Hard-core “Hawaii Five-O” fans had a summer they never dreamed of, and that doesn't mean it was paradise. First, there were the tumultuous departures of Daniel Dae Kim and Grace Park following failed negotiations for salary parity. That abrupt transition alone was enough to bring many to tears. To make matters worse, traditions unique to “Hawaii Five-O” and the sense of “ohana” that the drama has its fans, such as the blessing of the new season and the usual “Sunset on the Beach” gala to celebrate the premiere were not made public or announced in the usual fashion.

Many fans plan their annual budgets and vacations around the celebration, so seeing nothing in that usual calendar space was heartbreaking.

Season 8 got off to a scorching start, with Alex O'Loughlin and Scott Caan at their crime-fighting best, and even more committed to staying a “couple” with their restaurant venture as McGarrett and “Danno.” Roles for the other core members of the elite “Five-O” are expanding and taking on more depth, with Captain Grover (Chi McBride) Jerry (Jorge Garcia) Sgt. Duke (Dennis Chun) and Noelani (Kimee Balmilero) taking bigger roles through storylines.

With Beulah Koale coming on in last night's October 6 second episode as the aspiring and adaptable Junior Reigns, all the introductions are made, and the “Hawaii Five-O” shores are ready to receive guests as usual.

Fans can put “Sunset on the Beach” in ink on the calendar again—for November, and a furry cast member just might join the fun.

The date and destiny

Executive producer Peter Lenkov said the team is thrilled to announce that the “Sunset on the Beach” festivities will continue this year in Waikiki on November 10, as reported in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser.

He described the event as “a highlight of our year” echoing exactly the sentiment of millions of viewers. Organizers intend this year's festivities to honor veterans, which is the reason for the timing with Veteran’s Day. The evening allows new and steady cast members to mix and mingle with the faithful legions. Alex O'Loughlin, Scott Caan, Dennis Chun, Chi McBride, Taylor Wily, Ian Anthony Dale, and Kimee Balmilero are all expected to attend.

Good things come to those who wait. With any luck, the newest cast member to join “Hawaii Five-O” and the McGarrett home, Eddie, the dog, will share some kibble and kisses.

Honor and tradition are always reflected in “Hawaii Five-O” and for believers, definitely, have something to do with the long-running destiny of the show. The blessing of the season for this year was held privately, and the delay of “Sunset” likely was part of giving the new cast members a period of adjustment to get comfortable.

Another hero with heart

Destiny is most certainly coming through already in the“Hawaii Five-O” episodeNa la ‘ilio” (Dog Days). Steve McGarrett can't help but see himself in Junior Reigns, saluting him at the door, and being so courteous and determined at once that he does a bang-job on a wash for the commander’s truck.

Honor and enthusiasm only go so far, and the returning Navy Seal learns that he can't leapfrog straight into “Five-O” on skill or desire alone, but he will get the chance at his dream after he graduates from the police academy, under his hero’s watch. There is a lot more to this character’s story to be told, and already it's clear that Alex O'Loughlin will be bringing a characterization of “passing the torch” and leaving his lessons within this officer for the next generation.

Heroes can most assuredly have fur rather than medals, too. Drug-sniffer extraordinaire, Eddie, saves his cherished owner/handler once, but cannot save him from every flying bullet during a drug intercept ambush. Eddie takes his own bullet.

Danny has the superb admonition, “You shoot a dog, you’re going to hell.” Steve McGarrett understands the dog’s place as a fallen soldier, and the urgency of his summons for aid as the dog's head rests in his lap is heartrending.

Eddie recovers and rises to heroic heights in saving Captain Grover from doom, and doing permanent damage to the dirty DEA agent running the operation. Canine assistance helps “Five-O” get the biggest drug bust in Hawaiian history. The “heart shot” of the night is a tie between Steve's kiss on the head for the pooch and the patriotic funeral for the deceased Agent Lazio (Stephen Oyoung), with Eddie’s head pictured over the lowering casket.

Steve finally confesses to Danny that Eddie has worked his way into the McGarrett heart and home, complete with organic chicken dinners, despite being a cat fan.

Man and dog find an even deeper kismet when Steve finds Eddie at the graveside of his deceased owner. Loss is something they both have suffered, and hopefully, there will be days of sun, surf, and solace between the two in days to come.

Scott Caan again speaks Danny's line, “Things are changing.” There is a wet nose kind of comfort for everyone with this change on “Hawaii Five-O.”