Prodigal Son Episode 17: Stranger Beside You
If you’re anything like me as a fan of Prodigal Son, you’ve been dying to find out who the “Girl in the Box” is since we first learned of Malcolm’s terrors. Plaguing him through nightmares and overall life, he wants answers, and in this episode, we finally get them. Theories have surfaced throughout the months, and some may have guessed right. The question now is who was the “Girl in the Box” and how will the roots of her story change the show to come? Let’s dive in.
In an era of social media influencers, the show highlights a particular type for this week’s case: the Mommy Blogger. New mother Olesa holds the newest craze in the influencer world: a “sip and see” where you might have guessed: new parents can show off their babies by drinking and socializing. Except, this one ends deadly. Olesa’s husband, Erza, is stabbed and killed, and our profile showcases something quite interesting.
At the scene, Edrisa provides details of his death. His carotid artery was severed, and he bled out, the weapon still in his throat. Malcolm’s preliminary profile tells us a couple of things. This murder was not premeditated, and the killer showcased indifference. In the show’s words, the murderer went from zero to killer. It was also fueled by anger. As someone interested in profiling, I always enjoy this part of the show. The profile gives us a look at each type of killer there is. While some might be over the top for entertainment purposes, it is still a unique and fun side of this show, one you might not see on other procedurals.
Ezra’s widow, Olesa, is quick to become a suspect due to a cut on her upper arm. Malcolm questions her about it, and she says its old, but it seems to bleed a week after it “happened still freshly.” She also drinks a lot of soda, which might seem odd to notice, but there’s more to that later on. Another suspect is the nanny, Christine, who might have had an affair with Ezra? Early police work makes it hard to tell. She gives merit to her suspicion when Malcolm and Dani go speak with Olesa, and she seems to “steal” the baby on the monitor. Dani and Malcolm head upstairs to see the baby in another crib, the window wide open, and Christine was gone.
Meanwhile, with Martin…
Martin is determined to make sure Malcolm sticks to his end of the bargain. He calls while Malcolm is at the crime scene and pokes fun at Malcolm’s relationship. While his son is less than forthcoming at why he has not been visiting, Martin isn’t an idiot and uses his own detective skills to figure it out. There’s also a hilarious spot in this scene where Edrisa tackles Malcolm to the ground when the cork in the broken champagne bottle flies toward him. Granted, Edrisa is our resident fangirl and overreacts. However, it makes Olesa’s baby start to cry, and Martin hears. He teases Malcolm about moving fast.
One of the most disturbing things about Martin to me is his ability to switch from sadistic to fatherly, basically at the drop of a dime. We see it during the opening scene mentioned above, and we see it again when Malcolm goes to visit to get more information about the “Girl in the Box” and inquires about Eve. He asks his father, “How do you make the lies feel real?” Martin gives at first a weird answer that very much seems like a lie of his own. Then, he talks about how secrets do not help a relationship and that you have to be open to being hurt. Its good advice from a person who does not have his son’s best interest in mind most of the time and feels weird to watch.
A Bromance of Sorts
On the other hand, as Malcolm tries to figure out his relationship with Eve, JT comes to the rescue. When Dani refuses to run a background check on Eve, JT admits he has done so on all of his former girlfriends, including his current wife. He says that she was not happy about it, and she almost left him because of it. I enjoy scenes between Malcolm and JT, and I would like to see more of them. JT is someone who has been wary about Malcolm in the past but has come to trust and respect him (most of the time). We also learn that JT’s wife is pregnant at the end of the episode (Malcolm figured it out), and they seem to appreciate each other truly.
JT is a unique character that we otherwise don’t know too much about. The fans are focused on Dani and Malcolm most of the time but have only limited exposure to these two as a friendship. With a few more episodes left in the season, I hope we get more of this.
Back to the Case
It turns out Christine might have lied, and she has a history of aggression and compulsive behavior. Can we trust this as the truth? It comes from her husband, Lucas, who says she ran away and that he’s been looking for her for some time.
Meanwhile, Malcolm begins to believe that Olesa was never pregnant. He figures out that she has diabetes and suffered through three miscarriages, and they used Christine as a surrogate. They discover this one night when they follow her to a bridge. In an alarming moment, she tosses what looks to be a baby over a bridge into the water. When they approach, they realize it was fake baby bumps and gear. Baby Nina is fine. As an influencer, she needed to have this happy image and such. Before having Nina, there was a strain on her marriage with Ezra. However, the baby brought them closer.
It turns out that Christine actually is Nina’s mother, but she honestly did want Olesa to have the baby. However, Lucas lied about Christine’s history. In reality, Lucas was abusive, and she ran from him to save herself. The baby is she and Lucas’, and Lucas killed Erza as Christine was involved with him. In a game of cat and mouse, Lucas follows Olesa through a crowded store, to a parking garage where Malcolm attempts to keep everyone safe, without backup as usual. Baby Nina is elsewhere hidden, and all almost seems to be panning out until Olesa drops the “fake baby” aka a sphere they stole from the store. He comes after Malcolm, who is about to be seriously injured as usual, when Olesa uses the sphere to knock him out… repeatedly. Case closed, and all is well. At least, professionally for Malcolm.
As this all transpired, Malcolm finds that Eve has been lying to him. Earlier in the episode, Jessica and Eve were talking when Ainsley dropped a bomb on the lawyer. She did some digging, and she knows who she is. Eve leaves before they can say more, and this allows Jessica and Ainsley to tell Malcolm the truth. Eve lived in the same group home as the Girl in the Box, but it doesn’t end there. They were sisters. The Girl in the Box is Sophie Sanders.
Malcolm throws himself into his case to deal with the news that his girlfriend is now another person who has lied to him. When he returns home, Eve is trying to drop a letter off and leave, including her set of keys. Malcolm stops her. She tries to say that her truth doesn’t stand a chance, but Malcolm is a bit more forgiving than his mom and sister and listens to what she has to say. She has a picture of Sophie, and Malcolm says she has to know the truth too. Did Sophie really die in that box? Maybe she is wrong, but there is only one way to find out. And when Malcolm sees the picture, he can confirm for Eve that Sophie indeed is the Girl in the Box.
I, like many others, hypothesized that Eve was related to the Girl in the Box in some form. Blood sisters do not seem that surprising, but I am a little amazed that she went to this length to get more information, and that Jessica was as forthcoming about details as she was. Eve should have raised a big red flag early on, as she did for the viewers, to Jessica. Thankfully, Ainsley was just as suspicious. In the preview for next week, Eve and Malcolm talk to Martin about Sophie. He urges them not to “press” this. What does that mean? What do we still not know?
Quite frankly, I don’t want to see Malcolm and Eve survive. While Martin gave sound advice about being open to being hurt, I think it’s more than a little weird if these two survive as a couple. I hope the writers don’t attempt it. She still hurt Malcolm, who, for the most part, was an innocent bystander as a child. His trust is hard to earn, and she took advantage of that.
Going forward, as we head toward the end of the season, I am curious about how this all wraps up. What else might happen? Tune in next week to find out! Watch Prodigal Son Monday nights on FOX at 9 pm.
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