Riggs & Murtaugh Are ‘The Odd Couple’ Of The 21st Century In Lethal Weapon 2.17
by Ben Martin
[PLEASE NOTE: This recap of Lethal Weapon: Season 2, Episode 17: The Odd Couple DOES CONTAIN SPOILERS. It is assumed you have already viewed the episode. If you have not, it is recommended you do so. Episode 17: The Odd Couple can be seen on Fox On-Demand or via your preferred streaming service.]
This week’s episode of Lethal Weapon takes its titular queue from Neil Simon’s classic story, The Odd Couple (1968). Appropriately enough The Odd Couple, which was initially a play was also adapted into a film and eventually, a TV sitcom. Thankfully, however, that’s where the comparisons between the sitcom of yesteryear and this series cease. Don’t get me wrong; I like both these properties quite a bit. However, if you’ve been reading my recaps throughout this season, you know that I feel that Lethal Weapon: Season 2 has cribbed a bit too much from other places. While this episode does a bit of that (which we’ll get to later in the recap), it doesn’t go overboard.
The opening of this episode proves that the construction business can be a killer. Sammy Higgins (Dan Warner), the owner of a construction company is having issues with some of his apparently criminal money connections. We see the end of an argument between Sammy and one of these folks. Said altercation concludes with Sammy refusing to pay whatever he owes this man. The yet unnamed man storms out while Sammy basks in the glory of his assumed victory. So much so in fact that the women whom he’s having an affair with, Beverly (Kate Blumberg) pops out from under the desk to congratulate him. Such rivalry is short-lived though as the construction man gets impaled by a giant saw that comes through his trailer.
The next morning, we find that Murtaugh (Damon Wayans) and Trish (Keesha Sharp) are still on the outs. However, Mrs. Murtaugh’s spirits aren’t too dashed, as her boss is flying in to close a major deal. Meanwhile, the titular Odd Couple is having a rough go of it. To say Riggs (Clayne Crawford) and Murtaugh aren’t two peas in a pod when it comes to a living arrangement would be putting it lightly. Of course, matters aren’t helped by the fact that, despite his own marital woes, Murtaugh makes it a point to zero-in on Riggs’ current state of unhappiness. In Murtaugh’s opinion, his partner is unhappy because he no longer is with Molly (Kristen Gutoskie). As he’s prone to do, Riggs rejects such a notion outright. All this roomie bickering will have to resume after work hours though as the boys are tasked with the construction site murder. It turns out Sammy was living in his work trailer after having divorced his wife. Thankfully, the deceased’s new fling is pretty open about everything. According to her, there had been an argument with a city inspector who’d been demanding a bride; which, as we witnessed, Sammy refused to pay.
After Riggs leaves the crime scene, he calls Cahill (Jordana Brewster), apparently bothered by being estranged from Molly. Despite our hero’s feelings, it seems Molly’s doing well for herself. After digging online, Riggs finds that Molly has opened her own Texas style BBQ food truck. It seems food will play an essential role in this case as the boys attempt to take in Sammy’s suspected murderer and the man he argued with, Gary (Jesse Bush). Not surprisingly, when they approach the suspect, he runs for it. Murtaugh manages to apprehend Gary by tackling him down onto a stage. Unfortunately, the space is set-up for none other than Trish’s boss and the groundbreaking of the newest Butler’s Groceries & Greens. When Murtaugh looks up from his triumphant tackle, he’s greeted by Trish’s disappointed glare. Thankfully, Trish’s boss and Henry Butler (Michael McGrady) don’t seem to be too perturbed by the whole affair. That is until Gary attempts to run and Murtaugh, in his attempt to restrain the suspect, accidentally hits the detonator for the groundbreaking. Such an explosive development doesn’t help the Murtaughs marital situation. It’s one step forward and two steps back, however as The LAPD isn’t able to keep Gary in custody as his alibi checks out. However, thanks to Riggs’ fellow Texan charm, he’s able to convince Butler to stay in town one more night for “A good Texas meal.”
Of course to attain such sustenance in LA, one must go to “Good Golly Miss Molly’s Texas BBQ.” Thus, Riggs shows up at the food truck with a box of Molly’s stuff that she left behind, in-tow. Turning on that Texas charm once again, Riggs proposes the business opportunity of cooking dinner for Henry Butler. Unable to put her reservations aside, Molly considers not only the business opportunity; but also her history with Riggs.
After a moment of consideration, she ultimately accepts; albeit, begrudgingly. Before dinner, however, the boys investigate a chop shop that they suspect of being in on Sammy’s murder. The mechanics at the shop claim they aren’t responsible; instead pinning the killing at the behest of Butler. Our heroes find this to be a reasonable enough alibi; for the moment anyway. Just as they’re about to leave the chop shop be, they here a panicked murmuring from a car trunk. It turns out, the guys at the chop shop, are holding someone hostage, unrelated to the case. Doing their duty, Riggs and Murtaugh, scrap with the chop shoppers, defeating them and saving the kidnapped man.
Finally, the big event has arrived; Henry Butler’s Texas BBQ dinner. Despite Molly’s opposition, Riggs offers to help her with the “Potentially career-making meal,” the cook accepts in as much as she tasks Riggs with watching the chicken fry. Unfortunately, he becomes distracted when Bailey (Michelle Mitchenor) lets him know that the chop shoppers alibi checks out. Beyond that, there’s been a more exciting development. The site that was destroyed and thus, the location of Butler’s new store, was built over abandoned tunnels. Such a place would be perfect for drug manufacturing and distribution. It seems that not only is Butler a grocer, he may well be a meth maker. Alas, in the time it takes for the boys to determine that this theory may be plausible, the fried chicken burns. Thus, the boys are banished from Molly’s truck and the dinner.
Moving forward with Bailey’s theory, squash proves to be the answer to it all. Meaning a shipment of squash to Butler’s stores had a disproportionate weight; thus indicating accurately, that drugs were part of the delivery. Meanwhile, Trish is headed to Butler’s private plane in a final attempt to save the deal. As she does so, she hears Butler discussing Sammy’s sloppy murder. Trish attempts to call her husband to tell him of the revelation but is cut off by Butler, who overhears her.
Thankfully, Trish puts her legal skills to use, explaining to Butler that she’s discovered that he’s overpaid for his new land. As Butler’s plane takes off, our heroes manage to get onboard as well. Despite their valiant efforts, Murtaugh soon finds that his wife got out of the deadly situation and is leaving the air-strip as they speak. Sadly, the boys aren’t so lucky as they’re caught onboard by Butler’s goons. During the in-flight fight, a pistol goes off blowing out a window, which results in a loss of cabin pressure. On the upside though, Riggs does manage to knock Butler out by cracking a champagne bottle over his head. With neither of them able to fly a private jet, the boys make a jump for it…with both men sharing one parachute. Of course, this catches the chute and his partner in mid-air.
Once grounded again, all of Butler’s stores are raided and discovered to be meth labs. More importantly, though, Murtaugh and Trish’s marriage is back on solid footing. Even if it took jumping out of a plane to get to that point. One couple may be happy, but the show’s other couple has their work cut out for them. Riggs attempts to make amends with Molly again. This time, telling her everything; including how the canine “Chuck Norris” was murdered. After hearing all this, Molly gives Riggs an ultimatum. He needs to figure things out with his dad, and then they can go from there. With that, the episode ends, leaving us once again to wonder, what will become of the couple who are always Texas two-stepping?
While I found this episode to be watchable, I can’t say that I found it to be a satisfying entry in the series. The plot of The Odd Couple was okay. Alas, it’s also a plot that has had numerous variations in the genre over the years. Therefore, there isn’t anything too special about 2.17 in that regard. On the flip-side, the humor is decent, and the action is quite good. Albeit, the latter is also quite ridiculous, and while I know that’s part of the show’s charm, it was a little hard to buy this time around. But, I guess that’s what happens when the episode’s parachute sequence makes the one in Point Break (1991) look realistic. All that being said, I’m pleased The Murtaughs’ are over their lovers spat. That was a B story that I thought was running far too long.
This episode’s biggest issue is that it reeks of being a filler. Sure, the writers put enough relationship content into the narrative to justify it, but still. I can only imagine the challenge of crafting 21, 45-minute episodes; it can’t be easy. The fact of the matter is though that I found 2.17 to be nothing more the weak fluff. It’s yet another example of a bridge episode. Currently, the series is on a hiatus, which I believe was due to March Madness. The show will return this coming Tuesday, April 10. Upon its return, I hope Episode 18 provides us with something more than the one recapped here has.
LETHAL WEAPON WILL RETURN WITH EPISODE 18: FRANKIE COMES TO HOLLYWOOD ON TUESDAY, APRIL 10 AT 8:00 PM, ONLY ON FOX!