Hawaii Five-0 1.10 “Hao Kanaka” Review

Hawaii Five-0 initially appealed to me because it appeared to be the perfect replacement for Burn Notice (as they’re both shows about three men and a woman who bend the rules to fight crime) during the period of time that the USA show was off the air. However, now that Burn Notice has returned and Hawaii Five-0 is ten episodes into its run, I seem to find myself enjoying the newcomer much more than I ever would’ve expected at first. Especially when compared to Burn Notice‘s most recent offerings – which I’d describe as haphazard at best.

Honestly, I’m not somebody that’s usually drawn to formulaic cop procedurals…but somehow Hawaii Five-0‘s formula has really grown on me, even if it is a tiny bit predictable. This week’s offering (‘˜Hao Kanaka’) was a solid episode that provided a decent story and a little more focus on Five-0‘s most interesting character, Danny Williams (Scott Caan).

The plot for last night’s episode revolved around a heist. The Five-0 team are looking to catch four expert jewel thieves who are attempting to steal some (read: lots of) diamonds, although exactly what they’re stealing doesn’t become apparent until later in the episode. The thieves have conducted previous robberies in locations like San Diego and Austin and consistently use big triathlon events as distractions (and also as a very good alibi). These guys are my favourite type of TV criminal – the type that you don’t see too much of and that are always way ahead of the cops right up until the very last minute.

The investigation itself was handled well, even if I’d guessed that they’d have to grab the thieves as they escaped the crime. I continue to be very amused by the fact that the super-computers at the Five-0 Headquarters are able to do just about anything and that Steve’s (Alex O’Loughlin) attempts at interrogation are only getting more absurd (this time round, he sabotaged somebody’s workout by loading up more and more weights whilst they were using a bench press).

The episode also had loads of great moments of Danno and Steve working together. The dynamic between these two characters is quickly becoming the most enjoyable thing about Hawaii Five-0 and I still get surprised by just how funny they can be. I actually did enjoy a couple of the fairly forced jokes about Danno’s incompetence with technology – mostly because I’ve never been all that comfortable with touchscreen phones too! I suppose there wasn’t really enough of Kono (Grace Park) and Chin-Ho (Daniel Dae-Kim) but I’m sure there’ll be time for more focus on them later in the season (plus, Kono did still get the episode’s best one-liner, by knocking one of the thieves of his bike and saying, ‘Ride’s over!’)

The strongest aspect of this episode, though, was that it finally gave us a face to put to Danny’s ex-wife Rachel. So far, his close relationship with his daughter has been made all too clear, but we haven’t had enough explanation behind his divorce (although we do know that Rachel has challenged his visitation rights). ‘˜Hao Kanaka’ended that by not only showing us Rachel (Claire van der Boom), but by actually inserting her into the story in a believable way too. The character herself was a welcome addition to the show as she had good chemistry with Danno. Her banter with her ex-husband was sharp-witted and entertaining (a bit like Steve’s) and she achieved a good balance between anger and sadness at their failed romance. And of course, there was also a nice little scene with Danno and his daughter Grace at episode’s end.

It’s always hard to follow a great episode (like last week’s) and Hawaii Five-0 managed to pull it off convincingly (it’s good that we were shown the aftermath of the shootout at Steve’s house, a weaker series would’ve just pretended that it never happened). The best episodes so far have really taken advantage of Hawaii as a location, and although this one didn’t really do that, it still provided us with an entertaining hour of television and successfully revealed Danno’s ex-wife in a way that leaves us all wondering if there’s perhaps some lingering romance between the two of them after all.

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