“Hawaii Five-0” dealt rather deftly with Alex O’Loughlin‘s unplanned absence for a couple of episodes, and we get to see the reults of McGarrett’s on-screen departure play out Monday (May 7) in the season’s penultimate episode. Wo Fat stories seem to raise the show’s game a little, and “Ua Hopu” followed that pattern.
McGarrett gets half of what he wanted in Japan, bringing Wo Fat back to Hawaii in handcuffs in what was a suspiciously easy collar. The horrifying mess in the bathroom of Wo Fat’s Osaka crash pad, it turns out, is what’s left of Yakuza elder Hiro Noshimuri, which is bad news for both is son Adam and for Kono. Why Kono? Because Adam is the secret new boyfriend she’s been calling all the time these past couple weeks. Adam is trying to take his family’s interests to the legitimate side of the ledger, but he’s also bound to avenge his father’s death. Which could really put a damper on his relationship with a cop.
The reveal of Adam and Kono’s relationship was well-done, but at least for now it leaves more questions than answers, first among them being, how did that even happen? In our interview with showrunner Peter Lenkov Monday, he said the show will continue to play out the relationship, which is good because it feels like there’s a good bit of information we don’t have yet.
The Yakuza’s revenge plot puts both McGarrett and Wo Fat in serious danger and gives us the hour’s primary action sequences on the plane and in a field where McGarrett mows down several Yakuza goons and has a pretty nasty fight with Wo Fat. We also learn Wo Fat has ties to the CIA (of course he does), and the murder of his handler (by Adam’s lawyer) gets Danny mixed up with the agency, as personified by Hey, It’s That Guy character actors Glenn Morshower (“The West Wing” and “Friday Night Lights”) as the head of the Honolulu office and Jack McGee (“Rescue Me”) as a sympathetic agent who feeds Danny information.
It all leads to a Five-0/Yakuza standoff over Wo Fat, which the good guys win and which, presumably, puts Adam and Kono on ice for the moment. The episode ends with Wo Fat behind bars, but since he’s Wo Fat, we’re hardly inclined to think that’s a permanent condition.
So where does that leave us for the season finale next week? Well, the thing McGarrett didn’t get in Japan was Shelburne, but Lenkov says the identity of the mysterious figure is “absolutely resolved” in the final moments of the finale. That doesn’t, however, mean that McGarrett will have all the answers about his father’s death, because Lenkov and writer/co-executive producer Elwood Reid also promise a cliffhanger ending.
“You’re going to be pissed it ends where it ends,” Reid says, noting that next season will most likely pick up immediately after the finale.
The finale is titled “Ua Hala,” which translates to “Death in the Family,” and Lenkov and Reid say the episode will deliver on that ominous promise.
“We thought we did a good job on the [Season 1] finale. We wrote this big episode with a lot stakes; every character had something they could lose,” Lenkov says. “So we sat down and said, how do we top that? … It ends, I think, with bigger stakes this time.” The cliffhanger story will resolve fairly quickly next season, he adds, but “character-wise, it will carry on” for a while into Season 3.
“We think of it as building fires,” Reid says. “There’s a lot of wood on the fire now, and it’s going to give us a lot of stuff to play next season. … The hardest thing as writers is to set stuff up so we have somewhere to go in the next season. This finale — we’re not manufacturing a finale here. Everyone is sort of thrown.”
Lenkov’s one-word description of the finale is “jaw-dropping.” We’ll find out in a week’s time, but what did you think of “Ua Hopu”? What do you want to see in the finale?