“Ke Kinohi” is the episode we’ve all been waiting for since…well, two weeks ago. Or since Taryn Manning gave an interview where she vented her frustrations. Never mind the behind the scenes drama; there’s enough in front of the camera, with a fair bit of anticipation for this episode, especially on the heels of how great the previous one was. (Probably even a little more for me, as I had myself an Alex O’Loughlin marathon this weekend. After which, I need to admit that I am taking membership in his fan club. You can say ‘I told you so’ later.)
Just when Steve gets a victory by putting down Victor Hesse for the second time, he has what might be the worst day of his life, as he discovers a trio of bad guys breaking into his house. The place is trashed in a struggle that sees Steve Tasered and his father’s toolbox stolen. As if that wasn’t enough, Mary Ann has been kidnapped after putting up a fight of her own. It doesn’t take a genius to realize that Steve was personally targeted – especially if you remember that last time, Hesse was telling Wo Fat that Steve knew too much. Thankfully, Mary isn’t in danger for long, but the warpath brings the team into the path of the yakuza (that’s Japanese organized crime), namely one Hiro Noshimuri (that’s Mortal Kombat‘s Shang Tsung himself, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa), a man that Steve’s father had also been pursuing. By the halfway point, the question is if the son can succeed where his father failed – especially when his opponent is a friend of Governor Jameson herself?
Of course, that question isn’t going to be answered in just one episode, but “Ke Kinohi” picks up the momentum and clues from the previous episode and starts fitting more pieces into place. (I can’t help but wonder if it would have been even more effective had we not had reruns the past two weeks.) Deciding not to drag out the kidnapping longer than is necessary, which many shows would have, the episode instead focuses on the ongoing questions we’ve been discussing all season and starts giving us clues, if not answers. We now know what was in that toolbox and what some of it means, and we’re able to put together a general idea of what led up to Steve’s mother’s death, which in turn led to the McGarrett kids being estranged from their father. The episode really helps shape the big picture, even if it can’t answer all the little questions. While we’re enjoying Steve’s investigative crusade from an entertainment standpoint, we also know that this is a series that’s going to fill in the blanks of what drives him – and what keeps us curious – even if it takes awhile.
Episodes with a heavy personal stake for a hero are either a series’ best, or can be a massive misfire; they have the opportunity to really dig into the hearts and minds of characters. Alex O’Loughlin has to do the heavy lifting this week, and he does it, whether it’s fear or indignation or the stubbornness we’ve come to love from Steve McGarrett. Steve’s got a fire inside of him, but O’Loughlin doesn’t need to break something or have a fit to get that conviction across to the audience. It also doesn’t lead him to do something blatantly stupid just because his emotions are running high. However, that passion lends an extra pop to his interactions with other characters, namely a tense scene between Steve and the Governor. I’ll certainly never complain about seeing more of Jean Smart.
When it comes to the other half of the McGarrett siblings, Taryn Manning and the writers come together to make Mary Ann not a damsel in distress, but a woman who’s capable of asking questions and even producing a few helpful clues of her own. I may be in the minority here, but I appreciate the familial bond between Steve and his sister; it brings out a whole different side of him than any other relationship he has in the series. Since the ongoing plot is all about family, it’s important that Steve has family left to be invested in and to fight for. At least she hasn’t been killed off, but I hope she comes back sooner rather than later. It would be a shame for the creative team to forget about her.
I also enjoy that Hawaii Five-O continues to keep its continuity in mind, making a reference here to the busting of dirty cops which occurred in “Mana’o” (episode 108) and tossing us a brief but maddening cameo from Wo Fat (Mark Dacascos, who so far seems to be pretty good in the part). Over these last few episodes, I’m feeling more now than ever that this is a series which isn’t just a standalone hour of action, but is also taking us on a journey, whether it’s the emotional investment we have in the characters or the intellectual pursuit of trying to figure out the clues left along the way. That’s exactly how I like my series; this cements to me that I want to see this one through to the end.