“The Equalizer” returns with a whole bunch of problems but still has a reasonable amount of charm to it, just because of Queen Latifah. She gets a really good “mom” monologue when Laya DeLeon Hayes is yelling at her about being a former super-spy now using her very particular set of skills to help those in need. It’s much better written than most of the episode, which credits Terri Edda Miller and Andrew W. Marlowe as the writers. Obviously, there’s a room; obviously, there’s the Guild; obviously, Marlowe’s terrible; I hope Miller wrote the monologue. It works.
It doesn’t really make the episode feel any more realistic because even though Latifah’s hunting a bunch of apparently CIA-trained bank robbers who are targeting families, she’s never worried about Hayes’s safety. Apparently, the bad guys could hack into Adam Goldberg’s super-computer, but they couldn’t put a tail on Latifah. Though whenever Goldberg talks about his super-computing skills, you doubt the veracity of it all. The Internet’s way too easy to hack on CBS.
This season premiere picks up a couple weeks after the finale, with Hayes staying at her dad’s and not wanting to talk to Latifah after the super-spy reveal. Latifah’s still not talking to Chris Noth, and cop Tory Kittles has a new partner, Erica Camarano. In fact, Latifah’s planning on shutting down the whole “Equalizer” thing to focus on repairing her relationship with Hayes.
Until Kittles calls in favor markers for help on a bank robbery case with expertly trained perpetrators who aren’t in any fingerprinting system.
Then there’s another subplot involving Goldberg feeling cooped up in his Lex Luthor from Superman: The Movie hideout—though he’s more Otis—and wanting to go outside. He’s been down there five years, which is a lot less impressive for people who’ve been through Rona lockdown, but Rona still doesn’t exist in “The Equalizer” universe.
Solvan Naim’s direction is better than the show needs. Latifah and Kittles still have the right chemistry—even if both seem bored regurgitating A plot exposition after every commercial break—and Hayes, Noth, and Lorraine Toussaint are all still appealing. I feel like if the show were thirty-four minutes instead of forty-two, it’d be an even better watching experience. Probably not a better show, but definitely more fun with less time investment. Or maybe just don’t time suck on Goldberg and Liza Lapira (Lapira’s so scenery she’s furniture this episode).
But a season two renaissance seems very unlikely, but for network procedural fodder, “Equalizer”’s fine. Enough. I mean, you’re watching it because it’s Queen Latifah as a badass super-spy. No one’s pretending there’s any other reason to tune in.