Prodigal Son Episode 5: The Trip
This week’s episode marks the absence of Michael Sheen as Martin Whitly (I’m sure he’ll be back next week) but is a whirlwind of murder, troubled pasts, and a gleefully high Malcolm Bright. The writing this week was phenomenal, and the humor is bullseye-on-a-dartboard placed.
All About Dani
This week’s case brings us the backstory on Detective Dani Powell. While the episode starts with Malcolm spiraling even further (he, of course, still isn’t sleeping), murder is what brings him back to focus. Granted, Gil didn’t want him on this case. He insisted a profiler wasn’t needed, but Malcolm says murder is the only thing that makes him better (yikes).
Its quick to see this case is highly personal for Dani, and it becomes the mission of Malcolm to find out why. It seems the murder was business, but Malcolm’s knowledge tells him otherwise. This looks like revenge. But why? While we know that Dani worked in narcotics and previously worked undercover, she is not quick to tell the profiler more in-depth details. And it isn’t that Malcolm doesn’t try. He continuously hounds her, even when they show up at the club where she used to frequent on the job.
He Can See Clearly Now…
Gil has reason to suspect one of her former undercover friends, Estime, for the dealer’s death, but Dani is adamant that it can’t be him. Things get interesting fast here… they talk to Estime, but someone clearly wants him dead too. Gunfire explodes the “bad guy window” (BEST line of the episode), and Malcolm has an unfortunate experience. Hallucinogenic drugs are hit in the crossfire, and our sleepless profiler gets the high of his life.
This, unfortunately, leads them back to Gil, who is less than thrilled that they disobeyed orders and went to the club. He’s even less excited that Malcolm is inherently a child on drugs. He asks Dani to bring him home and keep an eye on him, and for those who love their dynamic, this is the episode for you!
If you think Malcolm is hilarious sober, he’s even more fun high. He still pokes at Dani as they sit in his apartment, asking her questions and insisting they share dinner. Grilled cheese is where it’s at, y’all. This might be my favorite scene of the show thus far, just because the two bounce off each other so effortlessly. Dani is overwhelmed with the personal nature of this case, but can’t help but have a soft spot for the quickwitted profiler’s plight.
Things don’t stay funny and sweet. Malcolm falls into a flashback while Dani cooks, and Dani has to punch him to snap him out of it. She looks fearful and scared during the encounter but effectively knocks him out. He gets decent sleep for the first time in weeks! And, of course, he has a dream where he pictures himself in his father’s cell, his alter ego giving him clues about a red shoebox that will help him remember. He wakes up excited, but it isn’t over yet.
Dani tells him why this case is so personal to her. While undercover, Estime was the only one who cared about her. She was in too deep, developed some habits, and he saved her life. In her mind, she’s alive today because of what happened to her then and Estime’s help. I also question here if this is all that she has gone through. Gil mentions in the pilot, Dani grew up in the Bronx, and it wasn’t easy to scare her. I would suspect there is more to her story, still.
Malcolm’s Right (Again)
The case is about revenge, and Estime is being held up in a salon where we learn the mother of a girl murdered wants revenge. Estime’s involvement in this is her reasoning to kill him, too and the other dealer. Dani talks her down, saying he is the only one who knows where her body is. She uses this as leverage to save his life. Estime gets to fake his death and start over, thanks to Dani.
As this is happening, Malcolm goes to meet his mom and tell her about the shoebox in his dream. He’s surprised to find her meeting with Eve, an attorney who believes her charitable finances would be most beneficial in helping trafficked persons. Jessica seems willing to do this, and even more willing to set Malcolm up with the blonde Eve before he talks about being high on drugs and his father’s murders. Alas, Eve doesn’t seem too concerned.
Who is this woman? She seems shady and out of the blue. I suspect her motives are not pure, and we will find out later on that she has other plans. Besides, why does everyone need to pair off this poor guy? Malcolm needs to get his head sorted out before he even attempts to date. Jessica should know this better than anyone.
Besides, Malcolm has already been through enough this episode. Between the accidental high, and seeing things while exhausted, he is spent. Little did he realize, those things he saw while exhausted seem to all point to what is inside the shoe box. A picture of himself and Martin, an old station wagon… all things that he saw previously. What does this mean? Did Malcolm accompany his father to murders?
The Most Important Question…
How long will it take now for Malcolm to revisit his father? It’s only a matter of time. He wants and needs those answers.
This might be one of my favorite episodes to date. It was fun to watch Tom Payne use humor and show his flexible range. Backstories are significant to me as a TV viewer and help shape characters and make them believable. I enjoyed that the episode wasn’t an overall depressing take, and the laced-in humor made it pop for the audience.
Seriously, kudos to whoever wrote this episode. Malcolm might be sleep-deprived, but his humor was at it’s best.
Overall, we got a few clues and even more questions. Eve is now in the running for untrustworthy characters, just behind Martin and Jessica. I’m curious to see how she will fit into this mold as time goes on and what her true motives are.
As the show has 22 episodes to tell the story, I’m sure things are only going to get more interesting from here.
Watch Prodigal Son on FOX 9 pm Monday nights.