Prodigal Son Recap: You Know What Family Dinners Are Like Boxed Up

October 1, 2019
Jonathon Wilson 0
TV, TV Recaps
3.5

Summary

“Annihilator” provides another dark and bonkers mystery, while Malcolm grapples with his own memory.

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3.5

Summary

“Annihilator” provides another dark and bonkers mystery, while Malcolm grapples with his own memory.

This recap of Prodigal Son Season 1, Episode 2, “Annihilator”, contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the previous episode by clicking these words.


I don’t think anybody would claim that Fox’s Prodigal Son is perfect, but blimey, you can’t argue with its ability to craft a crime scene. The one in “Annihilator” was a butchered family, posed at dinner, all poisoned, the patriarch with a sewn-shut mouth holding a bellyful of snakes. How’s that for macabre? It might have been a bit obvious that a b*****d child was responsible, especially after Malcolm (Tom Payne) laid out the family annihilator profile, but it was fun taking a brief deviation through a warehouse of black market animals, and visiting the real perpetrator’s idyllic family home just before it became the site of another familicidal tea party.

This standalone case was intriguing enough to keep Prodigal Son Episode 2 moving, but it was just that — a standalone case. Much of the episode’s meat came from further exploration of Malcolm’s past, his relationship with his father, Dr. Martin Whitly (Michael Sheen), his burgeoning friendship with Dani (Aurora Perrineau), and his history with Gil (Lou Diamond Phillips). You can’t watch this episode and not have some questions: Who was the girl in the box? Was she real? Did young Malcolm have something to do with her death? And I can’t be the only person who thinks that Malcolm’s mother, Jessica (Bellamy Young), is incredibly suspicious?

I also can’t fathom why Martin gets so many ludicrous privileges in prison. Prodigal Son Season 1, Episode 2 is very specific about him getting phone time rather than an actual phone — “an important distinction”, he claims — but just how much phone time is this guy getting? His relentless badgering of Malcolm was supposed to display his growing instability at being rejected, but I must admit what I was mostly thinking was how ridiculous it was that he could make so many calls. That having been said, Michael Sheen is clearly relishing this part, and it was nice to see him lose his cool a bit — his chillingly unflappable demeanor is fun, but it doesn’t exactly scream notorious serial killer. If we’re supposed to buy him as an eventual threat, and I’m sure we are, it’s smart to plant those seeds early and let them germinate for a while.

I have further questions. I’d like to see more of Ainsley’s (Halston Sage) life away from coincidentally reporting on the murders Malcolm is investigating — she feels underserved currently, and there has to be more to her than this, especially since she, too, is the child of a notorious murderer and the clearly manipulative wife of a notorious murderer. JT (Frank Harts) needs more to do than just call Malcolm a weirdo, however amusing some of his little jabs might be; when held up against Dani, whose affection for Malcolm and openness about his bizarre lifestyle — including treasured collections of bladed and blunt historical weaponry, and a bed complete with dungeon shackles — is rather inexplicable at the moment. And, of course, there’s the lingering threat of how far down the rabbit hole Malcolm might go now that he’s back in regular contact with his father. All of these things are what will keep an eager audience tuning into Prodigal Son for a while, though, so I’m happy not getting any concrete answers just yet. For now, I’ll take the weirdness. That, at least, the show has to spare.


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