This Lethal Weapon review contains spoilers.
Lethal Weapon Season 2 Episode 14
“I’ve got to get right. I’ve got to get my mind right…”
The person that people see themselves as and the person that they actually are is usually an enlightening subject matter when it’s confronted honestly. This is typically a topic that sits on the surface of many cop procedurals, but never actually gets examined to a degree where characters are challenged to change and evolve. Lethal Weapon’ssecond season puts in the work to have its cast really take a hard look at who they actually are—not just who they think they are—and “Double Shot of Baileys” shows some of the results of that introspection.
It’s an important skill for someone to be able to see clearly enough to understand the truth about themselves. These characters do a lot of incredible things every episode, but it’s just as crucial for them to know when they’ve had enough and what their limits are, whether that’s with liquor or inappropriate, reckless behavior that could lead to something worse. Every character has to come to terms with their bad habits and limitations in this entry as they decide to either submit or improve themselves. It’s a stronger episode because it asks these questions.
The biggest thing to get excited about with this episode is that Detective Bailey gets thrust into the spotlight this week when her sister Jess turns out to be connected to the LAPD’s current culprit (and yes, that means the episode’s title is an unfortunate pun). Bailey is put in the difficult situation where she learns just how far she’ll go to protect her family, even if it comes at the expense of the LAPD and the law.
It doesn’t take long at all for Bailey to tamper with evidence at the scene of the crime in order to keep her sister out of police matters and this unscrupulous behavior brings Riggs into Bailey’s orbit in an interesting way. By the way, the criminal activity that Bailey’s sister is tied up in involves her boyfriend being murdered in an especially brutal way: a horrible stab to the eye. This isn’t a parking ticket that Bailey wants to help her sister with; this is some serious stuff that could lead to her also getting eye-stabbed if she doesn’t help her sister out here.
Just like how the previous episode allowed Dr. Cahill to grow as a character and get pushed outside of her comfort zone, the show does similarly important work with Bailey here. Bailey is a dependable character, but for whatever reason she never seems to steal scenes or be the center of attention. Bowman entered the picture much later than she did and he’s already had more opportunities to shine than she has. In that sense, “Double Shot of Baileys” continues Lethal Weapon’s solid streak of course correcting their weak links. Whether viewers were interested in Bailey’s backstory and her issues beforehand, they definitely will be after this week.
Riggs is a large help to Bailey tonight, but it’s also because if he throws himself into her troubles he doesn’t have to confront his own problems. Riggs is no stranger to going off the deep end, but he really sets a new personal best this week when he has a particularly brutal drunken night out on the town and loses his truck.
The episode gleefully parses out details from Riggs’ night, and these comical developments all hit him like a ton of bricks as he tries to put the pieces together. It acts as a nice runner through the more serious story beats of the episode Certain highlights include the fact that Riggs shoots a jukebox six times when “The Girl From North Country” plays. So clearly he’s handling his liquor and his daddy issues just fine.
Riggs’ behavior towards his alcoholism toes the line between humorous and pathetic. The character’s theatrics to tune out Murtaugh’s concern over his drinking on the job is no doubt entertaining, but it doesn’t change that there’s a very real problem here. Riggs even situates himself behind an open bar during the LAPD’s bust as he brazenly abuses his addiction before everything reaches its boiling point. The fact that Riggs’ flask literally saves his life from a shooter may feel pretty reductive, but it still makes for a powerful, emotional sequence.
Riggs’ progress and stability has been a little erratic lately. One episode will have Martin undergo a major breakthrough in some way, while others will show him experience a heavy backslide. The point here is that recovery isn’t neat and tidy, but Riggs at least seems to open his eyes after the events of this episode. As much as Riggs has changed and bettered himself, his drinking has always been a constant, at least in some capacity. “Double Shot of Baileys” poses the idea that maybe that’s something that Riggs needs to eliminate from the equation as well. A sober Riggs is something that previously would have seemed impossible within Lethal Weapon, but this episode begins to make it feel like a change that’s genuinely on the way.
As Riggs sleepwalks through his hangover, it’s quite entertaining to see him play an unwitting Avery against Murtaugh and actually turn it into an opportunity to help out Bailey through her crisis. Avery’s bewilderment through all of Riggs’ and Murtaugh’s antics is a real highlight, but the character dynamics are the thing to really get excited about here. With Riggs and Bailey together through the bulk of the episode, Murtaugh is stuck working with Bowman and none of these pairings disappoint.
Bailey and Riggs’ struggles are the centerpieces of the episode, but the entry also fits in a tiny, enjoyable Murtaugh storyline to round out the installment. Riana finds herself with boy problems and with Trish away on a company retreat Roger is the one who needs to come to her aid in the end. This story is clearly meant to have the least impact out of the week’s several plots, but it still accomplishes much. The past few episodes have spent a good deal of time with R.J., so it’s nice to see the show shift its attention over to the other Murtaugh child.
This all acts as a welcome bonding experience between father and daughter, and besides, when is it ever not a lot of fun to see Murtaugh stammer his way through a situation where he’s uncomfortable?
On top of all of this, Murtaugh finds himself in the peculiar situation where he stands up for Robbie McNiele and defends the boy’s good name and dweeby nature while Riana is paranoid about his loyalty. This also takes a worthwhile turn when the episode plays Riana and her Instagram detective skills against the abilities of Murtaugh, Bowman, and the collective resources of the LAPD. What’s even better is that when all of the dust settles, Riana is the one who’s right! There’s a moment here where Murtaugh juggles his disappointment with his jubilation over Riana’s form of retribution and it’s a sight to behold. It’s sometimes easy to forget how comfortable Damon Wayans is in this role, but he always delivers. Riggs usually has more of the heavy lifting to do in the show, but Wayans’ Murtaugh has really hit a nice place with this character.
The complications of the crime of the week are fairly simple this time around, because more of the conflict is of the internal kind. Even still, the final act boils down to killer triplets and it’s somehow not at all stupid. Plus, there’s an especially awesome fight scene where Riggs is only able to use his legs. Heavy gunfire is peppered throughout the installment and there are a number of motorcycle and car stunts that make this look like one of the more expensive episodes of the season. The episode even tops everything off with a massive car crash, “fireworks,” and a tremendous (i.e. expensive) explosion. “Double Shot of Baileys” goes for broke with this bonkers conclusion. Also, TV Show Riggs totally bashes Movie Riggs for his famous breakdown over Murtaugh’s “death” in the first film and it’s goddamn glorious.
All of this contributes to a worthwhile episode, but when characters have a chance to reflect and decisions need to get made, they don’t back down. In a moment of pure vulnerability Riggs asks Murtaugh for help with his sobriety, and it’s a deeply tender scene. What’s even more impressive is that Bailey realizes the slippery slope that she’s on and she punishes herself so she won’t make these same mistakes again. Bailey puts herself on an “indefinite leave of absence” while she conquers her demons and Lethal Weapon reminds its audience that behind all of the quips and explosions that there are still real, flawed people here. “Double Shot of Baileys” turns up the pain, but it looks like the series can take it.