This Lethal Weapon review contains spoilers.
Lethal Weapon Season 3 Episode 5
“Do not. It never ends well when you try to fix things.”
Part of the comfort of a procedural series like Lethal Weapon is that week-after-week the show delivers a reliable pattern that its stories follow. That being said, there’s such a thing as following a pattern to a fault, and “Get the Picture” is certainly guilty of that to some degree. The episode delivers what’s come to be expected from an installment of Lethal Weapon, but at this point in the show’s run the audience expects a little more.
“Get the Picture” drops a confounding art heist in the LAPD’s lap. The opening heist that starts off the episode establishes an intimidating baseline for these criminals and if you squint real hard it almost looks like a cold open from out of Breaking Bad. With some stolen art, a couple corpses, and a gunshot victim on their hands, Murtaugh and Cole split up and Cole takes to interrogating the injured truck driver. Even though he gets results, this is really just a ruse for Cole to get in the face of Natalie’s boyfriend who works at the hospital and fix/ruin the situation between the two of them; or “pulling a Cole,” as Natalie likes to call it. Cole’s hospital interrogation gets the LAPD the name of a lead, which takes them to the missing art, but also a whole lot of gunfire.
This case evolves into a pesky charge of fraud where it looks like an art dealer has paid to have his own art stolen. To make matters even more twisted, Lena, the LAPD’s contact on this case turns out to be part of this conspiracy as well. Lena’s duplicitous nature is a blow to the case, but it’s also a personal disappointment for Cole as he seems to very much be falling for her.
The LAPD hit another roadblock when they learn that Lena isn’t even this manipulator’s real name. Lena is actually Layla and she turns out to be a complicated victim of circumstance through all of this who just wants back some art that’s rightfully owed to her. The chemistry between Seann William Scott and Annet Mahendru is maybe the strongest part of the episode, so hopefully Lena/Layla will stick around in some context (even though a prison sentence awaits her).
Each episode of this season of Lethal Weapon has shed a little more light on Cole’s past and his relationship with his ex-wife and daughter. “Get the Picture” chooses to continue to embrace this trend and examines Cole’s complicated feelings towards Natalie after he learns that her boyfriend is about to propose. The past few episodes have indicated that Natalie is still very much on Cole’s mind, but that they’ve perhaps found a balance to co-exist as they move forward. “Get the Picture” takes a few steps back and shoves Cole’s unresolved emotions in both Natalie and the audience’s faces.
Natalie is desperate for Cole to not ruin things with her boyfriend, Andrew, who he happens to make highly uncomfortable. Cole is determined to hang out with the guy and get to know him better because he’s convinced that’s what the problem is between the two of them. This is a theory that Natalie begs Cole to not put into practice, but he just can’t help himself.
As the episode progresses, it’s a little reductive that the way in which Cole is able to distract himself from Natalie is by getting himself invested in another prospective relationship. Furthermore, the news that Andrew is already proposing to Natalie feels awfully rushed and only there to force a reaction out of Cole. These are all sizable contrivances and just when it looks like Cole is perhaps ready to put some of his relationship baggage behind him, the series once again spins its wheels on the matter.
Cole has a lot to figure out in his personal life, but Roger also needs to put out plenty of fires at home in “Get the Picture.” In fact, he’s up against criminals in the world of private art and in his very own home this week. Ever the opportunist, Riana blackmails her father when she learns that he never got rid of his boat and has been lying to Trish all of this time. Riana seizes this vulnerable moment for Roger and take advantage so that he’ll allow her to attend a concert.
This all comes across as pretty rote and just another excuse for Roger and Trish to get at each other’s throats again, but it works because of what Chandler Kinney brings to the table here as Riana. Her energy livens up this C-Story and she makes for a good enough foil for Murtaugh that the series should put her in stories more often. Roger continues to get caught up in more lies with his family and, like always, it’s a lot of fun to watch Wayans flail about until the truth comes to light. This storyline doesn’t drag itself out for too long and it’s resolved rather quickly once it’s out in the open. There’s enough going on in the rest of this episode that this drama in the Murtaugh household doesn’t need to be any more elaborate.
“Get the Picture” may not be that remarkable with its plotting, but it still knows how to bring the action. There’s a shoot out that goes on amidst all of the art that the LAPD is supposed to retrieve, which makes for a nice twist on some standard gunplay. Every bullet that goes off renders another precious piece of art worthless and it provides a new sort of risk and danger to Murtaugh and Cole’s task. Cole’s strategy to just bust his way out of his glass prison at one point in the episode makes for a surprising subversion to a much more complicated escape plan.
It’s interesting to note that Cole and Bailey really do all of the work here. They come across all of the major breaks in this case and Murtaugh feels expendable a lot of the time. It’s nice to see Bailey get a little more credit here. In the end they discover that it’s really microchips that contain plans for dirty bombs that are being smuggled through the art. They’re the real targets here, not the art itself. This turn of events also puts Cole and Lena/Layla in the role of hostages through the episode’s final act, which conveniently makes use of Murtaugh’s boat. It also features a thrilling conclusion to the episode that’s set on the water and sees rocket launchers go off at boats and puts ample explosions on display.
“Get the Picture” is an average episode of Lethal Weapon that doesn’t exactly do anything wrong, but it just gets a little too comfortable in its rhythm and old patterns. It even feels like the spectacle of the water-bound warfare is to make up for the rest of the mediocre material. With the series’ new dynamic now firmly in place, Lethal Weapon should be taking more risks rather than playing it safe for the rest of the season.
Oh, and Bailey’s snark levels are off the charts here. Snark overload in this one.
Daniel Kurland is a published writer, comedian, and critic whose work can be read on Den of Geek, Vulture, Bloody Disgusting, and ScreenRant. Daniel knows that the owls are not what they seem, that Psycho II is better than the original, and he’s always game to discuss Space Dandy. His perma-neurotic thought process can be followed at @DanielKurlansky.
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