"It's What I Do for A Living Robert"
Matt Cummings from United States
19 January 2014
'Beyond Control' is the kind of episode that makes you realize what can
happen when all the "pieces" in the visual medium fit. It is the best
Equalizer episode ever, the benchmark that sets the bar not only for
the series, but for every spy-driven series after.
It is a story driven primarily by strong character interaction (of
which the series always excelled), but several aspects and particular
scenes separate it from the others.
First, the direction by Alan Metzger is flawless - scenes throughout
the episode feature a bevy of smart camera shots, including an
incredible close-in sequence in the episode's last scene. That one, in
which McCall questions Control's motives, is one of the greatest scenes
ever shot for television.
Another reason why 'Beyond Control' exceeds in its efforts is Coleman
Luck's penning of the script. Luck weaves an engaging tale of lies and
deceit by placing central characters at philosophical odds with each
other. This type of drama was a bedrock of the series, but Luck is
hitting on all the cylinders here, with McCall and Control set as
uneasy partners throughout the episode. The dialogue is crisp, and the
story has enough plot twists to keep anyone on their toes. Listen to
the final scene of 'Control' and you'll hear a familiar Equalizer
theme: those that are in power lie at all costs to protect that power.
When McCall confronts his former boss as to why he lied about Exden,
Control's response is cool and premeditated: "It's what I do for a
Perhaps the greatest and most underrated aspect of successful
television encompasses my final reason for elevating 'Control' to the
Mount Olympus of episodes. Music in television and film add necessary
depth to a scene, round out the visual eye candy, and send strong
messages to the viewer about the story's intent, all without using a
single word of dialogue. Stewart Copeland delivers a brooding and dark
ambiance to the series, and 'Beyond Control' benefits greatly from it.
His orchestrations paint the auditory equivalent of the deep grays and
dark corners which McCall journeyed through as he attempted to right
the wrongs of the world. Replace the musical landscape with another (as
was attempted in several episodes with Cameron Allan), and the result
is pale at best. Again, watch that final scene to see Copeland weave
In the end, 'Beyond Control' is a study in great television, when all
those potentially problematic pieces come together to form something
profound that demands our attention, shapes our understanding, and
inspires us to take valuable lessons from its production. Simply put,
it is television brilliance.
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