Lethal Weapon: Jingle Bell Glock – Ghosts of Christmas Past (Review)


Lethal Weapon manages to gives us a “lump in the throat” episode for Christmas. “Jingle Bell Glock” is one of those well written stories that the series is already known for. We are given a ghost from Martin Riggs’ past, in the form of a fairly nasty bit of work who indicates that the depressed cop’s wife and baby were not killed in an accident at all, but on purpose.

Everything in this episode was neatly tied up, with references being harked  back to as events occurred in “Jingle Bell Glock.”  McNeile’s overabundance of Christmas lights and decorations are blended into the proceedings not once but twice.

Roger Murtaugh gets to use the word gaudy not once but twice and each time the allusion is about tacky Christmas decorations. The second time, however, it is all about the Eddie Flores’ face being visible in the giant silver Christmas bauble on a tree.

As another reviewer pointed out, the big tease last week (on the trailer) was the home invasion where Murtaugh’s family are being threatened.  This did play a part, but it was less about the danger Trish and the kids were in than it was about Roger and his wife being on the same wavelength.

The Murtaugh’s come across as being so simpatico that they should be in their ’80’s. Roger and Trish are the perfect TV family and their relationship is the perfect counterbalance to Riggs’ solitary misery.

They are, in this episode, the ghost of Christmas present. Had Miranda and the baby not died, it is all too easy to see the Murtaugh’s as being representative of how the Riggs’ marriage would have played out.

Those flashbacks indicate that Martin and his wife were soulmates on a different level.

The memories of how Riggs and Miranda meet “cute” in the bar drives home the emptiness that the cop has to feel. Trish points out, quite rightly, that this would have been the first Christmas that Martin would have celebrated as a family.

Lethal Weapon began with a Santa Claus, aka Father Christmas, ringing his bell in front of a hi-rise apartment.  A screaming woman falls from a great height and smashes onto a car’s roof. This starts the proceedings which soon become about a cartel that Riggs has a history with.

The plot twist this week was a Texas connection between Eddie Flores, son of Tito, and Martin. An El Paso cartel member who, like Riggs, has relocated to Los Angeles.  A journalist is investigating Flores and the two detectives meet with Hannah to get information and to warn her off.

(Sidenote: It was brilliant to see Ray Donovan regular Alyssa Diaz in the small but pivotal role of the journalist. This actress is believable in what ever role she plays and she nails what amounts to a cameo in this episode.)

There are some moments where we feel Martin’s pain so deeply that it hurts. The twist, where Flores claims to be responsible for Miranda’s death, but Tito, his father, denies it, is interesting. Because Tito is talking to someone in LA. A person he tells to “keep a lid” on Riggs.

Is this Miranda’s father? The fan of Martin’s who keeps him on the force despite his over exuberance?  While we learned that Miranda’s death was not ordered, we are privy to the fact that Flores has someone in Los Angeles in his pocket.

On a lighter note, the comic chemistry between Martin and Roger is as potent as ever. The two-man interaction with Eddie Flores at his party was spot on.

Lethal Weapon is the best cop and buddy show on television at the moment. There are enough nods and winks to the film franchise to make it enjoyable for the Danny Glover / Mel Gibson devotees. Yet amid all the allusions to the movies, the plots and the writing are, dare we say, far superior.

The series airs Wednesdays on FOX.  Everything about this show works beautifully. The writing, the acting and the direction is beyond reproach.  Tune in and prepare to be blown away…in a good way.


Guest starring Alyssa Diaz as Hannah, Raul Casso as Eddie and Andrew Patrick Ralston as Jim McNeile.

Author: Mike's Film Talk

Former Actor, Former Writer, Former Journalist, USAF Veteran, http://MikesFilmTalk.com Former Member Nevada Film Critics Society

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