Synopsis: A noise complaint turns into a deadly shootout. Riggs and Murtaugh learn more about each other, and get in deep water over all the trouble they’ve caused.
I’m pleased to say that I can – at least somewhat – scale back on most of my complaints about Lethal Weapon from last week. The missing rough edges to Riggs and Murtaugh were more prominent in this second installment, thanks to Murtaugh’s amusing distress and personal offense to Riggs missing a dinner he had prepared, and his genuine concern to his superiors about whether or not Riggs was truly okay to be doing active police work.
Riggs, for his part, misses dinner because he’s drowning his sorrows at some dive bar after officially selling the house in Texas he and his wife had lived in. Freshly grieving, he does some shots and deliberately starts a bar fight, smiling while eight guys beat him to a bloody pulp.
At work though, having Murtaugh to keep him in check and authority figures to target with his snark, along with a case to bury himself in, seems to keep Riggs grounded – if not any less destructive. This week, a noise complaint from a party at a heavyweight boxer’s Hollywood home turns into a street shootout with an assassin, causing the deaths of a propane truck, a lot of windows, and one really nice motorcycle (RIP). Riggs also ends up jumping off of said motorcycle and somehow grabbing a piece of rope hanging from a crane while in midair, and then just kind of hanging there. As you do.
It turns out, that the shooter’s gun was some fancy, next-gen weapon that isn’t even available in the states, and the shooter’s target was a waitress at the party, who’d accidentally seen her ex-boyfriend running guns illegally and run away to LA, but he’d tracked her down.
Riggs takes a personal interest in the girl, especially after finding out that she’s pregnant, and becomes single-mindedly focused on protecting her. In the process, he ropes Murtaugh into a major shootout against a squadron of assassins with insanely deadly guns, against the two of them and Murtaugh’s service weapon. Fortuitously, there’s a truck nearby filled with fireworks, and they manage to create enough of an explosion to escape, and save the girl.
Murtagh’s wife, Trish is concerned about Riggs, though. She likes him, and she knows he’s not crazy, like so many others believe, but she’s worried his recklessness is going to get her husband killed. After she and Roger argue about it, she confronts Riggs and essentially tells him that whatever trouble they want to get into is fine, but he better bring Murtaugh home at the end of the day. Affected, he sagely promises that he will.
We also got a better – but not nearly good enough – look into some minor characters. There’s Bailey, Murtaugh’s young protege, offering smart and snarky exposition, and Dr. Cahill, the psychologist Riggs is required to see, and who is clearly set up as his future love interest.
It’s a huge cliche, and I’ll be furious if she gets no story arc of her own, and is relegated to the maternal, caregiving, underwritten female side character that exists only for B-plot. And since we’re on the subject, I’m severely disappointed that we didn’t start with a reimagining of Rene Russo’s character from the films, because she is one of my all time favorites and Lethal Weapon 3 is a straight-up masterpiece. But I digress.
This episode was certainly a step up from last week. Hilarious banter (the two of them trying to guess the dollar value of the property damaged they’d caused slayed me), truer characterization, and zany villains were abundant. But there’s still no storyline of any kind to carry us beyond the case-of-the-week. What are these character’s goals? What are they working toward? What do they want? This is Screenwriting 101 stuff, guys.
Riggs’ wacky antics are also coming off wrong? In that they mostly manifest as completely ridiculous actual stunts like stealing motorcycles and leaping over trucks with slow motion flames while looking impossibly cool, rather than the erratic, unhinged actions of Mel Gibson’s dog-treat munching, gorilla-imitating Riggs.
Crawford’s “crazy” is trying too hard to just look good on camera, rather than come across as the impulsive moves of a suicidal man. It feels constructed by the circumstances, rather than integral to his character.
The characters don’t need to be identical, though, and Wayans and Crawford are hilarious together. Here’s hoping the show continues to improve.