This Lethal Weapon review contains spoilers.
Lethal Weapon: Season 2, Episode 9
“Why don’t you just eat the pork chop the way that it’s intended to be eaten?”
It’s crazy how just a little paranoia is able to set the craziest of actions into the motion. Random occurrences can suddenly look like calculated patterns and insecure individuals experience breakdowns that are almost operatic in nature. Paranoia is a topic that’s also particularly relevant to Martin Riggs, who spends most of his time on this show as the resident loose cannon. Riggs has gotten far too comfortable wallowing in delusion; so a little paranoia can go a long ways with someone like him.
Conspiracy theories contain a certain hyperbolized energy where they’re allowed to be over the top. This recipe often means that conspiracy theories are the fuel for some of the most satisfying episodes of television shows, whether it be Community or Delocated. Lethal Weapon has come off of a strong string of episodes and even though “Fools Rush In” is a minor step back in quality, there’s still plenty for the conspiracy theory genre to be proud about here.
Lethal Weapon usually keeps its cases of the week fresh by its tendency to plop Riggs and Murtaugh in a new microcosm every episode. “Fools Rush In” instead builds its suspense by dropping in a bunch of tantalizing clues and red herrings early on and then lets the LAPD and the audience try to put it all together. Some of the seemingly disparate elements that compose this week’s crime are a dumpster corpse, clever anagram aliases, and Jekyll/Hyde-like schizophrenic episodes.
The LAPD no doubt has their work cut out for them when a suspect, Jonah, suddenly gets on their radar. The catch here is that Jonah’s brilliant calculations warp into manic conspiracy theories and delusions when he goes off his meds. The beginning of the episode almost tries to play all of this off as if Riggs and Murtaugh are up against a super-villain of sorts. It feels somewhat out of place here, but it’s not an angle that the episode attaches itself to for too long. That being said, it is appropriately bad-ass.
In this sense, the difficulty of this episode lies not in how to find their suspect. In fact, Riggs and Murtaugh track down their multiple-personality case by the episode’s halfway point. When this plagued genius deduces that someone must be framing him, the bigger trouble lies in cracking the code of who this suspect actually is and how this puzzle works. The case continues to get more complex when Jonah explains that he’s positive that the man who has framed him is actually a dead man — Elvis. It’s not long after this bonkers revelation that the LAPD finds themselves negotiating with an Anonymous-esque hacker. There’s definitely a lot to keep Riggs and Murtaugh busy this week.
Even outside of the case, Riggs’ love life begins to heat up in unexpected ways. Riggs is plenty happy to devote all of his spare time over to Molly. This behavior may be sweet, but she begins to get worried over how fixated he is on her. He explains that before she came along that his primary obsession was alcohol and so while Molly is certainly a healthier alternative, Riggs still needs to understand the nuances of balance. That being said, Molly does finally make a move on Riggs so all of the very obvious will they/won’t they vibes can finally be laid to rest. Now let’s just hope that Molly doesn’t all of a sudden turn up as a corpse or exit Los Angeles like so many of the other women from Riggs’ life.
In the past, Riggs has stressed over how to let romance — and Molly — into his life. Now that he finally has these things, Riggs finds that he isn’t satisfied, but rather he’s worried about how his good luck will inevitably explode. Molly’s acceptance of Riggs turns into just another trial that he’s already set himself up to fail in his head. This is much more about Riggs’ ability to learn how to let happiness into his life than it is about him getting the hang of a new relationship.
This mental conflict also leads to a pretty cute scene where Riggs “puts his life” on the line with a gun-toting suspect because if he doesn’t make it out of the situation alive then he won’t have to go on his date with Molly. Make no mistake, that’s morbid as all hell, but it’s this perfectly twisted headspace that Lethal Weapon occupies so well. This is the right way to have fun with Riggs’ baggage.
Murtaugh also finds his personal life to be more hectic than usual. The cause of this is the other child in the Murtaugh family, who gets to see some love this week. After the rest of Roger’s children have been given spotlights earlier in this season, Harper, the youngest of the lot, gets some attention here. It’s about time for Harper to enroll in pre-school and Murtaugh and Trish have some pretty high expectations for where she’s going to get in. The Kellogg School material doubles as a qualifier for whether the Murtaughs are good enough for the elite school. It allows Murtaugh to take a hard look at himself and his wife from the outside. This is all pretty harmless material that while not great, is also far from painful. Oh and apparently Murtaugh’s interpretation of high society is Alfred Hitchcock?
When the murder case comes around to close, Jonah finds himself kidnapped by some vengeful hackers. The case turns upside down once again and the truth continues to evade Riggs and Murtaugh until the final, absurd scene. Admittedly, “Fools Rush In” is a little lacking in the action this week, but there’s still a hefty explosion within the cold open. Plus there is still a scene where Riggs holds on for dear life on the top of an armored truck as a pack of Elvises fire machine guns at him while “A Little Less Conversation” plays. So it’s still safe to chalk this one up as a win, even if it’s an easy win.
A lot of the joy of this episode is in how all of Jonah’s crazy ramblings inexplicably come true. By the final act, there’s a high stakes bomb scare in play and Murtaugh and Riggs can only save the day by piecing together all of their insane evidence. “Fools Rush In” isn’t one of Lethal Weapon’s best, but it knows where to take its characters and isn’t afraid to get weird.
It’s also impossible to get the visual of Riggs in a game of Mario Kart with Molly. The guy totally plays as Wario…