“It’s All in the Execution” brings back Prodigal Son with Malcolm more unstable than ever, as the Whitly family continues to have a rather unhealthy penchant for death and dismemberment.
This recap of Prodigal Son season 2, episode 1, “It’s All in the Execution”, contains spoilers.
Prodigal Son was a pretty major hit last year, so there’s no real surprise that the deeply weird show is back for a second season – and also not much surprise that this second season is immediately weirder and more surreal, with higher stakes surrounding the Whitly family and much more complicated relationships between protagonist Malcolm and his father, Martin, but also his sister, Ainsley, his colleagues, and himself.
Of course, the first order of business for the Fox thriller in “It’s All in the Execution” was following on from the cliffhanger ending of the first season finale, in which Ainsley murdered Nicholas Endicott. With the help of flashbacks – which break up a not particularly interesting mystery-of-the-week plot – we learn that Ainsley has no memory of this, having done the deed in a sort of fugue state, leaving Malcolm to take the blame and, with the help of his father, dispose of the body. The various pieces of that body, it turns out, won’t be hidden quite so easily.
This raises a couple of problems for Malcolm. The first is that it worsens what has already been a pretty debilitating psychosis at the best of times. His frantic nightmares, always a regular feature, are at their worst in Prodigal Son season 2, episode 1, given the premiere a surreal, macabre tint. This is only exacerbated by the idea that Malcolm might have taken a worrying degree of pleasure in dividing Endicott into pieces – again, not a new theme, but one that this second season evidently intends to explore in more detail.
Of course, “It’s All in the Execution” arrives in a very different world than the first season did. And while the show has never much bothered with social issues and sidesteps the coronavirus pandemic altogether, it does make time for a sequence in which JT is almost shot dead by uniformed officers who assume he’s a suspect, rather than a homicide detective. JT’s reaction here might be a bit difficult to buy into considering his personality in the past, but it does the job in expressing his genuine terror at both the thought of being gunned down by his fellow officers and the price he might have to pay for technically assaulting one of them. It seems like Malcolm won’t be the only focus in the episodes ahead, which, at least for my money, can only be a good thing.