The number-one question I’ve heard all season when it comes to Hawaii Five-0 has been, “What’s happening with Kono?” Well, tonight we finally got that train leaving the station. Would that be enough?
When a beloved college volleyball coach (Joe Toro) gets killed in his own locker room, Five-0 is on the case. The coach was living in the guest house of an affluent couple, Karl and Trisha Joyner (Rob Duval and Meredith Monroe), which gives Danny room to gripe about being underpaid and over-shot at. (This would have been a better cargument if it had happened last season, don’t you think?) While the guest house also hides some not-so-innocuous photos of one of the volleyball players, Melanie Ayers (Tania Raymonde), it turns out the woman in the coach’s life is another cliche choice: Trisha Joyner.
In the TV playbook, this is where we’d find out that Karl was really ticked about his wife’s affair and offed the coach, but H50 skips that page. When Steve and Danny confront Karl, he’s shot dead in front of them by one heck of a sniper. That’s not part of your typical love triangle! Turns out that Karl was doing a little money laundering for none other than our resident dirty cop Frank Delano (William Baldwin). It all makes sense now…
Meanwhile, Chin has reconnected with ex-fiancee Malia (Reiko Aylesworth), since he refers to her as his “date.” I can’t really complain about this since I’ve liked the actress since she played Michelle Dessler Almeida on 24. At least she gives us someone other than Chin who talks to Kono, even if Kono still doesn’t want to be talked to. She’s too busy being the getaway driver for whomever is coming after Trisha. Steve goes nuclear, but I have to laugh when he talks about not knowing if they can protect Kono anymore, when they haven’t done much of anything for her to this point.
Steve’s attitude toward Kono in the first half of this episode rankles me. Granted, finding her in a getaway car with a dead body is majorly damning, but he’s not an ounce sympathetic toward someone he once considered a close friend and colleague. He might talk about helping her, but his actions and tone don’t back up his words. I never thought I’d be thankful to see Tom Sizemore, but the long-expected reveal that Kono was working for Fryer made me smile – because it shut Steve up. And I don’t ever want to feel that way about my main character.
With our team all back on the same page, finally season two starts to feel a bit like the Hawaii Five-0 of old in the final act, with our heroes just waiting for the right moment to take Delano down. Even with the additions of Fryer and Lori, they feel like a team again. There’s actual suspense in the closing minutes (and a whole lot of property damage). And while I’m sure it would have been awesome to see Steve be the hero, I have no problem with Fryer getting the pivotal shot, because that was what was appropriate. Besides, Steve got to punch him afterward.
I had hoped that “Ma’ema’e” would be a step forward for H50 and it was – now that we know officially that Kono is not on the dark side, here’s to hoping we also see a lot more of her from here on out. Grace Park certainly reminded us this week that she’s too good of an actress to be as limited as she has been this season. I think the excitement of finally getting the show past that long-expected development overshadowed what was another entertaining plot – but I’m not bothered because of just how important it was to push this show forward and get it some momentum.
Now, I do have some complaints. Chin tells Lauren “you’re a lot like Steve,” and she proceeds to talk about his daddy issues and how she wants to “get to know my new boss a little better”? Did that sound like heavy-handed setup to anyone else? Not to mention that Lori being the one to handcuff Kono during her arrest comes off as a whole lot of symbolism to me. And then to have Steve and Fryer argue over her fate with her in the room felt like two parents arguing over their kid. Not to mention that I feel like Kono is owed an apology or two that she didn’t get either. While I’m glad the cat’s out of the bag, it was really awkwardly delivered. Still, I’ll take it.
Congratulations, Five-0, on finally getting where we knew you were going – but now that you’re there, the question is what happens next? What do you want to be from here on out? I still don’t know, but you have enough goodwill from season one to keep me waiting to find out. That said, I have to admit I’m not really sure about an episode that involves another mixed martial arts plot (we’ve seen ’em), more screen time for Terry O’Quinn (he’s had a lot), and an NCIS: Los Angeles crossover…but we shall see.