Robyn squares off against gentrification in “It Takes A Village”, while Delilah hits a pothole — literally.
This recap of The Equalizer season 1, episode 4, “It Takes A Village”, contains spoilers.
“It Takes a Village” was everything I have come to associate with this incarnation of The Equalizer, all operating with a lot of confidence. Broad archetypes put to work in representing societal issues? Check. Flirty banter between Robyn and Dante? Check. Delilah’s unwillingness to take responsibility for her actions translating into an important life lesson? Check! There is even a bit in which Robyn intimidates some hoodlums while Melody provides sniper overwatch – we’re only on the fourth episode and The Equalizer is already calling back to itself.
I can see why some people would take issue with the proud obviousness of this show. In The Equalizer episode 4, Robyn is made aware of a local community activist whose suicide has been staged; he doesn’t just have a poster of Malcolm X on his apartment wall but his name is literally Malcolm, and as an additional flourish he inserts an oblique reference to Kendrick Lamar’s “M.A.A.D City” in his suicide note to tip everyone off that he has been assassinated (“If Pirus and Crips all got along / They’d probably gun me down by the end of this song.”) It leads Robyn first to a local gang and then to Malcolm’s old buddy Charlie, both of whom have links to a cartoonish property developer by the name of Harrington who isn’t just having people bumped off so he can gentrify the neighborhood but also funds terrorists in Bahrain.
Since Dante knew Malcolm, he’s on-board with letting Robyn operate outside the lines in order to take Harrington down, and she also teams up with William for a fun heist sequence during which they infiltrate Harrington’s event with the help of his son, Edwin (Zach Appelman), which turns out to be a scheme within a scheme that culminates in Harry cloning the company’s servers using a drone while Harrington berating Edwin is broadcast live to the entire city. The day is saved and we get not one but two scenes of explicitly loaded dialogue between Robyn and Dante, one when she corners him in the showers and another when he eyes her climbing astride her motorcycle. Was he just checking out the license plate? You decide.
Delilah’s subplot in The Equalizer season 1, episode 4 involves her learning to drive, hitting a pothole, and then targeting the entire city rather than take responsibility for the fact that she should probably have seen and avoided it. There’s a bit of business about the power of social media activism and a bit more about the tokenistic gestures of city officials in pretending to sort out issues that they have no real intention of dealing with. In the end, the family set out to fill the pothole in together, an important lesson about taking matters into one’s own hands that seems a fitting one for the daughter of the Equalizer.