‘The Equalizer 3’ ending explained: Who is Emma Collins to McCall?
(Credit: Netflix)

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‘The Equalizer 3’ ending explained: Who is Emma Collins to McCall?

There is something about vigilante justice stories that have held people in a grip across cultures and generations. They dish out tales of cathartic escape from real-world injustices. If you throw in some action-packed scenes and themes of redemption, you have the perfect formula for a hit. Antoine Fuqua’s The Equalizer trilogy starring Denzel Washington fits that mould perfectly. 

The Equalizer 3 was released last year and became an instant hit once it arrived on Netflix. The story follows retired Marine Robert McCall, a character reprised by Washington after the first two films. As McCall confronts personal demons, he reluctantly takes on the vigilante mantle once more to seek justice in a small Italian town plagued by crime.

In this action-packed thriller, McCall finds himself embroiled in a new mission of redemption and retribution. He is no longer in his familiar Boston environment. A subplot in the second film foreshadows his arc in the third and concluding chapter.

Set against the picturesque backdrop of the Amalfi Coast, The Equalizer 3  follows McCall’s journey as he uncovers a drug trade orchestrated by the Camorra, a notorious Italian mafia. With the help of local allies and his steadfast moral compass, McCall wages a one-man war against corruption and violence, ultimately confronting his own past and forging unexpected connections along the way.

McCall also calls in CIA agent Emma Collins (Dakota Fanning) to tip her off about the illegal undertakings of the Quaranta brothers. If you missed the clues as to why McCall was all the way across a different continent in The Equalizer 3 and who Collins is to McCall, read on to find out. 

What happens at the end of The Equalizer 3?

At the film’s climax, McCall confronts the ruthless Camorra leader, Vincent, culminating in a deadly showdown that sees justice served and a town redeemed. But amidst the chaos and violence, a subplot in the second movie emerges, shedding light on the true identity of Emma Collins, the CIA analyst McCall tips off. 

Throughout the film, Collins cannot figure out why McCall would tip her off about the Altamonte drug trade. Taking down the operation with McCall’s help ultimately earned Collins a promotion and recognition at work. It is revealed at the end that Collins is the daughter of Susan Plummer (played by Melissa Leo), McCall’s late friend and colleague whose death sends him down the path of vigilante justice. 

Now, coming to the mystery of why McCall was in Italy and stole from the mafia to deposit it in the account of an old couple. In an interview with USA Today, Fuqua reflected on how it was all set up in the previous film. McCall gives a man named Greg Dyer a ride in his car. Dyer ends up confiding in him that his entire pension, worth $366,400, was stolen from his account. 

While tracing the theft, McCall discovers the drug ring in Sicily and decides to take things into his own hands. “Dyer lived on the street (McCall) used to live on, and McCall gave him a lift,” Fuqua explained in the interview. “The money is the final payback after his final masterpiece of violence.”

While McCall’s action days may be behind him by the end of The Equalizer 3, the film’s ending hints at the possibility of future adventures, keeping the door open for Denzel Washington to reprise his iconic role in the future.