As Marcus faces a life and death situation, memories of his mom and dad push him to find ways to survive as his ex-wife tries to console their kids and help Robyn.


Aired 3/20/2022
Network CBS
Directed By Solvan “Slick” Naim
Written By Joseph C. Wilson
Introduced This Episode
Kyler Destin Khari
Stefon Tyler Williams
8-year-old Dante Jelani Dacres
Jim Barnes Lee Tergesen
Deputy Morales Brandon Esponoza
Carol Valarie Pettiford
Vanessa Tawny Cypress

Recap

It’s Unfortunate We Didn’t Meet In Better Circumstances – Kyler, Stefon, Jim, Morales, Vanessa, Robyn, Dante

As we already know, Marcus Dante has primary custody of his two boys, Kyler and Stefon, and he is a good father. His kids are rarely out of his sight or with someone he trusts, and that’s why it is a bit traumatic for them to see their father hauled off in the back of a squad car. You see, Deputy Barnes and Morales mistakenly think he is a culprit of a local assault, and with Dante knowing his rights, Barnes decides to get aggressive with him, to the point of knowing if Dante were to speak on what happened, that would be his badge.

So, they kidnap Dante, and rather than the kids focus on calling their mom, Vanessa, they call Robyn first, and she shows up in no time to begin her investigation. One complicated by the gas station not having working cameras. But, thankfully, with Vanessa showing up soon after Robyn, at the very least, she doesn’t have to task her daughter or aunt with watching them as she dives headfirst into this case.

Survival Tactics – Carol, Dante, Ben, Morales, Jim

The original plan was to take Dante out to a field and kill him. This was the only way to avoid a BLM protest coming to Gatling County, with Don Lemon and Al Sharpton to follow, in Jim’s mind. Never mind losing his job, missing the final years of his wife’s life, and so much more. Now, Morales isn’t so gung-ho on this plan, as he has a daughter and was a witness, pseudo-accomplice, more than anything else. Which Dante uses to his advantage.

For while Jim seems willing to repeat the past mistakes of who was his senior officer and torture a man without food or water for days, Morales at least throws a water bottle to Dante. Thus leading to memories of his mother, Carol, who had the skill of seeing the good in potentially bad people. Dante taps into that to appeal to Morales’ good side, with limited success at the time.

Carol (Valerie Pettiford) consoling Dante
Carol (Valerie Pettiford) and Dante

But, as Carol speaks about seeing the good, Dante’s father Ben pushes him to see people for who they are and handle them accordingly. So when Dante is being taken to what could become his final resting place, he fights Jim and disorients Morales until they end up in an accident, and then Dante makes a run for it. Morales tries to take a stand, but Jim is really not about to let one man ruin his life and career.

However, what he may not have factored into his line of thinking is Dante getting the best of him and killing him in self-defense.

I Need Time To Think – Dante, Robyn, Grafton

The trajectory of Jim going from someone who, like Morales, witnessed police brutality and an attempted cover-up to becoming the demon he testified against isn’t lost on Dante. As we’ve seen before, a part of him fears becoming like his father Ben and losing the bits of him that are like his mother, Carol. And in many ways, he has relied on Robyn to take that load off of him and have her be the one who breaks the rules and laws for justice.

But at this point, it is all too much, so Dante is quitting the force. With the way Grafton talks, the option to take a leave of absence was on the table, but with Dante really not seeing the road he is on leading to anything positive, it’s over.

Dante noting he is afraid of the trajectory he could be on

Now, what does that mean for him and Robyn? That’s hard to say. For the first time in a long time, they are a bit flirty, but he is in a place where romance isn’t necessarily at the forefront. So whether they may get back on that road or not is hard to say.

Things To Note

  • Unexpected Content Advisory: Violence (Blood, gunshots, police brutality)

Question(s) Left Unanswered

  1. So, should we expect romance for Dante and Robyn in the future?
  2. With us meeting Dante’s ex, can we meet Robyn’s, or should I stop asking?
  3. Is Dante’s mom still alive?
  4. I can’t be the only one who was annoyed that the episode started with a DWB situation and that got followed by the gas station attendant thinking Dante’s kids were stealing, right?

What Could Happen Next

  1. The show revisiting Dante and Robyn being together
  2. Maybe seeing more of Dante’s kids, since he doesn’t have a job right now

Review

Highlights

Dante Getting The Same Oomph We Often See Guest Stars Get

Dante has felt like Robyn’s least developed asset for quite some time now. Which, considering how stop and go most character development is on this show, was saying something. But rather than give us a sappy story to help build his character up, they tapped into the kind of stories guest stars get, brought back familiar faces, and even introduced more who could potentially reappear.

Now, this isn’t to downplay storylines we’ve gotten for other characters, like Mel. It’s just, with Mel’s storylines that had nothing to do with how she became an asset to Robyn, they felt self-contained and made for the moment. They didn’t appear to be something that could lead to further storylines. It was more of The Equalizer using its platform to highlight hate crimes, the difficulty in processing them, and how hate crimes aren’t just an issue Black Americans go through.

With Dante’s storyline, we have his father, who we haven’t seen in a while, his sons, we meet his ex-wife and mother, and it doesn’t seem like a special episode on police brutality. It is going to completely change who Dante is and have a ripple effect. Which for The Equalizer is a rare thing since it is a guest star-driven series that takes an excruciatingly slow and steady pace when it comes to building up its series regulars.

On The Fence

Wondering If We May See Ben, Carol, Even Vanessa More Frequently?

While I hope that Dante quitting the force means this episode will mean something in the long run, I’d be lying to you if I wasn’t a tad pessimistic. After all, Aunt Vi meeting with her ex got dropped. Delilah’s interest in that boy who didn’t want to go to college disappeared. We haven’t met Robyn’s ex or heard anything about the guy who killed her mentor in forever. So while Dante had this major episode, there is a need to question how long it will be before we see something come out of this? Will it be the next episode, or will Robyn drop one line about how Dante is doing, and the show move full speed ahead and revisit Dante towards the end of this season or the beginning of the next?

Don’t get us wrong, we love the storylines and topics of this show, but it is so committed to being episodic and having it where anyone could jump in at any time that it doesn’t provide much, if any reward, for being a committed viewer who has to deal with 60 Minutes going long, or it often having gaps between episodes.

The Equalizer Directory

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Collected Quotes

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Overall
In one of the most notable episodes that could change a series regular in quite some time, The Equalizer both shows its greatest strengths and weaknesses and pushes you to question what direction it may go in since what happened to Dante is not something it can tread lightly with.
Highlights
Dante Getting The Same Oomph We Often See Guest Stars Get
Disputable
Wondering If We May See Ben, Carol, Even Vanessa More Frequently?
81


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I started Wherever I Look back in 2011 and have aimed to be that friend who loves watching various forms of media and talking about it. So, from bias, strong opinions, and a perspective you may not have thought about, you'll find that in our reviews.

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