The Equalizer

Season 1 Episode 2

China Rain

Aired Wednesday 10:00 PM Sep 25, 1985 on CBS
out of 10
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22 votes

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Episode Summary

China Rain
McCall comes to the aid of a housekeeper when kidnappers grab her son by mistake.

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  • A Chinese gang has targeted the son of a wealthy businessman, but they kidnap the son of their maid. McCall must find and rescue the boy.

    n the pilot, ex-super spy Robert McCall is sometimes uncertain how to proceed and makes errors in judgment. In the second episode, China Rain, he is in complete control and uses contacts and methods from his sordid past to craft the perfect strategy to save the kidnapped boy. The night club scene in China Rain establishes this side of McCall's persona for the series. This becomes evident immediately as he walks through the club. In his perfectly-cut, dark, conservative suit (with the signature lapel pin), this slightly overweight, fifty-something man should feel glaringly out of place among the young Chinese dressed in the latest 1985 fashions. But he is not. McCall is supremely self-aware and self-confident, and anything but out of place. And everyone knows it. This is someone to watch out for.

    In the ensuing conversation with night club owner and former associate, Tommy Lee, McCall's reveals new sides of his interaction with the world and Edward Woodward reveals his range of acting skills. With small gestures, voice modifications, and facial changes, his tone varies from (albeit false) cordiality, to quietly menacing, to calm but clearly threatening. For example, a few words, and a tightening of his voice and lips reveal how dangerous he is when they talk about an incident from their past. How is his hand, she asks? He replies that he saw Paul Lau a year ago in Hong Kong. Did he ever found out whether Lau had given him up? McCall returns in a low voice filled with menace that he (Lau) is still alive, isn't he? Viewers next find more out about the job McCall has resigned from and his disgust about it: this time his mission was providing protection for Tommy Lee's heroin running. Tommy taunts him by saying he did everything for the ring but earn the money. Revulsion showing on his face with the heroin running, but also with himself for having facilitated it, McCall immediately changes the subject to the reason he is there: to find a little Chinese boy. Tommy cannot believe that a man like McCall is here about some Chinese kid. But yes, that is why he is here. What's in it for her? There's nothing in it for her. She's got enough nothing already. Now his tone turns even more menacing when he spits out that it's for OLD TIMES; she understands immediately that he can be very dangerous to her. Suitably frightened, she gives him information. When it isn't enough for McCall, she says that she owes him, but not enough to go to war. In yet a different tone, he snarls that HE is the war she has to avoid. Knowing she indeed wants to avoid this man's enmity, she reveals a secret which leads to his finding the boy.

    There are other aspects of this episode that are noteworthy. The view of McCall in the darkened apartment listening to the businessman's telephone conversation from a perspective outside a rain streaked window is an example of the show's cinematographic excellence. We learn about McCall's methods through his meticulous planning of the police diversion and his use of former colleagues to find information. And, perhaps most noteworthy, the episode introduces the interaction between McCall and Mickey with some of their most memorable banter, for example their wry interchange while planning the rescue (McCall: I have set up a diversion. Mickey: What do we need a diversion for? Just kick in the door and hose the room. McCall: Mickey, there is a 5 year old boy in there. Mickey: Oh, yeah, we're going to need a diversion. McCall: I have set up a diversion.) This episode also has one of my favorite endings. McCall carries the little boy in his arms back to the apartment where his mother has been waiting and praying. Her back is turned when he puts the boy down. The boy says Mama and the mother turns as the boy rushes into her arms, underscored by the series' signature music. McCall finds out how it feels to do a good deed and we see whisper of a smile. Maybe he can be redeemed after all.moreless
  • When a Chinese maid's young son is snatched by mistake in place of the son of the woman's wealthy employers, McCall is hired to locate the boy. A good second episode...moreless

    After the Pilot episode, this is the first regular episode (although it wasn't the first to be filmed).

    This is a good episode to illustrate how McCall is often a much better resort for help than the Police, who are in many ways limited and rather helpless in what they can do.

    I like how McCall infiltrates the kidnappers' stronghold, first scouting out the area, before eventually going in to rescue the young boy.

    The episode also introduces Keith Szarabajka as Mickey Kosmayer, and old contact of McCall's who he calls upon to help rescue the boy.

    The plot for the most part is fairly simplistic, but with it's solid writing and acting, doesn't suffer for it. McCall's plan at the climax is also ingenious and well thought out, making this more than your standard "all guns blazing" action series.moreless
  • We're going to need a diversion.

    Well, my one complaint about "The Equalizer" after the pilot has fallen by the wayside with the second episode. Unlike the "Pilot," "China Rain" gives McCall only one job for the hour; it's a wise choice, since the emotional storyline would have been done a disservice by splitting the attention with another plot.

    The episode builds to the climax, when McCall and Kostmayer attempt to rescue the boy from the villains' stronghold. It was nice to see that McCall did not simply go in with guns blazing, and watching him put together his ruse and map out his plan was reminiscent of "Mission: Impossible." Of course, the bullets fly when it all comes together, but it shows more of the depth to McCall's character to see how meticulous he is. It was also fun to spot some actors in their earlier days. Lauren Tom, currently a voice actress on "King of the Hill" and "Futurama," plays the mother of the kidnapped boy; Tzi Ma, most recently seen as the evil Chang on "24" ("Meestah Bawwah!") is the businessman targeted by the kidnappers.moreless
Jim Russo

Jim Russo


Guest Star

Lauren Tom

Lauren Tom

Mrs. Tom

Guest Star

Pippa Pearthree

Pippa Pearthree


Guest Star

Keith Szarabajka

Keith Szarabajka

Mickey Kostmayer

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions