TV Recap: Prodigal Son (Episode 107) – It’s Good To Have A Plan …

Prodigal Son
“Q&A” (Episode 107)
November 4, 2019

On last week’s Prodigal Son, Ainsley got one step closer to having her sit down interview with the serial killer father she barely knows and Malcolm got one step closer to unraveling his memories. After spending the episode searching for the station wagon used by him and his dad in a long forgotten camping trip, the episode ended with Malcolm finding the car. In the wagon’s cargo area, Malcolm located tether points that you could chain a human to and a UV light revealed the presence of blood splatter. Catch up on all of the action with our deep dive recap and review here.

Now, on to tonight’s all new episode of Prodigal Son … BEWARE OF SPOILERS!!!

Cr: Eric Liebowitz/FOX.

Tonight’s episode picks up where last week left off, with Malcolm having just discovered his father’s Murder Wagon in the car junkyard. A sound distracts Malcolm from his investigation of the Murder Wagon and when he goes to investigate it, a shadowy figure begins to shoot at him. Malcolm stands up from his cover and the shadowy figure is gone.

The next morning, Gil is reading Malcolm the riot act for going to a deserted junkyard at night, alone.

“What the Hell were you even doing here?”

Malcolm launches into the story of his repressed memory of the Murder Wagon and the forgotten camping trip. “Bad things happened … in this car,” Malcolm finishes explaining to his friend. He admits the whole thing sounds crazy.  Gil tells him that the story isn’t as crazy as he thinks; the police have found the remains of a dead woman in the junkyard.

By the car compactor, Edrisa and the Team are on the scene. Edrisa is scraping the remains of the dead woman out of the car crusher. She’s using a pizza spatula and explains that it’s the secret weapon of the Medical Examiner.

“Great for retrieving smashed soft tissue or … pepperoni that fell off in the oven.”

Edrisa is a National treasure that we don’t deserve.

Back to the case at hand, Malcolm deduces that the killer locked the woman in the car. She was alive when it was crushed. JT pops over to explain that the junkyard belongs to a Paul Lazar who seems to be a made up person.

Malcolm things this is irrefutable proof that this Death Junkyard is connected to Papa Whitly. That Malcolm’s memories brought Bright to this junkyard with his father’s Murder Wagon and a dead body cannot be a coincidence, he explains. Gil is Gil as he raises the possibility that The Surgeon may not be connected at all … which is when an officer comes over and tells them that more dead bodies have been found.

Whelp.

Cut to Ainsley and Jessica sitting in a riverside park. They are having another disagreement over Ainsley’s pending interview of The Surgeon. Jessica looks over the questions that Ainsley told Claremont she’d be asking her dad and they are all softballs. Jessica loses her cool.

“If you do not have a plan to make him look bad, he will look good.”

Ainsley tells her mom to chill, these are not the real questions she plans to ask. Ainsley thinks she’s being sly but Jessica says she’s even more worried. You can’t outwit Martin Whitly and if you try, he’ll twist things so he looks sympathetic and Ainsley will end up looking like his accomplice.

The Medical Examiner’s Officer. Malcolm and Gil are with Edrisa in her slab lab. tons of remains are being wheeled into the room and Gil is kinda freaking out. Edrisa explains that most were killed 5-10 years ago (the skeletons) but some were more recent like the dead woman from earlier.

Edrisa confirms Malcolm’s theory of death, the dead woman was alive when she went into the car. She was crushed to death.

Malcolm begins his profile and explains that the murderer is disassociating from the killings. He used the crusher because he couldn’t actually stand to watch the woman be killed. Malcolm explains that it’s a coping mechanism, the victims needed to be seen as an inanimate object in order to carry out his work. Edrisa makes the comparison that this is the opposite of The Surgeon’s kills, where Whitly was physically close to the victims. Malcolm agrees but makes clear that it doesn’t rule out the two killers being connected to each other.

Cr: David Giesbrecht/FOX.

Malcolm asks about the forensics in the Murder Wagon and Edrisa tells us that the blood splatter matches neither the Junkyard Victims nor any of The Surgeon’s kills.  Just then, a new victim is wheeled in. That brings the Junkyard Killer count up to 8.

Gil and Malcolm agree, there’s a new serial killer in town. Well, not new since he’s been killing for at least a decade. But, you know what they mean.

Opening Credits.

Claremont Psychiatric Hospital. Ainsley and Jin, her boyfriend/cameraman, are going over logistics for the The Surgeon interview. She’s reiterating to Jin to keep certain things in focus, like the red line on the floor and Martin’s wall tether, as a way to reinforce that Whitly is a Serial Killer. Make him look as bad as possible is the plan.

Cr: David Giesbrecht/FOX.

The couple is interrupted by Tevin, he’s a big (psychopathic) fan of Ainsley’s. You’ll recall Tevin from last week for being dragged out of the therapy group screaming for Martin to “tell your story.”  Tevin gets all worked up as the guard drags him away, screaming Ainsley’s name. Jin looks spooked but Ainsley tells him she’s fine and ready to go.

The Police Station. In the Team’s investigation room, Gil is catching us up that the Junkyard Killer count is now up to 9 victims. The latest was a struggling junkie. All the identified victims were from The Bronx.  Malcolm’s normally confident profiling is all a fluster. Gil tells him to take his time, he understands the personal nature of the crime. Dani chimes in that IS personal for her, she’s from The Bronx and it’s literally too close to home for her. There is a fun bit where Malcolm empathizes with her, he gets that this is her “hood.” Dani bristles at his street lingo and advises him to never say Hood again.

Back to the profile, two of the victims were drug addicts and one was homeless. The Junkyard Killer seems to be targeting people at their lowest. The Team agrees to look into shelters, needle exchanges, and drug clinics.

Edrisa enters the room and tells Malcolm they did another sweep of the Murder Wagon and found something in the center console. Malcolm looks and see it’s a switchblade. This triggers a memory of Young Malcolm running through the woods, holding the switchblade in his hand, fear on his face. Back in the present, Malcolm tells Edrisa he is not okay and only one person can tell him why.

Claremont Psychiatric Hospital. Papa Whitly asks Ainsley if he can’t have a little make up? Cover the bags under his eyes. Ainsley plows through him and begins the interview, asking about “Billy Franklin, Age 23.” She recounts the details of The Surgeon’s kill and asks her dad why he did that?

David the Ever Present Guard and Papa Whitly stare blankly, these were not the kinds of questions either were expecting.

Ainsley taunts her father as she moves on to another victim, “Abby Conway, age 30.” Or “Megan Wong, Age 64.”

Cr: Eric Liebowitz/FOX.

Martin, recovering from his daughter’s surprise attack, interrupts Ainsley and asks, “how about Corey Goldstein, Age 10.” Martin explains (to the camera) how he saved the boy’s life, how Corey’s parents called Martin Corey’s “guardian angel.” Papa Whitly goes on the offensive, explaining how he was sick, how his mental disease was real a diagnosis as cancer. Martin finishes by saying that if we’re judging someone’s moral worth by the mark they leave on the world, the thousands of lives he saved as a doctor balance him out to a net positive. “And by a lot.”

Ainsley feebly tries to protest this sympathetic worldview but Martin is on a roll. He explains his legacy, talking about how a medical procedure was named after him. And, even still today, though the formal name was changed, doctors around the world still refer to the procedure as “The Whitly.”

“And isn’t that what counts? That in the end, I did some good?”

Father and Daughter stares at each other, you can see that Ainsley’s tough exterior against her father isn’t as solid as Jessica may have hoped. The awkward silence is broken by Malcolm banging on the door. The smile on Papa Whitly’s face is infectious. He’s a horrible person but I love him.

In the hallway, Ainsley goes on the attack, reminding her brother that he promised he wouldn’t interfere. Malcolm explains that they have a new serial killer in town and he thinks it’s connected to their father. Malcolm needs to speak to The Surgeon. Ainsley is all, cool cool cool, but I’m going to be in there with you.

Before returning to the room, they share a nice moment where they commiserate over how talking to their dad drives them crazy. Can you even imagine being a Whitly Kid?

“Well, as I live and breathe, we’ve got ourselves a family reunion.”

Papa Whitly is predictably giddy at his kids being together in the room with him. This is literally Jessica’s worst fear come true.

Martin gets even more excited when he hears Malcolm is there about a new serial killer. His face falls a bit and he does that higher pitched, “awww, good for you” when Malcolm mentions he found the Murder Wagon.

It’s a distinctive acting choice that Michael Sheen does consistently in this show and it’s so good and expressing Martin’s displeasure.

Papa Whitly claims to have never been in The Bronx and chalks up as coincidence, the Murder Wagon and the 10 dead bodies being found together. Malcolm scoffs.

Wait, 10 dead bodies? I thought we were at 9? The Junkyard Killer is prolific.

Papa Whitly starts to filibuster about the odds of the coincidence but Malcolm cuts him short, calling him on his crap. Malcolm moves off of the new case and on to his personal business. He produces the picture of the switchblade and starts ramping up to accuse his father of knowing about it when Martin cuts him off saying that of course he remembers the blade, it was Malcolm’s knife.

Record Scratch. Excuse Me?

Papa Whitly details the memory of Malcolm getting the knife at a rest stop. He also takes a fun poke at New Jersey for being willing to sell a switchblade to a kid. As a life long New Yorker, I laughed out loud at that.

Martin continues that Malcolm always wanted a “practical souvenir.” Malcolm questions whether that’s the real reason he wanted the knife?

“On our camping trip, what happened there Dr. Whitly?”

Papa Whitly looks at his son askance, like he’s being tricked. He whispers to Malcolm that they should maybe table this discussion for now, that he’s taking up his sister’s time. “There’s only so much of dad to go around.”

Ainsley, who has been raptly watching this dance, calls her brother into the hallway for a chat.

In the hallway, Ainsley,  talking about her interview, says that she’s thought of a plan to put their father on the defensive but Malcolm protests that he needs answers for the new case. Ainsley calls bullshit, what she just witnessed was about something much more personal and deeply rooted.

“THAT is some next level childhood trauma that I’m not touching with a ten foot fishing pole. And it sounds like you shouldn’t either.”

She appeals to Malcolm to help her out. Stand behind Ainsley and stay in Papa Whitly’s eyeline. She’s got a plan to provoke their dad.

Cr: David Giesbrecht/FOX.

Back in the room, Ainsley retakes her seat, Jin starts the camera, and the interview continues. She tells The Surgeon that she wants to talk about one more victim, Malcolm Whitly.

Malcolm and Martin are both, “???”

Ainsley starts her attack, listing literally everything that is wrong in Malcolm’s life, all of his maladies and mental issues and physical problems. And she’s putting each one at Papa Whitly’s feet. Martin is getting agitated with every accusation and really ramps up when she bluntly calls him a bad father. What kind of a father does that …

Cr: Eric Liebowitz/FOX.

“STOP IT!!! I WAS A GOOD FATHER DAMMIT. SAY IT AGAIN, SAY I WAS A TERRIBLE FATHER!!!”

Martin is on his feet, lunging at his daughter, foaming from his mouth as he screams. The tether pulls him back as Ainsley leaps backwards in fear. David the Guard tells Martin to settle the fuck down.

Cr: Eric Liebowitz/FOX.

Ainsley, regaining her composure, asks Jin if he got all that on tape. Martin’s eyes do some wonderful shifting back and forth as he realizes he fell into his daughter’s trap. Martin calms down as his eyes continue to dart back and forth from the camera to her face. He smiles.

“You had a plan. It’s good to have plan.”

Just then, the Psych Hospital alarms begin to blare and lights flash.

Claremont is in chaos. In the hallway, we see a dead and bloody guard being dragged off camera. Tevin comes into frame, a knife in his hand and covered in blood.

“Ainsley.”

Jesus Christ. Commercials.

We come back to Malcolm talking to the Team back at the police station. Gil catches Malcolm on what’s happening at Claremont outside of Whitly’s cage. Tevin stabbed his therapist and locked the guards out of the East Wing. And he’s armed. Dani chimes in with Tevin’s record: insanity plea after killing both of his parents at 15. Gil and JT talk about Tevin’s record being sealed because he went in as a juvenile. Malcolm says that if they unseal the records, let him know because maybe he can figure him out.

Back in the ward, we hear Tevin screaming for Ainsley, telling her that he’s ready to see her. Ainsley recognizes the voice as the guy from earlier that wanted to get on camera. Malcolm and David agree that they are safe where they are; the lockdown will keep Tevin from getting through the locked door until SWAT can come in and subdue him.

The only thing worse than a killer in the psych ward is a Jessica that can’t get a hold of her kids. We see she’s calling both Ainsley and Malcolm, you can imagine she won’t deal well with not reaching them.

Ainsley tells Jin to head into the hallway to film some of the blood and chaos, reminding him that they came here for a story. No one thinks this is a good idea accept Ainsley and Martin … that should tell you something. But, off he goes.

After Jin leaves, Martin snarks that he seems like a good guy, complimenting his looks.

“I like a man with broad shoulders. And he likes you, I can tell.”

Ainsley wheels on her father and asks him if he knows who Malcolm’s new serial killer is? Martin looks at his kids united front and makes a motion to start up the camera. It’s a wonderful whirly bird motion but restricted because his hands are chained.

Cr: Eric Liebowitz/FOX.

Once the camera is rolling, Martin explains that people with similar mental disease as him tend to seek each other out. Whether to enable or admire. In this specific case, Papa Whitly explains that he was a “mentor of sorts.”

Malcolm asks for a name and Martin is all, people like this have more than one name. Paul Lazar doesn’t ring a bell to Papa Whitly but we don’t get to hear the name that he knows because Tevin has arrived. He’s banging on the outer ward door. Right on the other side of where Jin is standing with his camera.

Tevin is unhinged, the only discernible word is Ainsley, which he is yelling over and over. He uses a swipe card he pulled from the dead guard and enters the outer ward. He plunges his knife into Jin’s chest, driving him up against the wall.

David the Guard enters the outer chamber and drags Tevin back out through the outer door. He’s still screaming Ainsley’s name over and over again. Malcolm stockades the door so Tevin can’t get back in and Ainsley and David the Guard carry Jin inside Martin’s cell. Blood is pooling out from underneath his body and he’s taking very shallow breaths. Martin hasn’t moved from his chain at all during this intense exchange.

“What an eventful day we’re having.”

Commercials.

We come back to Ainsley worrying over Jin’s slowly dying body as she and Malcolm try to compress the blood gushing from his wound. David the Guard says that help will arrive in 15 minutes but Martin assures them all that Jin will be dead in 10.

Very clinically, Martin explains that Jin has a hemothorax: Jin’s lung is collapsing because of blood filling in the space between his chest wall and the lung (the pleural cavity).  Again, for emphasis, he repeats that Jin will die if he’s not treated ASAP. Papa Whitly reminds the room that there is a world class surgeon with them so, you know, Jin doesn’t have to die.

Ainsley is all for letting Papa Whitly try but Malcolm can’t believe she’d willingly give a serial killer a knife. You have a better plan, she asks?  Malcolm says that he’ll do it and while Ainsley is all, “bad idea,” Martin encourages his son that he can do it.

Martin the World Class Surgeon takes charge and begins calling for instructions to prep the area as best as possible. There is a funny exchange when he tells Ainsley use her water to clean Jin’s wound but she objects because she’s drunk from it and it won’t be sterile.

“I’m sure the knife won’t be either, sweetheart.”

The time has come and Martin tells his son to take the scalpel and make his first incision. Malcolm’s hand is shaking … BADLY.

As Martin gives precise details on where to cut, Malcolm has flashback memories of similar training from his father when he was younger. They’re in the woods, Martin standing over his son as something stares up at them. His hand guiding his son’s as he goes to make a cut with his knife, encouraging Young Malcolm that he can do this.

Back in the present, Malcolm jumps back. He says he can do this but everyone knows he can’t. Ainsley calls Malcolm on his ridiculously trembling hand and pleads for him to hand the knife to Papa Whitly. David the Guard says he absolutely cannot unlock Martin’s handcuffs but after a tense moment, Malcolm nods at David the Guard to do it.

The Surgeon is Back in the Game!

David the Guard and Ainsley drag Jin over the red line, closer to Martin (he’s still tethered to the wall). Meanwhile, there is a very, VERY tense exchange of the knife from Malcolm to his father. It’s fraught with meaning and subtext and Payne and Sheen are at their absolute best when they’re interacting with each other.

Martin is not whooping and hollering with joy but you can tell he feels alive again. He turns the knife in hand, reveling in the feeling of holding the blade.

“Let’s get to work.”

Commercials.

We come back from break as Martin begins to operate on Jin. In maybe the most insane thing of the whole episode, Ainsley picks up the camera and beings to video the surgery, complete with narration. She’s talking to her father about what he’s doing and Martin happily explains the procedure as he cuts at Jin.

Malcolm agrees with me that this is utterly fucked up and tells his sister to stop filming. Nothing doing, bro.

“It’s my job. You do yours.”

Malcolm leaves and catches up with David the Guard in the outer chamber. Even when SWAT gets here, they won’t be able to get to the wing until someone takes down Tevin and unlocks the doors. And David the Guard only has a single shot taser for a weapon. Gil calls.

Cr: David Giesbrecht/FOX.

Gathered around the phone, the Team explains that Tevin’s record is actually more gruesome than they feared. He didn’t just kill his parents, he hacked them to death. Malcolm invokes Lizzie Borden’s name. Tevin is “incapable of ingenuity but desires notoriety.” He continues that Tevin would be a follower, prone to listening to an authority figure. He also correctly guesses that Young Tevin called the cops on himself.

“Just had to tell the world his story.”

Which, this is all consistent with what we know from Tevin from last week’s outburst where he was complaining to the group that he never got an sit down interview to tell his story. Get his fame. Malcolm thinks he can use all this but hangs up without telling the Team what he plans to do.

Cr: David Giesbrecht/FOX.

The Police Station. Jessica shows up at the station, looking for answers. Martin’s interview should’ve been over hours ago and neither of her kids are answering their phones.

Gil tells her about the lockdown at Claremont but assures Jessica that the kids are safe. Jessica strenuously objects to the idea that they will ever be safe … have you met their father? Gil responds that (A) Jessica can’t blame herself for what Martin did and (B) her kids aren’t kids anymore.

“Ainsley made this choice for herself and Malcolm …”

Gil doesn’t finish his thought. Which Jessica uses as though it proves her point. People often say Malcolm’s name and then just drift off, never knowing how to explain her son.

Gil assures Jessica that Malcolm won’t do anything stupid.

Claremont Psychiatric Hospital.  Cut to Malcolm doing something stupid. He’s got Jin’s camera and David the Guard’s taser and he’s stalking the halls of the hospital, looking for Tevin. The blaring alarm and emergency lighting adds a giant creep factor to this scene. When you remember they’re in a psych hospital, the horror movie aesthetic is complete.

Tevin eventually comes out into the hallway behind Malcolm but he’s ready for it. Spinning around as he turns on the camera’s bright light, he asks Tevin if he’s ready to be interviewed for the news.

How Malcolm’s keeping his voice calm and upbeat is beyond me. I definitely, DEFINITELY would have pooped myself by now.

Tevin’s entire demeanor changes as his dreams are coming true. He’s getting his fame. Malcolm tells Tevin to look right into the camera and then blasts him with the taser.

Ride the lightning, you psychopath!

Tevin collapses on the floor. Malcolm takes the swipe card from the prone killer and runs off, leaving him there spread-eagled.

Back in Martin’s cell, Ainsley is still filming the surgery as we see a tube draining blood from Jin’s chest into a jar. Papa Whitly is still narrating. Malcolm enters and tells them about Tevin being subdued and the doors being unlocked. Help should be there shortly.

Martin sits back and converses with Malcolm like this is an everyday occurrence. He says that he’ll just finish draining the lung, clamp off the bleed and then drops a “Bob’s Your Uncle.” Martin credits his old attending at St. Edwards for teaching him that phrase. A look passes across Malcolm’s face but then it is gone.

Martin holds a toilet paper tube up to Jin’s chest and confirms that he hears breath sounds. Ainsley is overcome with gratitude and Martin drinks it in. Malcolm is standing over them, not happy at all about this little bonding experience.

Again, this is Jessica’s worst nightmare coming true.

After telling his daughter that it was his pleasure to help, Martin hands the knife back over to Malcolm. There is just as much weight here as when Malcolm gave it to him earlier. Martin looks so, so pleased as he looks at his son.

“I guess we make a good team.”

Commercials.

Later that night, Jessica arrives at Claremont and finds Ainsley outside. They hug as Ainsley assures her mom that she and Malcolm are fine. Ainsley climbs into the ambulance with Jin, promising to call Mama Whitly later. Before it leaves, Ainsley tells her mom that Martin saved Jin’s life.

Jessica’s face and shoulders visibly fall as she whispers to herself, “of course he did.”

The Police Station. Malcolm is sitting alone in the Team’s investigation room. Various statements from Martin play in his head.

“I guess we make a good team.”

“How many other people died?”

“And why can’t you remember? Perhaps it’s better if you don’t.”

Cr: David Giesbrecht/FOX.

Gil interrupts his introspection. Malcolm tells his friend that Papa Whitly confirmed he’s connected to the Junkyard Killer. Not how they’re connected but maybe where they met. He brings up Martin’s throwaway line about St. Edwards Hospital. Martin never did a residency there, Malcolm explains, so he must have done a rotation there. Also, St. Edwards is in the Bronx.

“It wasn’t an accidental slip of the tongue, my father was trying to tell me something.”

Gil says they’ll start pulling files and Malcolm advises to skip the doctors – Martin’s ego wouldn’t have allowed him to work with someone that was an equal. He mentions Martin’s “mentor” line and says they should look for someone who was  in their 20s at the time, someone easy to manipulate.

Malcolm bumps on his own line and gets that look that says pieces are falling into place. Tevin, says Malcolm. He’s just like the killer they’re after.

“A Beta to my father’s Alpha.”

Malcolm stands as it all makes sense to him. Tevin did everything today, all because Martin asked him to. Martin arranged the whole lockdown at Claremont, Malcolm surmises, so he could play the hero for his daughter on national TV.  Malcolm calls David the Guard so he can speak to his father but that’s a no go.

David the Guard confirms that when Tevin woke up from his taser nap, he confessed that Martin set the whole thing up. Martin is now in solitary confinement. Malcolm starts to freak out that he needs to talk to his father because he’s got questions that need answers but David the Guard is all, “shrug.”Martin Whitly “won’t be speaking to anyone for a long time.”

We shift back to Martin’s cell as we get a close up on the waist tether which now lays empty on the floor.

Stately Whitly Manor. That night, Malcolm and Jessica are having coffee.

“So you’re saying, that my children wen to to see their serial killer father in serial killer prison and it didn’t go well?  I’m shocked. Truly.”

I love Bellamy Young. Period. End of Sentence.

Cr: David Giesbrecht/FOX.

Malcolm grants her the well deserved “I told you so.” She can’t help herself from reminding her son that this is what Martin does. He makes people trust him, love him, and then once he has all the power … “he ruins them,” Malcolm finishes. He knows the story well.

Jessica allows that Martin may have ruined Malcolm’s childhood but in now way, did he ruin Malcolm. It’s a sweet moment where she reminds her son that he’s made of “tougher stuff.”

A classic landline phone begins to ring. Jessica’s face goes white as she realizes that it’s coming from the basement.

Mother and son head to Papa Whitly’s former office in the basement. We’ve seen it several times in the show and Malcolm has quick flashbacks to it now as he approaches. Jessica had the door to his office walled over. The ringing is clearly coming from inside.

Malcolm grabs a pipe and, over Jessica’s terrified objection, begins to smash in the false wall. He enters the darkened office and Jessica says she thought the phone was disconnected. Boxes and covered furniture fill the room. On the desk, a rotary phone sits. It’s still ringing.

Malcolm picks up the receiver and the disembodied voice says he wondered whether anyone would answer. Malcolm asks who he’s speaking to and the disembodied voice replies that he’s “an old friend of his father’s” He tells Malcolm that it was good to see him in the junkyard, it had been too long since they’d seen each other. Malcolm is all, “???”

He asks the disembodied voice how Malcolm would know him?

“You don’t remember? It was a Hell of a camping trip.”

And Scene.

Thoughts.

While this wasn’t a bottle episode, it mostly played like one and as an audience, we got our money’s worth. The beauty of the bottle episode is that it tends to be high on meaningful, dramatic dialogue. The best versions execute themselves like one act plays. Look at the setting changes noted above and the vast majority of the episode played out in Martin’s cell. With 3 of the 4 Whitly’s present and confined to the small space, this was the kind of meeting we have been craving for since the show began.

And it didn’t disappoint. So much family dynamic was on display in this episode, Martin interacting with his daughter, who is mostly a stranger to him and with his son, who he knows better than maybe he knows anyone. Better, certainly, than Malcolm understands himself. And, of course, the sibling concern between Malcolm and Ainsley. Ainsley uses her brother’s trauma to drive Martin to the brink, gaining an upper hand on him but the much more troubling turn of events was Malcolm watching his sister fall under their serial killer father’s spell. Martin’s plan worked like a charm and every Whitly knows it except Ainsley herself.

Beyond the heightened feel of Claremont on lockdown with Tevin on the loose, this episode took the entire concept of the show to the next level. The introduction of the Junkyard Killer, a mentee of Martin’s that was seemingly with the Whitly men on the forgotten camping trip? Jessica’s accurate prophecy to her daughter about Martin’s plan of manipulation. So many aspects of the story moved forward tonight, it feels like we’ve entered the second phased of the show. The phase where we really get a look behind the curtain and see all or, at least, some, of Martin’s long term plan. For himself and his family.

After tonight, and with martin ending up in solitary confinement, I am convinced that by Season’s end, or earlier, Martin Whitly will be escaped from Claremont and free to roam among the mortals once again. The use of Tevin to manipulate Ainsley’s feelings was only one aspect of Martin’s plan. He wanted to get sent to solitary. Everyone is playing right along with The Surgeon’s gameplan. Except Jessica, she seems to be actively trying to prevent everything from happening that she seems to know is going to happen. But, no one has really taken her seriously up until this point.

Tonight’s Prodigal Son was a one act play, high on emotion, meaning and drama; and the actors at the top of their game. I mention it above but Sheen and Payne are at their very best in this series when they are facing off each other. Tonight, with much of the hour devoted to their dynamic in small quarters, we got the full blast of what they can do when they around each other.

By the above, I take nothing from the supporting cast which is top notch and maybe the best on television right now. Special note tonight to Halston Sage and Bellamy Young for bringing serious heft of compelling emotion to their roles – in some ways, the Whitly women are all of the emotion that the clinical Whitly men lack. Especially when they are interacting with each other.

But, Prodigal Son never makes me sit forward on my couch more than when Malcolm and Martin are working each other … a truly deadly psychological game of cat and mouse where both characters are the cats.

Join me next we ask we learn more about the Junkyard Killer and his role in that fateful, forgotten camping trip.

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Prodigal Son airs on Fox on Monday nights at 9pm (ET/PT). We’ll be Live Tweeting this show so please, join us! 

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