In episode 2 of Prodigal Son we learn that the chemistry between Malcolm and Edrisa is real and he really needs this job to help keep him sane. We also learn that though sane might be a relative term where Malcolm and his family are concerned, that’s what makes him really good at what he does. He’s trying to solve a mystery within himself while he’s solving murders and the answers could save him or end him. Dear old Dad is no help whatsoever, but it’s fun to watch him torment his son, who can’t quite stay away.
Did I say fun? I meant creepy as H*ll. This was a freaky episode, with snakes and poison and Michael Sheen doing his best Chucky impression. Poor Malcom actually had to get tucked into bed at the end, it was so distressing. Thankfully, it wasn’t by either of his parents, at least not in the present day. They only tuck him into bed in his night terrors.
OMG, did they kill Kenny at the end of 9-1-1?
20 years ago, Malcom found a girl in trunk, which will hereafter be known as a box, in his father’s “hobby room”. Then he called the police and Gil came to the rescue.
These are the essential facts of Malcom’s life. He opened the box because he heard the woman gasping. He dreams about the girl in the box every night and wakes up screaming. But the police never found her.
In episode 2, as in episode 1, Malcom startles awake (shout out to Dark fans!). He spits out his night guard and unclips his restraints. His does his calestenics and yoga, takes his many medications, and reads his affirmations. He does not accept his mother’s call.
Today’s affirmation is: “I am thankful for my past and it’s many lessons.” He decides maybe he can skip repeating that one. He’s not all that grateful for his past.
Instead, he replays in his mind that time the police searched his parents’ house and there was no girl in the box. 20 years younger Gil tells Young Malcom that there’s no girl, but Malcom was right, the tea was poisoned and they found more incriminating evidence against his father in the hobby room.
Adult Malcom accepts Mama Jessica’s call. She invites him to brunch with her and Ainsley. While they’re eating, Ainsley’s phone blows up with notifications about a quadruple murder in Brooklyn Heights. She rushes off to cover it.
After Ainsley leaves, Jessica plays mom and questions Malcolm about his sleep and seeing his father. They play a little cat and mouse, where he tries to lie about what he’s been up to and she tries to pretend she doesn’t know as much about what he’s been up to as she does. A mother always knows!
He tells her that he’s been having nightmares about the girl in the box again. She tries to convince him that the girl didn’t exist. Jessica thinks he fabricated her based on seeing his father’s plans and photos. She tells him that his problem is that he thinks life is a case to be solved when it’s actually a tragedy to be endured. They argue until he gets the call from Gil asking him to consult on the quadruple murder case. Jessica isn’t pleased that he still working with Gil.
It took Gil a little while to call because he had to get permission to use Malcolm as a consultant again. He’s worried that it’s too soon after the last case for Malcom to be back to work, since that one was so similar to his father’s case, but Malcom wants to keep busy.
Ainsley is already reporting from in front of the murder house. She tells viewers that the victims were all members of one family.
JT and Dani react predicably when they see Malcolm. Gil tells Malcolm that he can’t question any witnesses or touch anything. Malcolm is still excited to examine the crime scene. The four bodies are sat at a dining table, where they died during dinner.
They were members of the Boutsikiras family. The parents, Aristos and Cora, founded a shipping company in Greece. Their children, Jeffrey and Helen, grew up in America and ran the business. There were no signs of forced entry into the house. Staff found them this way in the morning. Aristos is the only one with his mouth sewn shut.
Malcolm wonders what the killer’s motivation was for sewing Aristos’ mouth shut. As he points, Edrisa appears to yell at him not to disturb the crime scene. Then she realizes who it is and tells him she’s happy to see him.
Edrisa explains that the victims were poisoned, but she won’t know which poison until she does a tox screen. Malcom gueses that they knew the killer and the dinner was a command performance. He notices that Aristos had a hereditary skin disease called vitiligo that causes discolored patches. He and Edrisa also figure out that Aristos was forced to watch while the rest of the family died.
They notice an incision in Aristos abdomen that’s been sewn up. Edrisa examines it while Malcolm answers his phone. It’s Martin, who’s given phone time every day to consult on medical cases. Today he’s called Malcolm to consult on his murder case instead. Martin is also watching Ainsley on TV. He reminds Malcolm that he sees them as being alike. Malcom hangs up on him.
Edrisa cuts open Aristos’ sutures in his mouth and abdomen. Poisonous black mambas snakes crawl out. One wraps around Edrisa’s leg. She freezes in fear. Malcolm tells her to stay still and talks to her while he rescues her. Once she’s safe from the snake, she collapses into his arms.
Martin leaves Malcom multiple messages. Malcom ignores him, but the tremor in his hand has returned.
Back at the station, they set up the murder board. The tox screen shows that the poison, metoprolol, a beta blocker, stopped the victims’ hearts. The family was involved in many shady business deals and had hundreds of enemies, so it could be hard to narrow down a culprit. Malcolm feels that the crime scene felt like it was personal and directed at Aristos.
JT insults Malcolm because of his father, as he’s done every 5 minutes since they’ve met. Malcolm decides they might as well have it out and clear the air. When it comes down to it, JT just asks if it was weird, being raised by his father. Malcolm says it was super weird and they go back to talking about snakes.
Malcolm thinks that the killer is a disappointed family annihilator who wanted love but was rejected by Aristos. The annihilator is male, depressed, and often kill themselves afterward. Gil asks if there are any other members of the Boutsikiras family. JT checks and finds another son, Liam, who changed his name and was estranged from the family.
They go to Liam’s business address, which is a warehouse. Liam is putting snakes into his car and hasn’t heard about the murders yet. Sensing that he’s about to become a suspect, he tries to escape through the building. The warehouse is full of exotic animals which he’s been dealing on the black market.
Malcolm finds Liam and tries to convince him to talk, but Liam throws a poisonous snake at him and runs. The snake latches onto Malcolm’s wrist and bites. Dani finds him and calls for help when he collapses.
Malcolm has the girl in the box nightmare in the hospital. He remembers that Martin used chloroform to knock him out when he opened the trunk. He also panicks when he wakes up and discovers that he’s hooked up to an IV with a sedative. He yells at the nurse to tell him what’s in the IV, because he needs to be able to wake up quickly to escape the nightmare.
Liam sends the family lawyer to the station to make an arrangement for him to talk to the police about the murder investigation in exchange for a promise that they won’t prosecute him for the illegal animal business. Gil refuses, since Liam put Malcolm in the hospital. He tells the lawyer, Jon Littman, that they have a warrant out for Liam’s arrest.
Ainsley arrives at the hospital to pick up Malcolm, who’s checking himself out against medical advice. He shouldn’t even be awake, due to the strength of the drugs they gave him, but he laughs in the face of their wimpy hospital drugs compared to his normal regime.
Ainsley asks how his nightmares got so bad, and tells him he can talk to her. She’s for real, but it’s also a distraction so she can steal his phone and listen to his 17 phone messages from their father. Martin says he has thoughts on the murder case, so Malcolm can’t deny that they’ve been in contact.
He explains that his nightmares are new and he thinks they’re trying to show him something. He thinks he’s missing time between when he found the girl in the box and when he called the cops. Their father is the only one who can help him remember. Ainsley begs him not to be taken in by Martin, who’ll just torture his mind again, but Malcolm doesn’t feel he has a choice.
Malcolm visits Martin, who’s thrilled to see him, as always. Malcolm says that he wants to know the truth about the girl in the box. Did Martin drug him with chloroform? Martin denies everything and swears the girl wasn’t real. The police report agreed.
Malcolm starts to leave, but Martin starts talking about the family annihilator case. He’s fascinated by someone who loves his family so much that he kills them. Martin isn’t an annihilator. Love didn’t drive him to kill. It drove him to have a family.
Malcolm realizes that the killer wasn’t Liam. The annihilator loved the family, but wasn’t loved by them. He wanted into the family and was rejected, whereas Liam had already rejected the family. The killer punished Aristos for not loving him by making Aristos watch the ones he did love die. Malcolm figures out that the killer must have been an illegitimate child. He rushes out to call Gil, while Martin basks in the glow of having helped solve another case.
Malcolm tells Gil that the killer used the snakes to frame Liam. Unfortunately, Liam is dead. He appears to have jumped from the top of Aristos’ building. Since family annihilators usually kill themselves, Gil assumes the case is solved. Malcolm insists that Liam was murdered by the annihilator and they need to keep looking for the killer, but Gil’s superiors want him to close the case.
Dani tells Gil that she found some suspicious payments in Aristos’ records. Maybe they were to the annihilator. Gil sends them to talk to the family lawyer about the payments. Maybe they can find something out before he has to submit a report.
Littman is at home with his wife and children. He’s grilling food for his family, who complain they’re hungry, so the lawyer brings them their food. Littman says that the payments weren’t hush money for an illegitimate child. Aristos was like a father to him. Malcolm figures out that Littman is the illegitimate child and family annihilator, and Littman admits that it’s true, but it’s too late. He’s already poisoned himself and his family through their food, using the same drug he used for the other murders.
Littman and his family collapse, their hearts having stopped. Dani calls an ambulance and Malcolm figures out an antidote- Atropine. Dani has a med kit in the car, so they’re able to give everyone a dose, including Littman, and save them. Littman doesn’t want to be saved, but Malcolm does it anyway, so he can face justice.
Later, in Gil’s office, he and Malcolm share a drink. Gil asks what he needs to know about Malcolm. Malcolm says that he needs the job to help him escape his demons, but he’s able to do the job, 100%. He’s tired of running away from his past.
Malcolm says good night, and gets up to leave, but the combination of drugs still in his system has left him woozy. Gil has Dani take him home. She notices his parakeet and weapons collection. She wonders how he sleeps with all of his accessories, especially when he has company. He says that he’s never slept with anyone, then stumbles around trying to say that he’s had all the sex but no sleepovers.
His hand-eye coordination is compromised, so Dani helps strap him into his restraints. He asks if it’s the craziest thing she’s ever seen. She tells him it’s not even close. He falls asleep without his mouthpiece in, which is very disturbing.
He slips into a dream/flashback of his parents tucking him in. His dad carried him to bed, then his mom came in. Martin told her that Malcolm visited him in the cellar. He says that Malcolm was sleepwalking. Jessica is worried, but Martin says he’ll be fine and probably won’t even remember it. She says good night to both.
Malcolm begins to wake up as Jessica leaves the room. Martin grabs his arm and uses it to pretend wave. Once she’s gone, Malcolm tells his father that he saw a girl. Martin says that it was just a dream, and chloroforms him again.
Images from that night flash through Malcolm’s head and he wakes up in the present day.
Malcolm returns to visit his father. He has the guard leave them alone and asks again about the girl in the box. This time he doesn’t let it go. He knows it’s a memory rather than a dream and that he’s missing time. But Martin turns the tables on him by asking what he did during the missing time, and how long he thinks it was. Days? Weeks? Months? He suggests that anyone who died during the time it took Malcolm to phone the police is on Malcolm’s head and that maybe Malcolm can’t remember because he took part in his father’s activities. malcolm says that he intends to find out the truth, then leaves. Martin says, “Good for you.”
Martin’s guard, David, calls Jessica to let her know that Malcolm visited Martin again. She breaks a glass on purpose when she hears the news.
So, do we think that Malcolm can’t remember that he was Daddy’s Little Accessory to Murder for a while or that his mother was helping out with/knew about the murders? And what is Halston’s role in all of this? Is she even their kid?
It sounds like there are still many unsolved facets to The Surgeon’s murders that could keep this show going for a while, so they don’t all have to revolve around “Is Malcolm a psychopath?” If Malcolm spent a little time in the hobby room and can pull those memories out, he could use them to convince Martin to reveal secret burial spots and identities for more bodies. Martin might bite, if it got him more time with his son.
I can tell already they’re going with Edrisa as nerdy comic relief with a crush, while Dani is the serious love interest. But Malcolm and Edrisa are the ones who have more in common and she’s very attractive. I see no reason why she can’t be the love interest. Let’s have a little Meg Ryan-Tom Hanks rom com fun with these two, darn it. She’s smart, sweet and adorable and likes dead bodies. She can handle whatever he throws at her, just like Meg handled Tom’s issues in all those movies.
Did you see Malcolm rest his head on Edrisa’s after he saved her life? Be still my heart. She’s a woman who’d understand his weapons collection.
Images courtesy of Fox.