Lethal Weapon: Hey Riggs, Where's the Reciprocity?!

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To put it plainly, Martin Riggs is a hot mess.

He's a multi-faceted, flawed character deep in the throes of severe grief and depression, and it manifests itself in various ways that break our hearts or bring us to tears laughing. It's one of many reasons we love him.

The Lethal Weapon series has excelled at exploring Martin Riggs' layers in a way that the film franchise didn't have the time to do. Clayne Crawford's nuanced portrayal of this complicated character is remarkable, and Riggs' mental health issues are integral to the show but rarely painted with a broad and problematic stroke.

Lethal Weapon-Riggs

Lethal Weapon has also brought one of the most dynamic duos in film history to the small screen. This rendition of Riggs and Murtaugh has just as much kickass chemistry as with the originals. I can't get enough of these partners in crime-fighting, trading barbs and engaging in fun hijinks. They're one of the best bromances on television at the moment.

There's one minor issue, however. Thanks to Riggs, the friendship between Riggs and Murtaugh has been noticeably stagnant.

Since the show's inception, the audience has watched Riggs navigating through his grief and loss. Lethal Weapon Season 2 Episode 1 finally gave Riggs and the audience some closure, but Riggs has descended into darkness again.

Miranda's death was but the tip of the iceberg; an abusive and equally as tragic childhood has had catastrophic effects on Riggs for decades. Depression and suicidal inclinations are things that Riggs has struggled with his entire life.

LW- depressed Riggs

I'm strapped in and ready to accompany Riggs on another emotional ride. But what I'm not ready for, is watching Riggs continue to bite the hand that feeds him. It's going to be redundant and aggravating as all hell if Riggs continues to shut out the Murtaughs.

While the Riggs/Roger partnership is amusing to no end, one can't help but ask, what the hell does Roger get out of it? What does he gain from his relationship with Riggs? It doesn't seem like very much.

A significant part of Riggs being able to slowly work through his grief and fight his demons is due to his incredible support system. Dr. Cahill, Avery, and the Murtaughs have been in his corner from the very beginning, helping him climb out from the hole he has been in, and fighting for him harder than he fights for himself.

Cahill's interactions with Riggs are the most fruitful. Casting aside the simmering sexual tension between the pair, when Riggs puts in the emotional work it's because Cahill has been an effective therapist, colleague, and friend.

Serious Questions - Lethal Weapon Season 1 Episode 4

The most insight the audience gains from Riggs happens when he's in sessions with her. Which is great, despite the fact that he may have become too dependent on her, lest we forget his jokingly(?) threatening to jump off of a ledge if she didn't continue treating him.

Avery has also been in his corner, acting as his superior and at times a father figure. He knows more about Riggs than Riggs is ever willing to tell. Avery's confidence is admirable, but it's frustrating that he holds out on Roger.

There are some things that Roger, as Riggs' partner, should be entitled to know. Riggs' relationship with the city attorney who happened to be his father-in-law, for example, or some background on the situation with Riggs and Jake. As much progress as Riggs is making on an emotional front, he sure as hell isn't sharing any of these things with Roger.

How can we truly enjoy this great bromance of theirs when Riggs keeps Roger at arm's length all of the time?

Asking Questions - Lethal Weapon Season 1 Episode 5

When he's not begrudgingly talking through things with Cahill or sharing a moment or two with Avery, he's more inclined to confide in a complete stranger than he is the man who supposedly is his best friend.

Whether it's a suicidal recluse, a formerly abused starlet, or any pick of a kid who isn't a Murtaugh, Riggs will open up, sharing his thoughts, feelings, and bits of his life with complete strangers, but he won't so much as tell Roger, his partner and best friend, his favorite color.

It's not for lack of trying on Roger's part. Throughout the series, Roger has become malleable as a partner. He adapts to his loose cannon of a partner, adjusting and pushing himself out of his comfort zone, constantly proving that he's not a guy who is stuck in his ways.

Not only does Roger open up emotionally (though it falls on distant ears), but he opened up his personal life and family to Riggs as well. Hell, Trish saw through Riggs instantly and took him under her wing arguably before Roger did.

LW- Riggs and Trish

The show managed to draw from the source material with the Trish and Riggs bond being the underrated, unsung relationship that is almost as good as the original bromance.

Trish serves as a sister, maternal figure, and platonic surrogate wife to Riggs. The only thing she ever asked of him was that he bring her husband home every night, and it's a promise that Riggs takes seriously. From that promise forward, she was the first to welcome Riggs into their family, no questions asked.

Trish is the closest we ever get to Riggs being emotionally open and vulnerable with the Murtaughs, and that's only because she has a knack for seeing right through him.

Of the Murtaughs, she is the one who sneaks past all of his barriers and rattles him. The moments between them are treasured ones because Trish is so visibly fond of Riggs, and he so obviously can't shut her out.

Lethal Weapon S1 Finale

But he sure as hell tries. His steadfast attempts to shut out both Roger and Trish worked during the first season. It was expected and part of his growing process then, but it is increasingly agitating to watch now.

The Murtaughs have opened their home to him and still get nothing back in return. He raids their refrigerator, eats at their home, drops in unannounced, crashes there whenever he desires, seeks them out for advice, and corrupts their children.

He commits to being a part of their family but only when it's most convenient for him. Then he offers very little in return.

He has been fully immersed in their lives but still remains an utter mystery to them most of the time. Why? Because he's so caught up in his own issues that he doesn't bother making the tiniest effort to show them that the relationship he has cultivated (or failed to) isn't completely one-sided.

Family Dinner - Lethal Weapon Season 1 Episode 1

If anything, he takes them for granted. Riggs' actions in Lethal weapon Season 2 Episode 5 hit an all-time low when he drunkenly crashed into the scene, destroying their property, and reminding them once again that loving him is hard. Because that's what Trish was on the verge of saying at that time, wasn't it? The Murtaughs love him unconditionally, but he tests the limits.

Other than showing a hint of shame, never officially apologizing, and eventually cleaning up his mess, he went on as if the incident never happened. His way of reconciling was so unsatisfactory. His explanation to Trish for why he was in another dark place was so frustratingly vague, and poor Roger didn't even get the courtesy of that.

Roger doesn't get the courtesy of anything!

Lethal Weapon S2E5

Lethal Weapon Season 2 Episode 6 would have been the perfect opportunity to give us a heartfelt bromantic moment outside of an action scene or moment played up for kicks and giggles.

We should have had Riggs introducing his old best friend/brother to his new one. Instead, we had Riggs wrapped up in this debt he felt he owed Jake, Jake wreaking havoc all over town in addition to making a fool of Roger for the hell of it, and Roger being blindly supportive the entire time and not getting anything in return because Riggs never told him much of anything.

It was the perfect time for Riggs to open up to Roger after coming to grips with the fact that he has outgrown Jake. It was the perfect time for Riggs to realize that Roger is the new, unwaveringly supportive "brother" in his life.

Hell, it was the perfect opportunity for him to mention his father to Roger. But nope, apparently, that information is only something Cahill and Avery are allowed to be privy too.

Riggs Old Friend - Lethal Weapon

Instead, as Riggs' childhood continues to haunt him, he's shifting his focus to another woman via his childhood friend, Molly, and playing "Uncle Riggs" to her son.

Remember the handful of moments when Riggs played Uncle to the Murtaugh kids? It really is about a handful of moments too far and few in between.

It's like Roger puts in all of the efforts, and the most unexpected of characters are on the receiving end of the Riggs payout.

LW- Riggs and baby Murtaugh

As work partners, the two couldn't be stronger, but when it comes down to their friendship, Riggs sucks. How does someone so loyal still manage to be such a crappy friend? Half the time he can't even be bothered to ask the guy how his day is.

Roger's concerns and inquiries are always dismissed. Riggs' go-to is deflecting with humor or flat out ignoring his partner altogether. Roger puts his all out there, and Riggs doesn't give him anything to work with.

Does Riggs even listen to Roger when he's talking about his life? Does he ever show any interest at all? Can Roger actually have an honest conversation and confide in him about something serious without Riggs acting like his mind is a million light years away?

In hindsight, Roger's confession of love being played up for comedic relief stings a bit when you consider that for all of the progress Riggs has made, the emotional distance he maintains with Roger has been unyielding. In fact, if anything, it has gotten progressively worse.

LW- Roger's Confession

Roger certainly isn't there to talk him off of ledges or keep him from playing drunken Russian Roulette anymore. So far, those emotionally charged moments have been lacking.

I get it, Riggs is not an open book. He's a troubled individual with an insane number of demons. Fair enough. That explains his behavior, but it doesn't excuse it.

He can still stay true to his character and throw Roger an emotional bone. He can still give Rog a sign that he's not a complete, self-consumed asshole who is disinterested in Roger and his family the majority of the time except when he's using them as an emotional salve for his issues.

Presently, Riggs gets a family, constant support, unconditional love, free food, a place to crash, an open door, open arms, and open hearts via the Murtaughs.

Watch It! - Lethal Weapon Season 2 Episode 1

And Roger gets to love, care about, and work with an emotionally damaged, reckless individual whom he constantly has to keep from going over the edge. They balance each other out as partners, but their friendship is maddening in its imbalance and unfairness.

When will Riggs be able to give Roger more than just the bare minimum as a friend? How long can their friendship and partnership survive without Riggs opening up? When will Riggs be able to show that he's as invested in Roger and the Murtaughs as they are in him? Honestly, Riggs, where is the reciprocity, buddy?

If you want to experience the highs and lows of television's best bromance, you can watch Lethal Weapon online right here via TV Fanatic. Don't forget to check out TV Fanatic's weekly Lethal Weapon Reviews!

Jasmine Blu is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.

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