Lanakila is a weird episode, yo. Lanakila means “Victory” and in this episode, there are a couple little victories, sure… Dana (the victim) wins a game show, McG wins at basketball, Kamekona wins back his girlfriend… The Five-0s win in the end (though they always do) but even so I’m not sure why the episode especially is called “Victory.”
In my opinion, the theme of the episode is forgiveness, and I don’t have to stretch too hard to make that case, we’re pretty much beat about the head & neck with it in the last 5 minutes of the ep.
We’re also introduced to some very important characters in this episode: Mary & Catherine (and Halawa Correctional, ha ha ha). But nothing about this episode is particularly victorious. Even though the villain, Dawkins, is by far the worst we have seen in the show thus far (in terms of his horrifying and utter disregard for human life), as McG stands over his dead body, this sad ethereal music is playing. It doesn’t feel like a victory. So this episode – this episode is weird to me.
The episode starts with the boys going about their average days: picking up relatives from the airport & going to the doctor.
However, there’s no such thing as an average day when you’re a Five-0. Trips to the airport include dealing with you sister’s federal offenses. Doctor’s visits include rehashing old war wounds and pondering the inevitability of fate. And whether it’s your first time in a men’s public bathroom or hopping into a helicopter with someone you’re not sure can fly one, life is never boring.
Life is also never boring if you are related to / involved with a Five-0. The “sugar” of this episode to me – Mary Ann & Catherine – are the reason I can’t write off Lanakila altogether. Getting to meet these two for the first time make this episode too important to just say “NEVER AGAIN!” Even though, seriously you guys, my rating for this ep is in the tank: 4.6/10 and I even looked at each scene individually, in addition to the overall criteria I normally look for, and gave each scene a letter grade. The average of all the scenes together was a C- (sadface). I want to really like this episode, but on the whole, I just don’t.
The main cast is good in this ep, and there are a few nice moments (even some all-time classics, like Aneurysm Face and the basketball game). However, there just aren’t as many character beats as I expect and way more of a “procedural” feel to the conversations than I prefer.
But returning to Mary Ann & Catherine — looking back, isn’t it interesting they were introduced in the same episode? Mary Ann gets us in the mode of “Domestic McG” and then they bring in Cath. Though the McG/Cath relationship is undefined in this ep, it is unquestionably intimate. So it boggles my mind that they did not predict people would freak out when they played with hooking up McG & Lori at the start of Season 2. Did they think introducing Cath during this episode alongside Mary meant nothing?
Show makes so many good character decisions, it’s hard to believe they did this double-introduction accidentally and then expected the audience not to have made this attachment/connection, even subconsciously; and I say this as someone who has no emotional investment in McG/Cath. I don’t particularly care if McG/Cath are “together,” but I totally understand why people do care that they are together, and I understand the reasons people think they are together and good together: Show gave them those ideas! They didn’t make it up out of their imaginations (like if your dream pairing was McG/Laura Hills – that would be imaginary). McG & Cath, the way they were presented, the way she was introduced, Show just can’t pretend that she doesn’t exist twenty-some episodes later if it suits their fancy – regardless of whether the relationship is best defined as “booty call” or “soul mates” or somewhere in between.
But back to Lanakila.
While not as drop-dead gorgeous as Malama Ka ‘Aina, this episode does bring the pretty in its own way, mostly thanks to the expressive acting ability of the cast, some lovely vistas care of the island-hopping helicopters, and the lush rain forest through which Chin & McG hike during the dramatic climax of the episode.
McG and Danny interrogate a waitress at a pancake house in what feels like the most “normal” scene of the episode in terms of the mix of banter & character development alongside procedural developments. And this is probably just me, and a revelation of what a terrible person I am, but my very first impression of this scene, back to the fall of 2010, is that the actress who played Sophia Archuleta, the girlfriend of the fugitive Dawkins, is much too pretty to be the girlfriend of a jailbird. I know in Show’s universe, Everyone Is Beautiful, but couldn’t they have found someone just a little rough around the edges to be Ms. Conjugal Visit? I know, I’m horrible. My sincerest apologies if you are the glowingly gorgeous girlfriend of a career criminal.
Luckily, McG & Danny are also rocking all sorts of adorable faces (not to mention, this is a good episode for those of you who are fans of the Yellow Cargo Pants). Here also is further visual proof that they don’t make Kevlar in McG’s size – completely exposing the lower third of his torso whilst simultaneously strangling him. I hope he kept his receipt!
This episode was good for some subtle character development and interactions. We see McG really care about a victim who isn’t anybody’s father/son. We see Danny pointing out to McG that he knows how to do the behind-the-scenes boring paperwork part of a criminal investigation. We see Chin, the seasoned veteran that he is, learning to be impressed with McG’s talents, skills & abilities. We see that Kono really still is a rookie after all.
This episode also features another beautiful guest actress, one of the luckiest women in the world, She Who Receives CPR From McG. That’s mouth to mouth AND chest compressions! McG, our hero, brings the lady back to life, escorts her to the hospital, and then stands there looking like this:
Life just isn’t fair, I swear. But don’t forget our dear Danno, still in his ties & taking flack for it; sporting a cane like an old school pimp; injured in the “whitest” way possible: having a new partner ~ having “fun” the past few weeks with said partner ~ getting out of bed ~ But Definitely Not Surfing…
There are a couple of dumb plot-flow items that bug me, but only after having seen this ep a number of times do you even notice them: First, McG instructs the HPD officer to get Mary some food and escort her directly to Five-0 HQ. You would assume that they would have beat McG & Danny back to the office (as the guys were busy conducting their jailhouse investigation, subsequent interrogation of the dirty prison guard and then the basketball game) but McG & Danny appear to be alone in the office watching the video of Dana & “Craig” win the million dollars on a game show. To be fair, they are in Danny’s office, but the walls are made of glass, people! The Five-0s then conduct their rescue of Dana at the hotel, McG rides along in the ambulance to the hospital and then returns to HQ in his bloody shirt where Danny informs him that Mary’s been waiting in his office for the last “five hours.” Uh…
Secondly, I invite you to partake of this fun screen cap:
McG & Danny have taken the truck to the pancake house to interrogate Sophia. Chin arrives on his Harley. Love that skull & crossbones decal! Next thing we see, Chin & McG are in the truck, tracking Dawkins. … …. ….. How did Danny get back to HQ? On Chin’s motorcycle???
1) No helmet?
2) No deleted scenes??
3) How unrealistic…. the guy has a torn ACL, he can’t sit with his legs at that angle – no support!
4) Darn you Show! Talk about something that people would be interested in seeing for the curiosity/character/humor/hotness factor implied! DARN YOU SHOW!!!
5) I guess Danny called a cab? Maybe Kono came & got him? (more sadface)
My favorite scene of the episode is undoubtedly the prison yard basketball. Weird to think that in less than a year McG gets shanked right here, huh? Well anyway.
This is probably the cleverest way McG gets information out of a criminal, the entire series to date. Funnily enough, Danny protests McG’s methods as much as he does any time things get a little unusual, before eventually conceding McG’s ideas are sound & fully supporting them. Plus, it’s amusing to see McG not that good at something (at first).
The scene is perfectly played, Alex’s under-appreciated comedic skills working McG’s serious and earnest face; Scott bringing the exasperation, eye-rolling and gesturing wildly; and D.L. Hughley is great as the in-for-life convict with nothing to lose, his devil-may-care attitude the perfect foil for “tall dark & uptight” McG.
I’m trying to get through this review without typing the words “how long you two been married,” but there, I typed it. This scene moves the plot along, has fun & looks good while doing it. Classic H50, and my Favorite Scene of the Episode.
However, in all seriousness, I do have to comment on the violence in this episode, especially that of the opening scene (which I will not watch again). I can handle the honeymoon serial killer, or the abandoned-baby-mama serial killer, or the hitman type episodes better than this one — because at the end of the day, the reason behind the violence will have made some sense (using terrible twisted logic, of course, but it’s still logic). The senseless violence of this episode, the random killings, starting with the prison guards and ending with the tourist helicopter pilot, just really make this episode un-entertaining for me in those moments. I mean, we spent time with that helicopter pilot. Show, why couldn’t he have died in the crash? He could have — and that would have made sense. But he was specifically shot & killed by Dawkins. I guess this is another thing you get to learn about me — I don’t find senseless violence entertaining. I am not a sixteen year old boy, atplenkov. Sue me.
But if this is an episode where going forward I only want to re-watch less than half the scenes, this final scene is definitely one of them. Mary Ann is obviously a girl who’s made some poor choices in life – missing her father’s funeral may be something she regrets forever. Regret is a complicated emotion, and one many people strive to avoid, but what it does bring with it is maturity – this is more than just “learning from your mistakes.” This is growing as a person, and Mary, fragile as she appears to be at times, is maturing under the watchful eyes of her big brother.
So yeah, I don’t love this episode. But I’ll keep it. And maybe that’s a little ‘victory’ too, all by itself.