The Equalizer (2021) s02e15 – Hard Money

With Chris Noth now dead and presumably buried, “The Equalizer” can move on to whatever’s next, which apparently involves introducing Queen Latifah’s ex-husband, Stephen Bishop. Latifah has to take a gunshot victim to Bishop for help—he’s one of the best surgeons in the city, and Latifah’s client can’t go to the hospital because the bad guys are after her—and Bishop’s very unhappy to hear about Latifah’s new gig as a… good guy. Especially as it relates to her parenting their daughter, Laya DeLeon Hayes.

Hayes and Lorraine Toussaint get a beginning and end of the episode arc about being worried for Latifah’s well-being. Since she’s told them she can take care of herself, but then her mentor Noth got killed, maybe her equalizing isn’t as safe as she’s led on.

Now, what’s really unclear about this arc is how much Latifah’s told Hayes about Noth’s death. Did Latifah tell her they were fighting a Bond villain who used a Bond weapon to shoot down an airplane? It might make Hayes feel a little better to know her mom’s usually just helping Dollar General employees who know too much about an inside counterfeit laundering job, not fighting Ernst Stavro Blofeld. It also doesn’t really matter because the episode resolves Hayes’s concerns, but only because dad Bishop’s going to get more involved.

The A-plot—there’s really no B-plot other than Bishop caring for the injured client (played by Bianca Horn)—has Latifah and Tory Kittles trying to figure out how counterfeit money relates to Horn and co-worker Catherine Combs seeing something they shouldn’t have at their work. They can’t just go to the police because the episode opens with Combs and Horn pulling a heist, only to have second thoughts, but then they interrupt another heist already in progress.

Since he’s now an ex-cop with nothing to do all day, Kittles tags along with Latifah (whether she likes it or not) on her investigation, turning “Equalizer” into a buddy not-cop show with some romantic underpinnings. It works out. At one point, someone tells Kittles to stop playing private investigator and rejoin law enforcement; I hope it’s an empty threat.

Much of the episode is Combs at work, trying not to raise suspicion, while her asshole boss (a way too good RJ Vaillancourt) makes her life hell.

The guest stars are all good enough, with Combs and bad guy Evan Hall standouts. Bishop’s a just okay foil; it doesn’t help he and Latifah’s scenes are just exposition dumps about their troubled history.

Not a lot for Adam Goldberg and Liza Lapira to do this episode, notably Goldberg, which is fine. Kittles and Latifah playing together all episode beats anything the sidekicks would be doing. Hopefully, the show keeps this new dynamic going.

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