Prodigal Son Episode 11: Alone Time
Its been quite a few weeks since that nail-biting mid-season finale, Prodigal Son fans. Tonight’s episode “Alone Time” brings us front and center to the Junkyard Killer and the torture he has planned for our hostage Malcolm Bright. Did Malcolm survive? What answers did we find out? Let’s dive in.
Malcolm, ever the profiler, starts off this episode in chains, somewhere in a dark basement. He’s quick to chat up our Junkyard Killer, also known as John Watkins. He thinks he understands him and can profile him enough to show that they’re more alike than different. Is this the best tactic? I’m not sure. Malcolm isn’t going to stay silent, but I don’t think he and John are the same. However, John holds the answers to the questions Malcolm has, so you can’t blame him for trying.
Hung up on the woman in the box, John is quick to grow frustrated with Malcolm’s questioning. He tells him a bit about what happened all those years ago… including that Malcolm stabbed John. And John is getting real tired of Malcolm’s mouth (it’s only been a few hours… let’s hope the team finds him fast!), and for it, he earns a long-time coming revenge stab to the stomach. And we’re only a few minutes in!
When John Watkin’s grandmother lacks answers (but proves she is oh so good at creepy singing), Colette, Gil, JT, and Dani soon become frustrated. They feel as if they are nowhere near closer to finding Malcolm, and they’re running out of time. It is nice to see that the team cares for him. We know Dani and Gil do, but even JT! Frankly, this is an underrated part of the episode. It shows the growth of every character–and proves that this is a family.
And, Colette can go far, far away. I don’t like her, and I don’t think she would genuinely care if Malcolm were to die. While JT and Dani put their heads together to find his location, Gil takes matters into his own hands. This very well might be the scene many didn’t know they needed, but all were glued to the screen for: Gil vs. Martin. Before he heads there, he stops to see Jessica and asks if she can look over some photographs from the past. Jessica, rightly so, is now panicked about her missing son and agrees.
Ooh, man. This scene was one for the books. We have Martin, who is Malcolm’s biological father and is the one who raised him for the first few years of his life. Malcolm, to this day, is linked to him in ways that he can’t break. He knows some of his quirks come from his time spent as a child close to his father. However, he is hardly a father. Gil has nurtured him, cared for him as things spiraled in his life. He looks out for his well-being, makes sure he doesn’t fall at the hands of what happened to him. He loves him like he is his own. It is clear to us as the viewer, and probably subconsciously to Martin, too.
Who is the Better Man?
Martin is easily my least favorite character. I love Michael Sheen, and he plays the role perfectly, but from a strictly black and white standpoint, I would have no problem if Martin rotted in his jail cell for the rest of his life. He knew exactly what would happen if John Watkins got a hold of his son, and he’s so quick to tell Gil his son is dead. And the cheap shots? Martin knows exactly how to get into the heads of those around him. We know this. Playing on Gil’s emotions, one might expect Gil to break.
He does not. He proves time and time again, he is the better man than Martin. I can only imagine how much this will eat at Dr. Whitly. Imagine someone as manipulative as this man watching his son become attached to Gil, and then his wife as well? It must kill him. And honestly? I hope it does. You lost that, Martin. Nice job.
Ainsley has been tough to watch the last few episodes, and it is easy to hate her. She is cold and focuses on the story, less on her actions, and those it hurts. So, when Jessica calls her over, it isn’t surprising she acts the way she does. Her brother has been kidnapped, and she hasn’t quite grasped the severity of it, it would seem. Jessica seems to snap her out of it and remind her that family should come first. They agree to look at the pictures provided by Gil together, and for a moment, this fractured family seems to perhaps slowly pieced back together.
Over bourbon, of course.
A lot happens in this episode, particularly between Malcolm and John. Honestly, recapping it will hardly do it justice. I highly advise you take the time to watch the second half of this episode uninterrupted as it is pure “edge of your seat” TV. Malcolm learns from John that his father planned to kill him on that hunting trip. Stabbing John was self-defense. Malcolm still, despite being told by his therapist in hallucinations to help himself for once, tries to reason with John for his life and his choices. John is not convinced. He likes the voices in his head, and they’re telling him to hurt Malcolm.
Something changes in those moments. Before this, it is assumed, both by the viewers and by the majority of the characters, that Malcolm is in the woods somewhere in a cabin similar to the hunting trip. They couldn’t be more wrong. As Malcolm fights for his life in a cellar, Ainsley tells her mother about Mr. Boots, a man she assumed was a ghost, or an imaginary friend (as her mom puts it), who gave her a toy and disappeared behind walls.
Cue the subway and a horrifying discovery that Malcolm has not been far all along. He’s in the basement of the Whitly home. I did NOT see that coming.
“This is my house.”
Malcolm realizes this just as John Watkins gives chase to his mother and sister. He plans to kill them all. Jessica and Ainsley run for their lives, up the stairs in a very horror-traditional scene, and Ainsley receives an injury to the head for her efforts. (There is also a hilarious line in the episode where Jessica asks if Ainsley wants to interview him, and I applaud the writers as usual for how well placed these lines are in such dramatic scenes.) The two women barricade themselves in a room upstairs, and Jessica tends to Ainsley’s injury while searching for something to defend themselves.
John is banging on the door, and things don’t look good. Malcolm realizes to save himself and his family, he has to break free. I’ll spare you the gory details, but his five-inch hand fits through a three-inch cuff. Yeah, just watch for yourself. In what is one of the coolest cat-mouse scenes of the show, Malcolm taunts John into a box and knocks him out, declaring this is his house. It might be one of my favorite moments of the show thus far. He truly is the hero of his own story. The family reunites, and the episode ends.
I have a lot of questions about what is to come. Let’s recap. I don’t believe John Watkins is dead, so we have that to look forward to in future episodes. We’re still no closer to knowing what did happen to the woman in the box. Malcolm is a disaster, now aware his father wanted him dead (is John telling the truth?) and his nightmares and PTSD aren’t going just to disappear. There are 11 more episodes this season to come, so there is potentially a lot more story to tell.
I honestly have no idea where the story may lead, but I’m excited to see where it does. This was definitely the best episode yet and one hell of a midseason premiere.
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