Hawaii Five-O Review: Taking Out the Trash

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"Ha'alele:" Abandoned

Allow me to start with the elephant in the room. This episode is the first of two episodes that will be affected by Alex O’Loughlin’s absence. That said, I have to give a nod to the writers and production staff for doing such a great job of adjusting this episode to deal with the missing McGarrett. I'm sure I speak for a lot of use when I say that I hope O'Loughlin's time off has helped him and I look forward to his return. 

With that out of the way, let’s talk about the amount of information we got on Max this week! What a revealing episode for him. When Masi Oka first joined the cast as Max Bergman back in Season One, I really didn't like the character at all. He was too quirky, the OCD and eccentricities really turned me off the character. 

Chin at Work

What a long way we've come since then. Max has softened and they toned down his bazaar nature into more a “geeky” nature (his license plate is Warp 9 after all).

And after nearly two seasons on the show, we finally learned the answer to the question I asked when he started - why he is Asian but have the last name "Bergman." The answer was simple: he was adopted. 

But then again, the answer wasn’t really simple was it? Not when his mother was a victim of the “Trash Man”. Max has been obsessed with the case ever since.

I really enjoyed the quid pro quo of Max asking Five-O to open the case as payment for the case he reopened for them. It showed depth and character that I would not have expected in 2010. 

Speaking of quid pro quo – Kamekona’s missing shrimp truck seemed a bit tacked on. While it did offer some mild comedic relief, Danny’s initial rudeness to Kamekona had my wife commenting on what an ass he is.

How many times has Kamekona stepped up for Five-O? Danny should have at least picked up the phone and gotten some officers dedicated to the case for the man!

Thankfully Danny eased up a bit on the jackass-ery and recruited Chin Ho and Kono to help him find Kamekona’s truck, making everything right with him and team again. Except for Max, who went to pick Richard Branch (the man accused of being the serial killer) from jail. 

I understood Max’s need to help Richard when he knew he was not the killer. Just as I’m sure that killing the real killer went a long way to making it feel like there was justice (or revenge) for his biological mother's death.

Losing a parent is hard, I can't imagine it would be easier on Max just because he didn't know his biological mother, just less direct emotions. I hope that helping Richard gave Max some closure on his mother's death. 

Ironically, for having started as a character I disliked, Max truly redeemed himself this week. He is even featured in a few of the most memorable Hawaii Five-O quotes from the episode! 

What did you think of Danny’s first turn as lead dog? Did you miss McGarrett the character or Alex the actor? Can you make it through one more episode without him? Comment below!


Editor Rating: 4.6 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.2 / 5.0 (155 Votes)

Jim G. is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow him on Twitter.


The episode was done very well, even though I was having Steve withdraws! That being said, I love the show! It was hard to watch it with Alex and I look forward to seeing him back!!!! After all, what is H50 without Steve McGarrett and no one else could play the character!!!


I'm not a Max fan but he was very good last night and won me over a bit more. Since the quirkiness has been toned down he was very believable as hurt, bewildered and upset. You're right Jim, all 3 men could have been the Trash Man. I missed Steve terribly last night - the show didn't have the same energy/edginess that it usually does. Also, I feel Chin is a much better leader than Danny. He's kind and compassionate, like Steve, whereas Danny is brash and headstrong. Kono was her usual self. Her face was so expressive watching Max tell his story. Good for Kamekono calling in a favor - at least Kono has $200 on her tab - maybe she'll treat the guys to lunch now! I'm happy that Alex is back because I think the show would suffer w/out him as Steve. Welcome back AlphaDawg - I missed you and you were missed! Stay well. In honor of Max: Live Long and Prosper!


Continued from last post ..... I am just thrilled AOL is back, there is a reason he is the lead and last night proved why. They are a great cast but I feel he is the glue. Welcome back alex, for me you were greatly missed.


I thought it was a good episode but it felt a little too low key for an episode about a serial killer. I think they all did a good job in the roles they took on but Mcg is very needed to pump up the volume as is the saying. He just brings an energy that was not there last night. That being said I love the whole cast of this show. I especially love DDK. He is just a sweetie and I love the way he portrays chin. Scott (danno)did an okay job for taking the lead in this one episode but no way could he carry it off from week to week. He does not have the compassion that steve has nor does he have the overall leadership qualities that are needed for an action show. I felt they all acted a little differently without steve to lead them. But still I thought they pulled together and produced a pretty good episode. And of course I love max, and I enjoyed seeing a different side to him last night, he does serious very well. And GP always brings it, she has the compassion to make up for danno's lack. But like lena said it is not a watch again epi for me. I am just happy that AOL is back on set cause if ever it is obvious he is needed on this show it was proven last night. And that is not a slight to the rest of the cast, it is just my opinion that AOL brings something special to the show, that is why he is the lead.


As for Alex, of course he was missed. They did a great job and I'm sure that the crossover will be good also. There was something missing, Steve, but they have done a great job. All four of our heroes need to be there, but the top dog will always be missed. If it were a permanent thing, then the show would suffer and would not make it through season 3, but this is only for 2 episodes. It's great that the show and CBS did not force Alex to continue and let him get the help he needed before it got too bad. The writers had to scramble to change some things, but I think they did a great job. I don't know when the ending scene was filmed, but Alex looked better. Welcome back Alex we missed you.


I very much liked this episode. I've always liked Max, but I'm glad as Jim G. said they are making him not so quirky. This was a great episode for Masi Oka to shine and I think he did it very well. Nice that the Nerdy guys get to be the hero once in a while. The plot was great, everyone's questions as to Max's last name was answered, and we had a lot of creepy looking guys in this episode. All 3 of the guys in the church looked like serial killers. It was great how the writers showed that it could be all three or anyone of them. Also, the actor in the prison, usually plays the creepy guy, this time he was innocent. Good for Max for cashing in on all he has done for 5-0, and asking them to re-open the case. Danny was fine as lead dog. I don't know why people get so upset at his sarcasm, or are so surprised. That's Danny, that's the character, and Scott plays him well. If he stopped then everyone would start complaining about the lack of quotes and one liners.


I missed Alex, it just wasn't the same show without him. The rest did their best, especially Masi Oka (love him), but it was obvious that Alex is the glue and the spark that keeps this show shining. One more show without him?...ok...and I certainly don't want him to come back before he's better, but I am looking forward to seeing the show whole again.


Congratulations to the producers for making the best possible out of the AOL situation. Good job by Masi Oka. Usually when a show builds an episode around a secondary character, it's a sign the show is "jumping the shark" but not so in this case. The twists and turns made for an engrossing hour if you don't try to do the math. Masi Oka is 38. That would be about right for his character a Medical Examiner given the amount of training and experience needed for that job. Which would put the original cases back in the original 5-O era. Come back soon Steve. Danno is a great detective, but isn't mature enough to be the boss.


Thanks Jim for your great review!! Watch it but will never watch it again
very forgettable episode! I'm not Max biggest fan so I was prepared for a boring episode and was I right!
For me, watching this episode was as if it had lost all his energy and his action's now that Steve/Alex had to leave the show for a while, even Scott/Danny acting was off he is so much better when he is around Steve/Alex. H50 is not the same without Steve/Alex I was so looking forward to the cross-over even when I heard that Alex would not be in it but now I wished they already where over I want McG back as leader of Five-O. Is it May yet!!

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Hawaii Five-0 Season 2 Episode 20 Quotes

Danny: Sit down, don't stand up again.
Cal: Look I was working last night, you can check with my manager.
Danny: Ok, I'm going to check with your manager and if I find out you're lying to me, I'm going to come back here and put you in a mayonnaise jar.

Chin Ho: Hey, where's McGarrett?
Danny: He left a "Dear Danny" note on my desk this morning, he's off looking for Shelburn again.