Lethal Weapon “There Goes the Neighborhood” ditches Riggs’ flashbacks to his dead pregnant wife and shows him apparently moving on. The episode focusses more on the partnership and Murtaugh’s son. Roger’s attempt to introduce his son to the old neighborhood has consequences for all concerned.
Show creator Matthew Miller has opted to fast forward Martin Riggs’ grieving and let him settle into the day to day machinations of police work. The move shoves the character out of the empathy zone and moves him firmly into eccentric mode.
Clearly the television show does not want to waste time building any more on the short-term misery of Riggs’ character. (It has really only lasted three episodes.) “There Goes the Neighborhood” also echoes a plot from the films. The one where a friend of Roger’s son is killed. In the movie Murtaugh has not seen the dead teen for years. In this episode Roger has contact with the kid who is saved, but only just.
Roger has lost his wonky blue hat but he has also lost any vestige of common sense. Rather than thanking Riggs for picking Roger Jr. up and getting him out of a dodgy neighborhood, he hits Martin for interfering.
Murtaugh and Riggs are ordered to attend a counseling session with Dr. Cahill. As the three talk, Roger claims that Martin is, “Crazy as a sack of cats.” The only problem with this is that Riggs is quite normal in this episode.
Washing his clothes at the beach does not constitute crazy but, as mentioned above, slightly eccentric. Riggs has calmed right down and as such this takes the show right out of Lethal Weapon territory.
The overall plot theme was family and keeping in touch with “where you came from.” At the end of the episode, Riggs is truly welcomed into Roger’s family by virtue of the barbershop scene. A nice touch but possibly a bit too soon.
Lethal Weapon (the film) was always about Riggs’ gradual insinuation into the Murtaugh clan. Martin is the fun uncle, as Roger says, and everyone but the patriarchal head adopts him almost instantly.
The relationship and the grieving process of Riggs is moving on too quickly. So too is the “crazy” despite Roger’s claim of his partner’s continued “insanity.”
The storyline, a valet company run by an old high school coach setting up car owners for break-ins, was a solid one. It gave the audience an upsetting death (a teen girl trapped in a house invaded by burglars), one short car chase and an amusing scene where Riggs and Murtaugh have to tackle a naked “Black Hulk.”
However, the overall feeling of the episode was “off.” The two men lacked their normal chemistry. Murtaugh lost his familiar bluster and Riggs exhibited none of his usual characteristics. There was also the scene where Murtaugh tells Martin that he has no one to love but himself.
Would Roger actually take this approach? He, like the writers of this episode, has apparently forgotten Martin’s recently deceased wife. Riggs lets this slide. He also ignores being punched in the face by his partner.
Without the issue of Martin’s grief and all that it entails Dr. Cahill may not be needed as a series regular at all. (Which may not suit Jordana Brewster since she plays the deceased wife of Michael Ealy in Secrets and Lies, a role that cannot last beyond one season.)
Lethal Weapon “There Goes the Neighborhood” was, easily, the weakest in the first season so far. Too much was lost as the series attempted to move on too quickly. Miller needs to take a step back and reassert the winning formula he started.
The series airs Wednesdays on FOX.
- Clayne Crawford – Martin Riggs
- Damon Wayans – Roger Murtaugh
- Jordana Brewster – Maureen Cahill
- Keisha Sharp – Trish Murtaugh
- Floriana Lima – Miranda Riggs
- Dante Brown – Roger Murtaugh Jr.