This Lethal Weapon review contains spoilers.
Lethal Weapon Season 2, Episode 5
“I’m feeling lucky.”
Lethal Weapon operates at its best when it plays the comedy against the drama and the episode finds an unusual theme to hang its hat on. “Let It Ride” features all of those elements and as a result it’s certainly one of the strongest installments of the season. The episode begins at a racetrack and quickly becomes all about dramatic irony in its various shapes and forms, like how a man experiences the best luck of his life, but the only catch is that right beforehand someone murders the guy.
Without question, “Let It Ride” is the funniest the show has been all season. Riggs and Murtaugh are on fire in this one, plus Leo freaking Getz is back, which in itself is always comedic gold. Thomas Lennon’s mile-a-minute delivery only pushes Wayans and Crawford to up their banter game. It’s a delight.
There’s some great conflict for both Murtaugh and Riggs to riff on this week outside of the criminal activity, too. Riggs runs his mouth about his “missing” home and Murtaugh and Trish suddenly see the food-leeching effects of having a child that’s away in college. All of this works quite well and it makes every moment feel worthwhile. The “filler” scenes are fun and enjoyable rather than an exercise in how melodramatic the show can be.
To build on this, Riggs’ current situation where his trailer is gone naturally leads to the Murtaugh’s throwing out a life preserver. Even though Riggs and Murtaugh already spend enough time together (Murtaugh even has the guy in his will), Riggs reluctantly agrees to temporarily shack up with his partner. It doesn’t take long for Riggs to rub Trish the wrong way, but Riggs’ stay with the Murtaughs should make for a pleasant few episodes. There’s bound to be a whole lot of barbecue arguments in the weeks to come.
The main crux of the episode revolves around the fact that the victim’s death is not a natural stroke, but rather a calculated murder. As Getz’ curious nature on the matter brings Riggs and Murtaugh in to dig around, it’s no surprise that Howard, the victim, was involved in some shady business. Strokes don’t have debts to settle.
However, this glimpse of mortality also inspires Murtaugh to think about his will and Riggs to re-visit his past. The victim happens to be one of Getz’ best friends, which also adds a personal element to this case that helps it stand out a little more, too. “Let It Ride” makes a point to highlight how Howard’s home is full of relics of good luck, which clearly do him no good.
Howard’s pack rat tendencies result in to some evidence that points Getz and the “B Team” (one of the better jokes in an episode full of great jokes) in the right direction. Apparently the victim was recording conversations and illegal bets and clearly someone found out and took action. It’s humbling to see Lethal Weapon allow the other detectives to have the major breakthrough in the case here. It’s still a joint effort in the end, but it’s a realistic touch that it’s not always going to be Riggs and Murtaugh to save the day. It’s another example of this episode’s ability to look at the bigger picture.
For instance, Thomas Lennon is understandably a busy guy, but his presence and how well he works here as Leo Getz is just more proof of why he needs to be a series regular. If a third season happens, the decision to make Getz become a permanent fixture is a must. A Bowman and Getz solo entry would be an all-time best for the show. There’s a particularly bloody scene that plays on Getz’ befuddled nature that also allows Riggs and Murtaugh to be their petty, stubborn selves. Danger plays out while these two are oblivious to it all. It’s a smart way to make Getz’ dramatic turn into a murderer into a moment that can still have humor to it.
On the opposite side of the spectrum, Riggs digs into his past in his therapy sessions, which thankfully provide some follow-up to the revelation that came at the end of the last episode. You know, that business about how Riggs killed his father. More flashback sequences shine a light on a young Riggs’ disturbing childhood with his volatile father. Riggs’ pent-up rage towards his past also spills out in some problematic ways, like when he nearly beats a suspect to a pulp. Murtaugh’s distressed face towards Rigg’s aggression is a nice touch that highlights how serious this stuff is for Riggs. If it gets to Murtaugh, then something’s up. This season wastes no time to prove that Riggs’ daddy issues make for a much more interesting — and tortured — arc for the character this year than any dead wife.
As Rigggs, Murtaugh, and Getz learn more about Howard’s secrets, the victim’s debts lead them to some extortionist arms dealers. The outlaws still have an ax to grind and they seem like the most viable suspects. This direction carries the episode home and “Let It Ride” doesn’t need to stoop to theatrics. The results here are a smart, well-written episode that smoothly interweaves the case of the week with the series’ larger character arcs. Everything feels productive and conducive to the story in “Let It Ride,” which is why the final act feels especially suspenseful.
The pain that Getz experiences when he loses his friend nicely plays parallel to an exercise where Riggs and Murtaugh learn to better value their own friendship. None of this material pads the episode for time, which is sometimes the case when this show is sloppier and its strings show. The harder that the show works to connect its dots across the board means that it can be more cryptic with the cases of the week. This allows the ending to have legitimate reveals rather than every beat of the mystery already having played out. The successful rhythm of “Let It Ride” is strong evidence that the less the audience knows about the episode’s crimes and criminals, the better.
It’s just like knowing the right amount of oregano to add to a sauce.