We’re almost a full two seasons in, and The Equalizer gives us our first two-parter, Memories of Manon. It has a story that once again ties in with something from Robert McCall’s (Edward Woodward) past and gets him pulled back into working for Control (Robert Lansing) when his former boss comes to him for aid, knowing McCall can’t refuse him.
Part 1 was written by Coleman Luck and debuted on 4 February, 1987.
A Canadian agent, Phillipe Marcel (Anthony Zerbe) is in New York with his daughter, Yvette (Melissa Sue Anderson). She is Control’s god-daughter, and her late mother, Manon, had had a previous romantic relationship with McCall, and she, at least to Robert, is the spitting image of her mother, allowing Control to manipulate McCall and Mickey (Keith Szarabajka) into helping him.
It seems Marcel is under threat of death, and the men responsible for it have told Yvette that she has thirty hours to learn the identity of her father’s contact, codename Chrysalis, if he is going to be spared.
While Mickey keeps an eye on Yvette, Marcel imparts some life-changing information to McCall, and we race to the cliffhanger ending of learning that Yvette is McCall’s daughter just as Mickey is shot, and Yvette is abducted!
Except for the silly way the mob thugs involved are dressed (like their in a 40s film noir) the story rocks, and moves along rapidly, delivering some great dialogue, and some character growth (as much as was possible in 80s episodic television) for McCall.
Part 2 aired a week later on 11 February, 1987. It was also written by Luck, and picks up right where the previous episode ended.
Yvette has been grabbed by Dorgan (George DiCenzo) who is determined to learn who Chrysalis is. McCall, still dealing with the reveal that Yvette is his daughter, is off-balance and unsure of how to proceed, but he and Mickey begin shaking trees in an effort to rescue her.
But with all the traps and things at work, Yvette no longer believes that McCall is there to help her, and may in fact be the one person hunting her, and the man she believes is her father, Marcel.
Will McCall be able to rescue his daughter, protect her, stop Dorgan from his constant pursuit of Marcel, and have everything go back to the expected status quo by the end of the episode?
I really dig how, despite it’s episodic nature, the series is working on maintaining its continuity, we get references to a previous mission from the season, builidng and layering of characters, and the continued embrace of the darker and grittier aspects of things that weren’t always portrayed as such on television.
The episode concludes in bittersweet fashion with a discussion between McCall and Control, and a gift from Manon should Robert discover who Yvette truly is.