In their second outing together, Riggs (Clayne Crawford) and Murtaugh (Damon Wayans) continued to feel one another out instead of jumping straight into the good-natured buddy cop shenanigans most people expect when they hear the name Lethal Weapon. Luckily, although the series certainly approached said shenanigans, the action did not completely overtake the heart.
With "Surf N Turf" the show attempted to balance the prerequisite action with character by driving home the overwhelming pain that threatens to drown Riggs at any time by putting the life of a newly expectant mother on the line. On one hand, the storyline acted as the perfect vehicle for Murtaugh, a father of three, to find out that Riggs hadn't just lost his wife but also his unborn child. This opened up a channel for Murtaugh to better understand the man riding shotgun in the Hollywood Hills. On the other very heavy-handed hand, well ... you know.
This particular storyline, as lazy as it may have appeared, was always going to happen, and personally, I'd prefer the show use it now rather than later because the accident and its aftermath are still fresh in viewers' minds as well as Riggs' own. But I also look forward to the show finding more interesting ways to dig into the tortured psyche of this man in the weeks to come, perhaps ones that aren't quite so on-the-nose. I mean, Lethal Weapon has already played the pregnant woman card and the selling the old house card. It's only Episode 2!
That being said, the writers at least appear to know what they're doing by focusing so closely on Riggs' mental state. The broken man drowning his problems in alcohol and engaging in bar fights just to feel anything at all is the man we're here to see. The man hiding in the bathroom trying to avoid his psychiatrist and thus his pain — as frustrating as he is — is the man who makes Lethal Weapon even remotely engaging and will continue to make it engaging as the weeks wear on.
To put it another way, the action that happens as a result of the mask Riggs wears as he is chasing down crooked ATF agents attempting to sell military grade weapons or the man currently costing the city of Los Angeles a lot of money that could go to putting in left-turn signals — you know, something that is desperately needed — is only interesting because of what it's hiding underneath. Don't let the jokes about Starsky & Hutch detract from that.
Moving forward Lethal Weapon should find a way to balance the dramatic and comedic, the suffering and the banter. Right now the series is still trying to find its rhythm, and that's perfectly fine for a show that's two weeks old, but if it doesn't find it within the next few episodes, viewers may start suffering from whiplash.
Lethal Weapon airs Wednesdays at 8/7c on Fox.