Network television can be silly, stupid, entertaining, and even inspiring, but only rarely does it portray true heroism.
As the latest episode of Hawaii Five-O opens, a drill sergeant (Terry O’Quinn) berates young Navy SEAL candidate Freddie Hart (Alan Ritchson), saying “you are two steps below plant life, boy!” Undaunted, the young man recites the philosophy of the Navy SEALs, “If knocked down, I will get back up every time. I will draw on every remaining ounce of strength to protect my teammates and to accomplish our mission.”
When Freddie goes to ring the bell, giving up SEALs training, his friend Steve McGarrett (Alex O’Loughlin) stops him. Steve tells Freddie that his dad said “the proudest moment of his life is when you joined up for SEALs … I’m saving you from yourself.”
“After that night,” Steve remembers, “he became the best student, the toughest soldier, the guy that everybody could depend on.”
Before their mission to North Korea, Freddie told Steve he had finally married Kelly, his high-school sweetheart, and she was pregnant with their daughter.
After a bloody and entertaining shoot-out, Freddie shows Steve his wound, knowing it’s mortal. “I’m not going anywhere,” he says. “Don’t let this be for nothing. Freddie only asks for one thing. “One day, tell my daughter, you tell my girl that Daddy loved her. Promise me.”
Later on, Steve remembers, “if he hadn’t covered me, I never would have made it out of there.” Freddie’s sacrifice inspires Steve to go into North Korea, under the radar, with no backup, to bring home the dead man’s body.