Oh, come on, "Equalizer," stop getting my hopes up.
Thanks to this episode—directed by movie "star" Mark Polish (quotations because I knew he existed but have never seen him in anything, and I also thought he co-directed all those) and with a script credited to Zoe Robyn—I am once again approaching bullish on "The Equalizer."
The secret appears to be not having Chris Noth in the show—I think he's been on once, max twice, this season—and relegating Tory Kittles to de facto "and" credit. Kittles is still good, but the show all of a sudden seems very aware it can't really do a regular cop-adjacent show in 2021. Especially not with this episode's subplot about some shitty white woman (Diana Henry, who either deserves an Emmy or to be dragged) harassing Lorraine Toussaint in a store then calling the cops on the Black lady. It leads to a few phenomenal scenes for Toussaint, including a rending monologue.
Credited scriptwriter Robyn is a white lady, so… it's one of those things where if we find out Toussaint didn't want to do the scene, it's going to be messed up, but at face value, it's outstanding stuff. It's all for teen Laya DeLeon Hayes's benefit. Hayes is an inclusive zillennial who thinks if white ladies are racist pieces of shit, it's just because they haven't read the right New York Times both sides op-ed (to which Toussaint has a killer response), and it turns into an arc for Hayes as well. Everyone involved, including the shitty cops, gives excellent performances, but Toussaint's is truly wondrous.
The main plot is about a couple Internet detectives, Nadia Gan and Erik Jensen, hiring Queen Latifah to investigate some stalking videos. They're from the dark web and clearly creepy and dangerous, if not worse, but—in another way too real moment for the show—Facebook's cool having them in groups because engagement.
It's a decent mystery, with lots of twists and turns, with decent or better performances from all the guest stars. Kevin Isola is a standout as the prime suspect. The show even gets some decent mileage from Adam Goldberg and Liza Lapira's exposition dumping about the case. Also, it helps a woman and a child are in constant, terrible danger to ratchet up the suspense.
"Equalizer" is at its best with Toussaint and Hayes—oh, wait—the opening. They're talking about a family movie outing, and they're going to see a (fictional) superhero franchise movie only from the character names they use… it seems "The Equalizer" takes place in a universe without Rona, but one where Gods of Egypt got three sequels.
Anyway. The show's best when it's Toussaint, Hayes, and Latifah at home, which isn't ideal for a domestic para-espionage procedural thriller, but it's where the show's most sincere. And the acting's the best.
So, yeah, once again… getting ready for "Equalizer" to disappoint thanks to it raising its bar.