#H50 – Recurring cast members Taylor Wily, Kimee Balmilero and Dennis Chun promoted to Main Cast!

Thanks to her sharp eye and tenacious love for H50, #Five0Redux blogger and Star Advertiser writer Wendie Burbridge managed to scoop all the entertainment sites today with her confirmation that recurring actors  Taylor Wily, Kimee Balmilero and Dennis Chun have been promoted to the main cast of Hawaii Five-0.

This is fantastic news on several fronts.  First of all because all three actors, especially in the case of Taylor and Dennis, have paid their dues.  Taylor first appeared in the Pilot, as a confidential informant who was only supposed to be in that one episode.  He was such a success he recurred again and again and has become a true fixture in the Five-0 Ohana.  I was thrilled last season when Taylor finally got a face shot in the opening credits even if he wasn’t listed as main cast.  It’s about time that changed and he was promoted.

Dennis Chun… what can I say about this man?  He is the warmest, most genuine man I have ever met.  It’s been said over and over that he is the ambassador of Aloha for any Five-0 fan who’s lucky enough to meet him and I can’t stress enough how true that is.  He is a personal bridge from our show back to the original Five-O, as he is the son of Kam Fong, who played Chin Ho Kelly in the original.  We first saw Duke in Season 1, Episode 12, Hana ‘a’a Makehewa, and for 77 episodes, Duke has been a steadying presence to our sometimes crazy Five-0 team.  When he was shot by Curt Stoner in the Hookman episode (S3E15) it was the most traumatic thing in an episode full of trauma!   I can’t tell you how thrilled it makes me to know we’re going to get to see even more of Duke and the wonderful man who plays him.

Kimee Balmilero’s Noelani hasn’t been around as long as Kamekona and Duke but she’s more than proved her worth to the Ohana.  She’s an outstanding ME, taking over for Max when he left to work in Africa.  And like Max was there for Steve when he needed him, Noelani has proved her personal worth by always being right there to help fix up the team when they’re in need of immediate first aid.  Masi Oka was promoted to main cast after his first year on Five-0 and I’m really happy TPTB have followed this tradition and promoted Kimee after her first year as well.  She’s been a fantastic addition to the show since her first appearance.

I must admit, after the departure of Daniel Dae Kim and Grace Park, I was a bit low about the prospects of my favorite show.  I was looking forward to the new season but the excitement that I usually feel when filming for a new season starts just wasn’t as strong as usual.  Then the blessing was held and it was kept private with no videos and only a couple of photos.  I wasn’t feeling the excitement of previous years.

But this news, along with the news a couple of days ago about the promotion of Ian Anthony Dale and the addition of Meaghan Rath and Beulah Koale my excitement level has greatly improved.  I can’t wait to see all the great new stories all these changes will bring, new stories that will propel my favorite show into another stellar season and hopefully, many more after that too.

Please check out Wendie’s article about these promotions and don’t forget to check out her #Five0Redux every week.  She’s the best there is and her articles are always worth reading.  If you’re a Five-0 fan, her articles are not to be missed.

Aloha… Malama Pono

http://www.staradvertiser.com/2017/07/21/features/five-0-redux-hawaii-actors-chun-wily-balmilero-join-main-cast/

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#H50 – Season 8 Cast Additions! @IanAnthonyDale @MeaghanRath @Beulahkoale – WELCOME TO THE OHANA!

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Well, it’s finally official!  We can now officially extend a loving Ohana welcome to Meaghan Rath, who has been cast as our new Five-0 team member, Tani Rey.  The addition of this new team member was been in the H50 news for several weeks and we have seen her in behind the scenes pictures and videos from the filming of the S8 premiere.  But until today, we had no official announcement that she was our newest team member.

“Rath is best known to television audiences for her starring roles in the series “Being Human” and “Cooper Barrett’s Guide to Surviving Life,” and for recurring in “Secrets and Lies” and “New Girl.”” – SpoilerTV

Along with the Meaghan announcement, came a surprise. Looks like there is going to be a second new addition to the Five-0 Task Force.  “Junior Reigns, a former Navy SEAL who just returned from serving his country and asks McGarrett, a fellow SEAL, for a job, hoping to repurpose his skills as a member of Five-0.”  Junior will be played by Beulah Koale, who is Samoan and will “star opposite Miles Teller in the feature film “Thank You for Your Service,” which premieres Oct. 27.” – SpoilerTV

And there is even more good news in this official announcement.  Ian Anthony Dale, who, of course, we know has played Adam Noshimuri since season two has been promoted from recurring to series regular which means, even though we’ve lost Kono, we’ll be seeing Adam as part of the Five-0 team.

I have no idea how the writers are going to make this happen.  No idea how they will handle Kono and Adam’s marriage nor how they will work it that an ex-con can be part of Five-0.  But I trust our writers will come up with a great story that explains away these awkward circumstances.  I’m just thrilled that we get to keep Ian on H50.

So.. what do you guys think?  Excited?  I know I am!  I’m even more excited about this new season and just can’t wait to see what’s in store for us!

Aloha…. Malama Pono

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#H50 – The saddest of days….

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In the last 7 years there have been so many wonderful days and nights connected with this show. Today is not one of them as official word has come from CBS Studios that two of our beloved cast are not returning for Season 8.  On the heals of saying goodbye to Masi Oka’s Max Bergman earlier in Season 7, we now learn that both Daniel Dae Kim and Grace Park are also leaving the show.

I can’t begin to say how sad this makes me.  As someone, like many others, who has watched this show from the moment it began in 2010, Daniel and Grace feel like family. The thought of watching each Friday night and not seeing them anymore is heartbreaking.  Also, as a show that has always prided itself in being one of the most diverse shows on TV, to lose not one but three wonderful Asian actors is a severe blow.  To say the complexion of this show will be vastly different is not an understatement.  The “Hawaii” Five-0 task force will now consist of 3 haoles , one black guy and (hopefully) one Hawaiian rookie.

I’ve said it in the past that I have always been extremely grateful to Daniel for bringing me to H50.  As a huge fan of LOST, I followed Daniel to H50.  He was the only reason I tuned in on that Monday night in 2010.  I only knew Scott from the Ocean’s movies, had never watched Battlestar Galactica and had no idea who Alex was.  I was not a fan of the original Hawaii Five-O.  If it wasn’t for Daniel, I never would have tuned in.

I was thrilled, back in 2015, when on the red carpet at SOTB I was able to personally thank Daniel.  I gushed like a fangirl, told him how grateful I was, thankful because, there I was, on the red carpet at SOTB, with wonderful friends I had met only because of the show…. only because of him.  Now, I’m sure he’s spent years listening to gushing fans but he was nothing but sweet graciousness and kindness.  It’s a meeting I will always cherish.

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Meeting Grace that same night was also a thrill.  She was beautiful, happy and vivacious.  She seemed to be having a wonderful time interacting with the fans.  She, like Daniel, was nothing but graciousness.  I may have only made it to one SOTB but meeting Daniel and Grace will always be a wonderful highlight of my years loving this show.

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I won’t go into what the possible reasons for their departures may be. Whether it was personal decisions, network business decisions or a combination of both.  That’s between them and the network.  I only know how I feel at this moment and that is extremely sad, knowing that when H50 crosses the finish line, whenever that may be, the entire original Ohana won’t be together.  I can only hope that when the time comes, something can be worked out for them to return, at least for the series finale.

It’s extremely hard right now to think of anything positive with regard to this.  But I’m going to try.  I’m hoping that with two less people around the magic table and Tani being only a rookie, it will hopefully mean Danny will go back to being the wonderful detective he always was back in the early years.  I’m hoping it goes back to Danny always being Steve’s #2, that it’s always Steve and Danny going out as the A-team.  And I’m hoping that around the magic table, Danny will be the one to throw out the counter idea to Steve as his true #2 again, instead of just being one of six.

Well, I was sure my first blog post for the new season would be a fun one, about the Blessing next week and the happy return of our wonderful cast for the new season.  Having to write about this is not something I ever thought I’d have to do.  Yes… this is not a happy day in the world of Hawaii Five-0.

But, let me say this.  This show will always have my loyalty and I will watch it to the end.  I’m looking forward to meeting Tani and seeing the guys dealing with a rookie again.  I’m looking forward to a new character and new stories and a move into a new direction away from retreading old, tired and long overdue to be over stories.  Change is good.  Stagnation is never a good thing.  Neither is going backwards.  Even though I am extremely sorry to see Chin and Kono (and Abby, Sarah and Adam) leave, I’m also excited to see what new adventures the writers have in store for us.

Goodbye Daniel.  Goodbye Grace.  You will forever be Ohana.  Thank you for all your hard work and dedication to the show and for bringing us so much enjoyment for the last seven years.  It will not be the same without you.  You will be lovingly and wholeheartedly missed!  Good luck in all your future endeavors.  We’ll always love you.

Aloha!  Malama Pono!

‘Hawaii Five-0’ shocker: Grace Park, Daniel Dae Kim exit ahead of season 8

<I>Hawaii Five-0</i> Shake-Up: Grace Park, Daniel Dae Kim Exit Ahead of Season 8

 

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#H50 Fall Return Date Friday 9/29/17. What are your hopes/wishes for Season 8?

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Well, my friends, CBS has made the official announcement and our favorite show will be returning to our screens with the Season 8 premiere on Friday, September 29th at 9pm.  Happily, both MacGyver (Season 2 premiere) and Blue Bloods (Season 8 premiere) are also returning that same night, bringing back the stellar Friday night crime block which proved so successful this past season.

CBS Corp. chairman Les Moonves was recently quoted as saying “Friday night is the great unsung hero of our schedule…” and that he’s perfectly happy to “take ratings over Emmy statuettes any day.”  It’s obvious the combination of these three shows on Friday nights has worked as CBS “dominates” the other networks for total viewers on that night.

http://www.latimes.com/business/hollywood/la-fi-ct-cbs-friday-night-20170206-story.html

Ratings for Hawaii Five-0 were wonderful for Season 7.  H50 made the list of Entertainment Weekly’s top 50 shows of the 2016-17 season, coming in at #16, which means it was actually in the top 20 shows!

http://ew.com/tv/2017/05/24/top-50-shows-2016-17-season/

There were only two scripted shows whose live+same day ratings improved last season and let’s take a wild guess as to which show was one of the two.  Yup… Hawaii Five-0.

http://www.cinemablend.com/television/1664050/the-only-two-scripted-tv-shows-whose-ratings-actually-went-up-last-season

And, according to TV by the Numbers:  “Raise a glass to “The Simpsons,” “Hawaii Five-0,” “Saturday Night College Football” and “The OT,” FOX’s NFL postgame show. Of the 95 returning series on ABC, CBS, The CW, FOX and NBC this season, they were the only four to improve their live plus same-day adults 18-49 ratings vs. 2015-16.”

If that’s not awesome enough on the surface, please notice that of those four shows, two of them are NFL and College Football broadcasts, not scripted series.  So only “The Simpsons” and H50 improved in this category among scripted shows.

http://tvbythenumbers.zap2it.com/more-tv-news/final-same-day-adults-18-49-ratings-for-2016-17-nfl-and-big-bang-theory-lead-a-down-year/

It seems pretty obvious that our writers and producers are doing something very, very right with our show and the viewing masses are liking what they see and returning week after week for more.

Was it the fact that we saw more team centered episodes this season?  Was it because we were treated to more of the occasional Steve/Danny centered episodes?  Speaking of Steve and Danny, was it because they seemed to have returned to the wonderful “banter” of earlier seasons and left the more bitter “bickering” behind?  Was it because fans appreciated seeing Steve finally getting the closure he needed and Alex wanted?

Who knows for sure what makes people tune into a show week after week.  It’s great to see our show, the one we’ve loved from the beginning, not only keeping up, but gathering steam as they approach their 8th season.  Whatever they’re doing in the production and writing offices, it’s working and 8 – 12 million people every week tuning their TVs to CBS at 9pm on Friday nights is the proof.

So, in less than three months, we’ll be settling down on our sofas, wine and popcorn at the ready to begin another stellar season of Hawaii Five-0.  What would I like to see?  Actually, that’s pretty simple.  More of the same of what we got in Season 7.  Team centered stories where everyone on the team is working together to solve the case of the week.  I’d prefer not having a lot of “split” episodes where half of the team is working on something completely different.  If we must split episodes, at least have the two crimes linked in some way.

I’m hoping for much more Steve and Danny time both solving crimes and outside the office.  I absolutely adored the Steve/Danny/Charlie scenes we got this past season and the scene with Steve and Danny fixing up Charlie’s bedroom.  I’d love to see more scenes like that.  With Steve’s “illness” cliffhanger, I’m hoping we get to see a lot of worried, hovering, concerned Danny who’s there to not only always have Steve’s back at work but support outside work as well.

I’m looking forward to seeing how the team dynamic will be affected now that Kono has left (and I’m hoping this isn’t permanent because I just LOVE Kono).  I’m also curious to see what Chin decides to do about the San Francisco offer and where that will lead.  Change is never comfortable, no matter what form it comes in. I’m extremely interested to see how these things will be handled.

There’s more I could add but that’s enough from me.  What would you like to see?  This is your forum this week.  Feel free to discuss any and all aspects of the show, it’s stories and it’s characters.  No viewpoint or opinion is off limits.  Pretend you’ve been invited into the writer’s room and asked for suggestions for the upcoming season.  What would you say???  Have fun!

Aloha. Malama Pono

NOTE:  Mahalo to my friend @Surfbelle2 for finding the links I needed to make sure my facts were straight.  Luv ya Belle!

UPDATE:  On Saturday 6/3/17, CBS aired a re-run of 7.06 Ka Hale Ho’okauweli – House of Horrors – Halloween Episode.  One of our great readers, Ocean, pointed out something in one of the comments below: “When Steve and Danny are in the ME’s exam room with Max and they’re standing beside the body of the guy who was stabbed in the back of the neck — Max says he got a hit on some DNA, and as he turns to his computer to show them, look at Alex behind him. He’s got a huge grin going on as if they were laughing off camera and he obviously doesn’t realize the camera is including him in the frame for that few seconds of dialogue.”

I went back and watched that scene and Ocean is 100% right.  There Alex is, grinning like the goof we all love.  Since I have no clue how to, or even if I can, upload screencaps within a reply, I am posting them here.

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#H50 CBS Watch Magazine HD Photos! As if there could EVER be enough #AlexOLoughlin!!!

Yeah…..right!  There is no way those of us who love Alex can ever get enough! And, thanks to CBS Watch Magazine, there is even more to enjoy.  Hot on the heels of Watch Magazine Issue release, CBS has released the official high definition stills from the photo shoot.

Since I know CBS blocks access for those outside the United States… here they are for everyone to enjoy!  There are shots here that didn’t appear in the issue and….damn…they could have made the entire issue just Alex with all these wonderful shots.

Hopefully everyone’s heart is in good shape because these are HOT!!!

http://www.cbs.com/shows/watch_magazine/photos/1007544/hawaii-five-0-hunk-alex-o-loughlin-turns-up-the-heat-on-oahu/

Photography by Nino Muñoz. Styled by Lily Unkhoff. Originally published in Watch! Magazine, June 2017.

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Photographer Nino Muñoz:  “O’Loughlin reminds me of Steve McQueen, stylish and authentically cool.  He is a legend in the making.”

I’m also adding this fantastic fan art courtesy of @Surfbelle2.  They perfectly illustrate what Muñoz was saying about Alex and Steve McQueen and are just too perfect not to share!  Thanks Belle! ♥♥

Courtesy of @Surfbelle2

Courtesy of @Surfbelle2a

**UPDATE WITH FULL WATCH MAGAZINE ARTICLE***

It was early 2010 and the Australian actor had just been offered the lead role on the reboot of the classic crime drama Hawaii Five-0, stepping into the shoes of the legendary Jack Lord to play the 50th state’s taciturn top cop, Steve McGarrett. Accepting meant moving to Oahu, in the center of the planet’s loveliest island archipelago. It should have been a no-brainer. Cue that big wave and the theme song by the Ventures:

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“I was conflicted,” Alex O’Loughlin says, reflecting on the decision from his house in Waikiki’s idyllic Diamond Head. “I’d done two network shows before that, neither of which had gone past a season.” He’d played vampire/private investigator Mick St. John on the short-lived 2007 supernatural romance Moonlight. A year later, he was Dr. Andy Yablonski on the medical drama Three Rivers, canceled after just eight episodes. Though anything seemed better than being penniless in Los Angeles, to suffer through another failed show in the middle of the Pacific, 2,500 miles from the mainland, was a risk he wasn’t sure he wanted to take.

“I didn’t know anything about Hawaii. I asked everyone, ‘What do I do? Is this the right move?'” O’Loughlin says. “Everybody was like, ‘Are you crazy? What’s wrong with you?'”

He took the gig, staying on Waikiki Beach. For fans of the show, that’s where McGarrett and partner Danny “Danno” Williams were recently snookered into a joint spa weekend with their significant others.

“It was beautiful, but I didn’t get to see the real Hawaii,” O’Loughlin says. “I got a glimpse of something that wasn’t what Hawaii is. The weird, touristy, crazy hotel part. I still didn’t know how I felt about it, but the pilot felt really good.”

It was, and remains, a really good pilot. In the nail-biting prelude, naval commander McGarrett’s convoy comes under rocket fire in the mountains of South Korea by baddies out to free his arms-dealer prisoner, Anton Hesse. Amid the attack, McGarrett listens on his satellite phone as his father, John, is killed on Oahu by Anton’s brother, Victor—though not before the Honolulu Police Department veteran leaves his son a few cryptic last words.

By the time that wave breaks and the opening credits roll, you’re hooked: McGarrett has a vendetta and a mystery to solve, and you’re coming along with him. Reboots are tough, but the show’s depth, coupled with O’Loughlin’s chiseled portrayal of McGarrett, made the 21st century Hawaii Five-0 an instant hit. Suddenly, Oahu started feeling more certain.

“People say these islands either embrace you or push you away,” O’Loughlin says. “I found myself, as a gift from the islands, being blessed in and given a Hawaiian name. I found all sorts of things drawing me in deeper and deeper.”

With a full season to shoot, he started to learn the local rhythms from friends, like fellow cast member Daniel Dae Kim, whose knowledge of Oahu stretches back to his days filming Lost. He took up surfing. A few years in, he flew in some friends from back home in Australia to help him rebuild a midcentury modern home he’d found in Diamond Head that had “spectacular bones.”

Then he met the Hawaiian surfer and model Malia Jones. The couple had a son, Lion, in 2012, and later married. The house filled with boys. O’Loughlin brought to the family his teenage son, Saxon, and Jones brought a son from a previous marriage, Spike.

“I’m about to use the G word to embrace the scope,” O’Loughlin says. “I don’t know what’s out there. I don’t know whether there’s a God or whether there’s lots of gods or whether there’s just universal energy, but I know from what’s happened that there’s something bigger than me.”

As O’Loughlin’s life was progressing on Oahu, so was McGarrett’s, albeit down a much rockier family path. He avenged the death of his father. His mother, Doris, believed to be dead for 20 years, turned up alive, having faked her death to escape threats from her CIA past.

He vanquished his true nemesis—the nefarious crime boss Wo Fat—who over the course of seasons framed him for the murder of Hawaii’s governor, kidnapped and tortured him, and revealed himself to be McGarrett’s virtual half-brother. He’s had two romantic relationships and has spent a lot of time shirtless and even more time kicking sundry bad guy ass.

Hawaii Five-0 seasons are epic—each a whopping 25 episodes. Multiply that by six and you wind up at Episode 150. Playing a character for that long does things to you. O’Loughlin is in territory where few actors ever get to tread. “It’s such a massive volume,” he says. “This has been a master class for me. I can definitely drop into McGarrett’s head space anytime. I have a bible of who he is in my soul, in my mind.”

With Wo Fat and his family issues somewhat in the rearview, McGarrett seems to be finding a modicum of peace on the show. “This season has been more of an easy-peasy McGarrett,” O’Loughlin says. “He still misses his dad, and the thing with Doris still hasn’t totally left him. But it’s not all like, ‘Argh! I’ve got to save the world!'”

Still, O’Loughlin is happy to leave the character behind when shooting wraps. “He’s a proper tough guy and a Navy SEAL. He’s always ready to go, walking into rooms like, ‘What are we doing? What do we got?’ I’ve had the great fortune of being exposed to a lot of Navy SEALs, who’ve helped me with the character. They’re terrific guys. But being like them requires a specific sort of energy, and I have to manufacture that energy,” he says. “At the end of the day it’s like, ‘Keep calm and have another cold one.'”

Paradise hasn’t been all surf and breathtaking sunsets. McGarrett may be a SEAL and a Teflon super-cop, but O’Loughlin isn’t, and injuries have taken their toll. In the first few seasons, he elected to do most of his own stunts, which he says was a mistake. He rattles off a litany of fractures and lacerations that could rival a snapshot collection of charts in any emergency room.

“I blew one of my knees, I’ve torn ligaments and tendons, ankles, both shoulders, both wrists,” he says. “I’ve knocked my front teeth out. I’ve got fake front teeth. I tore my right shoulder to pieces—three external tears, a labrum tear and a detachment of the bicep tendon. My current favorite injury is two herniated discs in my lower lumbar, which I’m receiving stem cell treatment for to avoid surgery.”

That last injury spooked O’Loughlin. Always athletic, he had to give up everything except swimming. The pain was so great, he could barely rouse himself from bed, and he worried about being able to throw a football with his grandkids.

Signed on to Hawaii Five-0 through eight seasons, he began talking about walking away while he felt he still could. But recently, he’s felt his workload lighten, and those stem cell injections? They’ve been “magic,” he says. Does this mean he might challenge Jack Lord’s record 12 seasons as McGarrett?

“That would be a miracle,” O’Loughlin says with a laugh. “But I can see coming back and doing another season or two. I think this show is everything. It’s the core of it all.”

One thing is certain: O’Loughlin has found his home.

“The majority of my important memories are now Hawaiian memories,” he says. “You’ve just got to look around. You’ve just got to watch the waves in the winter here. There’s something bigger than me in the world, and I feel like that source or whatever that is had something to do with this whole journey for me, because now it all makes sense.”

By Ryan Devlin | Photography by Nino Muñoz | Styled by Lily Unkhoff.

Originally published in Watch! Magazine, June 2017.

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Aloha! Malama Pono!

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#H50 #AlexOLoughlin CBS Watch Magazine – June 2017

Well, it finally arrived today.  The CBS Watch Magazine we’ve all been waiting for.  I know not everyone has gotten their copy yet and there are many more who won’t or can’t get a copy for real so I thought I’d share my good fortune with you all.

Of course, the photos of Alex are absolutely awesome.  Dear Lord is that man totally hot!!! But we’ve always known that.  The article that accompanies the photos is equally wonderful.  Alex speaks of the decision he made to play the iconic part of Steve McGarrett and how he not only embraced life in Hawaii but how he feels the islands have embraced him as well.

It’s heartbreaking to read the litany of injuries Alex has incurred over the years.  We, as his fans, are quite aware of the beating Alex has taken over the years but I was very surprised at the amount and severity of the injuries we never knew about.  That he is able to do the things, as Steve, he does is really quite remarkable.

The best part of the article is close to the end where it says Alex feels that with the lighter workload he enjoyed in Season 7, as well as the stem cell therapy he’s been receiving for his back injury (he describes the therapy as “magic”) he can “see coming back and doing another season or two”.  That is music to all our ears!

Let’s hope TPTB continue to give Alex easier, more character driven storylines and less stories which put him into positions to re-injure himself.  Hopefully Alex will consider that going past eight seasons might just be a great idea!

For those who won’t be getting a physical copy of the magazine…enjoy!  No one should be denied the hotness that is Alex nor his incredible personality.

Aloha. Malama Pono

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*** UPDATE ***

Thanks to Amy @katie11074 on Twitter for pointing out that I missed a couple of Alex pages in the Watch Magazine.  A thousand lashes to me for that!  Honestly, I was so caught up with the Alex article and pictures I never even looked at the rest of the issue. LOL. Blame it on the mesmerizing effect of Alex O’Loughlin!

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#H50 Review – 7.25 Ua mau ke ea o ka ‘aina i ka pono (The Life of the Land is Perpetuated in Righteousness) – Season Finale

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Well, here we are my friends.  The very last episode of Season 7 of Hawaii Five-0.  Finales are always so bittersweet.  Sweet in the sense that they’re always a great, adventurously fun ride, full of action, suspense, Ohana moments, well…everything that makes Five-0 great, actually.

But, oh so bitter because we know this will be the last time we get to see our wonderful cast in new adventures for four long months.  It’s the same every year but this year, there is an added dimension we’ve haven’t had to deal with since the Season 1 finale when all four of our team were in upheaval of one sort or the other.

But we’ve never had to worry that one or more of our Ohana would leave us, for good.  Oh, we’ve had people leave at the ends of seasons before.  We’ve had people die, we’ve had people climb aboard ships and leave, we’ve had people ride off into sunsets.  Of course, those who died were, obviously never coming back but for those who simply left we were either not worried because we pretty much knew they’d be back sooner rather than later, didn’t care whether they came back or not or were thanking the heavens they were finally gone.  But we’ve never had someone from our team leave with the very real possibility they’d never come back.  Then, of course, there’s Steve!  Yeah, this bittersweet finale turned out to be a lot harder to bear than most.

Once again, I’m not going to go through a play-by-play of the episode we’ve all watched, probably more than once.  Just gonna hit my highlights.  I’ll just start by saying I absolutely LOVED this finale even if I wasn’t happy with everything that happened.  Ok…let’s get to it:

The calm of the day:  After the cold start before the wave which highlighted what was to come of the main story, we’re treated to our team, spread out, enjoying their day.  There was no indication that Chin has spoken to Abby about San Francisco or a marriage proposal but they sure were taking advantage of having the house to themselves.  The way Chin was saying he felt like he hadn’t seen her in “forever” makes it sound like HPD is keeping Abby as busy as Five-0 keeps Chin.  Add a kid in the house and “alone” time takes a hit.  Nice to see them taking full advantage of that empty house!

Speaking of Sara, it was such fun to see her and Kono out doing some party shopping for Jerry’s “He Finally Got His Badge” party.  Kono obviously adores Sara, and vice-versa.  Kono is going to make a wonderful mother someday and the fact that she picked up a home pregnancy test sure makes it look like she thought, at that moment, that it was a distinct possibility.

But the best was Danny and Charlie and Steve.  Charlie is suitably awed with the Five-0 offices.  I loved his little “whoa” when they walked in.  And am I the only one who thinks Charlie sounded just a bit impressed that his Uncle Steve is such a “bad boy”?

This was also the first of several little “guments” between our boys in this episode.  This one being over Steve, his eating habits and taking Charlie for snacks out of the vending machine.  I know there are going to be those who will complain that Steve was totally out of character because he said he eats out of that machine.  Nonsense!

Yes, this is the man who, fresh out of the Navy, told Danny he wouldn’t eat a malasada without bypass surgery. Seven years ago!  But, over the last seven years we’ve seen Steve not be as stringent as he was when he first came home.  Over the years, we’ve seen him put butter in his coffee.  He never stopped eating on that stakeout (microwave eggs…. seriously?).  He had an enthusiastic malasada dunking lesson with Lou.  Loves LocoMoco from Rainbow.  Is never hesitant to dive right in when Kamekona has a new delicacy to try.  Should I go on?  The fact that Steve has grown and mellowed over the years is something that should be celebrated.  So what if he’s learned how to enjoy a few not-so-healthy snacks from time to time.  It’s more than plainly obvious this is not a man who is scarfing down Twinkies all day.  Besides, just the mere fact I got to hear Steve call Danny a “poopy-head” made this scene more than golden for me. 

Crime of the Week:  I liked how they linked this episode to the sex-trafficking story we first saw in early March, in Episode 7.19 Puka ‘ana (Exodus).  The writers seemed to do that a lot this season, pulling stories from previous cases we thought were over and done with.  This “crime” didn’t actually feel like the typical crime we normally see each week, in as much as it wasn’t anything new, but a continuation of an ongoing investigation that was happening behind the scenes.

You know what this felt like to me?  It felt like, if 7.19 had been a two-hour episode, this would have been hour #2, where the team has tracked down the perp and are executing the take-down.  That this takedown took up the entire episode was a great twist.  Even though it didn’t add anything to the original sex-trafficking story (other than finding out the operation on Oahu was only a small part of a much larger network), it allowed the other elements of the episode the time they needed without sacrificing time for the main story.

And what a take-down it was:  First off, I do have a couple of questions.  I wonder why Moani didn’t tell Kono about Deon and his trucking business hauling the girls around the island sooner.  7.19 was two months ago.  I understand she wanted to help the case against Emilio (the guy who forced her into prostitution) I’m just curious as to why she didn’t tell Kono about Deon sooner.  I can only surmise that she was so traumatized by the entire ordeal she didn’t feel she could talk about it until now.

My second question was actually Lou’s.  Deon took off before Five-0 could get to the house where he was stashing the girls.  How did he know they were coming?  Did we ever get an answer to that?  If we did, someone tell me because I don’t think we did.  Regardless, what follows is one of the most hair-raising chases and rescues we’ve ever had on this show, as HPD and Five-0 attempt to first stop Deon and his semi, then to get the girls safely off that truck.

Stunts, stunts and more stunts:  Those of us who closely follow this show on social media were gifted with many behind-the-scene pictures and videos of filming for this episode.  We could see they were filming something with giant green screens at the Studios.  We could see Steve on top of a semi-truck, with Chin, Kono and Abby in a truck, driven by Danny, close behind.  We knew this was going to be something big but, damn!  Every week I think they can’t out-do themselves and damn if they don’t do it every time.

The action sequences in this episode were done extremely well.  I was trying to live tweet during the show (something I’m not very good at in the first place) but I found myself unable to type a syllable because I couldn’t drag my eyes from the screen.  Not to mention needing commercials to let out the breath I wasn’t even aware I was holding!

Car crashes? We’ve had a fair number of them over the years, that’s for damn sure, but watching that semi plow through a HPD roadblock was monumental.  I wonder how they ended up explaining that to the Governor.  Their “means” budget must be the total of national debt of several countries by now.

I haven’t read any other reviews (I never do before I post mine) but I’m willing to bet I’m not going to be the only one who was reminded of the movie “Speed” as I was watching the team attempting to rescue the girls from the truck.  I couldn’t take my eyes off the screen when they did it in the movie and I sure as hell couldn’t here.  It scared me to death when they couldn’t manage to get all the girls off.  What the hell will Steve do now?

Steve’s idea to uncouple the rig seemed much more unbelievable than it actually ended up being.  The trailer with the remaining girls inside, after much groaning and gouging out of asphalt comes to rest against an embankment, all inside safe while Steve, hunched behind the cab, easily takes down Deon.  It only seemed anticlimactic because every moment up to that point had been so heart pounding.

But the most astonishing thing of all was the stunt that started the final take down.  And I use the word “stunt” not only to describe the action choreographed and executed by the stunt crew (which was flawlessly terrifying) but also the fact that Steve thought up and pulled off this crazy stunt at all.

Once again, the entire team, this time including Jerry and Abby, are ranged against Steve and his idea to leap from the top of Tetsuo Harano Tunnel onto the speeding semi passing below.  Once again, the team doing what they are supposed to do.  Question the validity of a plan that sounds doomed to failure and possible death but ultimately, unable to come up with something better, follow Steve and his plan.  I loved how Steve used Charlie’s toys to illustrate the elements of his plan.

The one time I was able to get my fingers to work trying to tweet, as I watched Steve preparing himself for that jump, the only thing I could think to type was “Steve McGarrett is insane!”.

Kono:  It was more than plainly obvious, back in Episode 7.19, how much the case affected Kono.  She literally beat Emilio unconscious with her bare hands when she caught up with him in 7.19 and has kept a close watch over Moani ever since.  When Five-0 arrived at the house where Deon was keeping the girls, only to find it empty, Kono was furious.  Finding out Oahu was only part of the larger network was more than she could tolerate.  She’s devastated to know what they did in Hawaii, the girls they managed to save, was just a drop in the bucket as God-knows how many other girls are caught in the nationwide web.

I’m completely confused over what Kono thinks she’s doing, however.  I mean, Kono has always been the most affected by this case but she just up and left Hawaii?  She left without talking to Adam?  I can’t believe she did that! She has been over the moon with happiness ever since she and Adam were reunited.  She obviously thought she’s pregnant, which we know would make them both overjoyed.

But she left Adam behind! It doesn’t look like she even told him because, don’t you think Adam would have called Chin immediately and told him what she was planning?

And what is she going to do? I mean, what is her plan? She can’t seriously think she can take on the sex-trafficking crises in this country single handed!

I don’t know what’s going on with Grace Park.  I don’t know if this is another temporary absence like the one at the beginning of Season 4 or whether she’s left the show for good.  I hope to God this is only temporary like before.  I can understand TPTB needing a reason to send her away (she and Adam went on the run the last time) but this reason confuses me.  Hopefully Kono will be back sooner rather than later to explain her reasoning for this abrupt departure without talking to anyone about it.

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Kono and Lou:  It’s more than obvious that Chi McBride (like pretty much everyone in our cast) has chemistry with everyone but there is no more touching friendship that has developed than that between Kono and Lou.  We’ve seen it numerous times since Lou joined Five-0 and this episode was no exception.  Kono, simultaneously furious and dejected over not finding the girls in the house, confesses to Lou how she could feel the torment those girls felt in that room, the fear they went to sleep with each night, how she simply can’t shake the anger she’s been feeling ever since it all started two months ago and how she just can’t imagine what it would be like to be a parent.  I wonder if there’s a deleted scene somewhere showing Kono taking that pregnancy test and having it come back negative because that comment didn’t sound like someone who just found out she was about to actually be a parent.

Lou, as always, is as supportive as he can be.  He tells Kono he understands exactly how she’s feeling because he is a parent and he’s never been able to separate the feelings between his family and his job.  He also admits how terrified he is to be sending Samantha off to Northwestern all by herself, to Chicago, to the place where every cop hates him.  Add to that monsters like Emilio and Deon, and Lou is questioning whether he can let Samantha go.  Yes… he more than understands where Kono is in her head right now.  This scene was superbly written and performed by Grace and especially Chi!

Steve and Danny:  Watching these two together has been a pleasure for seven years and this episode was one of the best to highlight their relationship.  The banter between these two never ceases to entertain me, year after year.  Here it started off with them in the office with Charlie, but continued throughout the entire episode.  In the office, in the car, before Steve’s jump, even during the rescue as Steve was stuck in the semi with the remaining girls.  Banter going from the usual good natured ribbing over whatever’s in the gift box Steve brought for Danny and Danny’s maybe retirement restaurant, to a full-fledged cargumemt over Rachel’s divorce and Danny’s feelings for his ex-wife to Danny’s all out ranting over Steve and his insane plans that Danny is terrified will get Steve killed.  All done to perfection by Alex and Scott.  They know these characters so well, these scenes are simply second nature to them now.

The cargument in this episode was classic.  It managed to alternate through several different topics without missing a single beat.  First off, they are in the middle of a high-speed chase with the semi that just busted through the HPD roadblock and yet they’re able to alternate between two phone calls from Jerry (one to give Steve Deon’s phone number and then possible methods for safely stopping the truck), Steve trying to get Deon to stop said truck, a disagreement on the best technique to use in a hostage situation and a discussion about Danny’s relationship with Rachel.  Again, without skipping one beat.  It was flawless.

But there was something there.  Something behind the words that was different.  I didn’t notice it in the office when they were with Charlie but something just felt off for me in Steve’s words and his body language as the episode progressed.  To be honest, I thought it was one of two things.  First I thought that maybe Alex just looked tired.  It’s been a really long and physically grueling season and he must be totally exhausted by now.  Then I thought it was just me.  That because I wasn’t feeling well, I was feeling something that wasn’t actually there.

But Steve goes out of his way to buy Danny a gift (which turns out to be an adorable chef’s hat with Danny’s name on it) out of the blue, for no reason.  Just to be nice. Not that Steve isn’t nice or that he hasn’t bought things for Danny before (the noise cancelling headphones leap to mind) but never without a solid reason before.

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Steve tells Danny he doesn’t think this “thing” with Rachel is healthy.  It seems as if Danny has been going over Rachel’s after work to “help with the kid” then stays there so they “can talk”.  Steve accuses Danny of still being in love with Rachel and tells him he should give up pretending he’s upset Rachel and Stan are over.  Why is he telling Danny that?  If he thinks the relationship is unhealthy, why is he seemingly pushing Danny towards it?

Steve’s demeanor from the moment they settled on his crazy plan seemed off.  When Danny said he wanted to give it some time before he had to watch Steve “commit suicide”, the way he called Danny “brother” and told him they didn’t have time felt weird.  The way Danny looked at him as he walked out of the office seemed like he somehow felt it too.

Then there was right before Steve was about to jump.  It was almost as if he resigned himself to the fact that he could very well not make that jump successfully.  That’s not like Steve at all.  He’s always been a “failure is not an option” kind of guy.

But he needed to tell Danny about the chef’s hat, how he thought he could use it for Steve’s.  Did you hear that catch in his voice when he said it?  Danny certainly did.  Instead of continuing to rant at Steve like he always does, Danny pretty much admitted he only rants at Steve to try to talk him out of these crazy things and that, even though he has no intention of naming his restaurant “Steve’s”, Steve will know that because he most definitely is not going to die today and he’s going to be at the restaurant with Danny when the time comes.

I loved how they settled things after Steve was able to save all the remaining girls.  Danny is 100% right.  When he does things like this, Steve is insane but that doesn’t mean Danny isn’t proud of the things Steve can do.  Danny clarifies that he in no way wants to hurt Steve and they agree to have a “re-set”.  I don’t really know if that means a damn thing but watching my two favorite guys walk off arm in arm gave me all kinds of warm feels.

Radiation poisoning???:  Unfortunately, that warm feeling didn’t last long.  Like the main story in this episode, writers Peter Lenkov and Eric Guggenheim reached back to a story we thought was over and done with.  Episode 7.18 E Malama Pono (Handle with Care) when Steve disarmed that dirty bomb.

I guess what I thought I was seeing wasn’t as far-fetched as I thought.  And I’m not saying that because I think I have any great ability to notice something so incredible subtle.  I’m saying it’s solely, 100% because of Alex O’Loughlin!  Going back and re-watching the episode, I paid special attention to the places where I originally thought Steve seemed off.  It’s Alex… all Alex and his ability to add just the smallest touch of “sickness” in Steve’s demeanor to make me feel like something was off but not being able to put my finger on it until much, much later.  As always… Alex simply amazes me.

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We all wondered whether or not that battery trick would be enough to protect Steve when he disarmed that bomb.  I hate the fact that the writers made Steve sick but using the radiation from that bomb to do it was inspired. We all were pretty much expecting that Steve’s “little cliffhanger” would be health related and that it would be a problem with his new liver.  To make it radiation poisoning is something I know no one ever expected.  I may hate that Steve is sick but I love the way this twist was written.

I don’t know a damn thing about radiation poisoning and I’m not even going to spend the time to look it up.  I’ve said this a million times. I don’t watch this show for a medical education and it doesn’t bother me one bit when they take an abundance of literary license with it.  This is purely fiction and I watch purely for fun.  I really don’t need to know all the details of this illness nor do I need to know every time the script isn’t 100% medically accurate.  If we get to Episode 2 of Season 8 and Steve has miraculously recovered, that’s more than fine with me!

I also couldn’t be more thrilled that Steve told Danny about what was going on as soon as he found out.  It’s obvious to me that he walked into Danny office with that gift ready to tell Danny about what he found out at the doctor’s.  But then Charlie was there and he couldn’t.  Then when they were alone together again, Kono pulled them into the case and the opportunity was lost again as they got swept up in everything that was going on.

But Steve had no choice but to tell Danny the truth at the house.  One look at Steve’s pale and sweat covered face and there is no way Danny wouldn’t know something was seriously wrong.  The look on Danny’s face when Steve told him was a mixture of shock, disbelief and extreme worry not only for Steve’s health but, more than likely, for Steve’s state of mind as well.  This entire scene was positively heartbreaking!

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Danny knows Steve better than anyone does.  There isn’t any way in hell he wouldn’t run everything that had happened that day and every word Steve said and the way that he said it, through his mind.  I’m willing to bet he’s going to keep an eagle eye on Steve and his “insanity” because he’s going to worry that Steve feels like he’s living on limited time.  Steve always throws caution to the wind but this stunt, this was over and above any insanity Steve ever tried before.

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I think Danny may worry that Steve thinks he’s going to die and because of that, will throw himself into even more dangerous and life threatening situations in the logic that, if he’s going to die, he might as well do it protecting or saving someone else.  Danny is obviously going to be devastated and more protective than ever next season because he’s going to fear, all the time, that Steve is just going to go for broke because in his mind, he’s dying anyway.

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This is the first real cliff hanger ending to a season we’ve had in years.  Probably since the end of Season 2 when Steve opened a door in Japan and said “Mom?!?”  We always knew Kono was coming back when she left at the end of Season 3.  This time we have no idea if Kono will be coming back or if this is the last time we’ll ever see Grace as part of the cast.

And Steve?  What is in store for our SuperSEAL now?  I don’t know what’s going to happen with this story.  Will they write it as they wrote Steve’s new liver story?  Will they have him get over it quickly and then only refer to it from time to time as needed or will they have Steve dealing with it more realistically.  I’m actually hoping for a bit of both.  I’d love it to be more on the realistic side because there is so much potential for great character work from both Alex and Scott but I don’t want to see a sick Steve for weeks and weeks either.

Well, there you have it.  One fantastic finale for one of the best seasons this show has ever had.  It’s going to be a long hot summer before we get to see our favorite team back again.  Hopefully, when we do, they will all be whole, healthy and home!

I would like to thank Peter Lenkov, Eric Guggenheim and Bryan Spicer for this fantastic finale to the season.  I’d also like to thank each and every one of the H50 writing staff, the entire cast and crew, with special thanks to Jeff Cadiente and Eric Norris and the entire stunt crew for all their fantastic work to make this show so realistic.

Have a wonderful summer my friends.  It’s been a pleasure spending this season with you all.

Aloha.  Malama Pono

All screen caps are mine unless otherwise noted.

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