“Wait & Hope” finds the funny side of murder in an episode which sees Prodigal Son embracing its sense of humor — perhaps because it hasn’t entirely figured out where the overarching plot is going yet.
This recap of Prodigal Son Season 1, Episode 13, “Wait & Hope”, contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the previous episode by clicking these words.
If last week’s really good standalone episode was Prodigal Son resetting after closing off the first half-season’s major arc, “Wait & Hope” is the show not quite knowing where it’s going next. In this case, that’s not such a bad thing. Prodigal Son Episode 13, while lacking the depth of the previous episode and some of the better ones which have cropped up so far, still proved that Fox’s procedural can do more while spinning its wheels than a lot of other network shows can, period. We got legitimately funny character patter and a return to some of those implausible Saw-style theatrics that the show garnered an audience with in the first place. If it felt like it was killing time, it at least felt like it was having fun doing so.
Malcolm (Tom Payne), you’ll recall, is on vacation – supposed to be, anyway, but when it comes to a choice between attending functions in a suave white suit or investigating murders (though also in the suave white suit), it’s a no-contest for Morbid Malcolm.
At least the team get a few good laughs out of Malcolm’s attire – even Edrisa (Keiko Agena) gets in on that action. The case of the week is a series of killings inspired by The Count of Monte Cristo, which predictably was a favourite novel of Malcolm’s as a child. Prodigal Son Episode 13 is, therefore, quick to involve Martin (Michael Sheen) in the case, lest we forget about him, and there’s even room for Ainsley (Halston Sage) and Jessica (Bellamy Young) to make appearances.
But the most noteworthy appearances are of nutty death-dealing devices and the ridiculous scenes which accompany them – Malcolm standing on a landmine and diving out of a window, say, or a ludicrous contraption involving swords and wires. By the time we have a presumed culprit whom Malcolm is unsure of and an in-person visit with Martin, it really does feel like “Wait & Hope” is playing its greatest hits.
A climactic wedding allows Malcolm and Dani (Aurora Perrineau) to get dolled up, and Jessica herself to be imperilled, before a relatively perfunctory conclusion brings this case-of-the-week to an end. But what’s missing?
For all its jokes and elaborate killing contraptions, Prodigal Son Season 1, Episode 13 finds itself not just without some of the introspection which has defined the better episodes, but also, crucially, without much of a reason for it. The gradual unravelling of Malcolm’s psyche and the constant unearthing of more buried secrets from his past have kept this show moving throughout the first half of its debut season; now, though, without a clear overarching narrative and without the-girl-in-the-box-style breadcrumbs to scatter throughout these procedural episodes, it isn’t quite the same. Still good, you understand, and I continue to love the cast and the show’s macabre sense of silliness, but different, nonetheless. We’ll see what happens next week.
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Jonathon is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has been Senior Editor and Chief Critic of the outlet since 2017.