Monday, April 5, 2021

REVIEW: 'The Equalizer' - McCall Helps Women Speak Out Against Their Abuser in 'The Room Where It Happens'

CBS' The Equalizer - Episode 1.06 "The Room Where It Happens"

Mel goes undercover as a volunteer for a rising politician when McCall tries to help a despondent college student being threatened by someone inside the candidate's campaign. McCall worries when Delilah starts hanging out with a young girl who served time in juvenile detention and reminds McCall of her own troubled youth.

In 2020, the television industry aired 493 scripted shows across numerous outlets. The way people consume content now is different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, it's less necessary to provide ample coverage of each episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site provides shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the next episode of CBS' The Equalizer.

"The Room Where It Happens" was written by Zoe Robyn and directed by Stephanie Marquardt

This show aspires to be an easy viewing experience. It is nothing more than a typical CBS procedural. Of course, that's a welcome development for a certain audience as well. Moreover, it's radical because there was a time when Queen Latifah would never have been the star of this type of show. The fact that it embraces this basic structure while reflecting the actual world is revolutionary. It doesn't particularly make it the most exciting show to review on a weekly basis. It's ambitions are limited at the moment. As such, it's difficult to grade. It's not a complicated story. It's still necessary because it highlights stories that typically go unnoticed and unappreciated. The industry has a responsibility to reflect the culture and the stories that dominate the world. It's important for people to see themselves reflected onscreen. Of course, a little conflict would be nice as well. At this point, the audience knows that no matter what McCall will always figure things out by the end of the episode. She struggles to juggle the demands of her job as the Equalizer with her home life. And yet, nothing has happened to jeopardize any element of her life. She controls everything with complete clarity and respect. Sure, the stories and concerns of Delilah and Aunt Vi are less vital than the episodic structure of people in crisis needing help. But again, that's the basic premise of this type of procedural. McCall is called into action. She investigates and hopes to make a difference before more harm is done. She struggles but ultimately succeeds. It's a familiar pattern. It's well executed here. But again, it's clear that that's all this show wants to be. The previous episode had slightly different ambitions. However, it too was a story contained to a singular episode. One that had no lingering consequences for McCall and the work she is doing to help those who can't rely on the system to get the justice they deserve. This episode starts with a parent unsure of how to get his daughter to talk about what has happened. He instinctively knows that something is wrong. McCall understands that too in her brief interaction with Maya. But her father doesn't know if this is something that merits McCall's attention. The show remains vague with the jobs McCall is willing to do. She can change the world in so many ways. The show has so far been interested in pursuing the exposure of criminals who are frequently allowed to get away with heinous abuses. They exist in many different aspects of society. It still makes for a satisfying viewing experience. This episode also wants to bring attention to the power that comes from a crowd of people coming together to make their voices heard. It takes one to step forward and be uplifted. An entire system exists to shut that person down. This campaign manager has raped women for years. He even convinces some that it was consensual. He uses his power to remain the most influential person in city politics. He can drive people out of this profession if they step out of line. McCall exists as a disruptive force. She asks people to put their lives on the line in order to bring this story out into the light. This isn't a situation where she can fight her way out of it. Again, that makes this a different story. One that isn't based around her physical training. It simply takes a willingness to help. She exposes the truth. This mayoral campaign has the potential to have lingering consequences. The show establishes an upcoming election. That could be touched upon further in the stories. It's unlikely though because the show wants to remain episodic for the moment. Even the attempt at serialization with Detective Dante has mostly gone away. Now, he is mostly just a resource for McCall on the force. He doesn't agree with her methods. However, he still relies on her to help expose corrupt officers on the job. He gets to put away the bad guys while helping reset the scales of justice. It's a noble ideal. One that McCall embodies wholeheartedly. The narrative is very blunt and upfront about this ambition. It's not meant to be challenged or complicated. Delilah's friend is even released because McCall can pull a few strings. She cares about what happens. She chooses to be anonymous. That too makes her a power player in this world. She is choosing to use her influence for good. It's simple. That may be all that it has to be. The show has already been renewed after all.