“Silent Night”, a strong Fall finale, left Prodigal Son in an intriguing place after a highly suspenseful closing sequence.
This recap of Prodigal Son Season 1, Episode 10, “Silent Night”, contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the previous episode by clicking these words.
Christmas is right around the corner, both in reality and in Prodigal Son Episode 10, the Fall finale of Fox’s popular profiling procedural. And as if to remind us that this show is at least partly about notorious serial murderer Dr. Martin Whitly (Michael Sheen), “Silent Night” opens with his daughter, Ainsley (Halston Sage), reporting on him, and his ex-wife, Jessica (Bellamy Young), throwing one of her high heels through the TV screen in disgust.
Jessica is rightly sick of Martin dominating the lives of her family, even if he doesn’t get the chance to dominate this episode. Malcolm (Tom Payne) is by no means over his childhood of chloroform and accessory to murder, but Gil (Lou Diamond Phillips) is keeping him busy with one grim crime after another. The one in “Silent Night” is a possible murder-suicide, a cop and his prostitute mistress, but things are never that simple, are they?
Things are less simple in Prodigal Son Episode 10 thanks to the presence of Collette (Meagan Good), a former colleague and rival of Malcolm’s who is explicit about her desire for him to leave the case of the junkyard killer well alone. As for the present matter, Malcolm believes a third person was present, and that the crime was a double homicide. The cop victim had no family, but a partner whom Malcolm recognizes from a photograph; he was among those who interrogated Malcolm as a youngster following his father’s arrest.
Malcolm and Gil go to see the man, Detective Owen Shannon (Sean Pertwee), who isn’t pleased to see them. But he also isn’t guilty of his partner’s murder, who, as it turns out, was gay – the presence of a female prostitute at the murder scene, then, is a bit weird, to say the least.
Collette, meanwhile, is ostensibly on the case of Martin’s old camping buddy and fellow serial killer Paul (Michael Raymond-James), though she’s spending most of her time interrogating Dani (Aurora Perrineau) about Malcolm. Prodigal Son Episode 10 suggests some further backstory for the troubled profiler, who was booted from the FBI for consistent unconventional, risky behavior. Is he dangerous? Can he be trusted? These are the questions that have powered most of this first season, and you can’t expect any answers to them yet, but it’s interesting to get a slightly outside perspective for a change.
The on-going mystery of the girl in the box also gets some development in “Silent Night”, with Jessica and Gil once again reaching something of an impasse regarding how best to proceed. Jessica naturally wants to ruin Martin, but Gil believes her obsession with him and his crimes is consuming her. In a schoolboy error, he leaves Jessica alone for long enough to snoop through Paul’s file and discover a picture of the bracelet Malcolm once described the girl in the box as having worn.
Shannon, empathizing with Malcolm’s obsession, takes him to a storage locker where Turner, the murdered cop, had been conducting an investigating into the junkyard killer. As is made clear while Gil and JT (Frank Harts) interrogate the Madame who despatched the prostitute to Turner’s room, she was there to sully his reputation, not sleep with him. Turner had, in actuality, been in a relationship with Shannon for a long time and was working to clear his name. New evidence leads Malcolm and Shannon to the house of a man named John, where they’re greeted by his creepy, blind grandmother.
Everything here is Prodigal Son Episode 10 at its best, I think. The interactions with the grandmother – pleasant, but a stickler for good grammar and Christian values – begin to take on an increasingly morbid tone as she reveals more of John’s traumatic backstory and goes over a photo album with every image of his face scratched out. Whoever could have done that? We don’t have to wait long to find out since when Malcolm goes away to snoop around the house, he returns to the table to find Shannon with his throat slashed. John is in the house, and his grandmother is well-aware of what he gets up to – in fact, she commends him for “taking out the trash”. He then proceeds to take out Malcolm, knocking him unconscious and prompting another flashback which reveals that it was him with the body in the back of his car all those years ago, not Martin.
It’s a fittingly suspenseful end to Prodigal Son Season 1, Episode 10, which also closes with Jessica sharing details of the girl in the box and her bracelet, offering a hefty reward for information. With that and Malcolm’s nebulous fate, “Silent Night” positions the show in an intriguing place for its return next year.
Jonathon is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has been Senior Editor and Chief Critic of the outlet since 2017.