The Steve McGarrett Story
– If You Love Someone, Set Them Free –
For me, Hawaii Five-0 soon became about Alex, and therefor about Steve and his story.
The Story that you will find hidden, amongst all the procedural stories, through all the season. The deeper personal story and the mythology around the man, that runs closer to him than his team and his work Ohana.
That story that was not always the priority of the writers, but if you look hard enough you will find it there ….. somewhere.
I have written a lot about that story, up until the first part of Season 4, and that is why I want to now start this summary of the story at the end of Season 4.
Just a small summary of the part of the season before then – We all know that mom was dead and then back and then gone again at the end of Season 3. We only heard small bits of news about her whereabouts, after she left again. During Season 3, Wo Fat was captured and shipped to the mainland, but at the end of Season 4, he escaped again – one of his last visitors being mother McGarrett. He arrives in Hawaii and sends Steve a message via Grover’s daughter, that they needed to meet.
As far as Steve’s other family were concerned, we hardly got any news of Mary, apart from the fact that she pitched up with an adopted child during Season 4. We were also introduced to a “dying” Aunt Deb during Season 4.
And at the end of Season 4, we all thought this might be the end of the romance between Steve and Catherine. And it was in a sense the end, and then it was not, and then it was ….. and then it was not.
At that time I wrote a post about the romance, to kind of say goodbye to the couple and ask the question of whether this was the end of them. You can read that story here: Steve singing with Barry White ………… a requiem for a romance?
Of course, my Barry White story actually ends before Episode 4:21, so we will pick up on the story from there…..
Hope you will enjoy this trip down memory lane with us.
We start this summary of our story at around May 2014
This is the episode where Steve accompanies Cath to try to save the boy in Afganistan. Steve is captured and tortured and would most probably be executed. She takes the best action possible and secures the safety of the kids who they saved. She then calls Danny and Joe to get help for Steve. He is saved by a SEAL team.
In the end, she stays behind in Afganistan. There is a phone call between the two lovers once Steve arrives back home. At that time he did not know where she was or if she was even okay:
Steve: Hello? Catherine?
Steve: Catherine. Where are you? You okay?
Cath: Yeah, I’m fine, I’m fine. Hassan’s men were searching the area, and I had to lay low until they were gone.
Steve: What about the kids?
Cath: They’re safe. They’re safe.
Steve: Was Najib with them?
Cath: No. No, but I got a lead on where he might be. I think they might have taken him across the border.
Steve: You’re gonna go after him, aren’t you?
Cath: Yeah. Yeah, I am. I have to. And-and I can’t come back until I find him.
Steve: Okay, well, that’s fine. That’s fine. I’m gonna come back, all right? I’m gonna come back. We can do this together. I’ll help you find him.
Cath: Steve, no.
Cath: No, listen to me. You’ve helped me enough, okay? It’s better for me to do this alone. I can keep a low profile that way. It’s just easier. You know I’m right. You understand why I need to do this, don’t you?
Steve: Yeah, of course, I do. You just promise me…
Cath: I promise you I’ll be careful. I’ll be careful, okay?
Steve: I love you, you know.
Catherine: I love you, too.
To refresh your memory, you can read my review of the episode here:
And some added thoughts about it here:
During the following weeks around May 2014, we hear what was happening with Catherine, via a conversation with Danny.
Danny: Well, …. speaking of …. missing persons, you talk to Catherine at all?
Steve: You being genuine?
Steve: Okay, yes, I have, actually. We texted last night. She has a solid lead on Najib’s whereabouts, and she’s headed to the Hindu Kush.
Danny: Doesn’t sound like she’s coming back any time soon.
Steve: Probably not till she finds that boy.
Danny: I’m genuinely sorry. I know that, that is tough.
Steve: Thanks, man. Yeah, it’s tough, but, ... but I get it. Catherine’s been in the military half her life. She’s doing what she was trained to do. She’s not coming home until the job is done.
Later that year, around November 2014, Steve kills Wo Fat while he was being tortured by Wo Fat. For some reason, Wo Fat thought that Steve had information about the whereabouts of his dad.
Ironically, Steve thought for 20 years that his mother was dead and Wo Fat thought for nearly 40 years this his dad was dead – and then they both discover during these past years, that their parents were still alive and they share a complex history together.
We get some answers about Doris and Wo Fat and their connection during this episode.
You can read my thoughts and summary about the show up to that point here:
And my thoughts on the episode here:
It also includes a summary of the story around Wo Fat and the McGarrett’s over the years
And later that month in November 2014, Aunt Deb arrives in Hawaii for a visit.
For some reason, Aunt Deb never mentions Wo Fat, but she knows Catherine well and asks about her when she and Steve talks about the meaning of life and love.
Deb: And now, you know, I can leave this earth, knowing that I have experienced the most profound and life-altering thing a person can. I just hope that someday you’ll know how wonderful that feels. Steve, you’re so willing to risk your life. When are you gonna be willing to risk your heart?
Steve: I did.
Deb: Then where’s Catherine?
Steve: She’s in Afghanistan
Steve: We went over there together, looking for a little boy she knew from her time in the country; his name is Najib. He’d been kidnapped by the Taliban. Catherine found him. He’s okay, but … she’s worried that the Taliban will come back, so she decided to stay a while. Try to protect these kids in the village. She’s teaching at a little school …. she’s making a life. So she’s not coming back? She said to me I shouldn’t wait for her, that she’s found her place.
Deb: Honey, I’m so sorry.
You can read my thoughts about that episode here:
Some months later, somewhere during the cause of 2015, Kono gets married.
Cath arrives at Steve’s house to attend Kono’s wedding.
Steve And Danny discuss her return.
Danny: Look, I like Catherine very much, okay? And I’m just not too happy about the way that she left things. And now she comes back, not so much as a phone call … I think that, for you, it be good to find out, … what her plans are, so she doesn’t, …, you know, rip your heart out again, that’s all.
Steve: Well, she didn’t rip my heart out, Danny. She went to, …. do what she thought was right.
Danny: Right, she left you for a, for a bunch of strangers.
Steve: She went to help people in need, but as I said before, Danny, I don’t expect you to understand.
Danny: Oh, ’cause I don’t help people in need? That’s what I do for a living. I do it every day. I just wouldn’t walk over my family members to do it.
Steve: That’s a little overdramatic, even for you.
Danny: Really? ‘Cause I was gonna say something a lot worse, I just didn’t want to hurt your feelings.
Of course, personal life always takes a backseat in Steve’s life, but before the Island nearly blows up, Cath and Steve get to exchange these few words
Steve: So, after the wedding… how long you planning on staying?
Cath: I don’t know. How long do you want me to stay?
Steve never answers her.
You can read my thoughts on that episode here:
We still continue at Kono’s wedding and the days after …
Steve tells Danny that he is going to ask Cath to marry him. That is great news. because by making the commitment, he would show her that he wants here to stay forever.
Danny: You want to be alone, you want to be miserable for the rest of your life, don’t listen to me.
Steve: You are alone and you are always miserable, and-and that is exactly why I’m not listening to you, okay? And that’s also why I’m gonna ask Catherine to marry me.
Danny: Say that again.
Steve: I said you’re always miserable.
Danny: The other part!
Steve: I’m gonna ask Catherine to marry me.
Danny: Well, it is about time.
Steve: I agree with you. It’s, … something I should have done a long time ago.
You can read my thought on the episode here:
Still around the same time somewhere in 2015
The criminals in Hawaii keep them busy and there is hardly time for personal stuff. It becomes clear by the few words the two lovers do get to exchange.
Cath: Best thing you can do right now? Come home. Get some rest.
Steve: I can’t find Gabriel. Now I lost Trout and Duclair? How am I supposed to sleep, knowing these guys are out there?
Cath: Yeah, I knew you weren’t gonna go for that. It’s who we are. Job always comes first, right?
Cath: Okay. I’m gonna go get you some coffee, then.
Steve: Thank you. Hey, Catherine.
Steve: I, … I was really hoping that you and I could, …. could spend some time together.
Cath: We will. We will.
Steve: Thanks for coming home.
Cath: There is no other place that I would rather be.
Still around the same time somewhere in 2015
Steve was getting the ring ready, and he was preparing to execute his operation of the marriage proposal to Catherine. Then one morning he hears Cath on the phone – speaking to someone in a foreign language.
Rather than to ask Cath about it, he begins to worry that she will leave and shares his thoughts with Danny.
Steve: Catherine, man.
Danny: Ah, that was gonna be my next question. What happened?
Steve: Well, I overheard her on the phone this morning, all right? And she’s talking to somebody in Afghanistan.
Danny: And you think that she’s what– maybe getting ready to leave again?
Steve: Yeah. I do.
Danny: Did she say that?
Steve: No. I don’t know. I mean, my Pashto’s a little rusty, but there was something in her voice.
Danny: Did you ask her about it? No. Of course, you didn’t. You gotta ask her about it, Steve. First things first. You gotta confront her and see what’s going on.
Steve: Okay. And say what? “Hey, honey. So I was listening in on your phone call and…”
Danny: You don’t get to worry about that. That phone call was a, …. house casualty.
Steve: A “house casualty”?
Steve: What is a “house casualty”?
Danny: It means that it happened in your house, so it’s, you know, everything’s fair game. You know what I mean? Like, she made a call, you just happened to overhear it.
Steve: Yeah, she’s in my… I’m not eavesdropping. No. It’s my house.
Danny: That’s my point. It’s a no-fault “violation” of privacy. You see? She can’t get upset about that.
Steve: But still, if she’s thinking of leaving, she must have her reasons.
Danny: Yeah, but it’s a reason that I believe that she should be sharing with the guy that’s potentially gonna ask her to marry him.
Steve: Well… I’m not doing that anymore. I can’t ask her to marry me if she’s thinking of leaving. What am I, an idiot?
Danny: Why is the glass always half empty? What do you know about that phone call? Maybe she was calling those people that she helped out to see how they’re doing. Maybe she was saying “happy birthday.” You don’t know what that call was about. And what? You’re just gonna throw everything away behind a misunderstanding? That’s insane.
Steve: You make a good point, I guess.
Danny: Of course, I make a good point, because I am not the type of person who freaks out at the first sign of uncertainty.
Steve: No, you… no, you are not.
Danny: Maybe I am that type of person. That’s not the point. The point is this: Figure out what’s going on, put a ring on the girl’s finger and that’s that.
Steve: Okay? Nahele picked it up today.
Danny: That’s good. Do not abort this mission, do you understand me!?
Steve: Yes, sir.
During a conversation when Nahele drops off the ring, Steve admits that he would not trade his relationship with Catherine with anything.
Nahele: I mean, look, you could spend all that money on a new truck.
Steve: Yes, I could. But, … I wouldn’t trade what I got for anything.
Danny arranges to meet Cath to see what is going on ….
Danny: Steve has been very happy since you’ve been back.
Cath: Me, too.
Danny: That’s good, ’cause I think that, that’s what he likes, when you are happy here, you know?
Cath: I am.
Danny: Then don’t leave again.
Cath: Where did that come from? I… Does Steve know that you’re here right now?
Danny: No, he does not, and he would kill me if he did, so please don’t tell him.
Danny: Catherine, I’m just looking out for my boy, all right? When you left last time, he was hurt, pretty bad.
Danny: He walked around trying to pretend like he wasn’t, but I could see it. He was suffering. You know, you don’t walk away from the kind of relationship that the two of you had. The relationship that you have.
Cath: Look, I didn’t mean to hurt him, Danny. Steve understood why I had to stay behind in Afghanistan. He knew that that was really important to me.
Danny: I know he understood it. That does not mean that it didn’t wreck him, you know?
Danny: Look, I .. I have no idea what he was like before I met him, but I can tell you now, that he is the best version of himself when you are around.
Cath: You’re a good friend, Danny.
Danny: Well, if it wasn’t me standing here, it’d be Chin, it’d be Lou, it’d be Kono. Look, the point is this, all right? The last couple of years, he’s been through a lot, and I just, I just think he deserves to be happy.
Cath: I know, I know.
Danny: So that’s why I’m here. That’s why I’m asking– are you gonna stick around for good?
Cath: There is nothing that I want more.
Danny: That is fantastic news.
Unfortunately, Danny got happy to soon and did not really see Cath’s face. She really wanted to stay, but there was something else happening.
Steve arrives home to find Catherine and her suitcases on the porch.
His fears are confirmed, she is leaving. And foolishly he does not make his own intentions clear to her.
Cath: I’m sorry.
Steve: You just got here.
Cath: Look, Steve, it’s not that I don’t love you. I do. But I have to go away for a little bit.
Steve: How long?
Cath: The truth is, I don’t really know. This is so hard. ….. I need more than what a relationship can give me right now.
Steve: Okay. What do you want?
Cath: To feel needed.
Steve: You are.
Cath: No, not like that. See, when your phone rings, someone needs you.
Cath: And you can help them. And I want to feel that.
Steve: So come back to Five-0.
Cath: No. Steve, Five-0 is you. It’s always gonna be your thing, okay? I need to build something on my own.
Steve: So you’re going back to Afghanistan?
Cath: No. Nepal. That earthquake hit them hard. I’m going to be running Heli drops for the Red Cross. Getting those supplies to people who need it the most is where I can … I can make a difference.
Steve: All right, well, that’s a two-month op at most.
Cath: Could be more.
Steve: You know, Catherine, if you want out of this thing, why don’t you just look me in the eye and tell me you want out of this thing?
Cath: If I could be at two places at the same time, I would.
Steve: Yeah, but you can’t, Catherine. And-and you’re choosing the place where I’m not. I mean… Listen, if you leave today, I can’t… I can’t wait for you. Not anymore. You understand?
Cath: Yeah. I understand.
Steve: Okay, I’ll drive you to the airport.
Cath: I already called for a ride. I’d rather say good-bye to you here. Come here. I’m so sorry. I will always, always love you, okay?
As the car drives off with Cath, she makes a call ….
Man: Are we secure?
Cath: We are.
Man: Where are you?
Cath: On my way.
Man: What about your cover?
Cath: He didn’t question it.
Man: Are you sure you can do this, Lieutenant?
And with lots of tears, Cath drives off on a secret mission – away from Steve’s heart and life …..
This is what I wrote after the episode way back then:
I know I am one of the “lucky” fans who are not really bothered if Catherine stays of leaves because I am here for Alex and his Steve and are not gunning for any specific relationship. Steve definitely needs some romantic fun and the company of a loving female, to make his life more interesting (in my opinion there is more than enough snarky testosterone around him already). Whatever the writers feel to create with the actors available, is okay with me.
I do however like good characters and development and portrayal of something with good motivation for a story. I felt that that was very well achieved with Steve and his Cath from the beginning – up until the end of the first quarter of Season 4.
For me, Cath being part of Steve’s life makes for some personal and background story and something for me to talk about. But in my heart, I felt that their story was done at the end of season 4 and that we (and Steve) will take some time to get over it and move on ……. now the writers brought her back for 4 episodes, just for her to leave again? Was it much to do about nothing?
Interesting that so many people say Cath lied to Steve and Danny. But all she said to Danny was that there is no place else that she would rather be and to Steve, she said she was going to Nepal. How do you know that those were lies? Most probably not, but maybe just a half-truth.
Imagine if Steve was going on a secret mission and he did not want anybody to worry about him – would he have told the full truth to everybody around him? No!
You can read the rest of my thoughts on the episode here:
Little did I know how this part of Steve’s story would continue and start to intertwine with the rest of his personal story ….. at this time the story got too long, and I decided to split it up in three parts.
We will post the rest during the cause of the next two days….