Lethal Weapon 3.12 Kicks It Up A Notch

by Ben Martin

[PLEASE NOTE: This recap of Lethal Weapon: Season 3, Episode 12: The Roger and Me DOES CONTAIN SPOILERS. It is assumed you have already viewed the episode. If you have not, it is recommended you do so. Episode 12: The Roger and Me  can be seen on Fox, On-Demand or via your preferred streaming service.]

The previous episode of Lethal Weapon, which you can read my recap of here, was one of the most fun and innovative episodes of the series yet. So much so in fact that Episode 3.11: Dial M for Murtaugh raised my hopes for the remainder of this season. Alas, in the back of my mind, I knew that expecting the next episode to deliver the same fun factor with a dash of innovation was most-likely a mistake. Thankfully, I will happily admit right off-the-top that I underestimated the show. The episode in recap today, Episode 12: The Roger and Me, is a real treat!

This episode’s opening embraces its roots as a cop show; as the visual and narrative tone of this opening features a cheesy, low-budget VHS aesthetic. Roger Murtaugh (Damon Wayans) recounts an exciting tale of when he and Brooks Avery (Kevin Rahm) were partners. Despite being set in LA, circa 2007, Murtaugh is rocking a look that is reminiscent of the 1980s: A Jheri curl, aviators, and a shoulder holster. Meanwhile, Avery’s pulling his style straight out of Miami Vice (1984-1990) as he’s sporting the t-shirt/blazer combo as well as a mullet. Together, the younger detectives take out a warehouse full of criminals with Murtaugh finishing them off with a high-flying roundhouse kick he dubs, “The Roger.” Jumping to the present, we find that Murtaugh is recounting this adventure to a graduating class of the police academy; most of whom think the aging detective is full of it. Along with Trish Murtaugh’s (Keesha Sharp) struggling law practice, the couple begins to ponder what their “Second act” should be.

Meanwhile, in Wesley Cole’s (Seann William Scott) hotel room, he and Assistant District Attorney Erica Malick (Nishi Munshi) are continuing their romance as bedfellows. All the while they’re attempting to maintain an emotional distance to keep the relationship casual. However, this approach proves difficult when Maya (Shay Rudolph) shows up early for her weekend with dad. Hoping to avoid what is already an awkward situation, Erica attempts to pay herself off as the maid/plumber. Not surprisingly, Cole’s daughter doesn’t buy the ruse.
It’s fibs by day and fights by night in LA. In a warehouse across town there is an illegal, no-holds-barred fight club, run by a young, rich guy named Parker Adams (Rob Raco). Unfortunately for the shady entrepreneur, tonight’s fight proves lethal for one of the participants. The following morning, Murtaugh and Cole arrive at the crime scene of an MMA gym where the relocated corpse of the underground fighter, Mark Hardy (Antal Kalik) now resides. In a morbid coincidence, it turns out that the gym is owned by the other Hardy boy and Mark’s brother, Frank Hardy (Jason Gedrick). A guy who seems to know just enough to keep himself out of trouble; Frank fills our heroes in on  Parker’s fight club.
While the career of an MMA fighter is now over; Trish is pondering the idea of running for District Attorney. Meanwhile, her husband is continuing with her current job as he and Cole go to interview Parker Adams at his residence. As Murtaugh goes to talk to Parker, Cole has to step aside to take a call. A call from Maya’s principle, saying that she’s been suspended for fighting with a fellow student. Alas, Cole has more pressing fights to worry about as one breaks out nearby, revealing Parker’s other hustle as a drug dealer in the process. The boys reign victorious, despite Murtaugh’s failed attempt to employ “The Roger.”
Back in interrogation, Parker is confident that he has nothing to worry about. Despite the half-million dollar life insurance policy, the rich kid had taken out on Mark Hardy; it turns out Parker could not collect due to the voiding of the policy upon drugs being found in Mark’s system, which there were. Parker’s a slimeball with well-lined pockets, he’s not Mark’s murderer. Instead, Parker maintains that Mark’s brother and trainer Frank is the most likely suspect; citing the fact that Frank and Mark’s wife, Maria (Christina Llorens) were having an affair. Out in the police station’s bullpen, Maya’s being pretty open herself. Cole’s daughter reveals to him that she was fighting because this kid, Tommy, said she, “Didn’t have a real family.” About this time, Erica walks in, and Cole is forced the officially introduce the two ladies to each other.
Later that day, Murtaugh and Cole seek Frank out for further questioning. Just as they’re arriving at the MMA gym, the boys see Frank get thrown into a van that speeds off. Cole takes chase on foot as Murtaugh follows in the car. Putting his hand-to-hand combat skills to use, Cole defeats the kidnappers and jumps from the van with Frank in-tow. According to Frank, the kidnapping attempt was on behalf of The Swede (Daniel Bernhardt). The book-runner for “Off-circuit” fights, who believed Mark had stolen fifty grand from him. However, what Frank failed to tell the detectives is that Mark did take The Swede’s cash, which Frank now has stashed away.
Back at the station, Maya’s waiting out the remainder of her suspension. A circumstance which Erica sees as an opportunity for some bonding between the two of them. Erica explains to Maya that when she was a kid, her parents also got divorced. Furthermore, her father took-up with “A plumber” himself, and just like Maya, Erica held it against him. But she eventually forgave her father. Thankfully, this bonding attempt works as Maya soon sits down her dad and forgives him.
However, this is Lethal Weapon, so there is little time for solace. Just as father and daughter reconcile, Maria walks into the station, begging for Cole’s help to save Frank. Maria’s just in the nick of time too, as Frank shows up at an underground club confront The Swede. Cole gets to the club in time to rescue Frank, but not without getting thrown into the ring for his efforts. Outnumbered, Cole faces off against The Swede and three of his goons. Just when it looks like this will be Cole’s final fight, he receives a little help from The Roger, who taps in for some tag-team action!
Reinvigorated by his time in the ring, Murtaugh won’t start planning for a career transition anytime soon. Of course, it helps that Cole can now vouch for the legendary move that is “The Roger!” Also, Murtaugh decides to support Trish’s campaign for DA. As one couple starts their next act so does another. That’s right, Cole and Erica finally decide to get serious about their relationship!

As a TV series, Lethal Weapon is akin to a prizefighter. This show, like any other, has its ups, downs, highs, and lows. Sometimes though, it puts in the work and goes the distance! I believe that these last couple of episodes are examples of how good Lethal Weapon can be. In my opinion, The Roger and Me is one of the best episodes we’ve been presented with to date. Quite frankly, it is just incredibly entertaining.
In addition to entertainment value, this installment is sowing seeds for the remainder of Season 3. I can only hope that the rest of this season is as fun as the previous two episodes have been. No matter where the tone goes, I’ll be there for it; especially if the show can maintain this level of entertainment. Let’s not full ourselves, though the recent fun can’t last forever. As far as I know, Damon Wayans will still be exiting the role before Season 3 concludes. If this is still the case, I half-expect Murtaugh to get killed off. I’m sure we’ll see if such a fate comes to pass, but personally I hope it doesn’t; as I’m not sure Lethal Weapon could pull-off killing a main protagonist again.

Episode 12: The Roger and Me can be seen on Fox, On-Demand or via your preferred streaming service.
Lethal Weapon is on a Brief Hiatus, Returning with Episode 13: Coyote Ugly, on Tuesday, February 5 at 8:00 PM on Fox!

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