Hawaii Five-0 1.17 “Powa Maka Moana” Review

Just like last week, Hawaii Five-0 provided us with a fine but unspectacular standalone offering last night. (Although, this was arguably a little more disappointing than all the jungle-based action.) ‘Powa Maka Moana’wasn’t an entirely weak episode, but, upon reflection, I find that it had moments that I enjoyed, rather than being wholly satisfying in its entirety. In my review of one of Five-0‘s more impressive episodes, ‘Ke Kinohi,’I mentioned the idea that there’s a standard ‘type’for kidnapping plots, which includes ominous phone calls, not paying the ransom (which inevitably leads to at least one hostage dying), and other such infuriating clichés. ‘Ke Kinohi’defied those clichés, but this didn’t, and as a result it ended up being a predictable and relatively dull hour.

The story for the episode was about a group of pirates (even if their outfits initially made me think that they were ninjas) who attack a boat full of rich college kids on spring break. What at first seems like a completely random attack turns out to be some smart kidnappers (who have copied the MO of the pirates) looking to secure a $20 million ransom from the kids’parents. There’s guest stars in the form of Vanessa Minnillo and Nick Lachey, but I was most impressed by the smaller parts of Ray Wise and Stacy Edwards, who played two of the aforementioned parents.

There were elements of the installment to feel positive about. Firstly, that (building on last week) Kono got some actual interesting stuff to do. Kono has occasionally not been served well by the writing on Hawaii Five-0, too often spending extended periods of time behind the Five-0 supercomputer and just not getting as awesome material as we know Grace Park deserves. I felt that the stunt work that she got for this episode was really great, and that she got to showcase some impressive action and prove what she’s really capable of. Also enjoyable in ‘Powa Maka Moana’was the reliably entertaining banter between Steve and Danno. This week even saw the return of Steve’s-crazy-methods-of-getting-information-out-of-people… his use of a grenade to do so was both surprising and effective.

Even if this episode did take advantage of the location, it didn’t do so in any particularly interesting way. In fact, on the whole, the driving force of the episode just wasn’t very compelling. The episode did manage to have occasional great moments – like the grenade scene and the opening, in which Steve and Danno are pushing Steve’s Dad’s car (a reminder of the original series) – but was disappointing as a complete piece. I do understand that Hawaii Five-0 needs these standalone plots, and most of the time, I really like them. I think the problem with this one was simply that it felt unremarkable, and like it had been done before.

Predictability really was a considerable issue here, and not in the same way that it was last week. (Where it was predictable, but you could enjoy it as it moved along.) The conclusion was really obvious from a long way off, and I knew that there was something up with Susan’s fiancee from the moment that he was introduced. I liked that the Five-0 team weren’t totally stupid and worked it all out before the end, but the fact that I already understood where it was headed sort of ruined it.

In summary, ‘Powa Maka Moana’wasn’t a terrible hour of television, but it was far from the quality that I know that Hawaii Five-0 can achieve. The sheer level of predictability really damaged the effectiveness of the plot but it had a number of good touches along the way (another of those would be Steve using his personal experience of kidnapping in a moment well-acted by Alex O’Loughlin). The weak story is partially redeemed with decent character moments, but overall I do hope that Hawaii Five-0 infrequently ends up leaving us with overly predictable and uninteresting offerings like this in the future.

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