‘Bad Santas’ Make Naughty List In Lethal Weapon’s Mid-Season Finale

by Ben Martin

[PLEASE NOTE: This recap of Lethal Weapon: Season 3, Episode 9: Bad Santas DOES CONTAIN SPOILERS. It is assumed you have already viewed the episode. If you have not, it is recommended you do so. Episode 9: Bad Santas can be seen on Fox, On-Demand or via your preferred streaming service.]

I’m not a Christmas person in the least. Yeah, I know most folks love it; or whichever respective winter holiday they may observe. Alas, maybe I’m just a bit of Scrooge as I find Christmas time to be a simultaneously saccharine and slightly depressing time of year. Despite this, I do have annual traditions in which I engage during this time of year. One of these Christmas traditions is watching Lethal Weapon (1987). Thus, I was pleased to find that the Lethal Weapon TV series was going to carry on with Yuletide-based action on an annual basis. This season’s Christmas episode (and Mid-Season Finale), Bad Santas, continues this fine tradition.

It turns out that being an international man of mystery is nothing new for Wesley Cole (Seann William Scott). As he excitedly prepares to share Christmas with his daughter Maya (Shay Rudolph), we see a little of Cole’s Christmas past as he tagged along with his secret-agent mother; spending his adolescent holidays in various European countries. In the present, Cole and Maya are spreading cheer to their new friends and neighbors at The Safari Inn; Oscar Ripley (Coley Speaks) and his son, Sam (Cristian Fagins). Oscar is a recently-released ex-con just trying to get back in his feet and do right by Sam. Unfortunately though, Oscar is still keeping in touch with a criminal acquaintance, Louis Fowler. Meanwhile, The Murtaughs are anticipating RJ’s (Dante Brown) return home from Costa Rica for Christmas. So much so in fact that Roger Murtaugh (Damon Wayans) decides to throw his son a welcome home party.
Later that night, creatures are a stirring as two men attempt to rob the house of a middle-aged couple. Unfortunately for these thieves, Brenda (Marypat Farrell), the lady of the house, knows how to use a shotgun. One of the robbers raises his pistol to Brenda and receives a fatal blow from her shotgun in return. Upon investigating the crime scene the next morning, Cole finds that the corpse, which is now adorning the Christmas tree, is none other than Louis’. Logically, Brooks Avery (Kevin Rahm) demands that Cole explore the possibility that his friend Oscar could be the burglar who fled the scene. So while Bernard Scorsese (Johnathan Fernandez), Sonya Bailey (Michelle Mitchenor), and Gutierrez (Paola Lázaro) piece together a chopped-up corpse found in a park; Murtaugh and Cole go to the hotel to question Oscar. Said attempted questioning does not go well as Oscar tries to escape from our heroes and ends up running his car through Cole’s hotel room.
Back in interrogation, Oscar maintains that despite knowing about the robbery, he’s innocent. Alas, all the evidence still points to Oscar; so much to Cole’s chagrin, Oscar’s detained. Thankfully, it seems Maya and Sam are quite the observant kids as they draw Cole a picture of the man they saw in the car with Louis. While this “lead” on a man who looks like Santa Claus may be a reach, Cole decides to pursue it. Thus, Murtaugh’s party prep is interrupted as he and Cole track down Calvin Marks (Cazzey Louis Cereghino), a criminal with a history of robbery and ties to Louis. Soon enough, the boys find Calvin, his partner, and a missing finger in an old abandoned house. Having tried to enter into the abode through the chimney, Murtaugh’s stuck there while Cole fights to chainsaw-wielding suspects off, who also manage to escape.
This night is just not going Murtaugh’s way as RJ misses his flight and thereby, his party due to confusing his time-zones. Not surprisingly, Murtaugh goes off on his son for making such a careless mistake. Despite Murtaugh’s attempts to leave an apologetic voicemail to RJ, things start looking up the next with the missing thumb is matched to the dismembered body in the morgue. It turns out that the thumb belongs to the corpse of a currency exchange manager. More importantly though Cole pieces together the fact that all the robbery victims parked in a garage on the same street where a currency exchange building is located. The crew quickly deduces that these two robbers are going to knock-off the exchange by using the manager’s finger to gain entry.

Therefore, our heroes must brave one of the busiest days of the year, and a Christmas parade to get within sight of the currency exchange. Punctual as always, Murtaugh and Cole catch the robbers, adorned in Santa outfits leaving the exchange. Making a run for it, the thieves disappear into a sea of Santas. In the chase that ensues, Murtaugh gets into a fight with one of the ‘Bad Santas,’ managing to apprehend him. Meanwhile, Calvin takes Sam, who also happens to be at the parade, hostage. All this comes to a halt in a tense standoff in which Cole manages to take out Calvin and save Sam.

It’s Merry family Christmas’ all-around as RJ finally gets home. Although, his parents are none-too-pleased to find that the young man has invested the majority of his savings in a time-share scheme. Matters are thankfully a little merrier for Cole, as Maya proclaims, “Best Christmas ever!” Lastly, Oscar and Sam are happily reunited. Cole gives them a smile and a wave as he and his daughter head off to spend Christmas with The Murtaugh’s. Thus, echoing the ending of the original 1987 flick.
As I said up top, Lethal Weapon’s annual Christmas episode is something I look forward to every year and have since the show began. Episode 9: Bad Santas, did not disappoint! I can honestly say that I don’t have one criticism of this episode. Frankly, I found this mid-season finale to be just plain fun! Furthermore, Bad Santas also manages to capture a similar Yuletide feeling to that of its filmic forebear, which filled me with cheer. I find that this episode is not only a holiday treat; it’s one of the season’s best installments thus far. I appreciate you all reading my recaps and hope you all will continue to do so when the show returns from its hiatus after the New Year. In the meantime, happy holidays, and keep it Lethal!

Episode 9: Bad Santas can be seen on Fox, On-Demand or via your preferred streaming service.
Lethal Weapon: Season 3 Will Return on Tuesday, January 1 at 9:00 PM on Fox!

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