“‘Ohe Ia E Loa’a Aku, He Ulua Kapapa No Ka Moana” is the penultimate episode of Five-0. Steve’s trying to navigate through his feelings and figure out what to do next, feeling lost, while those around him try to help and solve a case simultaneously. The episode’s main theme was family and friends being there for one another in their times of need.
Steve’s storyline was the one I was drawn to from moment one. It’s clear that he’s done. Done with mysteries, family drama, cases, his job, all of it. Though he tells Danny he doesn’t think he cares about solving the cipher his mother has left behind, Danny, alongside the audience, knows otherwise. Steve may say he doesn’t care, but he doesn’t let things go. He has to solve the mystery. Getting answers is what drives Steve and what gives him some amount of peace.
I was glad to see that the team was trying their best to be there for Steve. Specifically, Danny and Tani. Danny has been there for Steve through it all, starting with helping Steve solve his father’s murder.
When Danny finds Steve at his father’s grave, I found that to be a perfect setting. It links the two friends back to their roots, as they reflect on how much has happened in the last ten years. Time flies, but Steve realizes that from the moment he landed in Hawaii a decade before to solve his father’s murder, he hit the ground running and hasn’t stopped to take a break since. He mentions that he feels as though he’s been protecting everyone but himself, and I thought that was a perfect way to describe it. Given Steve has a decade to back him up, the statement couldn’t be truer.
Danny thinks his best friend may be burned out. I’m inclined to agree, but I also believe Steve when he confesses he feels lost. That feeling of not knowing what to do next is universally relatable, but I think Alex O’Loughlin’s portrayal of that added something extra. Throughout the episode Steve appears tired but continues to go through the motions, a look of weariness appearing here and there.
At one point, Steve is even struggling to make a decision right off the bat, which is something he usually has no trouble with. His job calls for such split-second decisions, and the fact that Steve is hesitating to make a call, especially the right one, is a sure sign that Steve may truly be burning out.
It’s hard to believe this is happening, given the strength and resilience Steve has portrayed since day one, but even the strongest have their moments of vulnerability, and after a decade, that day has come for Steve. Perhaps it even goes back to his childhood, when he believed his mother was dead and his father sent him and his sister away from home.
The good thing is that Steve is surrounded by those that care about him, and they’re checking on him. Danny keeps pressing Steve to open up, and Tani approaches Danny, wanting to know what’s going on, showing sincere concern. Tani even approaches Junior, urging him to talk to Steve. Junior lives with Steve and views him as a mentor, but doesn’t talk to him, believing Steve is great at compartmentalizing and will sort through things better on his own.
While I can understand that point of reasoning given Steve’s character, I thought Junior could’ve done some good by talking to his mentor. Even your mentor needs support sometimes. That was Tani’s point, and because the couple had different ideas about how to help Steve, I can’t help but wonder if that will be a point of conflict in the finale. Though it seems a little late now to introduce a conflict and then hurriedly solve it, especially when there’s already enough storylines to wrap up – for instance, Daiyu Mei and Steve’s fate.
Steve’s and Danny’s friendship was prominent throughout the episode, and I thought that was a perfect way to outline the theme of the episode. They’re more than friends, they’re family. That’s been one of the show’s most successful, and most beloved, aspects all along. Placing emphasis on that relationship is a good call in the show’s penultimate episode, and I look forward to seeing more in the finale.
It would be hilarious if Steve really did go to New Jersey, especially with Danny along for the ride to give him good restaurant recommendations. Steve’s never been to New Jersey, and with Danny as a tour guide, it would no doubt be a fun misadventure given their bickering nature. Steve acted as something of a guide for Danny when he was still new to Hawaii, and having the roles reversed would be an interesting thing to watch unfold.
The case is somewhat tied into the family/friends theme. A mother and son are taken at gunpoint by two bank robbers, forcing the little family to help them. A good samaritan, who turns out to be a former Marine Sergeant named Lincoln Cole (Lance Gross) now living under an assumed name and working as a busboy in the diner the mother and son were in, figures out that they’re in danger and subsequently breaks down the door, killing one robber while the other escapes.
It’s clear that Cole comes with a story, and we figure out what that is when Steve gets him in the rendition room. It was a good thing to see both Steve and Cole being real about their military experiences and relating to their feelings of guilt, especially Cole’s over having lost his men. Cole’s been running for a long time, but it’s Steve that helps him realize he needs to let go of his guilt and move forward, like his friends would want. It’s a hard lesson to learn, and sometimes the lesson is easier to process when you have someone that’s already been through it alongside you.
Steve and Cole together were a good pair. They have more in common than not, and even Danny comments that Cole may be crazier than Steve, to which Steve agrees. That was one of my favorite parts of the episode. Despite all, Danny still finds the time, just for a moment, to joke around with Steve, earning a real smile from him in return.
The inclusion of Chuck Norris was a perfect addition, as he was helping Cole hide and greeted Junior and Steve while holding an ax. He looked observant, yet ready to fight if need be. The subtle threat was a clever and fun performance, but I wished we could’ve gotten a little more time with Chuck Norris. If Five-0 had more episodes on the horizon, it would’ve been fun to see him as a recurring guest star.
Cole will no doubt play a major part in the series’ finale if he manages to help Steve crack the cipher his mother left behind. There’s more than just the mystery of cracking the cipher on the line, given someone beat up Danny and tried to steal it from Steve’s house. Though as Steve points out, they’ll be disappointed since all they took was the envelope. The mystery of who was behind the attempted theft, and why, has yet to unfold, and the puzzle is already enticing.
For the most part, “‘Ohe Ia E Loa’a Aku, He Ulua Kapapa No Ka Moana” remained serious. It’s less light-hearted than usual, lacking Steve’s and Danny’s usual banter. It makes sense given that Steve’s struggling, so it doesn’t leave much time for joking.
The pace of the episode was fast, but it suited the overall intensity and desperation of the episode, given Steve’s emotions and the case itself. Even the camera, going in circles around Tani, Quinn and Lou, then going to Steve and Danny and circling them, perfectly captured the uncertainty and their overall distress over how to resolve a hostage situation.
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Though not a standout case, Steve’s strong performance, with the additions of Cole and Danny, alongside Chuck Norris as a guest star, make for a thrilling penultimate episode. Only one more episode remains, and “‘Ohe Ia E Loa’a Aku, He Ulua Kapapa No Ka Moana” leaves us with with high expectations for the finale.
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