blogging by Andrew Wickliffe

The Equalizer (2021) s01e08 – Lifeline

I watched this episode like it was the season finale, so I was more bullish on the epilogue than I would’ve been if I’d known there were two episodes after this one.

This episode’s got Queen Latifah doing a CIA one-shot amid her regular plot lines, like daughter Laya DeLeon Hayes and aunt Lorraine Toussaint getting very suspicious about her work. Latifah’s been saying “global charity” or something, which accounts for the days away at a time, but they’ve finally had enough. It leads to some decent scenes; better than the episode average scenes, particularly better than the Chris Noth and Tory Kittles material.

Again, if they’re out of episodes and trying to sunset Noth and Kittles’s outstanding arcs—as they are—for the season, the material makes sense. If it’s not the season finale, they’re just using both actors and wasting both actors; the show usually only has either Noth or Kittles, not both. But to have both and do zilch? Maybe in the season finale. Episode eight of ten… not so much.

The case this episode is Latifah’s old CIA mentor—not Noth, but the one we’ve never heard of until the plot required it—and his daughter, Alexandra Socha. Socha is on the run from professional assassins and needs Latifah to talk her through it; imagine Die Hard but Reginald VelJohnson does all the action from the parking lot because budget. It’s not great. The script—credited to Joseph C. Wilson—isn’t good. It’s often quite bad. The family stuff is fine. The rest is garbage and a desperate Mission: Impossible nod. Or Bourne nod. Maybe both. Doesn’t matter. It’s bad espionage stuff.

But Latifah gets through it. Equalizer needs to keep going until it can figure itself out, which grants it some leeway with excursions to France—probably not even Quebec France—and an entirely new MacGuffin nemesis getting introduced. Again, seems like a season finale. But there’s definite potential to the series, which the episode highlights. In maybe the only good direction from Randy Zisk, who bellyflops so hard on the big fight scene you can hear the impact.

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