Lethal Weapon 3.10 Shows A Budding Romance

by Ben Martin

[PLEASE NOTE: This recap of Lethal Weapon: Season 3, Episode 10: There Will Be Bud DOES CONTAIN SPOILERS. It is assumed you have already viewed the episode. If you have not, it is recommended you do so. Episode 10: There Will Be Bud can be seen on Fox, On-Demand or via your preferred streaming service.]

Even though it’s a busy time of year, I think everyone tends to appreciate the holiday hiatus on some level. (Unless of course you had a Lethal Weapon (1987) or Die Hard (1988)-style Christmas.) However, there’s something to be said for getting back into the routine after the New Year. A routine that provides comfort in being able to watch new episodes of whichever of your favorite TV shows are in season. In this case, I’m of course referring to Lethal Weapon: Season 3, which has resumed with its latest episode, 3.10: There Will Be Bud!

This episode opens with Wesley Cole (Seann William Scott) having a most-pleasant dream in which he stops Natalie Flynn’s (Maggie Lawson) wedding at the altar by professing his eternal love for her. Our hero then awakens with his new flame, a delightful gal named Julie (Haley Strode). Although, Cole doesn’t remember her name, despite agreeing to go to a wedding with her. Furthering the awkwardness of the situation, Cole bails on Julie when he finds out that she’s a friend of and house sitting for ADA Erica Malick (Nishi Munshi). Who, as you may recall, Cole became quickly acquainted with during Episode 3.8: What the Puck.
Later that morning Roger Murtaugh (Damon Wayans) and Cole get called to a crime scene where a cannabis delivery truck has crashed into a carousel. No, the driver, who was also the co-owner of the dispensary, Kendall Greene,  wasn’t under the influence of nature’s medicine. To the contrary, he’s been stabbed to death with a pair of gardening shears. As fate would have it, Erika’s also on the case as she is investigating this particular marijuana dispensary’s products. Meanwhile, across town at the courthouse, Trish Murtaugh (Keesha Sharp) gets roped into becoming Leo Getz’s (Thomas Lennon) co-counsel in is a class-action lawsuit against a chemical company, Gehrman-Driscoll.

Now a trio, Murtaugh, Cole, and Erika head over to a competing dispensary, Green Harvest; suspecting that the owner of the shop may have killed their murder victim over unpaid wages. As Cole and Erica bicker, Murtaugh walks ahead of them and into the dispensary. However, his partner and the assistant district attorney don’t make it that far as they decide to investigate the dispensary’s delivery truck. It turns out, the duo’s instincts were on the money as they find a pair of gardening shears with dried blood on them in the back of the truck. Suddenly, the vehicle takes off like a bat out of a green inferno with Cole and Erika trapped in the back of it. Mere moments later, the truck crashes into a van after Cole knocks the driver out. Back in interrogation, the driver, Shep (Dieterich Gray) maintains that he’s not the killer; but instead ran due to his being an unlicensed grower.
As one case catches a lead so does another. After making a discovery request, Trish and Leo find that they have a Gehrman-Driscoll whistle-blower, Tom Kessler (Don Harvey). The same Tom Kessler who is also now a suspect in the cannabis truck murder. Everyone soon crosses paths in MacArthur Park; as Trish and Leo are meeting with Tom, the boys are coming to question him. It seems everyone wants a piece of Tom, as the former chemist is soon being fired upon by a sniper. In the chaos that ensues, Tom gets away while Cole ruins the sniper’s shot by firing a round into the air, which sends pigeons flying.
A busy afternoon in the park turns to a night stakeout. Well, two stakeouts actually, as Murtaugh and his wife are independently trying to catch Tom. But, before they spot the whistleblower, the married couple spot and decide to join each other in their effort. Soon enough, Tom is spotted by The Murtaughs.  Meanwhile, Cole shows up drunk and in a tuxedo at Erika’s door; crushed after seeing Natalie in her wedding dress at the bridal shop earlier in the day. Of course, this once again leaves Julie in the wind. But, such an occasion does give Cole and Erika a chance to bond…and for Cole to fall asleep on Erika’s couch.
Later on at the station, Murtaugh and Trish, along with Cole and Erika listen to Tom’s claim that the chemical company is trying to kill him. Furthermore, Tom says that the company may have also been responsible for Kendall’s death since he and Tom had been corresponding. With this new information, everyone jumps into action. Murtaugh and Cole head off to Tom’s office to get copies of evidence he had hidden away there. Tom himself, goes back to Erika’s house with her (and a uniformed officer), as she needs case files to obtain a warrant for an emergency hearing.
All the odds seem to be against our heroes as the goons at Gehrman-Driscoll have already discovered the evidence and are shredding it. Worse yet, back at Erika’s Tom accidentally tips the DA off to the fact that he’s the murderer. See, he offhandedly mentions gardening shears as the murder weapon; a detail that had not been released to the public. As Tom steps into the kitchen, Erika gets on the phone with Cole to let him know what’s going on. Alas, her call gets cut short when she turns to find that Tom has stabbed the uniformed officer in the throat with a kitchen knife.
With the officer dead at his feet, Tom finally reveals his motive. His wife had worked in the Gehrman-Driscoll labs for twenty years and contracted cancer as a result. Of course, the chemical company denies responsibility despite the evidence. (At this point Erika’s understandably scared but manages to get Tom to confess to Kendall’s murder as well.) The clock is against everybody as Cole commandeers a motorcycle and races off to save Erika; Murtaugh finds the goons and stops them, and Leo stalls for time in the courtroom. All these efforts pay-off as Cole rescues Erika and Murtaugh delivers the evidence to the court, both in the nick of time.
At the end of it all Leo, Trish and their client, Preston (Patrick Burch) win the case! In an outcome that warmed my heart, (no matter how sacrine it is) Preston donates his damages to The American Cancer Society as do his attorneys. Later that night, Erika and Cole bid each other good night at the police station. As she’s leaving, Erika sees Natalie in the elevator in what is sure to account for a misconstrued, unresolved romance subplot in future episodes. One romance is still cooking as Murtaugh and Trish go on a “Stakeout” together as this episode comes to a close.
As much as I’m glad to be back in the normal swing of things with Lethal Weapon, I found There Will Be Bud to be nothing more than well, routine.  While the story here is perfectly serviceable, I felt the episode lacked in action and humor; both of which were lackluster. Mind you, most off the humor resorted to nickel-and-dime weed references and puns; you know, real knee-slappers. On the other hand though, this episode does one thing very well. It captured the ensemble spirit of Lethal Weapon 3 (1992) and Lethal Weapon 4 (1998); thus giving everyone something to do.I look forward to seeing if such ensemble episodes can be replicated in the future. Not to mention, I’m curious to know where the obvious romance between Cole and Erika goes; even if it does seem a bit hamfisted.

Episode 10: There Will Be Bud can be seen on Fox, On-Demand or via your preferred streaming service.
Episode 11: Dial M for Murtaugh airs Tuesday, January 8 @ 9:00 PM on Fox!

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