” (Well, forcibly, of course, and I’ve never understood why.) What do the children’s children’s children feel about being Americans, when the nearest of their neighbors are a couple thousand miles across the ocean?

    Is it all just perfectly normal, or is it as exotic as it looks? Sometimes being Texan seems sort of exotic, and I guess being Alaskan, or Southern or Midwestern, but Hawaii’s just different. Isn’t it?

    Oh, BTW, “Filipino Sinn Fein” – is this really a thing?

  3. MyMcG says:

    @Textbook – wow, great comments and some really interesting questions. I grew up Texan, and though I’ve been transplanted to the Northeast more than a decade ago, I still carry the Texan around with me. I’m also a sociologist by training, having focused on race/ethnicity and Asian American identity so I’ve long been enamored with Hawaii from an academic perspective as a “hybrid” place as you’ve noted – you know, outside of it just being Paradise and all that. I’ve been interested in the kinds of you questions you posed.

    Bob – your bit about the bleeding hostage’s boo-boo and needing his cat scanned! Hahaha Loved it.

    And I love the whole shirtless scene. Trust me, topless McGarrett gets no complaints from me, but focus for a second, there’s more than that! The repartee in this scene cracks me up. I love it when Danny says, “You’re serious – and now you’re shirtless” It’s like the show’s way of not taking itself too seriously – of winking at the audience. Hi viewers – Steve is shirtless again – enjoy! (It’s like the bit from the head in the box episode where they talk about their TV cop fantasy when they are themselves a TV cop fantasy.) Then the whole, “bet you’ve used that line before”/”and that one, too”, and finally “good luck, Aquaman!” It’s just a good scene and one of my favorites from all the episodes so far.

  4. Cecile says:

    Boy, shirtless Steve never gets old !

    MyMcG : you’re right, it nice that the show’s not taking itself too seriously. It’s refreshing and always funny :).

  5. joy says:

    Love your review. Me too love the whole shirtless scene to aquaman comment. I must have watched that part more than 50 times!

  6. jlopie (Lynnette) says:

    Once again, a great review, Bob! I’ve watched this episode many times, but it’s been a while now, so I noticed things differently. I think it’s because the show has evolved so much since this episode was first aired, and we, as fans, have become more sophisticated as to what we expect from each episode. The first time through, I focused on the plot, the actors, and shirtless McGarrett. This time I looked for the theme, since, we have all noticed and commented on the deeper meanings in certain scenes.

    I feel “loyalty,” “pride” “service to others” and “sacrifice” are very big themes here in this episode. McGarrett is willing to risk his life by going in alone to help a fellow SEAL get out of a very bad situation – his leave no man behind philosophy. McKay’s pride of knowing the Missouri well enough to lead McGarrett through it, and McGarrett’s pride for the sacrifice of his grandfather’s life to his country.
    Also, this time around, I really focused on the SEAL. I saw a side of him where his illness has taken him, and realize what we have asked our service men to give up for their country. Yes, he is scary and has endangered the lives of civilians, and yet he struggles so hard to control the demons. It goes without saying what he has sacrificed. The first time around, I remember thinking, why aren’t you just shooting the dude? You usually shoot anyone with a gun in his hand!” This time, I was saying “it’s so cool that you didn’t just shoot the dude!”

    Steve’s loyalty and compassion is first observed in this episode. We obviously come to love him for it in the future!

    BTW, don’t get me wrong, I still drooled over shirtless Steve!
    Know where I can get my cat scanned? She’s been acting a little ditzy lately!

    • officer808 says:

      I love your assessment on the military aspect, and McG changing his gun slinging attitutde for the benefit of his comrade in arms.

      I think Kinko’s can scan your cat relatively inexpensively!

  7. MyMcG says:

    Here’s something else. I point it out because it stood out to me the first time I saw this episode. I brushed it off, but in the re-run it pricked my ear again. It’s in the same shirtless scene where Kono says she will go talk to the kid because as the woman in the group, they probably would’ve asked her to do that anyway.

    Then Danny says, “It’s not because you’re a woman, it’s because you’re a rookie, which is way worse.” WHAT?? Because being a woman is bad enough, but being a rookie is way worse?

    Ah, I give our Danno the benefit of the doubt because I’m sure he didn’t mean it the way it sounded to my ear – and I’m not the overly sensitive type about that kind of stuff. But I heard it again in the rerun and thought, ugh, nobody noticed how that might come across? Did that irk anyone else?

    • textbook says:

      Well, maybe you could look at like this: Danny is saying, “Yeah, I see how you could think we’d palm off the family/children jobs on you because you’re a girl, and I see how you could think we’d consider it was a lower-grade chore – it’s not, and we don’t, but even if that were true, what if we were giving jobs like that to you because you’re a rookie? Wouldn’t that be even more tacky?”

      He’s just – as usual – making light of the situation. He don’t mean nothin’ by it. It’s just Danno.

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