The Equalizer season 1, episode 7 recap – “Hunting Grounds”

May 3, 2021
Jonathon Wilson 0
Weekly TV
3.5

Summary

“Hunting Grounds” irrevocably alters Robyn and Dante’s relationship in a slightly darker-than-usual episode.

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3.5

Summary

“Hunting Grounds” irrevocably alters Robyn and Dante’s relationship in a slightly darker-than-usual episode.

This recap of The Equalizer season 1, episode 7, “Hunting Grounds”, contains spoilers.


The Equalizer is back after an extended hiatus, and it’s operating on much the same level as it was before, which is to say that “Hunting Ground” is halfway between action flick and family drama. But it’s also a darker, presumably more impactful installment than usual, both in terms of the case-of-the-week and the knock-on effects it has on the relationship between Robyn and Dante.

This relationship has defined the season thus far, in many ways. Queen Latifah and Tory Kittles have a lot of chemistry, and as their flirty banter has progressed, it really seemed like the show was setting up a long-term arrangement and possibly a romance. The Equalizer episode 7 says nada to that, though, putting them on the same page to track down a serial killer but also proving that their respective methods of achieving justice are completely incompatible.

This plays out like a bit of subversion, the show recognizing the expectations of its audience but still being willing to dash them. In that sense it marks a positive change in direction, one assumes into less obvious territory. The DA gunning for Robyn to crack down on vigilantism felt like it was heading in the usual direction, but coming away from the episode knowing that Dante is more likely to be an adversary than an ally gives it a welcome new spin. It looks like we have a cat-and-mouse game in our future, with Dante pursuing Robyn to bring her to justice now that he believes the severity of her methods, even to save his life, outweigh the upsides of the good work she’s doing.

In all this, by endangering Dante in the way it did and raising the stakes around his relationship with Robyn, The Equalizer episode 7 was able to build real suspense. Having both lead characters be staunch in their outlook, even at the expense of conflict between them, actually makes them both better characters. Conflict is what powers stories, after all, and so many stories are content to let the conflict dissipate for a crowd-pleasing romance that it’s refreshing to see characters stick to their principles.

This also gives the back half of the season some shape, with Robyn’s identity close to being exposed, and the DA with a clear vendetta. Not only does she have one less ally now, but the leftover favors she has from the CIA are both drying up and somewhat off-putting to her anyway. We’re probably reaching a point where some frankness with her family – there’s a brief subplot in “Hunting Ground” about Aunt Vi going on a date, and Robyn assuming she has been kidnapped when she stays out all night – is probably going to benefit her. The Equalizer season 1, episode 7 might well mark the show’s transition from “not at all bad” to “pretty damn good”, but I guess we’ll have to see about that.

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