Prodigal Son Episode 4: Designer Complicity
Another week brings another gruesome case, but also questions regarding Jessica’s knowledge about her husband’s murders. As Malcolm dares to figure out his childhood demon’s, tensions rise.
Tell Me All About It
Malcolm meets with his therapist to start the episode, who is less than thrilled about his use of chloroform to remember. He asks her if he knows about his mother, and she says his mother is complicated. Malcolm is convinced his mother was aware of the murders, growing so frustrated he shatters the water glass in his hand. Thankfully, they’ve caught a case.
Tatiana Moore, a model, and social media influencer, was murdered. Her body is found in a bathtub, in blue water, blue body pant, and with gold shimmer all over her body. Malcolm, JT, Dani, and Gil observe as Edrisa works. JT is apparently a fan, too. Her cause of death is not apparent, but Malcolm points out the scene has an eye for detail and design. They find out it is because it mimics an outdoor campaign she did a while back. It is purposely staged to look like it.
Gil and Malcolm speak to her boyfriend, Axel, who is outside, attempting to get past the police line. He talks about fans being obsessive, including stalking and restraining orders. Malcolm doesn’t hold back (as if he ever does) and asks him hard-hitting questions that he doesn’t take kindly to. Malcolm says he seems afraid.
Once alone, Gil and Malcolm talk about Malcolm’s ever crumbling mental state. He wants the case files so he can see his mother’s statement. Gil says no.
Jessica broke into Malcolm’s apartment again, not that anyone is shocked. The two bicker, and it soon turns explosive. Martin took his son off the visitor list, per Jessica’s request. The scene ends with Jessica slapping her son (and man is it one hell of a scene). Malcolm enraged visits his father. He demands answers that Martin, of course, dances around, leaving him just as clueless as to when he walked in.
Every Step You Take…
Malcolm gives his profile to the detectives. He says they’re looking for a stalker, infatuated, and longing for the victim. Like an addict, but deluded into believing they would end up with her.
JT informs the team there is a memorial, and he heads out with Malcolm looking for a loner in the crowd. Malcolm, ever the profiler, notices that this victim is special to his colleague. JT admits he saw her while he was serving overseas in Kabul. She made the tough times easier, even if they only shared three words.
After the bromance blossoms, if even for a second, the duo spot the loner. He’s a photographer and agrees to go to the station after Malcolm quips his way into his agreement.
At the Station
Roger, the photographer, has multiple restraining orders against him for Tatiana. Malcolm taunts him by taking photographers, and in his disdain for Malcolm’s antics, admits they should be looking for Axel. He’s the one involved.
When they question him further, Roger says lawyer. Malcolm says he’s not our guy; calls him an incompetent stalker. He knows she didn’t love him back and wasn’t out to hurt her.
Edrisa’s report comes in, and it shines a light on the manner of death. It was strangulation, and there were no signs at the scene because of the paint and colored contacts. It also mentions a lack of defensive wounds, highlighting she may have known her attacker. Gil says Axel doesn’t fit the profile, but Malcolm says he’s hiding something. He might not be the killer, but he knows more than he’s said.
Presses Gil for case files again. And once again, he’s shot down.
Perfect Man, Perfect Husband
Flashback scene! In fancy attire, Jessica asks Martin to “stop this.” Martin says he wanted to be the perfect man, perfect husband. He thinks they can keep their lives and their perfect family. They don’t have to throw it away. He wants her to lie?! Oh crap. But to what level? On a side note, the Whitly parents looked quite dapper in their clothing for this scene!
Malcolm confronts Roger, as he clearly can’t stay away from danger for more than a minute or two. He says he wants the truth. Says screw you, Roger. While Malcolm is convincing, Roger is rigid in his feelings. He leaves, and Malcolm sees him get hit by a car.
At the hospital, we learn Roger will survive. Malcolm goes to talk to him and grabs his dislocated shoulder. The ever-charming profiler lies to him and tells him he’s dying. Oh man, I don’t think I could fall more in love with a slightly insane character if I tried. Malcolm Bright is fantastic.
We get our answers! Tatiana was leaving for another agency. Axel was pissed. He hit her. Roger witnessed it. But did he kill her?
Avoiding like the Plague
Ainsley confronts Jessica and admits she wants to visit Martin. It will be great for her career. She thinks she’s the only one who can handle it, seeing as her mother is drinking her sorrows away, and Malcolm, well, is Malcolm. Jessica tells her that Martin is her biggest fan, which seems to shock her daughter and equally piss off Jessica. She leaves, and tensions are officially high between just about every member of the Whitly family.
Life of the Party
Malcolm says the killer isn’t obsessed with Tatiana, but Axel. They want to please him. They believe its someone from his entourage, but unsure to who. There is a launch party tonight, and Malcolm wants to go. Gil, protective as always, says absolutely not. Malcolm doesn’t listen. He goes after Axel at the party. The guy is a moth to a danger-filled flame.
He’s easily able to get Axel outside, but things get messy fast. Joey is our killer. Malcolm is now alone with him with a gun pointed to his head. WHY DOES THIS MAN ALWAYS GET INTO THESE SITUATIONS?! Someone should keep a tally on how many near-death experiences this man has any given episode.
Alas, it was a setup. Malcolm is wired. They arrest Joey, and all is well… well, it’s never that simple.
Gil comes to his apartment to check on him after the case. He tells Gil he needs to know the truth, unaware Gil has the tape!!! VHS, no less. How is that for a throwback?! Tapes.
Malcolm sits down to watch the tapes of his mother. She knew something was wrong, but thought it was an affair. She was unaware he was killing people and didn’t know how to go forward. The emotion in this scene is stellar. Tom Payne’s facial expression as he hears his mother’s side of the story is captivating and easily one of his best scenes, yet a word is never spoken. Amazing. Regardless, there is something off about Jessica, and I refuse to believe this is all she’s known. Everything else has been too weird. Why else would she freak out about the box he found as a kid?
Granted, its a moment of genuine emotion from Jessica, and not the over the top woman we’ve seen thus far. She appears human, for once!
The episode leaves off on a major cliffhanger: Ainsley is in her father’s cell. SAY WHAT?!
Prodigal Son is easily one of the most entertaining shows on TV right now. It’s not as serious as others, and you can laugh, cry, and stare in disbelief at least once an episode. The banter between unlikely friends and colleagues are some of my favorite parts (see JT and Malcolm, and Dani and Malcolm), and mix that in with a sharp-tongued serial killer, and you’ve got yourself one hell of a ride.
The casting is stellar and fun to watch on screen; Tom Payne is a rising star and thrives in this role. Its a shame he didn’t get this spotlight elsewhere, but at least he’s getting it now.
I honestly have no clue where the show is going, and I change my theories by the minute as each episode progresses. I’m excited to see what they do with it now, especially granted 22 episodes. The gore, the humor, and the plot! The possibilities may be very well endless. I’m looking forward to it.
Finally, the characters are well-developed and not black and white, wherein you may like them one minute or want to strangle them the next. It will be fun to watch characters such as JT loosen up and grow as time goes on. I see a grand friendship growing between our profiler-detective duo!
If you’re not watching Prodigal Son on FOX at 9 pm on Monday nights, what are you doing with your life?
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