"Jingle Bell Glock" is nestled in its ability, and confidence, to throw in a ton of homages to the original first film of the franchise while also creating something wholly emotional and original. There were a few curveballs here that worked really well along with a shattering, heart-wrenching story that played off our own expectations regarding the death of Miranda Riggs.
The trailers for this episode focused on the Murtaugh home invasion -- just one of the callbacks to the the first two films (that also included a plummeting body, Christmas music, Riggs putting his gun under his chin, etc) -- and that sort of made it seem like this episode's big moment would involve Roger getting scared serious into saving his loved ones. He's vulnerable when it comes to his family and this chapter would push him to the limit.
As it turned out...not so much. Oh, Roger got serious about saving his family, but it was quick, simple, and he got the job done. With a nice assist from Trish, by the way, who's a very strong and capable character in her own right. She was already working that hitman pretty hard - luring him into the garage while also preventing her kids from even knowing anything was wrong. It was all great, but it wasn't exactly the main part of this one.
No, the core of "Jingle Bell Glock" involved Riggs believing that the Cartel had Miranda killed and then finding out that they -- to our knowledge and his -- didn't. It was a very smart and soul-crushing way to tackle this topic. Because I assume most of us expected there to be some foul play. Based on the movie arc, Riggs' wife was killed because Riggs got too close to a certain sect of undesirables and they put a hit out on him. He didn't know that's why she died until the one of the bad guys told him in the second movie.
Damon Wayans in Lethal Weapon's "Jingle Bell Glock" Episode
Dante Brown in Lethal Weapon's "Jingle Bell Glock" Episode
Chandler Kinney and Dante Brown in Lethal Weapon's "Jingle Bell Glock" Episode
Keesha Sharp and Damon Wayans in Lethal Weapon's "Jingle Bell Glock" Episode
Clayne Crawford and Damon Wayans in Lethal Weapon's "Jingle Bell Glock" Episode
Chandler Kinney in Lethal Weapon's "Jingle Bell Glock" Episode
Kevin Rahm and Clayne Crawford in Lethal Weapon's "Jingle Bell Glock" Episode
Clayne Crawford in Lethal Weapon's "Jingle Bell Glock" Episode
Kevin Rahm in Lethal Weapon's "Jingle Bell Glock" Episode
Keesha Sharp in Lethal Weapon's "Jingle Bell Glock" Episode
With the Cartel having made a few appearances on the show this season, it was easy to assume they did the dirty deed. Then, this week, Riggs actually dealt with a crook he'd faced back in Texas - Eddie Flores (Raul Casso). It was all lining up. But, to the show's credit, that's not how this episode played out. Instead, it took a more tragic turn. Eddie taunted Riggs by hinting that he'd had Miranda killed and it was all to get into Riggs' head. But was he lying or telling the truth?
All of this also hit right during Riggs' first Christmas without Miranda, which was already compounding his grief. So Riggs latched onto this one thing, this idea that there was a reason Miranda was gone. If Eddie had ordered the hit, Riggs could seek revenge. But would that make things better? He'd still then blame himself for her death, ultimately, and become even more despondent. He'd have a target, but also a mountain of new guilt.
Some great flashbacks showed us how Riggs and Miranda actually met on Christmas, making the holiday season even more meaningful to him. The big question is now: Was Eddie's uncle lying? Talking to a mystery man over the phone, he said that he'd told the truth - but which truth? Remember, Miranda didn't just have a cop husband, she had a D.A. father. There's another way to take this if they want to re-explore the murder route. But, as it stands now, I loved Riggs coming up to a dead end and then being forced to cruelly reintroduce himself to the concept that his wife's death was a senseless tragedy.
And was that the score from Sunshine at the end, when Riggs was trying to get answers from Eddie on the runway? Man, that'll always make me tear up.
Speaking of music, and '80s action movies that take place at Christmas like the first Lethal Weapon, Die Hard got a bit of love this week too with Run-D.M.C.'s "Christmas in Hollis."
"Jingle Bell Glock" took the conspiracy arc regarding the death of Riggs' wife and deftly threw it in our faces. The episode forced us to take a hard look at our own expectations about the story and how it copies, or doesn't, the original films, while also making Riggs face his own grief in a brand new, crushing way. This week, a villain used the idea of Miranda's death being foul play as a wicked psychological tactic against Riggs and it was awesome.
Riggs was then told he wasn't important enough as a cop to target, which could be true, but keep in mind too that Murtaugh, a fellow cop, was important enough.