This week we are featuring the characters that are gone, but hopefully not forgotten, who are part of the Shelburne story. This post comes with a disclaimer of sorts in that the analysis of the Shelburne story is based on the research that @AliciaGecko and I did for the Buster project. If you’re interested in reading about our conclusions from this research, click on the ‘Buster project’ link at the top of this page. You’ll need the password so just email me at andreabriz24 at hotmail dot com and I will send it to you.
Just so you know, though, we’re still a bit confused about the whole Shelburne thing (and tired of it dragging out!). But we’re hoping things become clearer as S3 draws to a close.
Anyway, the first ‘gone but not forgotten’ character to be featured is Victor Hesse. Victor was only in three episodes before he met his death at the hands of His Evilness himself, Wo Fat. Victor was of course in the pilot when he killed Poppa McGarrett in retaliation for McG killing Anton, Victor’s brother, in the operation that opens the series.
I’m still a bit confused about this as we found out later that Victor was on the island before McG was (by order of Wo Fat) so I’m not really sure if it was planned that Poppa McGarrett would die. There seems to be a huge coincidence at play here – Victor on the island already – so was it meant to be a cover for Poppa McG’s murder? If so, then Wo Fat used Victor to get to Poppa McG and he was ultimately responsible for Anton’s death.
Later we come across Victor, when he embarked on his Revenge Project by putting a bomb necklace on our Chin, forcing the team to steal a large sum of money from the HPD asset forfeiture locker to try to get him back (episode 1.12). It turned out that this was indeed a Revenge Project as it wasn’t about the money at all. Luckily for Chin, McG’s a*smashing and Kono’s sniper skills save the day. Not so lucky is Victor, who ends up in jail.
In the season 2 opener, we see Victor for the third and final time as he engages in some serious hand-to-hand combat with McG, who’s in jail for not murdering the Governor. The resulting shanking of McG is not just for shanking’s sake – it is so that McG can escape from jail and get Wo Fat before he gets Victor. The plan works and McG is indeed on the lam, but Victor overestimated McG’s getting-of-Wo-Fat-abilities and Wo Fat dispenses him PDQ.
It’s hard to know what to think of Victor because we don’t really know what his motivations were other than to save his own skin but there could have been an element of shifting loyalties and revenge against Wo Fat for the death of Anton. No matter what, I think James Marsters is one hell of an actor (he had me at Spike and will always be Spike to me!) so I could appreciate the fine performance he gave as Victor Hesse. I thought his confrontations with McG were terrific action pieces and I was kind of sad to see him go. (As an aside, I remember reading somewhere how in awe James was of Alex in the fight scenes , calling him ‘a mountain’. He sure is that!)
Next up is Laura Hills. We didn’t ever really know much about Laura at all so I suppose we weren’t meant to care about her. She was in three episodes but only one of those relates to the Shelburne story. Her first appearance was in one of my favourite episodes of the entire series, 1.7. Laura liaises with the Five Ohs on behalf of the Governor during the hostage situation on the Missouri. Then she’s in one of the not-so-good episodes of the entire series, 1.9, when she brings the Five Ohs into the security operation to protect General Pak.
At this point, her character hadn’t had much of an impact although I did think she was very pretty. Which is important, of course, and totally pertinent to the plot :). It was in 1.24, though, when her character really grabbed my attention. First off, there was the scene with Chin. This is where McG utters his famous line “she’s just s*xting you with her eyes” (total shout out to H50 Sardonic!) when referring to a possible attraction between Laura and Chin.
It’s really funny because (a) eye s*xting is your forte, McG and (b) McG thinks that Chin is clueless when it comes to women, also your forte, McG. At this point, I was really hoping for something to eventuate between Chin and Laura, just because I liked the idea of them being together. Sorry, Malia.
The writers set up the shocking next scene really well as ever so briefly, we see something of Laura to make us care about her and we get a sniff of what could be and and then BOOM! In relation to the Shelburne story, we find out later in the episode that Laura had been sending McG clues from the stolen Champ Box, one each week. Bravo, Laura! It seemed that this bravery got her killed, though. Shame.
This leads on to the third ‘gone but not forgotten’ character, Governor Pat Jameson. We first met the Governor in the pilot, when she offers McG a sea change (*groan*), as head of an elite taskforce to tackle high level crime and corruption on the island, triggered by the murder of McG’s father who had been investigating said corruption.
The Governor is in another three episodes before she also meets a grim end at the hands of Wo Fat. She’s in episode 1.5, when she calls on the team to come to the aid of her friend, the US Ambassador to the Philippines, after one of his daughters is murdered and the other is kidnapped. When the Five Ohs help secure the daughter’s release, the Governor is so grateful and Jean Smart does a bang up job of conveying this.
So I like the Governor at this point because she seems like a tough, no-nonsense sort of woman with an element of humility and honesty. But then in episode 1.13 (when the Champ Box is stolen and Mary is kidnapped) the Shelburne plot thickens and I have to re-evaluate. McG is only just discovering the role the Yakuza may have played in his parents’ deaths when he finds the Governor out to lunch with Yakuza head, Hiro Noshimuri (who is known in the Buster universe as HNoshi). What is going on here?
The Governor later visits McG at Five Oh HQ to explain her lunch date. I’m really torn here, because I like her tough customer approach (she drinks beer out of a bottle in McG’s office, no less!). I smell a rat but the Governor tries to deflect attention away from her lunching with Devil to focus on the business HNoshi generates in Hawaii. McG reminds her that this businessman is also the head of the Yakuza. Good point, McG! The Governor caves somewhat here and tells him that she trusts his instincts but that he will need solid evidence if he’s going to go after a man with such power and resources. Do you believe she is a baddie at this point? Was she just trying to find out what McG knew?
The next time we see the Governor, it’s her last episode, the season 1 finale. Despite it appearing as if the Governor had something to do with Laura’s death, she seems genuinely shocked after the explosion. I understand (from a reliable source, namely Alicia!) that atplenkov hadn’t told Jean Smart that her character was a baddie and it’s possible that she didn’t even know when this scene was filmed.
When McG works out that the key from the Champ Box fits the bureau in the Governor’s office that contained the stolen items which Laura had been sending him one by one, he confronts the Governor. Dressed in ninja gear! The Governor, again with Jean Smart doing an amazing job in this role, talks about immunity and means and all that but also about keeping your friends close but your enemies closer. So did she assign McG to the taskforce to keep watch over him, knowing he’d go all out to find his father’s killer and thus implicate her and her besties, HNoshi and Wo Fat? What role did she play in the Shelburne story – in the death of Momma McGarrett and Wo Fat’s activities with the Yakuza?
The jury’s still out in my mind and I’m struggling with the Governor as a baddie because she kind of rocked it. Also, there seem to be a lot of unanswered questions. There was a connection to McG, through his father, and she showed genuine gratitude in episode 1.5 for the team’s help and concern in 1.13 when Mary was kidnapped. She also seemed to me to be really struggling with Laura’s death. What was her motive for setting up the taskforce? Was she trying to use McG to unfriend Wo Fat and exact revenge for Poppa McG’s death? Or did she really think that McG would never figure anything out and thus the Champ Box clues and McG’s superior detecting skills became a real problem for her and Wo Fat?
Our final ‘gone but not forgotten’ character from the Shelburne suite is Special Agent Jenna Kaye. Jenna was in six episodes from late season 1 until the fateful episode in season 2 where she betrays McG and he is tortured by Wo Fat for Shelburne’s identity. But we had little inkling of this when Jenna is first introduced, in episode 1.19.
She arrives in Five Oh-land full of information about Wo Fat – notably that he is a serious Criminal Mastermind wanted by the CIA and responsible for many evil doings, including having a hand in the disappearance of Jenna’s fiancé. It turns out that Jenna has gone rogue on the CIA and is investigating Wo Fat on her own. So we know that she has a personal reason to want to find Wo Fat which ties her to McG who also ends up with personal reasons for wanting same (i.e. that Wo Fat and the Yakuza are behind his parents’ deaths). Up until episode 2.10 (the North Korea ep), I really liked Jenna and I liked the way she blended with the team without usurping anyone else. That she was around made sense to me and the way she worked with the team well, worked. I am not sure whether the writers were going for sexual tension with McG, but I never got that vibe. It seemed more like a brother-sister thing to me. I thought Larissa Oleynik had really good chemistry with Alex and she was a quirky presence and an interesting character.
Her first five episodes were peppered with some good moments, including her bumbled entrance into McG’s life in 1.19, her involvement in the sarin ep (1.23) where she saved Danny’s life, and her work with the team to help solve the cases in the season 1 finale and in episode 2.2 (the infamous horse riding episode). Here is a selection of her appearances in these episodes:
In the season 2 opener, things turned to matters Shelburne. Jenna was adorable in this episode in her ‘undercover’ role at Kamekona’s shave ice stand and she was the one who figured out where to find the film that showed Poppa McGarrett meeting with Wo Fat in the Governor’s office. This was the first mention of Shelburne, the name that was revealed to us when Kensi Blye from NCIS was brought in to conduct a lip reading analysis on the tape in episode 2.6. So it was possible that Poppa was investigating Yakuza/Wo Fat activities and this is what got him killed. But who is Shelburne? What does Shelburne have to do with Mom’s fake death? And why was Poppa shaking hands with a bad dude like Wo Fat?
Things change somewhat after 2.1 when Victor is killed by Wo Fat as we see Jenna driving away from the prison with Wo riding shotgun. This is our first sniff of her betrayal.
Then of course things completely unravel in episode 2.10. Jenna asks for McG’s help to rescue her fiancé. She says she has some intell that he is in North Korea. Of course McG wants to help because he’s really a big softie and he knows how desperately Jenna wants to locate her fiancé. But we soon discover that she has betrayed McG and has handed him over to Wo Fat.
What follows is pretty harrowing but it does provide us with one of the best episodes of the entire series in terms of the actors flexing their acting muscles. No matter how you feel about Jenna and her actions, Larissa and Alex acted the sh*t out of these scenes.
So Wo Fat knows the name Shelburne and he thinks that Shelburne was behind his father’s murder which why he is embarking on his very own Revenge Project. He tortures McG for Shelburne’s identity. This is a fruitless task as McG hasn’t the first clue who Shelburne is nor does he know why Wo Fat wants to know so badly. I remember feeling a bit confused at the time because I couldn’t quite work out why McG had to go all the way to North Korea to be tortured. Also, why does Wo Fat think McG would know who Shelburne is? I guess the reason he thinks this is because of the meeting with Poppa McG in the Governor’s office and the investigation into corruption on the island. The story becomes very convoluted about now because of the later-revealed identity of Shelburne. So Poppa was investigating corruption that led to Wo Fat’s door. Wo Fat’s father was murdered possibly by Shelburne who turns out to be Momma McGarrett who disappears to hide from the very person her husband is investigating? Confused? I am.
Anyway, enough of all that. The big question here is whether Jenna’s betrayal was complete. I think she was very naïve and driven by an intense desire to find her fiancé, for love and for redemption because it was her intell that led her fiancé to the operation that made him disappear. I think she cared about McG but was blinded by her own agenda and foolishly had no idea what the consequences of her actions would be. (But seriously, did she really think Wo Fat wanted McG in North Korea for a lunch date?). I can’t in any way justify what she did, of course, but I think I can understand it. Did she earn redemption by ultimately sacrificing herself to save McG once she realized her fiancé had been murdered and the results of her actions so shockingly apparent?
Despite enduring torture at the hands of Wo Fat, McG’s gentle hand on her face after he manages to free himself seems to show that he did care about her and perhaps understood her actions, in terms of the lengths one would go to in order to protect/save a loved one. Perhaps we are being asked to forgive Jenna because McG may have – he seems to have removed her necklace which was there when he puts his hand on her face but gone when Danny arrives. Is this symbolic of his forgiveness, like holding on to a fallen comrade’s dogtags? (Also, he does say to Joe in a later episode that Jenna paid for Shelburne with her life.)
But we’ll never really know, will we, as the fallout from this episode has never been dealt with properly (well, at all really). On camera, anyway. And despite giving the audience one hell of an episode, it’s a shame in a way that it happened because it is now a lost opportunity for Show in terms of dealing with the fallout and I was really sorry to see Jenna go. Larissa Oleynik really did a wonderful job with the character.
So that completes our series on the ‘gone but not forgotten’ characters. There’ll be more on Shelburne – Mom, Dad, Wo Fat, Joe White – when we find out the real story behind it all. Well, we hope we find out the real story!
(Thanks to my OzBrit sister and fellow Buster-aholic, Alicia, for her valuable feedback on the draft version, particularly for pointing out the dogtag symbolism. Also thanks to Westy for indulging in my passion for character analysis and for not freaking out when she sees the length of my posts! The screencaps were brought to you by screencaps by aithine.org, by the way.)