Sunday, May 16, 2021

REVIEW: 'The Equalizer' - McCall Hopes to Redeem a Man Radicalized Online Before It's Too Late in 'True Believer'

CBS' The Equalizer - Episode 1.09 "True Believer"

McCall races to help a concerned wife locate her husband before he helps an extremist group carry out an imminent bombing in the city. McCall worries that her anonymity will be compromised when Delilah asks her to participate in a mother/daughter social media video.

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.

"True Believer" was written by Keith Eisner and directed by Laura Belsey

It's easy to write off people who believe disinformation online as being crazy. They believe in conspiracy theories that sound absolutely insane. And yet, it takes true empathy to reach them and pull them back to reality. It's a difficult task. It may not be significant in the end either. Some people may be too far gone. They take actions that they can't take back. Their lives will be defined by what they chose to believe at this moment in time. McCall sees the same recruitment tools from her time working against foreign terrorists. It's not a new phenomena for them to be homegrown as well. It's simply more widespread because the hatred is allowed to flourish and grow online. It's a powerful new tool. It allows people to believe that they are never in the wrong. If something bad happens to them, then that is a personal example of the system failing. It's not suppose to work that way. Allowing a diversity of opinion should be celebrated in all walks of life. It's a threat to the way the system has always existed though. People who have flourished in that power structure refuse to give up any of it. They believe they are inherently entitled to it. It's the peak of white privilege. It's unfathomable for them to believe that communities of color deserve equal access to opportunities. They view it as a personal attack. In order for it to just be given to someone, it has to be taken away from someone who had to work hard for it in the first place. That's not how it works at all. And yet, it's easy for people to fall into the appeal of that argument. The mind wants to connect pieces in belief that something more is going on. Conspiracy theories take root because they offer an explanation for events that seem too good to be true. McCall offers her services as a woman capable of making a difference for people who don't trust typical authority figures. They don't believe they can go to the police and receive compassion. These public officials have to operate a certain way. Even when someone goes outside those lines, the organization is all too quick to close ranks and protect its members. It's difficult for reforms to take place. Dante is targeted because he arrests a fellow cop. This officer believes he has an explanation for everything that culminated in him leading a terror cell and staging bombs around the city. This group is so personally aggrieved that they have to take radical action in order to feel some sense of power again. People are targeted because of societal pressure to always be strong. A man has to be the protector of his family. When he is incapable of doing that, he is perceived as weak. It's an archaic view of gender norms. It still holds dangerous consequences today. It's not limited to men either. Plenty of people across the gender identity spectrum fall prey to feeling inadequate and subsequently radicalized online. Mel and Harry work to expose these heinous tech developers trying to get rich by selling people's private data. It's such a widespread problem though. Nothing is being done to address the root of it all. That comes from setting standards for these online companies. It also comes from being open and honest with the people around you. Some systemic issues target marginalized communities to keep them oppressed. The situation is more nuanced than that. Plus, it's up to the privileged to acknowledge that the world has never treated everyone well and equally. It has always been fundamentally broken. No one should be more entitled to it than another. McCall hopes to reset the balance of justice. She is willing to bend the rules. She interrupts Dante's investigation on a number of occasions. Her skills are necessary to deactivate a bomb. Dante still feels compelled to arrest her. He can't shoot her though. That too would be an escalation of this conflict that would only affirm the value of her operation. He is placed in a situation where shooting her is the only viable way to stop her. He can't do that. He has no provocation to do so. He follows the reasonable recourse afterwards. He wants to be personally removed from the situation. That's unlikely though. The show goes back and forth on his investment in taking her down. It's really the spine of the season. He works with her. He wants to arrest her. He can't find peace at all. He can't balance these two notions of the law. McCall still makes a difference though. That is apparent despite how disruptive she can be as well. And she still makes a TikTok video with Delilah. She yearns to be present and form happy memories. Her life is a lot to handle. She is committed to this path because she believes in her singular ability to do a lot of good in the world. The show backs her up on that a lot of the time too.