Deadshirt is Watching: Devils and Drunks

Deadshirt Is Watching…is a weekly feature in which Deadshirt staff, contributors, and guests sound off on the television shows we’re tuned into, from intense dramas to clever sitcoms to the most insane reality shows. This week: Lucifer and Lethal Weapon!

Chuck Winters is watching…

Lucifer
Season 2, Episode 13, “A Good Day to Die”
FOX

“A Good Day to Die” concludes a run that brought nearly everyone face to face with their more metaphorical demons in a satisfying way. With Chloe dying from Professor Carlisle’s poisoning, all hands are on deck to save her. Dan and Ella have to gather the ingredients to the antidote, which leads to some fun minor revelations about Ella’s family, as well as further cementing Dan’s reputation as an abysmal, hotheaded cop. (Kevin Alejandro does a great job of being wholly likable while still earning Luci’s “Detective Douche” nickname.) Still, those ingredients are useless without Carlisle’s formula, which he took to his grave. Lucifer’s only option is to convince Maze and Dr. Martin to stop his heart so he can follow Carlisle into Hell. But once he gets the formula, a vision of Uriel (Michael Imperioli) traps him in one of the cells, forcing him to wallow in the guilt he feels over killing his brother.

While Luci’s in hell, Amenadiel has one job—make sure Chloe stays close to Lucifer so he can remain mortal—which leads to him standing up to Chloe’s doctors after a close call. It’s a huge moment for Amenadiel, who started the season shaken, his wings gone, losing all sense of himself. To see him go from that to stoically holding the line because his brother asked him to, wrecking multiple security guards to keep Chloe where she is (all set to a hysterically epic arrangement of “Unsteady” by X Ambassadors) is immensely satisfying.

Once it’s clear that Lucifer’s stuck, Charlotte volunteers to go in after him, which forces her to confront her own role in Uriel’s death, as well as her general guilt over manipulating Lucifer. Charlotte reveals herself to be another interesting character here; she could have easily been written and played as a cold schemer, but her love for her sons is real. I thought that she had some grand plan involving Chloe as a God-ordained miracle to get back into heaven, but it turns out, it was just more ammo for Charlotte to use to provoke Lucifer into starting a fight with his Dad. There seems to be genuine regret, and I have to wonder what’s next for her, especially with Lucifer disowning her at the end of the episode.

Then again, she’s not alone. A recovered Chloe heads for Lux to have a talk with Lucifer, only to discover that the penthouse is devoid of life, dropcloths over all the furniture. As impressive as it is that this three-episode arc has subverted the “will-they-won’t-they” cliché by bringing Lucifer and Chloe together, it’s even more impressive that they found a way to ultimately affirm that cliché and break them up. It makes sense that Lucifer is twisted up over the idea that God put Chloe in his path for reasons he can’t understand, and it also makes sense that Lucifer can’t just tell Chloe what’s up. All he can do is put some space between himself and LA and try to figure it out.

Episode Highlight: Speaking of Dr. Martin, bringing her on board the “Oh wait Lucifer REALLY IS Lucifer” train continues to pay ridiculous dividends. Rachael Harris has been killing in this role lately, as much for her little moments as her few big ones. When Lucifer lays out his plan to his inner circle and Charlotte begs Martin to give some sensible advice, Harris’ delivery of “Um HE’S THE DEVIL” is perfect and awesome.

Lethal Weapon
Season 1, Episode 13, “The Seal Is Broken”
FOX

If you told me that Matt Miller, the guy that took over the amazing Human Target series in the second season and turned it into a hollowed-out shell of itself, would go on to run a solid TV adaptation of Lethal Weapon, I would have kicked your lying ass, and I would have been wrong for it. The series has turned out to be a damn good show in its own right, anchored by fun, soulful performances by Clayne Crawford and Damon Wayans as Martin Riggs and Roger Murtaugh.

This is an off-brand episode, since the boys are tracking down a serial killer who goes after “sinners.” (Victim 1, for instance, got a girl hooked on heroin, and was then killed by a forced heroin overdose. Victim 2 smothered an old lady for her life insurance; she got buried alive.) It’s a box every procedural ticks off at some point, but for Lethal Weapon, “serial killer” never quite sits right when the average episode involves crazy foot chases, gunfighting, and property damage. Still, it highlights something the show has done particularly well so far: study Riggs as a depressed and broken man.

When we first see Riggs this week, he’s woken up in his trailer with a one night stand on his couch. Immediately after, something seems off about him; he’s edgier than usual, less focused…just a complete wreck. Halfway through the episode, he spells it out on Murtaugh’s couch, sleeping over because he’s stinking drunk and can barely stand. Riggs tells him, “I cheated on my wife.”

It’s a story heavy on Catholic themes and ideas. In the mystery, the killer is using information gleaned from confessionals at his local church to select his targets. It dovetails a bit with the reason Riggs got blackout drunk the night of his fling: That night marked a year and a day since the death of his wife, which is the length of time the Catholic Church grants someone to grieve their spouse. Riggs isn’t done yet, and the pressure of having to be done might be getting to him more than any bullet that could ever fly past him.

It’s an idea that was captured well enough in the first movie, but lost over the next three as Mel Gibson’s charming prankster nature began to take over the character: Riggs is hyper-functional in the field not just because he has a bit of a death wish, but because he’s more comfortable in the thick of the action than he is at home. Near the end of the episode, he’s dangling off a ledge after a failed attempt to stop the killer from jumping, and Murtaugh’s hanging on with everything he’s got. Riggs keeps telling him to let go, because he’s at peace with dying this way, but Murtaugh refuses to give up on him. They both go over, because Murtaugh’s that committed to the man—naturally, they’re saved by a convenient tree, but that’s not the point.

You’d think this would all be far bleaker than the films, and in some ways it is, especially when it has 20-something hours to hammer home just how much of a wreck Riggs is. But even if the dialogue doesn’t have Shane Black’s signature zip, the show never really loses the mission. Crawford and Wayans find a comfortable rhythm that easily differentiates itself from Gibson and Glover in a not-at-all-unpleasant way. This allows Matt Miller and his crew to strike a nice balance between earnest, gut-wrenching emotion and explosive action movie hijinks. Basically, they’ve created the world’s first buddy cop actioner about coping with loss.

Episode Highlight: I’ve written enough already, so I’ll just show some quick love for Murtaugh’s adorable turkey sandwich jingle in the teaser.

That’s what we’ve been watching this week. What are you tuned into? Let us know in the comments, post on our Facebook page, or tweet us @DeadshirtDotNet!

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