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'Lethal Weapon' season 3 episode 14: Cole's losses are piling up for an explosive finale

Cole goes out of his way to help his friend but ends up losing something that had meant the world to him. And we aren't just talking about Erica. 

With just one more episode to go for the season finale, 'Lethal Weapon' is really pulling out the big guns. It's testing out the partnership between Cole and Murtaugh hard - something that we haven't seen happen this season. It's also twisting up Wesley Cole's life like never before and his losses are piling up, setting up the scene for an explosive finale next week. This week, in 'Game of Chicken', Cole finds himself almost back in his time in Syria. Rafi, his longtime friend and the brother of the boy who was killed in the Syrian blast from the season premiere is on the run for a murder he didn't commit. Cole goes out of his way to help his friend but ends up losing something that had meant the world to him. And we aren't just talking about Erica. 

The story starts off with Rafi and Cole enjoying their morning playing a game of speed chess. It's a sunny day, all is well and Rafi even tells Cole that he's got a job as a janitor in a research center where he's allowed to learn as much as he wants as well. He is doing well and getting the grades and he's never been happier. Cut to a couple of hours later, Rafi is hunched over the body of a dead woman whose head has been bashed with a telephone. Security staff comes in and automatically assumes he's the culprit and he manages to fight the burly man off and run. Who does he call? Cole, of course. 

In the meantime, the LAPD is on the scene. They finally figure out that it was Rafi who was present at the scene, thanks to his prints and they start a manhunt. Cole, who is in contact with Rafi, tries to keep him out of harm's way. He asks Erica, who refuses and gets him off the case. Then, he asks his trusty partner, who also shuts the door on him saying he will not break the law. Cole, finding himself backed into a corner, calls Barnes. 

They find out that Chinese intelligence was stealing aerodynamics research from the professor who was killed and there's a high-level conspiracy at play. Cole, with Barnes' help breaks into the Consulate, gets trapped and tortured but finally figures a way out. He also hand delivers the culprit to Murtaugh, who by now has found a legal way to get the job done. Now, this has happened with the partners before but unlike the last couple of times, this time, there's a sizeable hole where their trust used to be and Murtaugh is on the verge of letting him go as his partner.

Erica also breaks up with Cole after everything is said and done, saying that they aren't compatible. Moreover, she also probably feels that Cole is still into Natalie after he said that she's broken the law for him. But, that's not Cole's greatest loss. Cole, by going back to his CIA roots has destroyed whatever life he had built after his Syria stint. He also inevitably left a massive crack in his relationship with Murtaugh, which constituted a large part of his life after the war. 

Maybe the show is playing at the fact that Cole will always be CIA deep inside and he doesn't have it in him to rein in the crazy or maybe it's building up to a season finale where Cole chooses his LAPD life over his past, which is something we've seen him wanting to do all season. Either way, there's an insane finale ahead with Natalie strapped to a bomb in a wedding dress, Barnes shooting Murtaugh and Cole in the middle of it all. 

Catch 'Lethal Weapon' season 3 finale on February 26 at 8 p.m. ET on FOX.