As consumers of television, sometimes what we want from of a particular TV show doesn't line up with what the writers and producers, or even the the network, want from the show. Sometimes our own expectations change from what we thought we wanted, too. The question that arises from this is whether or not we care enough about these discrepancies to keep watching.
Lethal Weapon is obviously still an incredibly young series — "Best Buds" was just the third episode — and the show will absolutely grow and evolve as the months soldier on. But I can already feel myself itching to pull on certain threads the show isn't ready to explore while also growing weary as the series doubles down on its premiere and the heavy-handed visuals featuring Riggs' (Clayne Crawford) dead wife.
Last week, in just the show's second episode, the case of the week centered around a pregnant woman whose life was in danger from a crooked ATF agent. This obviously reminded Riggs of his own dead wife and unborn child, and it meant he was personally invested beyond his role as a police officer in keeping the woman safe.
This week the plot involved Ned, a former cop who happened to be Murtaugh's (Damon Wayans) training partner. Ned's wife died from cancer six months earlier, leaving him cashed out and desperate enough to steal the $17 million that was initially stolen from him while doing his job as a driver of an armored truck. Ned's late wife and Murtaugh's existing relationship with the man meant both our heroes were invested in helping Ned escape.
I understand the decision to go down this path, but Lethal Weapon doesn't need to try so hard to draw these parallels. Each case doesn't need to be tied to Riggs' despair. It's an outdated idea to assume fans won't be familiar with his backstory — people watch TV much differently than they used to — but it's even more ridiculous when you consider that Lethal Weapon is a remake of a movie that's nearly 30 years old.
What worked in the pilot — the visualization of his wife's death — worked primarily because it was something the movie didn't elaborate on and it added depth to Riggs. It allowed viewers to experience the event the way he might have. But the flashbacks to his memories of their time together every week feel as unnecessary as tying the cases of the week to his fragile emotional state every week. Depicting his loneliness while portraying the loving relationship between Roger and Trish is a more interesting choice, especially as Riggs becomes a larger part of their lives and their extended family.
Still, despite these criticisms, Lethal Weapon is not a bad show. It's fun! It has exciting action! The chemistry between Riggs and Murtaugh provides plenty of laughter each week. The fact that my expectations don't really line up with what's happening onscreen still isn't enough to make me want to give up on the show. There's plenty to enjoy — especially as it concerns Clayne Crawford's hair (seriously, like, good work all around there) — but hopefully the show will start to move away from the heavy hand with which these early stories have been written.
Lethal Weapon airs Wednesdays at 8/7c on Fox.