Did you miss Hawaii Five-O? Me too. It’s been exactly a month since the last new episode. Because of that, and because it features the first appearance of potential new series regular Larisa Oleynik, I had high expectations for this one.
The case of the week involves a would-be superhero murdered while attending a sci-fi convention. (Does anyone else see the amusement of former Heroes star Masi Oka making an appearance as Max Bergman, who is apparently also a comic-book geek?) As a longtime geek and convention-goer myself, I have to shake my head a little about another portrayal of that crowd as socially awkward people who are just a tad too removed from reality. While there are certainly people like that, there are a lot of people who are not like that – but it seems that most of the time TV is more concerned with making jokes about costumes. Thankfully, we’re done with that in the first act.
In fact, the real plot is pretty neat, focusing on mistaken identity. Chin Ho and Kono uncover that their victim may simply have been killed because he was in the right place at the wrong time, and the case gets much bigger than a dead guy in spandex. We’re soon talking about robbery, other murders, and an affair. The only stumble is that it’s fairly obvious that it’s the jilted wife who’s the real guilty party. I’m certainly glad to see more screen time for both Grace Park and Daniel Dae Kim this episode, and Scott Caan is as dependable as ever. There’s also a great guest cast: James Ransone (Burn Notice) as Johnny the thief, D.B. Sweeney (The Cutting Edge, Leverage) as Richard Davis, and Perrey Reeves (Entourage) as his wife, plus a last-minute cameo by Mark Dacascos as Wo Fat (in fact, his scene is the best of the night in my opinion). As a longtime D.B. Sweeney fan, my only complaint is that he doesn’t appear on screen until the final ten minutes of the episode.
As for Oleynik, she arrives as CIA agent Jenna Kaye, and from moment one she’s a little pushy. I have mixed emotions when it comes to her character. I’m glad that Steve doesn’t take Jenna’s attitude, and more grateful that her arrival doesn’t take over the whole episode. However, I’m not really sold on either the character or the actress just yet. Keeping in mind that this is only her first episode, something about her doesn’t feel right to me. Her line delivery sounds flat at times to my ear, and in her scenes with Alex O’Loughlin, he clearly dominates her in terms of presence. It’s only fair to wait and see if she develops, but as it stands, I can’t see Jenna fitting in with the established ensemble and becoming a series regular next season.
Now that the show follows FOX’s top-shelf The Chicago Code on my Monday night schedule, I can’t help but hold Hawaii Five-O up to some extra scrutiny. It’s like watching the first part of a baseball doubleheader, seeing a shutout, and then waiting to see what happens in the second game. I found my attention wandering at moments. It’s a bit hard to shift gears from a complex, serious show to a much lighter crime drama, and I think that’s where my letdown comes from. Having said that, if I factor out the lead-in and remove the introduction of a new character from the equation, this would be a decent episode for Hawaii Five-O. All the normal parts we’re used to are in working order. It’s just the new pieces that will take some getting used to.