'Five-0's' Afghan episode: Fish out of water?

May 3rd, 2014
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Makani 'Olu A Holo Malie (Fair Winds and Following Seas)

Alex O'Loughlin (Steve McGarrett) and Michelle Borth (Catherine Rollins) in Afganistan. CBS photo.

“Hawaii Five-0” was a somewhat of a fish out of  water in Friday’s (May 2) episode, and indeed, waters infested by a shark.

That is to say, the CBS procedural — largely staged as a Catherine-goes-to-Afghanistan-to-repay-a-debt-with-McGarrett’s-help mini-movie — was a leap of faith with iffy results.

First off, “Five-0” barely won the 8 p.m. hour (9 p.m.  Mainland), with 8.69 million viewers, a whisker ahead of ABC’s “Shark Tank,” which pulled in 8.08 million, according to preliminary overnight Nielsen ratings, which may change with numbers updates.  Worse, in the coveted 18 to 49 adult demographics, “Shark” was No. 1 with a 2.2 rating, compared to the 1.2 logged by the homegrown show; this was an 8 per cent decrease for “Five-0” from last week’s 1.3 adults in 18 to 49. Even NBC’s “Grimm” had better demos (1.4) though fewer viewers (5.20 million), a matter of importance in setting advertising rates.

The episode, entitled “Makani ‘Olu a Holo Malie (Fair Winds and Following Seas),” was a risky send-off for actress Michelle Borth, who plays Catherine Rollins, the love interest of Alex O’Loughlin’s Steve McGarrett. Did it bite off more than it could chew?

At a poker game studded with faces that have previously appeared before (including Larry Manetti, Al Harrington, Duane “Dog” Chapman), Cath receives a desperate call from a Pashtan gent who previously rescued her, whose son was captured by the Taliban. She tells McG about the situation, and he goes along to support her mission, heading for Kabul.

The focus on Cath was valid; but the plot didn’t thicken, it sickened.  When the two arrive, he gets injured in a grenade throw, so now her search is for two, not one.

McG is captured, tortured, taunted, and gets roughed up and displayed in Taliban fashion, in a video. The Taliban supposedly keeps a case of enemy photos in a file, and there’s a pic of McG in his SEAL era, which leads to more beatings. McG doesn’t fess up names that the Taliban wants. “I can’t remember,” he pleads.

Of course, the home team — dealing with a subplot about stolen organs — has to come to the rescue, and Danno (Scott Caan) leads the troops. That means a plane, a team of soldiers, an effort with global implications (like, breaking the rules and laws) … acquired by bending reality a lot.  At least this time, the errant squad took a military plane to Afghan, not like the botched episode when McG went international to Korea, aboard a helicopter.

OK, the theme of loyalty, love, trust, friendship, debt-paying, humanity play out throughout the show, with mixed resulots

When the military brass discover the rescue squad’s antics, Danno is wonderfully aloof, brushing them off with a brave tone and saying he’s a civilian, not in the military. In other words, buzz off. As if it would work in real life.

Alas, the Afghan kid is not found, so there’s a window of  opportunity to revisit the case— and Cath — in a future episode. She remains there, he returns home, both with heavy hearts. As former Naval types and “Five-0” team members, they remain Navy strong, to be sure.

But McG wasn’t the only one tortured. His fans probably didn’t want to see him weep. Isn’t he supposed to the rock, the foundation, the pillar of the show?

In this one, McG is very human. There are real tears in his eyes (hers, too). There’s a telephone exchange between him and Cath, with several “I love you, you know,” “I’ll be careful,” “I love you, too,” “Good luck,” “Aloha,” “Aloha.”

She scoots off on a cycle — but you know she’ll be back.

4 Responses to “'Five-0's' Afghan episode: Fish out of water?”

  1. theDman:

    It takes a lot of time, effort and money to do these outdoor "foreign" scenes, even if the viewers don't buy it, but Afghanistan? The Taliban? I think I will pass on this one.

    Do want to wish Michelle Borth Aloha for being a part of the show, and I hoped she enjoyed her stay here in Hawaii. She made some time for her fans here and very few Hollywood stars do that. The respect-meter went way up with her.


  2. tommui:

    I will miss her (Michelle Borth). Lovely woman and hopefully she will be back next season.


  3. Pammie:

    Cath maybe back , I watched her in a promo and she seemed a good actress.
    But this STM & Cath centered episode was a series low for the show , so maybe PL won't want to go into the STM's romance story again. Looks like the whole team working together solving the crime of the week delivers better numbers.
    Blue Bloods gettig a 1.5 demo , gaining 0.3 demo from the lead in , is really something . CBS has to be happy.


  4. AniMatsuri:

    Well, at least Cath didn't step into a car and get blown up. With a storyline like that, she can be kept away for as long or short as they want without anyone needing any cameo up dates like they did when Kono went on the lam(to accommodate a real life pregnancy of Grace Park).

    Ironic that her character gets left in Afghanistan since the last major acting gig Michelle Borth had also took place there. A Canadian/US production called Combat Hospital that she took over an offer to become a regular on H50. Looks like her instincts were good since she got bumped to make room for Chi McBride's character and more appearances by Jorge Garcia next season.

    I get the feeling Joe White was supposed to make a appearance but became a talked about but unseen character since the guy that plays him is busy with a new series that Fox picked up recently.