The Equalizer Season 1 Episode 1 Review: Pilot

That was a high-octane thrill ride from start to finish.

The impressive promotional campaign for The Equalizer touted the series as much, and The Equalizer Season 1 Episode 1 lived up to expectations.

Queen Latifah was one of the sole reasons to watch Star, but there is a lot to love about The Equalizer, and it largely comes down to the solid casting.

Robin McCall is fierce; she takes no crap and will put her life on the line in the name of helping the people who have nowhere else to run.

My first impression of the opening case involving Jewel was not entirely positive. I rolled my eyes when I noticed that the footage had been doctored to make the young girl look like a merciless killer.

It felt a little too sci-fi for me, but it also had a bigger purpose. We needed to get to the root of why Robin was the person to turn to, and, boy, did she deliver.

Many TV shows and movies botch characters like Robin. They make them too hard on the outside and not soft enough on the inside, but Latifah is a seasoned actress who manages to bring both to the table in Robin.

The past clearly haunts robin, but helping people could be a therapeutic way for her to battle her demons and to help live her life to the fullest.

The Elon-Musk-esque tech guru trying to frame Jewel came out of the left-field, but Jewel hardly made any good decisions when she realized she was in the frame.

Then again, how is one supposed to act when there’s footage of them gunning someone down when, you know, they didn’t actually do it?

Jewel wanted to have a better life, get her scholarship, and take up the opportunities that would help her get there. It was unfortunate that she was not only earmarked to be arrested but also for death.

She was seen as expendable in society’s eyes, and that’s what lit the fire under Robin to help her and subsequently announce that she would be helping more people in similar situations.

It’s a convincing hook for a series, and the procedural element is right on brand for CBS, but that’s not to say there is not going to be conflict.

It was easy to see why Marcus knew there was more to the tall tale about how the bad guys intercepted the van and kidnapped Jewel.

Marcus knows Robin lied to him multiple times throughout their first meetings, but will he allow her to lie if she gets results that put the real bad guys behind bars?

That will be one of the more intriguing questions as we delve deeper into the characters and the conflicts, but for now, I figure there will be simmering tension between them until it all boils over.

I hope the series doesn’t start a will they/ won’t they type scenario in terms of a romantic pairing because most procedurals these days hurl in that element to get shippers talking.

The way Robin treated Delilah at the end after robbing the dress and lying about where she was staying was the type of parenting we rarely see on the small screen. Robin knows how easy it is to slip and do something that the world of law could misconstrue, so she wanted her daughter to change her ways.

Some community service gives her some perspective on how hard life is for some people should do the trick, but I suspect Delilah will continue to act out every so often. All teenagers do!

There wasn’t nearly enough Melody and Harry in the premiere, but what we did get was filled with humor. Latifah, Adam Goldberg, and Liza Lapira have a certain energy that translates very well on the screen.

Far too often, there’s a weak link in the supporting players early into the run of a show, but the Equalizer Season 1 is a valiant effort at not only setting up the world but also giving us a glimpse at what’s to come. 

On top of that, it didn’t immediately feel like your typical formulaic CBS procedural. It felt more up there with shows such as MacGyver and Magnum P.I., so it’s surprising the series is airing on Sundays, where there are higher expectations but lesser viewers overall. 

The true test for The Equalizer will be in how it holds up in the episodes to come. Will we get more of an overarching villain to help move the plot along, or will it be mostly cases of the week? 

The post-Super Bowl launch will get a lot of eyes on the show, but will it be able to break out on broadcast in a way that most shows haven’t been able to in recent years? 

That’s all I got, The Equalizer fans!

What did you think of the premiere? Was it the perfect show for after the big game, or did you expect more?

Chat with me in the comments. 

New episodes of The Equalizer air Sundays at 8/7C. 

Remember, you can watch The Equalizer online right here via TV Fanatic.

Paul Dailly is the Associate Editor for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.


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