Hawaii Five-0 postmortem: Chi McBride reflects on family episode’s impact

Hawaii Five-0Friday night’s Hawaii Five-0 episode is one that, at its core, is all about family. There’s the biological family that we saw in the form of Grover’s parents, brother, wife, and kids, and then there is the larger, extended Five-0 family (the ohana) that you saw come together at the end of the episode.

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Without some resolution to Grover’s biological family story tonight we’re not sure we would have ever gotten to the scene at the end. Grover had to come to terms with his brother Percy Jr. and realize just how much he actually meant to him. The two spent most of the episode fighting, even to the point where Lou tried to use a bet to ban him from future Thanksgiving events. That all changed after some heart-to-heart conversations (and the house almost burning down). Grover realized just how much the man meant to him and that he didn’t want to live the rest of his life without his brother around. Percy Sr. stood up for him as a kid, and that’s one of the reasons why he wanted to become a cop in the first place.

So what did Chi McBride have to about crafting this emotional storyline, and why was it so important to him? As a part of our recent interview with him this week (read the first part of it here), McBride opened up about his experience filming this episode and how this story was necessary for Lou and Percy Jr. to figure things out:

I wanted to come up with something people could identify with, and amazingly enough, while we were shooting it I had many fly-on-the-wall experiences. I would overhear people saying ‘oh yeah, I need to call my brother,’ or ‘I remember getting into a fight with my brother, and by midnight we were all drunk and crying.’ I was there on the set every day. If you’re writing the episode, you don’t get any days off, so I was there whether I was filming or not. I was watching at the sound cart a scene between Percy Sr. and Will, played by Lou Gossett Jr. and Chosen Jacobs, one where Percy Sr. is passing down a generational schematic in terms of how we feel about our partners, our wives, and how we treat them. How we revere them. In that scene, Will is like ‘you’re scared of grandma,’ and Percy Sr. is like ‘yeah, I’m scared of not measuring up to this incredible woman; someday, you’ll be lucky to be scared.’ He’s passing that down to him. I’m watching this thing, and there’s a woman from the hair department who’s just sitting behind me and sniffling. When they cut, I turn around and say ‘are you okay?’ and she’s fanning herself … She connected emotionally with something like that. She got to see a personal, intimate moment of how someone forms their system of values — how that is passed on from generation to generation.

This American family is no different from any other in that they love each other. They love hard and they fight hard. Lou thinks his brother is a ne’er-do-well guy who has always had one foot in a jail cell and another on a banana peel — versus [himself], who has become this paragon of the community. The truth is, they don’t get along because they are very much alike. The story that I had in my head is that Lou’s mother and father were cops too, and my father’s had to deal with us growing up into manhood and with my brother being named after him and not making anything of his life. He’s had a questionable kind of past and existence, as juxtaposed against a brother who is in law enforcement and a father who is in law enforcement. We are all cut from the same cloth in that Lou’s father may be the reason why he has such respect for the law, but he is also the same reason why his brother will protect his family by any means necessary. That’s not something that Lou had not come to terms with — how much that meant. Him telling Percy that he made a man out of him is something that Percy has been looking to get for years, just like Percy should have said how proud he was of his achievements.

It’s amazing in that the family dynamic is drawn to conflict by what you don’t say and what you don’t address. Often, those things don’t come out until you’ve got two guys rolling around in the backyard and your mother crying and your father with a stern look on his face and your wife’s upset with you and your kid being like ‘who the f— is that? Is my dad doing that?’. Sometimes, it takes that to bring things to the surface.

What did you think about this Hawaii Five-0 episode, and everything that transpired for Lou Grover throughout? Share right now in the attached comments! (Photo: CBS.)

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