Hawaii Five-0‘s season premiere “Ha’i’ole,” picks up one week after the season finale ends. Steve McGarrett (Alex O’Loughlin) is in jail, until Victor Hesse (James Masters) stabs him. Victor knows Wo Fat (Mark Dacascos) will soon come after him, and wants McGarrett to take out their mutual enemy first, so a non-fatal wound provides an opportunity to escape. McGarrett goes on the run, with his old friends showing up to help him. They succeed in getting McGarrett’s name cleared and Five-0 reinstated, but Kono (Grace Park) is not part of the deal, since she is being investigated by Internal Affairs. And by the time it’s done, Victor is already dead.
McGarrett is lucky that the Five-0 group has bonded. If not, there is no way that he would be able to clear his name. Not only do Danno (Scott Cann), Chin Ho Kelly (Daniel Dae Kim), and Kono assist, but so do Jenna Kaye (Larisa Oleynik), Kamekona (Taylor Wily), and Max (Masi Oka, now a series regular). Plus, the man who trained McGarrett, Lt. Commander Joe White (Terry O’Quinn, Lost), comes to the island. White doesn’t tell them why exactly he came, but he does lend a hand, and his familiarity with McGarrett’s father (William Sadler) proves invaluable to proving McGarrett innocent.
Unfortunately, the evidence, which comes from a camera that the senior McGarret placed in the governor’s study, has some dark implications. Yes, the film shows that McGarrett did not shoot Jameson (Jean Smart), but it also reveals a secret meeting between Jameson, Wo Fat, and the elder McGarrett. Could Steve’s dad not be the hero that Steve thinks he is? Or, more likely, does the team just not understand what they are seeing? After all, there is no audio to clue them in.
Things will not stay status quo for Five-0, or so it seems. With Jameson dead, the lieutenant governor (Richard T. Jones, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles) gets to decide the team’s fate. He is willing to allow them to continue, since they have been effective at lowering the crime rate, but he also tells McGarrett that they will not be able to cross as many lines. They no longer have unlimited power and resources. When McGarrett falters at agreeing to these terms, the lt. gov. says it’s fine. But is it? Will he be an impediment? And if not, why even go through the trouble of bringing in the new character?
Even though Five-0 is back on the job, things are not all cheery for the team. As mentioned above, Kono is not reinstated with the others because she is under investigation. Considering how corrupt the police department is, it’s not certain that she will ever be allowed to rejoin her friends in an official capacity. It took a lot of effort for Chin Ho’s honor to be restored. Is it Kono’s fate to repeat her cousin’s journey this season? Hopefully not.
Worse, Danno learns that Rachel’s (Claire van der Boom) baby is likely not his, so she decides to go back to her ex, leaving him alone. Is she being truthful? Why raise the plot point of Danno getting Rachel pregnant in the first place if the writers are just going to go back on it? Sure, some drama is necessary to give a series life, but does everything have to be an uphill battle all of the time? It’s not like Danno’s love life is an essential element, or Rachel is a main character, where tension needs to build between them each week.
“Ha’i’ole” is a satisfying episode overall, tying more into the larger arcs of the show than a stand-alone case. Even the crime that is investigated in the episode has to do with Wo Fat, making the stakes mean more. As such, it’s a pretty good outing, and hopefully Hawaii Five-0 will give more of those, and less of the stand alone hours that filled up most of last season.
Hawaii Five-0 airs Mondays at 10 p.m. ET on CBS.