The writers for Prodigal Son are continuously bringing viewers something fresh and new, each and every week. Malcolm is trying to stay balanced between the present and the past he just can’t seem to shake. Will he give in to the madness? It sure seems that way. (Spoilers Ahead)
What the hell was that?
Due to an “incident”, internal affairs has brought in one of their own. Dr. Simon Coppenwrath (Scott Shepherd). There is clearly something wrong with Malcolm (Tom Payne), even more so than before. Being down in the “basement” with Watkins has brought his demons to the forefront and it seems to be interfering with the rest of his life as well.
The way this episode is displayed is done in a brilliant manner. We are twisted into two different stories, as Malcolm sits and does his due diligence deflecting the questions of Dr. Coppenwrath. He doesn’t want to be found unfit to do his job, now does he? Malcolm well versed in psychological dealings, and proves to be a worthy adversary for the good doctor.
Before the incident
Malcolm cannot stay out of the game for long, so it comes as no surprise when he just shows up to an active crime scene investigation. How can you say no to Malcolm Bright? Especially when you cannot deny his brilliant mind, even if he is a little unhinged. The voices and visions are more prominent, but that doesn’t stop him from finding the many inconsistency’s in their latest case (begrudgingly to the rest of the team, who want him to take his proper leave). Edrisa (Keiko Agena) seems to be the only one happy to see Malcolm, back in action again.
The proverbial rabbit hole leads the team to a cult-like institution. Where their victim, Tristin, was a member. They take in the wayward, dealing with trauma and loss. Even though Malcolm seems to be taking a step back, he takes matters into his own hands. No one knows trauma quite like Malcolm Bright. He lives and breathes it. He is the perfect candidate for their cause, and it doesn’t take him long to find an in. This is where he meets Andi (Isabel Arraiza), who knows much more than she is letting on, but isn’t that always the way?
Malcolm is able to draw Vos ( Daniel Sunjata) himself, the head of the institute, to be there for his first treatment. Which promises to purge the patient from their pain and traumatic memories. Even though it’s a ploy to get through, Malcolm decides to go through with the treatment. Imagine, burying his demons for good, it’s far too tempting. Electro-Shock Therapy, though questionable, seems to have results.
Back to the here and now
It’s a continuous back and forth between Malcolm, the doctor and all the events that lead up to the “incident”. It all seems rather mundane and clinical, something that needs to be done. It was only a matter of time before this happened, really. As Malcolm weaves the story, the viewer gets lost in the twisted webs. What leads up to the incident though? What caused Malcolm to single-handedly knock out the power to the precinct?
Andi, who confided in him after his treatment, wanted out of the institute, but the fear was holding her back. She couldn’t do it on her own, and Malcolm, being the person he is, promised that he would keep her safe. He wants to save the world, he is the best person equipped with the knowledge of what trauma can do to a person, first hand. Since his life has pretty much been an active horror story since day one. When the rescue goes sideways, and Andi gets “kidnapped” by perpetrators in a cliche black van, it does something to him.
The usual suspects don’t seem to fit the profile, even if there is a deep-seated distrust for Vos, and what he is doing to people. He is not their suspect, it goes much deeper than that. Andi’s father has been trying to get her away from the cult for a while, and he would pay any amount of money to make it happen. Good thing there are people, skilled for the rescue and deprogramming of “brainwashed” minds. Jessica (Bellamy Young) is able to help them sniff out the right one, but he turns out to just be the muscle.
It’s okay to not be okay
While Malcolm is recounting the series of events to Simon, they seem to be vying for some semblance of control. The whole episode we are focused on the psychotic episode that Malcolm seems to be dealing with. His father wanted to kill him, and although his rational mind knows better, the child inside really thought that he was loved and cared for. When it seems like Malcolm is being vulnerable, he is, but it is to end the profile of Simon, to deem Malcolm unfit.
This is exactly how it was meant to be. There had to be someone smart and cunning, someone with power, someone who could end Malcolm’s career because he was getting far too close to the truth. Good thing our favorite profiler is always one step ahead of the game. He knew, anticipated, and it was all thanks to an empty pill bottle. Although the doctor had his own reasons, losing his own daughter to a cult, it doesn’t take away from the life that was so senselessly lost. The whole team was in on it, even when it seemed like they were throwing Malcolm under the bus. With a gun pointing to his face, this does little to unnerve Malcolm, he knows he did right by Andi, and they are able to wrap up another successful case.
There were some moments in this episode where we really did get to see the truth behind the trauma. Although most of it may have been an act, Malcolm was being honest about some of his battles. It was heartbreaking when he tore into Gil (Lou Diamond Phillips), saying that he was part of the issue. The demons would’ve been quiet if he wasn’t brought back into this world, but we all know that he can’t keep running. He is alive. He didn’t die all those years ago, and that means something. Will a break be beneficial? I’m not sure, but it can’t hurt. You can’t help but feel for these characters, and that is a sign of great writing.
A new episode of Prodigal Son airs on Monday, February 3 on FOX at 9/8c.
Previous reviews for Prodigal Son can be found here.