It’s a perfectly solid episode of The Equalizer. It might be the best? It’s certainly a lot more comfortable with itself—minus Chris Noth, who apparently won’t be on the episodes where Tory Kittles shows up and vice versa (based on last episode)—and it handles the “equalizing” a lot better.
Instead of doing the story like a procedural, the episode does it more like a heist movie. We find things out after the characters in order to surprise us as well as some of the other characters, in this case the bad guys, but also—to some degree—the good guys. The episode’s got some really bad lines—Adam Goldberg sounding out every letter of VoIP—but the script, credited to Zoe Robyn—does take the more serious issues it raises seriously.
Concerned dad Luis Antonio Ramos calls in Queen Latifah after his daughter, Rockzana Flores, starts showing signs of dangerous depression and he has reason to suspect someone threatening her. There’s a little bit of a mystery as Flores is a reluctant client, with some good procedural scenes, then there’s an undercover sequence as Liza Lapira has to get close to mayoral candidate Erinn Ruth and her fixer, David Furr.
There’s a lot of suspense, some of it because of the narrative design, some of it because of the performances. Flores and Ramos are extremely sympathetic. There’s also a good sympathetic subplot for Latifah’s daughter, Laya DeLeon Hayes, who makes some bad choices for herself and her new friend, Kaci Walfall. Hayes is very lucky to have Latifah for a mom (and guardian angel) before the episode’s through.
Kittles and Latifah get to be cute together for a scene. I’d forgotten they used to be cute together; it’s been so long since he’s been on the show, much less had anything to do. He gets a subplot involving crooked former cop Kevin Chapman, who’s also really good.
It’s certainly the most assured episode so far—directed by Stephanie A. Marquardt—but who knows how long it’ll maintain. It’s also by far Lapira and Goldberg’s best episode—pseudo-boomer tech terms aside—which helps.