As CBS’s Hawaii Five-0 wraps up its freshman year, a lot goes down in “Oia’i’o.” The biggest surprise is that the governor (Jean Smart), the woman who founded Five-0, isn’t who she says she is. Once Steve McGarrett (Alex O’Loughlin) learns her secrets, he becomes a wanted man, on the run from both the law and criminal mastermind Wo Fat (Mark Dacascos). Only Danno (Scott Caan), who is supposed to be leaving the island forever with his family, can likely clear Steve’s name. Unfortunately, one of Five-0’s own, Kono (Grace Park) is arrested, and another, Chin Ho Kelly (Daniel Dae Kim), turns his back on the department. All of this makes for one intense cliffhanger.
Blue Bloods, take note. This is how you get around the CBS procedural trap, and make a show that is both popular and exciting. While many episodes of Hawaii Five-0 do feature stand alone story, it is the full season mystery of Wo Fat, and his connection to McGarrett’s father, that is the driving force behind the series. With the season finale, the show drops all pretense of a case of the week, and focuses completely on the larger arcs that have threaded their way throughout the season.
Steve McGarrett is the hero, and no matter what Wo Fat does, any obstacles thrown at Steve are only temporary. When McGarrett realizes the governor’s assistant, Laura Hills (Kelly Hu), is the one returning his father’s evidence to him in small packages, McGarrett turns his attention to Governor Jameson. Hills is blown up in a car bomb, and it isn’t long before McGarrett figures out that Jameson is behind it. However, instead of taking down a corrupt official, when McGarrett goes to confront the governor, Wo Fat kills her and frames McGarrett, leading to the Five-0 leader’s subsequent arrest.
Thankfully, Steve does not work alone. He did on taking down the governor, and look where it got him. Luckily, Steve’s story is not over, and next season, it shouldn’t take more than an episode to clear Steve’s good name.
The most likely person to do so is Steve’s partner, Danno. Danno cares more about his daughter, Grace (Teilor Grubbs), than anything else in the world. Yet, when Danno’s ex, Rachel (Claire van der Boom), offers Danno a chance to run back to New Jersey with his family, he hesitates. That’s because Danno knows the difference between right and wrong, and what is happening to Steve is wrong. If he doesn’t stay, who else will help Steve’s? It isn’t a mark against Rachel and Grace that Danno doesn’t make the flight. He’ll catch up with them eventually. His only mistake is promising to get to the airport when so much bad stuff is going down around him.
Of course, Danno is never leaving Hawaii, at least not until the end of the series. And considering that he moved his life all the way out to the island for his daughter, Grace’s departure can only be temporary. She must be in Hawaii for Danno to stay, and Danno is staying, or the show would suffer severely. Therefore, logically, Grace and Rachel will soon return. Hopefully Danno hasn’t screwed up his chances with Rachel permanently.
Kono is also a loyal member of the team, so it is with great regret that she takes the fall in something they all participated in, stealing money from lockup. Five-0 stole the money to save Chin Ho’s life, and it turns out the governor is the one who has been protecting them. With her gone, and evidence already having leaked against Kono, that protection is no longer guaranteed. But like Danno, Kono is an essential part of the Five-0 team, and like McGarrett, she is righteous hero. All that points to a very short stint behind bars for her as well.
Sadly, Chin Ho doesn’t seem to share Kono and Danno’s loyalty. Sensing the end of Five-0 now that they are not supported by Governor Jameson, Chin Ho accepts a restoration to the police force, which comes with a promotion. The Five-0 unit is still new enough that Chin Ho can be forgiven his betrayal. After all, from where he stands, McGarrett looks guilty. But that forgiveness will only extend so far, so it is advisable to Chin Ho that he come to his senses soon and help clean up the mess he contributed to.
And what of Jenna Kaye (Larisa Oleynik)? She is clearly taken with Five-0, and also wants to help McGarrett. Any chance she may be sticking around long-term, once Steve’s name is cleared? Not likely, considering the cast list for season two of this as-yet-unrenewed-but-certain-to-be show has already been released, and includes only new name among the primary cast – Dr. Max Bergman (Masi Oka, Heroes). Sadly, that means Kaye’s days are limited. Hopefully this means recurring status with much time spend off the island, rather than death.
The final important cast member, who should also be ungraded to main character, but hasn’t been, is Kamekona (Taylor Wily). Time and again Kamekona has proven himself invaluable to the Five-0 team, and in “Oia’i’o,” he does so again, not only supplying Steve with firepower, but warning Danno that he did so. Kamekona is wise and helpful, keeping his finger on the pulse of both the legal and illegal communities. Considering where Steve and Kono are right now (in jail), Kamekona’s assistance may be necessary once more if they are going to secure release for the team.
Hawaii Five-0 gave an exciting first season. It will most likely return for a second outing next fall on CBS.