The Equalizer (1985) – Desperately, and Reign of Terror

Robert McCall (Edward Woodward) is feeling a little under the weather, but there’s always someone who needs help, desperately.

Written by Charles Grant Craig, this episode first debuted on 4 December, 1985.

A bored and neglected housewife, Alison Webster (Blanche Baker) heads into the city one day to spend it with her friend, Samantha (Tovah Feldshuh) and is encouraged to allow herself to be picked up by a charming man, Dryden (Ray Sharkey).

Unfortunately, Dryden is more than he seems and doesn’t like to take no for an answer. He’s a hitman who likes risky interludes and enjoys the connection between sex and violence. When Alison rebuffs his advances, and a man is murdered in front of her, she has no choice but to seek help, in The Equalizer.

That also means she has to tell her husband, Ross (Luke Reilly), about what almost happened and her current unhappiness with the marriage.

Dryden is a pro and he’s now set his sights on taking Alison out, can McCall learn his identity and stop him before he kills Alison and Ross, all while fighting the sniffles?

It’s a solid episode and it brushes up against the marital problems while not completely exploring them, which is something for 80s television, I suppose. I also like that there is continuity through the series, as at the episode’s end, McCall attempts to call his son in Paris, where we knew he was heading.

I like that the series is being bold (for the time) in its exploration of various subject matters, and honestly, I love how awesome Woodward is in the role. Unflappable.

Reign of Terror is a great message story that is overshadowed by the ridiculousness of the villains. Written by Steve Bello and Coleman Luck from a story by Bello, this episode was first broadcast on 11 Deccember, 1985.

McCall is forced to confront the violent way he does things, even when he’s helping others, when a harried doctor, Elly Walton (Lonette McKee) turns to him for help, but refuses to work with him if he is going to use guns or deadly force.

Walton runs a free clinic in a run down section of the city, and a street that is run by a gang that has seen the Road Warrior one too many times, and are dressed like the extras in Michael Jackson’s Beat It.

They had an arrangement with the previous doctor, he keeps them in drugs, and they let him do his job and help the local citizens. Elly refuses that deal, and they commence a siege on her, physically and mentally.

McCall has to come up with a new way to help the citizenry take their neighborhood back, and guides them to it.

That’s great, but the baddies have a crib that is outfitted with neon lights, arcade games, and their clothes, as crappily put together as they are, would probably pay for a number of hits. They are just so over-the-top.

Maybe it’s all a hallucination caused by a holdover of McCall’s cold last episode.

Let’s see how he handles things next time.

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