TV: HAWAII FIVE-0, S07E25: “Ua Mau Ke Ea O Ka ‘Aina I Ka Pono”

#1 TV show, Friday, 5/12/17

8.22 million viewers

What it is: A buddy cop procedural drama about a Hawaii state police task force, rebooted from an original series which ran from 1968 to 1980. In this episode, the protagonists must rescue a bunch of child sex slaves from the back of a cube truck while it’s speeding down the highway.

My main reaction to Hawaii Five-0.1 is that it seems unintentionally darker than you’d expect a sun-drenched tropical network cop show to be. The child sex slavery storyline is part of that, of course (especially when the cold open showing a bunch of young girls being roughly herded from bare mattresses in an abandoned house to the back of a truck cuts to the theme song montage of gnarly waves and bikini babes), but so is the moment at the end of the episode when unit leader Steve McGarrett (Alex O’Loughlin) reveals to Danno (Scott Caan) that he got radiation poisoning from a dirty bomb they apparently defused earlier in the series. This plot point may have been introduced because O’Loughlin is leaving the show after the next season, partly because he’s been messing up his back doing stunts, and I guess this is one way of setting up McGarrett for a tragic/heroic end. But it’s still pretty bleak stuff for network laundry-folding material.

Most of the episode, however, is taken up by an extended car chase in which the heroes have to rescue the girls from the back of a truck that’s cruising down the highway. It’s a pretty cool sequence! McGarrett jumps off of the mouth of the tunnel and onto the truck and I can see how that sort of thing might be messing up O’Loughlin’s back.

Worth noting that while I’m not sure Hawaii Five-0‘s cast is more diverse than most shows’, it is at least differently diverse, with two actors of Korean descent instead of the usual mix of a bunch of white people with a few black and Latino performers mixed in. The ensemble also includes Chi McBride and Jorge Garcia (Hurley from Lost), which gave me the same “Oh, that’s what those guys are up to now!” reaction as I got from seeing Eddie Kaye Thomas and Robert Patrick on Scorpion.

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