Lethal Weapon 2.21 Gives Us ‘Family Ties’ & Grasps At Straws
by Ben Martin
[PLEASE NOTE: This recap of Lethal Weapon: Season 2, Episode 21: Family Ties DOES CONTAIN SPOILERS. It is assumed you have already viewed the episode. If you have not, it is recommended you do so. Episode 21: Family Ties can be seen on Fox On-Demand or via your preferred streaming service.]
As you’ve no doubt read online by now, Lethal Weapon has been having a rough go of it. Rumors of contention on-set have swirled throughout the run of this season. However, all those rumors were confirmed late last week. But, I’ll get into that more on my upcoming recap of the Season 2 Finale. For now, though, it seems to me that the struggles of making this series have bled over into the show itself. Not to spoil my option, but this fact became painfully apparent with the episode in recap here: 2.21 Family Ties.
The penultimate episode of Season 2 opens with a nightmare on The Murtaugh’s street. Riggs (Clayne Crawford) is dreaming that his father Nathan (Rex Linn) has gotten in good with Murtaugh (Damon Wayans) and Trish (Keesha Sharp). Of course, the Senior Riggs’ only doing so to destroy them as Riggs’ dream ends an explosion. It turns out that this new nightmare is due to Riggs’s father having been moved to a nearby penitentiary. Thankfully, in real-life Murtaugh’s well-rested and excited to show up for work.
Said excitement is because our hero is serving as interim captain while Avery is on a week’s leave. Murtaugh’s first major task as captain will be to head-up a kidnapping investigation of one of the wealthiest citizens in L.A. County, Lisa Conlon (Rachelle Goulding). Luckily, a neighbor accidentally got drone footage of the crime. Riggs’ quickly also called in on the case as one of the kidnappers is identified as being part of the Aryan Brotherhood. In exchange for getting a line-in through his connections, Nathan will be granted release from prison. Despite going against his gut, Riggs goes to the jail to bring his father in on the deal.
After getting some helpful intel from Nathan, Riggs and Bailey (Michelle Mitchenor) head to an Aryan biker bar out in Palmdale to get answers about the kidnapping from the bartender named Travis (Charlie Talbert). According to the barkeep, some of the Brotherhood was running a meth pipeline from Mexico. All was going well until “The pipeline broke and they kidnapped the girl (Lisa) to buy their way outta’ trouble.” Upon Riggs insistence, Travis tips him off to the fact that a man nearby was in on the crime. Without hesitation, our hero approaches the young man, who is pumping gas. About that time, a couple of other big dudes come out of the store. One of them calls out to the young man pumping gas, “Hey RIGGS, why you talkin’ to that cop?!”
Immediately following this rhetorical question the two other men open fire on our protagonist. This altercation is short as rounds hit the gas pump, causing it and the van to explode. Shockingly though, no significant injuries are sustained. Back at the station, Bailey reveals that the young man Riggs was talking to at the gas station is most likely his brother, according to a DNA sample. Shortly after that, Nathan Riggs confirms as much. The 19-year-old’s name is Garrett Riggs (Peter Coventry Smith). Nathan pleads with his eldest son and our hero, to protect Garrett.
A little later on, Murtaugh has some protection of his on to provide when he finds out that Lisa’s husband, Mark Conlon (Hector Hugo), is preparing to make a ransom drop. As is our duo’s style, Riggs shows up as well. The kidnappers call Mark and force him on to a bus. Our heroes follow the harried husband into the bus; however, they quickly split-up when Riggs sees Garrett grab the bag of ransom money. Murtaugh stays on board while Riggs follows his younger half-brother. Alas, the young man and the car he drops the money into peel off when they see Riggs. Garrett’s on foot, so Riggs engages in pursuit. Following that, for some reason, Murtaugh feels the need to do the same…by commandeering the bus and promptly wrecking it.
Meanwhile, Riggs catches up with Garrett. At this point, the youngest Riggs man claims he was forced to become involved in the kidnapping. He then panics, runs out into the street and gets hit by a cab. Garrett hits the pavement, injured and in a coma. Mark Conlon soon becomes a suspect when the team discovers that the ransom bag only contained $31,000; despite the fact that the ransom demand was $160k. Upon questioning Conlon, our heroes find that he also gave the kidnappers a truck route containing a haul of pharmaceuticals that could be used to make meth, in exchange for his wife’s life.
Soon, Murtaugh and Bailey, are racing to get to the seedy motel where Lisa is being held. Not lacking in action, Riggs’ already on top of the truck in question. Before long, in an attempt to get in the cab Riggs is fighting the kidnapper named Llewyn (Adam Sinclair) who’s driving the truck. Such distracted driving combined with a road closure results in a crash. Elsewhere, once at the motel, a firefight commences and Lisa’s saved. Out on the highway, however, nothing is safe. Rattled but alive, Riggs draws down on Llewyn. Despite his disadvantaged position, the kidnapper reminds our hero that Nathan will be killed in prison, no matter what. Llewyn then pulls his pistol on Riggs, but he’s no match for our hero. With one swift shot, the villain is killed.
After the case closes, Murtaugh finds that, despite the cluster of events, he’s getting offered the Captain position permanently. You see, Avery’s resigning to get into politics. On the other hand, there’s a less favorable conclusion as Nathan’s released from prison, per the deal. Later that night, Riggs finds his father at the hospital with Garrett. Even in this tender moment, Nathan Riggs proves to be a real bastard as he HEAVILY implies he planned this whole thing. With that, the episode ends with only one more remaining this season.
I hate to be this type of critic; particularly this close to the end of a season. However, I have to be honest here. Aside from the fact that Family Ties has some good action sequences; I feel this episode has nothing else going for it. Frankly, I found it to be utterly ridiculous, in the worst way possible. In turn, I also didn’t find it to be terribly entertaining. As I watched this, it just reeked of an episode that was struggling to throw the audience a curveball while meeting its episode count for Season 2. Beyond that, I felt that this episode was indicative of the issues that have been occurring behind the scenes. To me, 2.21 just felt like an installment that was trying to keep its head and this series as a whole above water. Therefore, I genuinely hope that the Season Finale proves to be an improvement.
Keep Your Eyes Peeled for My Recap of THE SEASON FINALE: ‘ONE MORE DAY’ COMING SOON!