Things We Learned About Hawaii From Hawaii Five-0, Episode 8, “Mana’o”, updated rerun edition

Note: This entry is heavily edited since the first time I wrote it.  I also originally wrote this when I wasn’t yet settled on a style for my “Things We Learned About Hawaii…” entries.  So the original post will be a little different rom what you’re used to!


“Wow look at those shiny coconuts!”


That was the sound of my wife smacking me on the side of the head when I blurted those words in regards to the Tahitian dancers at the luau.  Drums beating, grass skirts flying, coconuts gleaming…  it’s the glare, I tell you, very distracting.  Distracting until the point of the grand uncovering of the roasted pig.  The thing that will wipe a smile off a man’s distracted face is the sight of a human being who’d been slow roasted in a deep imu all day long.  How many of you would just stand there, and say “Oh my, oh dear how terrible!” like those tourists? Everything I’d eaten the past week would be tripping over each other in a mad rush to come back out.

We find that Danny’s old partner, Meka was murdered.  But murdered because he was crooked, or murdered to cover up a conspiracy…?  They meet up with internal affairs officer Sgt. Cage (Jon Seda) who stonewalls them.   Danny doesn’t make any friends trying to get answers from the Bigger Than They Need To Be Police Officers (I think these extras were cast from the stevedores at the harbor), until Detective Kaleo (Jason Scott Lee) slips Danny a little note for a lunch date.  Kaleo’s tip leads them to an art show, where Kono pickpockets a Johnny Depp clone to get into the back room where the drug dealer is.  Not getting any answers, Danno straps the drug dealer to the hood and goes for a joy ride around Waikiki.  But wait.  Who’s that drug dealer?  IT’S BALKI BARTOKOMOUS!  My God, he *really* let himself go after he moved out of Cousin Larry’s place.  Cousin Balki confesses the world, and now McGarrett and Danno have something solid!

Alex O'Loughlin, Scott Caan, "Mana'o", Photo: CBS

Alex O'Loughlin, Scott Caan, "Mana'o", Photo: CBS

Later, Danny needs to blow off some steam.  He cheats on his bromance with McGarrett and decides to spend some quality time with Chin Ho.  They go somewhere where everybody knows their name, and over some fine Primo beer, they commiserate.  Kidding aside, this was a strong scene that shows Chin’s vulnerability and the pain that he had to go through while he was being investigated.  Danny, on the other hand is bearing that same burden for Meka.  Danny gets the bright idea to question Sang Min who they put away in a previous episode, and with a secret deal, Sang Min tells Danny who the mole is.

McGarrett, Danny and Cousin Balki set up a sting with Kaleo and Sgt. Cage.  To meet Hawaii’s daily crime quota, a gunfight ensues, and bodies hit the floor.  Kaleo runs after Ochoa, and by the time everyone else catches up, two shots ring out and Ochoa is conveniently dead.

A late reveal about Ochoa’s wounds show that the real mole in the HPD is…Kaleo! NO!  It can’t be!  They finally put a quality local actor in there (please don’t hurt me for saying  that Mr. Kala Alexander, sir), and he turns out to be the bad guy!  DOH! 

The episode wraps up by again showing how important family is in Hawaii.  After a cute dialog revealing how good a father he is, Danno chases after his daughter to give her the toy.  Later, Danno appeals to the con to think about Meka’s fatherless son, and the con gives Danny the info on the condition he gets to see his family again.  Showing a soft side, I loved the fact that Danny offers Sang Min a minute with his family.  Finally, Danny tells Meka’s son to remember Meka as a hero.  At this point of the episode emotional control was over for my wife, and I handed her the box of kleenex, but I could only think of one thing…shiny coconuts…

…resulting in another *WHACK* to the side of the head again.

In my opinion, this was the strongest episode since the Pilot.  Like McGarrett who wanted to give the SEAL in the previous episode the benefit of the doubt, Danno wanted to do the same for his ex-partner.  Not only that, but he took control of the case himself, establishing himself and his police method over Mcgarrett’s military expedience.  The writing was excellent, and Scott Caan showed shades of Sonny Corleone in strong dialogs…I dare say Scott may be as good, if not better than his father James.  The cargument scene was probably one of the reasons for Scott’s Golden Globe nomination.

“No, I don’t have issues, Oprah,” Danno to McG about having issues with Meka.

“Sgt. Cage couldn’t find a leak if someone was taking one on his head!”

“Things We Learned About Hawaii From Hawaii Five-0”

1) No one notices someone strapped to the hood of a car driving 50 miles an hour through Waikiki.

2)  We are known for our Luau Surprise!  Who knows what we’re serving up!

Did you notice…?

Danny developed a pretty strong partner relationship with Meka after being on the island for only six months…

Pidgin again:
Chin Ho:  “Ho, brah, this cart is da kine!”
In the King’s English:
Chin Ho: “Wow, dude, this cart is somethin’ else!”

Chin Ho:  “How about you show a little kokua [help].”

Gonna give credit to Daniel, his delivery was great on the pidgin.

Danny was actually in the driver’s seat of his Camaro?  Fitting since he was the lead man on the case.

The bar that Chin and Danny go to is J.J. Dolan’s in downtown.  The owner J.J. was there bartending.

A lot of people thought that was actually Johnny Depp in the gallery, since the latest Pirates of the Carribean was being filmed at the same time.

The Bing product placement was so painfully awkward.  I hope CBS got paid well for that.

One of the works of art is a city bus stop sign.

“Mana’o” is Hawaiian for “thought” or “belief”.


About officer808

Investigating Hawaii Five-0 from the inside.
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17 Responses to Things We Learned About Hawaii From Hawaii Five-0, Episode 8, “Mana’o”, updated rerun edition

  1. Cecile says:

    I agree when you say this episode is of the same brand as the pilot. It was a really good one, and I really like the scene between Chin and Danny. It’s always interesting to see the team mix up a little.

    As for Danny driving, when I did my little research on cars, I found that Danny only gets to drive when he’s really pissed of and has personnal issues (or because Steve’s on a sub…) :

    – Pilot, well it’s his car, but he meets Steve, which is not very pleasant to him 😀 ;
    – Ep. 3, custody issues after the football game ;
    – Ep. 8, his friend Meka is wrongly accused, and Steve doesn’t believe him.

    So I guess we’ll see him driving the Camaro again when StepStan gets in trouble and puts Grace and Rachel in danger !

    • Kimmer says:

      I really liked this episode too. I must have started re-watching episodes after this one, because I didn’t remember a lot about this one. Well written, and as was the case in the early episodes, focused on one 5-0 member for character background.

      Scott Caan was good in this one – but I agree with the Officer808 – he really got close to his partner of …. 6 months… yet he hadn’t spoken to him in the what, 3 or 4 weeks since joining 5-0? And all of this went down in that time? My only beef with this series so far has been the writers difficulties with dates and times. Although I don’t think I would notice if I wasn’t watching the episodes 3 times in a row on DVR.

      Loved the scenes with Chin at the bar, and with McG meeting Danno at the prison. This was obviously the big turning point in their relationship becoming a real partnership.

      • Cecile says:

        yeah, time line is all messed up.
        That said, if you spend 10 hours a day with one person, you can get really close in no time, especially since Danny knew no one in Hawaii, and Meka must have also serve as an after work buddy as well as a colleague. But then you can get drifted away and have less occasions to share time with the other person. It doesn’t mean you care less, but it just doesn’t happen. Had Meka and Danny had a chance to reunite, Steve would have probably been jealous^^.

        Actually, I’m more amazed by the trust Steve has in Danny than the one Danny has in Meka. Like you said Kimmer, Meka and Danny worked together for 6 months (not that long), but Danny and Steve had only teamed up for a few weeks (really short, honey moon should be over now !). For all Steve knows, Danny could be a very good actor, and very twisted crooked cop too !

        But then again, this is TV, we don’t see everything, I’m sure in the writer’s head, everything goes according to the plan (or so I’m trying to convince myself !)

      • officer808 says:

        Seeing the bar scene with Chin and Danno means a lot more, now that we’re further along in the episode…

        Cecile, good point with the 10 hour a day explanation. Maybe there’ll be some type of flashback story with Meka and Danno.

    • officer808 says:

      love your research Cecile 😉

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  3. joy says:

    You are a great writer, and… funny. I love the ending of this episode. Very touching…. and I also love every time Steve gets in the suit.

  4. hawaiiobsessed says:

    The “cargument” was great. Loved Steve in the uniform! Thought there was a lot to Chin in this episode too. He is a great actor as well.

  5. jlopie (Lynnette) says:

    This is one of my favorite episodes! It certainly showcases Scott Caan’s acting chops! Danny’s sincerity is totally believable, and I think he taught McGarrett some valuable lessons in trust and loyalty. It is interesting that the previous episode had the roles reversed – McGarrett giving the SEAL the benefit of the doubt because of loyalty to the Navy while Danny was all procedural, the evidence pointing to the SEAL’s guilt. Yet, in this one, Steve was the one who was all by the book, with Danny being loyal to his partner’s memory, and Chin backing up Danny because he knew what it meant not to be believed or trusted by family or co-workers. I thought the scene at the jail when Danny met up with Steve was pivotal to their future relationship. I think Steve was still a little ambivalent about Danny at this point, but then Danny asked him if he would believe Cage if Cage showed him a bunch of evidence that Danny was a dirty cop, and Steve admitted he wouldn’t – game point for Danny. They could now move forward as partners, and I think maybe a one on one partnership is a new sort of relationship for Steve to wrap his mind around.

    One question I had about this episode when it was first shown, and I haven’t figured it out after many repeat viewings, is what actually was agreed to by Danny and Sang Min in jail. I know Danny was trying to get Sang Min to tell him if Mecah was the mole. So, did he tell him Mecah wasn’t? He obviously didn’t tell him Kaleo was the mole, because the team had to figure that out on their own, and Sang Min just verified it for them at the station. It’s not as earthshattering a dilemma for me as WHO put the $10 million back, but I’m just puzzled.

    By the way, Officer 808, you are not the only husband with a headache – a certain spouse I know blurted out something about “coconuts” when he watched the episode for the first time last night!

    • officer808 says:

      Good analysis! I think you’re right on both counts…Sang Min confirmed that Meka wasn’t the mole, but Kaleo was…all that in exchange for seeing his family one more time.

      I’ll make sure your husband and yourself get front row seats at the luau if you guys ever visit. COCONUTS!

  6. WendieJoy says:

    Love your commentary! I also loved Balki and the car scene:) Although when he starts screaming at the models, it sorta reminded me of Austin Powers yelling “Yeah baby!” when he took his photos. “And I’m spent…”

    I thought DDK handled his comment, “Bing it” to Kono pretty well. And I agree- he is the only one who sounds natural when speaking pidgin. Grace is second. I’m still waiting to hear Danno bus out his bird…. err… sorry, I mean, use some pidgin in his dialogue. 😀 Love the blog!

    • officer808 says:

      Mahalo for chiming in! I was trying to explain pidgin to a couple of mainland blog followers, and they first asked “Why is it called Pigeon?” I laughed and said “crooo crooo”, yup sounds like Pigeon.

  7. McPhee says:

    Something you guys may not know:
    Dichen Lachman who played Amy in the episode the wife of the victim. Is Australian also. She played Sierra in Joss Whedon’s Dollhouse. And also played Katya Kinski in Australian Soap Opera Neighbours which also starred Alex’s ex-girlfriend Holly Valance. I don’t think they actually worked together on the show I think Holly left before Dichen joined the cast.

    I totally loved this episode Scott was brilliant as his role on trying to find out who killed his friend. The scene in the jail and at the HPD was definitely Golden Globe nominated scenes.

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