I know I usually do a book review on Mondays, but this week I'll be reviewing on Thursday so I can talk/vent a bit about the exit of the character of Catherine from Hawaii Five-O.
Most of you know that I have watched the Hawaii Five-O reboot from the beginning. I loved the dynamic between the team of main characters. Catherine was introduced as Steve's longtime "girlfriend" (they had a thing) and she was recurring for the first two seasons. Then she started to have bigger roles and this season she was added to the Five-O team. I have to say I was looking forward to what she could bring to the table as a character because she had known Steve for so long and she seemed to be the one stable relationship he had in his life.
The first half of this season was so great with the two of them working through issues like her kidnapping, her leaving the Navy, finding a civilian job, Billy's death and her guilty feelings, it was just so juicy and good and really added another dimension to Steve's character. Things weren't always smooth, but they were working on it. (Especially with the Billy situation. It was really good.) Their relationship was what kept me glued to the show since the rest of the team was sort of flat feeling with Kono off with Adam, Chin grieving, trying to date that prison chick, Danny seemed here and there, nothing else was really drawing me in except Catherine and Steve.
Then the bottom fell out.
After such great episodes, the last half of the season has been disappointing for me. Catherine was barely on and became an info-dumper at the computer for the most part, which is what Kono used to do. (And when she came back from her Adam adventure, she returned to that role.) It's almost as if the writers don't know how to write strong women on the show, especially ones that are in Steve's life. For example, his sister is a flake, his mother deserted him as a child by faking her death, only to come back from the dead to throw his life into a world of chaos for no good reason. And she's the worst spy ever, close to bumbling status. Oh, and his favorite Aunt Deb is dying. Seriously.
Then we had women he worked with, Jenna Kaye, who betrayed him, and Lori Weston, who fell in love with him and couldn't do her job. Yikes. Catherine has been the one character that started out with great writing and really had a history with Steve. I thought it would continue, but again, the writers can't seem to write a woman on the team. Or anywhere else on the show really. (And yes, I like Kono, but she hasn't had great material in ages. She is stuck at that computer so often, it's getting ridiculous. What a waste of Grace Park's talent.) And to top it all off, they hired Grover and Jerry to be regulars this year, so we have two more men, but tell me, where are the women? This show is so heavy on the men it's glaring. But, is that because the writers are only comfortable writing men? Why not write a good strong woman on the show? Why not have an episode where Catherine and Kono could have done some crime-stopping with the men for backup? Why are the women written so poorly? Yeah, I have no answers, only questions. Sigh.
So, this is where I was at when I heard that Michelle Borth, who plays Catherine Rollins, was leaving Hawaii Five-O. I hoped it wasn't true. I wasn't sure I even wanted to watch her exit live (and I admit, I stopped watching the show live a couple of episodes ago and just DVR it to watch when I have time) but I tuned in, even though it's been a tough last half of the season for this fan. (Seriously, Danny and Steve used to sparkle with great repartee and dialogue, and lately it's just a whiny Danny and a Steve that puts up with the sniping. It's too one-sided and the carguments just grate now.) The show has lost its luster, but I've stuck with it. I keep hoping, you know.
But then last Friday came along and I knew it was Catherine's last episode. *deep breath* Here we go. We started out with a charity poker game and Catherine gets a call from Afghanistan. She goes outside to take it and Steve watches, a bit concerned. Catherine's friend, Amir, (a guy and his family who found her wounded in a field on an op years ago and took care of her), is asking for her help because his teen son, Najib, has been abducted by the Taliban to possibly become a suicide bomber. She is going to help him no matter what.
Her and Steve head off to Afghanistan and they put an op together to find Najib. Amir tracked the truck with the son in it and got beaten for his efforts, but Steve and Catherine hijack the truck's convoy traveling on the road. Catherine gets the kidnapped kids out of the back, but no Najib. Steve gets knocked out with a grenade and taken prisoner. And that's when my stomach tied up in knots because you know it wasn't going to be pretty after that.
They beat Steve, wanting info on where the woman took the kids. They're getting a camera and are going to use him as an object lesson. Thankfully, Catherine has been able to contact Danny who gets hold of Joe White and a military rescue is on the way. And it goes right down to the last second right before they behead Steve. So, so tense, but our hero is rescued.
Danny goes to Afghanistan to make sure Steve gets home okay and while at Steve's bedside, hears the military brass and CIA people tell Steve to go home and don't come back or he'll be thrown in jail. Steve tries to get out of bed to go help Catherine and Danny says, "she's a big girl, we don't want you in jail." I'm all, what? Did he really just encourage Steve to leave Catherine in Afghanistan with Taliban forces looking for her? Yes, yes he did. The same guy who was telling Steve at the beginning of the season that Catherine is the best thing that has ever happened to Steve. Oy. Oh well, I guess it sucks to be you Catherine.
I really thought Steve would do something, but he doesn't. Steve doesn't go after her. The next scene is him coming home. I did cut him some slack because he was wounded and recovering from torture, but this is a man who hasn't followed orders in the past to help someone he cared about. It seemed odd that he just left her there without even making an effort to locate her. (Hello, the man has resources, he could have called someone! Hired someone! Done something!) But he went home. (I guess the CIA and military threats of prison were bigger in his mind than I thought they were. Usually he doesn't care about stuff like that.)
Anyway, Catherine calls him from a SAT phone and they have one of the most emotional conversations I've seen on the show. Steve finally admits that he loves her, but the way he holds the phone from his ear, the way he chokes up as he says "I love you, you know," really tugged at my heartstrings. Catherine says she loves him, too, but she's going after Najib. They say aloha and she rides off into the sunset on a motorcycle. Honestly, Alex O'Loughlin and Michelle Borth killed those scenes. So, so great. Click here if you want to see that final scene. *sniffle*
The good thing is that the door isn't closed on their relationship and I hope the writers don't do that because it would trash Steve's character, his history, and the depth to him that we've come to love and want to watch for more. I hope we see Michelle on the show again and hear Steve talk about Catherine. I don't want the writers to let this drop. And there needs to be a bit of redemption for the way the character of Catherine was handled in the last half of the season. (And every woman on the show, really.)
As a Hawaii Five-O fan, I enjoy the relationships as well as the crime-fighting. I hope that next season we can see some stellar writing, especially for women, and get out of this slump that seems to have been front and center lately. Draw me back in, H50. Please.
So, at the end of the day, here's my little salute as an H50 fan---Aloha, Catherine. Your presence will be missed and I hope you come back soon!
(On another note, 24 is starting back up again tonight! And Castle and Blacklist are on! TV is good again, but what to watch first? Decisions, decisions.)