Prodigal Son Episode 2: Annihilator
Following an explosive premiere packed with well-placed humor and dark drama, where does Prodigal Son pick up this week? FOX gave several clips to tease fans during the week, and now, we have it all. Let’s start with an awkward date with Mom.
Lunch with Mom
Malcolm sits down with his mother over lunch. This is such a bizarre scene; she doesn’t realize that Malcolm has seen his father and thinks just the news has triggered the severe night terrors. Malcolm is insistent on there being a girl in a box and his mother the opposite. I smell a cover-up of sorts. Why is she so adamant on there not being a girl? From what we’ve seen in the pilot, she wasn’t around when he found the body.
Thankfully, Gil calls and saves the day, letting Malcolm leave early.
“Guess Gil’s putting the team back together!” Much to the chagrin of JT and Dani, Malcolm joins the NYPD a second time for another particularly gruesome crime scene. A family of four have been murdered, at the dinner table oddly. Christos, the father, Cora, the mother, and the two adult children. The family owns a shipping company and according to Edrisa, appear to be poisoned. Cue teasing and banter between Edrisa and Malcolm while NYPD’s finest protest the addition of Malcolm in the background.
At the end of the consult, Malcolm receives a call, and what do you know? It’s his father. He is watching the news and sees Ainsley reporting on the quadruple homicide. Martin decides to use his phone time to make his son uncomfortable as possible, asking about the case. Malcolm is less than thrilled to hear him, and we see his tremors return while Gil looks on in the background.
Meanwhile, something is going on with Christo’s uh… face. Cue the snakes. Like, snakes just came out of his mouth.
Malcolm identifies the killer as a family annihilator and believes the person killed the family because they hated them. The family’s dinner is set up, and no one likes each other. It is especially telling that the snakes came from the father’s mouth.
Confused to who it could be, they soon find out there is another sibling in the family. Liam wants nothing to do with them when they approach, asking questions. He seems guilty, maybe that’s because he is a black market animal dealer. Liam tries to flee and Malcolm chases after, which earns him a snake thrown his way for his troubles.
The little dude bites him and well, things don’t go so well.
Poor Malcolm ends up in the hospital and the drugs make him have more night terrors, where he sees things he isn’t sure he remembers. Malcolm is desperate to wake up.
Hospital Scene with Ainsley
Later, Ainsley, understandably upset that Malcolm is having more severe nightmares, steals his phone in the hospital room and realizes he’s been talking to Martin. The look of horror on her face says it all, though Malcolm tries to explain he needs his father’s help to pick up on the lost time between calling the police as a child and finding the woman’s body. Ainsley begs him not to do it, but he doesn’t think he has a choice.
Visiting The Surgeon
Malcolm decides the only way he is going to get relief is to confront his father. As usual, upon arrival, Dr. Whitly is thrilled to see him, quipping nonsense his way in order to get a reaction out of his son. Malcolm wants none of it. He wants to know about the girl in the box. He even believes he was drugged. When his father swears he’s mistaken, Malcolm is about to leave, but much like last time, he’s kept in by his love of profiling and study of murder.
Dr. Whitly talks about the profile in a different light. He says the annihilator did not go after the family because they hated them, but because they were desperate to be loved by him. He would still want to die at the end, this doesn’t change about the profile. This means that Malcolm’s overall profile is wrong; he no longer believes Liam is the killer. Instead, he thinks there is an illegitimate son.
Liam turns up dead, rather he “jumped” from the roof of a building. Malcolm arrives just after Gil discovered the body, and he’s frantic, desperate to prove it wasn’t Liam that killed his father. He gives him his reasons, but Gil seems apprehensive, worried that his profiling friend may be spiraling. Eventually, he caves into letting Malcolm and Dani go speak with John Littman, attorney and family friend of our murdered family.
At Mr. Littman’s house, they question him about transactions made to an anonymous source, hoping he has answers to who it might be. Mr. Littman is less than helpful, claiming he needs to feed his hungry children and wife. Malcolm, always the accomplished profiler, realizes through body language and ticks, he’s lying to them. It comes over both investigators that he is the murderer. Littman admits that he found out the murdered patriarch was his father and eventually told him. He hoped he would love him as his own, instead, he tried to get rid of him with money.
Littman wanted none of that. So I guess he painted a metaphorical picture with snakes.
Always Stick with the Profile
What did we forget? This murder wants to die at the end and he’s taking his family with him. Like the one he killed earlier in the episode, he uses a beta-blocker to stop their hearts. Thankfully, Malcolm is quick to respond and Dani has a medical kit in her car, equipped with multiple Epipens which save all of their lives. It would seem Littman may not be so lucky.
Celebrating the case, Malcolm and Gil share a beer as they discuss the details. Malcolm goes to return home, realizing the alcohol has interfered with whatever sedatives they gave him in the hospital. Gil sends Dani home with Malcolm, to which she sees his apartment and how bizarre it really is. She’s amused by his comments (there is a particularly humorous part to this scene), including a sleepy Malcolm demanding he’s had lots of sex in his time.
I’m not one to say people are cute together in a show, but I think Dani and Malcolm may have similar backgrounds and I wouldn’t mind them leaning more on each other.
That Doesn’t End Well
We think everything is good to go until Malcolm visits his father a second time. His father is still adamant about not drugging Malcolm nor there being a girl in a box. Actually, he’s down right rude to him. A different Martin than we’ve seen before, gone is the charm, and instead an almost aggressive, cold man in his place. But, in his slumber, Malcolm remembers being drugged by his father, and the mother seemingly aware that something isn’t right as this happens. It is hard to perceive what is real and what is dream or night terrors, but I’m leaning toward Malcolm’s parents were equally messed up and doing the same to him. I don’t think Jessica is at all innocent in this.
We even see this right before the episode fades to black, as the orderly who watches her ex-husband informs her that Malcolm has visited. It would seem it wouldn’t be the first time he’s done this, either. What is her deal? I don’t trust her.
Thoughts: The Good
As usual, Michael Sheen’s humor and timing are impeccable. He manages to make me simultaneously want to punch him and listen to his every word. No wonder he’s under Malcolm’s skin. Our murderer has charm coming out of every pore! I also found it fun to watch him switch between this part of his character and the darker, more sinister area toward the end of the episode. (His voicemails were equally fun to listen to.)
I’m also enjoying seeing Tom Payne grow as an actor in this show. Coming from a smaller role in The Walking Dead to taking the lead here, he’s doing an excellent job opposite each character. I particularly enjoy his work with the other detective characters. How hilarious are the exchanges between JT and Malcolm? And who isn’t rooting for Dani and Malcolm to grow together?
I’m a big fan too of little things, such as “I Feel Good” playing as the show opens and he pops pills. Much like last week, it’s ironic and hilarious.
Again, overall an interesting case to lead the episode, full of wit and expertly placed humor. The darkness is still enough to make you cringe yet ask for more. As the show progresses, I hope we get more and more of this.
Fan theories will also prove to make things more interesting. I personally try to stay away from them, because sometimes we as viewers attach ourselves to them and hope for that outcome. It can ruin the show’s true intentions.
I was pretty impressed with the chemistry between Malcolm and Edrisa in the pilot. It was amusing and cute, but now it feels a little too forced. Edrisa might be nerdy, but she doesn’t strike me as the type to fawn over a guy. I would much rather see them banter about dead bodies than watch her awkwardly try and flirt with him. Of course, I’m sure fans will begin to “ship” the two… I’m not sold. The snake scene was cute (and displayed Malcolm’s skills fantastically), but a little unnecessary.
I’m also still confused about how Martin Whitly is allowed to do medical consults as a man convicted of murder and institutionalized in a mental health hospital. I can take TV liberties only so far—why would anyone as a patient, and even more so as a medical entity allow this? I genuinely don’t understand, and it reads as a major plot hole. Hopefully, it is addressed over time.
Prodigal Son is a fun, twisted ride thus far, and I’m climbing aboard, ready for the twists and turns it’ll throw our way. Are you?
Prodigal Son airs at 9 pm eastern on FOX, Monday nights.
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