Getting to Work
In a hidden drawer in his room, Malcolm holds files and pictures of his father’s murders. He gets to work and works all night. He enters the medical examiner’s room just as Dr. Edrisa talks about how antagonizing the deaths must have been.
Edrisa is peculiar like Malcolm, intrigued by the murderer’s work. Aren’t we all just a little bit like her? Otherwise, why else would we be watching this show?
He compliments Edrisa and freaks out JT and Dani in the process while we get hilarious dialogue between the examiner and our profiler.
“You’re very slender.”
“Yeah well, most food makes me sick.”
He gives the profile, saying the man is white, blends in, and is inadequate. Nothing bonds our victims, the police tell him. Malcolm interjects. They have bruising on their wrists. They are into BDSM, and the women were waiting for what Malcolm says were “professional dominants.”
I’m just going to leave his, and Edrisa’s, extensive knowledge of this here (as I cackle).
They track down who they believe to be the killer, Nico Stavros. Inside, they find him tied up with all the necessary ingredients to kill in the kitchen, while our killer soon escapes through the door after firing shots their way. Dani pursues him, while JT and Malcolm stay in the room with Nico. There’s a bomb under the chair, set to go off in 1:30 seconds. Malcolm’s solution? He’s going to chop off his hand. Let’s not ignore the gleeful expression on his face as he tells Nico this. Oh boy.
WHAT EVEN. Okay. I’m a mix between amused and horrified. While Malcolm is telling Nico that reattachment surgery has come a long way, JT remains bewildered by the man as he gathers ice. Dani meanwhile loses the killer but stumbles upon Gil outside. The bomb explodes, but thankfully Malcolm, JT, and a handless Nico stumble toward them.
JT helps Nico to the ambulance, while Dani asks Malcolm if he’s alright. His eyes are wide as if adrenaline is still coursing through his veins. He doesn’t seem upset but excited. Dani, as anyone would be, is very confused.
An Updated Profile
At the precinct, a calmer Malcolm updates Gil and Dani. He admits that this is about revenge; he hates his body and wants to inflict as much pain as possible. In the room, Dani asks how he knows the man is bald. He tells her he doesn’t, but he trusts that he is. The two seem to bond; I suspect Dani’s got a soft spot for the damaged profiler.
Later, at dinner, Jessica talks to Malcolm, but he’s clearly distracted. Ainsley tells her mother that Malcolm is working for the NYPD on the copy cat’s case. Jessica knows the names of Martin’s victims and tells Malcolm not to see his father again, as it will destroy him.
Back at the precinct, Malcolm studies the case but falls asleep. He appears with his father, who tells him to go to sleep but instead, stumbles into another room where there is a chest. As any curious child would, he goes to open it, while Malcolm in his nightmare is murmuring not to. In the other room, Dani notices. She approaches Malcolm as his flashback opens it, and in a night terror induced rage, he chases and tackles her to the ground in front of officers. She instructs them not to shoot, as he isn’t awake.
The Prodigal Son
After he settles down, Gil has news for him. They found original drawings made by his father in Nico’s apartment, yet Martin remains locked up in Claremont Psychiatric. Malcolm says he will ask him and despite Gil asking otherwise, he goes to see his father.
Dr. Whitly, now older and apparently vegan (one of the reasons he gives for his “fresh as a daisy” appearance”), is thrilled to see his son. The two banter in an intriguing way. Martin is impressed at first about his copy cat, but at Malcolm’s exasperation, he quickly changes his tone. Interestingly, he’s willing to say or do whatever he can to keep Malcolm’s attention, even if he doesn’t buy it.
Malcolm sorts through his cases, at an alarming rate of accuracy while Dr. Whitly offers commentary in the background (Martin Sheen is gold in this scene—every word and gesture is impeccably placed). He has it narrowed down to two possible former patients but cannot decide which it is.
Malcolm realizes his presence is the only way Martin will help him. Martin agrees to help as long as he comes back. It is Carter Berkhead; he had a heart attack while whipping a woman in a sex dungeon.
Catching the Killer
Malcolm meets with Dani at a charity event the Berkheads hold, where the two split up when Malcolm realizes his mother is there. Dani speaks with the wife, Blair while Bright takes a phone call from Gil at the hospital. Nico admits he was having an affair with Nico… annnd ooh, we’ve got ourselves a motive. Carter isn’t happy. Blair is the fourth victim. Malcolm realizes Dani is in danger!
Carter knocks Dani out as he reveals himself and then Blair, but Malcolm interrupts. He talks him down, as a profiler, but when Dani interferes, Carter starts to spiral. He begins to talk more erratically now and admits he’s the son of the Surgeon. Malcolm says that he deserves the pain, to kill him by the injection instead. He shares a look with Dani, one she seems to understand, but this is a Malcolm we haven’t seen much of before.
He isn’t feeding off the adrenaline anymore; the profiler seems broken and defeated. Just as Carter is about to pull the trigger, Gil comes in and shoots him. Dani rushes over to Malcolm, asks if he’s okay, and if he was really going to let him do that. He tells her, “of course not, that’d be crazy.”
But was he? This is by far Tom’s strongest scene in the pilot and is glued to your seat, exhilarating kind of action. I didn’t look away from the entire scene; it was that enjoyable. You really had no idea where he was going with this.
Until Next Time
Outside, Gil is questioned by JT and Dani. He admits he was the responding officer to a call from the Whitly household in 1998. Inside, while Martin tries to play it off as a mistake, Malcolm tells him he should probably pull his gun. The tea his father made for him would kill him. They discovered what he did that night and arrested him. Gil says he was the one to call on his father; he may be a little different, but he is one of them.
As a child, Gil handed Malcolm a candy and told him he was a hero. We see Malcolm walking down the street sometime later, and he pops a candy in his mouth. Is that the candy Gil gave him? Is that metaphoric for what is to come? Maybe Malcolm is tired of playing the hero and wants to play the bad guy. There are so many hidden messages the show has suggested. But what am I, the viewer, looking too far into? Is that what they want from me?
Malcolm returns to his father and asks if he planned the entire thing to get him back. Martin says even he couldn’t do that, but I think no one is underestimating the intelligence of either man in the room. Martin says he can help Malcolm solve cases, but he doesn’t agree. He goes to leave, but Dr. Whitly tries to keep him there. Instead, he says, “Goodbye Dr. Whitly” and leaves the room. Martin doesn’t seem too worried, even has a smile on his face as he fondly says, “My Boy.”
The screen fades to black.
Overall, an excellent pilot. This show is cleverly evil and charming!
Every character in the show has intrigue and the ability to become something much more than what we see on the surface. Tom, as Malcolm, is the perfect mix of quirk, comedy, and despair and I’m thrilled he was the one they recast in the role. His innocent, charming eyes and boyish persona in the show is the perfect person for this character.
Meanwhile, it’s similar for Sheen as the Surgeon. The charm and subtle nuances make his character all the more wonderful. Go back and see each time he gives one of those smiles; he raises the bar so high. They’re just enough to send a chill through your bone, but at the same time, you want to give him a high five. Nothing like loving a serial killer, y’know?
Why You’ll Enjoy
Anyone out there who has been smitten by serial killer profiles will enjoy this show and the dark subject matter it brings forth. It also is for anyone out there with a dysfunctional family that drives you insane (even if it is quite literally for Malcolm at times). The show creators stated this is all about family when it comes down to it, and I can definitely see it.
Sure, there are things I question. Why would a psychiatric hospital let someone like Dr. Whitly have control of his journals and have visitors talk to him multiple times without reason? This should’ve been a red flag for someone with such a prolific history. Is he seeing patients? How is that even ALLOWED?
Will Gil be apt to stick up for him if it costs the man his job? (I’m sure the NYPD wanted ample reason for the chopping off of a hand…) Dani seems protective over him, will this be something she sticks with overtime, or will she fear him? I suspect Dani knows PTSD, seeing how she responded to Malcolm several times over.
There are many questions to come and one hell of a story to tell. After all, murder is the family business.
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