LETHAL WEAPON stalls with another Riggs-centric story about his continual war with grief in “The SEAL is Broken.” I’m a big fan of this series and everything they’ve accomplished, but this episode is not going to make my top five. However, there were still plenty of fantastic performances chewing up the screen.
For Riggs, this is all about the anniversary of Miranda’s death. In general, “The SEAL is Broken” crosses several themes people experience in many different ways; love and love lost, revenge and closure, sin and absolution. Miranda was Riggs’ anchor to the world he wanted to live in and he hasn’t gotten over her. Right now, he’s starting to forget little things about her and that frightens him too. He knows drinking into blackouts isn’t helping, but he doesn’t seem to want help either. Ronnie Delgado (Tony Plana), his father in law, invites him to family functions, but Riggs doesn’t want to be around them.
This week, Delgado comes looking for Riggs when he misses their church’s memorial service for Miranda. Delgado isn’t angry, he’s concerned. He wants to know if Riggs is doing any better. Murtaugh doesn’t think he’s any better, Riggs is so out of touch, he arrives at a crime scene in swim trunks. His drinking is out of hand. There is a bizarre scene where Riggs shows up at Murtaugh’s house while they are having a family discussion with RJ and Riggs sets two bottles of beer and several mini-bottles of booze on the table.
Riggs is in pain, we get it, but would he really expose Murtaugh’s kids to that kind of dysfunction? Eventually, Delgado confronts Riggs about his drinking. He tells him he can be a drunk if he wants to, but he won’t allow him to blame Miranda for it. It’s a great scene, and I wish we’d see Plana more in this series. Riggs doesn’t like the man he has become, at the end of the episode he hints that he’s quitting drinking, but he has hinted at making steps in the right direction before. Lethal Weapon has already proven they have great storytellers shaping the series. I’m confident they have more character depth for Riggs than his grief.
Murtaugh doesn’t have this problem, Murtaugh’s Alamo is his family and they’re all still alive. This week, Murtaugh discovers RJ has a sleep-over girlfriend, Feather. He’s proud that his son is active in the love game, but fears for his future when he hears Feather is a game changer. Feather isn’t going to spend the next year in college, she wants to join a program to help farm for the poor and RJ wants to suspend his enrollment in Princeton to join her.
Trish isn’t happy about the sleep-over revelation, but she has a less aggressive way of shaping RJ’s future; allow him to learn his own lessons and hope he learns quickly. Trish’s tactic works when Feather breaks up with RJ and redirects her farming efforts to measuring glacial melt. Dante Brown (RJ) is great in this sequence playing the whole journey, love sick to love lost.
The crime of the week seems a little unrelated. There is a serial killer picking members of the same church and killing them according to their sins. The first victim is an adulterer who is murdered right after cheating on his wife. The second victim is a woman who works at an elderly care facility. Riggs and Murtaugh find her buried and rescue her while she’s still alive. This woman suffocated an elderly patient for her life insurance policy. Both of the victims attended and gave confession at the same church. Riggs and Murtaugh investigate the priest, but he has solid alibis. That said, Father Adams isn’t surprised to hear the man was a cheater or the woman a murderer.
Riggs and Murtaugh search the confessional and discover a hidden microphone that leads to a back room run by Ruben Tomar, a young man that runs the church’s soup kitchen. Father Adams has looked after Ruben since his father was sent to prison for killing his mother. Ruben has an interesting bitter pill. His father was a wife abuser. He would beat his wife, then go to confession. Ruben blames Father Adams for doing nothing to save his mother, which seems like a valid point. By the time Riggs and Murtaugh suspect Ruben, he has kidnapped Father Adams to deliver his revenge beating. The link between Ruben and Riggs might be they both lack something to live for.
Riggs and Murtaugh arrive in time to save Father Adams, but Ruben escapes to the roof. Riggs chases him and they both fall over the rusty rails. Ruben falls to his death, but Riggs holds on long enough for Murtaugh to catch up and grab him. Martaugh grasps the same crumbling rail as Riggs and they can both see it falling apart. Riggs pleads with Roger to let him go, he even manages to hit him, but Murtaugh holds on and they go over the edge together.
Riggs and Murtaugh land in a tree. Hey, trees save lives, it’s a fact. Overall, not my favorite but forgivable. The entertainment value wasn’t at the same level as most of the other episodes. Still looking forward to the next episode in two weeks, plus the expanded order episodes.
Season 1, Episode 13 (S01E013)
Lethal Weapon airs Wednesdays at 8PM on Fox
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Eric Rodriguez | Contributor