By Wayne Harada
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.