Whoa, Nellie, this is an excellent episode. Lethal Weapon’s finale goes light on the outrageous he-man gymnastics in order to bring us a kaleidoscope of memories, nuances and revelations (in other words, all the really good stuff) and packs it all into its tiny little 43 minute episode. Miraculous. “Commencement” has a two-hour movie screen quality about it and America is going to want to punch something when it realizes we have to wait until the fall to get our next installment.
With several soft lens flashbacks of Riggs and a very pregnant Miranda marveling over their unborn child’s strong kicking from the womb, Lethal Weapon manages to incite righteous and productive anger that even Roger “Straight-and-Narrow” Murtaugh can get behind. Major mysteries are satisfied and now the scene is set for a very welcome premiere next season. Let’s get right into it.
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Riggs Takes Matters Into His Own Hands, Rambo-Style
The opening scene shows one of several flashbacks of Miranda and Riggs blowing-off Papa Delgado for some magical blueberry pancakes as their unborn baby’s feet pummel her tummy. Riggs seems to be right back where we originally found him, gun to temple in the silver bullet. This time, however, the air is filled more with quiet determination than fumes of bourbon. If you recall, in the previous episode, Palmer gave Riggs a file proving that Gideon (The CIA-trained head of security for Tito Flores’ Mexican cartel) had something to do with Miranda’s death. Riggs is hell bent on what that “something” is.
Two seconds later at the precinct, Riggs spies Captain Avery and two federal agents packing Gideon Lyon off to places unknown to waste away in his own filth for eternity. Riggs isn’t allowed a chance to interrogate Gideon about Miranda, so instead, he hijacks the transport vehicle Rambo-style carting the criminal off and takes him back to the silver bullet by the beach to have a meeting of the minds.
Murtaugh and Avery Admire the Nameless Hijacker’s Work
At the precinct Avery and Murtaugh drool over the footage of Riggs’ attack on the van which swiss-cheesed the vehicle without putting a single scratch on either of the agents or Gideon himself. The getaway vehicle is found in a charred heap as if it was meant to be located. The clues left behind point in the opposite direction as a diversionary tactic. Murtaugh does notice, however, a footprint which later proves vital to the case.
Some unwelcome suspicions have been niggling at Murtaugh’s prefrontal cortex. He detects something fishy about Riggs’ behavior at the precinct, the perfection of the highjack, and diversionary tactics left with the burning getaway car. So, Murtaugh visits Riggs at the silver bullet where Gideon is tied up and hanging by his wrists in the middle of the kitchen-bathroom-bedroom area. Riggs manages to steer Murtaugh away, but Murtaugh is fairly certain his suspicions are valid. Having those suspicions about a man he has come to consider family troubles Murtaugh, per usual, and we’ll see where that lands him later in the episode.
Gideon Knows Riggs Better Than Riggs Knows Himself
Riggs moves Gideon from the silver bullet to a cabin out in the woods so Murtaugh won’t find them. Still, Riggs has yet to hurt Gideon in any way. Gideon, if you recall, is one of Tito Flores’ most brutal enforcers. This man has a PhD in torture.(He probably eats babies as appetizers.) He preys on Riggs’ psyche, asserting that Riggs is hesitating because he’s afraid of finding out what kind of man he really is.
“To truly break a man, there are lines you have to be willing to cross,” Gideon says. This is exactly what Riggs is grappling with. He may not be a rule follower, but he’s always had a strong moral code that precludes extracurricular torture for purposes outside the righteous protection of others or himself. He’s not a sadist or a psychopath. Like Gideon.
Did Gideon Give the Order For Miranda’s Murder?
Well, Gideon knows how to dig the knife deep into Riggs’ heart. He chides him until, finally, Riggs smashes Gideon’s knuckles with the butt of an ax. Crunch. That had to hurt, man. But Gideon continues his barrage of taunts, critiquing Riggs’ interrogation style to distract him. Riggs wants to know if Gideon gave the order or was the one who killed Miranda.
Gideon mentions the adorable couple feasting on blueberry pancakes and Riggs has a flashback to that morning and something Gideon said is off somehow. It’s not until a little while later that Riggs remembers there never were any pancakes that last morning with Miranda. Boom. Riggs had spilled the batter all over the floor. So, how did this cuss know about the pancakes?
As Riggs squeezes Gideon’s head, jamming an angry muzzle into his carotid artery, Murtaugh’s car flies into the driveway. While Riggs and Murtaugh argue over what Riggs is doing, Gideon escapes.
The two coppers chase Gideon through the woods until he stops at the edge of a cliff. When Gideon doesn’t surrender, Murtaugh shoots him and he falls seven stories into the rushing water.
Murtaugh Covers Riggs’ Ass
Back at the precinct, Murtaugh tells Avery that he and his partner tracked Gideon to a cartel safe house and then lost him. Period. Avery is thrilled there wasn’t any destruction, but has to suspect something. After Riggs leaves the precinct Murtaugh asks Avery to get him a new partner.
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Riggs Has an Awakening
This is when Riggs return to casa de silver bullet and it hits him like a lightning bolt about there being no pancakes. He rushes to Murtaugh’s house and babbles on about his realization that Gideon wasn’t the killer, but that he knew more about the blueberry morning than he should have, so now they have to go to Mexico and find Tito Flores who has to have been the one who ordered the hit on Miranda. Murtaugh stops him cold with the news of the partnership breakup.
To Lie, You Have to Give Up the Dead
Trish pleads with Riggs that he is part of their family and they love them. Murtaugh confronts Riggs about his obsession and hits him between the eyes with, “If you want to love, you have to give up Miranda.” Riggs just can’t yet, and he knows it. He thanks Roger for his patience, somewhat sarcastically, and takes off into the sunset.
Riggs Has an Even Bigger Awakening
The next morning, Riggs goes to see his father-in-law, Ronnie Delgado and confesses that he thinks Miranda was killed to force Riggs to stop looking into the cartel’s business. Delgado tells him he’s crazy and he needs to move on. Ronnie lets Gideon’s name slip despite the fact that Riggs never mentioned that name. Riggs then figures it out that Flores had a wire tap on Delgado and that’s how he learned about the blueberry pancakes that were promised, but were never made. The cartel was after Delgado because he was a man of influence and they wanted him to smooth the path to who-knows-what for them.
Flores had Miranda killed as an example of what he could just as easily do to Delgado’s other daughters, his wife, and his grandchildren. From that point forward, Delgado became the cartel’s highest-ranking friend in L.A. Sh*t. As this nasty twist unravels, Tito’s men, including Gideon, drive up and cart Riggs away.
Riggs and Murtaugh are Captured and Tortured
Bailey finds some dirt in the DEA files Riggs had asked her to look into, inspiring Murtaugh to go find Riggs. On the way he’s kidnapped by Tito Flores’ men and brought to the torture chamber with Riggs. Gideon has some dire torture planned for the (non) partners. He asks who else knows about Delgado’s ties to the Mexican cartel, then he shocks Murtaugh with a defibrillator to see if Roger’s heart or his pacemaker will give out first, figuring it will torture Riggs to watch his partner fry. This goes on three times, but the guys refuse to give up Bailey, who is the only other person who knows about Delgado.
Roger continues to breathe. Gideon proceeds to give Riggs all the gory details about how Miranda died only after he suffocated her with his bare hands. While Gideon blathers on, Riggs cuts his way out of the ropes binding his hands then head-butts one of the guys while Roger kicks a second one in the testicles and Gideon runs off.
Murtaugh and Riggs chase Gideon through the underworld tunnels until Riggs and Gideon throw down on top of a train track where Riggs holds the psychopath until a live train cuts him into three parts.
Roger Jr. Graduates, as Do Riggs and Murtaugh
After attending Boy Murtaugh’s commencement, Murtaugh cuffs and delivers Delgado to the precinct where he will be locked up for a very long time. Murtaugh forces Delgado to reveal that Riggs has gone to Mexico to go after Tito Flores. Murtaugh then drives off into the dusk on his way to find Riggs and help him take down his nemesis, the killer of his wife and child.
As her husband leaves her bedside to join his partner, Trish tells him to remember their rule and come back to her alive. He makes the promise. And the curtain falls. Excellent close to an outstanding first season.
Did this season end how you thought it would? When we return for season two, how likely is it that the entire dynamic will change if they spend the whole time in Mexico, leaving Avery, Bailey, Cahill, Trish and the kids behind? Perhaps they will conquer Flores in the first couple of episodes. What then? I, for one, cannot wait to find out.
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Contributing Writer, BuddyTV