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'Hawaii Five-O' 1.17 'Powa Maka Moana' Review

Brittany Frederick Brittany Frederick
February 15th, 2011 9:36am EST

HawaiiFive-092710-0003.jpgWe've had a tsunami (fake but still). We've had the jungle. So what's next in Hawaii Five-O's recent string of high adventure stories? Well, pirates, of course! Pirates who take over a hapless ship full of college kids and who will not ask you why the rum is gone.

Steve and Danny are pushing Steve's father's car up a hill when they get wind of the hijacking. I mention this because that vehicle is, in fact, the original 1974 Marquis that Jack Lord drove in the original series, and I love how much this show respects its predecessor. Five-O gets together and arrives on the boat, which is now empty except for two dead bodies and a girl named Susan (former MTV hostess Vanessa Minnillo), who gives them the 411. The team now has to find and free the dozen hostages, while keeping their understandably upset parents from doing anything rash, not unlike "Nalowale."

The resulting investigation gives us the most creative use of a grenade on television ever, followed by a decidedly unsettling glimpse at our scared hostages. Oh, Hawaii Five-O, how I love you for making me laugh and cringe within the space of the same five minutes. It's also a nice touch to see Steve draw on his experience losing his father to placate the parents; we might not remember that right away, but you know he never forgot it. Later on, Grace Park continues to prove that she is not just a pretty face, as Kono uncovers the common link between all the hostages and subdues a potential suspect. I know there have been doubters regarding how her character is written, but I think - at least I hope - that she's erased them by now. There are some great little moments within this episode.

That said, at least the framework of this episode reminds me a little too much of "Nalowale" for my taste. There's the kidnapping of the child/children of someone important/rich, and despite the fact that they should know better, the parents ignore McGarrett's advice, leading to something bad nearly happening/actually happening. The two stories aren't blatantly identical, but they're similar enough that it feels like treading the same ground. Every episode of this show so far has been so distinct that it feels like a bit of a letdown to see this one repeat elements. Not to mention that it was fairly easy to figure out that Susan and her fiancee were the real bad guys; voice scrambler aside, I had him pegged from the moment he made that first phone call. There's also one thing that bugged me: does Steve really have to tell Chin to make sure the press doesn't release anything that will compromise the case? I'm pretty sure that as a veteran cop, he knows that by now.

You are free to call me uncool, but I did not care that Nick Lachey and Vanessa Minnillo were guest-starring this week, and started to roll my eyes a little at how they were name-dropped in the commercials and featured in the promo photos on the CBS site. If there has to be stunt casting on any show (and CBS shows seem to like that for whatever reason; I'm looking at you, Justin Bieber), I would hope that it doesn't overshadow the show that we came to watch. (I'd say the one exception was Joanna "JoJo" Levesque, because when she was here, I don't recall there being much buzz about it.) As far as guest stars go, I was more interested in seeing Ray Wise (Psych, Reaper) and Stacy Edwards (Chicago Hope) as parents of one of the missing students. Their reaction to the death of their son was heartbreaking.

Not every episode of a show is going to be amazing, and this has to stand as Hawaii Five-O's weakest episode, in my opinion. It's too predictable and too similar to the earlier, much better "Nalowale." That said, even a so-so episode of this show is still better than most of what's out there on TV. It's certainly not bad, and I am sure that the show will rebound next week.

For more Hawaii Five-O, check out the show category at my blog, DigitalAirwaves.net.

Photo Credits: CBS Broadcasting Inc.


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