This Lethal Weapon review contains spoilers.
Lethal Weapon: Season 2, Episode 8
“Ah, hell of a plot twist, Scorsese!”
There’s a lot to talk about in this episode of Lethal Weapon, but let’s just get out of the way the fact that Scorsese appears to be writing the Lethal Weapon feature films. The snake has officially eaten its tail and Scorsese beautifully turns into this universe’s Shane Black, in the process. It’s absolutely bonkers, but it’s also maybe my favorite development from the entire season so far.
This show has really found a groove that it’s comfortable with now and it’s clear that the recent string of episodes with particularly strong scripts is no fluke. It’s the new standard. This is still just a cop procedural at the end of the day, but it’s certainly not a show that I expected to go to such meta places or have characters punching sharks.
In that sense, “Fork-Getta-Bout It” has a lot going on, but it knows how to effectively plot this episode out and keep all of its plates spinning at the same time. This show always excels when the extraneous B- and C-stories don’t play too far into the melodrama and can also actually shed new details about its cast. Not only is there some winning material here between Murtaugh and the return of his nemesis, Jim McNeile (Patrick Ralston), but also there’s what might qualify as the best Scorsese story from the entire series. Oh, and the murder victim gets fork-stabbed.
The LAPD centers on Jerry Johnson as their suspect, the only catch is that he’s a doctor who apparently died five years ago. As much as Riggs hopes that this case involves a ghost doctor, the reality of it all is that Johnson has been in hiding from the mob ever since he faked his death. Johnson’s recent fork happy actions are suddenly what put him back on the radar. Furthermore, the victim in this case is a prominent figure from the mob, which is an interesting wrinkle that adds a lot of flavor to this episode.
This curiously leads to more development for Scorsese to help him feel like an actual character instead of an expository device with a pulse. It might feel like learning a character’s first name isn’t anything groundbreaking, but there’s a surprising amount of weight to finding out that Scorsese’s first name is Bernard. Besides, if Scorsese is about to become more of a permanent fixture here, the guy needs a first name.
The mob complications in this case push Murtaugh and Riggs to cooperate with Scorsese and his criminal informant that he’s been using to help make his screenplay feel genuine. If nothing else, it’s a lot of fun to see Scorsese compare Murtaugh to his screenplay counterpart while they try to catch Johnson. The case gets even more interesting when it’s revealed that Jerry Johnson isn’t the killer, but that it’s actually his wife, Adriana (Kristanna Loken!). Not only that, but Jerry’s entire marriage is predicated on the fact that he was a mark that Adriana was originally supposed to hit before she fell in love.
On the topic of unusual romances, “Fork-Getta-Bout It” has too much fun bringing back Murtaugh’s neighbor and nemesis, Jim McNeile. Apparently Jim’s boy, Robbie, has started dating Riana and Murtaugh is losing his mind over this news. Lethal Weapon’s first season had a lot of fun teasing this rivalry between Murtaugh and McNeile. It’s a relationship that became so popular with the fandom that McNeile even got a little moment to shine in the first season’s finale.
This storyline works well, especially when Murtaugh and McNeile need to work together over the common goal of separating their offspring. The episode also goes out of its way to point out Jim’s apparent foot fetish, which is certainly weird stuff, but it feels like it’s just more fodder to drive Murtaugh insane. It’s more chaos to bump around in his worried mind.
Riggs is also in a frustrating position when it comes to romance. The guy has gotten quite close with his childhood friend/current possible love interest, Molly Hendricks. Molly becomes yet another reliable person for Riggs to open up and share his trauma. There didn’t seem to be anything wrong with any of the other female confidantes that Riggs has gone through, but Molly holds a special significance due to their childhood bond. Riggs and Molly of course don’t realize that they’re meant for each other yet, but that’s what makes love such a tricky, spontaneous thing. Even though Molly talks about some recent (terrible) dates in her life, the episode continually pushes her and Riggs closer together.
Riggs is pretty caught up in the fact that he’s unable to move on with his romantic life while someone like Molly can show more courage in that area. Small touches like the fact that Riggs has ditched his wedding ring and the fact that Miranda is obviously a very much smaller presence in the show certainly don’t go unnoticed. It still appears that Riggs’ frustration might actually stem over how he’s secretly in love with Molly, as much as he may be in denial about this, but we’ll see how this turns out.
Then again, it’s very much a friend zone move when Molly asks Riggs to babysit while she’s off on a date. At the very least, hopefully the show isn’t building Molly up so much as a character to only eventually mow her down by the end of the season. Riggs might literally explode if he has something else to brood over. Plus, the whole “Riggs Plumbing and Heating” shtick is honestly pretty cute and there are even some glimpses of what Riggs would look like as a father (and honestly, it’s pretty damn good!).
As the episode boils down, loyalties are put into question and bridges unfortunately get burned. Adriana agrees to make a deal with the LAPD, on the condition that she can have immunity with her family. The DA turns Riggs into a liar by breaking his arrangement with Adriana (something that he seems all too happy to do), that is, unless they can bring in the bigger fish, mob boss Frank Truno. The final act throws expectations into the wind one last time as Adriana breaks loose and decides to make Truno’s execution her own business. As all caution goes out the window, the episode pulls the trigger on all of its remaining Godfather and Goodfellas references. Just to prove that they’re not messing around, there’s even a baby in the room during all of the chaos.
Lethal Weapon continues to have fun with and subvert typical action scenes. There’s a shoot-out early on in this installment that takes place in a CostCo-esque big box store. Bullets fly around free samples of food and Riggs straight up shoots a mobster in the head. While much of this energy powers this episode forward, it’s still not without its minor faults. For instance, Johnson kind of just runs into the LAPD repeatedly by chance until they catch him. The larger story beats are solid, but these smaller moments are what are messy. “Fork-Getta-Bout It” still makes for one of the more creative, exciting Lethal Weapon episodes of the season.
How many episodes do you think it’s going to take for Scorsese to ask Leo Getz if he can base a character on him in the sequel?