Sunday, May 9, 2021

REVIEW: 'The Equalizer' - McCall Must Remotely Provide Support for an Asset Being Hunted Down Abroad in 'Lifeline'

CBS' The Equalizer - Episode 1.08 "Lifeline"

An overseas call for help from the daughter of McCall's deceased CIA mentor forces McCall, Mel and Harry to work remotely to aid the conflict journalist as she's pursued by a hit squad in France. Aunt Vi becomes suspicious when McCall skips out on another family night for work.

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.

"Lifeline" was written by Joseph C. Wilson and directed by Randy Zisk

McCall no longer works for the CIA. However, her life is still entangled with the agency. The skills she used in that professional continue to serve her well in her work as the Equalizer. Moreover, she has contacts all around the world who are completely willing to help her. That comes from a lifetime of going on missions and cultivating assets. Sure, the one she uses here also happens to double-cross her because she is given a more lucrative offer. McCall still sees the value in believing in the best in others. She hopes that being indebted to her for saving their lives should guarantee their willingness to do whatever she wants no questions asked. And yes, some assets operate that way. McCall accepts that. However, some are just willing to trade favors from time to time. Detective Dante is determined to arrest McCall. He became a reluctant ally to her. Upon seeing her tactics up close, he decided he didn't want to be part of this operation any longer. McCall still goes to him for information. She is playing a dangerous game because she simply gravitates towards him. That connection probably won't be good. And yet, the show is also establishing a second serialized story that will motivate McCall in the future. She is given an adversary from her time in the CIA. A mercenary named Marcus Quinn is introduced to the proceedings as some great tactician McCall has a personal vendetta towards because of the innocent lives lost and targeted through his work. He isn't actually seen here. He controls this whole operation from afar. As such, he operates similarly to what McCall has to do for the bulk of this story. She is navigating a woman in need to rescue remotely. McCall can't save everyone who needs help. People frequently accuse her of trying to do too much. Her heart is simply that big. She is full of compassion and an eagerness to help every single person in dire need of assistance. In this case, it's personal for her. The daughter of her CIA mentor is being chased through the forest in France. McCall, Mel and Harry each provide useful skills to navigate her to safety. It's only safe for a brief moment in time. It's enough for McCall to collect more information. She realizes that the CIA has lied to her once more. That includes Bishop. He has long been aware of the secrets the agency has been willing to cover up even from its own operatives. McCall was trusted to do a job. She is labeled as difficult because she holds herself to a high moral standard while trying to save as many lives as she can. That is somehow seen as a bad thing. Of course, the audience should rightfully question the tactics she uses in order to deal with these problems. However, this episode once again wants the viewer to support every single action that McCall and her team take. It forges a bond that is needed later on. McCall needs to trust that a single nod is all it takes to communicate a message. It is because so much of this connection was built over the phone. McCall could be of service in that way. She has the skills to save lives even though more are lost in the process here. At a certain point, she too has to head off to France to lead this rescue. Not everything can be seen and experienced through a screen. Only so much tension can come from the characters watching and reacting to things through a monitor. It removes the audience from the process even further. Of course, the situation is intense. That helps carry a lot of the drama of this episode. But the humanity of McCall finally opening up and being vulnerable is necessary too. Aunt Vi has always known McCall's life was a lie. She didn't know all the details. She was happy to lie for her. It's gotten too difficult. Delilah is simply too curious. McCall sees the damage that can be done on a young mind forced to question how much a parent cared while also working for the CIA. McCall rationalizes that she is doing something different now. It's noble work. She doesn't see the lines being blurred between the personal and professional. Of course, they are. She vows to hunt down and kill Marcus Quinn. That's who she is. She is also a loving family member trusting Aunt Vi with all that she currently embodies in life. It's a beautiful moment that also promises to open up the family dynamic even more despite the peril this will probably also put them in.