Hawaii Five-0 1.19 “Na Me’e Laua Na Paio” Review

We’ve been without Hawaii Five-0 for a month and while this episode (‘Na Me’e Laua Na Paio’) featured a confrontation between Wo Fat and Steve (making it something worth looking forward to), it ended up feeling a little clumsy and somehow it didn’t quite fully work. The hour wasn’t all that well-paced and the introduction of a new character (Larisa Oleynik as Jenna Kaye) was handled poorly. As it was fairly obviously a filler episode, however, we can expect the season’s remaining offerings to play out some more interesting stories.

One of the main reasons that this episode wasn’t effective was because one of the two plots that it had was a lot more interesting than the other. The introduction of an analyst from the CIA (Jenna Kaye) brought somebody that is interested in tracking the Yakuza and finding Wo Fat (who is responsible for the death of Kaye’s fiancé) directly to the Five-0 headquarters. The other story, which was the episode’s primary focus, was a case-of-the-week that was sparked by the death of a costumed man who appeared to think he could fly. Of course, there was more to it then that, and we soon learn of a complex homicide case behind the man’s death.

For the most part, this case was entertaining and compelling. In some neat detective work, Chin Ho worked out that Alex (the costumed homicide victim) wasn’t the intended target of the killer. From there, we get a process that Hawaii Five-0 has become fairly comfortable with recycling in varied ways as we work backwards and put the pieces together. This provides a decent story driven by multiple murders, robberies and an affair. As usual, once we’ve seen all of the key players in the case, it becomes relatively straightforward to work out who is responsible for the murders. The predictability is held off until later in the hour, though, making this a satisfying standalone story that keeps you gripped in order to spot the little details.

Even if the standalone plot was fine, the other one had more ingredients that could make it engaging. Perhaps the central problem, then, was that those ingredients didn’t come together quite how I wanted them to. The new character, Kaye, is full of potential and her addition brings a lot of possibilities for the show. However, based on this first performance, I struggle to be convinced by Oleynik’s abilities as an actress. She struck me as rather wooden and didn’t really convince as the character, which would be OK if she was just around for this episode, but makes me worried as she’ll be a recurring member of the cast. My other issue with the plot that should’ve been more interesting was that the long-awaited meeting of Steve and Wo Fat ended up being underwhelming and full of cliches. He’s an exciting enough villain, though, and I’m fascinated to see what his connection to the McGarrett’s really is.

With everything considered, this was a mixed episode of Hawaii Five-0. It was a little more filler than I would’ve liked, but it’s probably what the show needs at this point in the season. Still, I think it would have benefited from a slightly shifted focus and I have some reservations about the introduction of Jenna Kaye. I remain open, though, to seeing more of her character (perhaps I’ll be proved wrong about Oleynik as an actress) and I’m intrigued to see where the Wo Fat plot goes.

http://twitter.com/simoncocks

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