Prodigal Son Episode 12: Internal Affairs
Has Malcolm escaped the NYPD’s internal affairs evaluation? Is he still able to be a part of the team? Tonight’s episode delved into the after-effects of a vicious episode of Prodigal Son last week and included heated words between Gil and Malcolm. And for my own personal interests, it guest-starred Scott Shepherd (Bluff City Law). He is who is a fantastic actor with an interesting role tonight, so let’s get into it!
Shock to the Heart?
You may need to pick your jaw off the floor following this opening. We flashback 12 hours previous to Malcolm mid-argument with Gil, while Dani looks on. He storms off toward a room where some sort of electrical device sits. The door closes, we lose sight of Malcolm… and suddenly the power is out. What the hell just happened? Did Malcolm just electrocute himself? Uh…
Introducing Dr. Coppenrath
Dr. Coppenrath is brought in by internal affairs to complete a psychiatric evaluation on Bright. Throughout the episode, while Malcolm discusses the most recent case with the doctor, the team talks about their opinions on Bright and how he interacts with his trauma and his expertise. There is a fantastic line by JT where he compares Malcolm to Florida, and Edrisa proves she is the ultimate Malcolm fangirl several times over (and we love her for it).
Malcolm knows what happens in these sorts of sessions, so he is careful to talk about what happened to him with John Watkins and frequently turns the table on our psychiatrist. However, the case seems to hit home for the doctor as well, and he can’t help but share his opinions on the Vosler Institute.
Jessica tries to assist Malcolm by hiring him an aide when Gil sends him home. Always listening, he overhears Dani (who escorted him home), stating there was a homicide. It is like a kid to a candy store, and Malcolm shows up, much to the dismay of Gil and the others. He’s supposed to be resting, after all! Our profile is quick (and mixed in is Edrisa breaking some privacy laws but proving she cares about Malcolm, too) and we soon learn our victim, Tristian Johnston might have been involved with the Vosler Institute. This is an agency dedicated to “helping” people get over trauma. Or, y’know, a cult.
Owned by Quentin Vosler, the team goes investigate but hits a brick wall when Vosler himself denies them any access. This part of the episode makes me mad… this sort of thing really still exists in our country, and so many people fall victim to what truly evokes more trauma and isolates them from a support system. I digress, and Malcolm, drawn to danger and trouble, decides the only way to get to the bottom of it is to enroll himself. Of course. (Insert facepalm here.)
Cash or Check?
Driven by the urge to silence his demons, and also solve the case, Malcolm starts small. Except, not really. He allows Vosler to use electroshock therapy on him, which catches the eye of another person there. Andi, who has been in the care of Vosler for some time. She is scared and would like to leave, but does not know how. Malcolm convinces her to leave with him… and they almost make it. Malcolm goes to call Gil at a payphone, and Andi is abducted!
Things get hairy, and Vosler comes in to try and help? Uh, so apparently he was not the one to abduct her, and he even says the same person who took Andi, is who took Tristian. “Them” as he calls these people are deprogrammers who work with cult victims to break them free from the control of the cult. Usually hired by the family, they go to extreme means at times to save their lives.
As they continue to discuss the case, Malcolm feels that Coppenrath is holding something back. He gets him to admit he lost his wife and daughter in an accident, and he feels responsible. He urges Malcolm to seek help and not let this consume him.
You just completed your profile.
With Jessica’s help, the team brings in most of the known deprogrammers in NYC. One of them admits to assisting Tristian, but Malcolm feels this is not the end, and he isn’t the abductor of Andi. He and Gil have a sparring in the precinct (the start of our episode), where Malcolm blames Gil for how he is and seriously rips the heart out of all of us fans out there. Gil is the one steady protective factor in Malcolm’s life, and it has to kill him to hear Malcolm say otherwise.
We see Malcolm in that room, and the “incident” occurs. Coppenrath says that he is unfit for duty… until…
Our killer? None other than Dr. Coppenrath. When Malcolm entered that room and closed the door, he might have had intentions of hurting himself via electroshock therapy. However, he saw an empty vial from Curtis, Tristian’s killer in the garbage… with whose name on it? Ding ding ding… Dr. Coppenrath. This was all a setup. We learn that Coppenrath’s daughter attended a facility similar to Vosler’s, and she died there. So, now he avenges those like her daughter by helping others escape. He was profiled this entire time, with the help of the team, who were keeping an eye on him.
It’s an unexpected twist that I admit, I did not catch onto until the second half of the episode, and even then, I was not sure if it truly was the case. Malcolm could very well be crazy, too! It wouldn’t surprise me. Malcolm tells him he is under arrest, and since it has been oh, you know, about forty-eight hours since Malcolm has been in danger, Coppenrath has to pull a gun. Thankfully, no traumatized profilers were hurt in the making of this takedown! He is arrested, and the team can rescue Andi, who was abducted by him with hints from the session that day.
Sunshine and Gil
The end of the episode is, by far, my favorite. Gil sits with Malcolm in his apartment and asks him if he is good. He admits that he isn’t, and Gil surprises him by saying it was okay. This is because he knows he isn’t okay, and that’s what makes it okay. Gil still asks he take at least two weeks off, and maybe spend it on a beach. Malcolm apologizes for his harsh words and reminds Gil that he appreciates him. Malcolm, seeing his childhood self as a hallucination, talks to his bird about his time off. Things are far from okay, but you can’t help but sigh with relief at the end of this episode.
I loved the slower pace of this episode and how psychological it was. I truly enjoyed Scott Shepherd and Tom Payne’s scenes together, seeing as Malcolm put it, “two overeducated men talking psychology,” which was fun to watch. The team appreciates and trusts Malcolm and his instincts now, which is clear from how this setup went. The humor was spot on as usual, and there was just enough danger between the ending and watching Malcolm spiral before us slowly.
How much longer can he withstand this sort of thing? With an active hallucination now in front of him, I don’t think two weeks off is going to be his cure. I hope that the team continues to be there for him and that he can work through his trauma for real with someone who he trusts and can help him. Until then, I can’t wait to see what kind of crazy situations the team ends up in with him as the profiler!