Monday, May 24, 2021

REVIEW: 'The Equalizer' - McCall's Work Gets More Complicated When Delilah Witnesses a Horrifying Murder in 'Reckoning'

CBS' The Equalizer - Episode 1.10 "Reckoning"

McCall's personal and professional lives collide when Delilah and her friends are threatened by a European crime syndicate for being eyewitnesses to the outfit's execution of a drug cartel boss.

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 season finale of CBS' The Equalizer.

"Reckoning" was written by Joseph C. Wilson and directed by Benny Boom

This season introduced a lot of interesting ideas. At the end of the day, it was mostly an episodic action adventure. Every week told a very contained story of McCall trying her best to help someone overlooked by the justice system. She has built her credentials as someone capable of making a difference in people's lives. She bends the rules. She rallies against the system. She has even inspired Detective Dante to lash out against the system's bureaucracy and its seeming inability to actually accomplish anything. He doesn't want to follow the same path as his father. He visits him in jail asking for guidance. Instead, it's just an empty conversation about shades of gray instead of an actual line between right and wrong. Dante is coming to realize that. He has had an entire season to go on that journey. He has aligned with McCall. He has worked against McCall. He has threatened to arrest her. He champions all the causes she takes up and is inspired by the results she gets. He goes back and forth. That is a potentially interesting character dynamic. One that highlights the nuances of his role in this story. He has the capacity to be both an ally and an antagonist. And yet, the way the season executed all of this just made him seem noncommittal. He couldn't choose one direction to pursue. As such, he was always leading people on. He presents himself as a capable and trusting detective on the force. He is out to prove something. He doesn't see everything that McCall does in order to find justice. She tortures a man for information here. It's horrifying. It's written as completely acceptable behavior too. She highlights the ways in which the rules need to be broken in order to advance this investigation. It's no longer meaningful for the police to conceal the identity of an informant. He was only supplying information to disrupt one cartel's business as another one was looking to break into the market. McCall threatens both sides of this conflict. She is personally motivated in this case. Delilah was a witness to a crime. Her friend is killed right in front of her. Sure, the story drags out that tragedy. For the first half, Jason's life is in limbo. He remains hospitalized with the doctors being unable to tell whether he will live or die. He eventually succumbs to these injuries. That propels McCall forward as she can't stand an organization that completely accepts the loss of innocent lives. Jason was simply collateral damage in a quest for more power and influence. His life mattered. And now, Delilah is part of the latest generation of Black people to experience the tragic death of a close friend at a young age. McCall experienced that. Aunt Vi experienced that. They mourn the loss of these young lives. They lament how much the world hasn't changed. McCall is fighting to make a difference. She presents a different way of conducting business. She has allies on her side helping her succeed. People are terrified of what she can do. The myth of her skills is legendary. The audience knows the people opposing her should tremble. And yet, this finale blurs the lines between personal and professional. The story already brought Aunt Vi into the loop about McCall's new work as the Equalizer. For years, she has known that she was covering for McCall. She was completely willing to lie to cover up for her mysterious absence. She reached a breaking point where she had to know more about what was going on. And now, Delilah also proves herself to be inquisitive. The world forces her into the same criminal environment that her mother knows all too well. Even though she's a teenager, she has to make the brave decision to come forward to try to hold someone responsible for the crime they committed. She is brave. She also sees her mother in a new light. It only took some quick investigating as well. McCall always insists that her guard is never done. In this instance, it was. It got too personal for her. And now, her daughter may be horrified and baffled by who her mother is and what she is capable of doing. The audience should have a complex understanding of McCall's methods. She can't always be celebrated. The show frequently reverts to that mode. Perhaps by bringing Delilah into the loop, the show will better examine McCall's tactics even when the threats are just as dangerous as they have always been. That is mostly left as a cliffhanger though. The same applies to whether or not Dante will have a consistent path in the future. It could potentially be interesting. But the episodic stories still seem like the core objective.