Lethal Weapon 2.3 Proves Its Characters Are “Born to Run”

by Ben Martin

[PLEASE NOTE: This recap of Lethal Weapon: Season 2, Episode 3: Born to Run DOES CONTAIN SPOILERS. It is assumed you have already viewed the episode. If you have not, it is recommended you do so.  Episode 3: Born to Run can be seen on Fox, On-Demand or via your preferred streaming service.]

This week’s episode of Lethal Weapon opens with a young, hot, pop-star coming out of a packed venue. In the universe of the show, Shaye (played by a real-life pop-star of yesteryear, Joanna ‘JoJo’ Levesque) is one of hottest musical sensations of the moment, and someone isn’t happy about it. After leaving, Shaye and her driver pull over on an otherwise deserted stretch of road. Once the car is parked, the two get things in gear and start making out.
Alas, the pair’s “Paradise by the Dashboard Light” is cut short. Out of nowhere, an old-school muscle car barrels towards and hits them. The crash forces the pop star’s car to roll down a steep hill. After the dust settles, it’s discovered that the driver has been killed. However, Shaye walks away, dazed but without a scratch.

The following morning Roger (Damon Wayans) and Trish Murtaugh (Keesha Sharp) are preparing to host brunch. Riggs (Clayne Crawford), not surprisingly, will be attending. What is surprising though, is the fact that Riggs is bringing a guest of his own, Karen Palmer (Hilarie Burton). What results is a cute scene in which the two couples interact with one another, and it plays out much how first-time double-dates do in reality. That being that, all parties have pleasant, but slightly awkward conversations, with each person trying to find their place and balance in the quartet. (At least, that has been my personal experience.)  
In doing so, everyone else ends up giving Riggs a good-natured ribbing. Below the surface though, the group knows that this is Riggs and Palmer’s first attempt at taking their otherwise causal relationship to the next level. However, all this is interrupted when the boys are paged to the hit and run murder scene. After our heroes leave, Palmer admits to Trish that she is having reservations about getting involved in a serious relationship. Trish encourages her to give it a shot as she feels Riggs may be just as much, if not more, invested than Palmer is; pointing out that she has never seen Riggs wash his hair before. Later that day, when checking-in with Trish,  Murtaugh discusses the importance of “the check-in” with Riggs. You know, the common practice of checking in with your significant other when the two of you apart. Riggs acts as if this is an entirely foreign concept to him. It’s evident that the Murtaughs, much like we the audience, want Riggs and Palmer’s relationship to succeed.

At the crime scene as the boys are trying to look over things, we’re introduced to Detective Zach Bowman (Andrew Creer). The young detective is known as, “The face of The LAPD,” as his mug is plastered all over posters and promo materials for the department. Bowman brings male model looks to the unit, and he’s enthusiastic about his job. Alas, he is also a little dense and has a lot to learn. His character isn’t given too much to do in this episode, except serve as comic relief, but undoubtedly that will change in the future. After taking their preliminary looks at the crime-scene, Riggs and Murtaugh begin to question Shaye. However, much like the brunch earlier that morning, the questioning is brought to an abrupt stop. This is thanks to Shaye’s scuzzy manager, Phil (John Ales) who insists on having a lawyer present.
Since there isn’t much more that the boys can currently do, Murtaugh heads home. After getting there, Murtaugh off-handedly mentions to his daughter, Rianna (Michelle Mitchenor) that he is investigating Shaye’s case. This excites the teen considerably, and after she calms down, Rihanna introduces her father to Shaye’s official fan and social media site, Shaye Nation. The site has all the amenities you might expect, including constant news updates and live video streams of the pop star. In the recent news is the fact that Shaye and Phil got kicked out of a restaurant called Boyle, after getting into an altercation. It just so happens that Trish is the restaurant’s attorney.
Due to the nature of the ongoing investigation, around-the-clock protection is put on Shaye, with Riggs taking first shift. During his turn, Riggs notices bruises on Shaye’s arm and neck. When questioned, the pop star wants to stay mum on the topic. However, after talking a little, Shaye admits that Phil is responsible, but that, “It’s not what he thinks.” Without hearing more, Riggs flies off the handle, punching Phil in the face. For his efforts, Santos (Michelle Hurd) orders Riggs to take the rest of the following day off.
Luckily, Murtaugh’s able to stay on the case.  To keep the investigation going, Murtaugh attempts to grease the wheels with his wife. He does so by interrupting her during a meeting at Boyle, by asking if they can get a copy of the recent security footage. Displeased with her husband’s tact and assumption, Trish demands he get the security footage properly, by issuing a subpoena. It turns out Murtaugh won’t have to though because one of Boyle’s hostesses just gave Bowman a flash-drive containing security footage. According to Bowman, the hostess just told him, “There’s something about his eyes,” and handed him the drive. No doubt, once Trish finds out about this, Murtaugh will have to deal with his wife’s wrath.
Meanwhile, Riggs is enjoying his day off with Palmer. That is until she asks about why exactly he punched Phil. At this point, Riggs goes into complete avoidance mode, not wanting to discuss his feelings with Palmer. In fact, he goes so far as to just bail on Palmer; thus leaving things up in the air between them. While Riggs is busy trying to tread and stay above water in this new territory, Murtaugh and the team are busy combing through the security footage.
When doing so, Murtaugh spots a suspicious guy in the security footage. It seems Phil was trying to get Shaye away from this guy and in doing so, bruised her up. Shaye and Phil deny knowing who’s in the footage. Not having another option, Riggs calls in a favor to have Palmer scan the footage with DEA technology to see what she can find. After Palmer sends the results back, the boys discover that the suspicious guy is Shaye’s ex-boyfriend, Bobby Claypool (Toby Hemingway), who was sentenced to five years for vehicular manslaughter. Upon learning this, the boys get Shaye on the phone. When the detectives question Shaye about her former beau, the singer confesses that she is responsible for the vehicular manslaughter; but that Bobby took the wrap.

Alas, her confession is not well-timed. Right after confessing, while still having Riggs on the phone; Shaye and Phil are kidnapped by Bobby at gunpoint. Bobby tosses Phil in the trunk and tapes Shaye’s hands to the steering wheel, forcing her to drive his car recklessly. This whole incident is being broadcast live on Shaye Nation as the pop-star confesses to her crime. All the while being forced to head for her final destination, which is over the edge of a cliff. Luckily, Riggs and Murtaugh are nearby and manage to catch up to the coffin on wheels by crashing into it. Murtaugh saves Shaye while Riggs arrests Bobby. Riggs then saves Phil, while taking his time to do so. This entire sequence was very well done. Proving to be one of the most suspenseful chases in the show thus far.
At the end of the day, Shaye rightfully goes to prison for the vehicular manslaughter rap, pop stardom gone, but conscious cleared. With the case closed, Murtaugh goes home to make up with Trish while Riggs tries to do the same with Palmer. Flowers in hand, Riggs calls Palmer hoping to take her to dinner and sort things out. Unfortunately, that’s just not in the cards for the on-again-off-again couple.  Palmer reveals that she is taking an early flight back to D.C. She tells Riggs she doesn’t know when she’ll be back again, adding that when he left the hotel the other day, it bothered her. Thus, fully admitting she has feelings for him. The sting is even worse for Riggs as he can see her as he’s calling from his car. Their relationship is up in the air yet again, and with that, the episode ends.
Born to Run” was quite an entertaining episode. It had plenty of action, particularly regarding the climactic car chase. Despite knowing that Riggs and Murtaugh will stop the car from going over the edge, the suspense remains intact. More so than the action in this week’s episode, I thought it was the humor and the human elements that really stole the show. Part of this came in the fact that Rihanna got a subplot, much like her brother RJ had in last week’s episode. Despite this episode’s entertainment factor, I felt it was just ultimately serviceable
Don’t get me wrong, this is by no means a bad episode. It’s just that in comparison to last week’s installment, it  left a lot to be desired. I feel much of this is due to the case in “Born to Run”. A case involving a young female pop-star feels like something we’ve seen a million times before in just about every modern cop show in history. Also, the fact of the matter is that in an 18-24 episode season like Lethal Weapon bolsters, you’re going to get a filler episode once or twice during a  season. That is what I  feel this episode was. To me, watching this episode was like reheating leftovers that you had for the past two nights in a row after first having them for Sunday dinner. All the proper ingredients are there, and the dish was reheated to the perfect temperature. Ultimately though, eating the leftovers is just getting old. I’m hoping for a fresh meal with next week’s episode!

Episode 4: “Flight Risk” airs Tuesday, October 17 at 8:00 PM on FOX.

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