The Equalizer season 1, episode 6 recap – “The Room Where It Happens”

April 5, 2021
Jonathon Wilson 0
Weekly TV
3.5

Summary

“The Room Where It Happens” brings The Equalizer back down to a more manageable scale as Robyn helps to uncover a two-decade spree of sexual assault in local politics.

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3.5

Summary

“The Room Where It Happens” brings The Equalizer back down to a more manageable scale as Robyn helps to uncover a two-decade spree of sexual assault in local politics.

This recap of The Equalizer season 1, episode 6, “The Room Where It Happens”, contains spoilers.


After last week’s episode got a bit too generically end-of-the-world in its plotting, “The Room Where It Happens” returns to what Robyn does best – sorting out local problems happening to normal people, just so long as they let her flirt with Detective Dante and right some hot-topic wrongs in the process. On the agenda in The Equalizer episode 6 is sexual assault, as Robyn is recruited to figure out why a focused, diligent student and political campaign intern like Maya Ruiz (Rockzana Flores) would suddenly withdraw from school and attempt suicide.

It doesn’t take a genius to work out what happened to Maya, especially after the discovery of her contact with an ex-cop turned fixer named Zev Petrus. Petrus is known to employ his heavy-handed tactics on the campaign trail, which only makes sense since Maya was interning in the office of Sinead Keller, an AOC-style beacon of progressivism who is intimately tied to a political consultant named Elijah Reade whose nickname is “The Queenmaker” thanks to his diligent efforts in empowering female candidates. Yuck.

Petrus is on Reade’s payroll and presumably has been forever, helping to cover up a litany of naïve young political interns who Reade coerced, raped, and silenced with non-disclosure agreements and hefty payouts. Maya is the latest, but she was far from the first, and as Robyn and co. (Melanie has a particularly close connection to this case, it seems, though “The Room Where it Happens” doesn’t go into it) join the dots between one slim brunette woman and the next, they also learn that Keller herself was one of his first victims. The real crux of The Equalizer episode 6 comes down to whether she’s willing to jeopardize her political future by airing out this dirty laundry – which of course she is.

Obviously, sexual assault in the workplace, particularly in a culture like politics where power and influence can be absolute, is nothing new as thematic territory. That’s not to say it isn’t vital, obviously, but the episode recognizes that it has to approach the topic from a slightly new angle, and it chooses to focus particularly on how creeps like Reade target ambitious and vulnerable young women and how the cycle of public shame and the allure of life-changing bribes contribute to a culture of silence. Maya’s father, for instance, runs the gamut from murderous rage to being presented with more money than he has ever seen in his life – “The Room Where It Happens” does a good job of rationalizing why so many would embrace the lie rather than the truth. If they’re not going to be believed anyway, aren’t they better preserving whatever they can?

This case reunites Robyn with Dante, and it’s difficult to overstate how much more interesting that relationship is than the one between Robyn and William. Tory Kittles and Queen Latifah have real chemistry, and the dynamic of a cop being too upright and honest for a system that has historically disenfranchised people just like him justifies his willingness to work outside the law with her. Dante has obvious narrative usefulness too, but the show has done well to focus on his own ethics and not just reduce him to a plot device Robyn turns to whenever she needs something. (She does turn to him whenever she needs something, but at least he seems to have actual agency in deciding to help her.)

There’s also the obligatory family sub-plot in The Equalizer season 1, episode 6, this one tangentially related to the main case since Delilah’s new friend Nicki, fresh out of jail, has an abusive ex-boyfriend who is holding a keepsake of her late mother hostage to force her into resuming their relationship. Robyn is uncharacteristically quick to judge Nicki based on her record (all your open-mindedness tends to go out of the window when your own kids are involved), especially once she and Delilah are arrested for breaking and entering in an attempt to retrieve the necklace. But once Aunt Vi explains the situation, Robyn uses her relationship with Dante to get Nicki released and her mother’s possessions returned to her, her relationship with her daughter once again a little more understanding.

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