Alex O'Loughlin of “Hawaii Five-O” has been a driving force on the police drama—in a very literal sense. He is famous for taking the wheel of Detective Danny Williams’ (Scott Caan) cars for heart-pounding chases as Lt. Commander Steve McGarrett. The actors are equally famous for their “carguments” which were exhibited through many seasons as part of the “bromance” between the partners. Steve and Danny shared a bond so deep that couples’ therapy became mandated for their continued employment within “Hawaii Five-O.” Much of their on-screen chemistry came through impromptu sessions between the co-stars, and the same rapport has come with added members to the team’s “ohana.”

it's very clear that Alex O'Loughlin felt very committed to bringing his best effort in writing, directing, and starring in this week's emotionally riveting November 8 Episode 7 for Season 10, ”Ka’I’o” (DNA).

The leading man described the episode as one that “Hawaii Five-O” fans would appreciate. The versatile star certainly brought a moving closure to the character of Doris McGarrett, brilliantly brought to the small screen by Christine Lahti since the finale of Season 2, through Season 3, and again in Season 7, when her character was last seen on “Hawaii Five-O.” Like many fans, O'Loughlin didn’t feel that Doris’ storyline was handled in a “satisfactory” way. Duty, honor, a mother's failings, and a son’s devotion wrap around every scene and line of this “Five-O” treasure.

Defending an agent’s honor

Steve McGarrett finally learned that his mother was “Shelburne” after the disclosure of her CIA identity by Joe White (Terry O'Quinn), who had helped her stay under deep cover for 20 years. Steve and his sister thought their mother had been killed in a bombing accident, later to learn that the incident was staged by design. Doris McGarrett described that all she had done was for the protection of her children, but nothing could explain away the sense of isolation and abandonment that both siblings shared.

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Their relationship was further embroiled in deception when it came to light that Doris shot the mother of Steve McGarrett's greatest nemesis, Wo Fat (Mark Dacascos) but allowed the enemy to escape during an encounter at the McGarrett home.

Nonetheless, when the name “Shelburne” is said as the agent responsible for shooting her partner, Edison Cavallo, and being in cahoots with a vicious killer and drug-runner, Carmen Luca (Onahoua Rodriguez), Steve McGarrett is incredulous, insisting “your Intel is bad” to Agent Coen (Taylor Handley).

Coen proposes a one-shot attempt to McGarrett to extract his mother from Columbia, but it's not as simple as hopping a plane. Luca has informants and henchmen throughout the country, so the “Hawaii Five-O” boss will have to make his way to Mexico and Panama to attempt to reach Doris. Other than a “point-man” Matteo Diaz (Benito Martinez), McGarrett must be on his own, by order of the State Department.

As much as he wants to get his mother out, he has no idea of the ordeal of the dangerous operation, and he needs help.

Steve feels the danger when he and Diaz come to the first Colombian checkpoint and he sees the first cock of a rifle. He yells for Diaz to drive, but the driver is shot in the neck. The vehicle goes off the road into a ravine, and bursts into flames. Steve emerges and runs on foot to meet his travel directions.

He pays his way to get to his mother and has a heart-wrenching encounter with her as she drops off of payment from Luca to the port authority. She insists that she “went dark for the right reasons” and she will contact her son ASAP if leaves the country. “I ain’t leaving without you,” he declares. When he tries to pull her into a restroom to make an escape, Doris pistol whips her son and resumes her drop all.

With his mother under accusations of being compromised, he reminds her that “my life's been compromised for the last 20 years."

Junior (Beulah Koale) tracks Steve's whereabouts in Mexico, using height calculations and sunlight. The younger Navy Seal, who is like a son to Steve, appeals to Danny to give the nod for “the move, even though he can’t say it.” Scott Caan has largely detached himself from many major “Hawaii Five-O” storylines since his 2017 arm and ACL injuries, but when it comes to family, Steve and Danny are bonded forever.

Both partners adore Grace, and fans will remember that Steve was by Danny side on another tragic trek to Columbia, when it was revealed that Marco Reyes murdered Danny's brother, Matt, and stuffed his body in an oil barrel. Junior insists that the choice is to “wait in hope” or to act now.

Junior assembles a worthy team of support for his boss, much like the one in the Montana cabin where Steve and Joe White fought off Omar Hassan’s assassins in the Season 9 fall finale. The beautiful Montana sky, a beloved tree, and the arms of someone who loved him brought Joe White peace in his passing. We can only wonder if Doris McGarrett came to any such peace.

The strike force can't save Doris

With every ounce of skill and precision they can muster, Steve and his allies mount a valiant effort to get Doris. They rig a dummy truck with massive explosives at a loading dock where the “product” is unloaded and dispersed. Under an unimaginable siege, Steve comes to Doris in a corner, asking her where Luca is. He radios that his target is secure, expecting to take her out to safety and a chance at a normal life. When he asks again, Luca knocks Steve to the ground with a gunshot, asking who he is, since Doris wouldn't shoot him.

He tells her that he is Doris’ son. She takes Doris at gunpoint.

Junior’s aim takes down Luca, but she has already fatally stabbed Doris. Steve calls to Junior for “field dressing” and does all he can to stop the bleeding. She affirms her love for her son and says “I'm so sorry,” over and over. There are no lovely skylines above Doris, but there is her son, and knowing that his parents’ sense of duty forged the man he is.

The scenes of McGarrett, his mother, and Junior clasping hands have a silent and lyrical artistry, and only Alex O'Loughlin understands the bond of those characters so well.

Steve is still in a state of near delirium when he meets Coen in Washington, DC to receive and identify the bodies. He tries to attack Coen, but the agent calms him, assuring that his mother “did her job” to the very end, placing tracking on every item she handled.

Later, Danny knocks on Steve’s hotel room door. He wants to make sure his partner gets back to Hawaii. Steve ponders about accepting life “on life's terms,” because no one knows “what it looks like” in the end. Danny tells Steve that Doris had deposited $500,000 in her granddaughter, Joni’s, name in a Swiss bank.

She was trying to do the same for Steve and Marianne.

She became too entrenched to understand that a mother’s presence is a priceless gift whose value cannot be measured. “All she had to do was get on a plane and come home,” laments her son.

Junior wondered aloud if Steve was ready for the truth. Every parental figure in his life has now been murdered, and that harsh truth will take real courage to confront and overcome.

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