[PLEASE NOTE: This recap of Lethal Weapon: Season 2, Episode 15: An Inconvenient Ruth DOES CONTAIN SPOILERS. It is assumed you have already viewed the episode. If you have not, it is recommended you do so. Episode 15: An Inconvenient Ruth can be seen on Fox On-Demand or via your preferred streaming service.]
I’m happy to say Lethal Weapon has been on a roll as a series lately. Episode 15: An Inconvenient Ruth proves to be no exception, as it keeps its streak going like the Limp Bizkit classic of yesteryear. However, with this installment, a little something special is added to the mix. The episode’s titular character of Ruth is portrayed by none other than TV mainstay Swoosie Kurtz (Mike & Molly). If you been watching sitcoms in recent years, you know Kurtz always brings fun and endearing characters to the screen, big and small. Needless to say, her turn on this series continues such a trend.
This episode opens in a high-end jewelry store as a wealthy couple who frankly present a bougie peruse the store’s displays. The trophy wife, no doubt looking to get her diamond du jour. However, among the rich clientele, one loitering patron sticks out like a sore thumb. Ruthie (Swoosie Kurtz), an older lady who could not care less about what others think, picks over the offerings of the shop’s complimentary dessert table. She touts the desserts to the nearby couple, who decline to sample the sweets, despite or maybe thanks to her endorsement. Ruthie shrugs and dumps a whole plate of sweets into her purse. The high-class, peaceful atmosphere of the jeweler is suddenly broken when two armed robbers sporting hoodies and plastic baby masks stick the establishment up. One of the burglars goes over to the couple and demands all their goods, including the wife’s wedding ring. His demands are cut short when he catches a round in the shoulder, delivered by Ruthie’s revolver. The robber steps back, holding his bleeding shoulder as Ruthie maintains her aim on both the criminals. “Next one goes between the temples,” she warns. Both stick-up men immediately make a run for it. One of gets away while the other gets hit by a semi in traffic.
Enjoying a much more peaceful morning, Murtaugh (Damon Wayans) is pushing baby Harper on a swing at the local playground. Next to them at the swing-set is a young father pushing his toddler. This young father, named Derek (Aaron O’Connell) turns to Murtaugh and comments on how it’s nice that a grandfather is making time to spend with his granddaughter. Thinking he has complimented Murtaugh, Derek bids him a good day as Murtaugh stands there, offended. Having missed this encounter due to being on a work call, it’s the first thing Trish (Keesha Sharp) hears about when she returns to the playground.
Murtaugh’s wife finds this cute and tells him not to worry about it. True to form though, Murtaugh can’t just let it go. Upon seeing Derek and his son on the monkey bars; our hero decides he’ll similarly prove his youth. In this case, that means he and Harper will go down the slide together. He sends little Harper down first, who naturally slides on through. Alas, things don’t go as smoothly for Murtaugh, who gets stuck in the slide about halfway down. Much to his chagrin, Derek turns out to be a firefighter and calls the local fire department to come get “grandpa” out.
Riggs (Clayne Crawford) isn’t having nearly as much fun with his morning. Having given up drinking, Riggs is taking the extra step in making his abode completely dry. He sets several bottles of booze up on the edge of his truck bed and walks several feet away. Then, in one swift motion, he turns and draws a revolver, quickly firing all six shots. Five of the bottles burst immediately, having been hit with minimal effort on Riggs’ part. Not surprising considering he’s an expert marksman. However what is surprising and unsettling (particularly to Riggs himself) is that he misses that sixth bottle completely. Following this, he heads to Cahill’s (Jordana Brewster) office. Bursting in, he demands that his therapist slap him. Cahill inquires as to why he would want her to do such a thing. Riggs admits to feeling his game is off, and he hopes a good, hard slap will fix it. Surprisingly, Cahill honors her patient’s request; but of course, it doesn’t fix anything. The doctor suggests that Riggs feels off because he now has more clarity, thanks to sobriety.
Later, the boys are tasked with the jewelry store robbery. While they make their way to the crime-scene Riggs doesn’t miss the chance to josh his partner about the slide mishap, of which Trish informed him. Embarrassed, Murtaugh tells Riggs to keep that to himself. The partners split up; Murtaugh interviews the witnesses while Riggs gets a statement from Ruthie regarding the shooting. Unsurprisingly, Ruthie’s not giving Riggs any of the general information for which he asks. Taking matters into his own hands, Riggs climbs into Ruthie’s RV, which is also her full-time home, to get her registration.
Unfortunately by doing this, Riggs is conducting an illegal search. During this process our rule-breaking hero absentmindedly leaves the driver door open. As tends to happen, the open door is quickly knocked off by a passing vehicle. Back at the station, Ruthie demands he pay the mechanic’s bill, due to the cause of the damages being an illegal search. Riggs initially only agrees to pay for her door. That is until Bowman (Andrew Creer) informs Riggs that he’s having trouble getting a make on the surviving thief’s plate. Due to serendipity, Ruthie has the plate number as she wrote it down earlier in the day because the burglar had double-parked. Alas, the only way she’ll hand it over is if Riggs agrees to pay the full bill and get her a hotel room for the night. Knowing this lady isn’t playing around, he reluctantly agrees to her terms.
Tracing the plate number leads Riggs and Murtaugh to the surviving thief, Beck (Derek Chariton). It seems Beck is meeting someone to make a drop. As our heroes pull up nearby, they see the thief getting a bag out his trunk. Simultaneously, a matte-black Mercedes pulls up near Beck, ready to take receipt of the loot. However, the drop is interrupted when the boys sound their siren. Riggs detains Beck as out of nowhere, Murtaugh uncharacteristically, jumps on the roof of the Mercedes as it flees. Surprised, Riggs throws the criminal into the back of the Crown Vic and attempts to pursue the driver. Alas, he can’t once he accidentally breaks the car’s key. Leaving the detainee, Riggs takes chase on foot as he calls for backup. The hot pursuit comes to an end once backup throws down a nail-spike to blow out the tires of the car. Of course, when the tires blow, Murtaugh is violently thrown off the roof of the vehicle. As Riggs rushes in to make sure his partner’s still alive, Murtaugh pops up, feeling very much alive and on an adrenaline high. Both men rush around to each side of the car. Upon opening the doors with guns drawn, they find it’s empty. This is thanks to the vehicle being “self-driven” remotely.
In interrogation, there’s a change of a pace as Riggs plays good cop and Murtaugh plays bad. Easily intimidated, Beck quickly admits to being hired anonymously on the Dark Web. Following the lead, Bowman finds that the self-driving car was registered to a number of shell corporations, which are owned by Herb Weiss (Robert Riechel Jr.). Herb is the head of a tech-securities firm that recently filed for bankruptcy. Beyond that, he was also one half of the couple present at the jewelry store robbery. Suspecting that Herb may be in on the theft, the boys decide to pursue him. Doing his part, Riggs goes to the hotel to see if Ruthie noticed anything odd about Herb. Ever so observant, Ruthie surmises that she thinks Herb’s and his trophy wife’s marriage is in trouble. Riggs inquires as to how Ruthie knows all this. She just responds, “Intuition.” She then adds that thanks to her intuition, she knows Riggs recently quit drinking; adding, “I’ve been there myself.”
Upon further investigation, Bowman finds that Herb has gone AWOL. But, it seems the plot is even thicker than that. Beyond disappearing, Herb’s also upped his trophy wife’s insurance policy. Also, the anonymous account used on the Dark Web has made another payment to a contractor, whose identity is of course, undisclosed. Later that night, our heroes go to question Herb’s wife, Ali Weiss (Bre Blair); who they catch on the way to her car. Riggs and Murtaugh tell her that they believe, due to Herb’s financial troubles and the recent development of the life insurance policy, Ali’s husband is trying to have her killed. Ali doesn’t buy it at first, but then we see a laser sight on her chest. Instinctively, Riggs yells, “SNIPER!,” as he tackles Ali to the ground. Murtaugh follows suit and hits the deck as well. It’s only then that they realize the laser was the product of some dumb kid’s laser pointer. However as he’s getting up, Murtaugh notices an explosive attached to the bottom of Ali’s car. He screams not to open the door as he grabs the bomb and tosses it into a nearby dumpster where it explodes upon landing.
The next day, Murtaugh and Avery get a little more information from Ali and Herb’s attorney, Greg Antonetti (Chris McGarry). Greg mentions that Herb could be in a condo he kept secret for affairs. Such a reveal is no surprise to Ali; who’s unphased by it. Meanwhile, Riggs is called to the hotel where Ruthie’s being evicted thanks to her skinny-dipping in the pool. Alas, her RV won’t be ready until the following day, so she’ll need somewhere to go. With no other option, Riggs extends an invitation for Ruthie to stay in his trailer. She accepts the offer without hesitation. Of course, upon arriving in the trailer, she demands that he get rid of any booze in the house as she can’t be around it. For she knows from experience, “You can stop drinking; but you won’t stop hurting till’ you fix the pain inside.”
That following morning, Murtaugh and Trish are in a tiff because Trish is concerned about her husband’s daredevil antics. She begs him to stop, citing that she believes he’s consciously or otherwise, “Using Riggs as a role model for normal behavior.” Taking a moment to process his wife’s theory, Murtaugh admits that she may be right. Meanwhile, at the station, Bowman’s looking worse for wear. The young detective’s haggard appearance is thanks to both sleep deprivation and anxiety. Granted, they’re both case-related and are thanks to the fact that Bowman hired someone on the Dark web to trace the signal from Herb’s in-car, hands-free system. The recording that’s pulled from the system reveals that Herb has been kidnapped. Shortly after this discovery, there’s a knock at Ali’s door. It’s Gary bringing her a copy of prenup.. As soon as he hands her the paper, Gary and the security guard in Ali’s room are both shot and killed by a hired gunman. No sooner do the two men’s bodies hit the floor, then Ali is kidnapped at gunpoint. Murtaugh and Riggs arrive minutes later, only to find Ali gone and corpses in the hotel closet.
Thanks to the GPS data Bowman’s able to pull-off Herb’s car; our heroes trace the vehicle to a hunting cabin. Upon their arrival, the boys rush inside when they hear Ali screaming for help. Of course, this is after Murtaugh shoos away a kid looking for his cat. Once the men enter, they step onto a gasoline-drenched floor. Going upstairs, Riggs finds Ali in a bedroom, bound and gagged. This fact makes no sense to him. For if Ali was gagged, how could she have screamed for help? Riggs quickly realizes that Ali was the one who had orchestrated her husband’s kidnapping. Such a realization soon turns violent as one of the kidnappers, Brick (Winston James Francis) attacks Riggs while his kidnapping counterpart, McTeer (Matthew Jayson Cwern) opens fire on Murtaugh downstairs.
To help her fellow criminals, Ali grabs a pistol and starts shooting at Riggs. Thankfully, she proves to be a terrible shot, killing Brick instead. Meanwhile downstairs, Murtaugh lands two slugs in McTeer’s chest but doesn’t kill him. As Murtaugh nears the downed McTeer, he realizes someone has opened the cabin’s propane line. At the same time, Riggs has exited the cabin to hunt down Ali, who’d taken his pistol. Thankfully, for Riggs, the conniving trophy couldn’t hit the broad-side of a barn. Back in the cabin, Murtaugh finds Herb, bound and gagged. He quickly hustles Herb out the door. Just as Herb’s taken to safety, Riggs lands a fatal round in Ali’s chest. As if things aren’t crazy enough, the kid returns, asking about his cat. Unable to help himself, Murtaugh runs back in and nabs the cat. Alas, he’s unable to do before a nearly dead McTeer, flicks a lighter, causing the house to ignite in an explosion. For the second episode in a row, Murtaugh manages to escape a fiery death narrowly. This time, he does so by diving through the cabin’s front-window.
After all this excitement, Murtaugh’s hospitalized with a hairline leg fracture. As he lies there in his hospital bed, Murtaugh regales his co-workers with tales of his brave deed. Unfortunately for Roger Mayfield Murtaugh, his wife just heard everything he said. She’s none too pleased with his engaging in reckless behavior…again. Back at home, Murtaugh and Trish are still on the outs. Murtaugh feels he does not need to apologize for his behavior as it makes him feel alive. Such a sentiment doesn’t change Trish’s mind. She wants the reckless practice to end and wants such a guarantee to be promised, right now. Her husband says he can’t give such assurance at the moment. His response lands him on the couch until he can make that promise. Meanwhile, the episode closes by showing us that Riggs has a new neighbor in none-other than Ruthie; who has decided to park her RV next to his trailer.
I’m not going to bury the lead here. ‘An Inconvenient Ruth’ was an absolute delight; proving to one of the best episodes in the series thus far. Like all the other show’s best installments, this one had action, comedy and enough emotion and character development to use as a foundation for it all. We get Riggs struggle with sobriety and ultimately, triumph, for this episode anyway. But, as a viewer I wonder, how long can he stay on the wagon? Surely his alcoholism won’t be an easy demon for him to defeat. Unlike a lot of other episodes in the series, this one also managed to give Murtaugh a more emotional arc.
It was nice to see the character deal with this mid-life crisis of sorts. As I’ve stated in the past, I think Riggs often gets too much of this series dramatic focus. Thus, it’s always a nice change when Murtaugh receives his share of emotional baggage. Lastly, as you might’ve deduced from this recap’s opening, I’m a fan if Swoosie Kurtz and loved seeing her pop-up here! In closing, I would like to thank all the readers of these recaps for their patience. I know I had fallen a little behind in recap the episodes and I apologize for that. Furthermore, I appreciate your continued readership. Now that I’m all caught up, I can’t wait to see where the remainder of this season goes!
NEW EPISODES OF LETHAL WEAPON WILL RETURN TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 27th at 8:00 PM EST. ONLY ON FOX!